Category Archives: A DAY IN THE LIFE

a place where characters give you a glimpse into their day

A Day in the Life of Amy Ridley by Janel Gradowski

Pies and PerilHello! My name is Amy Ridley. Welcome to my kitchen. Since it’s only 6:30 a.m., I’m willing to bet you haven’t had any breakfast yet. So, have a seat in the breakfast nook. There are applesauce muffins in the oven, a cream cheese coffee cake is almost cool enough to eat and the second pot of coffee just finished brewing. Welcome to my world of recipe testing and stress baking.

You may have guessed, I’ve been awake for awhile. It’s kind of hard to sleep when you keep receiving threatening notes. I prefer to collect cookbooks instead of death threats. Cookbooks are treasure chests full of tips and techniques that I can use to win a contest. You see, I love entering culinary competitions, from national recipe searches for the best brownies to the Kellerton Summer Festival baking contests. Competing in my town’s contests has always been fun. I’ve won quite a few trophies, but this year’s competition had a nasty surprise. As in a dead body nasty surprise. It was worse than tasting a rhubarb pie where salt had been used, instead of sugar.

The person that was murdered wasn’t exactly likable. The number of people that didn’t like her is longer than the ingredient list for an Oaxacan black mole sauce (about 25 ingredients). I may not be quite as sweet as buttercream icing, but I just can’t figure out why someone would want both of us dead. I take that back. I can figure out how we’re connected, but my ideas keep getting shot down for being too far-fetched. What can I say? My theories are as creative as my recipes…and I’ve made things like jalapeno corn bread with candied pecans. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the notes and I think best when I’m cooking. So here I am watching the sun come up and nibbling on my newest, potentially-contest-winning creations.

My best friend, Carla, will be here soon. She often stops in after working third shift in the emergency room. We have breakfast and chat, but usually about things much more mundane than murder suspects. She’s helping me figure out this mess. A big part of her help involves hanging out with a guy that is so hot I think he’s rated on the Scoville scale, the chart used to determine the heat level of chile peppers. At least I can be happy for her, even if my life is crumbling like an over-baked shortbread cookie.

Thank you for stopping in to chat with me. Here’s a mug of coffee. Let me get you a slice of coffee cake. The muffins will be done in a few minutes, so you can try one of them soon. Once Carla gets here, maybe you could help us brainstorm suspects. I really would like to stop stressing out and get back to normal. Remember how I said I cook when I’m under stress? There is so much food in the house right now I’ve been giving it away to visitors and neighbors. When you’re ready to leave, please remind me to give you a bag of oatmeal cookies and a loaf of date bread.

You can read more about Amy in Pies & Peril, the first book in the new “Culinary Competition” mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 30 for the chance to win a copy of Pies & Peril. (US entries only, please.)

Meet the author
Janel Gradowski lives in a land that looks like a cold weather fashion accessory, the mitten-shaped state of Michigan. She is a wife and mom to two kids and one Golden Retriever. Her journey to becoming an author is littered with odd jobs like renting apartments to college students and programming commercials for an AM radio station. Somewhere along the way she also became a beadwork designer and teacher. She enjoys cooking recipes found in her formidable cookbook and culinary fiction collection. Searching for unique treasures at art fairs, flea markets and thrift stores is also a favorite pastime. Coffee is an essential part of her life. She writes the Culinary Competition Mystery Series, along with The Bartonville Series (women’s fiction) and the 6:1 Series (flash fiction). She has also had many short stories published in both online and print publications.

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A Day in the Life of Dani Greene by Jessie Crockett

Maple MayhemMost of the time my life in Sugar Grove, NH is pretty sweet. My business is thriving, my family is happy and I enjoy great health. Generally, life here is pretty low stress. There aren’t really any traffic jams. Our idea of a crime wave involves too many people disregarding leash laws and letting their dogs roam loose. Even trips to the post office are free of the sorts of aggravation and strife I’ve heard people from other towns complain about.

So when I have a day or a week when nothing seems to be going my way I can’t really complain. Like my grandmother always says, if life were fair, I’d have a whole lot less. Even though I bear her words of wisdom in mind and do my best not to gripe, I can’t help but say this week has been a doozy. It started with a parking ticket courtesy of my former boyfriend Mitch. Before he could even hand me the citation, I noticed someone had keyed a threatening message into the paint job of my car, which had just come back from the repair shop.

