Friday, April 01, 2016

An Excerpt from Betting Blind, a Lennox Cooper Mystery by Lily Gardner

Omnimystery News: An Excerpt courtesy of Lily Gardner

We are delighted to welcome author Lily Gardner to Omnimystery News today.

Lily's second Lennox Cooper mystery is Betting Blind (Diversion Books; March 2016 trade paperback, audiobook and ebook formats) and we are pleased to introduce you to it with an excerpt, the third chapter.

— ♦ —

LENNOX ROLLED AROUND ALL THE POSSIBILITIES that would've landed Fulin Chen in jail, and came up with nothing. If he had a temper, she'd never seen it. He wasn't a heavy drinker; he wasn't the kind of guy who engaged in nefarious activities.
  She drove down Sandy, dodging the blinking lights of cyclists who drifted into her lane. It had quit raining for the moment. The cloud cover shone pink from the city lights. It was ten at night when Lennox crossed the Burnside Bridge, the lights from the Morrison and Hawthorne Bridges reflected in the black water of the Willamette River. Once she crossed the bridge, she was downtown.
  A Friday night in Portland in March when it was not pissing down rain was as rare as rare. Everyone in the city was out and about. People crowded the sidewalks, queuing in front of the food carts that bordered Second Avenue. Lennox had to dodge cyclists and jay-walkers before she found a place to park. The jail looked as busy as the nightclubs, a flow of family members climbing the steps past security into the gray granite lobby of the Multnomah County Jail.
  Doris was manning the desk when it was Lennox stepped up to post bail.
  "Isn't this your card night?" Doris asked. Her crew cut as gray as the decor.
   Lennox nodded and shrugged. What are you going to do when the kid's in jail? She handed Doris the bail and tucked the receipt in her pocket. Lennox heard a pneumatic hiss, a door opened, and out shuffled Fulin Chen. One of his eyes was sealed shut, and his lip was swollen.
  "Oh jeez, Fulin, what happened to you?" she said.
  He shook his head then realized shaking was not a good move. A bruise darkened his cheekbone.
  She stood next to him while he completed the check-out, then walked out with him into the cold March night.
  "Thanks," he mumbled. And grunted in pain as he climbed into the Bronco's cab.
  "What happened to you?" she said.
  "I'm in bad trouble," his voice slurred from his swollen lip.
  "No doubt. What's your boss going to say when she finds out you've been arrested?"
  She glanced over at him. He had his hands braced on his knees. His head was down. "They're calling it assault, but it's a whole lot worse."
  Lennox knew by his tone: Chen was telling it true. It scared her, like what he was about to say would change everything. They'd crossed the Steel Bridge back to the east side. Without asking him, she parked the truck by the river. He moved stiffly as they walked the wide steps down to the Esplanade, a series of boardwalks and floating docks, benches and sculpture that ribboned along the river bank and under the freeway overpass. They stopped and sat on a bench facing the water. The benches were still damp from the afternoon rain. The moon appeared behind a ragged cloud and added its light to the city's neon reflecting off the river.
  "Tell me," she said.
  He had a client, Matilda Bauer. Late twenties, liked to sleep with married men, steal their credit cards, charge them to the moon and sign using their wives' names. It worked like a charm until it didn't. Bauer did a three-year stay at the Copper River Women's Penitentiary, and eventually landed as one of Fulin's parolees.
  "What's that got to do with you getting beat on and arrested?"
  "She no-showed for our ten o'clock this morning," Fulin said. "I called her house, called her work. Nothing. After work I paid a visit to her house." But Matilda wasn't home. Her mom told him she was spending the weekend with a girlfriend. Before Fulin could get back in his car this punk came out of nowhere swinging a baseball bat. Fulin tried to keep from getting nailed by the bat, using his kung-fu moves on the guy. Then the cops came.
  "Why would the punk come after you?" she said.
  "I guess he was the boyfriend."
  "What are you saying? You slept with her?" She stood up and walked further down the dock. This disgusting situation had cost her a night's poker winnings. She turned back to him. "You owe me $500: three for bail and two for what it cost me to leave the card table. I want it by the end of the weekend, and I'm not kidding, Chen."
