Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Chapter Review: Death by Bourbon: A Josiah Reynolds Mystery by Abigail Keam

The first chapter of the murder mystery, Death by Bourbon, was submitted by author Abigail Keam.

BLURB:   Charming and handsome Addison DeWitt takes a sip of bourbon at an engagement party and falls into a fit a few minutes later. Josiah thinks it was murder, but no one believes her except for her friends, Lady Elsmere and Meriah Caldwell, the famous mystery writer. The three of them try to outsmart the suspected murderer, but the killer is always three steps ahead of them in this fast-paced, witty and fun who-dun-it! Death By Bourbon is the fourth installment in the award-winning Josiah Reynolds mystery series. Josiah Reynolds is a retired art professor who keeps honeybees as a hobby. She lives in an iconic house called the Butterfly designed by her now deceased husband. An amateur sleuth, Josiah lives in the glamorous world of Thoroughbreds, oak-cured bourbon and antebellum mansions, struggling to uncover the truth in the Kentucky Bluegrass, which keeps its secrets well.

COVER: Perfect. The cover of the fourth book in the series is consistent with the previous books. Each cover ties into the setting, the main character, and the plot. Well done.

FIRST CHAPTER:  Wealthy Doreen Doris Mayfield DeWitt hires a woman to seduce her playboy husband so she'll have evidence of his adulterous ways and be able to divorce him without paying him a dime. When things don't go as planned, Doreen realizes there are times when you must take matters into your own hands.

KEEP READING: Oh yeah. I can't say I left this short chapter liking Doreen or Lacey, the woman who is supposed to get the goods on that cheating louse of a husband, Addison, but between the banter, the descriptive style of the author, and the cliffhanger, I was hooked. A nice touch was the mention of Doreen's purchase of a ring supposedly owned by Lucrezia Borgia, the ruthless illegitimate daughter of Rodrigo Borgia, whose rumored history includes allegations of incest, poisoning, and murder.

My one tiny criticism, and it is a small one, is that the dialogue didn't always flow smoothly because Addison's name is repeated so often during the women's conversation. This definitely wouldn't keep me from reading, however. I want to see how the story unfolds.

Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: Worker Bee Press (September 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615651593
ISBN-13: 978-0615651590
SRP: $15.00 (Also available for Kindle)

I received the first chapter of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Spotlight: The Devil's Foothold by Marilyn Meredith

Resident Deputy Jessica McGuire’s day starts much the same as usual, but when she jogs by the old family cemetery she discovers the grave of a baby had been dug up and the skeleton missing. It wasn’t much later when Pastor David Tanner reports the theft of a hand-carved redwood cross from his church. Next a baby goat is reported stolen and one of the pastor’s cows discovered mutilated in the field. Jessica and Pastor David team up to investigate these strange occurrences. He is convinced Satan worshiping is going on in their town. Jessica isn’t sure until she discovers a hooded and robed group meeting in the woods who flee upon her arrival. She knows she needs to get to the bottom of things before what’s going on escalates into something worse. Or has it already?

File Size: 390 KB
Print Length: 176 pages
Publisher: Marilyn Meredith (October 14, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
Only $2.99 on Amazon!

Marilyn Meredith is the author of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series as well as the Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

One of the first authors to embrace e-publishing she has several books that are available in both e-format and trade paperback, among them, the award winning mystery Guilt by Association.

Christian horror is another of the genres she writes in-The Choice, Deeds of Darkness, and Cup of Demons are prime examples .

She also has a chapter in the best seller, "THE PORTABLE WRITERS' CONFERENCE" from Quill Driver Press.

Also a writing teacher, Marilyn has been a featured speaker at several writers' conferences. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, EPIC, and the Public Safety Writers Association.

Post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Spotlight: For Keeps by Aaron Paul Lazar

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

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

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

Read the excerpt!

Chapter One

“Murdered?” Sam juggled four pots of yellow daylilies in his arms, squeezing the cell phone between his shoulder and ear. “Where? And why in world do you need me?”

Lou sighed. “I told you. The Twin Sisters Inn. And I can’t say over the phone, I just need your…expertise.”
My expertise? Sam had practiced family medicine in East Goodland, New York for over thirty years, but couldn’t imagine how treating runny noses and chicken pox qualified him to help with a murder. And why was Lou being so damned secretive about the whole thing?

