Thursday Teaser: Small Town Focus


The latest Reed Ferguson mystery

By Renée Pawlish

smalltownfocusShe got right to the point. “I think my father might have killed my mother.”

That wasn’t what I’d expected to hear. “Why do you say that?”

She frowned. “I guess that’s not the best way to start the conversation.” Gina Smith let out a little nervous laugh. “Something odd is going on.”

“I’m an only child. According to my father, my mother left us when I was a few weeks old. We moved to Colorado shortly after that, and he raised me by himself.”

“He never remarried?”


“Has your father ever said why your mother left?”

She shrugged. “He’s been very vague, and said that she was unhappy, and she had some problems. It’s a touchy subject, but when I’ve asked questions, he tells me that the past is in the past, that he loves me enough for both of them, and that I should let it go.”

I studied her for a few seconds. “But you’ve had a hard time doing that.”

“Yes. Dad doesn’t even have a picture of my mother, let alone anything that belonged to her. And he never even told me her name. It’s like he cut her completely out of his life, so she’s a complete mystery to me, and that’s always made it hard. I have an intense desire to know more about her, to know what she looked like, what things made her who she was, and what made her tick.”

“And what made her leave.”

“Yes,” she said softly. She took another drink, and stared at me with intense brown eyes.

“This is all intriguing,” I said, then hesitated. “But I still don’t see why you think your father may have killed your mother.”

“There’s more,” she said.

“I’m listening.”

“A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting Dad and I went into the den. The news was on, and the anchor was talking about skeletal remains of a body that had been found in a field east of Denver. Based on the size of the bones, the authorities thought it was probably a woman. You should have seen the look on Dad’s face. He was in shock, just staring at the screen with his jaw open. I spoke to him three times before he noticed I was there, and his face was as white as a ghost. I asked him about the remains, and he snapped at me to shut up.” Pain wrinkled the corners of her eyes. “He never talks to me like that. I asked him why the news was upsetting him, and he told me it was nothing, and he changed the subject. Then, the next time I was there, a few days later, I overheard him on the phone. I have no idea who he was talking to, but he said something about the woman in the field, and about it being taken care of, and she was never supposed to be found. He was furious.” She tapped the table for emphasis. “He was talking about that woman.”

I gazed into her pleading face. “Okay,” I finally said. “I’ll look into it.”

Although her dad had certainly been acting strangely, I doubted there was anything sinister behind his behavior, but it would be easy enough to find out, and put her mind at ease.

How wrong I was.

About Small Town Focus

Reed Ferguson is back!

“I think my father might have killed my mother.”

With this one sentence, Gina Smith immediately draws Denver private investigator Reed Ferguson into a case. Questioning her past and yearning to find the mother she’s never met, Gina hires Reed to find answers. With the help of his wife, Willie, his best friend Cal, and the always amusing Goofball Brothers, Reed’s search for Gina’s mother leads him to a rural Colorado town and a puzzling mystery that involves a decades-old kidnapping, a powerful small-town mayor, a seductively charming pastor, and an unsolved murder. And if Reed isn’t careful, the murderer’s focus could turn to him.

Small Town Focus is a suspense-filled mystery, with a Bogie-wannabe detective, a dose of humor, and a clever homage to film noir. From the award-wining author of This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies.

Great for fans who love a fast-paced, humorous read, without a lot of swearing or sex.

About the author

Renee PawlishRenée Pawlish is the award-winning author of the bestselling Reed Ferguson mystery series, horror bestseller Nephilim Genesis of Evil, The Noah Winters YA Adventure series, middle-grade historical novel This War We’re In, Take Five, a short story collection, and
The Sallie House: Exposing the Beast Within, a nonfiction account of a haunted house investigation.

Renée has been called “a promising new voice to the comic murder mystery genre” and “a powerful storyteller”. Nephilim Genesis of Evil has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti.

Renée was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Colorado.

Visit Renée’s

And follow her on Twitter @ReneePawlish.


Monday Musings: Tribute to Bob Dylan


by Kathleen Valentine

friedman-dylan-nobelThis week we learned that Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his song lyrics. There is nothing I could write that would be a tenth as meaningful as his words so here are the lyrics to one of the songs that won him the Nobel.

