Check out more about the upcoming release of her book, The Dead of Night, A Piper Blackwell Mystery Book 2, the sequel to The Dead of Winter. (Get it now on pre-order. Releases Sept. 15.)
About The Dead of Night:
In Spencer County’s history, mysteries are numerous—and lethal…
As Sheriff Piper Blackwell rushes to a clandestine meeting with an aging, paranoid veteran who believes spies are trailing his every move, she is caught in a fierce thunderstorm. Pounding rain drums against the bluff, washing away the earth and revealing a grisly secret someone tried to bury a long time ago.
Putting a name to the skeleton on the bluff, and searching for the thief who robbed the old veteran of his life’s earnings, sends Piper delving into the sleepy towns that dot her rural county. Now she’s digging into pasts perhaps best left alone. Uncovering fragments of Spencer County’s history could prove more dangerous—and deadlier—than she ever expected.
Same Characters, a very Different Day - by Jean Rabe
Piper Blackwell, four months into her term as Spencer County Sheriff, is hot to solve a cold case. Rain, late at night, bones on the bluff…wonderfully eerie, and something to vex my favorite sheriff with. The book is The Dead of Night, the second in her series, and it is set for a September 15 release by Imajin. Her previous outing, The Dead of Winter, started with her first day on the job.
Piper is twenty-three, and won the sheriff’s race by campaigning on her last name. Her father, Paul Blackwell, had been with the department thirty years and had several turns at sheriff. Some in the county think folks didn’t realize they were voting for a different Blackwell. There’s still some friction in her department—over her age and lack of experience, but there’s also growing respect for the Army veteran. She has many of her supporting characters from the previous book—Chief Deputy Oren Rosenberg; Coroner Dr. Annie Neufeld; Teegan, a quirky Goth dispatcher; and Nang, Vietnamese caterer and quick stop owner…and potential love-interest. But there are some new ones thrown into the mix.
Series feel good because you can share the action with old friends. They’re like comfortable shoes that you’ve broken in just right. Though while there’s a sameness, Piper and Spencer County keep the story fresh. There are a lot of differences from the first book.
What makes this book dissimilar? Piper’s had a few months to grow into her role of sheriff, has become more familiar with her deputies and local politics, and has started to hear the county’s heartbeat. Oren’s had a few months to adjust to the young sheriff; he claims he still doesn’t like her, but he tolerates her…and that’s a big step from the first book. In this tale she’s involved with some of the little things that are a big deal to the rural residents, such as drunk drivers and an unbalanced octogenarian that is hell-bent on destroying mailboxes. She also nabs that cold case—and who doesn’t love a mysterious death from decades past?
There are few characters that readers should both love and hate…the drunk on a tractor that annoys the young sheriff. Drunk driving is the number one ticked offense in Spencer County; I figured I needed to address that in the book, putting a little spin on it. The Mailbox Mauler is another such soul. She was inspired by someone I know who has a vicious streak involving mis-delivered mail—downright NASTY; I had to vent by putting it in a Piper book. If the Mailbox Mauler feels real…it’s ‘cause she sort of is.
The Dead of Night was inspired by lots of things…among them three Navy veterans who live in a senior apartment complex; I rolled them into one character called Mark the Shark. He opens the book, and I hope the readers love him as much as I do. It was also inspired by the woman in my neighborhood who goes postal, by the drunk on the tractor who needed to be there so I could correctly write an airbag scene, and by an old skeleton because I’d read a forensic book about bones and wanted to put some of that knowledge to fictional use.
Is there someone to root for in Piper’s second outing? Absolutely…Piper, of course; she’s determined and feisty, and maybe she’s falling in love. Oren because he’s driven and proves that age in an asset, not a hindrance. Mark the Shark…because he’s Mark the Shark. There are also some folks to root against, but I don’t want to spoil the plot.
** Excerpt of The Dead of Night, A Piper Blackwell Mystery Book 2:
It was a big red Case tractor, double wheels on the back, hitch, with a raised disc harrow attachment used for cultivating the ground prior to planting—all of it caked with dried mud and in need of washing. Piper was stuck behind it on 66, on her way to Hatfield, an unincorporated dinkburg where Mark the Shark lived.
Piper figured this ten-mile endeavor would take her an hour away from her cold case…fourteen minutes to Mark’s, fourteen minutes b ack, and a half hour at the bank or looking through his records to show him the bookkeeping error and ease his conspiracy fears.
But the tractor was fouling her time-frame.
It belched fumes; her windows rolled down, the stink wafted inside and made her eyes water. It was noisy; overwhelming the oldies station she’d had on and just now clicked off. It was slow, riding in the center of the road, impossible for her to pass on either side without risking the ditch. And it wasn’t traveling straight, sometimes in the proper lane, sometimes veering into the left lane. Usually it held to roughly the middle.
The driver raised his left hand and flipped his middle finger.
“Really?” Piper stuck her head out the window and hollered: “Pick a lane!” Then thinking he might not be able to hear over the racket the tractor was making, she used the PA in her car.
“Pull over. Spencer County Sheriff. Pull over.”
The tractor wobbled farther right, then left, shuddered, and went faster still. Thirty miles an hour.
“What the hell?”
Then the driver tossed an empty whiskey bottle off to the side of the road.
** WINNERS - Joan, ebook & bn100 for paper. Congrats!
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