Solving Cadence Moore by Gregory Sterner

solving cadence moore
Solving Cadence Moore is a suspenseful hometown Mystery / Crime Thriller novel by Gregory Sterner.
“A deftly crafted and compelling read from cover to cover … an extraordinary and unfailingly engaging read by a novelist with a genuine flair for narrative driven fiction and one that is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.” Midwest Book Review

Synopsis:
How much will one man risk to solve the unsolvable?
Ten years ago, famous young singer Cadence Moore disappeared without a trace on a remote highway in western Pennsylvania. To this day her fate remains unknown. Was she kidnapped or murdered? Or did she simply run away in search of a new life, leaving behind the abuse and heartbreak that haunted her?
Charlie Marx, host of the popular conspiracy radio show “Underground Broadcast,” is obsessed with Cadence. Desperate to find her after deceiving his boss to save his job, he launches an investigation of his own, digging deep into the missing woman’s past and uncovering her darkest secrets. Working feverishly for weeks, he claims to have solved the mystery and promises to reveal Cadence’s fate at the end of a groundbreaking podcast series and live radio special.
But is it all a lie? As years of twisted details slowly unravel, Charlie races to solve the biggest mystery of the decade. If he succeeds, it will mean closure for Cadence. If he fails, his entire world will come crashing down live on air—and the truth may be lost forever.