“Hold on a sec, Lou.” He dropped the flowerpots on the counter and barely caught them before they toppled. Flashing the clerk an apologetic smile, he swept the spilled dirt into a pile and mumbled into the phone. “I’m at Palmiter’s. Just checking out.”

Lou groaned. “Why am I not surprised? Since you retired, that’s all you’ve done. Flowers and more flowers. Holy Mother Mary. Don’t you get sick of it? Or are you trying to get your place on the Home and Garden network?”

Sam slid the plants toward the clerk. “You’re just jealous.”

“Damn right I am. I can’t retire for another coupla years. Remember, I was two years behind you in med school.”

“Just because I’m retired doesn’t mean I’ve lost my marbles. Of course I remember.” Sam thought back to the coroner when she was a student at the University of Rochester. Short strawberry blond hair, willowy figure, high cheekbones, and a ready smile. Aside from her gray hair, Louise Reardon hadn’t changed much after forty years and five kids. Except she was a hell of a lot pushier.

The freckled teen behind the counter looked bored. “That’ll be fourteen ninety-two.”

Sam dug out fifteen bucks and paid her. “Thanks. Keep the change.”

She raised her eyebrows as if she couldn’t believe he’d actually try to tip her with eight lousy cents. “Gee. Thanks, mister.”

He shrugged, loaded his plants into a green wagon, and pulled it toward the Highlander. He’d bought enough plants here to put all their kids through college. Anyway, who tipped sales clerks? “Lou? You still there? I’m almost at the car.”

“I’m here.” She let loose another frustrated sigh. “How long ‘til you get here?”

Sam loaded his plants in the back, got in, and turned the key. The SUV purred to life. “Not long. I’m putting you on speaker. Just a sec.” He slid the phone into his breast pocket and backed out of the parking spot. None of those new-fangled blue tooth gadgets for him. It was hard enough to keep up with cell phones, laptops, iPods, and every new device that came out each year. “On my way.”

“Geez. Finally. Watch out for the news vultures when you get here, though. They’re everywhere.”

“Will do. Be there in a few.”

He hung up and pushed his silver forelock back from his forehead. Shouldering his way through a pack of hungry journalists to view a dead body had not been in today’s plans. Today was supposed to be devoted to gardening, to feeding his insatiable need to dig in rich loam while the sun warmed his back. If Lou weren’t such a good friend, he’d have blown her off.

Turning south on Route 39, he imagined the ribbing he’d get if she knew about his aversion to cadavers. A doctor? Afraid of bodies?

He’d dealt with dead people before, but not a great deal. Med school, of course. He’d barfed his way through that ordeal. And when Mrs. Tupple had died in her bed ten years ago, he’d gone to the house at Mr. Tupple’s request. Reluctantly. But he’d gone. The most recent experience had been last fall, at his brother’s funeral.

Well, it hadn’t really been a body…it was Billy’s bones, bones pinned underwater for fifty years. Submerged with heavy stones deposited by Sam’s three best friends. Billy’s disappearance had remained a mystery, until it was finally revealed last year. When things happened. Things he couldn’t explain to anyone, except Rachel. He couldn’t even tell her the whole story. But Billy connecting with him from beyond and helped him get to the truth.

A familiar sadness took hold, and as if in response, Billy’s green marble hummed and warmed in his pocket. His brother’s face floated across his mind’s eye. Freckles. Clear hazel eyes. Sandy hair. Impish smile.
Billy wanted to talk.

Not now. I can’t. Later, buddy. He thought the words in his head, knowing Billy could hear him if he said them out loud or imagined them.

Sam turned left at the Mobil Station on the corner of Main Street and Route 20A and headed for the historic brick building housing The Twin Sisters Inn. Willing the marble to be quiet, he forced himself to think of what lay ahead.

A murder victim? Why the heck did Lou need his help? It didn’t make any sense, but in spite of his reservations, a trickle of excitement ran down his spine.

News vans and squad cars jammed the lot. He parked on the side of the road and headed toward the building. The marble pulsed twice, then grew cold.

Was it a warning?

The green glass talisman had linked Sam to Billy since he unearthed it in his garden last year. He’d learned to respect it, and through it, Billy’s interventions had helped with a number of sticky situations. He’d saved the life of his friend, Senator Bruce McDonald, after the sudden collapse of Healey’s Cave. And more important, he’d found his daughter, Beth, after she’d been kidnapped.