  "I didn't touch her!" Fulin's voice cracked. A couple walking past glanced first at Fulin, then at her.
  "I would've never laid a hand on her."
  "Then why?" Lennox said.
  "Sit down," Fulin said. "I can't talk to you when you're pacing."
  Lennox reluctantly seated herself next to him. Watched the reflection of the green lights from the Hawthorne Bridge reflected in the water. She had a lot of nerve getting on her high horse over Fulin bonking a client. She'd slept with a fellow police officer for three years, and he was married.
   Fulin's battered face was deep in shadow. He touched his lip carefully. It had started bleeding again. Lennox handed him a tissue. "I signed up on one of those online dating sites," he said.
  "Why?" she said. "You could have anyone you want."
  He turned toward her, regarded her with his good eye. "You could have anyone you want."
  "It's different," she said.
  "No," he said. "It's exactly the same."
  She so did not want to go down this road. "My love life is not the point," she said. "Tell me what online dating has got to do with your client?"
  "You remember me talking about Lynn?"
  Of course. Endlessly. He bugged everyone to death with her image on his phone.
  "It was all a fake, " Fulin said. "She wore a wig and different make-up. I don't know, maybe she photoshopped herself. You'd never guess it was the same woman."
  "You're saying Lynn is Matilda? Fulin, how could you not know that?"
  "I never actually met her. In the flesh." He rubbed his temple, then groaned.
  This was big trouble. At the very least his supervisor would think he was a gormless dumbfuck. At most, he could end up like Lennox, excommunicated and having to reinvent himself.
  "Why would she do that?" Lennox said. "The last person you want to mess with is your parole officer."
  "She wanted me to cover for her, say that she attended her appointments with me, that she worked steady and kept her nose clean. I never told her I would do it."
  "You got to go to your supervisor, Fulin," she said. "You've got to tell her what Matilda's trying to pull. And you've got to write her up."
  A yacht passed through the colored reflections on the river. A few minutes later its wake lapped up against the floating dock.
  Fulin, the man with the martial arts posture, slumped over like his bones had melted.
  "I have been covering for her for the last month," he said. "Tonight I went over to her house to tell her I was done with this. If it cost me my job, I was done."
  "And you got yourself arrested. You can see what's happening here," she said. "The longer you wait, the messier this thing gets."
  "You're right, I just need to find her," he said. "Can you help me? I'll hire you."
  The way he was acting, Lennox got that itchy feeling. The Bauer woman had more on Fulin than a handful of mushy emails.
  "You need a retainer?" he said. "I know it's the weekend, do you get more money on the weekend?" His voice pitched higher. "We've got to find her right away. Before Monday, can you do that?"
  "Sure," she said. "Now tell me what she's got on you."
  Fulin clasped his hands together and shoved them between his legs, then noticed what he was doing and folded his arms across his chest. "We had cyber sex. She screen captured it. Or something, I don't know. She has pictures."
  Man, this was bad. Very bad.
   She'd find the Bauer chick one way or another. Still, once Lennox found her, it was Matilda's word against Fulin's as to whether they had sex. And unless Fulin had a horseshoe up his ass, his career in law enforcement would be over before the end of the year.
  "Can you drive me to Matilda's?" he said.
  "Jesus, Fulin. Are you kidding me?"
  "No way I'm leaving my Beamer in that neighborhood," he said.
  Fulin's car was parked in front of a little house north of Killingsworth. The car looked a whole lot better than Fulin. He heaved a sigh of relief. She told him take it easy getting home. She'd call as soon as she had any news.
  On the drive home, her cell phone rang. It was Frank Cardo, the cute guy from the poker game. Frank said the game went late, but they could still meet somewhere, he knew a nice little club with good jazz.
  "Not tonight," she said. "This thing with my friend, it got complicated." It was complicated, and she was exhausted.
  "Sure," he said. "I get it. What about dinner tomorrow?"
   Maybe the bad luck she'd had at the table tonight was love knocking on the door. What else could she do but humbly accept the laws of chance? She told him yes, she'd like that very much.