Excerpt from Solving Cadence Moore:
Chapter 1 – The Pitch
Charlie Marx sat with his arms crossed, refusing to visually sell his reaction to the sales pitch he was getting. As a successful conspiracy radio show host, Charlie had learned to trust nothing but consider everything, qualities which had made him very effective throughout his career.
His boss (as well as his mentor and friend), Tyler Reubens, had been in the public radio game for fifteen years, becoming a national celebrity by hosting a hugely successful syndicated show covering everything from intimate personal stories to murder mysteries called United Way of Life. Tyler, while still sitting at the helm of United Way of Life, was also now a big player at the executive level as a senior producer for WHHW (his home station) and programming liaison to UPR (the public radio juggernaut of which WHHW was an affiliate).
Tyler’s superiors were looking for on-demand content for various multimedia outlets (a trend the entire entertainment world had already been moving strongly toward for five years and public radio had been one of the first to plant a flag in podcast land, but had never had a smash hit). Tyler was reaching out to the one person who in his mind had the one show he was almost positive would connect with a large audience for the podcast mini-series UPR was prepared to push to the moon (or so went Tyler’s initial sales pitch).
The one man with the one show also happened to be a personal protégé of Tyler Reubens himself, Charlie Marx. Charlie was a former college DJ and conspiracy newsletter writer. Tyler had plucked him from obscurity and offered him an assistant producer job for United Way of Life, simply because he liked his work and was impressed by the buzz Charlie had managed to drum up for his conspiracy rag. Charlie produced a few conspiracy oriented segments for United Way of Life during anniversary years of the Kennedy Assassination and the Apollo Moon Landing. These segments had garnered such positive reviews that Tyler lobbied for Marx to be granted his own time slot on WHHW with a conspiracy-themed show called Underground Broadcast. Underground Broadcast eventually became one of the most popular programs on WHHW and had been considered at least on two occasions for national syndication over UPR stations, although that had never actually come to fruition.
All of that had taken place three years before and now Tyler wanted Charlie to captain a new vessel, one which would sail into the on-demand islands and, if all went as planned, land Tyler a fat new contract when his re-up period went into effect a few months later.
Tyler knew Charlie wouldn’t argue with him or refuse the offer. But at the same time, he’d been around a long time and he knew how to get what he wanted. You could force a man to walk the plank at the point of a sword or you could gently take his hand and lead him there. You could train a soldier to take orders or you could gain his respect and have him willing to die for you on the battlefield out of loyalty alone. Tyler knew good sales pitches needed emotional buy in. He had to sell the concept, sell the logic of the concept, and sell the benefit of the concept.
Tyler was very good at this approach and he knew Charlie was stone facing him across the desk, trying not to show any cards at all. Tyler liked that. He’d trained this man well. But just because he taught Charlie everything Charlie knew, that didn’t mean he’d taught him everything Tyler Reubens knew.
Tyler looked straight ahead and leaned forward, his smile never wavering. He said, “Charlie, this is an opportunity. Now before you say anything else, rest assured… I read your email. I understand you think this case is a bottomless pit. But listen buddy, your credibility and your show’s credibility is not at risk here. It’s all in how we play it. I’ve been doing this a lot longer than you my friend and the story is what it’s all about. If the story is there, the ending is inconsequential… if not completely, then at least secondary to the journey. Even if this thing is the ultimate cold case… even if we’re barking up a dying tree, if we carve out the right story we will succeed. We will accomplish what I’ve promised my bosses we can accomplish.
“I stuck my neck way out for you guys. For me too… I’m not trying to bullshit you. But I did that because I believe in you and I think your show is going to be the one that breaks through. They could have had Artie Rothstein do a podcast, they could have had Barry Shearing do a podcast, hell… half of the national guys already have podcasts, but this isn’t just a podcast Charlie… it’s a series and it’s a live radio special to conclude it. UPR’s never done anything like this before.
“The big bosses aren’t sold on it either, you can bet your last long dollar on that one. I’ve had to tread very lightly every time I’ve pushed an angle on it. At this point, every UPR show which also airs as a podcast has been barely a mild success as far as downloads go. The bigwigs have no reason to think a special is going to be any different. But these guys are fossils Marx. They haven’t seen the trend that’s been creeping up on their asses for half a decade now. But I see it. I know you see it, too. You’ve been water coolering the podcast angle for at least a year… I hear everything my friend.”
Charlie continued to sit with a stoic expression on his face, nodding every few moments and sitting slightly forward to express that he was paying attention. But he did not facially sell a single word of this. Not yet. He loved the idea, he loved the potential, but he hated the case. He’d personally been obsessed with Cadence Moore for years but he didn’t think there was anything he could do with it that hadn’t already been done and he feared this program would be a disaster and a letdown if they went in the Cadence direction.
Tyler kept rolling, “So, of course you know the reason none of them have been runaway hits as podcasts is because ninety percent of the fucking audience listens on the radio. Listeners are creatures of habit, we all know that. They might tune into a podcast here and there if they’re at the gym or they miss a week but usually when they discover something on the radio, they’re likely to keep listening on the radio. But if we sell it as something new… something different… c’mon Charles, you see where I’m going here.
“And besides all that, the reason I know you and your show are the way to go with this thing is because Rothstein and Shearing… just to name two, their formats won’t work to generate a mass audience of new listeners… I’m confident about that. Shearing’s a commentator… a satirist. Rothstein’s a writer, a sketch guy… a brilliant one sure, I mean they’re both great at what they do, but their shows don’t lend themselves to breaking new ground.
“In your case, I’m confident that your format is exactly what the doctor ordered for this particular story, and I also truly believe people will like the idea of a local radio guy, someone who’s not a national name, breaking into the mainstream with a special about an unsolved case which just recently became hot news again. I’m not talking out my ass here pal, I have good instincts and I know there is a right and wrong way to do this thing. The big bosses aren’t sold, but I guarantee you, once I’m through with them, I can get spots, I can get the air time… we will push this to the moon!”
Tyler noticed the very subtle grin that had permeated Charlie’s face. Charlie hadn’t intended it to be visible but his facial muscles betrayed him. Tyler drove in a little harder, “I’m not fucking around here man, I believe in it! And… I appreciate you guys, I really do Charlie. You’ve brought a damn big audience to WHHW. You guys aren’t a huge deal yet but you’re a big deal. I think this is exactly what is needed to make you bigger… to make you national names. If this works out the way I envision it working out, it could make your career and hammer out a giant hit for us.
“The Cadence case is truly one of the classics… never been solved! It’s a favorite of yours, that’s no secret… and I agree with almost everything I’ve ever heard you say about it. This is one of those deals where once you get into it, you can’t get out. How many of these things, these legendary cases, are actually still floating around without a conclusion?
“Cadence Moore has hooked people from the start and she will hook them again, Charlie. The Moore to the Story film got the public ramped up about wanting to know what happened to that girl. Jesus, half the people who saw the film didn’t agree with the answer those guys came up with. They still want closure and they’ve never gotten it. Those people are the ones I’m counting on to be the new listening audience once we start popping out the podcasts.
“I think, if nothing else, you guys can do a better job than those dicks Barnes and Angstat did with the movie and if you can’t solve anything, you can at least offer something fresh. Your mission, your crew’s mission, is to get this as close to solved as possible so when the finale airs people believe the answer is coming. Close is the operative word here Charlie. You have to run a completely different angle than the film ran. And if the real answer doesn’t come, which, let’s be honest, we both know it won’t… people need to feel like they got something… something better than they got with that shitty movie.”
Charlie Marx knew where his bread was buttered and he respected Tyler Reubens more than he respected just about any man in the world. This man was his boss but also the person who’d given him his one and only break in professional life, but Charlie was diametrically opposed to Tyler’s take on this particular program.
He felt if they tackled Cadence, they’d wind up with nothing. There were reasons a case stayed cold for a decade. They’d hit brick walls and the whole thing would be considered a grand failure that would damage Charlie’s credibility and cost him a good portion of his dedicated listeners (If only he knew the position he’d be in in a few weeks, losing a few listeners would have seemed like a pleasant dream). Charlie had things to say but dutifully waited until he knew it was his turn to talk. Once he was sure Tyler was finished, he began his own pitch.
He responded honestly, “So, if I understand correctly, you’re telling me Tyler… even if we don’t solve it… which as you said, we won’t… this thing will be produced like one of your United Way of Life stories… no matter what the ending, the audience will stick with us if they think something is coming?”
Tyler smiled a little bit wider, knowing his pitch had just been caught. He said, “Precisely! You got the picture Marx. I knew you would, that is why we’re talking right now.”