From there, things went down hill like a runaway toboggan on an ice-covered slope. Faster than you can say “pass the maple syrup” I found myself threatened by the local curmudgeon, got lectured on my love life by my older sister and received a disturbing phone call from my mother who claims to be psychic.

I’d like to be able to honestly report that things got better as the week went on but that would be a lie. And I try not to lie. Whenever I do I end up overtaken by primness, like a Victorian spinster who suddenly comes upon a group of skinny dippers.

The truth of it was that I ended up being volunteered to chaperone a group of elementary schoolers on a winter camping trip and tracking a saboteur bent on ruining my plans for an agricultural cooperative. I wish I could say the worst thing that happened was finding a fellow sugar maker’s dead body but that wouldn’t be true either.

In the end though, I was grateful to be alive and living in my favorite place in the world surrounded by my favorite people. Because, despite the unusual week I had arguing to the contrary, my life really is pretty sweet.

You can read more about Dani in Maple Mayhem, the second book in the “Sugar Grove” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Drizzled with Death.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 29 for the chance to win a copy of Maple Mayhem. (US entries only, please.)

Meet the author
A nearly life-long resident of the Granite State, Jessie naturally adores black flies, 98% humidity, killing jessieCfrosts in August and snow banks taller than the average grandmother. When not working on her next murderous adventure she enthusiastically combs the beach, designs bento lunches and throws parties. She delights in mentoring young writers at local schools. Jessie lives with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children in a village so small most other New Hampshire residents have never heard of it. Her debut mystery, Live Free or Die, was the 2011 winner of the Daphne DuMaurier Award for Mainstream Mystery.

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A Day in the Life of Robert “Don’t call me Bobby” Brixton by Donald Bain

Undiplomatic MurderRobert Brixton, private investigator here, sitting in my small office suite in Washington, D.C. next to the one occupied by my friend, the attorney Mackensie Smith. When Mac resigned his post as law professor at George Washington University to return to private practice he convinced me to return to D.C. to handle his investigations, along with assignments from others. Mac Smith is one of the good guys in my life since I came back to our nation’s capital. There aren’t many. As President Harry Truman once famously said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” He knew what he was talking about.

I’ve been accused of being a perpetual malcontent. But that’s just the way I am. I was once a cop in D.C. That lasted four long years, enough time for me to get married, have two daughters, and get divorced. I split and headed for that allegedly genteel southern city, Savannah, Georgia, where I put in twenty on its police force and retired with a paltry pension and a bad knee. From there, I went back home to Brooklyn where people don’t say “ya’ll” when you’re the only other person in the room. I intended to stay, but an old friend lured me back to the District. A big mistake. While working for a private security agency connected with the State Department I lost my youngest daughter, was accused of murdering the son of a prominent politician, and found myself knee-deep in lying politicians and international arms dealers. I’ve been the target of a crazy paid assassin, nailed a conniving congressman from Tampa whose pretty young intern was found murdered, and used my Savannah connections to make a first lady and D.C.’s leading social hostess sweat bullets. Not your run-of-the-mill way to make a living, but it could be worse, like being a member of Congress and having to sit through the never-ending drone of speeches that say nothing.

Fortunately I have Flo Combes, “mah honey”—notice my southern accent?—who puts up with me when she isn’t chastising me for acting like a jerk. She understands me because she’s from New York, too. My receptionist as well as my lover and constant companion, Flo never hesitates to hold a mirror up to me, although I don’t always like what I see.

While I may never win any Miss Congeniality awards, I do have attributes that are invaluable in my job. I easily spot phonies, blowhards, hypocrites, and other D.C. denizens who rise from the swamp this city is built on. I know how to run down a perp and gather evidence against him without tipping off the suspect. I can size up witnesses and figure out how best to approach them. I know the rules and when to break them.

I also know that I carry to extremes my jaundiced views of people and the stupid things they do. Men who wear baseball caps backwards annoy me. Don’t they know that the visor is designed to shield their eyes, not the nape of their necks? People who are oblivious to their fellow pedestrians and walk down the street peering into their cell phones ought to be locked up, along with morons who text while driving. I don’t like jellybean drinks with little umbrellas or martinis made with anything but gin. I don’t go to the movies because I’m not interested in how many explosions and car chases the special effects guys can come up. I want real stories with real characters, like in Casablanca or Brief Encounter.

