Murder_sometimes_cover_final

Patricia Lee Macomber is the former editor-in-chief of ChiZine. She has been published in "Cemetery Dance" magazine and such anthologies as "Shadows Over Baker Street," "Little Red Riding Hood In the Big Bad City," and "Dark Arts." Along with her husband, David Niall Wilson, she has written "An Unkindness of Ravens" and "Stargate Atlantis: Brimstone." Her first solo release, "Zombie A Love Story" is now available. Currently, she lives in North Carolina with her husband, David, and their children.

Murder, Sometimes by Patricia Lee Macomber

Fresh off the NYPD, Jason Callahan has his own detective agency, a nice apartment, and a secretary who doesn't drive him crazy. Jason is happy with his life. Until he meets Trina Dane, that is. Trina is that crazy lady you always worry about meeting. She's also psychic. From the minute Jason meets her, he finds himself spiraling downward into a world of ghosts, spells and demons. But Trina is also beautiful and funny and Jason can't quite force himself to stay away.

Jason and Trina's first case: The repeated attempted murder of one of the city's high rollers. Alarms haven't helped. Even video surveillance can't seem to detect the would-be assassin. Now, it's up to Jason and Trina. Can they catch the killer before he succeeds, or is he something beyond human, something beyond capture?

 

REVIEWS

  • Jason Callahan's life is pretty normal until he meets a psychic who opens the door to some pretty strange cases coming his way. Lighthearted, easy read, good with an afternoon cup of tea. Hope to see more of these two develop in future stories.

    Amazon Review
  • I thought the two main characters, Jason and Trina played off each other really well. They made a great team. I loved Benny at the beginning of the story and how he channeled the signing of the ball cards. It was quite fulfilling and not predictable with good twists and a great ending.

    Amazon Review
  • There's no time wasted " getting in to the story" here, it hooks the listener in from the start. From the very beginning I had kind thoughts towards this audiobook, it reminded me of the plays they air on the wireless, Afternoon Theatre or Book at Bedtime, a touch of nostalgia on my part maybe, but nevertheless, it worked for me. It's also a darned good story, a mystery, a whodunit, and clever too. You see, the plot was not so very complicated that those who insist on solving it all out would be left foiled and frustrated, nor was it so easy that the mystery eejits such as myself could accidentally work it out before the end.

    Amazon Review
 

BOOK PREVIEW

Excerpt

"Are you Benny Detwiler?" Jason asked softly, tipping his cap back a bit.

"That I am. There something I can do for you, my friend?" He offered a smile of his own. It sat on his fat lips like a hastily perched bird.

"I think there is. These cards. They're hand signed, right?"

"They are indeed, my friend."

"By the players. They're genuine, am I correct?"

"Yea, they're genuine. Why do you ask?" The man suddenly looked very uncomfortable.

"Well, the reason I ask is because these cards were made a long time after the players died. There's no way in hell these are genuine signatures." Jason paused, the smile running away from his face. "I guess that pretty much makes you a crook."

The man laughed. It was not the reaction Jason had expected and not nearly as satisfying as chasing the fat bastard across the crowded convention hall, tackling him, and cuffing him.

"Actually, they are genuine." The voice was female and it came from behind and just to the right of Jason's shoulder.

He turned to face the informant, forgetting the one cardinal rule of surveillance: never take your eyes off the suspect. Before him stood not just any woman, but a woman so out of place and time as to make Jason think of gypsies and horse-drawn carnival wagons. She was dripping with beads and bangles, her blonde hair tied back from her face with a scarf of many colors and her carpetbag tilting her entire body off to the left. She was just the sort of woman he had tried to avoid all his life and yet those crystal-clear blue eyes made him want to know her…intimately.

"Excuse me?" he replied anyway, his hands finding his hips in a disgusting parody of his mother's own perturbed stance. "Just who the hell are you?"

The music of bangle bracelets and cheap beads ushered her hand into his. "Trina Dane, newspaper columnist and psychic advisor to the stars. And I'm telling you, those signatures are genuine."

