Book Showcase: MURDER IN LITTLE SHENDON by A.H. Richardson

Murder in Little Shendon by A.H. Richardson
ISBN: 9781515283973 (paperback)
ASIN: B014T5QFTG (Kindle edition)
Publication Date: August 28, 2015



Picture, if you will, a picturesque village called Little Shendon, suddenly caught up in dealing with a murder of one of its citizens – not a particularly well-liked one at that. Which makes it all the more intriguing because the list of suspects becomes very long. This tantalizing tale unfolds with delightful twists and turns to find out whodunit to Mr. Bartholomew Fynche, the murdered shopkeeper. Fear grips the community as the investigation slowly progresses.
Everyone is interviewed; everyone is suspect! From the murdered man’s housekeeper to Lady Armstrong, her staff and her nephew. Or could it be the shy librarian new in town? Or the defiant retired army major and his lady friend, the post mistress? Or perhaps the weird sisters who live on the edge of town? Then there is the couple who own the local inn and pub, along with the two Americans who are staying there? Even the vicar and his wife fall under the gloom of suspicion. Uncertainty, wariness, and terror reign as neighbors watch neighbors to discover the evil that permeates their upturned lives. No one feels safe in this charming little village.

A.H. Richardson, noted author, places in your trembling hands a mystery murder that will keep you reading until you learn the details, uncovered by Police Inspector Stanley Burgess and his two amateur detectives, his friend Sir Victor Hazlitt and the famed Shakespearean actor Beresford Brandon. Scratch your head with them over the strange clues that turn up. Follow them as they tread carefully among the landmines that appear innocent as they lie hidden beneath the surface of mystery. Something evil skulks in this tiny country village.

Who is the murderer? And why was this strange uncivil man dispatched in such a seemingly civil community? You are challenged to discover the culprit before the last few pages. And no fair looking ahead – it’s the journey that proves the most enticing.



Read an excerpt

Chapter One
A Killing in The Bygone Era

BARTHOLOMEW FYNCHE LEANED OVER HIS DESK, adjusted his pince-nez and peered down at the document on his desk. He gave a series of grunts, which culminated in a long “Hmmm”.

He scratched a brief note on the pad in front of him. He always used a pen and ink because he did not approve of ballpoint pens and regarded them as signs of an uncivilized society.

Mr. Fynche turned his attention to the small jade horse in front of him, running his fingers over it gently, almost lovingly. He frowned, took a deep breath, and removed a key from around his neck. He unlocked a drawer to his desk, placed the small statue inside and carefully locked it again.

He glanced at the French Ormolu clock on the wall before consulting his watch, and pursed his lips together in annoyance. He didn’t like people who were not punctual. Time was money, and his time was particularly precious.

The retired Mr. B. Fynche had been involved in a number of most interesting exploits in his life, not the least of which involved his extraordinary knowledge of rare documents, famous objets d’art, and rare paintings. It was rumored that he had been involved with MI5 just after the war, but no one was quite certain about this. Nowadays he puttered fairly contentedly in his antique shop, which he had named The Bygone Era.

He did the occasional appraisal for some local villagers and was occasionally persuaded to go into London (a trip he detested) to authenticate something or other for the odd client he had. He was, as far as anyone knew, unmarried, quite without family, with the exception of a sister who was rumored to live in New Zealand and a brother who was deceased.

At first glance, Fynche’s little shop seemed to be an untidy mass of bric-a- brac, consisting of small statues, framed documents, interesting looking things in glass cases, paintings of all descriptions, prints, watches, chains and… much much more. Mr. Fynche however, knew exactly where everything was, referring to it on occasion as organized clutter.

Today was Thursday, better known as early closing day when most if not all the shops in the village closed about noon, and The Bygone Era was no exception. Fynche liked to lock the doors, put up the CLOSED sign and busy himself with his latest project, and he had many of those.

The little man glanced down once again at some notes he had made. For the first time in his life, he was not quite sure how to deal with this. Probably the best policy was to be frank and explain that this was not something with which he chose to be involved. He scratched the back of his head thoughtfully. Perhaps no mention of the police should be made at this juncture, for he felt instinctively that he would have to be careful here.

A knock on the door interrupted his reverie and Fynche’s eyes again darted up to the clock. He frowned, realizing that the knock was coming from the back door, which was rarely used.

Thoroughly disgruntled, the old man unlatched the door.