Okay, so I’m a pain-in-the-neck sort of guy. But Flo Combes loves me so there must be something salvageable here. And Mac Smith puts up with me because he knows that I’m a damn good private investigator who doesn’t fudge the truth, and who will put his hide on the line when the cause is worth it.

Since settling back in Washington I’ve come to appreciate its positive points. It’s a pretty city, with its cherry blossoms, monuments, wide boulevards and low buildings. Summers are tough (but Savannah was no Garden of Eden either), when the heat and humidity (and odors) of July and August settle over the city like a soggy blanket.

All in all, things could be worse. At this moment I’m nibbling on shrimp toast that Flo whipped up and brought to the office, and sipping a perfectly shaken martini. A client just paid me, the humidity outside has dropped a few points, and we have a reservation at a chi-chi watering hole where we’ll meet up with Mac and Annabel Smith. So life is peachy—just as long as some clown at the next table doesn’t have his baseball cap on backwards.

Robert Brixton made his debut in Monument to Murder in the Margaret Truman Capital Crimes series, joining recurring characters Mac and Annabel Smith. Brixton has gone on to appear in Experiment in Murder, Undiplomatic Murder (published in July 2014 by Forge) and Internship in Murder (July 2015).

Meet the author
Donald Bain worked closely with Margaret Truman on all her Washington-based mystery/thriller novels, and has continued the series after her death. He’s the author/ghostwriter of more than 115 books, including 43 in the bestselling “Murder, She Wrote” series, on which he collaborates with his wife Renée Paley-Bain. His caper novel, Lights Out! was published in May.

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A Day in the Life of Casey Feldstein by Betty Hechtman

Silence of the Lambs WoolMy name is Casey Feldstein. Generally the next thing people mention is there profession. I’ve had a few, well, really that’s quite a few professions. You could say that none of them have stuck, or that I haven’t stuck with them.

As my mother, a successful Chicago cardiologist, likes to remind me, when she was my age (35), she was a doctor, a wife and a mother – and I’m a what?

When I relocated from Chicago to my aunt’s guest house in Cadbury by the Sea, California, I was hoping to make a fresh start. The atmospheric town on the Monterey Peninsula was certainly a change from Chicago. Aunt Joan was great and helped me turn my baking skills into a job as the dessert chef for the Blue Door restaurant. I also became a freelance muffin baker, providing the chewy treats for the assorted coffee spots around town. With all those clouds and fog, Cadbury is definitely a coffee town.

Who knows what would have happened if my aunt hadn’t been killed in a hit and run accident. It was certainly a surprise to inherit her Yarn Retreat business. To be honest, while I admired all of my aunt’s handiwork, I was clueless about yarn craft. Was there really a difference between crochet hooks and knitting needles?

Putting on the first Yarn Retreat at the moody hotel and conference center located on the edge of town changed all that. I now know a lot more about knitting and murder.

I’m glad to have my former boss Frank to turn to for advice, even if it is just over the phone and he always acts grumbly about giving it. Frank runs a detective agency in Chicago and working for him was my favorite temp job. And probably why I seem to keep investigating murders.

There is definitely some kind of spark between me and the cop who lives down the street. It’s so embarrassing, but even my mother noticed it. Should I do something about it, or leave things as they are? Then there is my ex, Dr. Sammy. It wasn’t my idea for him to relocate to Monterey. He insists it is just because he likes the area and there are places for him to perform his magic act and that it has nothing to do with trying to win me back. But that’s not how he acts. If only he wouldn’t wear his heart on his sleeve.

And now I’m up to my elbows in wool as I get ready to put on my second Retreat. It’s called “Sheep to Shawl” and just like the name implies means getting the fleece from a sheep, turning it into yarn and then knitting it into a shawl.

Some of my first time retreaters are coming back. My BFF Lucinda is going to be there, too. I have an expert helping with the technical aspects. What could possibly go wrong?

You can read more about Casey in Silence of the Lamb’s Wool, the second book in the “Yarn Retreat” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Yarn To Go.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 28 for the chance to win a copy of Silence of the Lamb’s Wool. (US entries only, please.)

Meet the author
Silence of the Lamb’s Wool is the second book in the national bestselling Yarn Retreat series that features dessert chef Casey Feldstein who puts on yarn retreats at a slightly sinister hotel and conference center on California’s Monterey peninsula. Betty Hechtman also writes the national bestselling Crochet mystery series. All books in both series include patterns and recipes. She says it is like a dream come true to be able mix her love of mystery with her love of making things. She grew up in Chicago and has a degree in Fine Art. In addition she has studied everything from improv comedy to magic. She has written newspaper and magazine pieces, short stories and scripts. She lives in Southern California and Chicago and has yarn stashes in both cities.

