At this time I will no longer be taking any new review requests or participating in any memes. There will still be author interviews, blasts, guest posts and occasionally reviews posted (as I climb through by TBR pile!!). Life is kind of hectic and I have to focus on a few other commitments before coming back full-time to my blog. Thank you to everyone that has supported me and I won't be gone forever. I will still be around on my social media sites!

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS


My interview over at The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively is HERE

Purchase my book Images of America: Detroit Lakes HERE

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Author Interview: Sheila Roberts




I know your new book Better Than Chocolate was just released September 25, 2012 and I really want to talk about that. But first, I’d like my readers to know a little about you.

Q. What is your favorite quality about yourself?
A. Gosh, there are so many. Hahahah. Seriously, I guess one of my best qualities is that I’m fun to be with. Is that a quality? I hope so.
 
Q. What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
A. “If you can dream it you can do it” – Walt Disney. That is so inspiring to me. I think God gives us all talents and dreams. Sometimes the one thing that holds us back is confidence. If there’s a dream in your heart, chances are it’s there for a reason. I say, go for it!
 
We’re going to talk about your book that you’ve written, but first, let us learn a little about how you got your start in writing.
 
Q.  How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
A. I had a family that was very encouraging and supportive. Anything I wanted to try my parents were behind me 100 percent. They encouraged my creativity. I also had an amazing grade school teacher who allowed me to read my literary creations to the class on a regular basis. (Poor kids – talk about a captive audience!)
 
Q. What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
A. Putting in the work on a daily basis. Sometimes I would much rather be off playing than in my office, especially when the sun is out. (Although, I must admit, I make sure to build playtime into my life.)
 
Okay, now we can get to talking about Better Than Chocolate. 
 
Q. Tell us about a little bit about Better Than Chocolate.
A. This novel is about a family of women whose business is in trouble. And it’s up to our heroine Samantha Sterling to pull them out. Since the business employs a lot of people in town there’s more riding on this than just the fate of her immediate family. Her mountain town of Icicle Falls has been experiencing an economic slump and could use a shot in the arm. What better way to help everyone than to sponsor a chocolate festival? Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, I made sure it wouldn’t be. Heroines have to struggle to prove their heroines, right?
 
Q. How did you develop your plot and characters?
A. This all comes about in pieces. I always start with my concept, what the basic idea of the book is going to be and then work on from there. For this book, first of all, I knew I wanted to create a charming small town. (The town of Icicle Falls is actually based on Leavenworth, Washington, a town that was on the verge of extinction and rebuilt itself in the sixties to become a tourist destination.) Then I wanted to introduce readers to that town by giving them a family as its centerpiece. The family needed a business and I decided to make it chocolate. From there it was a matter of asking, “What kind of problems could this family have?” and “What kind of woman would be able to save her family and the town?”
 
Q.What was the hardest part about writing this book?
A. Actually, testing the recipes for it. Some were real disasters. And I gained several pounds in the process!
 
Q. Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
A. The character of Muriel, the matriarch of the Sterling family, who is money challenged, was a good reminder to me that I need to be more involved in my own family’s finances. Math has never been my thing and my husband takes care of all the budgeting and bill paying. In many ways this is great. It leaves me free to be creative. In many ways though this is not so good because if something happens to him I’m in deep doo-doo. Finances, like all other aspects of marriage should be a team effort, and after seeing the mess Muriel got into because she was clueless I’m aware that I need to be a much more involved member of the team when it comes to managing our money.
 
Q.Have you started your next project yet? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
A. We authors actually work far ahead so I’m already two books down the road. I’m very excited about Merry Ex-mas, a holiday tale of wives and their exes, which will be out this November. Then, next spring, What She Wants will be out. I’m just putting the finishing touches on that and it’s really going to be fun. 
 
Q. Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?
A. Just one. I want to say thank you. Without readers we writers would have no audience. To whom could we tell our stories? You are so important to me!
 