Charlie continued, “Okay then. So, when the thing everyone thinks is coming doesn’t come, this is my concern. I have never lied to my audience, Tyler. When we haven’t been able to deliver an answer to a mystery or a theory, I’ve always told them that up front and usually why the thing will never be answered. When something is a bottomless pit, which I’ve told you Cadence Moore is, I tell my listeners it’s a bottomless pit so they know what they’re getting.
“Credibility for us is life blood and if we lose it on this podcast series experiment, we lose it for the radio, too. I’m just trying to make you understand the biggest reason why your short-term goal may not be worth the long-term consequences. What makes you so sure when they realize they’ve been hoodwinked like a gang of sorry chumps, they won’t say fuck you to us, fuck you to WHHW, and fuck you to UPR?”
Tyler considered this sincerely. The time between Charlie’s question and Tyler’s response was a solid thirty seconds, which in the room and in the moment felt like an hour. Tyler finally said, “Because… fuck… because, Marx. Because I believe in you and I know we can do this. For Christ’s sake, Charlie, this shit is the difference between the men and boys. We take a risk, we make history, we grab a big audience, and we get a chance to do much bigger things on much bigger stages on much bigger days! That’s what we do! That’s what people who are successful do! So, let’s stop being pussies and just fucking do it!”
Charlie had to be careful how he proceeded. Tyler was a friend but he also held the strings, the marionette strings as well as the purse strings. Charlie said, “Tyler, I hear you… every word. But I need you to hear me too right now. I am not questioning your judgment… I’m just questioning your approach. What if we looked at some alternatives? You want an unsolved case?
I’ve got plenty… and those plenty have lots of loose leads dangling that me and my team could sink our teeth into and actually solve. It damn sure wouldn’t be the first time.”
Tyler would indulge him for a moment, even though in his mind it was going to go down his way and this special was Cadence or nothing. When Tyler was set on something, that something was going to happen. He said, “Okay, Charlie, tell me what unsolved cases you have in mind.”
Charlie let out a sigh of relief and smiled slightly. He was about to start talking when Tyler held up a finger. Tyler added, “Oh… but before you do that, my time is short and so is yours, so, I hate to waste any of it for either of us. As you list off these unsolved cases, make sure you only mention the ones that a massively successful film has recently been made about. That way, I can make sure the attention we need for our special will be the same whether we focus on Cadence or not.”
Charlie visibly sank in his chair. He said, “Tyler, you know I can’t do that. Nothing I’d be able to solve in time for a podcast series is going to have the national prominence of Cadence Moore. But, you said it yourself; Barnes and Angstat fucked up the movie and didn’t solve anything. Do you want us painted with the same stain those two idiots are currently being painted with?”
Tyler smiled. He said, “Charlie, they can stain me any color they want as long as the eventual color it all turns into is green. Barnes and Angstat may be a couple of jerks but they’re rich jerks, Marx, and they’re jerks who currently have a bigger audience for their product than either of us have for ours. So, if you’re gonna sit there and tell me it’s a better idea to dig up Katie Marsh or Herman Jackson (two missing children whose parents had alleged ties to occult activity in New Mexico), then be prepared to tell me how we’re going to monetize that. If you want to sell me on another conspiracy theory… like a podcast about deadly vaccines or a podcast about mass shootings being orchestrated by the government to create a police state… well again pal… tell me how we turn the crap into cash. If you can’t do that Charlie… then stop wasting my time and let’s get back to talking about how you’re gonna produce the Cadence Moore special.”
Tyler was studying Charlie’s face and knew he had nothing to say. Tyler had simultaneously stumped him and sold him, using cold hard logic as his weapon. He could now reel him back in a little and get some more buy in. He said, “Look Marx, I’m not trying to be a douche. But, you have to check the naiveté at the door if you want to be part of something this potentially big. It needs to be a hit, Charlie. It needs to connect with an audience. If you want to stay true to your art form and die with every shred of your credibility intact, then that’s fine. But if you make that decision, you’re not going to make this journey with me, and WHHW is as high as Underground Broadcast is ever gonna get. I’m not threatening and I’m not bullshitting. I’m being honest. It’s Cadence or bust pal… Cadence… or… bust. You got it?”
What could Charlie possibly say? He had his marching orders and he had to move ahead. He didn’t like it at all and he thought it would fail, but as someone who understood loyalty as well as logic, Charlie wasn’t going to say no to Tyler Reubens. He owed this man his career and if Tyler wanted to take a huge risk and was asking Charlie to climb aboard, he had no choice but to go along. He shook his head and said, “You’re the boss, boss. Lets fucking do it then. I’ve said what I had to say and you said what you had to say. At the end of the day, you sign the checks and you gave me my name… I won’t say no, even if I think it’s a terrible idea. If we both lose our shit on this, you’ll owe me a shot… every night… for eternity.”
Charlie really didn’t like it. He really didn’t like it at all. He knew the odds of solving the Cadence case were next to impossible and his credibility was definitely on the line. (If Charlie only knew in this moment how severely he was about to risk his own credibility and his career, he likely would have choked).
Tyler slapped him on the shoulder and said, “Shots, every night forever… you got it Marx. But I have a feeling, you’ll be the one buying drinks when all of this is over. I wouldn’t lead you to the cliffs, Charlie… I’m leading you to the tippy top. Believe that!”
Charlie didn’t respond. He just extended his hand and sealed the deal. What the hell had he just agreed to?
UNDERGROUND PODCAST 1: (Official Transcript) Intro
Charlie Marx’s Underground Podcast: Episode 1 (Intro). Original Drop Date: November 1, 2013. (Brought to you by United Way of Life, courtesy of Tyler Reubens, this program is funded and sponsored by WHHW, a subsidiary of Universal Public Radio)
(Narration by Charlie Marx) Welcome friends to the Underground Podcast. I am your host, Charlie Marx. The late-night hour is upon us weary travelers. Mysteries abound and the truth alarms sound… bringing out the seekers in every single town. Rest easy good friends… you have reached the final end… of your desired destination.
This is the place where we lift the curtain of accepted reality, and look deeper… down into the depths of the stories that permeate our consciousness. Yes, weary travelers, you can now take a rest, put your feet up, and plug in your minds. The investigation has begun, and it’s gonna be damn good fun!
This series is the most important program in the history of our show which you have up until now known as Underground Broadcast, but here we are now… arriving up to date with the rest of society, and we find ourselves in podcast world. This podcast tonight is in fact the most important program of my career. Those of you just stumbling across this by accident may be asking yourselves why that is.
Well travelers, we will begin our quest to answer one of the most perplexing and legendary unsolved riddles in the annals of modern crime. We will finally dig up the answer to the question that has haunted the masses for years.
We will reveal the specifics of how one Cadence Moore, a beautiful young college circuit-singing sensation, just on the brink it seemed, of breaking out into mainstream American mega stardom, on one tragic night just disappeared without a trace, never to be seen or heard from again.
Seekers of knowledge, sailors of the dark information seas, my listeners one and all, that all comes to an end. During this series, we will definitively answer the question: Whatever happened to young Cadence Moore? Legally, I must state a disclaimer, so I will state it now. Anyone listening to this should be of legal age and younger downloaders may find the violent subject matter, mature content, and strong language of this program offensive. We will be running on a several second delay during our live special and the worst language will be edited, but the podcasts will air in their entirety. You have been warned.
Okay, then… with our disclaimer out of the way, let’s get started. Like any momentous occasion, the theme of our show tonight must fit within the appropriate boundaries of weight and substance, and truly be worthy of discussion on our biggest program. What better subject to focus on than a story which has never offered a satisfying conclusion… a true mystery of our time?
The Cadence Moore story captivated mass audiences when it first came to national prominence on the weekend of Cinco de Mayo in 2002, and recently the story was plastered right back onto the speeding wind- screen of the world with the release of a fascinating, albeit flawed, documentary made by a Mr. Barnes and a Mr. Angstat, who will both be heard from during this series.
But, in spite of all the media coverage and a movie about this case, there has still never been a true end-of-the-story answer to all the speculation, evidence, and shreds of footage.
Todd Barnes and Michael Angstat tried during the making of their film to come up with indisputable proof that they’d found their man, but they failed. Some may disagree with that statement and to those people I will say this. Their film, which is highly entertaining, never accomplishes its true goal of solving the case. It simply succeeds in publicly accusing one man and presenting sensational images to support that accusation.
So, it is that we find ourselves here, with four podcasts and a live radio special to burn, in which we will pick up every clue, film strip, blood trail, and eyewitness statement, turn them all sideways, and see what no one has ever been able to see before.
When it’s over, I want you all to leave this series feeling like pioneers who finally came upon the smell of golden roses on the cliffs of El Dorado with enough sense left in your minds to call this a mystery solved.
With those words my good men and women, we begin our descent, down into the depths of pure adventure, skulking through caves and digging out trenches, to arrive on the other side with provable findings, and some real facts about the greatest mystery we’ve ever seen since Dallas in ’63. We shall answer the question… and arrive on the knowledge shore with glistening waves, pounding and pure, and we will know where it ends, and open the door to see what indeed ever happened to young Cadence Moore.