He locked his car and headed toward the building, skirting around vehicles and people. He brushed against the back of a policeman when several news reporters pushed past him. The officer swung his head around and stared.

“Er. Sorry.” He smiled at the patrolman and kept going.

If they had any idea. If they knew I talked to Billy, traveled back in time with him… A lace dragged from his shoe, threatening to trip him. He stopped to tie it. If they knew, they’d put me back in the asylum, just like they did when I was twelve.

A chill stole over him. Memories of the day Billy disappeared assaulted him. Billy, on his brand new bicycle, driving down the road, never to return. Guilt coiled in his stomach. He’d answered a phone call from a damned girl, instead of following his brother on the bike ride like he’d promised. He’d never forgive himself for that.

That moment had been the end of life as he knew it, and the beginning of his tortured life to come. The insane asylum had been the worst, though. He hated to remember the way they talked to him, the stupid pills they’d made him take that doped him up, and the disgusting smell of antiseptic that had followed him everywhere, even seeped onto his pillowcase at night. He shuddered and tried to put it out of his mind. Best to forget it and see what the hell Lou wanted.

Read the reviews!

"Aaron Paul Lazar's deft paranormal mystery starts off quietly and builds to a powerful finish. More than a thriller, FOR KEEPS is a heartfelt story of love and devotion, family ties and emotional crisis, loss and redemption. A winner!"

- Michael Prescott, USA Today bestselling author of Final Sins (also bestselling Kindle Author!)

"Lazar does it again with Sam Moore's explosive return in FOR KEEPS, a story of sordid pasts, buried secrets, and ultimately, true love. This tale will break your heart—and then tenderly stitch it back together—all while you're biting your nails to the quick. Every book in the Moore Mysteries series just keeps getting better!

- Sonya Bateman, author of Master of None & Master and Apprentice < “The author’s gentle prose brings the scents of a summer garden to life, together with rippling shade of forest and cool clear waters of lake. Characters are vividly real and welcoming too, with pitch-perfect dialog around the dinner table, a wonderful grandfather dealing with a two-year-old’s tantrum, and the awkward embarrassment of past secrets becoming public knowledge.”

- Sheila Deeth, author of FLOWER CHILD

"I was truly mesmerized by this book, and I can honestly say that I have never been so blown away by the ending of a novel.  I actually felt a painful wrench when I turned the last page of the book as if I was being physically torn away from the Moore family."

-Cindy Taylor, Allbooks Reviews

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases.

You can also find Aaron at and

Post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Review: Raging Water by Marilyn Meredith

Deputy Tempe Crabtree is back in Raging Water by Marilyn Meredith.

Tempe has her hands full with a rash of burglaries and the murder of two older women. Were these harmless ladies the victims of an addict who wanted their prescription drugs?

A fast-moving thunderstorm quickly adds to Tempe's woes. With the water rising, temporary shelters are set up and relocated residents' tempers flare. A mud slide blocks the road into town, stranding the residents of Bear Creek--including the murderer.

Superb! Thrilling! A real page-turner that will keep you guessing until the very end.

The Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series has been one of my favorites since I began reading it. I never miss a book. In this installment, Tempe is battling many issues. There's a burglar on the loose, which leads to her being yanked out of bed at an ungodly hour. The murder of two best friends is puzzling, and a raging storm leaves everyone on edge. So, in addition to trying to fight crime, Tempe is put in the undesirable position of having to notify people to evacuate to shelters, break up disagreements, and keep herself out of danger. There is so much going on in this book, you'll be flying through it and be eager to read it over again once you're done.

Meredith has spent a good deal of time with Tempe, her family, and the residents of Bear Creek. It shows. Her characters are well-developed. There's enough back story so newcomers to the series aren't lost, but enough new characters and crime solving to keep long time fans satisfied. I like how each book stands alone, but also helps move the characters along in their lives in the process. We don't see Detective Morrison in this book, but Meredith smartly includes conversations between Morrison and Tempe, so the character is not forgotten. He and Nick Two John are my favorite characters.

If you're looking for a riveting mystery, you'll want to pick up a copy of Raging Water by Marilyn Meredith.

Paperback: 204 pages
Publisher: Mundania Press LLC (August 14, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606593234
ISBN-13: 978-1606593233

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Post first appeared at The Book Connection.

