Writerly Wednesday: 1.23

One of these days I am going to get my crud together and start asking authors to do interviews here. LOL. For now you get stuck with more of me. My books.

Speaking of which, want a little glimpse of the cover for The Body in the Pool?


It’s just a little rough cut of the bottom of the cover.

Writerly Wednesday 12.19

Yes, I know I’m late. I am sick. Have been for a week. The grunge is heinous this year. And now the hubs has it. LOL. This will be short and sweet.

I already feel like I did an arc run with The Body in the Pool, here on the website. But if anyone wants to officially ARC for me, perhaps someone who didn’t read it from the site, let me know, via the contact me option. I’ll happily send you a hard copy and you can give me feedback. Yay!


The Body in the Pool – C’est finit

I hope you have enjoyed The Body in the Pool, Book One of the Dismember Killer series.

These chapters will stay up through the end of the year to give you time to catch up on your reading if you like.

After that I will be publishing out to Kindle, along with the second book in the series  The Body in the Precinct.

I’d love to hear what you thought or answer any questions you have.

Happy Holidays!

The Body in the Pool Chapter 22

The Body in the Pool

Book One of the Dismember Killer Series


Chapter Twenty Two

In a rare late afternoon sun, Melanie, Barnes, and Spence met on the patio of a dive bar outside the Shadow Brook neighborhood.
Beer in hand, Melanie groused, “These people.”
“That bad?”
“Worse. I have never met so many people who don’t work and still need a full household staff to take care of things.”
Spence nodded.
“And they all, they’re all, just…” Melanie stopped speaking and took a deep breath.
“I met one or two with class,” Spence commented. “Not any that knew the Paulson’s. Did you find that?”
“Massive case of isolation going on up there,” Melanie agreed.
“Why is that? Clearly, the Paulsons had money.”
Barnes cleared his throat. “Maybe that was the problem. A little too flash with the money.”
Spence tipped his beer bottle at Barnes. “I saw a lot of old money today. I saw an effing Degas hanging in someone’s hallway.”
“Sharp contrast to Arlene’s fur coat and label heavy wardrobe,” Melanie commented. She drained her beer. “Listen, I’ve got to put in some family face time. Are you going into the office tomorrow?”
“We’re waiting on a lot of reports, take the day. I’ll work on a few things from home.”
“Like what?” Barnes asked.
“I want to take a close look at what the Paulsons are spending their money on. How much they go through each month.”
“I’ll get into that if you like. Seahawks aren’t playing until four, I can get through a lot of bank statements before then.” Barnes took a drink of his beer. “You should spend the day with your wife, while you still have one you like.”
Spence choked on a bit of lager sliding down the wrong pipe as he laughed with Barnes and Melanie.
The reality of Barnes’s life was close to the mark for most cops. A string of ex-wives who all thought a cop was sexy and dangerous until they married him and started to resent the long hours and tense undertones of their life. Spence hoped he and Tess could do better.

He texted her before he left the bar and grill. Should I pick up dinner?
Her response was swift. Coming home before five? What’s the special occasion?
Spence smiled and waited. Her second text was close on the first. I really want sushi but I know that won’t fly. What’s close?
Bar food it is.

