You might imagine that managing the Rock of Ages would be dull as a box of rocks, but Morgan Iverson, a forty-something widow, rarely has a routine day. The challenges can be killer, including keeping the rock shop from going extinct, chasing after escape artist donkeys, and discovering bodies in the wilderness.
On this particular spring day, Morgan joins a geology class field trip hoping to learn more about the fossils and rocks she sells. The class is hiking above timberline on Temple Mountain when they hear the low rumbling of thunder echoing off the surrounding peaks. Professor Esteban urges the students to hurry down the trail to the safety of the pine forest.
Once in the trees, Morgan hears the chattering of a squirrel. She searches the branches of the Ponderosa Pine tree, finally spotting the black fur and tufted ears of an Abert’s squirrel. Seeing one of the shy squirrels is a treat. Morgan aims her cell phone’s camera at the squirrel, but misses the shot.
Circling the trunk of the tall pine, Morgan backs up a step. Her boot sinks into damp mulch. She teeters for an instant, flailing with her arms, then falls into a rain-slick gully. Morgan lands at the bottom unharmed, but when she calls to her classmates, no one answers. She is out of sight, out of sound, out of cell phone range.
If not for the survival lessons drilled into her by Delano Addison, an old cowboy and part-time employee at the rock shop, Morgan might have panicked. Instead, she calmly assesses her situation. A cold spring rain forces her to seek shelter in an old prospector’s dugout. Morgan is prepared to wait out the storm, and sit tight until help arrives.
When Morgan hears branches cracking on the far side of the creek, she peeks out of the dugout, hoping to spot a team from Pine County Search and Rescue. Instead, through a curtain of misty raindrops, she glimpses a bizarre combination of homeless person and mountain man, dressed in canvas, leather, and fur, creeping closer to the dugout. Definitely not one of her classmates. Definitely not Search and Rescue.
This has to be how Sasquatch sightings start.
You can read more about Morgan in Stone Cold Case, the second book in the “Rock Shop” mystery series, published by Five Star Publishing. The first book in the series is Stone Cold Dead.
About Stone Cold Case
Rock shop owner Morgan Iverson’s discovery of human remains reopens a cold case and unhealed wounds in a Colorado mountain town, while her find of a rare gemstone sparks a dangerous treasure hunt.
Sixteen years ago, prom queen Carlee Kruger vanished. When Carlee’s mother asks Morgan to investigate her death, the clues seem as convoluted as the coils on a fossilized ammonite. The hunt for the truth heats up as the local newspaper editor helps Morgan uncover the past. The rock shop’s mascot donkeys and an elderly cowboy chase after a Sasquatch look-alike who may hold the key to Carlee’s death. Whoever knows what happened to Carlee will do anything to keep the truth buried.
In book two of the Rock Shop Mystery series, amateur sleuth Morgan Iverson digs into gemstone prospecting to solve a Stone Cold Case.
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Meet the author
To Catherine Dilts, rock shops are like geodes – both contain amazing treasures hidden inside their plain-as-dirt exteriors. Publishers Weekly calls her novel Stone Cold Dead – A Rock Shop Mystery, an “enjoyable debut,” and that “readers will look forward to seeing more of this endearing and strong protagonist.” Catherine works as an environmental tech, and plays at heirloom vegetable gardening, camping, and fishing. Her short fiction is published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Visit her at www.catherinedilts.com and on Goodreads.