The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.
December 17 through December 24: A Dangerous Harbor will be on sale at 99 cents
Starting 12/17/13 thru 12/24/13
A DANGEROUS HARBOR
Author: R.P. Dahlke
"This is an engaging, well-written mystery with characters that took up residence in my imagination; moving in with all their baggage and quirks. I found them incredibly difficult to dislodge even several days after I had finished reading the book. I loved the setting; the beauty of the waters and the lovely hillsides existing alongside the abject poverty and ugliness of the slummy, sleazy habitats of those less fortunate. The day to day uncertainly of life is realistically portrayed in an area where powerful drug cartels operate from shadowy positions in almost all levels of government..." LauriJ's Reviews for Night Owl Reviews Reviewer Top Pick
"Take a San Francisco police officer who is on leave for shooting a man who threatened her sister, send her on a sailing trip into Mexican waters where she finds the body of a murdered teenage girl, and you've got the mix for an intriguing mystery. Add an irresistible Mexican-Italian man who happens to be the lead investigator on the case and the romance begins to sizzle. I loved the vivid descriptions of this coastal Mexican town, and the methodic way in which officer Katy Hunter helps with the investigation. A satisfying ending in which all the threads come together into a neatly plotted book." - Connie Shelton, author of the best-selling Charlie Parker mysteries and the new Samantha Sweet mysteries
Here's the set-up:
Bleary-eyed and sleep deprived after a long overnighter into Mexico, solo sailor and SFPD police detective, Katrina Hunter, thinks the mermaid twenty yards behind her thirty-two foot Westsail is nothing more than a sailor's hallucination But everything she knows about floaters convinces her to turn her boat around for another look.
Now, alone and isolated in the Mexican port's police station for six hours she's convinced that reporting a floater to authorities was a mistake. Even the arrival of a handsome, if somewhat dour, Mexican/Italian investigator does nothing to dispel her growing anxiety that she's about to be charged with the murder.
Chief Inspector, Raul Vignaroli, is as surprised by the attractive solo-sailor as he is to find that she's a respected member of the San Francisco police force, and after some well-placed phone calls he's sure that he's found the perfect partner to help him solve a murder, if not the cure for his broken heart.
Released, she's free to go. But leaving the police station hits a snag when two policemen march in, dragging a listless prisoner between them. But before Katy can dodge them for the exit, the prisoner raises his head and a startling pair of aquamarine eyes meet hers.
He straightens his back, wincing at the angle of his cuffed wrists. "What the... Whisper?"
Suddenly, the sound of the ceiling fan is terribly loud. Blood pounds in her ears, her mouth goes dry, her palms are damp and her feet are nailed to the floor. In a knee jerk reaction, she hisses, "Don't call me that!"
Except for the mermaid on a weedy patch of sea grass ghosting in her wake, Katrina Hunter’s solo sail into Mexican waters had been monotonous and uneventful. And now her thirty-two-foot Westsail was on a leisurely stroll with only the current and the thrum of the auxiliary engine for companionship—except, that is, for the mermaid.
Katrina rubbed at gritty eyes, the result of too little sleep and too many hours at Pilgrim’s helm. “Sure it is. Last night it was Mickey Mouse reciting Robert Frost on top of a following wave, so why not mermaids?”
Shivery, bleary-eyed and slow, she blew at cold, stiff hands, then reached over and tapped at her handheld GPS. Arrival to her destination at the port of Ensenada in forty-five minutes, it said.
She peered through the early morning light at the sun-fuzzed tan cliffs of Baja. The bare corduroy hills folding onto themselves, then breaking apart, humped up again into another cluster of barren monotony. Bored with the dull scenery, she cupped a hand over her brow and glanced back at the patch of weed again.
Like all solo sailors, Katrina talked to herself. And in this case, it was more to ease her worried mind than for the sheer entertainment of hearing her own voice.
“Definitely not Mickey Mouse. It’s a busted white fender stuck on some seaweed, that’s all it is.”