— ♦ —

Lily Gardner
Photo provided courtesy of
Lily Gardner

Lily Gardner grew up in Minneapolis longing to be blonde and live in California surfing and writing poetry. Over the years her tastes changed: California became Oregon and poetry became mysteries. She learned to embrace her brunette self. Lily loves all things noir, fermentation, Motown, opera, movies and short-legged dogs.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at LilyGardner.net and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

— ♦ —

Betting Blind by Lily Gardner

Betting Blind by Lily Gardner

A Lennox Cooper Mystery

Publisher: Diversion Books

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)iTunes iBook FormatKobo eBook Format

For Lennox Cooper, helping out a friend means gambling with her life …

In the rainy city of Portland, Matilda Bauer has been blackmailing her parole officer, Fulin Chen. Just when Fulin's ready to come clean, Matilda disappears. Bad news for Fulin, because once Matilda is arrested for breaking parole she'll show the photos she has on him and end his career. Fulin turns to his longtime friend and poker buddy, Lennox Cooper, P.I., to help him find the beautiful blonde con-woman.

A former cop, Lennox knows how it feels to live and breathe the police life — and to be thrown out of it. She'll do anything to help her friend avoid a similar fate. But three days later Lennox finds Matilda dead, in what looks like a sex game gone terribly wrong. Fulin Chen is the lead suspect. Lennox's search for Matilda, however, causes her to begin turning over rocks, finding that her past lies under many of them — not to mention deadly threats. Matilda Bauer had no shortage of enemies, though, and Lennox will have to sift through the many blackmail victims and jilted lovers to find the real killer.

Betting Blind by Lily Gardner. Click here to take a Look Inside the book.

A Conversation with Mystery Author Edith Maxwell

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Edith Maxwell

We are delighted to welcome author Edith Maxwell to Omnimystery News today.

Edith's new first in series mystery is Delivering the Truth (Midnight Ink; April 2016 trade paperback and ebook formats) and we recently had the chance to catch up with her to talk more about her work.

— ♦ —

Omnimystery News: Introduce us to your new series character.

Edith Maxwell
Photo provided courtesy of
Edith Maxwell

Edith Maxwell: Rose Carroll is a Quaker midwife in 1888, a single woman of twenty-four with a handsome beau from across the river. Rose goes into women's bedrooms to help them with the births of their babies and hears secrets no male detective would ever have access to. She also delivers the newborns of the rich carriage factory owner's wife, those of the poor French-Canadian mill workers, and everybody in between. Those circumstances, along with her curiosity and forthright nature, make her a perfect amateur sleuth.

OMN: Suppose Rose and you were to meet. What would she say to you?

EM: "I am delighted to meet thee, Edith — a fellow Friend and a women with experience in my profession."

OMN: Into which genre would you place Delivering the Truth?

EM: My book will be shelved as an historical mystery, but it's also a cozy: village based, with an amateur sleuth ensuring justice is restored in the end. There is no gratuitous violence or obscenities, and the romance stays just that.

OMN: How would you tweet a summary of the book?

EM: What a great question! "1888 #Quaker #midwife catches babies, tracks 2 murderers & arsonist in 1888 Mass. mill town. @midnightinkbook http://amzn.to/1LsoZqY"

OMN: Describe your writing process for us.

EM: I'm writing in my home office every morning (except Sunday) by seven AM after an hour of poking around the internet, which I have to get out of the way first or I'll be too distracted to write.

By nature I write "into the headlights" — that is, I don't plot out every scene and conflict ahead of time. Sometimes this leads me into a corner I have to back out of, but usually the process works and I can get a first draft cranked out in about two months. Then I let it gel for a couple of weeks before I dive into revision. I have three multi-book contracts, so I have to write three books a year. So far the process is working!

OMN: Delivering the truth is set in an 1888 mill town. How important is setting to the story?

EM: The setting, which includes the era, informs so much about the story. How people lived, how they communicated, where babies were birthed, attitudes about crime and comportment. The late 1880s were a time of much change — electric lights might have been installed in town, but wouldn't have been in my midwife's modest home, for example. Offices and more well-off people might have had telephones and indoor plumbing — but not Rose. Doctors were not yet delivering babies, but the germ theory of infection was known, so Rose is aware of the importance of washing her hands and keeping things clean in the birthing chamber. Newborns still died, however.

Fingerprinting and blood typing weren't known yet, and police stayed well out of domestic abuse situations. Horses pulled carriages, buggies, and wagons, although Rose rides one of the new "safety" bicycles with both wheels the same size. The abolitionist poet John Greenleaf Whittier was still alive and worshipped in the same Friends Meetinghouse as Rose (and me). I've added him as a secondary character in the series, providing counsel to Rose on occasion.

I love writing in an era where people still wrote notes and the post was delivered twice a day, where recipes include instructions to pluck the chicken before cooking it, where a hi-tech device is a wall telephone.

OMN: How did Delivering the Truth come to be titled?

EM: I named the book Breaking the Silence, since Quakers sit in silent worship and Rose broke out of that in several ways. Midnight Ink changed the title to Delivering the Truth, which is also perfect. Rose delivers not only babies but answers.

OMN: The striking cover depicts a scene from the book. How involved were you with its design?

EM: I sent along suggestions to Midnight Ink about the era, what a Quaker midwife might wear, and what the buildings of the town looked like (and still look like). I absolutely love the cover.

