Saturday, October 01, 2016

The Huckleberry Murders, A Sheriff Bo Tully Mystery by Patrick F. McManus, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Simon & Schuster …

The Huckleberry Murders by Patrick F. McManus

The Huckleberry Murders by Patrick F. McManus

A Sheriff Bo Tully Mystery (4th in series)

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Price: $3.99 (as of 10/01/2016 at 7:00 PM ET).

The Huckleberry Murders by Patrick F. McManus, Amazon Kindle format

Sheriff Tully is following up on one of his famous hunches: he suspects the murder of local retiree Orville Poulson by his ranch caretaker, Ray Crockett, a sociopath with a criminal record. The only problem is, Tully has no evidence or body to prove that a crime has been committed — supposedly Orville is alive and well and cashing his Social Security checks from Spokane.

Meanwhile, a far more alarming case emerges. Three young men have been shot, each in the back of the head, execution style, in a huckleberry patch on Scotchman Mountain, leaving behind no identification. With the help of confident and beautiful FBI agent Angela Phelps, Tully tries to connect the dots between Poulson's disappearance, the sudden spate of murders occurring in Blight County, and a big white pickup truck with dual tires causing havoc and crime. As the few potential leads are either killed off or prove nearly impossible to track down, Tully must follow his instincts to piece together the puzzle of who is doing the killing, and why. His suspicions lead him straight into a haunted swamp, along with Agent Phelps, his womanizing ex-sheriff father, Pap, expert tracker and good friend Dave, and mountain man Poke.

The Huckleberry Murders by Patrick F. McManus

A complete list of today's featured titles can be found on the Discounted MystereBooks page on Omnimystery News.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

New This Week: Missing in Christmas River, A Christmas River Cozy Mystery by Meg Muldoon

Omnimystery News is pleased to present a mystery, suspense, or thriller ebook that we recently found by sleuthing (as it were) through new or recently reissued titles from independent publishers during September 2016 and priced $5.99 or less.

Visit our New Indie MystereBooks page for a complete list of titles featured today.

Missing in Christmas River by Meg Muldoon

Missing in Christmas River by Meg Muldoon

A Christmas River Cozy Mystery (9th in series)

Publisher: Vacant Lot Publishing

Price: $2.99 (as of 10/01/2016 at 6:30 PM ET).

Missing in Christmas River by Meg Muldoon, Amazon Kindle format

See all nine mysteries in the Christmas River Cozy Series for $3.99 or less each on Kindle.

What happened to Search & Rescue volunteer Wes Dulany?

That's the question on everyone's mind this fall in the small town of Christmas River, Oregon. And it's especially on the mind of pie baker extraordinaire Cinnamon Peters, who returns home after spending the summer working in Portland to find that one of the town's most beloved citizens has gone missing while looking for legendary treasure in The Christmas River National Forest.

But when Cinnamon and her husband Sheriff Daniel Brightman come across a small piece of the legendary treasure in town, and become a target of violence shortly after, it's clear that Wes Dulany's disappearance isn't nearly as cut and dry as it seems.

Because a dangerous game is afoot in Christmas River this autumn.

And the stakes are higher than anybody ever imagined.

Missing in Christmas River by Meg Muldoon

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Murder Will Out, An Agatha Christie Mystery by Alison Joseph, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Endeavour Press …

Murder Will Out by Alison Joseph

Murder Will Out by Alison Joseph

An Agatha Christie Mystery

Publisher: Endeavour Press

Price: 99¢ (as of 10/01/2016 at 6:00 PM ET).

Murder Will Out by Alison Joseph, Amazon Kindle format

1923. The Great War is over, but the ghosts of the dead still linger. Agatha Christie was one of the lucky ones — her husband returned from the conflict — and for her, and her local neighbours, life has resumed. Agatha is beginning to gain some notoriety for her crime writing and she is busy working on her latest novel.

But then her neighbour tells her there has been a real 'murder at the vicarage' — a young man, Cecil Coates, has been poisoned, and due to Christie's expertise in the crime genre, the neighbourhood wants her to investigate. At first Agatha is reluctant to get involved. After all, she is a writer, not a detective. But then Robert Sayer, godson of her neighbour, and one of the main suspects in the case, appeals to her directly for help, and she finds herself being drawn in …

What secrets and lies are lying beneath the village's tranquil exterior? Can Agatha Christie use her imagination to draw the murderer out?

Murder Will Out by Alison Joseph

A complete list of today's featured titles can be found on the Discounted MystereBooks page on Omnimystery News.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

New This Week: Vanquish, A Xander King Mystery by Bradley Wright

Omnimystery News is pleased to present a mystery, suspense, or thriller ebook that we recently found by sleuthing (as it were) through new or recently reissued titles from independent publishers during September 2016 and priced $5.99 or less.

Visit our New Indie MystereBooks page for a complete list of titles featured today.

Vanquish by Bradley Wright

Vanquish by Bradley Wright

A Xander King Mystery (2nd in series)

Publisher: Bradley Wright

Price: $3.99 (as of 10/01/2016 at 5:30 PM ET).