About the Author:
Gregory Sterner is inspired by the great storytelling presentations of National Public Radio, including This American Life and Wiretap, as well as novels by Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, and many others. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Albright College and is currently completing his Master’s in Philosophy at West Chester University while working as a supervisor for Penske Truck Leasing. He lives with his wife Abigail in Reading, Pennsylvania, and has four children: Jordan, Austin, Alexis, and Jack. His debut novel Solving Cadence Moore was released on November 7th, 2017. It is available for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers. Readers can connect with Gregory on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook,and Goodreads. To learn more, go to http://www.aperturepress.net/books/solving-cadence-moore/

Cops Lie! by Leonard Love Matlick

Cops Lie book coverCops Lie! is a new mystery / crime thriller by Leonard Love Matlick. The story is fiction, but it is based on fact. Filled with descriptions of cop abuse and killings that are fresh out of today’s news stories.

Synopsis:
NYPD Officer Charles Griffin, a known drunk, a notorious bully, and dirty cop is involved in stealing drugs and money. When an accident with an 18 wheeler kills him, one other cop, and leaves two other cops in critical condition, Detective Tony Philadelphia, a homicide detective from the 9th precinct, is tasked with finding out what happened…
“Misbehavior, corruption, and lawbreaking are all on full display in this gritty tale of bad cops and good guys in the New York City Police Department,” says Joe Kilgore, The US Review of Books. “Tony is an NYPD detective who gets wind of potential malfeasance on the part of one of his fellow officers… If it were simply the typical freeloading, bribe taking, or head bashing, that most of his cohorts engage in, then he’d let it pass. But his source implies that it goes a lot deeper—including everything from theft, extortion, money laundering, and even committing murder for various mob bosses. Straight shooter Tony hates the thought of ratting out any fellow officer, but the behavior is so egregious he feels he must inform his superiors. Soon he and his partner, Longo, are on the trail of not just one but a band of rogue cops committing crimes all over the city.”

 Excerpt:
CHAPTER 4
Longo and Tony went to Griffin’s place. He lived in SoHo at 19 Mercer Street just off of Canal Street in a 5 story row house from the 1890’s. There were approximately 8 apartments in this particular apartment house, mostly young, rich guys and gals who worked in the financial district or actors and actresses. The super, Ivan, wasn’t going to let them in even after Tony and Longo flashed their gold shields.
“Officer Griffin was killed in a car crash and we have to look for next of kin stuff.” Tony told him annoyed that a gold shield won’t give him immediate entrance to any place.
Ivan took them in the elevator to the 3rd floor. Apartment 3C was Griffin’s.
As soon as Tony and Longo went inside, it was very clear to them that this wasn’t done on a cop’s salary.
“Holy shit!” Longo exclaimed.” This is NICE!.”
Tony looked at the high ceilings, the baroque furniture, even the toilet fixtures were of the highest quality. They went into the kitchen with the 6 burner stove, Garland oven and two refrigerators.
“Who has two refrigerators?” Tony asked.
“Someone with money.” Longo said. “But definitely not on a cops salary.”
They went into the bedroom, with wall to wall TV’s, entertainment units and cameras on the ceiling, and started to stare at the closets.
“Quite a clothes horse.” Tony said flipping thru Griffin’s suits, shoes and dress shirts.
“Hey, I didn’t know he was a dandy.” Longo said fingering the silk fabrics.
Then they started to go thru the drawers, all neatly assembled by underwear, socks, t-shirts, etc. Even his bills were arranged in order.
“Philadelphia”, Longo said, “We’ve got to comb thru this stuff and camp out here.”
“Uh-huh.”. Tony said, amazed at what he saw.
“Ivan” Tony motioned to the super, “What does something like this go for?”
“Are you kidding me? A triplex in SOHO? “Ivan said. “When the market was at its top a few years ago, it was around 7 million, but now between 3.5 to 5 million.”
“WHAT!!” Tony exclaimed. ”Where did he get the money for this. After all he’s a cop!”
“I believe that he had a co-signer or somebody was sub-letting it to him. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the rental agent.” Ivan stated.
“Okay, we’ll do that.” Tony said. ”Who’s the rental agent?”
“Cushman and Gold” Ivan said. “There’s also some interesting people who live here in the building.”
“Like who?” Longo asked.
“Like the singer Nora, the actor who played the Vulcan in the Star Trek movies, and even Justin, the actor.”
Longo made a face like he was impressed.
“Ivan, one more thing.” Tony turned to the super, “Did Griffin get many guests here?”
“I don’t know. What do you mean by many guests? More than one?”
Tony looked at Longo and then asked Ivan,” I’m guessing that you mean that there were many guests?”
“Well, he was quite the ladies man. I mean that there was a different girl here every day.” Ivan mentioned. “Since he worked the night shift. I never saw many guys come here, but there was a lot of girls, a lot.”
Again, Tony looked at Longo.
“What do you mean by a lot? More than one or two?” Tony asked.
“Oh yeah.” Ivan said.” I’ve seen him bring 2 and sometimes even 3 at a time here. I guess that he was into twosomes and threesomes. Must have been quite the stud.”
“Apparently not on a cops salary.” Longo mentioned. “Philadelphia,” Longo motioned for him to come closer. ”How come we live in such shit and he gets all of this nice stuff? Money, broads, all of this” He moved his arm all around to span the luxury apartment. “He must have been dirty.”
“Yeah,” Tony said. “Very dirty.”

