My 7th novel features Melanie Randolph, an x-MP, x-FBI agent who’s opened her own detective agency. It will be controversial to some, but if you’re in the mood for a story that takes you into the emotionally-charged world of contemporary academia and the tense environment of Baltimore Maryland give Missing a try.
Here’s Page one of Missing for your reading pleasure:
Baltimore, Maryland: A Thursday Morning in November
Melanie wished she’d brought the coffee she’d been drinking in the front room into her office despite it’s being cold. She wet her lips, but that didn’t help. The missing girl’s mother was telling her that she feared the worst by the way she rubbed her hands together and had trouble forming her words. She knew her daughter. She knew that she was head-strong, but not worldly, that she was unafraid to confront someone she thought was wrong, not understanding the danger that might ensue.
Four days had passed since Cynthia Anderson had gone missing. Four precious days. The parents hadn’t wanted to believe it was more than a dead phone battery or forgetfulness, but Melanie knew college-age girls were too tech savvy not to know when their phone needed charging and it didn’t seem that Cynthia was the kind of girl who would forget to call her mother in response to increasingly urgent phone messages. No. This was serious. This was trouble. This was why Melanie had quit the FBI. These were the kinds of cases that needed someone like her, someone who knew that there were people in this world who preyed on the innocent.
Melanie almost hadn’t picked up the phone. Another bill collector? She wanted to push the pile of unpaid bills into the waste basket. “Damn it!” she said out loud, but after the fourth ring, bracing herself, she answered.
“Ms. Randolph. It’s Jose in the lobby. There are some people here to see you.”
To see her, she wondered, or to remove the expensive phone system she bought when she thought she was starting her detective agency with a partner? “Did they identify themselves?”
“It’s a couple. They say they left a voice message.”
Damn! She had stopped retrieving messages when the only callers were asking for money––those she owed or those who wanted a donation. “Thanks, Jose. Send them up.”
She had been sitting at the desk in the front room of her four-room office with her bookkeeping spread out all around her trying to decide if she could keep the doors open for another month. The revenue from her few paying clients since she’d started her agency six months ago didn’t cover her apartment and office rents, much less her utilities, car insurance, or cell bill. All three of her credit cards were tapped.
After sliding the pile of bills into a desk drawer, she turned over the yellow pad where she’d been adding and subtracting numbers, hiding the bad news more from herself than from anyone who might see them. The phone calls she needed to make asking for more time would have to wait.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Ouch,” she muttered. Her bad left knee buckled as she got up too fast.
“We’re here to see Melanie Randolph,” a woman said when Melanie opened the door. She was thin, middle-aged. She wore a fashionable camel coat over a navy blue suit. A red purse hung over her arm. Her eyes were red and she clutched tightly a lacy white handkerchief.