For more information check out, Facebook and her Friday blog for

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A Day in the Life of Francesca Benini by Wendy Tyson

Deadly AssetsThere is an Italian proverb, Chi affoga s’attaccherrebbe alle funi del cielo. Loosely translated, it means “A drowning man plucks at a straw.” When I was a young girl back in Italy, my grandmother, dressed in her widow-black, eyes hard nuggets of Tuscan coal, would mutter this saying to my father at the slightest sign of weakness, effectively questioning his business judgment as he helped to grow the family’s fledgling company. To be fair to my father, those straws saved him on many occasions. Benini Enterprises would become a thriving business. But then, Grandmother never valued fairness.

I’m reminded of that proverb now as I get ready for my visitor, Allison Campbell. Image consultant, life coach…call her what you will. It strikes me that perhaps she is the straw, and I am the drowning woman, already doomed. The thought makes me tired. Do I have fight left in me? I glance outside and see Maria down by the barn, riding the chestnut mare. My niece’s dark hair is cascading down her back, and although I can’t see her features from the sunroom window, I know the expression on her face will be feral, wild. From here, she looks like a witch. Or a harlot. Thinking of Grandmother, I smile. How far our family has come.

Outside, distant clouds threaten the blue August sky. This summer, the Finger Lakes region of New York has been abnormally hot and rainy. I worry about the grapes. While we don’t sell our own wine, our vineyards supply the house, and perfecting our dry Riesling has become a tradition. We have so few traditions anymore…I don’t want to let go of this one.

Jackie, our chef, interrupts my thoughts when she enters the sunroom quietly, her plain features bunched into a worried frown. She reminds me of the woman in the iconic painting American Gothic and I admonish myself for the uncharitable association.

“Yes?” I say. “Is Allison here?”

Jackie shakes her head. “The hospital called.”

“About Paolo?” Although even as I say the words, I realize how ridiculous they sound. Of course it was about Paolo. My brother had a stroke and has been in and out of consciousness. His misfortune is the reason for my engagement with Allison Campbell. That, and…well, a story for another day. “What’s happened?”

Jackie looks around. In a low voice, she says, “You should go see him, Frannie.”

“Jackie, please.”

“You’ll regret it. You and I both know it’s true.”

Regret? Oh, I know regret. Another face flashes before me, and I push aside thoughts of Gina Benini, my brother’s first wife. I purse my lips and turn my head, looking away from Jackie and back toward the window. Maria is no longer in sight. The barn looms in the distance, its size a reminder of the wealth we once had. These days, this estate seems too big. Too grand. Then why do I feel so claustrophobic within its confines?

I rise, dismissing Jackie. She knows me well enough to understand the gesture, and she leaves the room. I am immediately regretful. She never did tell me why the hospital called.

A clock in one of the front parlors strikes three. Allison Campbell will be along soon. I head toward my private rooms feeling a sudden burst of energy. My head is oddly clear. I know what needs to be done, and with clarity comes purpose. Voices reach me as I climb the stairs. Jackie speaking to Alessandro. I pause to listen. Another proverb comes to mind: A mali estremi, estremi rimedi. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Perhaps I am not so unlike my grandmother, after all.

You can read more about Francesca in Deadly Assets, the second book in the “Allison Campbell” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first book in the series is Killer Image.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 25 for the chance to win a copy of Deadly Assets. (US entries only, please.)

About the author
Wendy Tyson is a writer, lawyer and former therapist from Philadelphia. She’s authored Killer Image, an Allison Campbell mystery, Deadly Assets, the second Campbell novel, and The Seduction of Miriam Cross, a thriller set near Philadelphia. Wendy makes her home in Abington, Pennsylvania with her husband, three sons and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs. She’s currently working on the third Campbell novel, Dying Brand.

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A Day in the Life of Eve Appel by Lesley A Diehl

Dead in the WaterI’m Eve Appel, and with my partner and best friend, Madeleine Boudreaux, I own and operate a consignment shop in rural Florida. We’re well established in the area now after a few ups and downs. You can read about the rollicking ride in A Secondhand Murder and the second in the series, Dead in the Water, was released by Camel Press earlier in July.