“Come in,” he said curtly, “and see that you close the door behind you.” He paused, then growled in a surly manner, “You’re late; we need to talk.”

“I’m sorry. There was some work left to do,” answered the other. A breeze blew through the open window behind Fynche’s desk.

“Close the window, please. That wretched cleaning woman always leaves the window open, and it blows my papers all around.”

“Very well.” His visitor closed the window obediently.

“Come around to the front, where I can see you. Something quite interesting has come up and we need to talk. Clearly, decisions have to be made here. Did you hear me…?”

Fynche made a half-turn, threw up his hands defensively, and gave a smothered cry, but it was too late. The broad brass base of an Edwardian candle holder was wielded aloft and came crashing down with a sickening thud into Mr. Fynche’s skull. Blood flew everywhere, seeping into the dark wood of the desk and into some papers and puddling on to the floor.

Mr. Bartholomew Fynche, open-mouthed and eyes glazed, his hands futilely clutching at the air, slumped over the side of his chair and onto the floor…very very dead.

The visitor spent a moment or two looking around the cluttered shop, hunting for something, but then thought better of it. With a sudden gesture, the visitor pried a large gold ring from Mr. Fynche’s finger, hastily made the decision to leave and, used The Bygone Era’s back door as the avenue of escape. The door was closed quietly, and the visitor slipped out noiselessly into the anonymity of the bustling throng of last-minute shoppers in the High Street. It was a bright sunny day in late spring.


© 2015 A.H. Richardson, reprinted with permission




Meet the author

A. H. Richardson was born in London England and is the daughter of famous pianist and composer Clive Richardson. She studied drama and acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She was an actress, a musician, a painter and sculptor, and now an Author.

She published her debut novel Jorie and the Magic Stones in December 2014. At the request of those who loved the first ‘Jorie’ story, Richardson has written a sequel titled Jorie and the Gold Key, and she is currently working on the third book in the series.

In addition to children’s books, she also enjoys writing murder mysteries. She is the author of Murder in Little Shendon, a thriller murder mystery which takes place in a quaint little village in England after World War Two, and introduces two sleuths, Sir Victor Hazlitt and his sidekick, Beresford Brandon, a noted Shakespearian actor. And she has more ‘who-dun-its’ with this clever and interesting duo… Act One, Scene One Murder and Murder at Serenity Farm.

A. H. Richardson lives happily in East Tennessee, her adopted state, and has three sons, three grandchildren, and two pugs. She speaks four languages and loves to do voice overs. She plans on writing many more books and hopes to delight her readers further with her British twist, which all her books have.


Giveaway

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Book Showcase: WEAVE A MURDEROUS WEB by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

Weave a Murderous Web by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks 
ISBN: 9781680462524 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781680462517 (ebook)
ASIN: B01CDMB72W (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC. 
Release Date: March 8, 2016

No good deed goes unpunished. When Jane Larson—a hot-shot litigator for a large firm in New York City—helps out a friend, she is sucked into the unfamiliar world of divorce and child support. 

Jane’s discovery of the deadbeat dad’s hidden assets soon unravels a web of lies, drugs, and murder that keeps getting more dangerous. 

Soon, Jane is involved in a high stakes race to recover a missing suitcase of cashhigh-stakesthe murderer before she becomes the next victim. 



Praise

“A sleuthing lawyer returns to the streets of New York in this mystery of drugs, murder, and financial skullduggery… the husband-wife team of Rothman-Hicks and Hicks has again produced a fast-paced, engaging story… overall, this is a satisfying read. An enjoyable romp involving a shady attorney and the mob that should make readers look forward to the next Jane Larson caper.” – Kirkus 

Weave a Murderous Web involves a hotshot Wall Street lawyer who is a sassy, cynical New Yorker through and through. To help out a friend, she gets involved in a seamy matrimonial case that quickly pulls her into a vortex of murder, drugs, and dangerous games of deception.” – The Big Thrill 




Read an excerpt:

Weave A Murderous Web 

Chapter One


I was in my office at Adams & Ridge talking on the telephone when Francine entered. At the moment, my friend, Lee, was on the other end of the wire, yakking up a storm in my ear. Her rant covered already familiar terrain. My man, my David, was drifting dangerously away from me while I did nothing to win him back. As we say around the courts, Oy. 

Francine tiptoed forward and placed on my desk a two-day-old copy of The Daily News opened to the item concerning Mark Samuels’ death. 