Vanquish by Bradley Wright, Amazon Kindle format

See also the first book in this series, Whiskey & Roses, for $2.99 on Kindle.

The deeper the wound, the sweeter the revenge …

When ex-Special Forces legend, Xander King, moved his Vegas celebration to a yacht off the coast of the Virgin Islands, he was supposed to be taking some much needed time off. When he woke up in the hospital a week later, all he had time to do then … was run. It's bad enough that Russia's most feared assassin is after him. But it's the man who sent this deadly killer, and why he sent him, that has Xander desperately scrambling every resource at his disposal.

As if things aren't difficult enough, Xander has been forced to cooperate with the CIA, and mistrust begins to unravel his new team. With lies and betrayal burdening every decision, the pressure mounts to end the threat before the threat ends them. The pressure … Xander can handle. It's the shocking revelation of a jaw-dropping secret that finally brings him to his knees.

Injured, exhausted, and furious, with everything he has ever fought for now in question, the only thing left for him to do, is fight. This time, however, Xander will have to overcome far more than just bullets if he hopes to vanquish this enemy.

Vanquish by Bradley Wright

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

The Blind Man of Seville, A Javier Falcón Mystery by Robert Wilson, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Mariner Books …

The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson

The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson

A Javier Falcón Mystery

Publisher: Mariner Books

Price: $1.99 (as of 10/01/2016 at 5:00 PM ET).

The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson, Amazon Kindle format

Called to a gruesome crime scene, Inspector Javier Falcón is shocked and sickened by what he finds. Littered like flower petals on the victim's shirt are the man's own eyelids, evidence of a heinous crime with no obvious motive. When the investigation leads him to read his late father's journals, he discovers a disturbing and sordid past.

Meanwhile, more victims are falling. While Falcón struggles to solve the case, he finds the missing section of his father's journal-and becomes the murderer's next intended victim.

The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson

A complete list of today's featured titles can be found on the Discounted MystereBooks page on Omnimystery News.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

New This Week: Vigilante, A Jessica Daniel Thriller by Kerry Wilkinson

Omnimystery News is pleased to present a mystery, suspense, or thriller ebook that we recently found by sleuthing (as it were) through new or recently reissued titles from independent publishers during September 2016 and priced $5.99 or less.

Visit our New Indie MystereBooks page for a complete list of titles featured today.

Vigilante by Kerry Wilkinson

Vigilante by Kerry Wilkinson

A Jessica Daniel Thriller (2nd in series)

Publisher: Bookouture

Price: $2.99 (as of 10/01/2016 at 4:30 PM ET).

Vigilante by Kerry Wilkinson, Amazon Kindle format

See also the first mystery in this series, The Killer Inside, for 99¢ on Kindle.

A killer behind bars is still killing …

When the body of a man is discovered with multiple stab wounds, Detective Jessica Daniel thinks it could be another drug-related murder. But then two more victims are found with similar markings. Each of the men were hardened criminals but is that the only link?

As Jessica is drawn into her most difficult case yet, dead bodies continue to pile up and the media go to town with headlines of a 'Vigilante' on the streets.

Then forensics match blood from the killer to a man already behind bars: Donald McKenna. Serving life in prison, Donald is a dangerous individual with the perfect alibi. But Jessica is sure he's lying — and that he's not the only one.

Can she catch a ruthless killer before he takes his next victim? And as Jessica inches nearer to the truth, can she protect those closest to her?

Vigilante by Kerry Wilkinson

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

The Dead Key, A Novel of Suspense by D. M. Pulley, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Thomas & Mercer …

The Dead Key by D. M. Pulley

The Dead Key by D. M. Pulley

A Novel of Suspense

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Price: $1.99 (as of 10/01/2016 at 4:00 PM ET).

The Dead Key by D. M. Pulley, Amazon Kindle format

It's 1998, and for years the old First Bank of Cleveland has sat abandoned, perfectly preserved, its secrets only speculated on by the outside world.

Twenty years before, amid strange staff disappearances and allegations of fraud, panicked investors sold Cleveland's largest bank in the middle of the night, locking out customers and employees, and thwarting a looming federal investigation. In the confusion that followed, the keys to the vault's safe-deposit boxes were lost.

In the years since, Cleveland's wealthy businessmen kept the truth buried in the abandoned high-rise. The ransacked offices and forgotten safe-deposit boxes remain locked in time, until young engineer Iris Latch stumbles upon them during a renovation survey. What begins as a welcome break from her cubicle becomes an obsession as Iris unravels the bank's sordid past. With each haunting revelation, Iris follows the looming shadow of the past deeper into the vault — and soon realizes that the key to the mystery comes at an astonishing price.

The Dead Key by D. M. Pulley

A complete list of today's featured titles can be found on the Discounted MystereBooks page on Omnimystery News.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Worth the Risk by Melinda Di Lorenzo, New from Harlequin Romantic Suspense in October 2016

Omnimystery News is pleased to introduce a new mystery, suspense, or thriller title available this month from Harlequin, one of the world's leading publishers of books for women. For a complete list of titles published this month, see our New Harlequin Titles page.