Desolation Row
Bob Dylan

They’re selling postcards of the hanging, they’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors, the circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner, they’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker, the other is in his pants
And the riot squad they’re restless, they need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight, from Desolation Row
Cinderella, she seems so easy, “It takes one to know one, ” she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he’s moaning. “You Belong to Me I Believe”
And someone says, “You’re in the wrong place, my friend, you’d better leave”
And the only sound that’s left after the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up on Desolation Row
Now the moon is almost hidden, the stars are beginning to hide
The fortune telling lady has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain and Abel and the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is making love or else expecting rain
And the Good Samaritan, he’s dressing, he’s getting ready for the show
He’s going to the carnival tonight on Desolation Row
Ophelia, she’s ‘neath the window for her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday she already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic she wears an iron vest
Her profession’s her religion, her sin is her lifelessness
And though her eyes are fixed upon Noah’s great rainbow
She spends her time peeking into Desolation Row
Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago with his friend, a jealous monk
Now he looked so immaculately frightful as he bummed a cigarette
And he when off sniffing drainpipes and reciting the alphabet
You would not think to look at him, but he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin on Desolation Row
Dr. Filth, he keeps his world inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients, they’re trying to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser, she’s in charge of the cyanide hole
And she also keeps the cards that read, “Have Mercy on His Soul”
They all play on the penny whistles, you can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough from Desolation Row
Across the street they’ve nailed the curtains, they’re getting ready for the feast
The Phantom of the Opera in a perfect image of a priest
They are spoon feeding Casanova to get him to feel more assured
Then they’ll kill him with self-confidence after poisoning him with words
And the Phantom’s shouting to skinny girls, “Get outta here if you don’t know”
Casanova is just being punished for going to Desolation Row”
At midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders and then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles by insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping to Desolation Row
Praise be to Nero’s Neptune, the Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody’s shouting, “Which side are you on?!”
And Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them and fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much about Desolation Row
Yes, I received your letter yesterday, about the time the doorknob broke
When you asked me how I was doing, was that some kind of joke
All these people that you mention, yes, I know them, they’re quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces and give them all another name
Right now, I can’t read too good, don’t send me no more letters no
Not unless you mail them from Desolation Row


Thursday Teaser: The Oblivious Girl’s Handbook


Being oblivious to all the signs that your life is about to fall apart doesn’t stop it from happening to Sara Taylor. The Handbook Series, #2 By DelSheree Gladden I was tangled in a tornado of fabric when a low hissing sound caused me to freeze. … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: Squirming in the Gap


by Kathleen Valentine For well over a year now I have been working on a story designed to be the third entry in my Halcyon Beach Chronicles series. This series is different from anything else I write because it has no primary characters who appear … [Continue reading]

Win 10 BestSelling Reads books on an iPad Air 2


Send us the first line of Chapter 4 from your favorite BestSelling Reads book for a chance to win a brand new iPad Air 2 loaded with the Kindle Reader and 10 books by Bestselling Reads authors. To be eligible to win the prize, you must email … [Continue reading]

Thursday teaser: Once Upon a [Stolen] Time


The Stolen Series I By Samreen Ahsan She is standing in my courtyard. Everything in nature surrounds her—hugs her and is dazzled by her…including me. Beautiful flowers of every hue and aroma are grown in this majestic garden. My eyes are … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: Observations from Stephen King


I have a terrible cold and am quite miserable so, since we just finished Banned Book Week, I thought you might enjoy this 1992 essay by Stephen King: The Book-Banners: Adventure in Censorship is Stranger Than Fiction Published as a Guest Column … [Continue reading]

Thursday Teaser: The Wife Line


You could WIN a free copy of this Sydney Rye Kindle World mystery. By Scott Bury Find out how at the end of this excerpt. Chapter 1: A simple assignment Provence, France, May 2010 The mansion seemed to Sydney the epitome of France: originally … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: Banned Book Week


By Kathleen Valentine September 25 through October 1, 2016 is Banned Books Week, a celebration of books that were at one time considered too objectionable for the average reader. Here is a partial list of banned books and the reason for their … [Continue reading]

Thursday teaser: A Case of Sour Grapes


You could WIN a FREE e-copy of this Cass Elliot Companion Novel. See the details at the end of the excerpt. By Gae-Lynn Woods TO TELL THE TRUTH, even after reading the internet articles I was clueless about how to find someone. So I did what every … [Continue reading]