HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE & HAPPY JUNETEENTH
I hope the celebrations of the holiday are peaceful and filled with fun and fellowship. In our current political and social atmosphere, it’s so important to curb any impulse toward violence and pull together to mark this day without bloodshed.
Because racial issues play a central role in the Seasons Mystery Series, I thought that today would be a good day to share another excerpt from Desperate Season, the third book in the series. I finished writing the book several months ago and since then I’ve queried a few agents & editors to find it a publishing home. Unfortunately, the publisher that released the first two books in the series has stopped taking mysteries. I could publish the book myself, but I want to give it a chance to get some of the critical acclaim the other two books received from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. Those major trade publications don’t take self-published books for review, wherein lies my dilemma.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading these excerpts, and I’d love any feedback you’re willing to give. Today’s excerpt picks up from where I left off last month. If you’d like to get the first two books in the series, Open Season and Stalking Season, they are available for many reading devices from Draft2Digital. As well as Amazon. Open Season ** Stalking Season
The front door burst open, and a tall, thin man strode in. Camille half rose from the sofa. “Emilio. These policía. They say Felicity do drugs.”
Angel saw the muscles in the man’s jaws tense as he looked from the detectives, to his wife then back again. He walked over and put his arm around Camille, who was now standing, then pointed at Angel and Sarah. “You no say bad things about my girl. Get out.”
“That is not possible,” Sarah said. “We are so sorry for your loss, but we do need to—”
The word cut like a saber, and Angel noted the look that passed between the sisters. There was no doubt that they were more than a bit cowed by the husband. But she reminded herself not to read too much into that. Spanish men went to great lengths to protect their women. Another cultural thing; one she wished was more prevalent in her culture.
Mr. Santos held on to his wife, but the grim set of his jaw did not falter, nor did the fire in his ebony eyes. “You go. No bother my wife.”
“Is bueno Emilio.” Mrs Santos said in a weak voice.
“Not right,” he said. “Leave us.”
Juanita stood and gestured toward the door. “Please. Can this wait?” she asked. “Can you come back tomorrow? When emotions are not so raw?”
“Mr. Santos.” Sarah did not move. “Our best chance of finding out who did this to your daughter is in the first twenty-four hours. Are you sure you want us to delay?”
Angel recognized that low controlled tone in her partner’s voice. She’d used it before when trying to keep an interview cordial, but Angel also knew that there was a sharp edge to it that a witness or a perp would be well-advised not to touch.
“Any information you could give us might help,” Angel said stepping into the conversational opening. She gave him a moment to think about that, then continued. “Do you have any idea of who might have done this? Something not related to drugs or to the park?”
He shook his head and glanced away, but not before Angel saw a flicker of something in his eyes. Anxiety? Fear?
“What kind of work do you do, Mr. Santos?” Angel asked.
“What company do you drive for?”
“My own truck.”
“Could one of your customers—”
“No.” Santos shouted the word. “It is nothing from me. Now, you go. Leave us.”
“Just answer one more question.” Sarah again used that controlled tone that Angel knew all too well. “Where were you early this morning?”
Santos made a move like he wanted to backhand Sarah, but his wife clung to his arm. “No, Emilio,” she said.
Santos shook free of his wife and directed a torrent of Spanish at her and her sister. When he turned back to the detectives, Angel saw the fire of anger in his dark eyes. He didn’t say another word as he turned and stalked toward a doorway that led from the front room to a darkened hallway.
Angel watched Juanita, who never took her eyes off the man as he took long, angry strides away, then caught her eye when she turned. “We are not trying to pin anything on your brother-in-law,” Angel said. “Often we just have to ask tough questions.”
Angel took out a card and handed it over. “Please. Call if you think of anything that might help.”
The woman took the card, then walked the detectives to the door.
Outside, they paused on the front porch. Some of the people were still in the same places as before, like some tableau frozen in time. Angel remembered it was like this when her grandmother died. And when her best friend died. In both instances, time seemed to stand still for painfully long periods. As if everyone was holding their collective breath, hoping that time could be reversed and the death turn back to life.
That’s all for today, folks. Be safe as you celebrate Juneteenth today and Father’s Day on Sunday.