Jason laughed at that. He pumped her hand a few more times than was necessary, but he laughed at her just the same. "Pardon my French but…bullshit!" He glanced over his shoulder to make sure the fat man was still where he had left him. He had to give the guy credit. A lesser man would have bolted.

"Sorry, but it's not." Trina folded her arms over her chest and peered up at him with a dour look. "You see, Benny here is a channel. He channels the spirits of dead sports figures and in return for him delivering messages to their loved ones, they sign stuff for him. Isn't that right, Benny?"

"That's it in a nutshell." Benny the fat man nodded and leaned on the table. The table groaned.

Jason laughed again, this time more loudly and through his nose. "Look, lady, this is probably none of your business. But if it is and you two are in cahoots together, I'll be running you in, too."

"Take them to an expert if you don't believe me. Any one you want."

"Okay, now. We all know that these cards are brand new, made after every one of these guys died. And I don't know about you, but a signature can't be genuine unless the hand of that genuine person actually held the pen. So, I think you both better be coming with me. There's a certain millionaire who has a bone to pick with you."

"I'll gladly come along." Trina unfolded her arms and shored up the strap of her bag. "We can go anywhere you want to authenticate those cards. Anywhere. You'll see."

"You wanna know what I think?" Jason paused for effect. "I think every card on this table is a stone cold fake. That's what I think. And I think we should all three take a little walk down the street to see a friend of mine."

"Sure thing, friend." Benny began packing up his cards. If he was a crook, he was the calmest crook Jason had ever seen.

"You got a Jackie Winfield card somewhere in there?" Jason wanted to know. His eyes narrowed a bit as he watched Benny search through the boxes.

"Got one…right here." Benny held the card up and smiled. "Why?"

"Bring it. Let's go."

Jason turned on one heel and walked away, expecting the two of them to follow. Follow they did, though Trina made faces at the back of his head and muttered things under her breath.

"You're a very close-minded man," she said when they had finally gained the street. "You don't believe in anything you can't touch, do you?"

"Nope! I sure as hell don't. But I'll tell you what I do believe in." He swiped the cap from his head and wiped his forehead with one arm. "I believe you'll both get ten to twenty for fraud and forgery."

"I believe you'll get a load of bad karma."

"Oh, are you going to put a curse on me, gypsy lady? Ooh! I'm shaking in my shoes here!" Jason laughed and the sound was more jovial than he'd intended.

"Please don't fight, you two." Benny sighed and shook his head. He had broken out in a sweat after only two blocks of walking and it made Jason wonder if the man wouldn't drop dead before he was ever brought to justice. "You're making my blood pressure go up."

"I'm sorry, Benny. It's just that he's so…."

"…right?" Jason sneered at her and she made a face back at him. "We're here. Come inside, please?"

The sign on the shop door read "Pawn" but Jason knew that it was much more than a pawn shop. He'd been coming there for almost ten years, for various reasons. He led Benny and Trina to the counter, where a thin, gangly young man held sway over a very dirty older man with a broken television. The minute he saw Jason, he shoved both the television and the man aside.

"Grandpa! Hey grandpa! Jase is here." He shook Jason's hand smartly and smiled. "Gramps will be right out."

The curtains behind the young man parted and an equally lean man stepped through them. He smiled brightly and the eyes beneath his white brows brightened. "Jason! Good to see you."

"I have a little problem I was hoping you could help me with." Jason produced the Jackie Winfield card and slid it across the counter. "All you have to do is tell me that's not your signature and you've never seen this man before and we'll be on our way."

"Ah, Benny! How are you?" He thrust his hand past Jason and shook Benny's hand.

Jason's face fell. "You know this crook?"

"He's no crook, Jason. This is Benny. And this sure as hell is my signature. I sign cards for him all the time."

Jason shoved the card in his pocket with a disgruntled frown and produced the Babe Ruth. "Okay, so you got lucky on that one, fat boy. How about this one, Jackie? Surely Babe Ruth hasn't been hiding in the back all these years, signing cards for old Benny here."