Worth the Risk by Melinda Di Lorenzo

Worth the Risk by Melinda Di Lorenzo

Imprint: Romantic Suspense

Worth the Risk by Melinda Di Lorenzo, Amazon Kindle format

From the Police Blotter … betrayal, corruption and passion!

Missing: Tamara Billings, famous marriage counselor. Whereabouts unknown. Suspected kidnapped!

Investigator: PI Sam Potter. Dedicated to his job. His number one rule? Not to get involved with clients. Emotionally detached after past failure on the job. Consummate protector, lifesaver, incredible kisser.

His Only Lead: Meredith Jamison, the victim's beautiful, brainy, gutsy sister.

Investigation So Far: Racing against time, Sam and Meredith have been chased, shot at, ambushed, spied on. Both must risk their lives — and their hearts — to save Tamara.

Bulletin! Case complicated by Sam and Meredith's unexpected attraction!

Worth the Risk by Melinda Di Lorenzo

Ring of Truth, A Marie Lightfoot Mystery by Nancy Pickard, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Atria …

Ring of Truth by Nancy Pickard

Ring of Truth by Nancy Pickard

A Marie Lightfoot Mystery (2nd in series)

Publisher: Atria

Price: $3.99 (as of 10/01/2016 at 3:00 PM ET).

Ring of Truth by Nancy Pickard, Amazon Kindle format

Sex, violence, evil, and betrayal — the shocking murder case splashed across the Florida headlines has all the right elements for true-crime writer Marie Lightfoot's next bestseller. And tell the tale she does, in a book that reveals the secrets of a love affair gone fatally wrong. But there are disturbing twists, which leave Marie sensing in her gut that something does not jibe.

Twist number one: the accused is a man of the cloth, who has allegedly killed his wife in collusion with his lover. Twist number two: a pair of young girls find the body in an abandoned mansion, adding the death of innocence to the magnitude of the crime. Twist number three: a shattering conviction turns the case on its ear. And the ultimate blow: for the first time in her career, Marie fails to win the the killer's confidence during a jailhouse interview. Suddenly, she knows with certainty there ia more to the story than even she realized — and her conscience won't let her rest.

Then an unexpected visitor — a shock in itself for the reclusive writer — confesses something that not even the police know. The revelation may he the missing piece in a terrifying puzzle — evidence that teaches Marie a bone-chilling lesson as threatening danger slowly encircles her: to err is human, but underestimating the criminal mind can be deadly.

Ring of Truth by Nancy Pickard

A complete list of today's featured titles can be found on the Discounted MystereBooks page on Omnimystery News.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Casting Bones by Don Bruns, New in Bookstores during October 2016

Today's featured new hardcover mystery, suspense, or thriller title scheduled to be published during October 2016 is …

Casting Bones by Don Bruns

Casting Bones by Don Bruns, a Quentin Archer Mystery (1st in series)

Publisher: Severn House

Casting Bones by Don Bruns, Amazon Kindle format

When a prominent New Orleans judge is brutally murdered, former Detroit cop Quentin Archer is handed the case. His enquiries will lead him into a world of darkness and mysticism which underpins the carefree atmosphere of the Big Easy. Interrogating crooked police officers, a pickpocket, a bartender with underground contacts and a swamp dweller, Archer uncovers some troubling facts about the late judge's past. But it's only when he encounters a beautiful young voodoo practitioner that he starts to make headway in the investigation.

Voodoo queen Solange Cordray volunteers at the dementia centre where her mother lives. When she starts reading the mind of one of her patients, she learns that a secretive organization known as Krewe Charbonerrie may be behind the murder of the judge. And the second murder. And the third …

Casting Bones by Don Bruns

For a list of more new hardcover titles to be published this month, visit our New Mysteries page for October 2016. For new paperback titles, visit The Mystery Bookshelf where a selection of October 2016 mysteries, novels of suspense, and thrillers are shelved.

Kentucky Confidential by Paula Graves, New from Harlequin Intrigue in October 2016

Omnimystery News is pleased to introduce a new mystery, suspense, or thriller title available this month from Harlequin, one of the world's leading publishers of books for women. For a complete list of titles published this month, see our New Harlequin Titles page.

Kentucky Confidential by Paula Graves

Kentucky Confidential by Paula Graves

Series: Campbell Cove Academy

Imprint: Intrigue

Kentucky Confidential by Paula Graves, Amazon Kindle format

The return of the wife he thought was lost and a baby he never knew existed will make this a Christmas to remember …

Captain Connor McGinnis has seen a ghost. Staring at a surveillance photo of a Kaziri immigrant, there can be no mistaking that the starkly beautiful — and visibly pregnant — woman in a head scarf is his wife, Risa. The woman he presumed was dead after her plane crashed into the ocean.

