Friday, February 27, 2015

New This Week: Hide & Find, A Mayfield Cozy Mystery by Jerusha Jones

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 February 2015 and priced $4.99 or less …

Hide & Find by Jerusha Jones

Hide & Find by Jerusha Jones

A Mayfield Cozy Mystery (3rd in series)

Publisher: Jerusha Jones

Price: $3.99 (as of 02/27/2015 at 6:30 PM ET).

Hide & Find by Jerusha Jones, Amazon Kindle format

When an expansion project results in the discovery of a priceless trove of stolen artwork, Nora Ingram-Sheldon learns just how personal her criminal fugitive husband's quest is. Clues are dropping into place as even more pop up.

But can she trust Skip to feed her the information she needs to keep the boys' camp at Mayfield safe, even as the number of boys under Walt Neftali's care increases? And what is she supposed to do with her newly-arrived, newly twelve-stepping mother-in-law in the wilds of Washington State's backwoods?

Bolstered by the support and sharp eye of her executive assistant, Clarice, and her nosy cadre of neighbors, Nora hurries to fit the disparate pieces together while attempting to evade her husband's increasingly impatient, revenge-seeking former clients.

Hide & Find by Jerusha Jones

See all three of the highly rated mysteries in the Mayfield Cozy series for $3.99 each on Kindle.

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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.

Streets of Payne, An Amber Payne Mystery by Jeff Brackett, 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 author …

Streets of Payne by Jeff Brackett

Streets of Payne by Jeff Brackett

An Amber Payne Mystery (1st in series)

Publisher: Jeff Brackett

Price: 99¢ (as of 02/27/2015 at 6:00 PM ET).

Streets of Payne by Jeff Brackett, Amazon Kindle format

Humanity is in the eye of the beholder.

But for street-smart detective Amber Payne, it's the eyes that aren't human. Cybernetic implants replaced the organics she lost in the line of duty, and their appearance often causes Amber to doubt her self-worth.

Rookie detective Kevin Glass is her partner. And though he may be new, Kevin's unparalleled skill as an elite cyber-surfer makes him an invaluable asset.

When Alta Corp contracts the two of them to solve a case of high stakes data theft, they will need every bit of skill, experience, and determination to succeed. For the more they investigate, the more it becomes evident that this case is much more than it appears, and its resolution may forever alter the world in which they live.

Streets of Payne by Jeff Brackett

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Sherlock Holmes and the Disgraced Inspector, A Sherlock Holmes Pastiche by John Hall, New This Week from Endeavour Press

Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent digital publisher, promoting and selling ebook editions of works by new authors as well as bringing out ebook editions of out of print books.

We've selected one of their recently published mystery, suspense, thriller or crime titles to feature here today …

Sherlock Holmes and the Disgraced Inspector by John Hall

Sherlock Holmes and the Disgraced Inspector by John Hall

A Sherlock Holmes Pastiche

Publisher: Endeavour Press

Price: $3.99 (as of 02/27/2015 at 5:30 PM ET).

Sherlock Holmes and the Disgraced Inspector by John Hall, Amazon Kindle format

An old rival at Scotland Yard, Inspector Lestrade, pays Sherlock Holmes a visit. Lestrade is deeply troubled. The disappearance of five boys has been left unsolved for almost twenty years. Under Lestrade's watch the wrong man was arrested and imprisoned for murder. But after a long appeal, the court has suddenly overturned its decision. The man is free. Lestrade has been disgraced. Holmes is not so convinced by this new verdict. He believes he can help Lestrade prove, once and for all, that his man is guilty.

With Holmes and Watson officially retired, and Lestrade forced out of Scotland Yard, the three must endeavour to solve the mystery outside of the law. Can Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson save Inspector Lestrade's reputation? What evil will they uncover?

The mystery of the missing boys may prove to be Holmes' and Watson's most sordid case yet …

Sherlock Holmes and the Disgraced Inspector by John Hall

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Vintage Murder, A Robbie Cutler, Diplomatic Mystery by William S. Shepard, Now Available at a Special Price

Amazon Kindle Countdown Deals are limited-time discounts on Kindle-exclusive books.

Omnimystery News is pleased to present you with one of today's titles … but take advantage of this deal now as the price will go up to its digital list price soon! (See the countdown clock on the book product page to see how much time remains on this deal.)

Vintage Murder by William S. Shepard

Vintage Murder by William S. Shepard

A Robbie Cutler, Diplomatic Mystery (1st in series)

Publisher: Uncle Seth Cutler Press

Price: 99¢ (as of 02/27/2015 at 5:00 PM ET).

Vintage Murder by William S. Shepard, Amazon Kindle format

American diplomat Robbie Cutler witnesses the murder of America's leading wine critic at a vintage dinner at the Willard Hotel in Washington. Returning to the Consulate in Bordeaux, he is threatened by the Basque ETA, "the last active terrorist network in Western Europe." A love story ensues, set against the scenic glories of France, as the lovely Sophie Marceau, a journalist, helps Cutler discover that the Washington murder is linked with terrorist threats against Bordeaux's famous vineyards. They explore the wine regions of Bordeaux, attend a reception at storied Château Margaux, and visit Lourdes, Montségur, and the prehistoric Caves at Lascaux.

Robbie Cutler and Sylvie Marceau must stop the ETA killers, and the stakes are raised with the visit of a prominent United States Senator of Basque origin. He and Robbie Cutler are both targeted for assassination, in a thrilling conclusion that takes place in the storied wine city of St. Emilion. And you will be present at a special dinner reception at the American Embassy in Paris, as you match wits with Robbie — and the ETA.

Vintage Murder by William S. Shepard

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New This Week: On the Clock, A Kyle Simmons Thriller by E. G. Michaels

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 February 2015 and priced $4.99 or less …

On the Clock by E. G. Michaels

On the Clock by E. G. Michaels

A Kyle Simmons Thriller (3rd in series)

Publisher: E. G. Michaels Books

Price: $2.99 (as of 02/27/2015 at 4:30 PM ET).

