In the day when Philosophy might have had a more urgent importance and significance, I wonder if Descartes’ singular ‘Cogito’ utterance and treatise would be one of the most recognized phrases in school rooms around the world, particularly those rooms where hungry minds were more inquisitive about their world and their existence in it.
In my Appalachian world of youth, it would never have occurred to me to question my existence…there were enough ‘negatives’ in my early life to keep my mind swirling with confusion and doubts – no intention to gain sympathy, just depicting my early life when our country was going through some ‘trying times’…well, kind of like, NOW!
I can say with certainty that my mind has no problem accepting the fact that I ‘think’ and I ‘exist’! Those days still linger, still bring occasional thought-demons and over-think. Decisions, mistakes have been made in my life, but, overall, there has been happiness and love to offset the bad stuff.
Descartes had some important influence in my college education, made me more aware of my lack of knowledge.
The tiny thesis I am putting forth in this post is that my
problem these days is that I ‘think’ too much in lieu of looking at the beautiful Arizona sky, writing, enjoying life with wife, home, and our wonderful children. So, Descartes brought back to me some simplicity to my life.
Hopefully, I can pass on some of this trivial verbiage to those who can embrace this sequitur nonsense.
BR Chitwood – December 2, 2021
Please read synopses of my 20 books, read my over 375 blog posts, short stories, flash fiction, and poetry…
Great Books, Blogs, Short Stories, Flash Fiction, and Poetry…worthy of reading!
There’s no earthly or worthy reason why you should heed any advice I might give on the topic of Writing. Oh, I can claim to have taught briefly a course in Advanced Writing to high school seniors on their way to college, and, only my Deity can explain it, but I have written nineteen books and am working on the twentieth.
Having written those books, I’ve done little in the way of marketing them. I’ve deliberately eschewed seeking out a publisher because of the rejection slips I received many years ago when I was writing my six-book ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’. When self-publishing came into popularity, I went crazy and madly published too many books too fast, subliminally thinking readers were going to gobble them up.
Okay, the truth is, I’ve always been frugal with money – except for the very large and expensive things in life, like, cars and luxury homes…yes, I like luxury living and won’t give it up. Well, there’s more than one truth. I spent most of my earlier years in the neon lights of lotus-eating, getting married, getting divorced, getting married, getting…you get the picture. So, some common sense came via ‘air mail’ to the left-side of my brain (Or, is it the right-side?) somewhere around the Gail Sheehy’s ‘Forty-Plus Crucible’ stage in Passages. I married a lovely down-to-earth lady with the common sense I never had and have somehow metamorphosed into that sensible place…well, for the most part.
Now, I just write, literally, write – blogs, novels, romance, mystery, thrillers, memoirs, even inject some fantasy occasionally. To the exclusion of, say, keeping up with the social media mélange of tips for writing, how to get an agent, how to write the next great novel, common mistakes made in writing, how to market your book, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, really, need I go on? I just WRITE.
Somewhere along the way, I discovered that I was likely never going to get discovered by a publisher or by an agent who could get me published, so, I WRITE. No, the sales of my books are not making me zany with joy, far from it – think of an antonym, like ‘zensible’. Think of the smallest grain of sand. That’s I, me, or my nineteen books – under that five-ton pile of pebbles. So, I WRITE. I’m in Twilight now, and I use that descriptive word so as not to admit to an age I don’t feel nor care to reveal…ah, see, a rhyme. I’m amazing to me, I’m amazing. You don’t have to think so. You might think so if you read one of my books, particularly, if you read Dominique, or, Daddy, No! or, Mama’s Madness, or, Stranger Abduction, or, better, just go to https://brchitwood.com and pick one. Many of my books in the Mystery genre are fiction from fact, because evil-doers have always held a morbid fascination for me, you know, how could any person do some of the hideous crimes we see on TV and in daily newspapers? Finally, with all I’ve written here, here’s a writing tip that works for me. If you have the penchant for writing, feel like you can write, you might try it. Here’s what I do: I look over at my lovely wife and say, “Hey, honey, give me a phrase, any phrase, known, not known, just give me a phrase.” She’s reluctant because I’m taking her away from her book-reading or her genealogy, but I pick on her enough she finally gives me a phrase.
From that phrase, I will write a blog post. That post might one day become a full-fledged book. That simple phrase unlocks my mind and the words flow. Maybe in the scheme of things my blog posts are not so great, but I like them, my wife likes them, and maybe that has to be enough. That phrase gets me to writing, and the more I write the better I believe I become…
Forgive the ‘I loveself praise’!
Please check out my 20 books, over 375 blogs, short stories, flash fiction, and poetry at: https://brchitwood.
Twenty (20) Books of Fiction (Some based on true crimes) and Memoirs, PLUS 370 + blog posts (Short Stories, Flash Fiction, Poetry: https://brchitwood.com
Who Am I?
Who am I?
Not a terribly original question, perhaps one that is often asked over the course of one’s life. What got me to thinking about the question are the genres in which I write my books – mystery (some inspired by true events), romance, bio/memoir, political thought. So much of my writing deals with the underbelly of life, the bad elements in our society, the evil people who live among us – fictionally or in fact. It must be my admission that at times it bothers me that I focus my writing so much on a salacious news report about someone being sexually assaulted, people being horribly murdered, an awful pedophile hurting or killing our children, or some dark and greedy enterprise. Another aspect relative to the question is my concern that the books I’ve written are not necessarily going viral.