“I gotta go, Lee,” I said. 

While Francine waited for me, she had backed into a corner of my office, leaned against the wall, and tried to make her six feet of lanky body less noticeable. Two large metal buttons were pinned to her heavily braided cotton sweater. One read Stop Fracking New York and the other protested against the annual Canadian seal hunt with a scarlet X through an image of a baby seal whose brains had been battered to a pink pulp. 

I pointed at the newspaper and gave her a questioning glance, but she quickly averted her eyes to stare at the floor. 

“Have you been listening to me at all?” Lee demanded. Her voice rose to a kind of exasperated wail. “David has been dating someone. I think he may be getting serious.” 

“David was born serious, Lee,” I said. 

“Stop it, Jane,” she shouted so I had to hold the phone away from my ear. Even Francine raised an eyebrow. “You know what I mean.” 

“I’m sorry, Lee.” 

“I don’t understand why you’re taking this so nonchalantly. You know you still love him. You could get back together in a heartbeat if you’d just spend a tenth as much time on a relationship as you spend on your career.” 

“I’m a lawyer, Lee. Not a—” 

A sharp intake of breath followed. “Not a baby maker?” Lee demanded. Anger replaced the plaintive wail. “Is that what you were going to say?” 

Would I ever admit that the word had been on the tip of my tongue? 

“No. I was going to say, ‘not a librarian’, or the owner of some other nine-to-five job. The hours come with the territory, Lee. David knows that, but deep down in that wonderful heart of his, he also thinks the hours spent at the office are A-okay for the guy, but not for the girl. In any event, Martha didn’t raise her daughter to compete over a man.” 

The sound of a whale breaching the surface erupted from the phone.

“You’re maddening, Jane.” 

“No, I’m busy,” I replied. 

Lee sighed. “Well, I have to go too. Laurie is home sick and I’m taking her to the doctor. We’ll talk more later, Jane. I’m not going to sit back and let this happen to my two best friends in the world. I’m going to fight, Jane.” 

“Goodbye, Lee.” 

She disconnected. 

Actually, I wasn’t busy at all, or I wouldn’t have spent even that much time on the phone being lectured by Lee. She’s an old friend from Columbia Law, but enough is enough. 

A major litigation I had been working on had settled just a day before and the client and powers-that-be at Adams & Ridge were very happy with me—especially Seymour Ridge. The old man himself had hammered out the settlement shortly after I made the CEO of the party suing our client look like a doofus on the witness stand. So, I had some time on my hands until I was given another assignment. 
More to the point, I wanted to know why Francine was still standing in my office, staring at the tips of her shoes. She was a legal assistant with the firm. I had gotten her the job. However, she didn’t work on any of my cases. That was a rule I had laid down from the beginning. 

“Hello, Francine,” I said. 

“Hi, Jane.” She looked up shyly, smiled her timid smile, gave a meaningful glance in the direction of the paper and resumed looking at her shoes. I had known her for so long that she was more like a relative than a friend, in the sense that one does not choose one’s relatives. She was really really shy but also effective in getting her way with me. I read the article. 

It was as depressing as I had expected. Mark Samuels was a single practitioner who worked out of a small office above a bodega on 116th Street. He wasn’t married and had no family to speak of. The exact date and hour of his demise were uncertain. The body was discovered only after fellow inhabitants of his East Village apartment house reported a foul odor during the last week in June when a heat wave had sent temperatures rising into the high nineties. Those same conditions had made his remains swell like a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

How can a person die without anyone knowing for a week or ten days? Did he have no friend or family member who cared to check on him? Were all of them as completely egotistical as he was? 

The cause of death, however, was easy to determine. When the cops broke down his door, three short fat lines of cocaine were still in place on the old-fashioned hand mirror Mark used to chop the drug fine enough to snort. The coroner confirmed Mark died of severe heart arrhythmia, which is to say his ticker skipped a few too many beats before stopping altogether. Testing of the merchandise showed the stuff he’d inhaled had been nearly pure—several times the strength of what is normally available on the street. As the cops put it, either he had chosen to depart this green orb flying on nose powder or he was inordinately careless. I suppose it didn’t much matter which alternative was true. The result was the same. An overdose had killed him. 

I looked up warily, unwilling to reveal I had the slightest interest in the entire subject. 

“Why are you showing this to me, Francine,” I asked. 

“Didn’t you know Mark when you worked for Legal Services for the Poor?” 