Risa McGinnis, relocated by the CIA when they learned of a price on her head, has settled into the guise of a widowed immigrant. Confronting Connor again resurrects sweet memories and a burning passion. But until this unknown enemy is captured, Risa must focus more on Connor's protection than on their attraction. After all, the strength of her marriage — and the safety of her baby — depends on it …

Kentucky Confidential by Paula Graves

All the Pretty Girls, A Taylor Jackson Mystery by J. T. Ellison, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, MIRA …

All the Pretty Girls by J. T. Ellison

All the Pretty Girls by J. T. Ellison

A Taylor Jackson Mystery (1st in series)

Publisher: MIRA

Price: 99¢ (as of 10/01/2016 at 1:00 PM ET).

All the Pretty Girls by J. T. Ellison, Amazon Kindle format

Nashville Homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson is working to catch a serial rapist after a local girl falls prey to a sadistic killer. The Southern Strangler is slaughtering his way through the Southeast, leaving a gruesome memento at each crime scene — the prior victim's severed hand. Taylor finds herself in a joint investigation with her lover, FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin, as they pursue the vicious murderer.

Ambitious TV reporter Whitney Connolly is certain the Southern Strangler is her ticket out of Nashville; she's got a scoop that could break the case. But she has no idea how close to this story she really is — or what it will cost her.

Battling an old injury and her own demons, Taylor is desperate to quell the rising tide of bodies. But as the killer spirals out of control, everyone involved must face a horrible truth — the purest evil is born of private lies.

All the Pretty Girls by J. T. Ellison

A complete list of today's featured titles can be found on the Discounted MystereBooks page on Omnimystery News.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

New This Week: In the Line of Duty, A Madison Knight Mystery by Carolyn Arnold

Omnimystery News is pleased to present a mystery, suspense, or thriller ebook that we recently found by sleuthing (as it were) through new or recently reissued titles from independent publishers during September 2016 and priced $5.99 or less.

Visit our New Indie MystereBooks page for a complete list of titles featured today.

In the Line of Duty by Carolyn Arnold

In the Line of Duty by Carolyn Arnold

A Madison Knight Mystery (7th in series)

Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing

Price: $5.99 (as of 10/01/2016 at 12:30 PM ET).

In the Line of Duty by Carolyn Arnold, Amazon Kindle format

See all seven mysteries in the popular Madison Knight Series for $5.99 or less each on Kindle. The 1st book in the series, Ties That Bind, is currently FREE!

He devoted his life to seeking justice. But would she get any for him?

It was an ordinary day for police officer Barry Weir. It was the end of shift, he was tired, and he just wanted to get home to his wife and kids. But someone had other plans for him, shooting him down and forcing him to make the ultimate sacrifice.

When news of Weir's murder reaches the department, it leaves Detective Madison Knight and every cop in the Stiles PD itching for revenge. It cuts Madison's boyfriend, colleague, and Weir's childhood friend, Troy Matthews, deepest of all, driving him away from everyone he loves just when they need one another the most.

With evidence pointing to a gang-related drive-by, Madison and her team investigate the town's seedy underbelly in search of justice for their fallen brother. But the deeper they dig, the more convoluted the case becomes. Now they need to figure out if this was a random shooting as part of a gang initiation, a straight-up hate crime, or a targeted kill. But with members of the Stiles PD under attack, they have to do it fast … before more officers pay with their lives.

In the Line of Duty by Carolyn Arnold

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

An Excerpt from Bullet in the Chamber by John DeDakis

Omnimystery News: An Excerpt courtesy of John DeDakis

We are delighted to welcome author John DeDakis to Omnimystery News today.

JOhn's fourth mystery to feature reporter Lark Chadwick, Bullet in the Chamber (Strategic Media Books; October 2016 trade paperback), is published today and we are thrilled that he has provided us with an excerpt, the first chapter, to share with our readers.

— ♦ —

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO FAKE confidence? That's what I was doing as I stood in Lafayette Square looking at the White House. It was my first day on the job as the newest White House Correspondent for The Associated Press, the nation's leading wire service.
  Up close, the White House seemed smaller than I expected, but no less magnificent. Perhaps it's a subtle magnificence. Elegant.
  Intimidating.
  I was about to go inside for the first time. And I felt like I didn't belong. Felt like I was an imposter. Just three years earlier I was a college dropout trying to find out what caused the car accident that orphaned me as an infant. I could've cared less about politics. But that was then.
  You have to be smart to cover the president, but smart is not the way I felt on this Monday morning — Valentine's Day. Nor did I feel particularly loved. The guy I'd been "dating" hadn't answered my last text in more than forty-eight hours — the entire freaking weekend.
  The eleven o'clock briefing was going to start in twenty minutes, and I was running late. I revved up Aretha Franklin's "Respect" in my head to give myself the psychological boost I needed to cross the Pennsylvania Avenue pedestrian mall and approach the Northwest gate.
  By the time I got to the formidable black-barred fence blocking the way to the guard shack, my knees were weak and wobbly and I was shivering in my down jacket. It was a cold-crisp day. I wore tights, but they weren't doing any good.
  R-e-s-p-e-c-t …
  "Where's your ID?" commanded a metallic voice coming from a speaker. Sunlight reflected off the bullet-proof glass so I couldn't see inside.
  "Oh. Sorry." I fumbled in my messenger bag. "Here it is," I called through the bars as I held up my newly-issued, laminated, press pass — white block lettering against a bright red backdrop:

CHADWICK
Lark E.
AP
PRESS

  I heard a click come from the doorknob, so I stuffed my pass back in my bag, opened the spear-topped gateway and strode more confidently than I felt to the guard shack.
  "ID!" The Voice barked.
  "I just showed it to you."
  "I need to see it up close."
  I sighed, pulled it out again, untangled the lanyard and pressed it against the window, my reflection an angry scowl masking the terror I still felt.
  The door next to the window buzzed and The Voice said, "Enter!"
  Inside, the guard shack was claustrophobic, but at least it was toasty warm. The Voice sat behind a counter that separated us. He was mid-thirties — young, cute, and wore a crisp white shirt and narrow black tie. His badge announced he was a member of the Secret Service Uniformed Division. Two other uniformed Secret Service guards stood off to the side.
  A radio newscast was on in the background. "More tough talk from China this morning," the announcer read.
  "Put your bag up here on the counter," The Voice said.
  I did. And so began several minutes of being searched, wanded, magnetometered, and scrutinized that made going through airport security feel like a breeze. Finally, The Voice handed me off to a tall African-American man in his fifties with salt and pepper hair.
  "Good morning, ma'am." His comforting brown eyes were alive with interest and caring.
  "Hi," I said brightly, grateful for his friendliness.
  The nametag on his tunic read Crandall. "You're new here," he said gently.
  "Uh huh. First day. " I bit my lower lip. "Is it that obvious?"
  He simply smiled. At me.
  "Do you know how I can get to the press room?" I asked as I squeezed through a turnstile, clearing the final hurdle.
  "Sure," he said, putting on his uniform cap. He opened the back door and let in a fourth guard who'd just arrived from the White House. "Now that my relief is here, I can show you. I'm heading that way."
  "Thanks."
  Officer Crandall spoke to The Voice. "I'll be on break inside, Jim."
  "Okay, Ernie. Thanks for your help."
  Ernie Crandall touched me lightly on the elbow as we stepped out the back door of the guard shack and onto the White House driveway.
  I was inside the black bars of the perimeter fence.
  I stopped to look at the iconic alabaster building. It looked bigger from here.
  "First time, huh?" he asked.
  I nodded, my mouth slightly agape. I felt like a rube from Wisconsin. Oh, wait. I am!
  "It never fails to impress me, either," he said.
  "How long have you been here, Officer Crandall?"
  "Ernie. The name's Ernie." He tipped his hat. "Twenty years. Been here twenty years. Retiring soon."
  "How soon?"
  "Friday," he beamed.
  "Wow. And then what?"
  "Fishin'. A whole lotta fishin'." He chuckled.
  I smiled. "I'm sorry you'll be leaving. I miss you already. Thanks for being so nice to me."
  He smiled. "You'll like it here. Lots of history in the making. And you'll have a front-row seat. Press, right?"
  I nodded. "A.P."
  The driveway where we stood bifurcated. The left fork curved up toward the imposing north portico of the White House. The president's front door. Another asphalt driveway headed straight toward the one-story West Wing and a low-slung doorway beneath a porch held up by several white columns.
  "Press room's this way." Ernie Crandall guided me along the driveway toward the West Wing. We walked slowly, like old friends.
  "Who was president when you started here?" I asked.
  "Clinton."
  "Was he as much of a player as they say?" I asked.
  "My lips are sealed," Ernie smiled, pretending to zip them.
  "What were you doing before here?"
  "D.C. Metro Police," he said. "A cop on the beat."
  "Family?" I asked.
  He nodded, but a shadow crossed his face. "A son in Michigan. A daughter in California." He paused and swallowed. "Wife passed a year ago. Year ago today, as a matter of fact."
  "Oh no! Valentine's Day. That's so sad." I touched the sleeve of his coat. "I'm sorry," I said.
  I'm only twenty-eight, but I know pain and loss far better than most people my age: I found the body of the aunt who raised me after my parents were killed; my boyfriend, Jason, was murdered just as our relationship was about to take off; and I was sexually assaulted by an English professor I idolized. And all of this happened just within the past few years.
  Ernie smiled faintly. "Life goes on," he said. "Life goes on."
  As we walked up the driveway, we passed to the left of a long row of about a dozen television cameras, each beneath its own awning-covered workspace crammed with power cables, equipment boxes, and light-stands. I found out later the camera positions — affectionately nicknamed "Pebble Beach" — are where network reporters do their standups and live shots with the White House in the background.
  "This is my stop," Ernie said. We had come to where the asphalt driveway went around a grassy circle and passed beneath the porch in front of the entrance to the West Wing where a Marine in dress blues stood at attention.
   Ernie pointed toward the White House. "The press room's that way down this sidewalk. See the double doors right there?"
  I looked. He was pointing at a spot halfway down the sidewalk on the right, an entrance to the West Wing that was far less imposing than the one where we stood — no elegant portico, and no handsome young Marine guard.
  "I see it," I said. "Thank you, Officer … um … Ernie," I said. "Glad we met." I held out my hand.
  He shook it and bowed slightly. "I am, too. Maybe our paths will cross a few more times before I move on."
  As I watched him turn toward the West Wing entrance, my phone went off. I fished it from my messenger bag.
  "This is Lark," I said.
  "It's Grigsby."
  Rochelle Grigsby is my nemesis. She's about forty, single, and good looking — way better looking than me. She's also the deputy bureau chief at the A.P. — my immediate supervisor.
  "What's up?" I tried to sound cheerful but, based on my experience of the past seven months as one of her general assignment reporters, I'd come to accept that she saw her job as trying to trip me up at every turn.
  "Heads up, Lark." I could hear Grigsby's gum snap. "Ridgeway's out today. You're in the front row."
  Stallings Ridgeway is the long-time and legendary White House Correspondent for A.P. He's been there at least thirty years. Maybe more.
