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.
The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES Gail Baugniet' s New Book: Blood Red Homicide.
Gail is the award-winning mystery author of the Pepper Bibeau Mystery Series.
Blood Red Homicide
A Pepper Bibeau Mystery
Author: Gail Baugniet
Insurance Investigator Pepper Bibeau would rather be in Vegas gambling. Instead, her boss sends her to New England to investigate a hefty life insurance claim on a Boston Red Sox player. While on the injured list and recuperating with the club’s farm team, the popular left fielder died under suspicious circumstances.
Pepper’s main contacts are a big insurance company representative whose job may be in jeopardy and the homicide team assigned to the case. She may not understand all the rules of major league baseball, but she knows how to score answers when a questionable claim is on the table.
With local mobsters gunning for her, Pepper’s survival instincts escalate to high-pitch alert. She aims for a grand slam of clearing a questionable claim, helping to solve the homicide case, facing illusions of family security . . . and staying alive.
Excerpt from Blood Red Homicide
At the I-95 turn-off to Pawtucket, I spotted the restaurant. Sully had given me specific instructions to watch for a steep-sloped orange roof, saying that I couldn’t miss it. He was right. A few cars had honked at me on the freeway for driving slower than jet-speed, but I’d still made good time. I could spare a few minutes for coffee before Casey arrived.
At the counter, I took a stool and checked out the desserts in the display case. When in Rome, I thought, and ordered something not commonly served in restaurants back home, Boston Cream pie. I was a sucker for pie, even if it masqueraded as cake.
“Coffee’s fresh made.” The waitress gave me a smile adorned with braces. She didn’t look much older than Nate, who had turned eighteen this month. After setting the pie plate in front of me, she filled my cup.
“Thanks.” I pointed my fork at her jersey. The name Jolynn was embroidered on the front pocket and a large number 8 was stenciled on the back. “Are you a Sox fan?”
“Been a Yastrzemski fan since birth. My father’s been rooting for him forever.” Her smile broadened as she did a wobbly pirouette to give me another look at the number. “The boss is a die-hard fan, too. He lets us wear the jerseys on game day, which means most days. Did you hear about Joe Miller?”
“The left fielder that crashed into the wall last month? I heard he was up here for rehab when he fell in the shower and died.” That wasn’t strictly what Sully had told me, but it might get her talking.
She leaned a few inches across the counter, hinting the restaurant had plenty of ears.
“Most of what you said is right. Only there’s talk Joe didn’t exactly slip in the shower. A guy who cleans up the clubhouse found Joe in a pool of blood. By the time the ambulance arrived, it was too late to do anything.”
The bell attached to the front door tingled. I glanced around to see if Casey had arrived. An older couple, the man shuffling along with an aluminum walker, entered and headed straight for a booth by the windows. I swiveled back to Jolynn.
“Why did you say he didn’t slip?”
She shrugged and started to back away. I scooped up a forkful of my Boston Cream pie to indicate it made no difference to me if she didn’t want to talk. She took the bait and returned after offering refills to two other customers farther down the counter.
“My dad said I shouldn’t feed the rumor mill.” She shot another quick glimpse around the room. “The talk is Joe’s head hit something other than the floor tile. The Pawtucket police are asking about anyone who was at the clubhouse late the night Joe died.”
“Who’s doing the asking?” I wanted to get a feel for who I’d be dealing with since I’d probably have to meet with the investigator assigned to the case.
“Jolynn.” The shout came from a man standing at the kitchen service portal. Only part of his head and arms were visible, but it was easy for me to imagine him wearing a grease-splattered apron and a hair net. “Your order’s up.”
“Enjoy your dessert.” She gave a slight shrug, her only response to my last question. “I’ll be back to refill your coffee.”
After she delivered the other order, she topped off my coffee and slipped the bill under the saucer. Then she walked over to refill coffee cups at the window tables. Once I’d emptied my plate and cup, I realized she hadn’t returned to the counter. Maybe she was on break. I tucked a tip under the plate before paying the bill and leaving. If there was more to learn about Joe’s fall, I wouldn’t be getting the information from her.
Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction
Gail Baugniet - Author
gbaugniet (at) aol (dot) com
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Over the years, reading and writing were an integral part of my eclectic employment history as an Insurance Underwriter, Statistical Coder, and Claims Adjuster; as a Professional Realtor; as a Police Reservist and Part Time Peace Officer; and finally, as a Security Dispatcher. During this time, I also composed short stories and haiku poetry for private enjoyment.
Now that there is time to write novels, my lifetime experiences offer plenty of background material for a planned mystery series. My first novel, FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences, is set in Chicago's Loop and introduces Hawaiian-born Pepper Bibeau as an Insurance Investigator whose assignments sometimes lead her into a mystery maze of murder! In the second novel, DEADLY AS NATURE, Pepper sticks closer to home in eastern Wisconsin.
Honolulu has been my home since 1992. I am a member and current president of Sisters in Crime/Hawaii, the local chapter of Sisters in Crime, Inc., and a member of The Makiki Community Library where our monthly meetings are held. I am also a member of the Ala Moana Toastmasters group.
In 2012, I accepted the National Novel Writers Month, NaNoWriMo, challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. The result of my efforts, WITH FIERY VENGEANCE, is set in Hawaii and was released in Winter, 2013. NESHOTO JUNCTION HOMICIDE followed in January, 2016.
Author's Book List
Neshoto Junction Homicide
- A Pepper Bibeau Mystery
Within the first hours of a planned fishing trip, Insurance Investigator Pepper Bibeau's vacation turns deadly.
Pepper's head is spinning over a marriage proposal from Homicide Detective Rick Janus, father of her 14-year-old son. A last-minute assignment to investigate questionable medical claims on two preteen sisters adds to the tension. Before she can relax, someone sends her tumbling into a storm-swollen river, a crude attempt to conceal a body. With a young girl's life at stake, Pepper must uncover an unlikely connection between an abandoned rifle and a litany of environmental complaints.
The rural county sheriff offers little support. Because his opinion of females in the work force is only too obvious, Pepper gathers her own clues in an attempt to solve the mystery behind a series of troubling events. But unearthing a killer may depend on her unbridled curiosity, and her ability to stay alive.
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WITH FIERY VENGEANCE Anger Burns Deep
- Pepper Bibeau Mystery Series Book 3
Insurance Investigator Pepper Bibeau returns to Hawai`i in December, 1972, where a vengeful stalker shadows her from Island to Island. While in Hawi on the Big Island, to visit her fourteen-year-old son and attend a cousin’s wedding, Pepper discovers a body on the blood-soaked back seat of an abandoned classic Woody. A local police detective involves Pepper in a poorly executed strategy that fails to trap a murder suspect, who then flees to the neighboring Island of Oahu.
A pregnant woman from Wisconsin is injured in an accident on Oahu, and her husband threatens to sue if the insurance company doesn’t cover the hospital costs immediately. When the suspect in Hawi escapes to the labyrinth of Honolulu’s Chinatown, Pepper follows with a simple plan: settle the medical insurance claim and flush out the suspect.
Then Pepper’s efforts along with unexplained deaths and ghostly events on the North Shore are eclipsed by the burning anger of a man who has lost all reason. Details of his family’s tragic medical history, flawed by emotional anguish and fatally misguided beliefs of the time, begin to emerge. With the sanity of a killer in question, Pepper fights to save her family and herself while attempting to prevent the inevitable.
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DEADLY AS NATURE Envy Spawns Grief
- Pepper Bibeau Mystery Series Book 2
Alcohol and envy are a deadly mix. The second novel of the Pepper Bibeau Mystery series, set in eastern Wisconsin, unfolds in an atmosphere of alcohol and drugs, a backdrop for unfolding events the year Janis Joplin died.
Treacherous waves on Lake Michigan toss Insurance Investigator Pepper Bibeau into the company of an intriguing and self-reliant blind lady. Haunted by past events, this lady presents Pepper with an unusual request to help clear up a murder. In an attempt to link those past events to an investigation on her cousin's life insurance claim, Pepper uncovers a family history she never even suspected.
Because of her mixed heritage, Pepper dealt with prejudice most of her twenty-eight years and always managed to keep her hackles lowered around bigoted people. Until now. A situation left to simmer too long builds to a confrontation that will not allow her to walk away. In the end, not everyone does walk away.
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