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 D.R. Ransdell's New Book: DIZZY IN DURANGO
Diane writes Mystery, Travel and Romance novels plus short stories.
Dizzy in Durango
An Andy Veracruz Mystery - Volume 3
Author: D.R. Ransdell
Barnes and Noble
Dizzy in Durango An Andy Veracruz Mystery Missing women, abandoned children, and a crazy mariachi fan add up to further trouble for Andy Veracruz. After a fellow traveler disappears, he can’t concentrate on vacationing. Worse, he’s saddled with two children who aren’t his, an angry would-be girlfriend, and a self-appointed younger brother who is more reckless than he is. No wonder he starts seeing double!
Excerpt from DIZZY IN DURANGO
“A woman disappeared,” Rachel said. “So what?”
“I still have her bag.”
“Andy, you’re making a big deal out of nothing. Again.”
Rachel wasn’t even watching me. She was busy rolling tacos. We were sitting in the kitchen of her cousin’s taquería in Durango, Durango, Mexico, where everyone in town had decided to order crispy fried tacos at the same time. Since two of the employees had called in sick, Rachel was pitching in.
I wasn’t sure how to press my point. Maybe Rachel was right. Maybe it was nothing. But it didn’t feel like nothing. My stomach didn’t say it was nothing. My stomach was in knots.
It had been a rocky twenty-four hours since I’d headed south of the border to catch up with Rachel. She wasn’t exactly my girlfriend, but she was a fellow mariachi player and occasional lover. I hoped this would be one of those occasions, but she hadn’t appreciated my weeks of silence.
By the time I’d shown up on her doorstep in Arizona, she was in Mexico visiting cousins.
I’d managed to get on a flight so that I could join her, but mechanical problems in Hermosillo delayed us so long that I’d missed my flight to Durango. Several other passengers were in the same predicament. Luckily Aeroméxico had comped us a decent hotel. I’d been lounging in the pool area anticipating a swim when a fellow passenger joined me on deck.
Thanks to the woman’s spiky blond hair and dancing hazel eyes, I’d noticed her in the customer service line.
Claire was en route to Durango to visit a college friend who had taken a teaching job, but meanwhile we had time to flirt. We’d traded insinuations until her cell phone went off and she had to dig around in her bag for it. Before she answered, she nonchalantly asked if I’d watch her bag for a few minutes and strutted off wearing high heels, a red bikini made mostly of straps, and a towel. I watched every move.
She never came back. A day later, I was still trying to figure out what happened to her.
“Are you sure you heard that woman correctly?” Rachel asked.
“I’m a violinist. If there’s anything I trust, it’s my hearing.”
Rachel nodded, but she dismissed the story. The episode could have been featured on the cover of a gossip magazine: woman walks to a pool, leaves her bag, doesn’t return. Happens all the time.
Except that it didn’t happen all the time.
Rachel rolled another tortilla. “Why don’t you relax and forget the whole thing?”
On any other night, I could have done as Rachel suggested. Instead I couldn’t ignore my stomach. I had severe indigestion without having eaten.
“Three thousand dollars isn’t that much in the scheme of things,” Rachel said as she speared another set of tacos.
“Seems like a lot of money to me.”
“To me too. But not in the scheme of things.”
Rachel was referring to the contents of Claire’s bag. Inside I expected to find Claire’s boarding pass. The pass was there, but behind it was a stack of hundred-dollar bills.
She looked over and caught me staring into space. “When you travel, you’re bound to meet strange people who do things that don’t make sense. You should know that.”
“I’m just surprised that Claire never came back.”
I didn’t merely feel surprised; I felt edgy. Something was left unfinished, something I should have done or said. Or noticed.
“Andy, you have rotten luck with fellow travelers. I can’t figure out if you’re unlucky or nosy,” Rachel winked.
“I wouldn’t want Claire to think I stole the money,” I said. “Plus I have her driver’s license and a credit card.”
“You might as well keep them,” Meli said as she joined us. “She’s probably dead.”
“Don’t you read the newspapers? People disappear all the time these days.”
“You think she was kidnapped?”
Meli shrugged in a way that said “yes.”
“Wouldn’t kidnappers ask for a ransom?” I stammered.
“Around here they want attention,” Meli said. “Once in a while they go for the money.”
“They wouldn’t kidnap someone from an airport hotel, would they?”