  Grigsby plowed on. "I know it's your first day on the beat, but if you're the golden girl all the higher-ups think you are, then you'll be fine. Me? I have my doubts."
  "Thanks for the vote of confidence," I replied.
  Grigsby merely grunted and hung up.
  R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Sing it, Aretha! A little louder, please, babe.
  I turned toward the briefing room. Doug Mitchell stood at the double doors, Nikon at the ready, and flashed me his trademark neon smile that contrasted sharply with his ruddy complexion, dark eyes, thick black hair, and stubble beard. He's six-two and was looking fine in a navy pea coat, jeans and work boots.
  I hadn't seen him in a week and my heart did an involuntary flip-flop.
  Doug is ten years older than I am. We'd worked together at the Sun-Gazette in Columbia, Georgia, where he was a staff photographer. We had a thing for each other then, but it never got off the ground because the police were, shall we say, "very interested" in him for awhile, so I backed off. But, when the police lost interest, mine picked up. And so did Doug's interest in me.
  We both got jobs at A.P. when the Sun-Gazette folded, but right away he was on the road covering Will Gannon's successful presidential campaign, so we only saw each other off and on. Mostly off.
  Now, after not hearing from him all weekend (okay, forty-eight hours, sixteen minutes, and thirty seconds, give or take — but who's counting?), there he was thirty yards ahead of me, hatless in the cold, his dark, wavy hair parted down middle and curling slightly over his ears and collar.
  Doug raised the camera to his face and began shooting pictures of me. He wore fingerless gloves and I could hear the rapid-fire chick-koo, chick-koo of the shutter as he squeezed off shot after shot.
  My cell phone bleeped again. The display read Lionel Stone. Lionel is my friend, mentor, and the guy who got me started in journalism. He earned his Pulitzer decades ago while covering the White House for The New York Times. Since his "retirement," he's been the publisher of his hometown newspaper, The Pine Bluff Standard in Pine Bluff, Wisconsin, and he teaches journalism as an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  Normally, I'd be glad to take Lionel's call, but lately he'd been blowing up my phone with all kinds of mansplain texts and links to various online articles. It all started when I told him I'd gotten the White House gig.
  Now Lionel's living vicariously through me. And it's getting old. But I haven't had the heart to tell him. Yet.
  "Hey there," I said into the phone. "I've only got a second. I've just been told I'm in Ridgeway's front row seat for the daily briefing."
  "Outstanding!" Lionel roared. "Front row seat on your first day. That's awesome, kid."
  I winced. I hate it when he calls me kid. I'd told him that when we first met. It was when I learned from a Pine Bluff Standard newspaper clipping about the car accident I survived as an infant. The crash killed my parents. I convinced Lionel to let me look into the accident. What I came up with almost got Lionel and me killed, but instead landed me my first job in journalism with Lionel as my boss.
  Gradually, I'd let "kid" creep back into his lexicon. But now it was grating.
  "Yeah," I said. "We'll see just how awesome it really is. Rochelle Grigsby made it real clear she doesn't think I'm up to the job." I sighed. "Maybe she's right."
  "It's a tough job. No doubt about it," he said, "but you're tough, too, kid."
  I sighed again, unconvinced. "At least they let me through the Northwest gate."
  "Put me on FaceTime," Lionel ordered. "Lemme relive the experience of the ole place."
  I took the phone away from my ear and pushed the FaceTime button. My wide, terrified eyes stared back at me.
  Lionel noticed immediately. "I see that deer in the headlights look. Stop it, Lark. You're gonna be fine."
  "So you say. I almost turned around and went back home to throw up, but one of the uniformed Secret Service agents was nice to me, so I think I'll keep going."
  Lionel's face came on the screen. He wore a white shirt, tie loosened — and, to my surprise, he had a white beard.
  "Whoa. Lionel! When'd you grow the beard?"
  He stroked it and preened. "You like?"
  "Very distinguished. What does Muriel think?"
  He frowned. "She thinks I should shave it. Says it makes me look old."
  "Lionel. I hate to tell you this: You are old."
  "Nonsense. Seventy-five is the new thirty-five."
  "Yeah. Right."
  "Geez, I wish I was thirty-five again," he said wistfully, then cleared his throat. "Age is all in your head. It's just a number. Did I ever tell you about the time —"
  I cut him off. "Yeah. Probably. Look, Lionel, the briefing's gonna start any minute and I'm late, so let's get on with this little tour."
  I turned the camera around so Lionel could see, but Doug filled the screen. He was now about ten feet from me, camera at his face, clicking off more shots and adding his own narration.
  "Here's the famous Lark Chadwick about to enter the White House briefing room for the first time. She's taken her iPhone from her ear and is pointing it in my general direction."
  I was annoyed. He gives me nothing but radio silence all weekend then has the nerve to turn up, all jovial, acting as if everything's wonderful, and then he makes a point of trying to embarrass me. But I couldn't afford to make a scene. Not here. Not now.
  I put on my best tight smile and gave his lens a laser stare. "Good morning to you, too, Mister Mitchell." I hoped he felt the chill from the ice in my voice. "What you're looking at, Lionel, is my so-called friend and colleague Doug Mitchell. Doug is in the process of being exceptionally obnoxious."
  I brushed past him, pulled open the door and stepped into the briefing room. Doug followed.
  "Here it is, Lionel." I held the phone in front of me and panned the scene, left to right. In front of me, a sea of about fifty blue leather folding seats faced to the right. To my left, at the back of the room, TV cameras sat atop tripods and pointed toward the podium at the front of the room.