I’m the kind of woman who often can’t control what comes out of my mouth while Madeleine is always socially appropriate, but seems to have no control over what her body does. I’m saying she’s clumsy. Take this typical day for us when I’d just moved to Florida.

“A rodeo??” I said to Madeleine when she mentioned it. A rodeo? Sure. That sounded area appropriate, and not as creepy as running across a gator while picnicking in the park by the lake.

The only catch was that I’d moved here a month ago, and we hadn’t yet opened our shop.

I looked around the shop. “Things look pretty disorganized.”

“Pooh. We’ll work tomorrow. Today is the last day for the annual rodeo, and I want you to see it. It’s real Florida.”

Madeleine had been showing me around “real” Florida in the last few weeks, so I was familiar with the gators and cowboys, the cowboys I met in the local bar, the gators in nearby canals and on the lake.

Cowboys? Up close and doing their roping, riding and bull riding thing? It was too tempting.

I must admit that I did love the excitement of the events, calf roping, barrel racing, and, the most thrilling, bull riding. I don’t know what I admired most, the skill of the cowboys or the energy of the animals. We sat in the lowest row of the stands and got a close up view of everything, including a good whiff of the cattle. Pick-up riders rode past us, their attention focused on insuring that the riders were safe once off the bulls. People cheered their favorite participant on from the stands. The noise of the steers, bellowing of bulls and neighing of horses added to the air of excitement.

“That was quite a show,” I said to Madeleine as we left the stands. “I’d like a chance to get a closer look at those bulls. They’re huge.”

Madeleine shot me a look filled with skepticism. “You want to get a closer look at those cowboys near the bull pens. Don’t lie to me.”

Well, yes, but the bulls were kind of intriguing too.

“And you’ve already rubbed elbows with cowboys in the Burnt Biscuit Restaurant and Bar on the dance floor.”

“Yeah, but these are sweaty, real cowboys with bulls to boot.”

“This is not a good idea, Eve.”

“Of course it is.”

I was wrong, as I usually am where Madeleine is concerned.

We wandered in the direction of the bull pens and caught the attention of several cowboys working with the stock and others I recognized as having participated in the events.

“Well, little ladies, did you enjoy the rodeo?” asked one of the riders.

Madeleine may be little, but at over six feet with my stiletto heels which I always wore, I am not.

We struck up a conversation with the men and talked of spurs, ropes, pickup riders, and prize money, all matters important to rodeo riders. Madeleine leaned back onto the fence surrounding the stock pens as we talked. I didn’t notice what she was doing, but one of the cowboys did.

“Careful there, Ma’am. You don’t want to lean into that lever or you’ll…”

Madeleine jumped away from the fence, but too late. She’d tripped the level, and the gate swung open. The bulls inside jockeyed for position as they sniffed freedom to the outside world.

The cowboy pushed us out of the way, as the bulls rushed for the open rodeo grounds.

“Oh, oh,” said Madeleine.

“Oh, crap,” I said.

“Bulls are out!” yelled a cowboy.

The chase to round them up began. Men on horses and on foot, the two clowns who worked the rodeo and spectators not afraid to back down a bull dashed out of the stadium to herd the animals back into the pen, but not before two of them jumped on the merry-go-round, scaring the riders already there. Others took off toward the barbeque stands and knocked over three booths, scattering pounds of ribs and chicken onto the ground. It took several hours before the bulls were back in their pen.

As for Madeleine, the lure of the rodeo has worn off, and I haven’t heard her mention attending the event for the past two years. She still agrees with me, however. Cowboys are really cute, but she prefers them on the dance floor rather than riding a bull.

You can read more about Eve in Dead in the Water, the second book in the “Eve Appel” mystery series, published by Camel Press. The first book in the series is A Secondhand Murder.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 24 for the chance to win a copy of Dead in the Water. (US entries only, please.)

Meet the author
Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her writing muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats, and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.

She is author of several mystery series, all featuring country gals with attitude. Lesley has also authored a number of short stories and several standalone mystery novels. She invites readers to visit her on her website, on Twitter or on Facebook.

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On The Case with Billy Two-Feathers by Keith Donnelly

Three Dragons DoomedMy name is Billy Two-Feathers. I am a full blooded Cherokee Indian adopted and raised by white parents in Wilton, Connecticut. I met my best friend, Donald Youngblood, in college. We attended the University of Connecticut. Most of the time I call Don, “Blood.” Most of the time Don calls me “Chief.”