Did she expect me to burst into tears? 

“Yeah,” I said, “and he was just as big a screw-up then. They put him in the Family Law area because he could do the least harm there. At least no one could lose their apartment or get sent to jail because of him.” 

Francine winced. You might think this resulted from a superstitious aversion to speaking ill of the dead. You would be wrong. Francine had an aversion to speaking ill both of the living and the dead. 

“He kept doing matrimonial work after he left Legal Services,” Francine added. She nodded, as if agreeing with her own words, then fell into silence. Silence was her friend. 

“And?” I said. 

Francine pulled up her sweater, which was being dragged low by those protest buttons and exposing her collarbones and the top of her boney chest. Her stringy hair, a field mouse brown, had no discernible style. She had never chosen to master the art of makeup despite my efforts with pencil, rouge, and lipstick back when we were teenagers. The only jewelry she now wore was a pendulous locket with gold thread tying it together. She said she’d purchased it in a wild moment at an uptown thrift shop. Of course, those buttons and their slogans were a kind of jewelry, I suppose, in that jewelry also says, “Look at me. This is what I am.” 

Francine smiled at her shoes and continued. “Well, he had a client, Gail Hollings, who is a very good friend of mine, Jane, and—” 

Now I saw where this was going. “Would this friend of yours be in need of a lawyer?” 

“She’s in an awful fix, Jane. She has a court appearance at two o’clock this afternoon. She gave Mark three thousand dollars, which was all she could scrape together. She has no money left at all.” 

“Ridge will be glad to hear that. No money. Great.” 

Francine rummaged in the front pocket of her cargo pants, pulled out a wallet, and then drew from inside it a picture of a young child with long blond pigtails that dwarfed her diminutive round face but did not steal the scene from her toothy grin. 

“She has a little girl,” Francine added, glancing from the snapshot to me and back again to emphasize her point. 

“No money, no lawyer, and a kid. This just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?” 

My mother, Martha, who insists I call her by her first name, always says Francine faces a bright future if Jesus’ prediction about the meek is really true. Believe me, the meek have power, especially over those of us with guilt. Martha would love that. Guilt. I was like a fish nibbling at a big juicy worm and getting closer and closer to the hook. Francine was the fisherwoman, waiting patiently for the slightest pull on the line. 

“Look, you know I can’t take on this case, Francine. However, I have some free time today, so I can at least go down to court and adjourn the matter until we can find someone to help Gail and little…” 

“Courtney,” Francine said with a rush of breath that made the name seem like a prayer. An expression filled her eyes that reminded me of an early Renaissance image of a martyr at the moment of supreme sacrifice, pain mixed with a kind of bliss that seems to make it all worthwhile. 

The hook was set. That much was obvious. Francine had only to slowly reel me in. 

I opened a drawer and pulled out a legal pad to record the names of mother and daughter. 

“There’s just one thing maybe you should know,” Francine said. 

My pencil poised in midair and then wrote “one thing” with an exclamation point. I still have that piece of paper in the top drawer of my desk. 

“Yes?” 

“Well, Carmen Ruiz has kind of taken an interest in this because of the women’s rights angle and what happened to Mark and all.” 

“Carmen Ruiz? Last time I heard of her, she was spending time at a fat farm.” 

This was code. Everyone knew that the ‘fat farm,’ as I had injudiciously put it, was also a place where people could lose other bad habits, such as drugs. 

Francine winced again and swallowed hard. “That’s unkind, Jane.” 
Chalk one up for the meek. 

“You’re right, Francine. How is Carmen doing?” 

“She’s got a new gig on cable. One of the local news stations.” 

I nodded. I was safe from unkind remarks if I kept my mouth shut. At one time the cognoscenti had called Carmen the “female Wolf Blitzer” because she had enjoyed asking the hard questions, especially of men who were not used to being pushed around. The fact that she had the flashing good looks of a gypsy queen didn’t hurt, but now she was scuffling on cable news. 

“She said she called you a couple of times.” 

“Yeah, well, I’ve been busy.” 

I was on the verge of getting back the advantage, never easy in a conversation with humanitarian types like Francine, especially if your mother always places such types on a pedestal, a very high pedestal. 
Martha has not been affiliated with any organized religion since her mind began to function at age eleven. Still, she shares Jesus’ distrust of wealth and is fond of quoting both his advice to sell all you have and give it to the poor and his adage that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 

“You don’t even believe in Jesus,” I argue. 

