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 Niki Danforth's New Book: Searching for Gatsby.
Niki is the author of the Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery series.
Searching for Gatsby
A Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery (An Accidental Lady Detective, A Private Investigator Crime Series Book 3
Author: Niki Danforth
He’s handsome, wealthy, and oh so mysterious…but you can’t judge a book by its cover, right?
A fifty-something divorcée turned private eye, Ronnie Lake turns the pages on her current case with her beloved German shepherd at her side. Adultery, betrayal, and romance are the main characters until murder steals the scene and plunges her into the exclusive world of rare book collecting.
When a priceless first edition vanishes, everyone becomes a suspect...and a target. But a literary shocker speaks volumes about an historic book series - curiously lost to time - that holds the key to it all.
Be sure to enjoy the eBook bonus prequel to Ronnie Lake’s story in the first several chapters of "Stunner" and the beginning of "Delilah!"
Excerpt from Searching for Gatsby: A Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery?
Guided by discreetly placed exterior spotlights, I quickly make my way around the house. As I head toward the parked cars, I look for any sign of where the thief might have approached the house to break in.
Once at my Mustang, I dig out a large flashlight and a walking stick that looks like a ski pole, in case the barking dog is aggressive. I switch from guest to sleuth-mode and head outside the walls of the mansion. The police sirens are much closer now. The mystery dog barks again, and I walk more quickly.
Along the way, I speed dial my good friend, Will Benson, a former cop turned private eye. He’s also a fellow black belt at the dojo where I practice Aikido. He doesn’t pick up, so I leave a message.
“Hi. There’s been a break-in at Win and Marilyn Watson’s place on Dutchman’s Road. And it looks like the burglar fell from the roof, or he was shot, and he’s dead, I’m pretty sure. Nothing like this ever happens out here—whoops.” I trip on a small stump but catch myself to regain my footing. “We’re waiting for the police to arrive, so in the meantime there’s a mysterious barking close by, and I’m checking it out. Catch you later.”
Carefully picking my way along the path, I sweep the flashlight beam back and forth from fence to path to brush, looking for a dog or any sign of where the robber entered through the fencing.
Then I hear a whining sound up ahead—it’s got to be a dog, or some other small animal. I hurry along the path until maybe thirty yards later I finally see the creature in the beam of my flashlight.
A small Jack Russell Terrier waits in a sit-position next to a small pack, but that changes to lots of jumping when it sees me. The whining also switches to barking. “Quiet.” I put a finger to my lips as I approach. “Shhh! Sit.” As the dog half-sits, I can see it’s a female.
“Hey, little one.” I keep my voice soft as I slowly draw near the animal. The dog stares up at me with dark eyes, her tail wagging enthusiastically like a windshield wiper on the ground.
I kneel down and reach the top of my hand out for her to sniff, which she does eagerly. “What are you doing out here all by yourself?”
The leash attached to her collar loops around a lower branch on a bush. “This is odd.” Using my flashlight, I read the tag attached to the collar around the terrier’s neck. “Peach.” The dog barks once. “Okay, Peach it is.”
I scratch her head and she nuzzles my hand.
Looking around, I shine my light on a nearby bush. A classic Barbour jacket and fedora hang from two of the limbs, and a pair of soft leather moccasins is propped on a lower branch. I quickly snap a few pictures with my phone.
My light shifts to the brand name on the insole of the shoe. "Hmm…expensive.” I glance up at the jacket and hat. “These are, too.”
I reach for one of the moccasins, and the terrier lunges for it and grabs it from my hand, even though she’s restrained by the leash.
“Whoa, Peach.” I take the other moccasin, hold it up, and say in a firm voice, “No. Now, sit.”
Instead of minding me, she growls and maintains her grip on the shoe, bouncing around me as far as her leash will allow. She finally approaches, drops the moccasin, and nuzzles her head against my arm for attention, and I rub it. “Hey, Peachie.”
Standing up, I speed dial Frank’s cell. “The police will want to see all of this.”
As I wait for Frank to pick up, Peachie growls and dances around nervously. “What is it, girl? Another animal out there making you jumpy?” My brother’s cell continues to ring. “Come on, Frank, pick up.”
Sticks snap on the path behind me, and Peach’s growling turns aggressive. It quickly escalates to loud barking and snarling.
“Will, Frank, is that you? I’m trying to call—”
I don’t even completely turn toward the direction of the sound when something hard and heavy crashes down on me, and my world goes black.
Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
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Niki Danforth, daughter of a Cold War covert intelligence officer, has the “thriller/adventure” gene in her DNA. After a New York TV career, including as a director on Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, this empty-nester has recreated herself as an author of suspenseful mysteries. And like her character Ronnie Lake, Danforth studied Japanese Aikido, earning a black belt in time for a decade birthday. Right now, she's plotting Books 4 & 5 in her Ronnie Lake Mystery series, while she writes Book 2 to follow her well-received children's mystery A Wild Ride: The Adventures of Misty & Moxie Wyoming.
Sign up for her newsletter at nikidanforth.com/delilah-az
and get a free copy of the short story Delilah: A Ronnie Lake Cold Case, #2 in the series.
Author's Book List
- An Accidental Lady Detective, A Private Investigator Crime Series Short Story Book 2
What happens when the music dies...
Steve Lyla wants nothing more than to grant his elderly father's dying wish, to find his sister's killer. Is 50-something, student-sleuth Ronnie Lake ready to take on a cold case more than forty years in the making? As a divorced, downsized empty-nester, Ronnie must follow the trail of undiscovered clues in this short story to get inside the mind of a killer.
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A Wild Ride
- The Adventures of Misty & Moxie Wyoming
Upon waking on the morning of her tenth birthday, Moxie Wyoming Woodson embarks on a summer of magic, mayhem and adventure. With rodeo champion Granny Rose as her inspiration, Moxie’s birthday dreams kick up visions of a fine young horse that will also help her take on the more grown-up chores on her family’s Wyoming ranch.
When her father unloads from his trailer the old sway-backed grey-flecked little black horse, Misty, Moxie’s hopes lie trampled in the barnyard dust. What she cannot see, but will come to discover, is that her new horse is special in more than just the way she brings this intrepid heroine into her own.
Channeling her natural instincts to care for animals and dragging along her reluctant best friend and sidekick Pickle Turner, Moxie Wyoming grows out of pouty disappointment over her broken-down mare. She transforms into a courageous sleuth, hot on the dusty and sinister trail of a menacing gang with a hard-hearted plan to round up and sell a bold and beautiful herd of wild Mustangs.
Along the way, Moxie learns there is more magic in helping endangered animals than aspiring to win rodeo ribbons.
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- A Ronnie Lake Mystery
Beautiful. Bright. And possibly, deadly...
This is all Ronnie Lake knows about her potential sister-in-law, Juliana. But she’s determined to find out the truth about her wealthy brother’s new lover before he throws away his happiness, fortune, and quite possibly, his life. Who is this mysterious woman with two lives–and how deep does her deception go?
As a divorced, downsized, 50-something, Ronnie finds herself becoming an “accidental detective” in order to get to the bottom of things. There are unexplained hang-ups when the phone rings. A disturbing package and sketchy characters appear at her wealthy family’s estate outside New York City. It all pushes Ronnie to step out of her privileged life and into a sinister world where people will do just about anything to escape their past. Is Juliana the most desperate of them all?
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