On the Clock by E. G. Michaels, Amazon Kindle format

A shot rings out and someone inside a busy coffee shop is killed by a long-range sniper. The very next day, another victim is claimed by the sniper who simply goes by the name Vendetta. And the next day, there's another victim.

With each sniper killing, Philadelphia homicide detective Kyle Simmons has a disturbing gut feeling that keeps growing: Each victim is someone he personally knows.

As the body count climbs, Vendetta delivers an ultimatum: There will be one new victim each day until she's caught or Kyle Simmons becomes her latest victim.

The countdown has begun and now Detective Simmons is on the clock. Can he stop Vendetta before she strikes again?

On the Clock by E. G. Michaels

See all three books in the highly rated Kyle Simmons thriller series for $2.99 each on Kindle.

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Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A. L. Herbert, a New 1st in Series Mystery Introducing Mahalia Watkins

Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A. L. Herbert

Omnimystery News is pleased to present you with one of this month's new 1st in Series titles, a mystery, thriller or suspense novel that introduces a recurring character (or characters) …

Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A. L. Herbert

A Mahalia Watkins, Soul Food Mystery (1st in series)

Publisher: Kensington

Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A. L. Herbert, Amazon Kindle format

What we know about the character: Mahalia Watkins owns Mahalia's Sweet Tea, the finest soul food restaurant in Prince George's County, Maryland. For more information about her first murder, see a synopsis of the book, below.

In between preparing her famous cornbread and mashed potatoes so creamy "they'll make you want to slap your Momma," owner Halia Watkins is about to dip her spoon into a grisly mystery …

Halia Watkins has her hands full cooking, hosting, and keeping her boisterous young cousin, Wavonne, from getting too sassy with customers. Having fast-talking entrepreneur Marcus Rand turn up in her kitchen is annoying enough when he's alive — but finding his dead body face-down on her ceramic tile after hours is much worse.

Marcus had his enemies, and the cast iron frying pan beside his corpse suggests that at last, his shady business deals went too far. Halia is desperate to keep Sweet Tea's name out of the sordid spotlight but her efforts only make Wavonne a prime suspect. Now Halia will have to serve up the real villain — before the killer returns for a second helping …

Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A. L. Herbert

State vs. Lassiter, A Jake Lassiter Legal Thriller by Paul Levine, Now Available at a Special Price

Amazon Kindle Countdown Deals are limited-time discounts on Kindle-exclusive books.

Omnimystery News is pleased to present you with one of today's titles … but take advantage of this deal now as the price will go up to its digital list price soon! (See the countdown clock on the book product page to see how much time remains on this deal.)

State vs. Lassiter by Paul Levine

State vs. Lassiter by Paul Levine

A Jake Lassiter Legal Thriller (10th in series)

Publisher: Nittany Valley

Price: 99¢ (as of 02/27/2015 at 3:00 PM ET).

State vs. Lassiter by Paul Levine, Amazon Kindle format

It's supposed to be a romantic weekend at the Fontainebleau for Jake Lassiter and Pamela Baylins. Then they quarrel, and Pamela — who's Jake's banker as well as lover — accuses him of stealing from clients. Hours later, she's found strangled.

With all the evidence pointing to Jake, it will take an explosive murder trial to reveal the truth.

State vs. Lassiter by Paul Levine

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The Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes, New in Bookstores during February 2015

Today's featured new hardcover mystery, suspense, or thriller title scheduled to be published during February 2015 is …

The Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes

The Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes, an Alice Quentin Mystery (3rd in series)

Publisher: Minotaur Books

The Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes, Amazon Kindle formatThe Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes, Nook formatThe Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes, iTune iBook formatThe Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes, Kobo format

Psychologist Alice Quentin has been looking forward to a break from her hectic London life. She has vowed to stay clear of police work. The previous cases she helped the police with have left her scarred. So, when Alice is given the rare opportunity to study treatment methods at Northwood high-security hospital outside of London, she is eager to get to work.

But then a young girl is discovered, dressed all in white, on the steps of the Foundling Museum. Four girls have recently gone missing in North London — this is the third to be found, dead. The fourth may still be alive, and Alice Quentin may be able to help. Britain's most prolific child killer, Louis Kinsella, has been locked up in Northwood for over a decade. Yet, these recent kidnappings and murders are clearly connected to Kinsella's earlier crimes. It seems that someone is continuing where he left off. So, when Detective Don Burns comes asking for Alice's help, how can she refuse? Alice will do anything to help save a child — even if that means forming a relationship with a charismatic, ruthless murderer. But Kinsella is slow to give away his secrets, and time is running out for the latest kidnap victim, who is simply trying to survive. In her quest to save a life, Alice finds she has put her own life on the line.

The Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes

For a list of more new hardcover titles to be published this month, visit our New Mysteries page for February 2015. For new paperback mysteries, visit The Mystery Bookshelf where a selection of February 2015 mysteries, novels of suspense, and thrillers are shelved.

The Doomsday Equation by Matt Richtel, New on the Mystery Bookshelf during February 2015

New on the Mystery Bookshelf during February 2015 …

The Doomsday Equation by Matt Richtel

The Doomsday Equation by Matt Richtel, A Novel of Suspense

Publisher: William Morrow

The Doomsday Equation by Matt Richtel, Amazon Kindle format

Computer genius Jeremy Stillwater has designed a machine that can predict global conflicts and ultimately head them off. But he's a stubborn guy, very sure of his own genius, and has wound up making enemies, and even seen his brilliant invention discredited.

There's nowhere for him to turn when the most remarkable thing happens: his computer beeps with warning that the outbreak of World War III is imminent, three days and counting.