I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Interview with Lindy S. Hudis, Author of Crashers

Lindy S.Hudis is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied drama. She is a former actress, having appeared on such television shows as “Sunset Beach” and “Married with Children”. Her romantic murder mystery, Weekends, is currently available from Lachesis Press. She is also a filmmaker, her independent short film “The Lesson”, which she wrote, produced and directed, screened at the Seattle Underground Film Festival. She is co-owner of an independent production company called Impact Motion Pictures. She and her husband Steve, a Hollywood stuntman, have just completed the screenplay adaptation of Charmaine Hammond’s best selling book, “On Toby’s Terms.”  She lives in California with her family.

Visit Lindy on the web at

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Well, I am a wife and mother of two and I live in California. I write because I like to create worlds and characters, I guess you could say I base my stories on my life. I also own a business with my husband called Impact Motion Pictures. We have several scripts that we are producing, so I am pretty busy.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Tennessee, but I lived in NYC for a while to attend NYU, then made my way out to Los Angeles in the early 90’s to seek my fortune in the movie biz. I love California though, and have made it my home.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

Traveling with my family. I loved taking family vacations during the summer! Actually, we are getting ready to take our summer family vacation right now. We used to go on road trips to Florida and to all different places. I just remember having fun riding in the car with the family.

When did you begin writing?

I started writing as a child, really. I used to write short stories that were inspired my Judy Blume – who was a huge inspiration to me as a kid. I would also write plays and have family members play certain roles. I loved to make up stories, I just put them on paper. Writing and reading to me was my childhood escape.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

As a mom of a preschooler and a nine year old, I write when I can. Mostly when I get a quiet moment – which is hardly ever in my house, haha!

What is this book about?

Crashers is about a trio of reckless young people who get caught up in the seedy world of auto insurance fraud. They stage auto accidents to collect the insurance money. Basically, an innocent, young couple get lured into the underworld of crime due to hard times and the desperate need for quick and easy money. It is a story of love, temptation and finally, redemption.

What inspired you to write it?

I was in a minor fender bender several years ago. One of the parties involved decided to pretend that she was seriously injured and decided to sue all the drivers involved. It was a very minor accident, no injuries or damage at all. Anyway, I was so mortified that somebody would actually try to pull this kind of a scam that I decided to channel all of that anger into a story. There are dishonest people out there that are ready and willing to do anything for money, people need to be very careful.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My husband is my biggest supporter, he is my cheerleader. I think I will get him a short skirt and some pom-poms, haha!

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

Never had an agent nor am I looking for one. Personally, I don’t believe they are really necessary. There are so many opportunities for authors to get their stories told now. Agents are no longer the gatekeepers of dreams coming true…thank goodness!

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?,,, or any bookstore.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Never, ever, ever give up! This is a game of persistence. Hang in there and never even entertain the thought of giving up! There are so many fresh stories that need to be told. Just keep plugging away, and don’t let the rejection letters get you down.

What is up next for you?

Right now I am pretty busy with our production company, Impact Motion Pictures. My husband has worked in the movie business for many years. We are in the process of producing our own films. That is taking up most of my time, along with the kids and promoting Crashers! I have lots and lots of food on my plate, but I love being busy.

To get your paperback copy of CRASHERS: A TALE OF CAPPERS AND HAMMERS by Lindy S. Hudis at Amazon:

To get your ebook copy of CRASHERS: A TALE OF CAPPERS AND HAMMERS by Lindy S. Hudis in the Kindle Store:

Visit Lindy S. Hudis’ publisher’s page:

Like Lindy S. Hudis on Facebook:

Follow Lindy S. Hudis on Twitter:!/Lindyscribe

Follow Lindy S. Hudis at Goodreads:

Like Lindy S. Hudis at LinkedIn:

Visit Lindy S. Hudis film production company:

Post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Interview with Greg Messel, Author of Last of the Seals

Greg Messel has written four novels and three unpublished memoirs. He published his premiere novel “Sunbreaks” in 2009, followed by “Expiation” in 2010 and “The Illusion of Certainty” in 2011. “Last of the Seals” is the first in a series of mysteries which are set in 1957 San Francisco. The second book in the series “Deadly Plunge’ will be published around Christmas of 2012. Greg grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has had a newspaper career as a columnist, sportswriter and news editor. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist while working for a daily newspaper in Wyoming. Greg also spent many years in the corporate world as a Financial Manager. He now devotes his energies to writing at his home in Edmonds, Washington on the Puget Sound just north of Seattle, where he lives with his wife, Carol.