OMN: What kinds of books did you read when you were young?

EM: I read mysteries of course, starting with Nancy Drew but quickly getting into Sherlock Holmes and Poe's stories, and then Agatha Christie. I also read a lot of biographies of strong women. It's no surprise that I write mysteries with strong women protagonists.

OMN: What's next for you?

EM: After I get Delivering the Truth launched, I have two more books coming out at the end of May: Murder Most Fowl, which is Local Foods Mystery number four, and Grilled for Murder, Country Store Mystery number two. Then I'll put the final polish on Mulch Ado About Murder, Local Foods Mystery number five, and send it in to my editor at Kensington, and start writing Quaker Midwife Mystery number three. It's a busy time, but I'm living my dream.

— ♦ —

Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries (as Maddie Day), and the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (as Tace Baker), as well as award-winning short crime fiction. Her short story, "A Questionable Death," is nominated for a 2016 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. The tale features the 1888 setting and characters from her Quaker Midwife Mysteries series.

A former childbirth educator, farmer, and technical writer, Edith is Vice-President of Sisters in Crime New England and Clerk of Amesbury Friends Meeting. She lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at EdithMaxwell.com and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

— ♦ —

Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell

Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell

A Quaker Midwife Mystery

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)Kobo eBook Format

Quaker midwife Rose Carroll hears secrets and keeps confidences as she attends births of the rich and poor alike in an 1888 Massachusetts mill town. When the town's world-famed carriage industry is threatened by the work of an arsonist, and a carriage factory owner's adult son is stabbed to death with Rose's own knitting needle, she is drawn into solving the mystery. Things get dicey after the same owner's mistress is also murdered, leaving her one-week-old baby without a mother. The Quaker poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier helps Rose by lending words of advice and support.

While struggling with being less than the perfect Friend, Rose draws on her strengths as a counselor and problem solver to bring two murderers to justice before they destroy the town's carriage industry and the people who run it.

Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell

Today's Selection of Daily Deals for Friday, April 01, 2016

Omnimystery News is pleased to feature a selection of today's Daily Deals found on Friday, April 01, 2016 at 7:30 AM ET …

The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad

The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad

A Novel of Suspense

Publisher: Witness Impulse

Kindle Daily Deal Price: 99¢

The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside The Silent Girls.

With the dead of a bitter Vermont winter closing in, evil is alive and well …

Frank Rath thought he was done with murder when he turned in his detective's badge to become a private investigator and raise a daughter alone. Then the police in his remote rural community of Canaan find an '89 Monte Carlo abandoned by the side of the road, and the beautiful teenage girl who owned the car seems to have disappeared without a trace.

Soon Rath's investigation brings him face-to-face with the darkest abominations of the human soul.

With the consequences of his violent and painful past plaguing him, and young women with secrets vanishing one by one, he discovers once again that even in the smallest towns on the map, evil lurks everywhere — and no one is safe.

The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad

The Vanishing Girl by Laura Thalassa

The Vanishing Girl by Laura Thalassa

The Vanishing Girl Series (1st in series)

Publisher: Skyscape

Kindle Daily Deal Price: $1.99

The Vanishing Girl by Laura Thalassa, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside The Vanishing Girl.

Each night after Ember Pierce falls asleep, she disappears. She can teleport anywhere in the world: London, Paris, her crush's bedroom, or wherever her dreams lead her. Ten minutes is all she gets, and once time's up, she returns to her bed. It's a secret she's successfully kept for the last five years. But now someone knows.

A week after her eighteenth birthday, when frustratingly handsome Caden Hawthorne kidnaps her, delivers her to the government, and then disappears before her eyes, Ember realizes two things: One, she is not alone. And two, people like her — teleporters — are being used as weapons.

Forced into a quasi-military training camp for teleporters, Ember discovers she has been paired — perhaps for life — with Caden, the boy who got her into this mess in the first place. Now, she has to work with him on a series of teleporting missions, each one riskier than the last. But Caden just might hold the key to Ember's escape plan, if she can survive her missions without losing her heart … or her life.

The Vanishing Girl by Laura Thalassa

For more deals that may have been found after this post was created, see our Daily Deals page on Omnimystery News for an updated list.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. The price displayed on the vendor website at the time of the purchase will be the price paid for the book. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Today's Selection of Free MystereBooks for Friday, April 01, 2016

Omnimystery News is pleased to feature a selection of Free MystereBooks found on Friday, April 01, 2016 at 7:00 AM ET …

Without Malice by Jo Robertson

Without Malice by Jo Robertson

A Bigler County Thriller

Publisher: McKay-Lewis Publishers

Price: FREE!