Rubbing at her tired eyes again, she peered at the seaweed wallowing in her wake. The white plastic fender was now a pale arm swimming in slow, lazy strokes, moving to some genetic Latin rhythm.
There was also a head with long dark hair and a body to go along with the arm.
“Yeah, and gold watches are this year’s accessory for every boat fender. Shit!”
Katy swatted at the clanging alarm going off in her head—that litany of cautionary instruction drilled into her by her superiors when they heard about her solo sail to Mexico. Never mind that she’d been sailing since she could stand, or that she was frequent crew for any racing regatta on the San FranciscoBay. She was one of their own, or would be if her paid leave of absence played out as intended.
There would be no calling the American Coast Guard now; she was already too far away from San Diego and the American border. She stoppered her ears against getting involved with even the slightest whiff of trouble while she was in Mexico and stabbed at the Man Overboard button on her GPS, marking her exact location.
Yanking at the furling line of her jib until it curled obediently onto itself and crabwalking forward, she uncleated the main and let it drop into the lazyjacks, worked her way back to secure the boom into its cradle, dropped down into the cockpit and shoved the tiller hard until the bow was aimed at the patch of weed, then tied off the tiller, idled the throttle, and with boat hook in hand, waited for the patch of weedy sea grass to slide across her waterline.
Katy leaned over and deftly nudged the weedy raft around so that its reluctant passenger was facing her, and then ever so gently pushed back the wet strands of black hair. Dark winged brows stood out in stark relief on pale olive skin. It was a girl, maybe all of sixteen, she guessed.
“Where’d you come from?”
As if to answer at least part of her question, the ocean swelled, lifting up the maiden’s bier until Katy was looking into slightly open eyes. There were no petechiae, the telltale red dots freckling the cornea and typical of strangulation.
“Not strangled, but still….”
A frothy red bubble clinging to a nostril and a few more at her mouth said drowned, but not in the water very long as the limbs were still pliant and the skin wasn’t bloated or damaged by fish or sea birds.
Katy noted the time as seven a.m. for the investigation that was clearly going to happen, and gave her guess at a couple of hours earlier, which would put the death about three or four a.m.
“Did you fall off a party boat, my little mermaid?” She lifted her head to scan the horizon for any sign of a disappearing yacht or cruise ship.
The empty horizon made her sad and then angry, but not at the dead girl. Detective Katrina Taylor Hunter, recently of the San Francisco Police Department, would never be angry at a victim and certainly not one so young. “All right, let’s get this over with,” and she went below to twist the dial on her marine radio to 2.182 MHz and did as she was trained to do when finding dead bodies in Mexican waters—called the Mexican Navy.
Mystery, Romance, Humor
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R.P. (Rebecca) Dahlke was raised on her father’s 80 acres of Almonds & crop dusting ranch south of Modesto, California. She’s been writing since 1994, first with a writing group in the East Bay Area and then when she and her husband went sailing, via the Guppies of Sisters in Crime, National.
When they settled in Southern Arizona, Rebecca started a chapter of Sisters in Crime and A Dead Red Cadillac was published by Treble Heart Publishing.
She was doing the rewrite on her second Lalla Baines Novel, A Dead Red Heart when her son, John Shanahan, died in a tragic crop dusting accident in California. Writing about anything, much less crop-dusting became too painful and she stopped writing until 2010.
I sort of fell into the job of running a crop-dusting business when my dad decided he'd rather go on a cruise than take another season of lazy pilots, missing flaggers, testy farmers and horrific hours. After two years at the helm, I handed him back the keys and fled to a city without any of the above. And no, I was never a crop-duster.