Cops Lie! was published in July 2017 and is available for sale on Amazon.
For more information, or to request a review copy, please contact Kelsey at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com

Weave A Murderous Web by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks

Weave a Murderous WebWeave A Murderous Web is a mystery novel by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks. It is one of three books in the Jane Larson series, published by Melange Books.

Synopsis:
No good deed goes unpunished. When Jane Larson—a hot-shot litigator for a large firm in New York City—helps out a friend, she is sucked into the unfamiliar world of divorce and child support.
Jane’s discovery of the deadbeat dads hidden assets soon unravels a web of lies, drugs, and murder that keeps getting more dangerous.
Soon, Jane is involved in a high stakes race to recover a missing suitcase of cash and catch the murderer before she becomes the next victim.

 Praise:
A sleuthing lawyer returns to the streets of New York in this mystery of drugs, murder, and financial skullduggery… the husband-wife team of Rothman-Hicks and Hicks has again produced a fast-paced, engaging story… overall, this is a satisfying read. An enjoyable romp involving a shady attorney and the mob that should make readers look forward to the next Jane Larson caper.”Kirkus
“The action is breathtaking and the writing beautiful. Weave a Murderous Web: A Jane Larson Novel is a story that reminds me of the characters of John Grisham’s Gray Mountain… Jane Larson is the kind of character that will be loved by many readers… The plot is well thought out and masterfully executed, laced with numerous surprises to keep readers turning the pages. This is one of those books that should occupy an enviable place in your shelf if you are into fast-paced thrillers and compelling investigative stories.” – 5 Stars, Ruffina Oserio, Readers’ Favorite
“Weave a Murderous Web is a classic whodunit with classic New York City characters.” Gimme That Book
“Weave a Murderous Web is an enthralling murder mystery. It gets your heart pounding with action and passion, while simultaneously entangling your mind with its ambiguity. The dynamic duo has done it again. The husband and wife writing team of Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks pens another on-the-edge-of-your seat murder mystery. Engaging. Witty. Fast paced. I love the Hicks’ contemporary writing style. The narrative is full of delightful metaphorical statements. The setting takes you into the heart of New York City – it reflects just the right amount of ambiance… As the plot progresses, the intensity heightens, catapulting you into a surprising twist, then plummets you into a sudden, yet satisfying end.” – 5 Stars, Cheryl E. Rodriguez, Readers’ Favorite
“Weave a Murderous Web involves a hotshot Wall Street lawyer who is a sassy, cynical New Yorker through and through. To help out a friend, she gets involved in a seamy matrimonial case that quickly pulls her into a vortex of murder, drugs, and dangerous games of deception.” – The Big Thrill
“Weave a Murderous Web is a smart and entertaining mystery by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks that will leave lovers of the genre anxiously waiting for another installment starring the intrepid protagonist, Jane Larson… Weave a Murderous Web has plenty to keep the reader engaged as Jane digs in her heels, determined to get to the truth. Witty dialogue, supported by great writing and some understated humor, makes this book not only a must-read – but also a darned good one!” – 5 Stars, Marta Tandori, Readers’ Favorite 