  As I panned right, I noticed that many of the seats were empty, but some reporters were strolling from the back of the room to take their places for the briefing. The room was much smaller than I expected — barely the size of a swimming pool. Actually, according to one of the links Lionel sent me, I learned that the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room is built right above the old White House swimming pool where President Kennedy used to cavort with "Fiddle" and "Faddle," two of his many mistresses.
  "Wow. The place looks great since the facelift," Lionel exclaimed.
  I made a right turn and walked slowly down the side aisle that went along the windows. When I came to the front row I stopped and turned around. Doug nearly bumped into me.
  "Chadwick has stopped now," Doug narrated. "It looks as though she's about to use her phone to get a wide shot of the entire briefing room."
  I pointed the camera toward the back of the room.
  "Yes," Doug proclaimed. "That's exactly what she's doing, folks." He continued to take more pictures. I continued trying to ignore him.
  "Show me the plaque on Helen Thomas's chair," Lionel said.
  "Which chair's that?"
  "Front row center," Lionel said. "I miss that old broad."
  I found the seat and put my phone close enough to the plaque so Lionel could read her name on it.
  "She sat there for nearly sixty years. Covered ten presidents. She's a legend, Lark. I wish you could have known her. She would've loved you."
  "Thanks, Lionel."
  Just then a voice came out of a speaker in the ceiling above me. "Attention, everyone. The briefing will start in exactly two minutes. President Gannon and National Security Adviser Nathan Mann will be conducting the briefing. This is your two-minute warning. The President will be in the briefing room in two minutes."
  "Holy crap. Did you hear that, Lionel?"
  "Yup. Better take your seat."
  "Which one is it?"
  "Front row center."
  "Helen Thomas's old seat?"
  "The very same."
  I gulped.
  The sudden announcement that President Gannon would be giving the briefing caused a stampede as dozens of people came running — thundering — into the room, the sound echoing on the hollow floor above the old swimming pool.
  Everyone was piling into the room through a narrow hallway in the back. I pointed my iPhone toward the commotion so that Lionel could see.
  In the row just behind me the correspondents for Fox and CNN were hastily getting wired up to do their live reports. Each of them faced the cameras at the back of the room. The guy from CNN awkwardly slung himself into his suitcoat while inserting an earbud into his ear. The perfectly coifed blonde reporter for Fox stood stoically, hand to her ear, waiting for her cue.
  The room buzzed with expectation.
  "Better sit down, kid," Lionel urged.
  I sat, my pulse quickening. The lectern towered in front of me.
  Suddenly, an older, bald man wearing black-rimmed glasses and carrying a long, narrow reporter's notebook darted toward me from my left. "You!" He yelled at me and jabbed his thick forefinger dangerously close to my nostrils. "You're in my chair."
  From the phone in my hand Lionel said, "Stallings? Stallings Ridgeway? Is that you, you old fart? It's Lionel Stone. How are ya, man?" Lionel's voice was giddy with nostalgia.
  For a moment, Ridgeway's face lost its intensity as his eyes searched in confusion for who'd called his name, but then he focused on the phone in my hand.
  "Lionel," Ridgeway said gruffly, "whoever this is you're talking to is sitting in my seat."
  "Oh, c'mon, Stallings. Let the kid have your chair just this once."
  Embarrassed, I stood. "I'm sorry, Mister Ridgeway. Rochelle Grigsby told me you were off."
  Suddenly, I became aware of a deathly silence. I looked around. The room was full to overflowing, everyone was standing, and all eyes were on me.
  I turned around. Stallings Ridgeway, hands on his hips, glowered at me. Standing at the podium, an amused look on his face, stood the imposing presence of Will Gannon, the forty-ninth President of the United States.
  "Oh, my God," I blurted.
  The entire press corps erupted in laughter.
  The president spoke. "That's okay, Miss Chadwick. I'll wait until you and Mister Ridgeway get things straightened out."
  "I'm so sorry, Mister President." I slid away from the front row seat and Ridgeway eased into it. "I'll call you back," I rasped into the phone and scurried to the side aisle and toward the back of the room.
  I kept my head down, but could hear some clapping and sniggering as the reporters took their seats.
  I'd only gotten past the second row when I heard the president say, "I suppose this is as good a time as any to introduce you to Lark Chadwick. Today marks her first day as a White House Correspondent for the Associated Press. I met Lark when I was Governor of Georgia campaigning for this job. Lark is an impressive young woman who wasn't afraid to ask me some tough questions. So, welcome, Lark."
  By this time I was in the back of the room, as far from the president and the blinding spotlight as I could possibly get. Fortunately, it was next to Doug. He gently touched my shoulder to comfort me.
  "Thank you, Mister President," I hollered.
  There was a bit more chuckling and then the room became silent again as reporters turned their attention to President Gannon. He'd only been in office a few weeks, but I noticed that the pronounced southern drawl he'd had as a candidate was already beginning to fade.
  Behind and to the president's right stood a nervous, diffident man wearing a dark suit — Nathan Mann, the president's newly-appointed National Security Adviser.
  The president cleared his throat, eyed the TV cameras just behind me, and began to speak. "During my campaign, I was asked many questions about what my policy as president would be on the commercialization of drones. As you know, my consistent answer has been that I want to study the issue before coming up with a plan. I'm announcing today my administration's position on the subject, and I'm announcing our legislative plan to put it into place. I'll give you the broad outline of the legislation, then Nathan will stay behind to take your questions.
  "First and foremost, as your President, it's my responsibility to —"
  Just then the door to the president's right rear burst open and a torrent of Secret Service agents swarmed into the room. Ernie Crandall was one of them.
  "EVERYONE OUT. NOW!" shouted one of them. "OUT. NOW. SIDE DOORS. MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!"
  Two agents grabbed the president and hustled him out of the room.

