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Written Off – Blitz

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Forensic Handwriting Series, Book 7
Mystery, Suspense
Date Published: November 2017
Publisher: Suspense Publishing
 
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In the dead of winter, handwriting expert Claudia Rose journeys to Maine to retrieve a manuscript about convicted female serial killer, Roxanne Becker. The manuscript, written by Professor Madeleine Maynard, who was, herself, brutally murdered, exposes a shocking secret: explosive research about a group of mentally unstable grad students selected for a special project and dubbed “Maynard’s Maniacs.” Was Madeleine conducting research that was at best, unprofessional—and at worst, downright harmful, and potentially dangerous? Could that unorthodox research have turned deadly?
Claudia finds herself swept up in the mystery of Madeleine’s life—and death. But she soon realizes that Madeleine left behind more questions than answers, and no shortage of suspects. The professor’s personal life yields a number of persons who might have wanted her dead—and her academic success and personal fortune clearly made her the envy of fellow faculty members. The University anticipates being the beneficiary of Madeline’s estate—but that seems in question when a charming stranger, claiming to be Madeleine’s nephew, turns up brandishing a new will.
The local police chief prevails upon Claudia to travel into town to examine the newly produced, handwritten will. Rushing back to Madeleine’s isolated house to escape an impending storm, Claudia becomes trapped in a blizzard. With a killer.
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 Excerpt
December 3
The cabin was the size of a master bedroom; a ramshackle shed whose cedar logs had expanded and contracted, until the spaces between them were large enough to admit small vermin. Inside, the musty smell and scat on virtually every surface confirmed that many such creatures had availed themselves of the accommodations over the years while it fell into disrepair.
It had been unused for so long that few in the village of Summerhays remembered that the cabin stood—or more accurately, leaned—in the overgrown clearing in the woods, let alone who had built it, though most folks readily agreed that given the one room, a hunter was more likely than a family to have occupied the place.
No evidence of any dweller endured; no furnishings other than a rough-hewn kitchen chair. No guesses how long the chair had stood in front of the old wood-burning stove, waiting for someone to sit down and warm their hands.
Each summer, the vegetation crept closer to the cabin. What little light that managed to penetrate the sagging windows was murky at best. In winter, even when the trees were stripped of their leaves as they were now, the metallic snow-laden skies darkened the cheerless room to a permanent dusk.
It was through those grimy, sagging windows that searchers spotted the remains of Professor Madeleine Maynard.
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About the Author

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Like her fictional character Claudia Rose in the award-winning Forensic Handwriting Mysteries series, Sheila Lowe is a real-life forensic handwriting expert. She holds a Master of Science degree in psychology and has taught forensic handwriting examination at the University of California Riverside Campus in the CSI Certificate program and at the University of California Santa Barbara Campus in the Discovery program. She’s also the author of the internationally acclaimed “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis” and “Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous,” as well as the Handwriting Analyzer software. Sheila’s analyses of celebrity handwriting are often seen in the media. She lives in Valencia, CA.
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LAST CALL – PROMO BLITZ

The Sherri Travis Mystery Series, Book 7
Mystery
Date Published: October 31, 2017
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Down in Key West, Sherri Travis and her best friend Marley are looking for a little fun in the sun. Promising to be back for last call, Marley leaves the Rawhide Saloon with an Elvis impersonator. She doesn’t return. With Hurricane Alma turning toward Key West, and the police saying Marley must be missing for seventy-two hours before they start searching, Sherri and Lexi Divine, a six-foot tall drag queen, hunt for Marley amidst the chaos of the evacuation.
Other Books in the The Sherri Travis Mystery Series:
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Margarita Nights
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 1
Sex in a Sidecar
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 2
A Brewski for the Old Man
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 3
Champagne for Buzzards
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 4
Highball Exit
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 5
Martini Regrets
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 6
Excerpt
 
Thursday, May 18th
96 hours before Hurricane Alma hits Key West
Lunging into water up to my knees, I threw myself into the canoe, tipping it wildly until it threatened to roll. The paddle cracked against the side, signaling where I was. A yell went up in the dark, “She’s here!”
Beside me, Marley screamed, “Slow down.”
I gulped air. The terrifying memory of the Everglades receded and the sun shone again, but my heart still hammered in my ears and fear still trickled sweat down my body.
“Shit, Sherri, you’re going to kill us. Pay attention!”
“I am,” I said, but she knew it wasn’t true. Terrifying images, dangerous waking nightmares, were a daily part of my life since Clay’s murder. I glanced over at Marley. She had her bare feet braced against the dash, one hand locked to the back of my seat and the other one clutching the door, ready for the crash. The freckles she hated stood out on her pale face. Trying to make light of her fears, and diminish any fault of mine, I waved at the empty road in front of us where only a mirage of heat danced on the fiery asphalt. “There’s no one but us out here. What are you afraid of?”
“Dying, you idiot.”
The speedometer was closer to one hundred than it was to ninety. I backed off a little and took a deep breath. All the crosses and plastic flowers along the road said she might have a point.
“Pull over,” she said. “I’ll drive.” I eased up a little more on the gas but I didn’t pull over.
We’d come down the west coast of Florida from Cypress Island, and now we were going east on Alligator Alley toward Miami. “You drove to Fort Myers so I drive the rest of the way. That was the deal,” I said. Ahead of us, a flamingo flew low over the road, racing us toward the Atlantic. “Relax and enjoy the scenery.” I needed to be in control. I was the only one who could deal with the disaster when it came, and my head was in a place where the only thing coming was disaster.
About the Author

Phyllis Smallman’s first novel, MARGARITA NIGHTS, won the inaugural Unhanged Arthur award from the Crime Writers of Canada after being shortlisted for the Debut Dagger in the U.K. and the Malice Domestic in the U.S.. Her writing has appeared in both Spinetingler Magazine and Omni Mystery Magazine. The Florida Writer’s Association awarded CHAMPAGNE FOR BUZZARDS a silver medal for the best mystery and her fifth book, HIGHBALL EXIT, won an IPPY award in 2013. LONG GONE MAN won the Independent Publisher’s IPPY Gold Award as best Emystery/thriller in 2014. The Sherri Travis mystery series was one of six chosen by Good Morning America for a summer read. Before turning to a life of crime, Smallman was a potter. She divides her time between a beach in Florida and an island in the Salish Sea. Visit her website at www.phyllissmallman.com
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