Don’t mind me. I feel that much of my life has been spent in introspection, analyzing myself as I lie awake in the night, as I drive the open road, as I view television or a sad movie, even in the middle of a conversation. It’s my way of trying to piece together another part of me that is unknown to me. Maybe in some sort of loose and nebulous nexus I’m creating everyman, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The way I’m built, the crazy DNA I carry inside, does cause me concern. So much emotion and mobility in my early building stages accounts for the calculus here. I’ve always been drawn to the action, crime, drama, mystery, and suspense of the big screen or tube. My wife loves comedies and musicals, the ‘Hallmark Movies’, and neatly trimmed family adventures. I started out loving cowboy movies, then graduated to the more fast-paced ‘True Lies’ and ‘Jesse Stone’ types. That’s all okay for different likes and dislikes. There’s a spiritual part of me that nudges the soul now and then to write something wholesome, like a strong Christian story with an uplifting theme for all ages… Hopefully, one day I shall satisfy that nudge.
If you had not noticed, I’m rambling and trying to figure an apt finish to this post.
Here it is.
I’m doing all this word vacillation when it comes down to this. There is a lot of me in what I write, in the characters I create, and in the plots. There is fun in the penning of my tales, and I experiment with my writing. There are times when I organize a book – in my fashion – and there are times when I simply allow the characters to take me where it is they want to go… This is likely to make a ‘writing purist’ cringe. For me, the process of writing can take any form a person wishes. The readers ultimately will decide if our writing efforts are worthy.
That brings me to the final point of this post.
Writing is enough for me, the process itself…most of the time. Believing I’m under no delusions of grandeur, I truly feel my words are strung together well and tell compelling stories. I get 5-Star reviews which make me feel jubilant. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn are used daily and perhaps for some, ad nauseam. I admit to a certain ineptness in this digital world, but I’m doing so many things to get people to read s books. Apparently, I’m not doing, nor am I capable of doing some of the things I need to be doing. An old man (me) dusted off some manuscripts, rewrote, edited them, wrote several new books along the way, and self-published them. My first ‘Bailey Crane Mystery’ (“Probable Cause”) was picked up by a publisher, eventually went out of print – that book is now “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery” Book One. There are six ‘Bailey Crane’ books in the series – the original book two manuscripts (“Stranger Abduction”) was done on a Star-Writer word processor and the manuscript was lost. Thus, there are six ‘Bailey Crane’ books in lieu of seven. Eventually, I rewrote “Stranger Abduction.”
The final point is taking longer than expected.
The mistake was made, I believe, in coming out with so many books in such a short time. There were no ‘launching parties’ for the books, no book tours, and there was very little internet plugging. Add to that, I’m no longer a young man who can keep the pace of author book signings, events of one kind or another, or other vital networking avenues. So, the point is this: my books are good, and I would like to see them in the hands of readers. Yes, writing is enough for me most of the time, but I do get hungry for reader reaction. Like most authors, I would hope for some gratification. My books are bought too infrequently, and I am at a loss to find some magic buttons to push… Of course, I could turn the books over to someone specializing in all phases of marketing, but that of course is costly.
Sometime ago I did a KDP giveaway of five of my books for five days (likely, it should have been one book instead of five). It looks like some seven hundred total all books were given away during that time, with much tweeting, much Facebook activity, much Goodreads and LinkedIn activity, with my weekly blog announcing the giveaway.
Baring one’s soul is perhaps foolhardy and senseless, but there it is.
What you need to do, kind followers of my blog, other than commiserating, is to start a viral situation with my 20 books and the 370+ blog posts – short stories, flash fiction, and poetry…having not the foggiest idea of how you will do that. Do not worry if you fall short of doing either, the viral thing or commiserating, will still have me doing a weekly blog, valuing you – and still writing my books, flash fiction, and short stories.
A Novel for our troubled Times AND ‘A beautiful Love Story to shade some of our Realities…
Year of the Covid-19 Pandemic!
A man is presumed dead., left in a ditch by the side of a-State-road near Scottsdale, Arizona, badly beaten, with two bullets in his body…
This scenario begins THE POWER MERCHANTS, a book that explores political intrigue and malfeasance at the highest levels of our Federal Government, and the sexual appetites of a billionaire who seduces under-age prepubescent girls for his evil pleasure and to curry favor with some highly placed politicians…
“The Power Merchants” is also a beautiful love story that ‘Romance genre’ readers will find pleasure in watching how it all unfolds…
Plus, there is actual truth in this fictional narrative that encompasses some of the events shaping our world today, certainly not the least of which is the Corona Virus Pandemic and the new policies set in place to fight this juggernaut, some people feel are corrupting our civil liberties…
This is a fast-paced novel that deals with the issues of today, the economic spillage from the pandemic that is affecting every major country in the world…
This novel will keep your interest as you follow the good and bad characters that are on display in “The Power Merchants” – yes, it’s fiction but it smacks of so much truth…your enjoyment is guaranteed in reading this finely crafted literature…
In present time Blake Fielding’s life changes forever after a smash-up on a Phoenix freeway. At the hospital he is given pain medication, and strange things begin to happen…he experiences a ‘time travel’ episode back to 1838 to one of history’s greatest despicable acts – ‘The Trail of Tears’. Back in present time Blake will find the woman of his dreams, find power and money, be involved in a murder, and live some unforgettable moments…both eerie and poetically divine. It is an exciting and beautifully written book – a love story for the ages, plus a whole lot more… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
A book inspired from the unimaginable horror and murders by a Colorado man of his wife and two small daughters…sentenced to ‘Life’ in prison – a ‘life’ imagined by these humble words.