To get your paperback copy of LAST OF THE SEALS by Greg Messel:

To get your e-copy of LAST OF THE SEAL by Greg Messel at Amazon:

To learn more about Greg, go to his website:

Visit Greg Messel on Twitter:

Like Greg Messel on Facebook:

What was the experience like writing Last of the Seals?
It was great fun. I've never written a mystery. It was really challenging and a new experience. I was pleased with the result and it seems that readers and reviewers have reacted very favorably to it. I love the characters and the time period and place. San Francisco in 1958 in a very exciting and interesting place. Readers seem to really like the nostalgic aspect of the story.
How did you come up with the title?
The San Francisco Seals were a Pacific Coast League team that was displaced after the 1957 season. The Seals were just one level below the big leagues. The end of the Seals came when the major league Giants moved from New York for the 1958 season. The time period of the story is 1957 as the Seals and the main character Sam Slater play their final games in San Francisco. Sam is at the end of his career. In the fall of 1957 it was the "last of the Seals" but in a way Sam was the 'last of the Seals."
Can you tell us more about your main character, Sam Slater?
As a teenager, Sam was a baseball phenom and was signed by the Boston Red Sox right out of high school. But Sam's career is interrupted by World War II and he is part of the landing force at Omaha Beach on D Day. Sam also fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Sam's baseball abilities are never quite the same after the war. As his baseball career is ending in 1957 he plans to join the private detective agency of his best friend Jimmy Jankow. But Jimmy is suddenly murdered and Sam is thrust into a series of mysteries which he feels ill prepared to cope with. It is then that he meet Amelia Ryan who changes his life.
What are his strengths and what are his weaknesses?
Sam is a very admirable character and is the kind of guy who is admired by men and loved by women. He is very brave and loyal. Sam is often reminded by his friends and Amelia that he doesn't need to take on all of this problems alone. Sam has had a lot of hard knocks and has become something of a loner. Amelia is always reminding him to let others help him with his challenges.
What about Amelia Ryan? Can you tell us more about her?
Amelia is a beautiful 25 year old TWA stewardess. Amelia has always had a sense of adventure and wants to experience as much of the world as possible before she settles down to become a 1950s housewife. Amelia is often told that she looks like Grace Kelly. It is her classic beauty that enchants Sam Slater from the first moment he meets her. Amelia has had many pursuers over the years and is constantly fighting off grabby passengers at work. However, when she meets Sam she falls deeply in love with him. She also loves helping him solve the mysteries he faces as a private eye.
Are there any supporting characters we need to know about?
Sam's friend and old Army buddy is Vince Marino is a street-tough San Francisco Police Detective. Vince helps Sam and advises him as he tries to solve the mysteries he encounters. There is also the Ryan family, Amelia's large Irish Catholic clan, who is very interested in her new romance. The men in the Ryan family are big baseball fans and are star struck by Sam and his baseball stories.
Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?
This episode occurs just before Jimmy's death. It is the last time the three friends are together before the murder. The three Army buddies meet for dinner and then are going to some boxing matches together. It reveals much about their relationship before everything suddenly changes.
What about page 65?
Sam is adjusting to his new role as a private eye. He goes into the office and meets with his secretary Janet. Someone ransacked the office while they were at Jimmy's funeral. Sam and Janet are puzzled as to why someone would tear their office apart. What were they looking for?
Now that Last of the Seals has been published, what’s your next project?
I've finished writing the second book in the series as a sequel to "Last of the Seals." It is called "Deadly Plunge" and takes place in 1958. Sam and Amelia encounter a rich, seductive socialite who wonders why her husband suddenly jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. There's also a mysterious house where shadowy characters come and go. "Deadly Plunge" will be out around Christmas. I'm also beginning work on the third book in the series "San Francisco Secrets."
Do you have anything you’d like to tell our readers?
I hope you will give "Last of the Seals" a try. Some readers wonder if it's a baseball book or is it a romance or is it a mystery? It's all three and I think it should appeal to a wide range of readers.