Alone, armed with nothing but his own ingenuity, he embarks on quest to find the mysterious and powerful nemesis determined to destroy mankind. But enemies lurk in the shadows waiting to strike. Could they have figured out how to use Jeremy, and his invention, for their own evil ends?

Before he can save billions of lives, Jeremy has to figure out how to save his own …

The Doomsday Equation by Matt Richtel

To see more new paperback titles scheduled to be published this month, visit The Mystery Bookshelf for February 2015. For new hardcover mysteries, visit New Mysteries where for a list of February 2015 mysteries, novels of suspense, and thrillers is provided.

Bear Is Broken, A Leo Maxwell Mystery by Lachlan Smith, 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, Mysterious Press …

Bear Is Broken by Lachlan Smith

Bear Is Broken by Lachlan Smith

A Leo Maxwell Mystery (1st in series)

Publisher: Mysterious Press

Price: $1.99 (as of 02/27/2015 at 1:00 PM ET).

Bear Is Broken by Lachlan Smith, Amazon Kindle format

Leo Maxwell grew up in the shadow of his older brother Teddy, a successful yet reviled criminal defense attorney. As children, their father was jailed for their mother's murder, and Teddy was left to care for Leo, who eventually followed him into the legal profession.

The two are at lunch one day when Teddy is shot in the head — in public, in cold blood. As Teddy lies in a coma, Leo realizes that the search for his brother's shooter falls upon him and him alone, as his brother had enemies not only on the street but in the police department as well. As he begins to examine the life of a brother he barely knew, Leo quickly finds that the list of possible suspects is much larger than he could have imagined.

The deeper Leo digs into Teddy's life, the more questions arise: about Teddy and his ex-wife and about the murder that tore their family apart all those years ago. And somewhere, the person who shot his brother is still on the loose, and there are many who would happily kill Leo to keep it that way.

Bear Is Broken by Lachlan Smith

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New This Week: Quinn Goes To Jail, A Liam Quinn Mystery by L. H. Thomson

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 February 2015 and priced $4.99 or less …

Quinn Goes To Jail by L. H. Thomson

Quinn Goes To Jail by L. H. Thomson

A Liam Quinn Mystery (8th in series)

Publisher: J. I. Loome

Price: $3.99 (as of 02/27/2015 at 12:30 PM ET).

Quinn Goes To Jail by L. H. Thomson, Amazon Kindle format

Quinn is back behind bars, working an undercover case for that perennial pest, FBI Agent Francis X. Belloche. If that wasn't bad enough, Nora has decided to pick up the slack and hit the street to help him solve the case.

There's a psychopathic hitman nicknamed "The Bulldog" on her trail, a gangster Quinn owes big time, and a long line of inmates who want his head. Can the couple solve a twenty-year-old murder before a guest of the state hands Quinn his head?

Quinn Goes To Jail by L. H. Thomson

See all of the books in the Liam Quinn Mystery Series for $3.99 or less each on Kindle. The first book in the series, Quinn Checks In, is currently free!

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An Excerpt from Chances Choices Changes Death by Connie Knight

Omnimystery News: An Excerpt courtesy of Connie Knight
Chances Choices Changes Death by Connie Knight

We are delighted to welcome author Connie Knight to Omnimystery News today.

Connie's second mystery to feature amateur sleuth Carooline Hargrove Hamilton is Chances Choices Changes Death (Maple Creek Media trade paperback and ebook formats) and we are pleased to introduce you to it with an excerpt, the prologue and first two chapters.

— ♦ —

Chances Choices Changes Death by Connie Knight

Prologue
Friday, June 11

AT LEAST HE HAD A SHOWER THAT worked, and a sofa to sleep on, too. At least there was food to eat and coffee to brew. At least whenever Dora came back, she'd help him figure out what to do.
  Maybe.
  He sat near the kitchen window, where he could see across the acres in front of Dora's little house. He could see up and down the road. He had pushed the kitchen table near the window to keep an eye on the road while he ate his meals and watched TV. He'd moved the TV in from the living room and brought a comfortable chair to put by the table.
  He'd been at Dora's house since late Wednesday night. She'd obviously left in a hurry. Dresser drawers were open, showing blank spaces for her and Joe. Dirty dishes were stacked in the sink. Scott was also gone, and so were all his things.
  Even the teddy bear that had been thrown into the trunk of the Camaro was gone. It made him uneasy. Who would have taken it? Maybe Dora had thrown it away.
  Brian Atkins hunched over the table. If it hadn't been for the Camaro, he wouldn't have got into the mess he was in to begin with. He slammed his fist down on the table, thinking of Dora and Myra and the boss who fired him, leaving him in need of help — again.
  That's when he heard about Myra. She was looking for a man. She wanted to find Scott's father, for some reason. She hadn't seemed to care before, but Brian knew it could be him.
  Sitting at the table, he looked at the mirror down the hall, hanging on the bathroom door. He could see himself clearly. He was handsome, he thought, admiring his dark red hair and light brown beard. His tee-shirt, worn in the hot June weather, bared his arms and showed off the tattoos. He was lean and wiry, not too tall but not short either.
  "Just right," he murmured, preening as he looked at the mirror. That's why he and Myra had got together in the first place, years ago.
  Not that it lasted long. Someone had dumped her. Brian didn't understand why, but he saw the opportunity. Myra was jilted, lonely, and hurt. Brian stepped into the vacant space and became the man in her life.
  For three weeks. It only took Myra that long to straighten things out in her mind. She broke up with him, withdrew into her father's house, and didn't appear in town. Brian had shrugged it off and didn't even try to see her. He went on with his life. It was some years before he ever heard about Myra's son Scott.
  And now, Myra was looking for Scott's father. It maybe could have been him. He'd just lost another job and didn't have much money. The more he thought about it, the better he liked the idea. He was willing to get married, if Myra could provide a place for them to live.
  Better than the abandoned trailer, his current place to stay.
  So he'd hunted Myra down. She was in Cuero sometimes, visiting a lawyer, going to court. He appeared in front of her, dressed as well as possible, and charmed her into having lunch, then invited her to dinner on Sunday night.
  She didn't want to leave Scott with her father who already didn't feel well. She didn't want Cathy and Marilyn to know about her date with Brian, either.
  So they dropped Scott off at Dora's house, then traded Brian's old green Chevy for Dora's red Camaro, a powerful car with plenty of gas, and headed for San Antonio.


