A cold-blooded murder. The victim: A fourteen-year-old boy. The shooter waits patiently for the cops and calmly explains his right to kill the boy. “I was defending my property.” Can Deputy Andi Pelton find the evidence to break through the killer’s stand-your-ground defense? Suddenly, Sheriff Ben Stewart almost dies and cannot campaign for re-election. Andi knows she must take his place—her nemesis, Deputy Brad Ordrew, runs unopposed and he’s promised to fire her when he’s sheriff. Can she stand her own ground to stay in Monastery Valley while she tries to solve the murder and defends herself against scurrilous political ads paid for by a mysterious stranger?
Other books in the Monastery Valley Mystery Series:
Climbing the Coliseum
Monastery Valley, Book 1
It’s the rugged Monastery Valley of Montana. High on the cliff called the Coliseum stands a man, deciding whether to live or die. In the valley below, Grace Ellonson, fourteen, will be abandoned by her mother. Where has Grace’s mother gone, and why has she left her daughter behind? A rancher will be seduced into a racist and anti-government conspiracy—who’s leading the conspiracy and what are his plans? Depressed psychologist Ed Northrup and Monastery Valley newcomer deputy sheriff Andi Pelton struggle to unravel these mysteries before they explode in a violent collision. And amid the chaos, Ed, Andi, and Grace must face the most formidable decision of their lives.
When cattle baron Magnus Anderssen collapses mentally, psychologist Ed Northrup struggles to find the cause – a terrible event buried in Magnus’s past leaving him veering between suicide and murder. Meanwhile, Deputies Andi Pelton and Brad Ordrew clash as they investigate Jared Hansen, a boy caught with rifles and a paranoid plan to kill his schoolmates. Their problem? Jared, a great kid, a school leader, has no previous problems. Ordrew’s convinced Jared’s a mass shooter-in-waiting, but Andi’s not. Ed joins their search for whatever caused his radical transformation from great kid to psychotic killer. It’s a race against time: Magnus grows more irrational and homicidal, Jared’s insanity may not be controlled before it’s too late, and Ed’s risky plan to save the boy may destroy his relationship with Andi. Nobody’s Safe Here, a psychological thriller, tells the story of a community of ordinary, decent people facing terrifying mysteries.
A mysterious fire in a remote forest clearing; a woman’s charred bones; unexplained tracks in the rutted road—the only clues Deputy Andi Pelton has to what happened. Then she meets an old man living alone in a forest compound that obviously houses many people. Sex trafficking in the Montana wilderness? As Andi and psychologist Ed Northrup struggle to solve the brutal and fiery murder, Andi faces a fear she didn’t know she had. The horrors they unearth lead them deep into the appalling reality of prison gangs and a cult led by a malign Bishop—and threaten to overwhelm Andi and Ed’s romance and her growing bond with her “step-girlfriend,” Ed’s adopted daughter, Grace. Will that center hold when Andi finds the killer holding a knife against her throat? And if it does and she succeeds, will she be able to face her greater fear?
Bill Percy, an award-winning novelist, draws on his experiences as a psychotherapist to write vivid, engaging tales of people confronting painful and challenging mysteries. His previous novels in the Monastery Valley series, Climbing the Coliseum, Nobody’s Safe Here, and The Bishop Burned the Lady, were finalists or distinguished favorites in multiple book award competitions. Bill lives with his wife, Michele, in Hope, Idaho, above the shore of idyllic Lake Pend Oreille in the shadow of the rugged Cabinet Mountains.
The doorbell rings in the home of a prominent Palm Beach citizen, quickly followed by a shotgun blast that shatters a window, cracking the calm of a cool January night. Rodger Kriger falls to the floor, mortally wounded, leaving a wife and six children.
Murder in Palm Beach: The Homicide That Never Died is closely based on a sensational, real murder that happened in the posh ocean-side town in 1976. In the thin guise of fiction, the book contains shocking new information never before made public. Author Bob Brink, an award-winning journalist, was a newspaper reporter in the locale where the assassination occurred. It made media headlines for 15 years.
An ambitious prosecutor pins the deed on Mitt Hecher, a hoodlum and karate expert. At Hecher’s trial, fellow jail inmates testify that he confessed. He is convicted and sentenced to the brutal and anarchic state prison at Raiford, where a stabbing a day and a killing a week are the “mean” average.