Spence was thrilled to see Tess in her easy chair, feet up, TV on when he got home. She had rested after she left the office. He kissed her hello and held up the food bag. “I’ll serve you here.”
“Thank you. What did I do to deserve such royal treatment?”
“That info from Magda was pretty helpful.”
“Was it?” Tess smiled.
Spence saw a little reaction in his wife’s face, around her eyes maybe. “What?”
Tess giggled. “You know I think it’s appropriate to follow up, a little text thank you for lunch, a call for dinner, a card for a gift.”
Spence had no idea where this was going, “Uh huh.” He patted Butch’s head as the dog leaned into his leg.
“I texted Magda to say thanks for lunch. There was a little back and forth and then all of a sudden she’s steaming mad because Matt canceled their dinner plans. He needed to go to a meeting at the nightmare client.” Tess made quote signs with her fingers around the word nightmare.
“Tess, you were supposed to stay out of this.”
“I can’t help it if people tell me things.”
Spence took a deep breath. He sat down on the couch next to Tess’s chair and removed cardboard boxes from the bag. He opened her meal and handed it to her. “Got a drink?”
Tess nodded.
Spence opened his own box and put his feet up on the coffee table. “What are we watching?”
“Property Brothers rerun.” Tess took a sip of water. “Know anyone who could take a peek at what’s going on at the Academy?”
Spence jabbed a french fry into mayonnaise and replied, “Maybe,” before stuffing it into his mouth. Setting down the to-go box, Spence fished his cell phone from his pocket. He texted Tom. Did you get a contact number for that swing shift guard?
Tom replied back, It should be in the system.
I’m not at the office Sherlock.
Spence’s phone rang a minute later and he answered with a grin. “Hey.”
“What do you need Mike for?”
“There may or may not be a top secret board meeting going down at the Academy tonight.”
“Mike’s not working,” Tom replied. “I’ll call him anyway. We had a rapport.”
“Let me know,” said Spence. Tess was pulling at his arm, mouthing words at him. To Tom he said, “Hang on a sec.” To Tess he asked, “What?”
Tess reached for the phone. “Hey Tom. Are you free for brunch tomorrow?”
“Are you cooking?”
“I wish I could. What about that biker bar on the far side of the lake? 1030?”
“Anything the lady likes.”
Tess handed the phone back to Spence, who told Tom, “Guess I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Tom laughed, “Guess so.”
As he hung up and returned the phone to his pocket, his left eyebrow rose an inch in question.
“You two need to talk.”
“We talk all the time,” Spence said in an offhand manner.
“Um, no. After the whole paper thing? Have you even talked about that?”
“It was yesterday, Tess.”
“Sooner talked about, sooner mended.”
“You sound like my grandmother. Next thing I know you’ll be telling me wool gathering is only useful if you’re a sheep herder.”
Tess threw a fry at him with a laugh.

The Body in the Pool Chapter 21

The Body in the Pool

Book One of the Dismember Killer Series


Chapter Twenty One

Heading for the motor pool, Spence texted Tom. I got the boss not to replace you.
Tom’s response a moment later was not reassuring. You need the manpower.
Spence paused behind the wheel, engine running, sick feeling in his stomach. You don’t think you’re coming back.
Tom didn’t respond and Spence couldn’t wait all day. He filed the emotions under useless and headed out of the garage.