In the pre-dawn hours of August, 2018, a narcissistic, sociopathic father/husband brutally smothered to death his 4-year-old and 3-year-old daughters and his wife who was 18-weeks pregnant, after announcing he wanted a divorce. They argued. He choked his wife in his rage, and the 4-year-old daughter walked into the master bedroom as the husband was wrapping ‘Mommy’ in a sheet for easier carrying her to his pick-up truck. The father then killed his two daughters, drove them to an oil field, buried the mother in a shallow grave, and dropped the daughters into separate crude oil tanks… He then went to work and had coffee with his co-workers. These 36,000+ words cover the horrible homicides, and the narrative covers fictionally the murderer’s life in prison… He is serving a life-sentence.
Three young businessmen find much more than their special deep-sea love of fishing for Grouper and Marlin can bring. This ‘Science Fiction’ adventure brings them to a fateful place in their successful lives when a classic clash of ‘good and evil’ empowers them with a special civic responsibility that can win the battle but lose their lives. This fascinating Sci-Fi story has all the reader might want in a thrilling race against time and a villainous ‘Satanic Group’ set to bring a great nation to its proverbial knees. If you like ‘edge of the seat’ thrills, patriotic heroes of the first order who will fight until the end protecting their faith and the sovereignty of the land they hold dear, this novel will be an exciting escape for those who enjoy. The reader will also find some of the scary elements of our too current political unrest…
Please enjoy the read and leave a book review if you are so inclined…book reviews are the authors’ favorite gauge for further writing.
Amazon.co.uk – UK -https://www.amazon.com/Serpent-Rock-Sci-Fi-Battle-Between-ebook/dp/B083YR8DT8/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=serpent+rock&qid=1617399203&s=books&sr=1-4
A Combo of Action and Love! A handsome internet ‘whiz’ is hired by a global leader in the ‘Information Industry’. Scott Mahlon attends his first company ‘Social Event’ in Dallas Ft. Worth, meets and falls immediately in love with a lady he declares the most beautiful creature his eyes have ever befallen. Scott Mahlon’s fast entry into ‘Love’ lasts all of six and one-half hours before tragedy hits…From there, Scott Mahlon faces inner demons never before encountered. His dream job, his first REAL LOVE, his career dreams all come ripping through his mind like cymbal clashes, and his life in Texas begins under dark gray skies… There is murder. There is a ‘sex ring’ operation. There is a corporate puzzle that Scott and his newfound friend and detective, Bonnie Boone, must figure out together, lest the person and/or persons trying to kill Scott are successful. There is so much more in this romantic thriller, a page-turner mini-epic that blends genres to make this novel an incredible and exhilarating experience. You, the reader, will not be disappointed in this wonderful foremost story of love. Down the evil corridors of despair, murder, sex-rings, will Love win the day? Read this beautifully written book and live in the story, love and hate the characters you meet therein… AND, please, leave a review of your read. Thank you.
A novel inspired by true events but fictionalized in its narrative…Some strange criminal elements are at work in the small town of Mackland, PA: a Mackland patrol officer is ambushed and murdered in 2013; a mother and common law wife goes missing in 2015; the missing woman’s father is killed in a suspicious hunting accident in 2016 -was he getting too close to some truths about his daughter’s disappearance? a mother and daughter are brutally murdered in 2014 – the mother’s & daughter’s throats are slashed, then shot separately in their bedrooms (the daughter went to high school with the missing woman’s daughter); at least two drug gangs operate in the small town, brazenly attacking citizens and bragging about bigger crimes they’ve committed…there’s more, and the town has only 11,000 + population.* Amazon Universal BUY SITE:mybook.to/B00BRBRH02
Hammer’s Holy Grail
Love – Faith – Hope = War – Redemption –
This is a story of love and redemption! Wesley Walton is a star-quarterback for the Grand View University Grinders. His junior high school girlfriend, Wilma, is a cheerleader and Wesley’s forever love…no doubts about their lifetime commitment. Wesley not only battles his gridiron foes but an angry father’s Appalachian heritage. His father abuses Wes’ mother and sister on his frequent visits until a fateful hotel room altercation alters the lives of the family. Wesley will meet a man ravaged by war and lost love, a man who has found peace within himself and accepts his spirituality. This man will become Wesley’s friend, mentor, and father-substitute. If you like football, love stories, family relationships, and Christian values, you will find this novel a tribute to Faith and the frailty of ‘Man’! The author enjoyed the writing of this book as he was able to go back in time and pick up some memories to build his characters and plot-line. The result of his efforts will resonate with readers of all genres. Whatever you’re reading, enjoy, and, leave a book review for the author.
It is a sunny Sunday in May, 1993. After church, a mother and her lovely fourteen-year-old daughter walk three miles to a country store for cigarettes and ice cream. It is a walk that members of the family often take in this rural Sulphur Springs Valley area of southeastern Arizona near the Mexican border.
The mother and daughter arrive at the store in a jovial mood, trading pleasantries with customers and the owners… The daughter timidly flirts with a boy from her school. The daughter and mother leave the store in a silly mood, finger painting ice cream on their faces.
They never make it home…
The deputy sheriff of the county believes there has been a ‘stranger abduction’.
There are lots of action, interesting characters, and romance to go with this fictional account of an incident inspired by true events…events that brought tragedy to a shaken family.
It is a piteous whimper, lost in the black void of the narrow closet. The weak and eerie sound of her own voice chills her more fiercely than the cold. The thought brings an aberrant amusement. Her own small voice frightens her!
A sound! A creaking sound. Far off. A footfall! Is it? No. It is not a footfall. It’s just one of the strange noises that comes in the night.
Is it night?
Time is lost. Time is gone from her world like a chunk of youth. The black hole draws her toward an uncertain vortex. She must close her eyes. But, not so tightly… With eyes open, the blackness comes alive with trickery…
Inspired by a California newspaper account some years ago, this novel has truth along with the author’s story line. It is dark and ugly, like the black closet used for punishment by a malevolent mother whose heart and mind can only know evil. It is poignant and sad in the penning, to know that such cruelty and debasement can exist in one family.