BONUS FUN QUESTIONS
Q. Do you remember the first book that kept you up all night reading? What was it?
A. As a girl I devoured Nancy Drew books. I got older and graduated to Jane Austen. But I think the book that turned me into a night owl reader was probably Kirkland Revels by Victoria Holt. After that book I became a Victoria Holt addict.
 
Q. What is your favorite movie and why?
A. It’s a Wonderful Life – best movie ever made IMHO! I love the positive message of that movie and I’m such a sap. I cry at the ending every time – quite an accomplishment considering I’ve been watching it every Christmas for the last twenty years. By the way, no one in my family will watch it with me any more. Now I have to resort to hosting a holiday chick flick night. Anybody want to join me?!
 
ABOUT SHEILA ROBERTS
Sheila Roberts is married and has three children. She lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have appeared in Reader’s Digest condensed books and have been published in several languages. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network. When she’s not writing songs, hanging out with her girlfriends or hitting the dance floor with her husband, she can be found writing about those things dear to women’s hearts: family, friends and chocolate.
 
You can visit Sheila at sheilasplace.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. 
Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. So Samantha Sterling was understandably unhappy when her mother named her second husband, Waldo, president of the family business. Appointed president after Waldo’s recent death, Samantha is apoplectic when she discovers just how close Sweet Dreams is to bankruptcy.
 
Thanks to the free spending ways of her recently deceased stepfather, it looks as if they’re about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank—and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of Icicle Falls, Washington. Although Waldo had ignored numerous requests by Cascade Mutual to discuss their arrears, Samantha is sure she can win over the manager to her side.
 
But the bank’s longtime manager has retired and his replacement, former Icicle Falls high school football star Blake Preston, isn’t as easy a mark as his predecessor. So when Samantha’s pleas and a gift box of chocolate fail to impress, she’s forced to consider other options.
 
After some brainstorming with her mother and sisters, inspiration strikes. They’ll have a chocolate festival. Town council approves the idea—despite some reservations voiced by Blake. Time is running out, but the Sterling women are determined and the town’s behind them, so what could go wrong?
 
Well, quite a few things, actually. The permits appear to be mysteriously stalled at the mayor’s office. Samantha and her mother seem to be at loggerheads. And Blake is determined to sell off Sweet Dreams assets to their biggest competitor even if the Sterling women do raise the funds.
 
Or is he?
 
It’s enough to drive her to chocolate.

PURCHASE BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

ARC Review: Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel



Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Format: e-ARC
Source: publisher via Edelweiss for an honest review

Blurb via Edelweiss
It's 2196, and the city of New London is now markedly changed. Political and social tensions are building around the advent of the "civilized" undead, and there's violence in the streets. When that violence hits close to home, Nora Dearly and Bram Griswold are once again forced to take control of their own destinies. As old friends become foes and chaos reigns all around them, Nora and Bram must find strength in each other-no matter the cost.  

Lia Habel is a genius. In her first book she made zombies loveable and she did not let us down with her second installment, Dearly, Beloved. I loved returning to New London and seeing how life is now that the general population knows about the dead. Of course there are different types of zombies. There are the civilized ones that just want to go about their lives now that there are ways of retaining their memories and then there are those that have succumbed to the virus and are just mindless biting machines.

Nora is still our headstrong heroine and now that they are back in New London, it is required of her to learn how to be a lady. After everything that Nora has been through, this is a little tough. She wants to be on the front lines fighting for the zombies rights. She and Bram are still going strong but they have to be careful and keep their relationship on the down low for now. Bram is still the valiant knight to Nora and will always do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

The plot this time is that the Lazarus strain has mutated and the vaccine they designed isn’t made to deal with this strain. They do not want another Siege so they try to covertly move the zombie (Patient One) infected with this strain away from anyone that could use him for a weapon. There are several groups that know about Patient One and they all want him.

The main reason that I find this series fascinating is that the story is told from multiple points of views. The reader is not restricted in knowing only what the main characters know. We are lucky enough to know everything that is going on and it keeps the pace of the book moving. The non-stop action will keep the reader invested in the lives of these characters. If you are looking for a unique series to read, this is the one for you. Due to the high complexity of Lia’s world, I recommend reading the series in order.