Chapter One

Friday, June 4 Robinson Ranch

My horse slowed down from a trot to a walk, and that was fine with me. My cousin Janet's horse trotted next to mine on the trail leading back to the stable, and it slowed to a walk, too. The sun dominated the clear blue sky, making the June morning hotter than the weatherman had predicted. We'd ridden the trail for about an hour, and I was glad to be returning my horse to the riding stable at Robinson Ranch. Alberto would take the horses from Janet and me, remove the saddles, give the horses water, groom them, and give them something to eat. Janet and I would walk to the ranch house, sit on the front porch, and wait for Marilyn Robinson to bring us our glasses of sweet iced tea.
  That's another difference between living in DeWitt County versus Houston, I reflected, dismounting my horse and handing the reins to Alberto. When I took riding lessons as a child in Houston, the stable was near the city, the riding lessons were English and so was the saddle, and the bottle of iced tea or soft drink came from a vending machine. Here, the riding style is Western and so are the horse and the saddle, and the iced tea is a sweet gift from Marilyn. She breeds and trains horses and runs the riding stable on Robinson Ranch, primarily a large cattle ranch managed by Harry Robinson, her husband.
  I waited for Janet in the shade of an oak tree near the stable. A bench there gave me a place to sit. Alberto took Janet's horse and she ambled over toward me.
  "Ready to go, Caroline?" she called.
  "Sure." I rose from the bench and caught up with Janet. We walked toward the large house, a two-story old Victorian built of white clapboard. The metal roof boasted a galloping horse for a weathervane, and a deep porch, or veranda, surrounded the south and west sides of the house. Huge live oak trees bordered a brick path leading from the stable, and provided shade for the porch and the house when the sun shone from the west.
  Janet and I followed the path. The white house shimmered some distance away in the sunshine, and rose vines shaded the wide front porch ahead.
  "So how are we progressing?" I asked Janet.
  "I weighed myself this morning. I've lost another three pounds. By September, when it's time for the fall festival, I can wear my old Western outfit on the trail ride."
  "If I go along, I guess I'll have to buy one." "I'll help you find a good one," Janet promised.
  We had reached the Robinson house, and Marilyn waited there with our glasses of iced tea. This time, a platter of sandwiches also graced a table near the rocking chairs on the porch.
  Marilyn smiled at us as we approached. "Did you have a nice ride?"
  "Sure did." We gulped down our sweet iced tea, leaned back in the rocking chairs, and relaxed. Marilyn offered us sandwiches, took one herself, then took a chair next to us and sipped her iced tea slowly.
  I admired Marilyn's appearance whenever I saw her. She always looked cool and crisp, with blond hair in a short cut, blue eyes, and dark rose lipstick. She wore a white linen shirt with loose-fitting khaki slacks and riding boots. It must be her work uniform; I'd never seen her wearing anything else.
  A truck on the dirt road in front of the ranch turned onto the long curvy driveway leading to the house. I watched it approach; so did Marilyn and Janet. It pulled up to the ranch house and parked.
  "Danny and Donny Harrell! What are you doing here?" Janet exclaimed.
  Tall and muscular, with blue eyes and curly blond hair, our identical twin cousins jumped out of the ranch truck, one on each side. Then each one reached into his side of the extended cab, offering assistance. Danny helped a young woman with brown curly hair to exit the cab and reach the ground safely. Donny, on the driver's side, assisted Cathy Robinson. I recognized her. She looked much like her mother, except her blond hair was long and curly. She'd placed it into a thick braid in today's hot weather.
  All four joined us on the porch. "Where's lunch, Mom? Where's the pitcher of iced tea?" Cathy gave her mother a hug and walked into the house with her. "I'll help you bring out the plates and more sandwiches."
  Donny introduced us to the brunette sitting on the porch swing with Danny. "Janet Judson and Caroline Hargrove Hamilton, this is Chris Keller. She's Cathy's roommate from college and she's here for the summer. Chris, Janet and Caroline are cousins of Danny and me. We're all part of the Hargrove family here." He took his glass of iced tea from the tray Cathy put on the nearby table, and then turned to Janet and me. "Say, what are y'all doing here anyway?"
  "We're riding horses. What are you and Danny doing here?" Janet asked him. "Why are you driving that pickup truck?" She pointed at the large white truck bearing the Robinson Ranch logo on its door.
  "We're working here for the summer." Donny's voice swelled with pride. Usually he stayed at home with his grandmother, my Great-Aunt Hettie Hargrove Harrell, and helped her run the small farm. Danny and their father, Darryl, lived with Aunt Hettie, too, but they spent most of their time in another small house set on a few acres. Danny and Darryl tended the gamecocks they raised and sold for cockfights. Raising gamecocks is legal even though fights are not.
  "Harry Robinson offered both of us jobs for the summer," Danny said, answering Janet's question. "We said sure, when can we start? Aunt Beverly stays with Grandma during the day, and Daddy is taking care of the roosters on his own this summer. There ain't as many as usual so it's okay."
  "We're driving that truck because we're working on stretches of fencing here and there," Donny added. "Other things, too. Whatever Harry Robinson schedules for the day. His regular ranch hands are working on the other side of the ranch, taking care of the cattle and baling the hay."
  Cathy refilled Donny's glass with more iced tea and put another sandwich on his plate. "Mama and I have scheduled lunch on the front porch every day," she said, smiling at Donny. "Sometimes Chris and I walk to wherever Donny and Danny are working, if it's not too far away, and then we ride back with them for lunch."
  I took the last sip of my iced tea. "Janet and I are here three times a week for riding lessons. We started on Monday. I'm surprised we haven't seen each other before."
  "We've been here," Donny said. "Different times, I guess. Speaking of which, it's about time for us to get back to work." He put his sandwich plate and empty glass on the table. "You ready, Danny?"