From the black closet to fiery murder in the high Sierras, this shocking tale will scar the soul… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son
(A fictional memoir – 90% + TRUE)
About a Tennessee boy who ate some emotional soup and spent a lifetime trying to digest it. It is the story of a young man leaving east Tennessee and going in search of himself, unprepared for the adult world he is about to enter. Behind him, and, within him, is the emotional debris of his childhood: abuse, broken family, and a substantial part of his soul. Searching for his identity in ‘isms’ and bars, he stumbles, gets up, only to find in the end that legacy and meaning are elusive, a ‘white buffalo’ always somewhere in the shadows.
“The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son” is largely a true story of the author’s own life, a mirror of his past, cracked with the stress of all his memories: a family broken apart by their Appalachian circumstances and the ‘great depression’; a childhood tainted by a father’s abusive nature; an impetuous marriage and a sorrowful divorce; a subsequent search of ‘isms,’ for love and meaning in California and Arizona gin mills; a tableau of horrible events, including a senseless family murder, suicide, and a desert survival.
“The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son,” is the story of fictional Prentice Paul Hiller (me), his life, his heritage, his mistakes, the events that have come to shape him, and the demons within that he cannot dispel. Along the way, he gives his passionate and provocative views on criminal justice, love, politics, religion, war, and his favorite writers. In the end he finds a new love, some hope for redemption, some semblance of meaning and legacy.
The author’s own family roots trace back to the eleventh century in Chetwode, a lovely hamlet north of London… 5-Star reviews on Amazon. Amazon Universal BUY LINK:mybook.to/B004ZGWQY8
The Reluctant Savage (Embraces the genres of Mystery, Suspense, and Romance)
THE STORY: High school sweethearts, Billy Jay Campbell and Marcie Dangino reunite after many years apart. They discover the fire of their young love still glows brightly. With the Air Force behind him, Billy now works as an investigator for a law firm,
Two problems threaten to spoil his homecoming. Marcie is now married to a junior partner at Clarkson and Dangino, a firm that has occasionally employed Billy for their investigative work. The second problem occurs when Billy’s close friend and boss is murdered.
The Reluctant Savage follows a mystery that connects greed, murder, romance, and a love triangle.
A Phoenix, AZ entrepreneur and an ad agency director fall in love in a most unusual way. Their quickly budding relationship is interrupted by sibling clashes, an out- of control gambling addiction, a senseless murder, a grand matriarch’s secret that will ultimately cause unintended emotional chaos and disorientation. This is a book that will draw the reader into the story and compel them to stay glued until the end. The gripping climax to PHOENIX FIRE is powerful, and tissues are recommended. Treat yourself to a marvelous romance, mixed with some suspense and a desert odyssey to save one’s soul. A truly great read… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
What Happens Next? A Life’s True Tale (A Non-Fiction Memoir)
A non-fictional memoir that covers the author’s time in East Tennessee and his whirlwind education in the big world of neon lights, gin mills, pretty ladies, acting, television, stage, and film. It is also a book that takes a remarkably honest look at some mistakes and triumphs. It is a story that has depth beneath the glitter of shiny piano bars and lovely women, beneath a family disconnect and sorrowful musings. The book reveals the author’s relationships in his life, the lamenting moments of despair and loneliness, the never-ending search for meaning, his faith, and the brutal assessments of who he really is. It has the family disconnect, even murder and suicide, and there is always a candor that is both refreshing and shocking in its self-analyses. In the end, it is likely a bio not so different from everyman…just changes in circumstance and event.
These six books are personal and special to the author, particularly Books 1, 4, and 6 – “An Arizona Tragedy”, “Pueblo del Mar,” and “A Common Evil”. In fact, my personal life was emotionally touched by one of the victims and prompted me to write about the various cases involved…
These books were inspired by actual crimes, and it seemed to me best to present the books in a ‘first person narrative’.
Please enjoy the ‘reads’ and leave Amazon ‘book reviews’ if it is convenient for you.
My best wishes to all readers…
NOW, THE SIX BOOKS:
An Arizona Tragedy
– Inspired by true events – Many years ago, a lovely actress friend of mine was brutally murdered in the desert northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. She was a young mother of two children, a legal secretary for two of my attorney buddies, and she was responsible for my acting avocation — we had the same great agent in Scottsdale, Bobby Ball. She had her life in front of her with all the dreams most of our young generation had at the time, but her biggest dream was to have someone to love and a home for her family…
(You are never far from our thoughts, dear lady, and we pray that justice will eventually prevail.)
Meet Bailey Crane, a transplanted son of the south. Bailey is an auxiliary detective, has a soft rep business that brings in easy money, and he’s a part-time actor. Bailey’s got golf, love, money, friends, a hearty life, and he carries an amusing personality with him wherever he goes. He’s a rowdy, good looking rogue with a lot of that southern charm. His heart and his emotions are in his eyes and on his lips … he is not reluctant to share his world.