PURCHASE DEARLY, BELOVED

PURCHASE DEARLY, DEPARTED

My REVIEW of Dearly Departed


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guest Post Author Allen Wyler-The Challenges of Writing a Medical Thriller


THE CHALLENGES OF WRITING A MEDICAL THRILLER
People who read medical thrillers are usually interested in medical details, just as readers of legal thrillers find law interesting. What is difficult is adding sufficient medical detail to satisfy a reader without making descriptions or facts boring. This is one reason I try to move my stories along at a fast clip. Thrillers are intended to thrill, not lecture. Fast pace, good plot, interesting characters are the elements that should be in a medical thriller. 

THE RESEARCH BEHIND DEAD END DEAL
This is a blitz-pace thriller about a Seattle neurosurgeon who, while in Korea, is framed for a murder. Now hunted by police he must evade a professional hit man while trying to find a way back to the United States. I figure it’s Three Days of The Condor meets Michael Crichton.

I got the idea for the story when I was a guest lecturer at a medical school in Seoul, South Korea. I was staying at the Walker Hill Sheraton hotel across the Han river from the hospital. So all the scenes (hotel, downtown Seoul, and the Korean hospital) were from notes and snapshots I took while there. (I always travel with a small point and shoot camera in my pocket). The brief description of the surgical procedure comes from my own experience.

My neurosurgeon protagonist, Jon Ritter, escapes via a route I personally took when figuring out how he might return to the United States without a passport. Again, the scenes were written with the help of snapshots. So, the short answer to the question is that all the research for the story came from personal experience. By the way, I find digital photography a great help when writing. I view a relevant snapshot on the screen as I write. This help me accurately describe what I’m seeing.

MY PATH FROM NEUROSURGEON TO AUTHOR 
Writing always interested me. Even in grade school I read like a fiend. So it seemed like a good idea to major in English instead of the traditional chemistry or zoology when I was taking my premed courses. This caused me considerable grief because it was difficult to get in all my required credits. But I figured once I got into medical school I’d never have another shot at the literature courses. And that’s exactly what happened —medical school and post graduate training consumed all my time. Then one Saturday, after starting practice, I came home from making rounds at the hospital and decided to start writing. Just like that. I began a novel that ended up to be really awful. Then I wrote another one, which was better but still not ready for prime time. At that point I started trolling for an agent and finally secured one, but could not sell my work. Years later, I got the call I’d been waiting for. It was quite a thrill. I guess, in the end, my biggest challenge was finding enough time to devote to writing. For me the writing process is difficult and requires a ton of work. I now enjoy the luxury of having sufficient time to work on my craft. It’s a dream come true.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
Allen Wyler is a renowned neurosurgeon who earned an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. He has served on the faculties of both the University of Washington and the University of Tennessee, and in 1992 was recruited by the prestigious Swedish Medical Center to develop a neuroscience institute. 

In 2002, he left active practice to become Medical Director for a startup med-tech company (that went public in 2006) and he now chairs the Institutional Review Board of a major medical center in the Pacific Northwest.

Leveraging a love for thrillers since the early 70’s, Wyler devoted himself to fiction writing in earnest, eventually serving as Vice President of the International Thriller Writers organization for several years. After publishing his first two medical thrillers Deadly Errors (2005) and Dead Head (2007), he officially retired from medicine to devote himself to writing full time.

He and his wife, Lily, divide their time between Seattle and the San Juan Islands.

 
ABOUT DEAD END DEAL
World-renowned neurosurgeon Jon Ritter is on the verge of a medical breakthrough that will change the world. His groundbreaking surgical treatment, using transplanted non-human stem cells, is set to eradicate the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease and give hope to millions. But when the procedure is slated for testing, it all comes to an abrupt and terrifying halt. Ritter’s colleague is gunned down and Ritter himself is threatened by a radical anti-abortion group that not only claims responsibility, but promises more of the same.

