It is almost Christmas and yards glow with twinkling lights. But more than chestnuts are roasting.
A raging fire sweeps through the decorated landscape of Sled Run, destroying the home of Chief Deputy Oren Rosenberg and killing two. An accident? Or did something toxic fuel the flames? Sheriff Piper Blackwell and Detective Basil Meredith believe Oren was targeted and are tasked with finding motive and means before more than the holiday burns bright. With many clues reduced to ashes, can Piper and Basil catch the culprits before they strike again? Or is this blaze just the start of the most murder-filled time of the year? Publisher: Boone Street Press (November 13, 2023) Publication date: November 13, 2023 Language: English Print length: 316 pages Buy link: https://mybook.to/DeadSledRun The Dead of Sled Run is book five of the Piper Blackwell Series. Want to read the series in order? Check it out on Amazon. Prefer audio? The Piper Blackwell series is in audio, read by Catherine Wenglowski. Start with book one of the series, The Dead of Winter Love the Piper Blackwell Series and want to keep up with Jean's latest works? Sign-up for her newsletter here and follow her on Amazon or Bookbub.
Piper watched the sentry download video on the flash drives she provided. Security cameras dotted the gated collection of subdivisions that made up Christmas Lake Village. She was most interested in the feed from a few hours before Oren’s fire, though the warrant specified two weeks’ worth, which was as long as the Village stored it before deletion. They’d take it to the department for study, hopefully noting unusual activity, and run license plate numbers for suspicious cars.
She’d hoped to get a look at the two individuals from the Laubenstein house, but there were no security cameras on Sled Run. Maybe some residents on that street had doorbell cams that could help. As EldadLaubenstein had said: “One of them certainly saw something.”
Was it possible those burned souls had started the blaze at Oren’s, not knowing it would spread and catch them? How long would it take for DNA or dental records to identify the two?
Piper and Basil squeezed into the tiny brick building behind the sentry at his desk, the closeness and the portable heater banished the frigid breeze that blew outside. Piper unzipped her coat and wondered briefly if maybe she and Nang should consider someplace tropical for their honeymoon.
Basil talked softly on his radio to the dispatcher; Piper caught something about a car stolen from outside the pizza place west of Rockport.
“Awful thing, that fire on Sled,” the sentry, Kenny Caine, said. The post smelled of coffee and the pine sprigs that decorated his small desk. A pen holder crammed with peppermint sticks sat in front of a speaker that played George Strait’s “Christmas Cookies.” There was little room to move around, and no other chairs. An open narrow door revealed a toilet and an almost child-sized sink. A mini-fridge with a microwave on top of it, a coatrack, and a dog bed containing a grizzle-faced chocolate Labrador took up the rest of the meager square footage. The dog glanced at Piper and thumped its tail.
Caine looked to be roughly twenty, silver ring in his left ear, with a matching one in his nose. He had a tattoo of an orange and black fantailed goldfish on the left side of his neck. His hair was short except for a narrow hank in the back. “I just got back three days ago. Been to Portugal with my fiancé. Bette, she’s looking to study music in Lisbon, the Superior Orchestra Academy, and I tagged along. Thinks she can get a scholarship. Violin, cello. She’s really set on living and performing in Europe.”
Caine continued to chat as he filled the four flash drives she’d provided, Piper only half-listening.
Piper looked out the window, down the main road that led into the Village. Her mind was occupied by Oren, the fire, the mysterious lawsuit her father had mentioned. Too many things jousted for prominence. Nang flitted in her thoughts. Marriedonly one week ago and waiting until month’s end so she’d have vacation days for a honeymoon. That trip could be postponed because of all of this, Oren being injured,she was down a deputy. Nang would understand. He might actually be happy to put it off, what with looking at buildings to buy so he could open a restaurant. Their lives seemed so busy, going opposite directions.
About the Author:
USA Today best-seller, Jean Rabe's impressive writing career spans decades, starting as a newspaper reporter and bureau chief.
From there she went on to become the director of RPGA, a co-editor with Martin H. Greenberg for DAW books, and, most notably, Rabe is an award-winning author of more than forty science fiction/fantasy and murder mystery thrillers.
She writes mysteries and fantasies, because life is too short to be limited to one genre--and she does it with dogs tangled at her feet, because life is too short not to be covered in fur. Find out more about her at www.jeanrabe.com