I’m not certain whether I’m running from ennui or just can’t help sticking my foot into a pile of someone-else’s business. My name is Damon Lassard and I have more free time than any thirty-one-year-old has a right to have. I was a mediocre baseball player in the Japanese leagues who hit pay dirt with an advertising campaign for chewing gum. So when I moved back to the States and joined my twice-widowed mother in the community of Hollydale, I needed to find something to fill my days.
My mother thought that “something” should come in the form of a “someone”—Rebecca Leeds who owns The Cookery in Hollydale. Instead, Rebecca became my best friend. I love her to death but just can’t bring myself to date her. That’s probably because I spend so much time pining over Bethany Krims who forecasts the weather on one of the local broadcast stations. Not that Bethany has ever given me the time of day.
When I moved to Hollydale, I took on the role of local Citizens Association President. I thought I might be the first person ever to lose an uncontested election. But Hollydale needed someone to argue that not all potholes are created equal when it came time for the County Board to dole out its pittance of road repair fees. I have to admit, being President has its perks. It allows me to liaise with Gerry Sloman, my friend who works on the Arlington County police force. And police work is fascinating.
Gerry was recently promoted to detective and just landed his first homicide. The owner of the carnival operating this week’s Arlington County Fair was found strangled in his trailer yesterday morning. Gerry feels overwhelmed. He came to me for information because I helped the carnival crew with the fair’s logistics, so I know a number of the travelling workers. Earlier this evening, I provided Gerry much-needed sustenance in the form of store-bought pasta, and he clued me in to one detail that the police haven’t made public—there were two distinct ligature marks on the carnival owner’s neck. That can only mean one thing—he was strangled twice.
One person could have started with one implement of death and moved to another when the first failed to get the job done. But if that didn’t happen, then two people independently tried to kill the same person on the same night by the same method. Wait, there’s another possibility. A pair of killers could have worked together to snuff out the man’s last breath. The machinations seem endless and I haven’t even considered the motives yet. But I’m intrigued beyond belief. And unlike Gerry, I’m not bound by police protocols. It looks like I’ve finally found the passion I’ve been seeking in Hollydale.
Follow Damon’s efforts to dabble his way to amateur heroics and the path of his capricious love life in It Takes Two to Strangle: A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery.
** Stephen is giving away one (1) copy of IT TAKES TWO TO STRANGLE. Contest open to US residents only and ends December 2. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **
Meet the author
Stephen Kaminski is the author of It Takes Two to Strangle, the first book in the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School. Stephen has practiced law for over a decade and currently serves as General Counsel to a national non-profit organization. He is a lifelong lover of all types of mysteries and lives with his wife and daughter in Arlington, Virginia.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.