“I don’t have to believe in Jesus as God to know he’s telling the truth,” she retorts. 

When I had accepted the job at Adams & Ridge, Carmen had had some unkind things to say to mutual friends about my going for the gold. Her whole premise that Martha’s goodness had gotten lost in one generation to my grabbiness had cut a bit too close to the bone. I hadn’t forgotten. 

“Carmen’s working on a series about children and the courts,” Francine said. “Kids falling into poverty are a very big problem.” 

“I’m aware of the problem, Francine. I’ll skip over the question of what has made Carmen give a good hoot in hell about children all of a sudden. What does any of this have to do with that coke-head Mark?” 

“Oh, nothing much. Nothing at all really.” 

She was hedging, worried that the prospect of helping Carmen might have made me shut the whole thing down before it ever began. 

“Go on, Francine.” 

“It’s just… she knew Mark fairly well and doesn’t think his death was accidental. She says Mark did drugs too much to do something that stupid.” 

“So she thinks he did it on purpose? Is that it? He committed suicide over the predicament of his client and child?” 

“Not exactly,” Francine said. 

In hindsight I can see clearly how nonchalant she wanted to seem, playing with the gold locket and dropping it inside her sweater, glancing in the direction of the window as if a pretty bird had alighted there. 

“Carmen thinks Mark was murdered.”


Excerpt from Weave a Murderous Web by Ann Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks. 
Copyright © 2016 by Ann Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks. 
Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.



Meet the Authors:

Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks have been collaborating on books for forty-six years.  Their first joint effort was a student project while Anne was at Bryn Mawr College and Ken attended Haverford. Since then, they have written over twenty books together. They are members of International Thriller Writers. They live and work in New York City, where many of their books are set. 

Their Jane Larson series of mystery/thrillers involves a high-powered New York City attorney with a penchant for getting involved in situations that she would be better off leaving alone. These novels have been praised by reviewers for their gritty portrayals of city life, lively characters, fast action, surprise endings and highly polished prose. Jane is cynical and rebellious, but she finds herself drawn to the simple life her deceased mother lived as an attorney who served women unable to afford legal services. The first two books in the series are Weave A Murderous Web and Praise Her, Praise Diana, both published by Melange Books, LLC. A third novel, Mind Me, Milady, will be published in early 2017.


Connect with the authors:    Blog     |     Facebook     |     Twitter 





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Book Showcase and Giveaway: THE VICTIM by Eric Matheny

The Victim by Eric Matheny
ISBN: 9781943549115 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781943549115 (ebook)
ASIN: B011LM9X4Y (Kindle edition)
Publication Date: August 17, 2015
Publisher: Zharmae


Anton Mackey is a man with everything. At least, he seems to be on the surface. He has a rising career as a private attorney, a lovely wife, a beautiful daughter; he and his family live in an idyllic neighborhood that most people dream about. Sure, there are troubles that plague this family, the same as any other, but all in all things are looking up. Life is good, and the future is better. 

Except Anton has a past, too, and something has been looming, bearing down on him from that history, just waiting for the chance to strike. Soon, everything will change, and the life he’s struggled so hard to build will come crashing down around him. 

And the worst part of it all: Anton Mackey has no one to blame but himself.




Read an excerpt:


Chapter 1

March 16, 2003

Payson, Arizona


He thought he was dead.

Steam hissed from the crumpled front end of the RV that had folded accordion-style against the guardrail. His face stung from the punch of the airbag. His lungs burned from that awful talcum powder that drifted through the cabin as the bag deflated. The chemical dust, suspended in the air, seemed to be frozen in time. 

His nose was numb and swollen. He tasted blood trickling down the back of his throat like a cocaine drip. He peered through the cracked windshield, his eyes adjusting to the reddish glow of a desert sunrise. The crushed-in hood had jarred upward. The chassis was off balance. The whole vehicle wobbled as he shifted his weight in his seat.

Oh my God.

He cranked the door handle and heaved his shoulder into it to pop it off the jamb. He hopped down onto the highway. The winds were heavy and dry, rustling the sage and scrub oaks that dotted the rugged landscape along the Beeline Highway. A sliver of fiery light barely illuminated the peaks of the Mazatal Mountains, which rose and fell against the horizon. Giant saguaros stood like sentries. 