Excerpt:
Chapter One
I was in my office at Adams & Ridge talking on the telephone when Francine entered. At the moment, my friend, Lee, was on the other end of the wire, yakking up a storm in my ear. Her rant covered already familiar terrain. My man, my David, was drifting dangerously away from me while I did nothing to win him back. As we say around the courts, Oy.
Francine tiptoed forward and placed on my desk a two-day-old copy of The Daily News opened to the item concerning Mark Samuels’ death.
“I gotta go, Lee,” I said.
While Francine waited for me, she had backed into a corner of my office, leaned against the wall, and tried to make her six feet of lanky body less noticeable. Two large metal buttons were pinned to her heavily braided cotton sweater. One read Stop Fracking New York and the other protested against the annual Canadian seal hunt with a scarlet X through an image of a baby seal whose brains had been battered to a pink pulp.
I pointed at the newspaper and gave her a questioning glance, but she quickly averted her eyes to stare at the floor.
“Have you been listening to me at all?” Lee demanded. Her voice rose to a kind of exasperated wail. “David has been dating someone. I think he may be getting serious.”
“David was born serious, Lee,” I said.
“Stop it, Jane,” she shouted so I had to hold the phone away from my ear. Even Francine raised an eyebrow. “You know what I mean.”
“I’m sorry, Lee.”
“I don’t understand why you’re taking this so nonchalantly. You know you still love him. You could get back together in a heartbeat if you’d just spend a tenth as much time on a relationship as you spend on your career.”
“I’m a lawyer, Lee. Not a—”
A sharp intake of breath followed. “Not a baby maker?” Lee demanded. Anger replaced the plaintive wail. “Is that what you were going to say?”
Would I ever admit that the word had been on the tip of my tongue?
“No. I was going to say, ‘not a librarian’, or the owner of some other nine-to-five job. The hours come with the territory, Lee. David knows that, but deep down in that wonderful heart of his, he also thinks the hours spent at the office are A-okay for the guy, but not for the girl. In any event, Martha didn’t raise her daughter to compete over a man.”
The sound of a whale breaching the surface erupted from the phone. “You’re maddening, Jane.”
“No, I’m busy,” I replied.
Lee sighed. “Well, I have to go too. Laurie is home sick and I’m taking her to the doctor. We’ll talk more later, Jane. I’m not going to sit back and let this happen to my two best friends in the world. I’m going to fight, Jane.”
“Goodbye, Lee.”
She disconnected.
Actually, I wasn’t busy at all, or I wouldn’t have spent even that much time on the phone being lectured by Lee. She’s an old friend from Columbia Law, but enough is enough.
A major litigation I had been working on had settled just a day before and the client and powers-that-be at Adams & Ridge were very happy with me—especially Seymour Ridge. The old man himself had hammered out the settlement shortly after I made the CEO of the party suing our client look like a doofus on the witness stand. So, I had some time on my hands until I was given another assignment.
More to the point, I wanted to know why Francine was still standing in my office, staring at the tips of her shoes. She was a legal assistant with the firm. I had gotten her the job. However, she didn’t work on any of my cases. That was a rule I had laid down from the beginning.
“Hello, Francine,” I said.
“Hi, Jane.” She looked up shyly, smiled her timid smile, gave a meaningful glance in the direction of the paper and resumed looking at her shoes. I had known her for so long that she was more like a relative than a friend, in the sense that one does not choose one’s relatives. She was really really shy but also effective in getting her way with me. I read the article.
It was as depressing as I had expected. Mark Samuels was a single practitioner who worked out of a small office above a bodega on 116th Street. He wasn’t married and had no family to speak of. The exact date and hour of his demise were uncertain. The body was discovered only after fellow inhabitants of his East Village apartment house reported a foul odor during the last week in June when a heat wave had sent temperatures rising into the high nineties. Those same conditions had made his remains swell like a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
How can a person die without anyone knowing for a week or ten days? Did he have no friend or family member who cared to check on him? Were all of them as completely egotistical as he was?
The cause of death, however, was easy to determine. When the cops broke down his door, three short fat lines of cocaine were still in place on the old-fashioned hand mirror Mark used to chop the drug fine enough to snort. The coroner confirmed Mark died of severe heart arrhythmia, which is to say his ticker skipped a few too many beats before stopping altogether. Testing of the merchandise showed the stuff he’d inhaled had been nearly pure—several times the strength of what is normally available on the street. As the cops put it, either he had chosen to depart this green orb flying on nose powder or he was inordinately careless. I suppose it didn’t much matter which alternative was true. The result was the same. An overdose had killed him.
I looked up warily, unwilling to reveal I had the slightest interest in the entire subject.
“Why are you showing this to me, Francine,” I asked.
“Didn’t you know Mark when you worked for Legal Services for the Poor?”
Did she expect me to burst into tears?
“Yeah,” I said, “and he was just as big a screw-up then. They put him in the Family Law area because he could do the least harm there. At least no one could lose their apartment or get sent to jail because of him.”
Francine winced. You might think this resulted from a superstitious aversion to speaking ill of the dead. You would be wrong. Francine had an aversion to speaking ill both of the living and the dead.
“He kept doing matrimonial work after he left Legal Services,” Francine added. She nodded, as if agreeing with her own words, then fell into silence. Silence was her friend.
“And?” I said.
Francine pulled up her sweater, which was being dragged low by those protest buttons and exposing her collarbones and the top of her boney chest. Her stringy hair, a field mouse brown, had no discernible style. She had never chosen to master the art of makeup despite my efforts with pencil, rouge, and lipstick back when we were teenagers. The only jewelry she now wore was a pendulous locket with gold thread tying it together. She said she’d purchased it in a wild moment at an uptown thrift shop. Of course, those buttons and their slogans were a kind of jewelry, I suppose, in that jewelry also says, “Look at me. This is what I am.”
Francine smiled at her shoes and continued. “Well, he had a client, Gail Hollings, who is a very good friend of mine, Jane, and—”
Now I saw where this was going. “Would this friend of yours be in need of a lawyer?”
“She’s in an awful fix, Jane. She has a court appearance at two o’ clock this afternoon. She gave Mark three thousand dollars, which was all she could scrape together. She has no money left at all.”
“Ridge will be glad to hear that. No money. Great.”
Francine rummaged in the front pocket of her cargo pants, pulled out a wallet, and then drew from inside it a picture of a young child with long blond pigtails that dwarfed her diminutive round face but did not steal the scene from her toothy grin.
“She has a little girl,” Francine added, glancing from the snapshot to me and back again to emphasize her point.
“No money, no lawyer, and a kid. This just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?”
My mother, Martha, who insists I call her by her first name, always says Francine faces a bright future if Jesus’ prediction about the meek is really true. Believe me, the meek have power, especially over those of us with guilt. Martha would love that. Guilt. I was like a fish nibbling at a big juicy worm and getting closer and closer to the hook. Francine was the fisherwoman, waiting patiently for the slightest pull on the line.
“Look, you know I can’t take on this case, Francine. However, I have some free time today, so I can at least go down to court and adjourn the matter until we can find someone to help Gail and little…”
“Courtney,” Francine said with a rush of breath that made the name seem like a prayer. An expression filled her eyes that reminded me of an early Renaissance image of a martyr at the moment of supreme sacrifice, pain mixed with a kind of bliss that seems to make it all worthwhile.
The hook was set. That much was obvious. Francine had only to slowly reel me in.
I opened a drawer and pulled out a legal pad to record the names of mother and daughter.
“There’s just one thing maybe you should know,” Francine said.
My pencil poised in midair and then wrote “one thing” with an exclamation point. I still have that piece of paper in the top drawer of my desk.
“Yes?”
“Well, Carmen Ruiz has kind of taken an interest in this because of the women’s rights angle and what happened to Mark and all.”
“Carmen Ruiz? Last time I heard of her, she was spending time at a fat farm.”
This was code. Everyone knew that the ‘fat farm,’ as I had injudiciously put it, was also a place where people could lose other bad habits, such as drugs.
Francine winced again and swallowed hard. “That’s unkind, Jane.”
Chalk one up for the meek.
“You’re right, Francine. How is Carmen doing?”
“She’s got a new gig on cable. One of the local news stations.”
I nodded. I was safe from unkind remarks if I kept my mouth shut. At one time the cognoscenti had called Carmen the “female Wolf Blitzer” because she had enjoyed asking the hard questions, especially of men who were not used to being pushed around. The fact that she had the flashing good looks of a gypsy queen didn’t hurt, but now she was scuffling on cable news.
“She said she called you a couple of times.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve been busy.”
I was on the verge of getting back the advantage, never easy in a conversation with humanitarian types like Francine, especially if your mother always places such types on a pedestal, a very high pedestal.
Martha has not been affiliated with any organized religion since her mind began to function at age eleven. Still, she shares Jesus’ distrust of wealth and is fond of quoting both his advice to sell all you have and give it to the poor and his adage that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
“You don’t even believe in Jesus,” I argue.
“I don’t have to believe in Jesus as God to know he’s telling the truth,” she retorts.
When I had accepted the job at Adams & Ridge, Carmen had had some unkind things to say to mutual friends about my going for the gold. Her whole premise that Martha’s goodness had gotten lost in one generation to my grabbiness had cut a bit too close to the bone. I hadn’t forgotten.
“Carmen’s working on a series about children and the courts,” Francine said. “Kids falling into poverty are a very big problem.”
“I’m aware of the problem, Francine. I’ll skip over the question of what has made Carmen give a good hoot in hell about children all of a sudden. What does any of this have to do with that coke-head Mark?”
“Oh, nothing much. Nothing at all really.”
She was hedging, worried that the prospect of helping Carmen might have made me shut the whole thing down before it ever began.
“Go on, Francine.”
“It’s just… she knew Mark fairly well and doesn’t think his death was accidental. She says Mark did drugs too much to do something that stupid.”
“So she thinks he did it on purpose? Is that it? He committed suicide over the predicament of his client and child?”
“Not exactly,” Francine said.
In hindsight I can see clearly how nonchalant she wanted to seem, playing with the gold locket and dropping it inside her sweater, glancing in the direction of the window as if a pretty bird had alighted there.
“Carmen thinks Mark was murdered.”