The young actress/model is brutally murdered in the Arizona desert northeast of Phoenix. The lady is a friend and her homicide begins an adventure for our southern sleuth that takes him down the halls of our nation’s capital where he discovers that fact and fiction are strange bedfellows. Bailey is a marked man, chased by an unknown pursuer with a gun. Wounded, his body battered and bruised, his anger pushes him onward until the puzzle pieces begin to make sense. The exciting climax has a unique twist, and our musing son of the south does not quite know it but the ending is also a beginning… 5-Star reviews on Amazon. AMAZON BUY LINK:
A young woman is murdered in a most gruesome way. The authorities have no leads in the case, and Bailey Crane is sought out by the victim’s desperate mother. She must know the awful truth of her daughter’s death, must come to some semblance of closure. Homicides of young women in other states arouse Bailey’s attention and provide a trail that will lead him to physical and psychological confrontations that will leave his relatively sane world rearranged and shaken. The bizarre conclusion comes in a small mountain town in Colorado. Our always musing southern sleuth will find a very personal and near sacred part of his life finding its own end point. There is emotional pain and there is a new beginning for our endearing Crusader.
“Lake’s face was the face of a memory my mind carried, a face with no discernible sign of hope, a face with no sign of soul.”
This tale begins with a raging warehouse fire that nearly consumes our southern sleuth with the Cherokee blood. A thug arrested in connection to the fire is overheard muttering a cryptic phrase, ‘beware The Brutus Gate.’ The fire and the phrase are the starting point of this story about drugs, murder, rape and political corruption at government’s elite levels.
Bailey Crane and his Phoenix PD buddies chuckle about the pithy ‘Brutus Gate’ remark and the adventure begins. Our Sherlock hero is bounced around by the criminal elements and by his own personal demons of guilt and remorse — all standard fare for the Tennessee man of endless mind queries about his emotions and the state of his life. The action is keen, and the climax comes on an old ranch on the Mexican border just south of Yuma, Arizona.
This is likely a romp you don’t want to miss.
“The Brutus Gate – A Bailey Crane Mystery” is Book 3 in the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series.’ Each Bailey Crane book can be read independently of the other. There is the natural progression of the central character in each succeeding book (aging, loves, experiences).
MURDER IN PUEBLO DEL MAR (BOOK 4) – Inspired by true events –
An Arizona wife and mother is murdered while on holiday in Mexico, and her three children find her brutally beaten and slashed body. Bailey Crane, an auxiliary member of the Phoenix PD, is visiting close friends in Pueblo del Mar, and is asked by the local police chief to assist him in building his case against the transsexual lover of the victim’s husband. Bailey’s Cherokee blood comes to an emotional boil when family and friends get caught up in the web of corruption, drugs, and sex. The highly intense climax comes in a ‘Whale Shack’ in the scrub brush and sand near the Sea of Cortez. This tale has the always soulful musings of our southern Sherlock, a chance encounter with a mysterious mystic who shares his thoughts on Time and Place, and fragile nerves that get edgy and frayed. This tale was inspired by an actual murder so
me years ago, and you don’t want to miss it… 5-Star reviews on Amazon.
– Inspired by truth – Bailey’s intent is fun and sun on the beautiful Sea of Cortez, but an old friend’s request for help changes his immediate plans: the Homeowners Association at the lovely Mar y Sol resort is experiencing some financial problems and its treasurer has just been murdered. His friend’s request for assistance leads to some very scary moments for our southern sleuth. Kidnapped twice, battered, bruised, Bailey finds it all in this caper — murder, money laundering scams, and betrayal. There is a man of intrigue that brings another dimension to the story, and the climactic ending to the tale is riveting, bringing with it an emotional catharsis for our hero. Bailey goes through the mazes, eventually finds his bad guys but he is left with the knowledge that friendship can be fragile and tentative.
PASSAGE FROM THE BOOK:
At the beach, he gave the middle-aged vendor his wallet to hold for him, chatted with him for a while in Spanish, got astride the jet ski and slowly moved out to deeper water. He made a few fast figure eights some five hundred yards offshore, allowing himself some final and nebulous act of rebellion, then pointed the jet ski in a straight line toward the distant horizon. He accelerated, and the jet ski thrust forward, spewing up heavy sprays, bouncing on the sea ruts and ripples. The wind screamed and hurled itself at his face and body, his hair flaring out in demonic poses, his wide lips closed tightly against his clenched teeth. On he went toward a horizon that only got farther away. His mind and body worked to keep balance on the jet ski, his heart pounding inside his chest, his mind focused only on the never diminishing line ahead where the sea meets the sky. Something in the water ahead caught his attention, something orange and heavy metal. He gave the jet ski all that the throttle would give and headed toward the orange object.
Just before the jet ski hit the orange metal, his mind projected the picture of a little boy sobbing, standing sad and forlorn in front of an old deserted house. Tears now came in a mad rush to mix with the sea spray and wind and his ending.
On the beach, the vendor could no longer see the Jet ski and he somehow knew that he would never see the man again. With a premonition, the vendor pulled from his pocket the wallet the man had given him. Inside the wallet was a note and twenty-five hundred dollars. The handwritten note read: “Follow these instructions and you will be a very wealthy man. Do with your life and the money what you will. My hope is that you will use the money for good and noble deeds. You will find your ending a much nicer place to be.” Attached to the note was a website address, numbers and password for an online bank account, instructions for redirecting funds, and further linkage information.
The man in soiled clothes looked toward the distant horizon and saw nothing. While the excitement of the moment overwhelmed him, he replaced the wallet and note in his pocket, stood for moments looking out at the sea. An unaccountable sadness overtook him and he wept for the man he would never know.
Former sleuth Bailey Crane and lovely wife Wendy are enjoying their penthouse pleasures until a cartel sting operation at their Mexican resort brings chaos and emotional uncertainty into a blurry reality. Wendy is kidnapped, and Bailey faces the demons running loose in his mind as he struggles with his choices. Also, President of the resort’s HOA, Bailey has not only kidnapping and murders with which to contend, but other problems which add to this suspenseful chapter in his life. The surprising end point brings back to Bailey and Wendy those memories better left in the memory vault.