Jackie took the card with some degree of annoyance and peered at it closely. "Of course the Babe didn't sign this himself, you idgit! He's been dead a long time. But he signed it through Benny. That's how it works."

Jason pulled a sour face and snatched the card back from Jackie. "Surely you don't buy this guy's line of BS?"

"No BS, Jason. I've watched him do it myself. And I've seen the faces of the loved ones Benny delivers the messages to. He tells them things there's no way he could know on his own. It's really quite amazing."

"Okay fat boy." Jason targeted Benny with his eyes and gritted his teeth. "You go right ahead. Channel somebody for me. Better yet, you channel Win Davis. I happen to have known him personally and there's a question I need to ask him."

"That's not how it works." Benny sighed and looked disappointed. "They come to me. I don't come to them."

"Yea, that's what I thought. Fraud! You're a fraud!" Behind him, the bell on the door tinkled and Jason gave the door a quick glance. A business man, neatly clad in a cheap suit and even cheaper loafers, was scanning the stereos. Jason turned back to Benny and growled. "You mark my words, Benny, I'll nail you eventually."

"If you feel you need to try, then by all means." Benny mock-bowed and shook his head. "I've never ripped anyone off and I've never failed to give a refund. You tell Mr. Armstrong to come around my shop on Monday and I'll give him back every penny he paid me. A man should be happy with his purchases."

Jason glared at him for a moment, as though trying to find some evidence in the man's face. Then he fumbled in his pocket for the rest of Benny's cards, finally thrusting them at Benny with a scowl. In the process, a lottery ticket slipped out of his pocket, fluttering neatly to the floor behind Jason. No one saw it.

"I'll be sure to tell him. We'll see if he wants to pursue this with the police or not. If he asks my advice, I'll tell him to file charges right away." Jason put his cap back on, giving it a quick tug to shore it up on his head. He tipped it briefly to Trina and turned to leave.

Trina followed Benny toward the door more slowly and as they walked into the sunlight, the business suit wearing gentleman claimed Jason's lottery ticket for his own.

Jason had gone two blocks by the time he realized that his Nikes were hammering the sidewalk. He was that mad. Benny, the girl, and finally Jackie turning on him. They were all nuts. Every last one of them ready for the Ha-ha Hotel. And if it took him the rest of his life, he'd prove that.

He jerked open the door to the convention center and let the air conditioning wash over him. All he wanted at that point was to calm down and salvage the rest of his day. After five years of being a private dick, he knew one thing for sure: most cases went to hell and when they did, they went fast. He would call Armstrong when he got back to the office and tell him about Benny's offer. No doubt, the man would be happy with the resolution. After all, that's what it was all about for millionaires, right? The money? Jason would not be satisfied as easily. There was more at stake here than cash and cards. The fat bastard was forging baseball cards, for God's sake! He'd faked Catfish Hunter's signature and the Babe as well! It was treasonous! Despicable! And if it took the rest of his life, Jason would see that the man paid.

"You know, you really are quite an ass!"

Jason spun to face Trina. "Oh Lord! Not you again! Don't you have crystal balls to polish or something?"

"And don't you have some cheating husband to catch? That would be more productive than harassing Benny the rest of the day."

"Oh, I have no intention of harassing Benny." Jason edged along the wall, hoping to escape Trina, but she only advanced.

"What if we were able to channel your mother? If she answered a few choice questions – things only you and she would know – then would you believe that it's at least possible for Benny to channel the spirits of Babe Ruth and Wally Mays?"

"Willie."

"Huh?" She cocked her head to one side like a curious bird.

"It's Willie Mays. Not Wally."

"Oh. Whatever. But would you?"

"Okay, you produce my mother's spirit and get her to tell me who gave me my first French kiss…I'll believe whatever you say."

"Fine. Then come to this address at eleven tonight. But be ready to apologize to Benny."

She turned and strode away, every piece of jewelry jangling against every other, skirts flying about on the breeze created by her quick stride. Jason watched her go, suddenly aware that he saw nothing more of her than her tight hips dancing as she walked. Red-faced and angry, he threw his cap on the floor with a growl.