Faced with a dangerous reality but determined to succeed, Ritter and his allies conduct clandestine clinical trials in Seoul, Korea. But there, Ritter and his allies are thrown into a horrifying nightmare scenario: The trial patients are murdered and Ritter is the number one suspect. Now, aided by his beautiful lab assistant, Yeonhee, Ritter flees the country, as he becomes the target of an international manhunt involving Interpol, the FBI, zealous fanatics and a coldly efficient assassin named Fiest.

Dead End Deal is a fast paced, heart-pounding, and sophisticated thriller. Penned by master neurosurgeon, Allen Wyler—who draws significantly from experience, actual events and hot-button issues when writing—Dead End Deal is unmatched as a technical procedural. Its medical and scientific details can impress even the most seasoned medical practitioners. And yet, the technical expertise is seamlessly woven into a riveting plot with enough action and surprises to engross even the most well-read thriller enthusiast. A smart, unique, page-turner, Dead End Deal delivers.

PURCHASE DEAD END DEAL


Friday, September 14, 2012

Blog Tour: For Keeps by Aaron Lazar


I would like to welcome back author Aaron Lazar to Kelsey's Book Corner. He has graciously provided an excerpt of his novel, For Keeps, for this stop of the blog tour. Enjoy!!

SYNOPSIS
When retired family doctor Sam Moore’s old girlfriend is murdered in a local hotel, the police suspect his involvement. The coroner, a former med school colleague whose husband is about to desert her, reveals that she had a crush on Sam in med school. When she is strangled the next day in her own morgue, Sam is once again in the hot seat.

Sam’s world falls apart when he returns home to find a family member killed in the laundry room, stabbed with his own garden shears. Rocketed into a world of denial and temporary insanity, Sam faces his worst fear, and is locked up in the very same psych ward he was in when his brother Bill died fifty years ago. Sam is determined to ask his long dead brother to help him. Billy, who communicates through a little green marble, has the ability to propel Sam through time and has helped Sam unwrap baffling mysteries in the past.

Sam’s plan: to change time, and bring his loved one back to life. 