An exciting, intense thriller in the sand and cacti of Mexico’s Sonora desert by the beautiful Sea of Cortez. This is the final Book 6 of ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’… 5-Star reviews on
He stared at the ceiling as he reclined on the big bed, his naked body stretched straight, seeking relief from his back pain.
“It’s been years, my son, since your last confession. I hear desperation in your voice. Is the Church your last bastion of hope?”
A mournful smile of contrition and watery eyes looked upward to the ceiling. He would play both parts of this little satire from his soul, not mocking the billions of people who habitually practiced their faith in a Deity, rather, an awkward attempt at an anodyne for his pain.
“Yes, Father, on all accounts…” a back spasm interrupted his soliloquy and he sought another position on the bed. He was too tightly wound and needed to move his limbs in some exercises the cute young lady in physical therapy had insisted he practice each day.
Finally, he found some relief and continued with his conversation with the ‘Holy Father’ there in the center of his ceiling. “Yes, Father, many years, and, in conflicting ways, a lifetime ago, yet, now, here, as the filmstrip of my earthly adventure unveils itself to me, my weekly spiritual visits to your Church seems not so far away.”
The man was almost ready to hear a reply. Not to be, he continued.
“So, on to my confession, Father, one, I fear will take more than a few ‘Hail Marys’ and a heavy penitence to absolve.” The man closed his eyes and his face took on a grimace.
“I confess to one of Man’s oldest of the seven sins, Pride. All my life I’ve taken umbrage with people who sully me, sometimes, in simple remarks that attempt to jest and tease. Perhaps that sin comes from a youthful disconnect with family and a poor quality of life. This sin has cost me friends and love connections. It is also truth to say it is the least of my sins.
“I confess to an earlier life rife with excessive sensual pleasures, Lust/Debauchery of the wicked and most wild, orgy-filled, salacious kind. I sought out and experimented with life’s underworld of Bacchus-plus drug madness. There were moments of intense euphoria, gratification, and immoral depravity.
“And, when the days and nights of playing Nero’s mad fiddle ended, there were tears, self-recrimination, times for soul-wrenching and no resolutions: preparation-time, it could be said, for the next ‘big toot’.
“I confess, Father, to periods of Envy, of Sloth, of Gluttony, and of Greed.
“There remains one more sin, Father, that of Wrath. I have saved it for the final portion of my confession because there was a prelude of most, if not all, the seven virtues before its denouement… a period in my life of happiness so fulfilling, so real, that it seemed my life had found its right and true moral compass.
“Having run the gamut of my ‘fiddling’ days, I sought to find a more righteous purpose in my life. A friend of mine who had been lost in the same forest of shame as I invited me to go to church with him on a beautiful Sunday morning in June. After smiling stupidly at the idea, I decided to go…to see how the ‘moral half’ lived.
“Are you still with me, Father? Have I lost you in my recount of decadence?”
The man could almost see the Father’s smile. “How could I not? What with such an interesting life you present to me?”
“You, Father, speak with a forked tongue. You must know it’s the fires of hell I’m destined for!
“Whatever, at the beautiful church with my friend, I met Maureen, a woman of remarkable beauty I felt destiny had placed in my path. We both felt a Karmic bonding and began a long relationship which ended in marriage.
“Our love was pure and, by any standard, storybook. We danced in the moonlight and worked every day at our jobs, saved our money and became wealthy, mostly by her artistic talent and her huge following. We were together all the moments we were not working or at a painting exhibition.
“We had a baby boy who died in his sixth month of an undiagnosed tumor.
“Maureen and I were devastated by Brian’s death, but, for her, there was an emptiness she could not fill. She began drinking. She stopped painting, and fate pulled her from me into the arms of another man. She was still trying to fill the void left by Brian.
“We began to argue, our spats becoming an ugly, yet another obtrusion to our love.
“Last night, Maureen arrived home after midnight, clearly in the mood for another spat. I pleaded with her to go to bed. She became infuriated with me and began slapping me. The slaps made me angry, and I tried to wrap my arms around her to carry her off to bed. She stomped my foot with the heel of her shoe and pushed me backward. I began to fall and grabbed her wrist instinctively to secure my footing. Then, she, too, began to fall, and I let go so she could get her footing. Her head banged loudly into the granite counter in our bar area and she went down onto the carpet, blood spreading out in a profuse flow from the gash. Maureen died last night, Father.”
The man could almost hear the sorrow in the Father’s voice, see the pain on his face through a small imagined window in a small imagined confessional. On the bed, as tears flowed from the man’s eyes, he saw a pale shadowy figure, an apparition, Maureen, her arms extended toward him, her sad tearful eyes and still beautiful face beckoning to him.
The man’s face was covered in tears, his voice gagging and pitiful gasps, as he thrust the butcher knife upward into his heart.
The bedroom was silent in its darkness as the two wraiths walked across the room to eternity.
The Reluctant Savage (Embraces the genres of Mystery, Suspense, and Romance)
THE STORY: Set in Phoenix, AZ High school sweethearts, Billy Jay Campbell and Marcie Dangino reunite after many years apart. They discover the fire of their young love still glows brightly. With the Air Force behind him, Billy now works as an investigator for a law firm,
Two problems threaten to spoil his homecoming. Marcie is now married to a junior partner at Clarkson and Dangino, a firm that has occasionally employed Billy for their investigative work. The second problem occurs when Billy’s close friend and boss is murdered.
The Reluctant Savage follows a mystery that connects greed, murder, romance, and a love triangle.
Don’t miss this fast-paced, gritty novel!
See 5-Star Reviews at amazon!
SAMPLE: FRONT SECTION OF BOOK:
Current Time: Now
“You read this stuff a lot?”