Judges repeatedly frustrate Hecher and several attorneys working without fees to get a new trial, as investigators pursue myriad scenarios. Meanwhile, his wife contracts a deadly disease.
Was Hecher innocent, and if so, who did it? Did the sons of a wealthy Cuban kill Kriger? Were the operators of a gambling enterprise out to get him? Was a love triangle the basis for the shooting? Did a vicious underworld figure do the bidding of a criminal gang? Was a prominent politician behind the slaying? Those are the questions seeking answers amid the exploration of issues of justice and power.
Murder in Palm Beach is the saga of a battle between a man whose swagger has sent him spiraling to the bottom and powerful, sinister forces determined to keep him there. It is a narrative of redemption wrapped in a mystery tale reeking with power, sex, and violence. It also contains a heart-rending love story.
“Johnny Traynor?” “Who’s this?”
Palladin did not remember him sounding timorous. “An acquaintance from way back. Tom Palladin.”
“Oh, yes. I remember. Haven’t seen you around for a long time.”
“I had a little difficulty finding your new number. Finally got it from a friend of yours, Davey Ross.”
“Oh, yeah, I moved inland a few years ago.”
“You used to live near the Shore Club. I thought you liked hanging out there. Why would you want to leave the neighborhood?
“Well … to tell the truth, things got a little dicey.” “You talking about the Kriger murder?”
“Well … uh … yeah, sort of.”
“I’d like to get together with you and chat about that. I have some new information.”
“Yeah, I guess so. I don’t know if I have anything that will help you.”
“Where do you live?”
Traynor gave directions to a duplex apartment on the west side of West Palm Beach.
“How about two p.m. tomorrow?” Palladin asked.
“Yeah, that’s okay. I’m working on a guy’s car, and I’ve got plenty of time to finish it.”
“See you then.”
The neighborhood was seedy. Most of the houses were small, run-down, wood-frame structures. Early-model cars and trucks, the paint usually fading, occupied driveways, littered lawns, or sat on the street in front. Patches of dried grass sprinkled with pale green contrasted with splotches of bare, sandy earth, like the shabby clothes of a tramp with tatters that revealed his skin. Traynor’s duplex was the only property on the block that didn’t look slummy to Palladin: a white, concrete-block structure with sidewalks leading to two screen doors opening to wooden front doors. Prosaic, but the grass was mostly green, and the car in the driveway, only a few years old, looked well-cared-for.
He parked on the street and walked to the unit on the right.
Opening the screen door, he knocked.
It struck Palladin like a light flipped on in a dark room.
Something was different about the man who opened the door. “Come in,” Traynor said. He gestured toward an armless,
cushiony chair. “Sit down. Want a beer? Or Coke? I mean, you want a Coca Cola?” Paladdin noticed he was unsteady.
“Thanks. Are you renting here?”
“No. I bought the duplex and rent out the other half. Gives me a little income.”
“Your place doesn’t look bad. Best one on the block.”
“I’ve gotta keep it up in order to rent it out. I rent it month-to- month and charge a big rate. A lot of my renters are people with criminal backgrounds like me who can’t find anyplace else. That’s why I bought this place. Nobody would rent to me.”
Palladin could see what had changed in the man. No longer exuding cocky self-confidence, he appeared timid, almost frightened. Sitting on the couch, smoking a cigarette, his hand trembled. Then it hit Palladin. Coke. The quick clarification of the offer of Coca Cola. Traynor was a cocaine addict.
“Let me tell you why I called. I found out something from a couple of sources. I know who shot Rodger Kriger.”
Palladin saw Traynor blanch. He looked without seeing at Palladin, then raised the cigarette to his lips with a shaky hand and took his time inhaling. He turned his head to blow the smoke away from his guest.
“I think you know who it is, too.”
Traynor leaned forward to the glass-topped coffee table
and snuffed his cigarette out in a small plastic ash tray. He straightened and looked away from Palladin, who noticed his face was grave.
“If it gets out that I told you this, I’ll prob’ly get killed.” He turned to look at Palladin. “You understand? You have to agree not to publish this.”
Palladin said he wouldn’t publish Traynor’s name, but would use the information he provided to dig for details about the murder. Traynor said he was okay with that.
“I drove the getaway car.”
About the Author
Bob Brink is a journalist who worked with the Palm Beach Post, The Associated Press in Chicago, Milwaukee Journal, Tampa Tribune, Joliet Herald-News, and Palm Beach Media Group (magazines). His byline has been on thousands of news stories, features, and entertainment reviews.