Author's Book List
The Dead Red Mystery Series - Boxed Set
Over 198- 5 STAR reviews total for this humorous mystery series--A Dead Red Cadillac, A Dead Red Heart, and A Dead Red Oleander
Here's what reviewers are saying:
A Dead Red Cadillac:
"A Dead Red Cadillac may be Dahlke’s first published work, but it doesn’t read that way; the author is assured in her storytelling, crafting a witty, breezy, and thoroughly-entertaining lark peppered with interesting characters in a unique setting... and even tossing in some (much-appreciated) surprising twists along the way Wise-cracking detectives--from the rank amateurs who somehow stumble into the practice of investigating, to the licensed professionals with their fancy gizmos and snazzy Yellow Pages listings--are a dime a dozen in mystery novels... but a wise-cracking, ex-fashion-model, crop-dusting sleuth? That puts a quirky new spin on the genre, in R.P. Dahlke’s peppy debut, A Dead Red Cadillac".
Order the Book From: Amazon
- #2 in Pilgrim's Progress-A Romantic Sailing Mystery Trilogy
While anxiously awaiting confirmation on the renewal of her TV contract, Leila Hunter Standiford, opts for a sail on the boat she and her sister co -own in Mexico. But when she impetuously invites a family friend, and fugitive from justice, Gabe Alexander, as crew, she has no idea of the trouble that will follow. Now, at the end of her vacation in Puerto Felice, all she wants is to get Gabe off her boat.
Then a beautiful vintage Alden sails into the anchorage, and though she admires the boat, and the handsome captain, she doesn't realize the lovely yacht will soon burn to the water line, or that a dead body will be found below, or that the captain, who may or may not be the killer, might also be the man of her dreams.
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"The main protagonists and all the supporting characters, have larger than life personalities, which lend themselves to some great dialogue exchanges and some pretty strange and esoteric action scenes. In preparation for the couple's forthcoming nuptuals, Lalla's relatives have arrived in California, from Texas and now the fun really starts!!"
When a late in the season emergency forces Lalla Bains to accept a greenhorn ag pilot for her dad's cropdusting business, she sighs in relief . After all, he comes highly recommended, his physical is spotless, and with a name like Dewey Treat, what could possibly go wrong?
Then her quirky relatives arrive from Texas and things go south in a hurry: Dewey Treat drops dead, his tearful widow claims he was murdered, clobbers Sherriff Caleb Stone with his own gun, and makes a run for it. Lalla, convinced the widow is innocent, sets out to prove it--against the express wishes of fiancé Caleb Stone.
Feds, local law, suspicious ag-pilots, nutso relatives, and her daddy's new sidekick, Bruce the goat, make life a living hell for Lalla. Will her nosey nature solve the crime and save the day? Or put them all in mortal danger?
Order the Book From: Amazon
A DEAD RED HEART
- The Lalla Bains Series
When a lovesick, homeless veteran litters her vintage red caddy with paper snowflakes, Lalla Bains, Aero Ag pilot figures it's time for a showdown. Unfortunately, someone else has the same idea leaving Lalla with a dying man at her feet, and only his strange last words, "The more there is, the less you see," as a clue to his killer.
Compounding her life her tightwad, widowed father becomes a born-again ladies man, a disreputable competitor tries to push her out of business, and last but not least, her antennae twitches that the sultry redhead in Modesto's police department may be vying for Sheriff Caleb Stone's affections.
It soon becomes crystal clear that the police are totally off base on this murder investigation and someone else is going to have to suit up to solve this case. Someone who is just exasperating, pushy, and tenacious enough to get the job done--and that person will be none other than:Ms. Lalla Bains.
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- Barnes and Noble
A DEAD RED CADILLAC
"I've been married so many times, they should revoke my license," says NY model, and reluctant pilot Lalla Bains.
Running her dad's Crop-Dusting business in Modesto, California she's hoping to dodge the inevitable fortieth birthday party. But when her trophy red '58 Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask why a widowed piano teacher, who couldn't possibly see beyond the hood ornament, was found strapped in the driver's seat.
Reeling from an interrogation with local homicide, Lalla is determined to extricate herself as a suspect in this strange murder case. Unfortunately, drug running pilots, a cross-dressing convict, a crazy Chihuahua, and the dead woman's hunky nephew throw enough road blocks to keep Lalla neck deep in an investigation that links her family to a twenty-year old murder only she can solve.
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- Barnes and Noble
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