A Day in the Life of Death Bogart by Loretta Ross

Death and the Brewmasters WidowDeath Bogart parked his ten-year-old Jeep Grand Cherokee on the back lot of a hot dog stand that had gone out of business a decade earlier. He looked around ruefully. Even the prettiest little towns seemed to have areas like this–dingy, depressed neighborhoods strewn with rundown businesses and ugly, old, abandoned buildings where the community betterment projects didn’t reach. A cold front was moving in, promising rain and threatening snow. The gray skies made the place just that much more depressing. Death popped his collar against the cold, locked his vehicle and headed for a narrow alley between a dingy car wash and an empty brick factory building.

The cell phone in his pocket buzzed. He looked at it to find a new message from his girlfriend, Wren Morgan. Death clicked on it and a picture came up. It showed a long, white spiral horn in a plastic bag against a bright splash of primary colors. A faded cardboard tag at the top read, “MAKE YOUR CAR A UNICORN! SUPER STRONG MAGNETS HOLD IT IN PLACE! TAKE THE MAGIC WITH YOU!”

Death replied, “???”

“We’re selling off a joke and novelty shop that went out of business,” Wren texted back. She was an auctioneer with a small, family-owned auction company. “Roy bought the most obscene lotion dispenser! I don’t know if he’s planning to prank his wife or his brother.”

A pause and then another text “Are you there yet?”

“Yeah. Just now.”

Her next text was a flurry of hearts. He smiled and tucked his phone away.

The old man was just where he expected to find him, bundled in old clothes and grimy blankets, nested in the shelter of a rusty trash bin. A filthy cardboard barricade guarded him against the wind. Death squatted down in front of him, ignoring the stench that might have come from the trash but probably did not.

“Winter’s coming on, Corporal Hutchinson. You need to be inside, out of the cold.”

“I like the cold.” Hutchinson’s eyes narrowed. “I never told you my name.”

“No,” Death said, “but you told me your stories. Where you served. Who you served with. That was all I needed to find you. I’m smart like that.”

Hutchinson mumbled.

“What was that?”

“I said smart ass, Sergeant. ‘Nam was a long time ago. I’m not in the Corps anymore. You don’t outrank me junior.”

“Yeah. I’m not in the Corps anymore either.” Death rubbed a hand across the back of his neck. His own combat injuries had left him with damaged lungs. Holding this position was making him short of breath and he shifted and rested one knee on the ground. “I found something else, too, though,” he said. “I tracked down your son.”

Because he was watching for it, he caught the quick intake of breath, the flash of hope swiftly hidden. “What the hell did you go and do that for?”

Death’s breath constricted in his throat. He spoke around it. “Man, if my dad was alive, I’d want to know where he was.”

“Yeah, well, Billy ain’t you. He ain’t gonna care.”

Death glanced back to the opening of the alley and the man now silhouetted there. “I wouldn’t be too sure of that.” He leaned in and slapped Hutchinson on the shoulder. “Semper fi, you old goat.”

He pulled himself to his feet and left without looking back. The man waiting outside the alley was as old as Death’s own dad had been. Tears streamed down his face. He and Death exchanged nods but didn’t speak.

Death was almost back in sight of his vehicle when his phone buzzed again. It was another text from Wren.

“He’s not you, Death.”

“He could have been.” He thought back to his life before he met Wren. He’d been disabled, homeless, broke and so alone.

“Maybe once. Not now. Never again. Come on home. I’ll have dinner ready.”

Busy walking and texting at the same time, Death didn’t look up until he reached his car. When he did, his heart soared and a smile tugged at his mouth.

His big, macho Jeep was sporting a white, spiral horn on the hood and a long, silky, rainbow-colored tail hung from the back.

Death and the Brewmaster’s Widow is the second book in the Auction Block mystery series, published by Midnight Ink, February 2016.

When firefighter Randy Bogart perishes in the arson fire at an abandoned brewery known as the Brewmaster’s Widow, Death Bogart and his girlfriend Wren Morgan travel to St. Louis, Missouri, to find closure. They discover that Randy left his badge behind at the firehouse before going to the brewery. But the coroner finds another badge on Randy’s body, leaving Death and Wren with more questions than answers.