Kenneth Hicks & Anne Rothman-HicksAbout the Authors:
Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks have been collaborating on books for forty-six years.  Their first joint effort was a student project while Anne was at Bryn Mawr College and Ken attended Haverford. Since then, they have written over twenty books together. They are members of International Thriller Writers. They live and work in New York City, where many of their books are set.
Their Jane Larson series of mystery/thrillers involves a high-powered New York City attorney with a penchant for getting involved in situations that she would be better off leaving alone. These novels have been praised by reviewers for their gritty portrayals of city life, lively characters, fast action, surprise endings and highly polished prose. Jane is cynical and rebellious, but she finds herself drawn to the simple life her deceased mother lived as an attorney who served women unable to afford legal services. The first two books in the series are Weave A Murderous Web and Praise Her, Praise Diana, both published by Melange Books, LLC. A third novel, Mind Me, Milady, will be published in early 2017.
Readers can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
To learn more, go to http://randh71productions.com/blog/

Author Kathryn Rogers Announces Bookstore Appearance in Jackson, MS

Memphis Hoodoo MurdersOctober 5, 2015 (Jackson, MS) – Kathryn Rogers will be at Books-a-Million in Jackson on October 8, 2015 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. to read from and discuss her latest novel Memphis Hoodoo Murders, an occult horror mystery, published by Sartoris Literary Group.
Memphis Hoodoo Murders tells the story of young Addie Jackson who has witnessed people trying to kill her family her entire life. Now she must use her strength and wits to understand why she’s being hunted by a witch doctor named Hoodoo Helen and solve the mysteries surrounding her family’s past.
As a licensed therapist, Kathryn Rogers holds her Masters in Counseling and Psychology, and as a licensed educator, she holds her Bachelors in Education. Her experience providing counseling services to the community prepared her to expound upon the psychological issues her characters wrestle with in her stories.
Dripping with grisly spells, wry humor and a distinctly southern brand of magical realism, you’ll be quickly mesmerized by this magnetic paranormal thriller. A home run for author Kathryn Rogers.” – Reviewed by Best Thrillers
I was captivated from page one. Memphis Hoodoo Murder is a fast-paced mystery thriller that you simply can’t put down once you started reading. The writing is as lively as it is eloquent, the characters are believable and the storyline is suspenseful from beginning to end. I highly recommend the book and I can’t wait to read more from its author Kathryn Rogers!” – Reviewed on Amazon
Books-a-Million is located at 4950 Hwy 55 N., Jackson, MS 39206. The event is open to the public and there is no admission charge. Paperback copies of Memphis Hoodoo Murders will be available for sale at the event.
Kathryn Rogers currently resides in Jackson, MS. To learn more, visit https://bookpublicityservices.com/memphis-hoodoo-murders-kathryn-rogers/.
For media inquiries, contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at (805) 807-9027 or kelsey@bookpublicityservices.com.
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Memphis Hoodoo Murders by Kathryn Rogers

Memphis Hoodoo MurdersMemphis Hoodoo Murders, by Kathryn Rogers, is an occult horror mystery thriller novel. It was published by Sartoris Literary Group on August 15, 2015 and is available for sale on Amazon.