Post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Spotlight: Last of the Seals by Greg Messel

The year is 1957 in San Francisco. Sam Slater is a lifetime minor league baseball player for the San Francisco Seals. The Seals have just one more season left as San Francisco is about to become a major league city. The Giants are coming to town in 1958 and the Seals will be displaced. Sam has come to the end of his baseball career and is going to join the private detective agency of his best friend. When his friend is brutally murdered, Sam must go it alone and try to find out why. Along the way he is swept off of his feet by a beautiful Elvis-obsessed TWA stewardess named Amelia Ryan. Sam and Amelia try to unravel the mystery together. Sam’s best friend, Jimmy inadvertently saw something he shouldn’t have. Sam and Amelia have pictures in their possession that have crime families in San Francisco and Chicago very worried. Then a young woman Sam has been searching for is found dead on the beach. Suddenly, Sam and Amelia find themselves in danger. On dark and foggy San Francisco nights, trouble is lurking just around the next corner.

Read an excerpt!

First Chapter:

September 4, 1957
Those who loved Jimmy Jankow would say he had a “big personality.” The people who didn’t like Jimmy would say he was brash and arrogant. His “personality” was an endearing quality to his friends and an obnoxious trait to those who didn’t count themselves as his friend. Jimmy always seemed very confident in his actions.
His best friends, Sam Slater and Vince Marino, tended to follow Jimmy’s lead. Sam was a baseball player for the Seals and Vince was a veteran San Francisco cop.
Jimmy had always attracted a lot of attention from the ladies. With his wavy blonde hair, blue eyes and muscular build, he could prove to be irresistible. It was just after the war that Sam declared that Jimmy had become “domesticated.”
That’s when Jimmy fell under the spell of Rita Angelos, the eye-popping daughter of Greek immigrants. She had thick long black hair, large brown eyes, and just as “big” of a personality as Jimmy.
The Embarcadero is the main roadway which skirts along the edge of San Francisco Bay. It is lined with piers and is a major area for shipping. Embarcadero means “the place to embark.” It has certainly filled that function in San Francisco.
After the completion of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge around 1936, there was a rapid decline in ferry traffic. The famed Ferry Building and the neighborhood began to deteriorate.
However, during World War II, San Francisco’s waterfront became a military logistics center as troops, equipment and supplies left the Port in support of the Pacific theater.  San Francisco began growing in leaps and bounds. Almost every pier and wharf was involved in military activities, with troop ships and naval vessels tied up all along the Embarcadero.
Jimmy left in 1943 for England to fight in Europe in the middle of World War II. While in England, he had met two San Francisco natives, Sam and Vince, who became his best friends.
Now in 1957, Jimmy was a successful private investigator. As Sam’s baseball career was winding down, Jimmy was planning to take him on as a full partner.  Jimmy had been busy preparing an office space for Sam. A carpenter had just finished the remodeling job and Jimmy couldn’t wait to show it to Sam. The frosted door pane on the new office even had been painted with the name “Sam Slater.”
Jimmy pulled his 1955 Mercury coupe to the curb near Pier 23 on the Embarcadero.
It was a flashy car and it perfectly fit Jimmy’s personality. The two-toned Merc was turquoise and white and had chrome everywhere.
A beautiful late summer day was ending in San Francisco as Jimmy scooped a folder of pictures off of the front seat of the Merc. He had to deliver the end product to his client, who was very paranoid about secrecy.
Fred Langenfeld had grown very suspicious of his wife’s activities throughout the summer. The more Jimmy got to know Langenfeld, the more he suspected that he was suspicious of everyone’s activities.
Earlier in the decade, Langenfeld had been a law clerk in Washington D.C., where he was involved in the McCarthy hearings and the anti-communist scare. Jimmy had met Langenfeld through a law firm that had, on occasion, used his private investigation skills.
Langenfeld hired Jimmy to follow his wife and find out where she spent her afternoons. Jimmy had been doing this for most of August. She was not hard to catch. Langenfeld had good reason to be paranoid.
Now Jimmy was going to deliver a series of photos to confirm all of Langenfeld’s worst fears.  Jimmy had snapped the photos at lunch spots throughout the city, a motel,  and at Golden Gate Park, where he found Mrs. Langenfeld crawling all over a young guy who had been her constant companion. Jimmy had been tailing them and it was easy pickings.
Particularly damning was a series of pictures of Mrs. Langenfeld publicly displaying her intense passion for her new lover while they sat on a park bench near a pond in the park.
Jimmy felt this was like shooting fish in a barrel. It didn’t tax his investigative skills. Mrs. Langenfeld turned out to be the most indiscreet woman in San Francisco. All you needed was a camera.
Sneaking around spying on someone’s spouse wasn’t the most pleasant part of his job, however, it paid well.
The difficult part of following someone’s unfaithful husband or wife was delivering the bad news to the suspicious spouse. Jimmy always thought that you shouldn’t ask a question if you’re not prepared to hear the answer.
Langenfeld wanted Jimmy to meet him on his boat, which was docked at Pier 23 to ensure privacy. Jimmy wanted to get this over with, collect his pay, and then get home to his wife, son, and new baby. As Jimmy walked down the pier, he looked carefully in the dusky light for the docking location of the “Frisco Fred.”
What a jerk!
Who names their boat “Frisco Fred?” Not a native San Franciscan, that’s for sure. One way to really piss off a San Franciscan, is to call their beloved city “Frisco.”
As Jimmy walked slowly down the marina dock looking for the boat, he sensed someone coming up quickly behind him. He spun around to see a large, beefy man with his hat pulled down just above his eyebrows, concealing his face.
Jimmy immediately sensed the threat and his defenses went on full alert. He thought the man was charging at him for a physical assault, but the thug stopped short and then got in Jimmy’s face.
“I’m gonna need those pictures,” he snarled.
“Who the hell are you?”
“Someone you don’t want to tell no!” he growled and then repeated his warning. “Hand them over.”
“Look, I don’t want any trouble pal but there’s no way…”  Jimmy never finished the sentence. In a split second, the burly man stuck a knife into Jimmy’s chest.
Jimmy staggered backwards, completely shocked at the sudden assault. He dropped the pictures and fell onto the dock gasping for air and instinctively trying to remove the knife.
The assailant took his foot and rolled the mortally wounded Jimmy off the edge of the pier and into the water. The man looked around to see if the splash had attracted any attention. It had not.
He then reached down and grabbed Jimmy’s pictures with his gloved hand and quickly disappeared into a dark blue Buick that was waiting at the curb.