He has been a freelance writer for several years, and is the author of several books. To promote his current novel, MURDER IN PALM BEACH: The Homicide That Never Died, he has a website, www.bobbrinkwriter.com. From the site, he blogs on three passions: grammar, alternative health care, and socio-political issues.
Brink’s first book, A TALE OF TWO CONTINENTS: Jetting Across the Globe to Have a Baby, is a short memoir that he ghost-wrote for a woman. Almost simultaneously, he authored BREAKING OUT, a coming-of-age novel about a troubled young man. Recently, he compiled a book of short stories titled THE WAY IT WAS: Short Stories and Tall Tales.
Brink has won numerous writing accolades and several awards, including three for Palm Beach Illustrated, which won the Best Written Magazine award from the Florida Magazine Association after he became copy chief and senior writer.
He was a reporter for the Palm Beach Post when the crime that MURDER IN PALM BEACH is based on occurred. It was an enormously sensational event that was featured six years later on a national TV show, and made newspaper headlines for 15 years. A karate expert went to prison for the deed, but many doubted his guilt. A newspaper reporter spent years investigating, and made shocking discoveries about the assassination and the person behind it.
Besides dabbling in short-story writing over the years, Brink immersed himself in learning to play the clarinet and tenor saxophone. He performed many years with an estimable, 65-piece community symphonic band, and played a few professional big band gigs. He relegated music to the back seat after embarking on writing novels. He is a fairly proficient ballroom dancer and a health enthusiast.
A product of Michigan and Iowa, Brink has a bachelor’s degree in English from Drake University in Des Moines and completed graduate journalism studies at the University of Iowa.
After a temperamental meltdown on stage, Sean Hightower, a regretful and resentful “one-hit wonder” rock musician hoping for a comeback, returns to his girlfriend’s condo seeking comfort from the woman he loves. But after letting himself in, he discovers her naked body on the bed, murdered from a bullet to the head. When the police detective arrives and sees the two taped pieces of paper on the wall with the word, “hello,” on one and “goodbye,” on the other, he realizes that the renowned serial killer, The Beatles Song Murderer, has struck again. In the days that follow, he reaches another conclusion—the Beatles Song Murderer is probably somebody Sean knows. Now the detective needs Sean’s help to find the killer.
About the Author
After several years devoted to poetry, followed by a few minor achievements as a professional song lyricist, I eventually decided to write a novel, culminating in the completion of The Poe Consequence, a supernatural thriller/human drama that received Books-and-Authors.net’s Supernatural Thriller of the Year, Kirkus Reviews’ listing as a top Indie book of the year, and a Finalist placing in 2017’s International Book Excellence Awards competition. Signed to a contract with Black Opal Books in June of 2018, it will be re-released through them later this year.
My second novel, also published by Black Opal Books, is entitled, You Say Goodbye. It’s a whodunit murder mystery featuring a Beatles influenced theme, a one-hit wonder ex-rock star, and a little girl with cancer who’s a big fan of the LA Lakers. The child’s character was inspired by the life, and unfortunate death, of Alexandra Scott from the Alex’s Lemonade foundation.
Although I currently pay the bills through a long career in the landscape industry, in my heart I’ve always considered myself a creative writer first and foremost. And as I’ve often replied when asked about my license plate that reads, Do Write, “I make my living through landscape, but I make my loving through writing.”
The life of this character is full of contradictory information and rumours. Both his date of birth and home town are uncertain. Some say he hails from a suburban ghetto in Lisbon (Portugal); while others claim that he was born in eastern Russia, in the city of Vladivostok, sometime in the ‘60s.
According to gossips, he worked for the Reagan Administration in the early ‘80s, and helped to weaken the Soviet economy, although others say that he worked for the KGB as a spy in the western world.
At the end of the ‘80s, he was spotted in Seattle, working as a grunge music producer under the pseudonym of Johnny Blanco.
His location was mystery for over a decade until, at the beginning of the century, he emerged as an executive in the burka trade between the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan with the name of Mustafa Blanco. Clashes between the Taliban and US troops forced him to vanish again for a while.
Nowadays, there are some rumours that he became a hermit and lives in the woods of a small town, No Name, Colorado, United States, spending his time reading and writing; others, however, claim that he resides in Tennessee as a country music singer, with the name Marcogekson Blanco.