EXCERPT


Chapter One
 “Murdered?” Sam juggled four pots of yellow daylilies in his arms, squeezing the cell phone between his shoulder and ear. “Where? And why in world do you need me?”
Lou sighed. “I told you. The Twin Sisters Inn. And I can’t say over the phone, I just need your…expertise.”
My expertise? Sam had practiced family medicine in East Goodland, New York for over thirty years, but couldn’t imagine how treating runny noses and chicken pox qualified him to help with a murder. And why was Lou being so damned secretive about the whole thing?
“Hold on a sec, Lou.” He dropped the flowerpots on the counter and barely caught them before they toppled. Flashing the clerk an apologetic smile, he swept the spilled dirt into a pile and mumbled into the phone. “I’m at Palmiter’s. Just checking out.”
Lou groaned. “Why am I not surprised? Since you retired, that’s all you’ve done. Flowers and more flowers. Holy Mother Mary. Don’t you get sick of it? Or are you trying to get your place on the Home and Garden network?”
Sam slid the plants toward the clerk. “You’re just jealous.”
“Damn right I am. I can’t retire for another coupla years. Remember, I was two years behind you in med school.”
“Just because I’m retired doesn’t mean I’ve lost my marbles. Of course I remember.” Sam thought back to the coroner when she was a student at the University of Rochester. Short strawberry blond hair, willowy figure, high cheekbones, and a ready smile. Aside from her gray hair, Louise Reardon hadn’t changed much after forty years and five kids. Except she was a hell of a lot pushier.
The freckled teen behind the counter looked bored. “That’ll be fourteen ninety-two.”
Sam dug out fifteen bucks and paid her. “Thanks. Keep the change.”
She raised her eyebrows as if she couldn’t believe he’d actually try to tip her with eight lousy cents. “Gee. Thanks, mister.”
He shrugged, loaded his plants into a green wagon, and pulled it toward the Highlander. He’d bought enough plants here to put all their kids through college. Anyway, who tipped sales clerks? “Lou? You still there? I’m almost at the car.”
“I’m here.” She let loose another frustrated sigh. “How long ‘til you get here?”
Sam loaded his plants in the back, got in, and turned the key. The SUV purred to life. “Not long. I’m putting you on speaker. Just a sec.” He slid the phone into his breast pocket and backed out of the parking spot. None of those new-fangled blue tooth gadgets for him. It was hard enough to keep up with cell phones, laptops, iPods, and every new device that came out each year. “On my way.”
“Geez. Finally. Watch out for the news vultures when you get here, though. They’re everywhere.”
“Will do. Be there in a few.”
He hung up and pushed his silver forelock back from his forehead. Shouldering his way through a pack of hungry journalists to view a dead body had not been in today’s plans. Today was supposed to be devoted to gardening, to feeding his insatiable need to dig in rich loam while the sun warmed his back. If Lou weren’t such a good friend, he’d have blown her off.
Turning south on Route 39, he imagined the ribbing he’d get if she knew about his aversion to cadavers. A doctor? Afraid of bodies?
He’d dealt with dead people before, but not a great deal. Med school, of course. He’d barfed his way through that ordeal. And when Mrs. Tupple had died in her bed ten years ago, he’d gone to the house at Mr. Tupple’s request. Reluctantly. But he’d gone. The most recent experience had been last fall, at his brother’s funeral.
Well, it hadn’t really been a body…it was Billy’s bones, bones pinned underwater for fifty years. Submerged with heavy stones deposited by Sam’s three best friends. Billy’s disappearance had remained a mystery, until it was finally revealed last year. When things happened. Things he couldn’t explain to anyone, except Rachel. He couldn’t even tell her the whole story. But Billy connecting with him from beyond and helped him get to the truth.
A familiar sadness took hold, and as if in response, Billy’s green marble hummed and warmed in his pocket. His brother’s face floated across his mind’s eye. Freckles. Clear hazel eyes. Sandy hair. Impish smile.
Billy wanted to talk.
Not now. I can’t. Later, buddy. He thought the words in his head, knowing Billy could hear him if he said them out loud or imagined them.
Sam turned left at the Mobil Station on the corner of Main Street and Route 20A and headed for the historic brick building housing The Twin Sisters Inn. Willing the marble to be quiet, he forced himself to think of what lay ahead.
A murder victim? Why the heck did Lou need his help? It didn’t make any sense, but in spite of his reservations, a trickle of excitement ran down his spine.
News vans and squad cars jammed the lot. He parked on the side of the road and headed toward the building. The marble pulsed twice, then grew cold.
Was it a warning?
The green glass talisman had linked Sam to Billy since he unearthed it in his garden last year. He’d learned to respect it, and through it, Billy’s interventions had helped with a number of sticky situations. He’d saved the life of his friend, Senator Bruce McDonald, after the sudden collapse of Healey’s Cave. And more important, he’d found his daughter, Beth, after she’d been kidnapped.