The back half of a red two-door sedan lay beneath the shredded front tires of the RV. Flattened like an aluminum can. On impact the RV must have bucked forward, rolling up onto the rear bumper of the smaller car, coming to rest on its roof. The significant weight of the RV crushed the sedan into something you might see stacked in a junkyard.

The highway was quiet. Just the rush of hot wind crackling the delicate spines of the sagebrush. He got his bearings quickly, the initial shock of the crash having passed. A sobering experience. Literally. Half a handle of Jack Daniels coursing through his veins had been replaced by something stronger. 

Panic. 

He saw long hair, a young female’s. How he could tell her age by the back of her head, he would never know. Maybe by its length and sheen—bright, yellow-blond. Slick with blood. Her forehead propped on the steering wheel. The driver-side window blown out. The windshield was a shattered web. 

The man beside her—or boy, he was arguably young—was out cold, his body positioned in the passenger’s seat in a gimpy, off-kilter fashion. The passenger side had been thrust into the guardrail, which molded itself to the frame of the car. His head lolled against the door. Blood leaked from his ear and ran down his neck. 

“Are you okay?” he screamed, although he knew he would get no reply. His voice resonated throughout the valley. “Hello?” 

He braced himself against the ruined front end of the RV. He felt a surge of bile and whiskey come up in the back of his throat. He heaved forward but held it in. He was lightheaded.

Oh God, please let this be a dream. Oh God, please…this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening. This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening…



Meet the author:

Eric Matheny was born in Los Angeles, California, where he lived until he went away to college at Arizona State University. At ASU he was president of Theta Chi Fraternity. He graduated with a degree in political science and moved to Miami, Florida, to attend law school at St. Thomas University. During his third year of law school, he interned for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, where he worked as a prosecutor upon graduation. In 2009, he went into private practice as a criminal defense attorney. He is a solo practitioner representing clients in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Broward County, Florida. He has handled everything from DUI to murder. 

In his free time, Eric enjoys writing crime fiction, drawing from his experience working in the legal system. He published his debut novel Home in 2004, which centers around a successful drug dealer catering to the rich in Orange County. His second novel Lockdown, published in 2005, follows a law student trying to prove that an inmate serving a life sentence in one of California’s toughest prisons might actually be innocent. Eric’s latest novel The Victim, is a tense, fast-paced, legal thriller/psychological suspense novel that centers around a young defense attorney whose horrifying misdeed from his college days comes back to haunt him. 

Eric lives outside of Fort Lauderdale with his wife and two young sons.



Connect with the author:     Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter 


Giveaway:

This giveaway is for one digital copy (Kindle version) of The Victim by Eric Matheny. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM ET on Tuesday, December 22nd, and the winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on Wednesday, December 23rd. Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway is open to residents of the United States only (sorry). 

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Book Showcase and Giveaway: NOISE by Brett Garcia Rose

Noise by Brett Garcia Rose
ISBN: 9780991549405 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780991549412 (ebook)
ASIN: B00KYY4MM4 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Velocity Imprints
Publication date:  June 14, 2014


The world is an ugly place, and I can tell you now, I fit in just fine.

Lily is the only person Leon ever loved. When she left a suicide note and disappeared into a murky lake ten years ago, she left him alone, drifting through a silent landscape.

Or did she?

A postcard in her handwriting pulls Leon to the winter-cold concrete heart of New York City. What he discovers unleashes a deadly rage that has no sound.

A grisly trail of clues leads to The Bear, the sadistic Russian crime lord who traffics in human flesh. The police—some corrupt, some merely compromised—are of little help. They don’t like Leon’s methods, or the mess he leaves in his wake.

Leon is deaf, but no sane person would ever call him disabled. He survived as a child on the merciless streets of Nigeria. He misses nothing. He feels no remorse. The only direction he’s ever known is forward.

He will not stop until he knows.

Where is Lily?



Excerpt: Profanity alert!


Twenty-Eight

The sounds I cannot hear: The whistle of the hammer as it arcs through the air. The wailing of pain and the begging of The Bear. The dripping of blood from thawing meat onto the wet concrete floor. The beautifully crude threats.

My own hideous voice.

I drag The Bear into a walk-in freezer by the hook sunk through his shoulder and toss him into a corner on the floor. When I reenter the freezer, dragging the oak table behind me, The Bear is hard at work on the hook, trying to muscle it out, but it’s sunk deep, through the tendons. Hope is adrenaline, fear masks pain, begging helps no one.