Without Malice by Jo Robertson, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Without Malice.

Tomato Basil Murder by Patti Benning

Tomato Basil Murder by Patti Benning

A Darling Deli Mystery

Publisher: Summer Prescott Books

Price: FREE!

Tomato Basil Murder by Patti Benning, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Tomato Basil Murder.

A Death in Winter by Jim McGrath

A Death in Winter by Jim McGrath

The Handsworth Quartet

Publisher: Troubador

Price: FREE!

A Death in Winter by Jim McGrath, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside A Death in Winter.

Murder in the Worst Degree by F. M. Meredith

Murder in the Worst Degree by F. M. Meredith

A Rocky Bluff P. D. Mystery

Publisher: Oak Tree Press

Price: FREE!

Murder in the Worst Degree by F. M. Meredith, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Murder in the Worst Degree.

Winter Wonderland by Jane Blythe

Winter Wonderland by Jane Blythe

A Parker Bell Mystery

Publisher: Jane Blythe

Price: FREE!

Winter Wonderland by Jane Blythe, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Winter Wonderland.

The Charm Bracelet Murder by Jayne Harper Hill

The Charm Bracelet Murder by Jayne Harper Hill

A Jade Scott Mystery

Publisher: Hill and Valley Publishing

Price: FREE!

The Charm Bracelet Murder by Jayne Harper Hill, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside The Charm Bracelet Murder.

Mr. Write by Lisa Clark O'Neill

Mr. Write by Lisa Clark O'Neill

The Sweetwater Series

Publisher: Lisa Clark O'Neill

Price: FREE!

Mr. Write by Lisa Clark O'Neill, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Mr. Write.

Turncoat by Roger L. Blakely, Jr.

Turncoat by Roger L. Blakely, Jr.

An Artemus Newton Thriller

Publisher: Roger L. Blakely, Jr.

Price: FREE!

Turncoat by Roger L. Blakely, Jr., Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Turncoat.

Chasing Lady Midnight by C. L. Ragsdale

Chasing Lady Midnight by C. L. Ragsdale

A Superhero Cozy Mystery

Publisher: C. L. Ragsdale

Price: FREE!

Chasing Lady Midnight by C. L. Ragsdale, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Chasing Lady Midnight.

Pounced by Christy Barritt

Pounced by Christy Barritt

The Sierra Files

Publisher: River Heights

Price: FREE!

Pounced by Christy Barritt, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Pounced.

Blood Country by Sean Black

Blood Country by Sean Black

A Byron Tibor Mystery

Publisher: Sean Black

Price: FREE!

Blood Country by Sean Black, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Blood Country.

Painted Black by Debra R. Borys

Painted Black by Debra R. Borys

A Street Stories Novel of Suspense

Publisher: Red Door Press

Price: FREE!

Painted Black by Debra R. Borys, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Painted Black.

The Final Defense by Kenneth Wash

The Final Defense by Kenneth Wash

An Alan Ramsey Thriller

Publisher: Washboard Productions

Price: FREE!

The Final Defense by Kenneth Wash, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside The Final Defense.

Flags of Vengeance by Kenneth Wash

Flags of Vengeance by Kenneth Wash

An Alan Ramsey Thriller

Publisher: Washboard Productions

Price: FREE!

Flags of Vengeance by Kenneth Wash, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Flags of Vengeance.

Snow Cone by Daniel Ganninger

Snow Cone by Daniel Ganninger

The Case Files of Icarus Investigations

Publisher: Daniel Ganninger

Price: FREE!

Snow Cone by Daniel Ganninger, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Snow Cone.

The Wrong Ghost by C. L. Ragsdale

The Wrong Ghost by C. L. Ragsdale

The Reboot Files

Publisher: C. L. Ragsdale

Price: FREE!

The Wrong Ghost by C. L. Ragsdale, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside The Wrong Ghost.

Angus Adams by Lee M. Winter

Angus Adams by Lee M. Winter

The Adventures of a Free-Range Kid

Publisher: Lee M. Winter

Price: FREE!

Angus Adams by Lee M. Winter, Amazon Kindle format

Click here to take a Look Inside Angus Adams.

For a summary of all of today's titles, plus any that may have been added since this post was created, visit our Free MystereBooks page. This page is updated daily, typically by 8 AM ET.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. The price displayed on the vendor website at the time of the purchase will be the price paid for the book. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

 

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