After we graduated, Don went to Wall Street and made a fortune. I made some bad choices and went to prison. In five years my only visitor in prison was Donald Youngblood. Don gave me a second chance for a good life and I took it.

After my release from prison, a series of events led us back to Don’s hometown, Mountain Center, Tennessee where we opened Cherokee Investigations, a private investigative firm. A lot has happened since then. I am now a deputy sheriff in Swain County, North Carolina; a long story best told another time.

This particular day started innocently enough; a minor drug bust, a break-in and a domestic disturbance. I had them all taken care of before lunch. Then I got a call from Don asking for backup on a serial killer case that was coming to a head. Late that afternoon, I was making the trip over the Smoky Mountains down through Gatlinburg and on to Mountain Center and thinking as I went about all the cases we had been involved in.

I sometimes worry about Don. He can be reckless when it comes to personal safety so I need to watch his back. He calls me a “mother hen” but beneath the protest I know he feels safer when I am around. I have saved his life on more than one occasion, although he would scoff at that and say he had it all under control. The facts are he has been assaulted more than once, beaten unconscious to a comatose state and wounded in a gun battle. He has been hospitalized at least three times that I know of since he became a private investigator. Donald Youngblood has a gift for finding trouble.

When Don called he told me he was temporarily staying at the Fleet Mansion, not a good sign. Joseph Fleet is a rich and powerful business man in Mountain Center whose inner circle includes Don and me because Don tracked the killer of Joseph Fleet’s daughter, Sarah Ann.

* * * * * * * * * *

I found Don and Mr. Fleet in the first floor study. They were in quiet conversation having drinks in front of the fireplace.

“Good to see you again, Billy,” Joseph Fleet said, when Roy Husky escorted me in.

Roy is Fleet’s right-hand man and has become a friend to both Don and me and supported us on a few of our cases.

“You too, sir,” I said.

“I take it this is not a social call,” Joseph Fleet said.

“No, it’s not, “I said. “ I need to speak with Blood.”

Joseph Fleet stood. “Gentlemen,” he said. “I’m turning in for the night. Billy, you’re welcome to stay.”

“Thank you, sir,” I said. “I believe I will.”

He left us alone.

Moments later, Don and I left the study and went to his third floor suite to plan our strategy for tomorrow. Don thought he knew exactly where James Hyde would be set up for him. Mary, Don’s wife and Mountain Center police detective, didn’t seem surprised to see me when I walked in. Don began to share his plan with me when Mary interrupted.

“About tomorrow,” Mary said, her voice determined. ”I’m going with you and it’s not negotiable.”

I caught the look between them and sensed the beginning of an argument.

“I promised him I would come alone,” Don said, with little conviction.

“He doesn’t deserve your promise,” Mary said. “And besides, I didn’t promise him a damn thing.”

“Me, either,” I said.

It was pointless for Don to argue, Mary wasn’t going to give in and something about having Mary with us felt right.

“Okay,” Don said to Mary. “You follow me in and cover my back. Chief comes in from the front in my Pathfinder.”

He showed Mary and me our route in and how we would play it. He explained my part. We all agreed.

“You think he’s going to try and ambush you?” Mary asked.

“I do,” Don said.

I nodded agreement.

“In the end they’re all cowards,” I said.

“I thought he wanted a face-to-face,” Mary said.

“He wants me dead,” Don said. “He doesn’t want to gamble with me out in the open. This is his version of a face-to-face.”

We went over it a second time then I left for my room knowing that tomorrow, one way or another, we were going to bring down a serial killer.

You can read more about Billy Two-Feathers in Three Dragons Doomed, the fifth book in the “Donald Youngblood” mystery series, published by John F. Blair. The first book in the series is Three Deuces Down.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 23 for the chance to win a copy of Three Deuces Down. (US entries only, please.)

Meet the author
Keith Donnelly grew up in Johnson City, TN where he graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in Economics and soon after found himself in the New York City world of publishing.

Keith and wife, Tessa, divide their time between Gatlinburg, TN, Singer Island, FL and Salt Lake City, UT where Keith indulges in his passion of downhill skiing. His motto: have laptop, will travel!

Donnelly is currently working on book six in the Donald Youngblood Mystery series. Visit Keith at

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