His wry smile mocked her while she found the musk from his body diametrically pleasing. He knew there would be no answer to his question as he turned the book over several times in his hand, then tossed it absently on the bedside table. The book skidded over the table and fell to the floor out of sight in the dark corner. He stood and paced in the small bedroom, smacked himself on the right hip as he walked.
“You really don’t like me very much. Know how I can tell? Want to know how I can tell? Just give me a nod. You don’t need to talk, even if you could…Oh, Christ!”
He stopped pacing, pulled a tissue from the box on the bed table, and wiped her nose. He threw the tissue on the floor in disgust. “Stop with the sniffling and the runny nose mess. Got me feeling like a nursemaid. I’m going to let you go in a bit. I’ve got some thinking and talking to do. Then, I’ll let you go. Not much longer now, so try to relax.”
He looked down at the young woman on the bed, slowly ran his left hand through her golden hair, saw the redness around her eyes and cheeks. Gently he guided his fingers along her forehead and sat softly next to her.
An involuntary tautness came to her body, but she felt no panic. The man fingered the edges of the wide white tape that covered her lips and suddenly stripped it away.
The girl gasped, her eyes widened, and she began to open her mouth.
“Now, listen up,” the man said as his right hand closed over her lips, “I took the tape off, but you can’t be yelling and screaming. You got me? Blink if you do.”
The girl blinked and let out a deep sigh. “I would never scream and yell… you should know that. Can I have some water?” she asked weakly as the man took his hand away.
“In a minute, I’ll get you water, but now you have to listen. Will you listen to me, Marcie? I don’t want to put this tape back on you.”
“Yes,” her voice barely audible. “Can you please untie me? I hurt so badly.”
“Maybe…Yes, I will, but you have to listen first. Will you listen?”
“Yes, I told you I would,” her voice weak and cracking.
The man hesitated there on the bed for several seconds, staring steadily into the pleading eyes of the young woman. “Ah, what the hell, I’ll get your water now.”
The man left the room quickly, and the woman called Marcie closed her eyes and breathed deeply for the few seconds he was gone. As best she could she slowly arched and moved her body and wondered how long all of this would last. She in fact wondered how all of this had really begun…
When he returned, he stood silently in the doorway with a tall glass of water and watched the girl’s torpid stretching of her body, her face wrinkling with the aching moves. She was not trying to escape. She was only seeking some measure of comfort from the bindings. He came to a decision. Fateful or not, he had to do it. He hurried to the bed, placed the glass of water on the bedside table.
“Okay, I’m going to take away the bindings, but you have got to promise me you won’t try to get away from me…not until you’ve heard me out – not until you have completely heard me out. Do you understand me? Do you promise? You won’t have to try to escape when I’m finished. I’ll let you go. Do you promise, Marcie?”
“Yes, Billy,” came her soft broken reply, “I promise. I don’t want to escape from you. I wish you knew that. Just let me have my body back.”
Billy undid the bindings from the posts of the bed, then from her arms and ankles. When he laid the white rubber-corded bindings in four separate loop piles on the floor next to the bed, he held out the glass of water. He held the glass while Marcie squirmed, turned, and he could hear the sounds of her body responding to the release from bondage.
For a while Marcie lay curled in a fetal position on the bed, silent, moaning in near orgasmic release. Finally, she began to unfold herself, limb by limb, opening and closing her fingers, moving the various joints, until she ended up with her back against the headboard of the bed. Her short gold and lavender dress hiked up to show the gold bikini panties, and she made no attempt in her weakness to hide them. Some of her previous fear had left her. An uncertain calmness was spreading through her.
“Here, Marcie, drink some water.” She took the glass, spilled some drops on her bared thighs, and sipped cautiously at first, then gulped the water down. She sat uncertainly holding the empty glass until he took it from her.
“You want more?” he asked.
She meekly shook her head side to side, and painfully raised her arms above her head two times. She then leaned again against the headboard.
Billy moved the chair closer to the bed just a few feet from where Marcie now sat. With his nearness, her legs were drawn tightly together, and she pulled at her dress to hide her gold silk panties. It was more a gesture than a concern. He looked in her eyes softly and steadily until the silence between them prompted him to speak: “You’re so damned lovely, Marcie, I…”
He didn’t allow her to finish the question. His mood subtly shifted, as though reminding himself that he could not go back to where his thoughts were taking him. “You are to listen, Marcie, remember?”
She nodded her assent, but added, “I’m queasy, Billy. Can I have some crackers?”
“When I’m finished you get your crackers. The water will hold you. Now, be quiet and listen to me…”
“Just a few crackers, Billy, that’s all, and another glass of water… Please! I’m feeling nauseous. Maybe it’ll settle my stomach.”
He sighed, blinked his eyes, shook his head and almost smiled. He got up, grabbed the empty glass off the nightstand, and left the room. Going out the bedroom door, he looked back at Marcie and gave her a thoughtful nod. He returned shortly with a paper napkin holding several saltines and the glass of water. Putting the water on the bedside table he handed her the napkin and soda crackers.
“Now, eat your crackers and don’t talk. I’ve got to get this said…” He watched her daintily nibble at the crackers, pausing to swallow with some effort. She almost choked with her first swallow, but he handed her the water to help force the food down. She managed to finish the crackers, more water, and appeared to be feeling better. Then Marcie closed her eyes for a moment, reopened them, and leaned back against the headboard.
“Thank you, Billy,” she muttered weakly as she tried to clear her throat of any lingering crackers. “I’ll be quiet now and let you talk.”