I yank him up by the hook and then hold his hands outstretched, one at a time, as I nail his wrists to the table with railroad spikes. I put all of my 240 pounds behind the hammer, but even so, it takes several swings. His body shakes, the nails sink further into the wood, his face is pain. He screams, but I cannot hear.

The building above burns a deep blue hue with my smuggled-in accelerants.

The sound of the hammer into The Bear. The pain in his eyes. I have never seen so much hatred. It is beautiful to me, to reach this center, this uncomplicated base, to disassemble the past and honor a new history. It is another film, also homemade and rough, an overlay, an epilogue. The Bear is broken but I have spared his face, and to see those eyes, that is what I needed; to see his hatred flow into me, my own eyes sucking down the scum like bathtub drains. His life whirls into me and I taste the fear, the hope, the sharp sting of adrenaline pumping and the reeking muck of despair. His pain soothes me, a slow, thick poison. We will all die.

I know it now; I am a broken man. I always was. I imagine Lily watching me, Lily keeping score, making lists, balancing all. As a child from far away, she was the queen, even more so than her mother. But she didn’t survive. The world was not as we had imagined, not even close. The world is a cruel, bastard place, Lily cold and lost somewhere, me hot and bleeding and swinging my hammer. Life as it is, not as we wish it to be.

The sounds I cannot hear: The laughter of the watchers. The groan of my sister as The Bear cums inside of her, pulling her hair until the roots bleed. The Bear screams and shits himself inside the dark freezer. Lily’s wailing and cursing and crying. I scream at The Bear with all my mighty, damaged voice, swinging the hammer at his ruined hands, hands that will never again touch anyone. Lily at the end, beaten and pissed on and begging to die.

Lily is dead. I am dead. It will never be enough.

I remove the stack of photos from my wallet that I’d printed at the Internet café a lifetime ago and place them face down on the table in front of The Bear. I draw an X on the back of the first photo and turn it over, laying it close to the pulp of his ruined hands.

The Bear offers me anything I want. An animal can feel pain but cannot describe or transmit it adequately. The Bear both is and is not an animal. I lack hearing, so the Bear cannot transmit his experience to me unless I choose to see it. His pain is not my pain, but mine is very much his. I swing the hammer into his unhooked shoulder, and then I draw another X and flip another photo.

His lips move, and I understand what he wants to know. Five photos.

In my notepad, I write: you are a rapist fucking pig. I put the paper into the gristle of his hands and swing the hammer against the metal hook again. It’s a sound I can feel.

Anything, The Bear mouths. He is sweating in the cold air of the freezer. Crying. Bleeding.

In my pad, I write: I want my sister back. I swing the hammer claw-side first into his mouth and leave it there. His body shakes and twitches.

I turn over his photo and write one last note, tearing it off slowly and holding it in front of his face, the handle of the hammer protruding from his jaw like a tusk. You are number four. There are a few seconds of space as the information stirs into him and I watch as he deflates, the skin on his face sagging like a used condom. He knows what I know.

I turn over the last photo for him. I turn it slowly and carefully, sliding it toward him. Victor, his one good son, his outside accomplishment, his college boy, the one who tried to fuck him and they fucked my sister instead.

I remove another mason jar from my bag, unscrewing the metal top and letting the thick fluid flow onto his lap. I wipe my hands carefully and light a kitchen match, holding it in front of his face for a few seconds as it catches fully. He doesn’t try to blow it out. He doesn’t beg me to stop. He just stares at the match as the flame catches, and I drop it onto his lap.

The Bear shakes so hard from the pain that one of his arms rips from the table, leaving a skewer of meat and tendon on the metal spike. I lean into his ear, taking in his sweet reek and the rot of his bowels and, in my own hideous voice, I say:

“Wait for me.”




About the author:

Brett Garcia Rose is a writer, software entrepreneur, and former animal rights soldier and stutterer. He is the author of two books, Noise and Losing Found Things, and his work has been published in Sunday Newsday Magazine, The Barcelona Review, Opium, Rose and Thorn, The Battered Suitcase, Fiction Attic, Paraphilia, and other literary magazines and anthologies. His short stories have won the Fiction Attic’s Short Memoir Award (Second Place), Opium’s Bookmark Competition, The Lascaux Prize for Short Fiction, and have been nominated for the Million Writer’s Award, Best of the Net, and The Pushcart Prize. Rose travels extensively but calls New York City home. To learn more, go to BrettGarciaRose.com, or connect with Brett on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.












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