  "Hey, don't forget about tonight," Danny protested.
  "Oh. Excuse me." Donny addressed both Chris and Cathy. "Remember how we have talked about going out tonight? Our cousin Lisa has a really good band, and they're playing tonight at Billie's Bar-B-Que in Cuero. The band's good and so is the barbecue. Can we pick you up at seven o'clock this evening? The band plays from eight to eleven, so you'd be home by midnight."
  Donny slid his eyes toward Marilyn Robinson, anxious for her permission. Obviously Cathy and Chris were interested. They squealed, "Oh, we'd love to go! We'll look for you this evening." Marilyn nodded, and Donny and Danny grinned when they said goodbye. "We'll see you later then."
  They got in the truck and buckled their seat belts. Donny switched on the ignition but didn't drive away. A small dark blue car was travelling toward them, and it screeched to a stop next to the truck, with the driver of the car facing Danny as he sat in the truck's passenger seat.
  The driver was obviously talking to Danny, but we couldn't hear what she said. I recognized her, though. Myra Cade, the daughter of ranch foreman Doug Cade, drove the dark blue car. She lived on the ranch with her father in his small house, and took care of her little boy, Scott. I'd seen her around on the ranch but we hadn't made acquaintance. Tall, slender, with light brown hair and hazel eyes, Myra seemed aloof, as if nobody anywhere deserved her friendship.
  At last the conversation ended. Myra's car zoomed off and turned left on the ranch road that led to her house. Donny's truck followed her, but turned right, heading for the county road.
  When they were gone, the five of us left on the porch looked at each other blankly. Chris Keller looked a little glum, and Janet exclaimed, "What was that all about!"
  Nobody answered. Finally, Marilyn told us, "Myra and Danny used to date in high school and for a while after they graduated. Seeing Danny on the ranch seems to irritate Myra. This isn't the first time she's confronted him. About what, I can't say."
  Nobody added anything. Chris and I were newcomers; I'd moved to Yorktown from Houston last January, and Chris had just arrived for summer vacation. Everybody else seemed to know something, but they wouldn't say what.
   Janet looked at her watch. "My, look at the time. It's almost one-thirty, and I have to pick up Kenny from summer school at three o'clock. Caroline, we'd better get going."
  We thanked Marilyn for lunch, said good-bye, and walked back to the stable where we'd parked Janet's car under an oak tree. On the road, headed home, Janet broke our silence. "I'll bet something's on your mind. Do you have a few questions?"
  "Yes, I do. What's going on?"
  "First of all, Danny and Myra used to date, like Marilyn said. Secondly, Myra's been raising her son on her own ever since he was born. Myra's never been married, and she never claimed anyone as the child's father. She just raised Scott on her own with lots of help from her own father, Doug Cade."
  "So what's going on now? What's changing?"
  "Like Marilyn said, something is getting on Myra's nerves. Donny and Danny are paying attention to Cathy and Chris, but they totally ignore Myra. Danny and Chris have really hit it off, but Myra knows about it and objects to it. That's odd, because she and Danny went their own ways when they broke up some years ago. Myra dumped Danny, actually. She had another boyfriend. Then her baby was born some time later, and she hasn't been involved with anyone since then. Not that I know about. She's just been staying at home taking care of Scott."
  "But now she sees Danny with someone else, and it bothers her." I mulled over the possibilities. "Could it be that Danny is Scott's father after all?"
  Janet shrugged. "Possibly, but she hasn't claimed it. Danny hasn't shown any interest in that little boy, either. You'd think he would if, you know, there was a reason why."
  She pulled her maroon car up in front of my cottage in Yorktown. "Tomorrow's Saturday, so I guess you'll be at Bob's ranch. See you in church on Sunday?"
  "I'll be there. Lunch at Stockman's after the service?"
  "As usual. Goodbye, Caroline." Janet smiled. I gathered my things, got out of the car, and waved goodbye as she drove away.
  Two-fifteen, my hall clock said when I opened the cottage door. My darling Constable Bob Bennett wouldn't come home until five o'clock, so I'd have plenty of time for a long, hot, relaxing bath followed by reading or watching TV. Later, I'd get dressed for going out in the evening. Actually, Bob and I might run into Donny and Danny at Billie's Bar-B-Que. We had plans for going there this evening to hear Lisa Hargrove's band and to enjoy Billie's delicious dinner. Whether barbecued beef or chicken-fried steak, no other place could compete.
  Bob and I spend almost every evening together. Our relationship rocketed when we met last March. Now, he spends Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings with me, and I spend Saturday and Sunday with him at his ranch. He works from one to nine o'clock on Tuesday and Thursday, so he goes home to his own place on those evenings.
  I just moved to Yorktown from Houston last January. My husband Craig died in a terrible car accident two years ago, and I couldn't get over it. I hoped my father's family in DeWitt County would welcome me and help me reshape my life.
  They welcomed me with open arms, especially my cousin Janet. The two of us worked together as amateur detectives for the Hargrove family last March. We solved a murder that took place in our family's cemetery that month, and another death that took place in 1875. We uncovered many old family secrets during our investigation.
  That's how I came to spend so much time with Bob, who was working on the cemetery murder, too. Now, just a few months later, spending so much time together, we were happier than either of us ever thought we could be. Bob's ex-wife had left him long ago, and he'd been lonely ever since. I'd quit doing much of anything in Houston after Craig died.
  Things are different now. Bob and I have each other, and I've found my family, some friends, and a free-lance journalism job. I write stories for the Yorktown Chronicle, usually once a week.
  I can't think of anything to make things better. I'm so happy. Who could ask for more?