He bowed his head briefly as he picked a start point for his monologue. “You know none of this had to happen, and it’s so stupid to even hear me say that! Dammit, give me a time machine. Let me go back and get a second chance at all this But, damn, it did happen! You, I, Jerry, Albert, the frigging finger of fate. You’re beautiful, Marcie, and you know it, and you use it. You drove me crazy with it. You wanted too damned much from Jerry and me, and when you got it you turned it all inside out and made this happen…”
“But, Billy, you know…”
“Shush, Marcie. I’ve got to get it out, so be quiet. That night, after the big dinner banquet, that night began this whole thing. Jerry drunk, you and creepy Albert half drunk and playful there in our little corner of the Eastside Tennis Club Lounge, and, yeah, I had a little buzz as well. It was Jerry, feeling his booze, who was dredging up the ‘fun game’ he got from the comedian. He was like a silly schoolboy about his idea. I can still see the wrinkled look on your face when he brought it up, the way you looked sort of embarrassed, the way you looked at all of us at the table. You gave him that, ‘Oh, Jerry, don’t be silly’ look. You put on a good show. Albert was the only one who didn’t have a clue. He was still up for more fun and games with you, the bastard! Guess I could have lived with it all, Marcie, but your part of setting me up…”
“But, I didn’t, Billy.”
“Shush, I’m talking here. Yeah, maybe I could have lived with it all until my ass was on the line, until I was the one to take the fall for something that was all ‘Swahili’ to me. Me, I was a really ripe country pumpkin ready for the pie bowl.”
“But it wasn’t that way, Billy. You have to believe me. It was Albert.”
“That’s Bull, Marcie, Albert hardly knew what was happening.”
“That was all an act, Billy. Albert knew much more than he let on. It was his evil doing all along. The little flirtatious business between Albert and me was all just fun and games, something we started at the beginning of my employment there. There was never anything serious between us.”
“Funny how you didn’t sing these songs when I was passed out on the floor, blood all over me. In the end you ran up here to your new cabin.”
“Billy, I thought you were dead. Please believe me! Albert was the only ringmaster for that little ‘solve the murder’ game. He used Jerry just like he used you. I didn’t trust him, but I also didn’t know what he was up to.”
“You really expect me to believe that? After all this crap I’ve been through, you’re just going to tell me that this was all Albert. You, sweet little Marcie, had no part in it at all. You’re something else. You want to be tied and taped again until I finish?”
“You don’t have to finish, Billy. I know you didn’t kill the little girl. I know you didn’t kill Jerry. And, you didn’t kill Albert and his wife. I killed Albert after he killed his wife and kid and came after me!”
“Jesus! Will you still use me like this? Have I been in a Grimm fairy tale all along? Do you have not an ounce of decency and feeling in you, Marcie? I’m eager to tell you this story of mine, and you’re telling me I have no story to tell. I was there, remember? The little girl, the woman, Jerry, and Albert, they were all there dead when I regained some senses. Their blood was all over me. They were all dead.”
Billy paused as the image of the little girl came and somehow got stuck in his throat. The memory quakes made him turn briefly away from Marcie. He shuttered and almost cried. Then his brain dipped and swooned for a moment. Maybe some of the brain action was coming from the old air force injury.
“Billy, it was Albert. He easily manipulated Jerry into bringing up the ‘game.’ He manipulated you. He manipulated all of us. That’s the truth, I swear it!”
“Marcie, don’t do this to me.”
“I swear to you it is true.”
“So why did you run, Marcie? Where were you when I came out of my drugged daze, blood all over me, bodies everywhere?”
“I was afraid, Billy. My God. I thought you were dead. Forgive me for being so weak and terrified. Albert was still making some small movements on the floor. I was afraid, and I’m ashamed that I left you. With all the blood on you, I was sure you were dead. I know better now. I know that Albert made sure you had blood all over you. That had to be his plan, Billy, but I didn’t know his plan. I swear to you, I did not know his plan.”
“Where did you get the gun to kill Albert? Were there guns all over the place?”
“Jerry gave it to me to carry, just in case there was any trouble – he worried about me after he got beat up after that merger meeting. Look, Billy, everyone was dead, or, I thought so, when I came into that room. Shock overtook me and I saw Albert standing over the dead girl on the bed. There was a gun next to him on the bed. He saw me, started to pick up the gun, and I shot him two, three times. He fell, twitched a couple times, and I ran. I’m sorry, Billy, but that’s the truth. I just had to be out of that room. I’m a coward but I would never have left had I known you were alive.”
“Why did you run here to the cabin?” Why not run to the police?”
“Jerry had just gotten this place. Nobody knew about it. People do stupid things in a crisis. The cabin was my first thought, just to be away from everything, where no one knew where I was. There was just so much to explain, and I wasn’t up to it. I ran to the car and drove up here. All I’ve said, Billy, I swear it’s all the truth.”
“Are you also going to tell me you love me? Even now, when I’ve had you imprisoned here for all these hours?”
“Yes, I’m going to tell you I love you, because I do.”
“That didn’t seem the case a short while ago, with the tears, the runny nose, and the fear in your eyes. You thought I was some kind of monster.”
“Damn it, Billy, my body was hurting. My brain was working overtime. The tears were not so much from fear as from sadness at seeing you this way.”
“God, Marcie, if I thought you meant any of what you’re saying, your words would take some of the pain away. It would maybe bring back some sanity I fear I’ve lost. It would…”
Suddenly, there were loud crashing sounds and harsh voices coming from behind the closed bedroom door.
Instinctively, Billy rose from his chair with wild eyes, mouth agape, and moved quickly toward the only window in the small room. Amid a chorus of shrieks, the door burst open and Billy was slammed on the back of the head as he tried to exit the window. He fell limp and totally unconscious to the floor.
[End of Sample]
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