He locked his car and headed toward the building, skirting around vehicles and people. He brushed against the back of a policeman when several news reporters pushed past him. The officer swung his head around and stared.
“Er. Sorry.” He smiled at the patrolman and kept going.
If they had any idea. If they knew I talked to Billy, traveled back in time with him… A lace dragged from his shoe, threatening to trip him. He stopped to tie it. If they knew, they’d put me back in the asylum, just like they did when I was twelve.
A chill stole over him. Memories of the day Billy disappeared assaulted him. Billy, on his brand new bicycle, driving down the road, never to return. Guilt coiled in his stomach. He’d answered a phone call from a damned girl, instead of following his brother on the bike ride like he’d promised. He’d never forgive himself for that.
That moment had been the end of life as he knew it, and the beginning of his tortured life to come. The insane asylum had been the worst, though. He hated to remember the way they talked to him, the stupid pills they’d made him take that doped him up, and the disgusting smell of antiseptic that had followed him everywhere, even seeped onto his pillowcase at night. He shuddered and tried to put it out of his mind. Best to forget it and see what the hell Lou wanted.
 Chapter Two
 Lou hailed him from the front steps. “Over here, Doctor Moore.”
She said it loud enough to discourage the eager journalists who craned their heads to see if he was anyone they cared about. When they realized he wasn’t a detective, they lost interest and swarmed toward the police chief’s car that just pulled in behind Sam’s SUV.
Lou took his arm and steered him inside. The inn boasted antiques and wide plank floorboards. Inside the door, a pine bench with a stenciled backboard lined the wall; an old-fashioned pie cabinet anchored the opposite wall beside a mahogany sideboard, on which an essential oils diffuser sat, filling the air with the scent of balsam. Sam breathed it in, relieved it wasn’t one of those chemical smelling, fake candles. It bolstered his spirits and reminded him of the deep woods in the Adirondacks. He was damned sure it smelled a hell of a lot better than what he’d find upstairs in the crime scene.
Mary and Alice Peterson, the inn owners and former patients of his, had been encouraging him to investigate the oils for years, and he’d meant to, but had been too swamped with patients to check them out. He’d always regretted that, and had resolved to do some research in his retirement that might help merge traditional approaches with those steeped in Eastern medicine. Time would tell if he could fit it in between the gardening, babysitting, and spending time with Rachel. She needed more care now that her MS had worsened, but he was up to the challenge. It was one of the reasons he’d retired a little early.
 He shuffled after Lou. Tin chandeliers hung over a long trestle table, decorated with dried crabapples and fresh flowers. The twins reportedly served scrumptious breakfasts to guests at that table, and he’d been invited more than a few times to partake of their homemade breads, jams, and other goodies. Again, he’d had to decline his patients’ generous invitations. There just hadn’t been enough hours in the day to socialize and run his practice. But now that he was retired, he wanted to find time for more of that kind of thing.
A policeman sat in the corner, interviewing the hotel owners. Alice’s hands shook when she took a pen from the officer to sign a statement, and her complexion seemed unusually pale. Sam wondered if her blood sugar was low. She’d been his patient forever. He started toward her with concern, but Lou grabbed his sleeve.
“Come on, it’s this way.”
“But Alice—”
“For crying out loud, you’re retired now. She’s not your patient anymore, Sam. It’s not your job. Come on.”
Sam dug in his heels. He shook his arm loose and spun around. “Alice. Are you feeling okay?”
Alice’s face lit up. “Oh, Doc! I’m so glad you’re here. It’s awful. Just awful. A woman was killed in the Maple Nut room!”
Mary put an arm around her sister’s shoulders. “She’s shook up, Doc.”
Sam felt her pulse. “I think she’s more than shook up. Let’s get her some orange juice. She needs something to get her sugar back up.”
“I’m fine, Doc. Just a little light-headed.”
When Mary brought the juice, he sat while she drank it, sputtering the whole time about not needing such a fuss made over her. He waited another ten minutes, making small talk, while Lou fumed. When he was sure she seemed stable, he turned to Lou. “Okay. I’m ready.”
Lou blew up a lock of her gray bangs and made a face. “Geez, Sam. You’ll never be able to leave it alone, will you?”
“It’s not like I died when I retired. Alice has been my patient since I started my practice. I couldn’t just walk past her, for God’s sake. I’m not a monster.” He followed Lou up the stairs to the second floor, ticked off now. Did being a coroner make you callous toward the living? He shook his head, mulling it over while they threaded around police, through a carpeted hallway, and into a room already marked with yellow tape. The room crawled with technicians.