— ♦ —

John DeDakis
Photo provided courtesy of
John DeDakis

During his award-winning 45-year career in journalism (25 years at CNN), John DeDakis has been a White House Correspondent and interviewed such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.

DeDakis is a writing coach, manuscript editor, writing workshop leader, and has taught journalism at the University of Maryland — College Park, and American University in Washington, D.C.

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

— ♦ —

Bullet in the Chamber by John DeDakis

Bullet in the Chamber by John DeDakis

A Lark Chadwick Mystery

Publisher: Strategic Media Books

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

Gutsy reporter Lark Chadwick once again finds herself at the wrong place at the right time: front-row center when the White House press briefing room is suddenly attacked. The president is missing, the first lady's life is at risk, and Lark's personal life is falling apart when the man she loves disappears.

Bullet in the Chamber by John DeDakis

Today's Selection of Free MystereBooks for Saturday, October 01, 2016

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

Witches in Wonderland by Lauren Quick

Witches in Wonderland by Lauren Quick

A Sister Witches Mystery

Publisher: Lauren Quick

Price: FREE!

Witches in Wonderland by Lauren Quick, Amazon Kindle format

On Laughton Moor by Lisa Hartley

On Laughton Moor by Lisa Hartley

A Catherine Bishop Mystery

Publisher: Lisa Hartley

Price: FREE!

On Laughton Moor by Lisa Hartley, Amazon Kindle format

Hot Ice by Royal Bouschor

Hot Ice by Royal Bouschor

A Zack Sinclair Thriller

Publisher: Royal Bouschor

Price: FREE!

Hot Ice by Royal Bouschor, Amazon Kindle format

Easy Prey by Douglas Watkinson

Easy Prey by Douglas Watkinson

A Nathan Hawk Mystery

Publisher: Armstrong & Jago

Price: FREE!

Easy Prey by Douglas Watkinson, Amazon Kindle format

Erratic by Will Fallen

Erratic by Will Fallen

A Novel of Suspense

Publisher: Will Fallen

Price: FREE!

Erratic by Will Fallen, Amazon Kindle format

Restore Law and Order by W. W. Stilley

Restore Law and Order by W. W. Stilley

A Terminal Solutions Novel

Publisher: W. W. Stilley

Price: FREE!

Restore Law and Order by W. W. Stilley, Amazon Kindle format

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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