Desperate to know what really happened, Death and Wren begin to investigate. Their digging leads to a connection between Randy’s death and the mysterious Cherokee Caves once used by nineteenth-century beer barons. But the Brewmaster’s Widow is jealous of her secrets. Prying them loose could cost Death and Wren their lives.

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About the author
Loretta Ross is a writer and historian who lives and works in rural Missouri. She is an alumna of Cottey College and holds a BA in archaeology from the University of Missouri – Columbia. She has loved mysteries since she first learned to read. Death and the Brewmaster’s Widow is her second published novel. Visit Loretta at lorettasueross.com, on Twitter, Goodreads, and on Facebook.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Death and the Brewmaster’s Widow. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 24, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

35 responses to “A Day in the Life of Death Bogart by Loretta Ross

  1. I want to pry into this story.

  2. Sounds like an interesting new series. Thanks for the chance to win.

  3. Intriguing! Thanks for the introduction!

  4. Characters named Death and Wren must make an interesting story!

  5. Oh my, this sounds like a great series! I haven’t seen it anywhere before. I wanted to just keep reading after your post. Thank you for featuring it, Dru! I’ve put both books in the series on my Goodreads list. It’s good to see a male protagonist for a change. He sounds like one I could like. I’m curious where he got the name “Death”. I’m sure it’s explained in book 1.
    I’d love to win this. 🙂

  6. What an unusual name of Death. Makes me want to know how he got that name. Interesting series ad I love the passage with the veteran. Beautifully written with a touch of humor.

  7. Unicorns, veterans, and small towns. I need to read this. It would be lovely to win it. Thank you.

  8. Sounds like a fun read. Thank you for the chance to win.

  9. I love the detail involved in the cover. It draws me to pick up the book and check it out. Thanks for the opportunity to enter this giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

  10. Loretta Ross is a “new-to-me” author and this book sounds one I’ll enjoy reading. Thank you for the chance to add a print copy of Death and the Brewmaster’s Widow to my bookshelves.

  11. Sounds like an interesting premise for a mystery. Thanks for the chance to enter.

  12. Sounds different. I’ll have to give this series a try.

  13. Sounds like my type of series

  14. Barbara Hackel

    Thanks Dru for another introduction to a new series and author. 🙂
    This sounds intriguing and totally different from anything I have ever read. I can’t wait to read the series! Thanks to Loretta for the chance to win a copy. 🙂

  15. elainehroberson

    This book would be a great title to add to my cozy challenge list. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  16. Wow, I can’t wait to read this book. I’m hooked from the preview. Thanks for the giveaway.

  17. This book sounds intriguing and the series wonderful. Thanks.

  18. Sounds like a great read.

  19. I have loved to read since I was a youngster and this one sounds like a great fun read! Thanks Dru and Loretta,

  20. Great excerpt, I know lots of people who’d like a unicorn car. Thanks for the chance to win.

  21. Love the “unicorn”.

  22. This looks like a very interesting read. I really love the cover. Definitely adding to my TBR list.

  23. Thanks for the introduction to a new author and series for me –
    added to the TBR list.

  24. What a poignant scene.

  25. Interesting to see how this story goes.

  26. This really sounds like an interesting book. I’m looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the chance to win.

  27. WOW! What a great blog. This is a new series for me. Thanks Dru Ann.

  28. I would love to take a ride on a riverboat! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book.

    wfnren at aol dot com

  29. I read the first book & enjoyed it very much. Your review has me anxiously awaiting the chance to read this one.

  30. Sure would like to get to know this series!

  31. I loved the first book

  32. This sounds so interesting ~ different from anything else I’ve read.

  33. A new-to-me author/series……..
    Thank you for the intro….

  34. Della Williamson

    Sure would be interested in reading this book to see how Death brings this to a conclusion. This is another new one for me. You have supplied me with new names and series and it has been so exciting. My TBR has grown. A lot. Am so glad I’ve learned about you. Thank you for this chance at a new book.

  35. Sounds like a great read.