Chapter Two
Friday Evening, June Billie's Bar-B-Que

Bob drove us to Cuero a little early. We were both hungry for dinner, and wanted to treat ourselves to Billie's barbecue plate before the band started to play. We arrived around seven-thirty and found our reserved table tucked into a private corner — nice, quiet, and comfortable. We'd have dinner before the music started, and then we'd stay for the evening listening to the band.
  While we waited for dinner to be served, I told Bob about the events of the day. "Myra has a grudge against Danny, apparently. She's never claimed him for Scott's father in the past, so if she's doing that now, why has she made the change?"
  "Maybe she's just jealous. Throwing a hissy fit." Our waitress arrived with a tray and set plates of barbecued beef and baked potatoes in front of us. "Oh, that looks great," Bob told her. He seemed ravenous; maybe he had skipped lunch. He put dressing on his salad, butter on his baked potato, and then spread the barbecue sauce evenly over the slices of beef. Apparently, food was more important than Myra, Chris, and Danny.
  Ruefully, I agreed, and fixed my own dinner to meet my taste. A tall, athletic man with an active daily schedule, Bob usually enjoyed his meals. Today, after the trail ride in the morning and the light lunch, I was hungry, too.
  While we ate dinner, the restaurant filled up. Some tables were reserved for two; some had been pushed together to seat a group of eight or twelve. A dim light radiated from wagon-wheel chandeliers overhead. A stage for the band, a small dance floor, and a pool room with four tables surrounded the large dining area. Right now, people ordered dinner; the band set equipment up on the stage; and a hum of excited conversation filled the room. When music started, conversation would dwindle. People danced to the band's performance, or listened to it as if they attended a concert.
  A reserved table for four took space somewhat in front of us. Soon, a group claimed the table and settled in. Even in the dim light, I recognized them. "Donny and Danny Harrell with Cathy and Chris," I murmured, nudging Bob. "They talked about coming here when we had lunch at the ranch today."
  Bob looked interested, but before he could ask a question, the band took place on stage and began to play the opening song of its first set. My cousin Lisa Hargrove led the band; she played rhythm guitar and sang most of the songs with vocal backup from the rest of the band. Her boyfriend Tyler played lead guitar; another man played bass, another played banjo, and another played fiddle and mandolin.
  Donny and Danny must not have ordered dinner yet. As soon as the music started, they took Cathy and Chris to the dance floor and started whirling around to the Texas two-step. Round and round the floor they went, one song after another. Soon other dancers crowded the floor, swirling around, until the first set ended. Music stopped, the band took a break, and the dancers returned to their tables.
  "I wish I knew the two-step," I remarked wistfully to Bob.
  "Don't you know how to dance, Caroline?"
  "Sure, but not the two-step or the line dances for country music. Or the polka, either."
  "I haven't gone out much in years, so I haven't danced in a long time. Maybe we could both use some lessons. Janet and Jordan might be willing to teach us, don't you think?"
  "That's a good idea." Our friends Martha McNair and Allen Boyce would be married at the end of June, with a reception held at Billie's Bar-B-Que, including Lisa's band. I'd love to dance at that wedding, even if I needed lessons for the two-step and the polka.
  The band took over the stage again. This time, an extra player with a guitar stood next to Lisa. She introduced him to the crowd. "This is Michael Stone, who played in our band before he moved to Houston. He's sitting in with us for a few songs, starting with one he wrote. Let's hear it, Michael! This is my favorite song, "Honkytonks, Nightclubs, Bars and Dives".
  The band played an introduction, and Michael started to sing. The crowd fell silent and paid attention. Maybe they recognized Michael and wanted to hear his song.

While driving home from work one night
I saw the flashing neon lights
Said "Here it is, we got shuffleboard and beer. BYOB come on in, wet T-shirt contest starts at ten We got a red-hot band and parking in the rear.

So I eased my truck around the back
Parking lot was fairly packed
But I found a spot and I nosed her into place.
Then I paid my dollar at the door
And like so many times before I slipped inside and made myself some space.

Well I've always loved those honkytonks, nightclubs, bars and dives
A hole in the wall or an ice house mamma, makes me feel alive — yeah yeah yeah
It don't matter where I am, in Texas I'll survive
If there's honkytonks, nightclubs, bars and dives.

There's always one with golden hair
Looks like she don't belong in there
That makes me want to go and take a chance.
So I spend my money like a fool On steaks, drinking and shooting pool
That's when she tells me she just came to dance.

So I get back in my pickup truck
Almost broke and out of luck
Preparing for the lonesome ride back home
When just like magic she appears
Leans and whispers in my ear
"I'm in the book, why don't cha call me up on the phone."

Well I've always loved those honkytonks, nightclubs, bars and dives A hole in the wall or an ice house mamma, makes me feel alive — yeah yeah yeah
It don't matter where I am, in Texas I'll survive
If there's honkytonks, nightclubs, bars and dives.