When he arrived in Shadow Brook, Spence started closest to the Paulson home. He didn’t mind if Arlene Paulson saw them interviewing door to door at this point. He wanted her a touch nervous. Then again, given how large the properties were up here, Arlene would practically need to be visiting a neighbor when Spence arrived to have any clue.
“Yeese?” A young woman with a thick Russian accent answered the door.
He displayed his badge and then his credentials, “Detective Thomas, Sheriff’s Office.”
Her eyes went wide with fear. Spence didn’t attach undue import to her reaction. It was probably a simple facet of her experiences back in her home country. “I would like to speak to the lady of the house.” Such a complicated way to put it.
She nodded and beckoned him in. “Please wait.” She held up one hand to gesture him to stay in the foyer as she went into the depths of the house.
Spence took advantage of the time to look at whatever he could before the maid returned. Grandfather clock, probably an actual antique, as it was slightly banged up. A little further in a print of ballet dancers seen through a bunched cluster of heads, Spence thought it seemed like a Degas. Degas liked dancers, or so he remembered from a college art history girlfriend. After a closer look, Spence hoped it was a print. The idea that he was about to go fishing for information from the owner of an original Degas intimidated him a little.
At the clack of high heels on wood floor, he quick stepped it back to the area immediately by the front door.
“Can I help you?” Her cultured voice contrasted with her youthful face. Second wife. Trophy wife.
“Detective Thomas, County Police.”
She nodded with a tight smile, “Elizabeth Greggson.”
“I am investigating the death of your next door neighbor, Harold Paulson.”
“I was sorry to hear about his death.” Her statement was a formal platitude.
Spence decided to wait a moment and see whether she would deviate from the script.
“Would you like to have a seat?” She gestured to a small sitting room in the opposite direction from the Degas.
Spence nodded and moved forward. After they were seated and he was still silent, she raised an eyebrow.
“Were you well acquainted with the Paulsons?”
“Not really.”
Spence waited to see if she would say more. Elizabeth merely out-waited him with a vague smile on her smooth face.
“Have you lived here long?” Spence decided to try another track.
“A few years.”
“I ask because it seems odd that two such close neighbors would be unfamiliar with each other.”
Elizabeth took a deep breath and broke eye contact. Her mouth pursed. “Arlene and I were not compatible. Up here the wives make friendships, the husbands make business contacts.”
“And your husband didn’t have business with Harold Paulson?”
“My wife and I don’t socialize with the inhabitants up here much.”
Spence looked up from his notepad and met Elizabeth’s smirking smile. “That must be complicated.”
“It is. This is Rebecca’s family home and she likes to live here.”
Spence nodded. “Is there anything you can tell me? About their relationship with each other? About their friends? Any arguements you may have overheard?” No reason not to be direct now. Elizabeth wouldn’t be running next door to tell Mrs. Paulson anything.
She slowly shook her head. “I don’t think so. The walls are thick, our property wide. I haven’t had much opportunity to observe anyone coming or going. I work at home and my office overlooks my own back forest, so to speak.”
Spence nodded. “Well thank you for your time.” He slipped a card out of the back slot on his credentials folio. “If you see anything, hear anything, give me a call, please.”
“Of course, detective.” She stood and took the card with a smile. She gestured him towards the front door.
“Out of curiosity, the Degas?”
“Musicians in the Orchestra?”
“That’s not a print is it.” Spence said a little sadly.
She simply smiled and opened the door for him. “Thank you for stopping by detective.”
Spence stepped out on the porch and shook his head. It was a strange old world. He moved down to the next house, hoping for better luck.

The Body in the Pool Chapter 20

The Body in the Pool

Book One of the Dismember Killer Series


Chapter Twenty

When Spence got to the lobby, Tess was leaning against the wall next to the elevator. “No stairs for me.” She popped the button and waved at the desk sergeant.
Spence nodded to him as well. “Is everything okay?”
“You didn’t get my text?”
“It’s been a little mad. What’s up?”
“I’ll tell you upstairs. You need to thank Tom pronto.” Tess saw the flash of pain on Spence’s face. “What happened to Tom?”
“Let’s go up.” Spence guided her through the elevator doors which had opened behind them. He waited until the doors closed and he hit the four button. “Tom got suspended this morning.”
“Because he texted me?” anguish rang in Tess’s voice.
Spence smiled and kissed his wife. “No, honey. He talked to a reporter.”
“Oh, that’s bad.”
As soon as they entered the office Melanie descended on Tess with a hug. “You look amazing.”
“Magda told me I looked as big as a house today.”
“You might. I know I looked like an apartment block by the time I was this far along.”
“What brings you by?” Melanie sat on the edge of the work table.
“Tom texted me yesterday and today I had lunch with an old friend. Magda. Sugden. As in Matt Sugden’s wife.”
“Oh shit.” Melanie’s mouth dropped open.
“After a couple of martinis Magda gushed about her husband’s latest work problem. It seems he has a client who thinks some money went missing. And the guy they think took it was murdered recently.” Tess grinned as she looked around the room. If astonished silence was her aim, she hit the mark. “Did you guys already know that?”
“Definitely not,” said Spence.
“So I helped?”
“You helped. You did babe.” Spence rubbed her back.
“Really? I think she totally wants to show me their house. I could do a little snooping while I was there. Maybe happen to wander into Matt’s office,” Tess said eagerly.
Melanie’s eye went wide and she spoke quickly before Spence stuck his foot in his mouth. “We would have trouble getting anything you found admitted into evidence if this comes to trial.”
“Oh. I suppose I hadn’t thought of that. Will what Magda told me today be an issue?”
“Magda knows your husband is a cop, right? Plus we had already warranted and received access to the Paulson financials. No harm, no foul. You helped us pinpoint what we are looking for though.”
Tess nodded, “What are we going to do next?”
“You, my love, are going home. Aren’t you about at your limit for time spent not resting?”
“There speaks my jailer.” Tess laughed. “I’m going.” She leaned in to kiss Spence on the cheek.
“I’ll walk you.”