Lou spoke through tight lips. “Just be careful not to touch anything.”
Sam nodded and followed her across the suite, around a coffee table, past a fireplace, and into a bedroom.
“She’s in the bathroom,” Lou said. “You’ll have to stand in the doorway to see. They’re still taking photos of the blood spatter.”
Blood spatter.
Sam’s insides churned. There was a reason he didn’t become an emergency room doctor. And blood spatter had a lot to do with it. He took a deep breath and forced himself to focus.
Inside the black and pink bathroom, a woman lay on her side, facing away. A three-foot long gray braid curled behind her on the floor, fastened at the top and bottom with elastic bands and fake daisies. She had been slim, and wore a silky Japanese dressing gown, covered with pink and black dragons that matched the floor tiles. Three technicians crowded around the body. Camera flashes blinded Sam as he tried to absorb the scene.
Lou whispered in his ear. “She was hit from behind with that phone.”
An old-fashioned beige rotary phone perched on the edge of the tub. Red smudges stained its edges. Blood soiled the back of the woman’s head and neck and splashed about the room on the walls and floor. A particularly large spot smeared the pink shower curtain. He felt sick and hoped he wouldn’t lose it in front of all these professionals.
Lou leaned on his shoulder to look past him at the body. “Looks like it happened last night, sometime between midnight and four. We think she let him in, recognized him, since there was no sign of forced entry. The sisters didn’t see anything. Lights are out at ten, but guests are free to admit family or friends whenever they like.”
One well-toned leg extended back from her body, with toes pointed toward the sink. An anklet glistened in the light of the camera flashes. Four silver stars marched around her slim ankle, separated by black pearls.
A technician lifted the hem of the dead woman’s gown to reveal a vivid pentagram tattoo, circled with black roses. The photographer shot it from all angles.
Sam caught a glimpse of painted pink toenails. One hand, nails unpolished, rested on the cold tile, as if the victim was ready to push herself into a sitting position. A bottle of nail polish had spilled on the floor by the tub.
“She never saw it coming,” Lou said. The skinny, bald technician looked up and nodded as if he agreed, then went back to work dusting the edges of the phone and tub.
“Maybe we should let these gentlemen finish their jobs,” Sam said. He backed up into the bedroom. “And I still don’t get—”
Lou shushed him with steely eyes. “Wait. Just wait a minute, for God’s sake.”
She’d been testy with him since she called, and he was starting to get sick of it. He’d come here to help her. He’d much rather be in his garden, or better yet, having lunch with Rachel.
            In ten minutes, the room cleared. One of the techs nodded to Lou on the way out. “She’s all yours, Doc. Let us know if you need anything.”
            “Thanks.” Lou shot him a grim smile and motioned for Sam to follow her to the nightstand.
            “Look at this.” She flipped through the white pages using the eraser end of a yellow pencil. “There. There it is. The book was opened to this page when they found her.”
            Sam stared at the circled entry. “Are you sure she did this?”
            Lou shook her head. “No. But it’s pretty damned likely.”
            The name and address circled shouted at him. Dr. Samuel J. and Rachel S. Moore. 5125 Maple Beach Road. East Goodland, New York.
            Sam stared at the phone book, then glanced around the room. It was tidy, as if the occupant had just arrived. The suitcase lay unpacked and opened on a stand near the television. “Am I a suspect?”
            “Hell, no. I just want to see if you knew her. I didn’t exactly broadcast the information to the police.” She gestured to the phone book. “I wanted to show you first. I’m not sure if they picked up on it.”
            “Thanks, Lou.” The last thing he needed was to be part of a murder investigation. He thought back to last night. He didn’t even have a good alibi—Rachel had fallen asleep early, and he’d read until he’d drifted off.
He leaned over and looked at the books on the nightstand. Standard fare. The newest Dean Koontz novel and a women’s magazine.
            “According to the detective, the ID she gave at the front desk comes up bogus in the system, and her purse is missing. If she carried one, that is. No wallet, no identifying papers.” Lou’s voice softened. “You ready to see if you recognize her?”
            Sam squared his shoulders and nodded, feeling less confident than he sounded. “Sure. But what makes you think I’ll know her? Maybe she was just looking for a local doctor.”
            They walked toward the bathroom. “Maybe.” Lou led the way. She crouched beside the victim and carefully rolled her onto her back. “But take a look anyway.”

AUTHOR BIO
Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases, DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (2012), WRITE LIKE THE WIND (2012), and the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (2012).

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BLOG CREATED JUNE 20, 2010