Occupation: School Psychologist / Police Psych Consultant / Mom-To-Be

The telephone rang before I could even get out of my school clothes. If I had a working cell left in my pregnancy impaired brain, I would have at least glanced at the Caller ID before snatching up the receiver.

But I didn’t and it was Homer Knapik the principal of Scumble River High School. “The new science teacher has locked herself in the faculty restroom and refuses to come out. Get over there now.”

My heart sank. I’m Skye Denison-Boyd, school psychologist. Which in a small town like Scumble River means the only mental health professional for miles.

With the exception of the tenured-until-death faculty members, my hometown had a hard time keeping teachers beyond their first year contract. Heck! Some didn’t last the first month. But this had to be a record. We’d only been in school for one day. The kids hadn’t even started yet.

Our problem retaining teachers might be because Scumble River is seventy-five miles south of Chicago with nothing for the young single men and women to do. Or it could be because the town is seventy-five years behind the times. But my money was on the administration. Homer was a PITA—a pain in the—you get the idea—and he seemed to delight in bullying the newbies.

Although, I wanted to tell Homer that I wasn’t driving back into town to talk down his latest victim, I didn’t. I knew what a hardship it would be for the students to start the year without a permanent teacher. So instead, I told him that I’d be there as soon as I changed clothes, had a snack, and squeezed my swollen feet into a pair of shoes.

By the time I got to the school, the parking lot was empty except for a lone red truck. We’d had a shortened day for the staff—a couple hours for meetings and time to set up their classrooms. Normally, I’d have been one of the last one around, but the heat had gotten to me and I was desperate to get somewhere air conditioned.

The hallways were empty, but I finally found the custodian. He informed me that I had just missed Homer and the science teacher. Turns out the woman hadn’t locked herself in as much as been stuck in one of the stalls. She’d locked the outer door so no one could come in and smell her pooping and been embarrassed to ask for help. But once the custodian jimmied open the door and the woman was freed, Homer had gone home. The teacher hadn’t been far behind him. Of course, Homer hadn’t bothered to call me.

Muttering curses that would make even my police chief husband cringe, I headed home. One of these days, someone was going to kill Homer. I just had to hope the murderer didn’t turn out to be me.


You can read more about what happens to Skye later that night in Dead in the Water, the first book in the “Welcome Back to Scumble River” mystery series.

The first book in a brand new series featuring New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson’s beloved Scumble River setting and characters, Dead in the Water is a gripping mystery that won’t let you go until you’ve turned the last page.

A twister, a kidnapping, and a murder―oh my! Scumble River may never be the same.

For school psychologist Skye Denison, there’s certainly no place like home. When a violent tornado devastates her small hometown of Scumble River, she can’t see how the community will ever recover―especially since town councilman Zeke Lyons appears to have perished in the twister.

But things get even worse for Skye when her police chief husband, Wally, disappears in the midst of investigating Zeke’s death, and evidence arises pointing to foul play. Did Zeke really die in the storm, or was he murdered? And could Wally be next on the criminal’s hit list?

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About the author
New York Times Bestselling author Denise Swanson has written twenty-seven mysteries in four series, including the original Scumble River series, the Deveraux’s Dime Store series, and coming in 2018, the Chef-to-Go series. She also writes contemporary romance. Visit Denise at deniseswanson.com.

All comments are welcomed.

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