What is certain is that he wrote two books. The first one, The Good Dictator, was a real failure; although it was translated into several languages, it only sold two copies. The second one, Manual for a Murder, was said to incite violence and killing, and has been banned in several countries, including Tuvalu and Kyrgyzstan.
Meet David Wagers, a cool, collected and incredibly handsome Private Investigator in the New York City area. David is hired to investigate the unsolved murder case of Courtney Tabbin, a popular, young woman with a promising future. Along the way, David encounters some interesting and suspicious characters and a complex office drama. Was Courtney’s murder just a random act of violence, or something more personal?
While digging deeper for answers, David also manages to juggle an understaffed office and even forms an alluring, new friendship with Victoria under the unlikeliest of circumstances. With impeccable skills of observation, deduction and razor-sharp instincts, David moves steadily towards solving the case but not without a few twists and turns, and managing to turn a few heads along the way.
Work & Wagers (David Wagers Case #1), a cozy murder mystery, is the first book in the new and exciting David Wagers detective series.
David could already hear the phone ringing as he unlocked his office door. “I guess I really need to get someone in here,” he acknowledged to himself, knowing that he should have hired an assistant a good month ago. Business was beginning to pick up and no longer consisted of just background checks and unfaithful spouses.
His office suite was in a mid-rise building and consisted of two rooms; a small waiting room and his even smaller private office. It really wasn’t a bad trade off considering he had a view – or a snippet of a view – of the New York City skyline.
Sitting at his desk, David snapped his laptop into its docking station and turned it on. He would need to weed through his voicemail messages but that would have to wait for the time being.
One call that he had received the evening before was from Walter Huffs, a respected local attorney. Walter’s niece had been murdered and the crime remained unsolved. Concerned for his sister’s mental health and not wanting the case to go cold, Walter had hired him to investigate further. It was a case that David really wanted to handle, for a number of reasons.
“Courtney Tabbin,” he typed into the search engine on his sluggish computer. Page after page of search results came up. David began to comb through each and every one of them.
He remembered the incident very well. No more than a year ago, Courtney Tabbin’s body had been found in a secluded wooded area in Northern New Jersey, savagely beaten and left in a nearby stream. There had been no sign of sexual assault. Stolen items including a necklace and a wallet containing cash suggested a robbery, but the nature of the wounds suggested something more.
“I will have to speak to your sister, Joanne, about your niece,” David had said to Walter at the time, “and in doing so she will have to relive the crime and the loss of her daughter all over again. Will she be up for it?”
“Yes,” Walter had replied. “I discussed this with my sister before contacting you. It will be hard for her but not as hard as not having closure.”
According to past news articles, the night that Courtney disappeared she was supposed to meet with some co-workers for dinner. At first, when it appeared that Courtney was running late, a couple of the girls had tried to reach her on her cell phone. When she completely failed to show up, one of her co-workers had called Courtney’s house and had spoken to her mother. Her car had eventually been discovered on a desolate road, not far from where her remains had been found.
David’s concentration was broken into to when the phone rang. “David Wagers,” he quickly answered.
“Hi, David, did you get any of my messages?” It was Penny Irvines, a spousal surveillance client. Penny was in her mid-forties and well preserved, but was not the teeny bopper that she thought herself to be.
“Hello, Penny. Yes, I did,” David replied. Penny had left a message yesterday evening. “I just got into the office a few minutes ago.”
“Did you find anything out last night?” she asked sweetly. He could almost hear her batting her eyelashes.
“No,” David admitted. “I didn’t. It seems as if Troy was just working late.”
“Ohhh, how could that be?!” Penny exclaimed. “Are you sure about that?’
“There hasn’t been any evidence of infidelity so far,” he stated.
“You know he still has that business meeting outside of the office at the end of the week,” Penny continued.
“Yes, I’m prepared for his meeting on Friday,” David answered.
“David, dear, I didn’t mean to suggest that you weren’t prepared,” Penny said innocently. “It’s just so hard for me to be home alone all the time when I know he’s out gallivanting.”
“We’ll see what his meeting on Friday turns up. I’ll give you a call at the end of the week,” David said, eager to get her off the phone.
“Thank you, David,” Penny purred. “I’ll be waiting.”
David was getting the distinct impression that Penny just wanted an excuse to get out of her marriage, but he didn’t want to jump to any conclusions.
Picking up the phone, he dialed in his voicemail passcode. Now was as good a time as any to go through the rest of his calls.