Meli speared cabbage strips as if she were mad at them. “My ex-husband’s cousin-in-law got kidnapped from Home Depot in the middle of the afternoon. He was found dead a month later on the highway to the sierra. It’s hard to say.”
“I thought he was sleeping with the mayor’s wife,” Rachel said.
“Maybe. But it was never confirmed.”
“She can’t be dead,” I informed Meli. “Anyway, I can’t keep the money.”
“Give it to charity if you have a guilty conscience,” Meli laughed.
Rachel winked at me. “I know some good cat shelters in Tucson.”
“Charity?” asked a young man as he slid into the table’s extra chair. “I’m a good charity. No, a great one. You’ve got extra money? Donate it to me.” He was as dark as Meli but had more angular features. He wore glasses with a black frame and a frayed gray T-shirt that read “ardinals.” When he smiled all his teeth showed, which gave him a goofy look. I liked him immediately.
Meli playfully put her palm on the man’s forehead and pushed him away.
“I never asked to have a younger brother!”
“Just trying to help.” He offered me his hand. “I’m Quique. You’re the guy that lost the woman?”
Quique, pronounced Key-Kay, was the usual Hispanic nickname for Enrique.
“Yes. Well, no. She wasn’t mine to lose.”
“Want to do me a favor? See, there’s this girl who thinks she’s my girlfriend, but she’s not. Think you could lose her for me?”
The man wouldn’t stop ribbing me until I promised to try. His mirth was contagious, and I needed every drop of it. I’d met a woman who vanished. Something was wrong with the whole scenario. I wouldn’t feel right again until I knew where she’d gone. And why.
Mystery, Travel, Romance
Author D.R. Ransdell
Author D.R. Ransdell - Author News Blog
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D.R. Ransdell teaches writing in Tucson, Arizona, where she moonlights as a mariachi player. Travel is her passion, so she spends vacations traipsing around new countries, experimenting with new languages, and dancing to new music. She shares her house with five cats, whose bird-chasing and lizard-eating activities add color to her stories.
Author's Book List
- An Andy Veracruz Mystery
When Andy Veracruz heads to Greece for a holiday, the mariachi player expects to spend afternoons swimming and nights making love. At an outdoor café, he meets a fellow traveler who accidentally leaves behind a package. Before Andy can return it, the man is found floating in the harbor, and Andy and his girlfriend are run off the road by whizzing bullets. To protect his friends, Andy starts doing undercover work by substituting in a bouzouki band, but further “accidents” call for drastic measures. The more Andy becomes entangled in the complicated web that connects the island’s inhabitants, the more he realizes he must rip apart the whole story before he’ll be free to go back home.
In Island Casualty, the second Andy Veracruz mystery, Andy accepts the invitation of a friend who is working at a taverna on a Greek island. He’s hoping Rachel can help him forget the one he could not save, but life on a small island is much different from life in Squid Bay. Instead of a relaxing vacation, Andy finds secret engagements and crazy islanders. As the savior of everyone except himself, Andy is soon involved in it all, but justice is not always black and white.
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- A Cultural Romance
When high school graduate Gina Campanello wins a trip to Thailand, the last thing she wants is to visit a bunch of temples and museums with her gung-ho older sister. Luckily, before Gina leaves Tucson, a neighbor gives her the mission of delivering a small stone elephant to a long-lost relative.
When Gina and Rachel hit Bangkok, Rachel carts her sister from Wat Pho to the Grand Palace, but all Gina can think of is Koon Somchai, the estranged engineer she has promised to track down. By the time she leaves Bangkok, she’s no closer to her goal.
In Chiang Mai, the second city of the girls’ tour, Gina finally gets some leads after consulting with natives. She visits the local engineering school and writes furious emails to recent graduates. The problem is that by the time she narrows down her search, she’s about to board a plane for the beautiful beaches of Phuket.
While Rachel enjoys lovely ocean views and leisurely afternoons in the pool, Gina can’t stop thinking about the mysterious man she was supposed to find. When the man’s grandson is able to arrange transportation for her return to Chiang Mai, Gina can’t turn down the offer, no matter the personal cost.
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- An Andy Veracruz Mystery Book 1
Andy Veracruz is content with his life as the leader of a mariachi band, but when his lover is accused of murder, he has no choice but to defend her. In the process he faces the loss of his strongest loyalties as well as his entire career.
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