Title: Last of the Seals
Author: Greg Messel
Paperback: 392 pages
Genre: Mystery/Romance
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing (April 23, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN – 0985485906
ISBN – 978-0985485900

Available in paperback and electronic formats from Amazon!

Greg Messel has written four novels and three unpublished memoirs. He published his premiere novel “Sunbreaks” in 2009, followed by “Expiation” in 2010 and “The Illusion of Certainty” in 2011. “Last of the Seals” is the first in a series of mysteries which are set in 1957 San Francisco. The second book in the series “Deadly Plunge’ will be published around Christmas of 2012. Greg grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has had a newspaper career as a columnist, sportswriter and news editor. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist while working for a daily newspaper in Wyoming. Greg also spent many years in the corporate world as a Financial Manager. He now devotes his energies to writing at his home in Edmonds, Washington on the Puget Sound just north of Seattle, where he lives with his wife, Carol.

To learn more about Greg, go to his website: 

Visit Greg Messel on Twitter: 

Like Greg Messel on Facebook:

Post first appeared at The Book Connection

Friday, August 2, 2013

Book Spotlight: Rip-Off by Mar Preston

High-tech burglary and murder are bad for business in the upscale, tourist-destination beach city of Santa Monica with its leftist politics, rich homeowners, and huge homeless population. Bad for Detective Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department. 

A deadbeat burglar has been found in the upscale Santa Monica beach condo of a playboy studio exec. The dead body must link up with a string of high-tech burglaries, and the Chechens Mason keeps meeting must link up with each other somehow, but how? 

The investigation leads him down mean streets into the dark world of embezzlement and an explosion that almost kills him. The stakes rise as the investigation send Mason to the Hollywood Russian community where he is warned off by the FBI and Homeland Security. A bungled take down results in two murders of key informants. Fingers are pointed. Mason is outranked and the Department blamed.

While Mason brings an international whodunit to an end, restoring his own and the Department’s reputation, he finds his relationship with his community activist girlfriend teetering on the edge.


I grew up in northern Ontario and love its lakes and forests. But I lived in Santa Monica for decades watching big money, land development, and politics clash. 

Getting a good murder mystery novel out of what goes on behind the scenes in grassroots politics, glitzy businesses, and developer skullduggery makes all those dreary Santa Monica city council meetings worthwhile. 

I live now in a village in the California mountains not that far from the edge of the Los Angeles sprawl. There's too much to do here: I'm writing crime fiction seriously, but I can't get away from the SPCA, local environmental politics, and the writing community.  

Life is good.

Author’s website:

Post first appeared at The Book Connection