After picking up records on the Tabbin case graciously supplied by Detective Woods at the local police department, David was on his way to meet with Joanne Tabbin.
Joanne resided in a prestigious area in Northern New Jersey with her husband, a senior accountant and owner of his own CPA firm. Courtney had been their only child, which had made their loss that much harder to bear.
Arriving right on time, David pulled into the driveway of the attached, oversized two-car garage, as Joanne had advised. As he made his way up the front walk, the sun shined down brightly in the quiet, serene neighborhood, attempting to conceal the anguish that he could feel lingering underneath.
David rang the bell and waited for just a couple of minutes, hearing soft footsteps on the other side of the door.
Joanne answered the door looking haggard. In her early fifties she appeared older, with her salt and pepper hair and deep, dark circles beneath her eyes. She quickly extended her hand.
“So nice to meet you, Mr. Wagers,” she said, her gaze meeting his with unexpected determination. “Please, come in.”
“Nice to meet you, too, Mrs. Tabbin,” David responded. “Your home is lovely.” The center hall colonial opened to a two story entry foyer which delivered a dramatic first impression.
“Thank you so much,” Joanne said. “Come, make yourself comfortable.” She led David to a formal living room where he took a seat on a small sofa. A framed picture of Courtney, a pretty brunette, sat on a nearby end table.
“Would you like anything?” she asked.
“No, thank you,” David said.
Joanne sat down in an armchair across from him. “So, where do we begin?”
“Well,” David said, taking a pad and pen from out of his briefcase, “We could start with that night.”
“Yes, a night I will never forget,” she stated.
Joanne then proceeded to rehash the events of that fateful evening. How Courtney had come home right after work and changed to go out to dinner for a girls’ night out with her co-workers. They were set to meet at the restaurant at seven thirty that evening, and Courtney had left at approximately five forty-five.
“Why did she leave so early?” David asked as he jotted down notes.
“She was probably taking into consideration the rush hour traffic,” Joanne speculated. “I know she was planning to stop for gas and the bank before it closed.”
“Could she have been planning to meet up with someone else before going to dinner?” David questioned.
“Courtney never mentioned that, but I supposed it’s not out of the question,” Joanne said.
“What about boyfriends? Was she seeing anyone at the time?” he continued.
“She did have one boyfriend but he was away in Connecticut for his last year of college,” Joanne answered.
“I’m sure you’ve been asked all of this before, but I need to ask again,” David commented.
“I understand that,” she nodded.
David hesitated for a moment. “Did Courtney have any enemies that you know of, any jealousies or dramas occurring in her life at that time?”
“Not that I know of,” Joanne stated. “Courtney was a popular girl and always had a lot of friends. She was beautiful and outgoing so, yes, there were some jealousies from time to time but nothing drastic.”
“I understand that Courtney was working at a major corporation in the area,” David said, “What was her role in the company?”
“Courtney was working for Well Metro, a health insurance company,” Joanne said, “She worked as a paralegal in their legal department. She was considering going further and becoming an attorney.”
“How long was she working at Well Metro?” David asked.
“She had just started. Maybe six months,” she recalled.
Tapping the pad with his pen, David asked, “Was Courtney having any problems at work?”
“No, not at all,” Joanne answered. “She loved the work she was doing. Her co-workers seemed like a nice group of girls. They were very concerned for her the night she went missing. I actually still talk to one of the girls. She’s very upset about Courtney’s murder and has been very supportive.”
“Could I have her name?” David asked.
“Pam Jobley,” she said. “She’s a very nice girl. In fact, I know she’s looking to move and I was actually considering offering her our lower level suite. It’s been so quiet in the house since Courtney has been gone. Pam is very cooperative and I’m sure she would answer any questions you might have about Courtney should you want to speak with her.”
“Maybe I will,” David said, looking up from his notes.
After speaking with Joanne for a little while longer, David left with a list of names of friends, classmates and co-workers of Courtney’s. Although none of the information he obtained was anything new from what was already on record, he was hoping that a different approach would bring forward different results.
It was obvious that Joanne leaned toward the idea that the murder was the result of a robbery gone wrong, some random person that, hopefully, someone would remember seeing Courtney cross paths with that night. David wasn’t so sure, however, and planned to leave no stone unturned.
About the Author
Sherrie Sushko is the author of three books, Remain, Lost Love, and Work & Wagers. When not writing or reading, Sherrie enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog. Sherrie currently resides in the United States.