The song ended and the crowd cheered, applauding loudly. "Let's give Michael a welcome home," Lisa cried. She led the crowd in another round of applause, then announced the next song and started its introduction. Couples left their tables and threaded their way to the dance floor.
  Donny and Cathy with Danny and Chris stayed at their table, though. I could see them clearly. Danny was sulking and the other three laughed at him.
  Bob noticed them, too. "That song suits Danny, doesn't it," he said.
  "They must think so, and they're teasing him about it."
  "What do you mean? I don't know him as well as you do."
  "Myra's the only one Danny dated for a long time, in high school and some years after. After they broke up, for whatever reason, Danny's been on his own. He likes to go out sometimes on the weekends, and maybe he'll meet somebody, but the relationship doesn't last long. Maybe that has something to do with his work. Raising gamecocks with his father occupies his time."
  I remembered attending a cockfight last March, searching for clues about the cemetery murder. Donny escorted me, and Danny and Darryl were there, down in the cockpit. They assisted the customers who bought roosters they raised. It was a way of promoting their business. From Bob's grin, I could tell he also remembered my trip to the rooster fight.
  "The song may paint Danny's Saturday nights, but the others shouldn't be teasing him," I said. "You can tell he doesn't think it's funny."
  Chris finally soothed Danny's injured feelings, and the two of them got up from the table and headed for the dance floor. Donny and Cathy followed. They danced elegantly, I thought, dreaming of learning how to dance so well myself. Bob and I sat at our table and listened to the music. He pushed his chair closer to mine and put his arm over my shoulders, and I leaned over toward him.
  The band ended its third set at eleven o'clock. The restaurant would close in thirty minutes. Lights flashed on; the band began to pack its equipment and instruments; people at the tables began to filter out the door, gathering their purses and coats, saying good-bye to their friends.
  Most people headed out through the side doors that opened onto the parking lot, but I heard someone come in through the front lobby. Loud, rapid footsteps clicked on the floor. Into our view came Myra Cade, all dressed up in a black satin dress with glittery silver high-heeled shoes. She headed straight for the table where Danny sat with Chris and the others.
  Myra stood in front of the table and stared straight down at Danny. "I told you something this afternoon and you wouldn't listen to me," she said.
  Her voice was loud and aggressive. Bob and I heard her clearly.
  Danny answered quietly; we couldn't hear him.
  "Yes, he is your son," Myra shouted. "Just because I never said so before doesn't mean it's not true. And I have a way to prove it."
  She pulled a large brown envelope out of her purse and slammed it down on the table. "Take a look at this and you'll see what I mean. Consider yourself served."
  Myra whirled around and rapidly traced her footsteps back to the front door. She left, and the door banged behind her.
  Danny picked up the envelope and turned it over slowly.
  "What is it?" Chris asked him. "Danny, what's that about?"
  "It's from a lawyer's office." Danny frowned, turned the envelope around in his hands, but didn't open it.
  "What is it, bro?" cried Donny, but Danny folded the envelope and put it in his jacket pocket. He stood up and said, "Come on, y'all. It's time to go home. We promised to bring you back home by midnight." Chris stood up beside him. "He's right. It's time to go."
  Danny and Chris led the way, with Donny and Cathy behind them. They headed for the side door exit, and Donny took Cathy's hand in his own. She turned her head to face him and quickly kissed his cheek.
  Bob and I saw the kiss, and saw Donny's startled face, followed by a quick hug and another kiss. When they walked out the door, his arm was around her waist.
  Bob and I looked at each other.
  "I wonder how that will turn out," I said. "I'll see them at the ranch on Monday, when it's time for lunch. Maybe their romance will have developed more by then."
  "I'm more interested in the envelope." Bob stood up from the table and put on his jacket. "Myra Cade is up to something. I wonder what."
  "She wants Danny to acknowledge paternity, that's what. But she hasn't asked for that since Scott was born. What I wonder is why."

— ♦ —

Connie Knight
Photo provided courtesy of
Connie Knight

Connie Knight grew up in San Antonio, Texas with many childhood visits to her family in the DeWitt County area. Her writing history includes work as a journalist and magazine editor. She now lives in Houston with her family.

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

— ♦ —

Chances Choices Changes Death by Connie Knight

Chances Choices Changes Death
Connie Knight
A Caroline Hargrove Hamilton Mystery

Myra Cade is a single mother, living with her father, Doug, and raising her son, Scott. She mostly keeps to herself and really has no time for anyone else. But shortly after serving paternity papers to Danny, the suspected father of Scott, she's found dead at the side of the road in the country.

Caroline and her cousin Janet, who are taking Western riding lessons at the nearby Robinson Ranch, find themselves drawn into the murder investigation and looking for the missing boy and the murderer.

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A Conversation with Mystery Author Judith Janeway

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Judith Janeway
with Judith Janeway

We are delighted to welcome author Judith Janeway to Omnimystery News today.

Judith introduces Valentine Hill in The Magician's Daughter (Poisoned Pen Press; hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook formats) — "Reality is illusion. Illusion is reality, and nothing is what it seems."

We had the pleasure of speaking with Judith recently to talk more about her new series.

— ♦ —

Omnimystery News: When you wrote The Magician's Daughter, did you know at the time it would be the first of a series?

Judith Janeway
Photo provided courtesy of
Judith Janeway; Photo credit Doreen Desalvo

Judith Janeway: I didn't choose to write a recurring character, it was chosen for me by my editor at Poisoned Pen Press. Once I understood that The Magician's Daughter was to be the first of a series, I recognized the appropriateness of it. A central story arc focuses on how the main character, Valentine, has to change. Because of her negative experiences with her con-artist mother, she is committed to a rigid, and somewhat naïve, morality. In order to take on the bad guy, she realizes she has to go against her code and become a con-artist herself, in other words, be bad in order to do good. In the following books, we'll see how she grows and changes to live in a not all black-and-white world.

OMN: Are any of the characters based on real people?

JJ: All the characters and events in this book are fictional, but I strive to make everything realistic. The events are occasionally over the top, but they're all plausible. And, more important for me, the characters are believable and psychologicaly coherent.

OMN: Describe your writing process for us.

JJ: I don't write character biographies, but The Magician's Daughter challenged me to write in the point of view of a character who's a bit, shall I say, different. I followed the suggestion James N. Frey makes in How to Write a Damn Good Novel and did a character interview. It was a huge help in nailing Valentine's voice. Just consider, the first and very inocuous questions you might ask someone you don't know, "how old are you" and "where were you born?" But for Valentine, that's the problem — she doesn't know. Her grifter mother never told her. She'd simply invent a history based on what would work best for her current con.