 

Synopsis:
Addie Jackson has witnessed people trying to kill her family her entire life, and now her grandparents’ attackers are hunting her. The Memphis police are never able to catch these crooks since the cops have been bewitched to stay away. Her grandparents, Pop and Grandma, habitually lie to Addie, but she is attentive enough to overhear the secrets they keep from her. In her predictive dreams, Addie regularly sees future events, which disturb her, but to her dismay, she has never been able to stop them from coming true. She often dreams of a dark character, who she is later shocked to discover is the Man, a devil from hoodoo legend.
Addie is disturbed to discover she is being stalked by a witch doctor named Hoodoo Helen. To make matters worse, the more secrets Addie uncovers, the more danger she finds. Addie presses Grandma for answers about the power behind the ring and pocket watch she often toys with, but Grandma remains tight-lipped. Knowing their deaths are imminent, Grandma makes a deal with the hoodoo devil to take care of Addie, and Addie is later horrified to discover that her beloved family has been murdered. John, a family friend, steps in to help Addie, and she soon realizes he knows more about her family’s tainted past than she ever has. Addie begins receiving cryptic letters from her deceased grandmother, which reveal a shocking family history revolving around slavery, time travel, and magic.
If Addie can survive jail, her cousin’s abduction, threats from a menacing gang, corrupt law enforcement, and hoodooed attacks, maybe she can finally dream of a future where she will be safe and free.

 

Praise for Memphis Hoodoo Murders:
“Dripping with grisly spells, wry humor and a distinctly southern brand of magical realism, you’ll be quickly mesmerized by this magnetic paranormal thriller. A home run for author Kathryn Rogers.” – Reviewed by Best Thrillers
“Addie Jackson is not your average college student. For starters, she lives with her slightly odd grandparents in a not-so-nice part of Memphis, Tennessee. Most of her life revolves around taking care of her grandparents and trying to keep a low profile in her neighborhood instead of going on dates, talking about new music, and having fun. When her grandparents’ behavior becomes even more bizarre, there are break-ins at the church the family attends, and she begins to have dreams that come true, Addie becomes even more aware of the strange life she is living. She begins to believe that her grandparents have been hiding something from her for her entire life, something big, something that could put everyone’s lives in danger. Something that could mean that Hoodoo magic is real. Kathryn Rogers’ novel, Memphis Hoodoo Murders, immediately catches the reader with an exciting title and a surprising first chapter.” – Reviewed by Red City Review

 

Excerpt:
Chapter 1
If I told you that people had been trying to kill my family and me my entire life, you would probably just think I was being paranoid, but it’s not paranoia if it’s real.
Sometimes healthy people run for exercise, and oftentimes energetic individuals run for fun. In my neck of the woods, you run just to stay alive. Today I only hoped that the gang members didn’t murder me so I could make it home in one piece. My legs were pumping so hard I thought they might fall off.
Grandma and Pop would tell you I’m petite and pretty when really I’m short and perfectly ordinary. I don’t look anything like them except that we are all small in stature, though I’m so little I look like a shrimp by comparison. I have straight, brown hair with no bangs, smooth skin, and sharp, green eyes. I’ve never dressed fancy as I’ve never had much to begin with. Besides, in my neck of the woods, when you get something shiny, folks try to take it or talk about you for having it, so the more you blend in, the better off you’re bound to be.
“Hey, short stuff! You with the ponytail! I told you to get over here!”
It was my favorite neighborhood thug heckling me.
Just don’t trip. Whatever you do, don’t trip, Addie.
The limb from the fallen tree did not hear my inner monologue, because my foot caught on the log and slung me onto the sidewalk.
“I told you there was no point in running from us,” he said coldly. “We always get what we want.”
I winced in pain and grabbed my right knee, which was running red. I felt like a bleeding fish in the middle of a shark tank.
Show no fear. Don’t cry.
I forced myself to stand and face my antagonists. Their clothes and tattoos were clearly reflective of the Memphis gang, the Skullbangerz—not that I would be privy to any admission from them about this.
“Ouch! Looks like you got a boo-boo,” said a slim, jumpy guy, eyeing me from the stems up. “Want me to kiss on you to make it all better?”
“No, thanks—you’re really not my type,” I said, thankful I had enough spirit to sound snarky.
“Oohh, she’s a feisty one. I like that in a lady,” he toyed dangerously with me.
“Enough with your mouth. You’re wasting my time.” The tall, muscular gang leader cut him off as he stepped towards me. “Yeah, you got to be her,” he remarked as he studied my face.
“Got to be whom?” I asked sullenly.
“June Jackson’s granddaughter,” Jaydon Swisher announced.
I was surprised that he knew who I was. Everyone around here knew him. Just thinking about his cruel reputation made me shudder.
“How do you know her?” I asked to try to pump information out of him.
“So, you is Mrs. Jackson’s girl?” he quizzed me clearly not wanting to give anything away.
“What’s it to you?”
“You ain’t in the position to be asking questions of me. You give me what I want, and I might let you go in one piece…might. You act uncooperative, and I’ll butcher you up while you’re still alive. Then I’ll mail individual pieces of you wrapped up as Christmas presents to your Grandma. Do you understand what I’m telling you right now?”
He was close enough for me to feel his hot breath on my neck.
I knew most people made idle threats. However, I could tell from the way the other gang members kept their distance from him, Jaydon was telling the Gospel truth.
The waterfall of blood continued to rain down my leg. Every fiber in my being told me to get as far away from them as possible. Unfortunately though, as history had indicated, I was too clumsy to outrun them. So, I stalled for time and willed myself to exhibit grace under fire.
The leader of the pack misinterpreted my silence for newfound cooperation and continued to press me, “So, where is it?”
“Where’s what?”

 

Kathryn RogersAbout the Author:
Kathryn Rogers is a Memphis native with an affinity for local BBQ and blues rock-n-roll. As a licensed therapist, she holds her Masters in Counseling and Psychology, and as a licensed educator, she holds her Bachelors in Education. Her experience providing counseling services to the community prepared her to expound upon the psychological issues her characters wrestle with in her stories. She currently lives in Jackson, Mississippi with her husband, playful preschooler, and rambunctious Labrador Retrievers.
Readers can connect with Kathryn on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.