When Spence returned Melanie and Barnes were eyeballs deep in their computer screens. Melanie spoke up the minute Spence entered the room. “Well it’s hard to track…there seem to be deposits into various accounts where the timing doesn’t line up with any billing cycles.”
“Corporate billing isn’t as straightforward as your monthly gas bill. How can you even track that out?”
“I’m still waiting on the report from the forensic accountant on Harold’s business account. These are transfers into to his personal accounts.”
“Okay, what are we talking about then?”
“Look at these three transfers in. They came from the corporation. They’re random amounts at random times and huge. I don’t think this is a standard payday on the 3rd, the 11th, and the 22nd. Most of the money went right back out again.”
“Can you show me the money?” Spence laughed self-consciously and then leaned in to take a better look at Melanie’s computer. “We need to to dig into those three transactions. Where did that money go?”
“This isn’t looking good as a Dismember case, is it?”
“No. We can only follow the evidence where it leads. Even if it leads away from where we thought it might go.”
Melanie nodded. “Sounds like we really need to get into Paulson. Barnes and I will drive back out to that community today. See who’s about and who might want to chit chat.”
“I’ll head out there after I talk to the lieu. Let her know we’re not sure this is Dismember. She may want to pull us.”
“Let us know.”
“I’ll catch up with you in Shadow Brook.”

After Melanie and Barnes departed, Spence headed to see the lieu. With a loud rap on her open door he waited to be invited in.
“Thomas.” The lieu nodded her approval.
“I wanted to talk to you about Harding.”
Raising an eyebrow, the lieutenant leaned back in her chair and waited.
“I know you’re thinking about assigning me a new partner.”
“It’s protocol and you know that.”
“I want you to wait. A partnership can’t be replaced with any old detective.”
“There are days when I wish I had gone with the rotation model.”
Spence laughed. “We both know fixed partners provides better results overall.”
“And bigger problems overall,” she snapped back.
Spence knew better than to respond. His boss was thinking things over and he needed to allow her the space to do that.
“The team is a man down and you caught another murder related to your serial killer. You need manpower.”
Spence quickly debated with himself. “We aren’t altogether sure this is a Dismember killing.”
“Based on what?”
“There are slight variances in the profile of this victim compared to the others. And there are irregularities in the information we have been turning up. This might be a copycat.”
Removing her glasses, the lieu rubbed her temples. “Damn Stephanie Lewis.”
“I don’t want to cloud the issue but the article did come out after the murder.” Spence waited for the lieutenant to consider this.
When she spoke, she ignored his input. “I’m assigning you another detective, not a new partner.” She held up her hand to forestall any arguement Spence might launch. “Consider this a helping hand. And I’ll wait until the outcome of the other investigation before I assign you a new partner.”
Spence couldn’t argue with that. It was a generous offer. The best he was going to get under the circumstances.
“As usual, we are undermanned and overworked. It might be a bit before I can reassign anyone.”
“Thanks.” Spence headed for the door while the going was still good.
“Spence, one more thing.” It was never a good sign when the lieu used your first name. “I know you want to protect Harding, keep it clean.”
With a brief nod he left her office and went to attend to the job he said he would do.