Hey, y’all, you may remember me from Heard It Through The Grapevine, the first book in the Dead Sister Talking Mystery Series. I’m Madelyn Castillo, and I’m a rookie cop in Vineyard, Texas. On Thanksgiving night, I switched shifts with a divorced fellow officer who had an unexpected opportunity to be with his daughter an extra night.
Having a soft spot in my heart for daddies and their daughters, I volunteered to take his shift. My own ten-year-old has never met her father, having been born soon after he was killed in Afghanistan. Life has been hard without him, but I have the support of my sisters who would do just about anything for me.
And I do mean anything.
Oh boy, did I need their help on this night. Two good old boys were locked in the slammer, basically to sleep it off after trading punches over a woman at a local bar. This wasn’t the first time Gino Bernardi had landed in the pokey, but usually, his high dollar lawyer had him back at home even before the ink dried on the paperwork. Unfortunately, for me, said lawyer was relaxing by the pool somewhere in the Caribbean, and I was stuck babysitting the two drunks.
What should have been an uneventful night turned out to be anything but when my sister Tessa showed up at the police station. Ordinarily, one of my siblings stopping by to keep me company wouldn’t have been a big deal.
Did I mention that Tessa was killed the year before?
Her ghost had appeared to my sister Lainey beside the coffin at her funeral and wanted us to find her killer. We fought the notion that Tessa had really come back from the dead, but she made believers out of all of us, including her ex-husband, who was the sheriff and my boss.
After the mystery of her death was solved, we all assumed Tessa would go off into the light — or wherever dead people go — to enjoy eternal happiness.
Now a lot of people would argue that Tessa probably hadn’t gone north after she died—that more than likely she’d ended up in a place where the temperatures were hotter than Texas in August. I love my sister, but she had always had a smart mouth and used it to claw her way up the social ladder, making more than her share of enemies along the way. Much to our amazement, however, she managed to get through the Pearly Gates and was back because she said I needed help.
Seems she has anointed herself the Garcia girls’ own personal guardian angel, which should make you laugh right there. Tessa was a lot of things when she was alive — angel would never be considered one of them.
Anyway, no sooner did she show up that a phone in the drawer began to ring. Assuming one of the guys had left it, I answered, intending to razz him about getting old and forgetful. But it wasn’t one of the other cops on the line, and I still shiver thinking about it. The voice, enhanced by a computer, instructed me to look at the text message where there was a picture of a masked man holding a gun to my ten-year-old’s head while she slept at her grandmother’s house. The man said if I ever wanted to see her alive again, I was to put that phone, along with my own cell phone, the keys to the jail cells, and my Glock on the desk. Then I was to lock myself in the bathroom.
I assumed whoever it was intended to free Gino Bernardi, who would have been out of jail long before I came on duty had it not been for his lawyer sipping pina coladas in St. Kitts. So for me, it was a no-brainer, and I did what they asked. When I heard two shots, I ran out of the bathroom to find Gino dead in his cell with my Glock lying beside him. Although the other prisoner was also shot, he was alive and taken to the hospital where he positively identified me as the shooter.
Long story short, every indication pointed to me as the killer, including a money transfer to my bank account. My sisters rallied around me, and despite warnings from my brother-in-law, the sheriff, we began our own investigation to clear my name. Over the next few weeks, several newcomers descended on Vineyard, and not all of them were what they seemed. It didn’t take long to figure out that my sisters and I, along with our other-worldly advisor Tessa, were way out of our league on this one, and we were caught off guard when we discovered where this mystery would lead us.
You can read more about Maddy and her sisters in Jailhouse Glock, the second book in the “Dead Sister Talking” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink. The first book in the series is Heard It Through The Grapevine. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.
Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on May 14, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of either the print OR digital version of JAILHOUSE GLOCK; winner’s choice. One winner will be chosen at random. Print copy open to U.S. and Canadian entries or digital copy open to all.
Meet the author
Lizbeth Lipperman started writing many years ago, even before she retired from the medical profession. Wasting many years thinking she was a romance writer but always having to deal with the pesky villains who kept popping up in all her stories, she finally gave up and decided since she read mysteries and obviously wrote them, why fight it? She now calls what she writes Romantic Mystery (RM) since there is always a little romance involved.
She writes the Clueless Cook Mystery Series for Berkley Prime Crime, the Dead Sister Talking Mysteries for Midnight Ink and her romantic suspense/mysteries are available on Amazon.
Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook for book giveaways, contests, posting about discounted books and some of my reading musings.