As for plotting, for some reason, when I begin a book I always know exactly and in detail how it will begin and end. Then I'm faced with the task of figuring out what has to happen to get from point A to point Z. I don't write a detailed synopsis, but a basic summary of events. Then as I write, some parts of the plot develop in ways I hadn't expected.

Cast of characters? It definitely contracts because, as often happens in mystery/suspense novels, characters are killed off as the story progresses. The deaths of characters contributes something of an element of surprise since the reader doesn't see it coming, and this heightens the tension and suspense.

OMN: How true are you to the setting of the story?

JJ: My books are set in a real places. I've found that readers who are familiar with the settings enjoy the evocation of place and atmosphere. I'm careful not to take too many liberties with setting. Nothing pulls a reader out of a book more than some awful blooper, like Dustin Hoffman driving the wrong way on the Bay Bridge in The Graduate.

OMN: What are some of your outside intrests?

JJ: I usually don't tell people who know me only as a mystery writer that I love to knit. When I do tell them, I joke — I'm a closet knitter; you can find my closet patterns on Ravelry. I'm reluctant to admit it because people associate knitting with cozies, and I definitely don't write cozies. I also love to do puzzles of all kinds — crossword, Sudoku, jig-saw. I've recently downloaded the app for jig-saws to my tablet and am a little obsessed with it right now. But my main interest outside of writing is baseball, particularly the Oakland Athletics. In fact, every year I test positive for baseball addiction. Of course, come the end of October I have to detox. Not that it does me a lot of good, because once spring training starts (like right now), I'm hooked again.

OMN: What is the best advice you've received as an author? And what might you say to aspiring writers?

JJ: The best advice I've received is "write every day." It's as easy and as hard as that. Only by writing can you become a good writer. You can learn about the craft of writing, but it's all theory until you do it, and do it, and do it. As for advice for aspiring authors, I have to channel Yoda and say, "Write, or write not. There is no aspire."

OMN: Do you write under a pen name?

JJ: I write under a pen name that in some ways is my real name. My first name is Judith. My current last name is my ex-huband's. My maiden name was my father's. Jane was my mother's first name and is my middle name. So Judith Janeway references both my maternal link and my first two given names. And, because of this, I would say that the main advantage for me of my pseudonym is that it represents an important separate identity.

OMN: What type of feedback have you received from readers?

JJ: Reader comments I love the most are that they couldn't put the book down. One blogger emailed me to say she'd be reviewing The Magician's Daughter. She told me that she'd started reading it while taking a bath and that she hadn't realized the bath water had grown cold because she'd been so immersed in the book. My books are mysteries with a strong element of suspense. My goal is always to keep readers turning the pages because they just have to find out what happens next.

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

JJ: There's a roundabout answer to that question. I taught myself to read when I was four. I was looking at The Animals of Farmer Jones, a Little Golden Book. I can still vividly remember the eureka moment when I deciphered the letters into words and words into sentences. After that, I became an avid reader. I checked out of the library as many books as permitted per visit. When I got older, my mother was concerned that I was reading too much and might (according to the belief of her time) "ruin my eyes." She decided I could check out only two books a week. So I read Moby Dick, Lorna Doone, Crime and Punishment, and every other very thick book I could find! Without knowing it, I ended up reading the majority of the great books before I graduated from high school. So, I'd have to say that no one genre influenced me, but compelling stories well told did.

OMN: What's next for you?

JJ: Next? Writing, always. The most immediate next is book two in the Valentine Hill Mysteries, The Magicians' Duel.

— ♦ —

Judith Janeway can't remember a time when she wasn't writing stories, but naturally she also had to do other things. She received a Master's in Comparative Literature and taught for some years at a men's college. It wasn't as much fun as it sounds.

She left teaching and earned a PhD in Health Psychology and worked for a much longer time as a social science researcher, studying people coping with serious or terminal illnesses and their caregivers. Just to be clear, she is a research psychologist, not a clinical psychologist. She has she never been reimbursed for handing out advice to people foolish enough to tell her their problems. During this time, she married, divorced and acquired a number of children. Not necessarily in that order. She also always continued writing.

Judith lives just north of San Francisco and writes in the interstices of a life that encompasses working, traveling, having fun with family and friends, and supporting her baseball addiction.

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

— ♦ —

The Magician's Daughter by Judith Janeway

The Magician's Daughter
Judith Janeway
A Valentine Hill Mystery

Magician Valentine Hill always begins her act with: "Reality is illusion. Illusion is reality, and nothing is what it seems." Valentine herself is a case in point: she is unquestionably real, but she has no legal existence. Her mother, a skilled con artist, has never revealed Valentine's real age, birth place, or her father's identity — except to say that he was a magician.

No grifter herself, the scrupulous Valentine has spent years searching for her evasive mother, desperate to learn the basic facts of who she is. Literally, to get a life. Robbed of her stake in Vegas, she chases it to San Francisco where a series of odd events reunites her with her mother who, Valentine is sure, despite her respectable façade, is playing one of the city's super rich. And Valentine quickly enters a world where truly nothing is what it seems. A socialite is a ruthless criminal, a car mechanic a psycho killer, and a cab driver a seductive gangster. After a friendly FBI agent is killed, Valentine forces herself into playing a grifter's role to put the criminals — and her mother — away. Or at the very least, get what she wants from mom. Will her skills as a magician prove enough to help her maintain the illusion?

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Today's Selection of Daily Deals for Friday, February 27, 2015

Omnimystery News is pleased to feature a selection of today's Daily Deals found on Friday, February 27, 2015 at 7:30 AM ET …

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Escape the Night by Richard North Patterson

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A Suspense Thriller

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A Suspense Thriller

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The TekWar Series (1st in series)

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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.

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