FRIDAY SPARKS: A FAMILY FEATURE….

As I wander around my home, occasionally dusting and cleaning, I never fail to look at my favorite things, which include books, fairytale figurines, and photos of family.

This blog had its beginnings as Snow Impressions, over on Blogger…and featured my two granddaughters primarily.  One of the photos from back then was of the two of them at the cabin in the snow.

 

 

Today I have a new collection of family photos, mostly featuring my oldest granddaughter Aubrey (she’s actually older than my other granddaughter, Fiona, by only eight days…LOL).

Aubrey has been attending university in San Diego, but this summer she is taking a break to enjoy some adventures with family and friends.  In this shot, she is climbing Potato Chip Rock.

 

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Out on the water…

 

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Some tree hugging with a friend…

 

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Giving back…

 

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Spending time with her little sister Sidney…

 

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And finally, here she is on July 4th with her two oldest brothers, the ones that make up the “A-Team” with her:  Alec, Aubrey, & Aaron.  You may think that Alec and Aubrey are not that tall…you would be wrong.  Alec is 6’2″; Aubrey, 5’10”; and Aaron…well, he is around 6’6″.

 

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Enjoy your weekend!  What are you spotlighting today?

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “EVERYWHERE THAT MARY WENT”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

 

Today I am sharing from my current read:  Everywhere That Mary Went (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline.

 

 

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Beginning:  “All rise!  All persons having business before this Honorable Judge of the United States District Court are admonished to draw near and be heard!” trumpets the courtroom deputy.

Instantly, sports pages vanish into briefcases and legal briefs are tossed atop the stock quotes.

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56:  As I leave his office, I see that Delia’s headset is off, resting at the base of her neck like a cheap choker.  As I walk by, she’s sipping tea in a genteel way from a white china cup.  An affectation she’s picked up from Berkowitz, who likes to stub out his Marlboro in the saucer.

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Blurb:  Mary DiNunzio is trying to make partner in her cutthroat Philadelphia law firm. She’s too busy to worry about the crank phone calls that she’s been getting—until they fall into a sinister pattern. Mary can’t shake the sensation that someone is watching her. Following her every move. Then the shadowboxing turns deadly, and she has to fight for something a lot more important than a partnership—her life.

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This is one mystery from Scottoline’s various works that I have missed.  I am eager to read it.  What do you think?

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “PAIN, PARTIES, WORK”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today I just started reading a book on Sparky, my Kindle…a book that has been languishing there since last year, so reading it will accomplish another check on the list for my Mt. TBR Challenge.  Already I’m enjoying it.  Pain, Parties, Work:  Sylvia Plath in New York – Summer 1953, by Elizabeth Winder, spotlights a time that I recognize from my own younger days.

 

 

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Beginning:  (The First Week:  Euphoria)


THE BARBIZONETTES

Her room was the size of a decent closet—beige walls trimmed in maroon paint.  A dark green carpet, ferny bedspread with rose-patterned ruffles like Snow White’s muted forest.  There was green upholstery on the low parlor chair.  A desk for typing wedged neatly at the bed’s foot.  Above the bed there was a speaker box that piped in music if you turned a knob.

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56:  (Looking back at Sylvia’s Childhood)

And there was something of Saint Therese de Lisieux about her—collecting cockles and seaweed and talking to mermaids.  A sensitive little pagan with a blond braid down her back.

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Amazon Description: “I dreamed of New York, I am going there.”

On May 31, 1953, twenty-year-old Sylvia Plath arrived in New York City for a one-month stint at “the intellectual fashion magazine” Mademoiselle to be a guest editor for its prestigious annual college issue. Over the next twenty-six days, the bright, blond New England collegian lived at the Barbizon Hotel, attended Balanchine ballets, watched a game at Yankee Stadium, and danced at the West Side Tennis Club. She typed rejection letters to writers from The New Yorker and ate an entire bowl of caviar at an advertising luncheon. She stalked Dylan Thomas and fought off an aggressive diamond-wielding delegate from the United Nations. She took hot baths, had her hair done, and discovered her signature drink (vodka, no ice). Young, beautiful, and on the cusp of an advantageous career, she was supposed to be having the time of her life.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with fellow guest editors whose memories infuse these pages, Elizabeth Winder reveals how these twenty-six days indelibly altered how Plath saw herself, her mother, her friendships, and her romantic relationships, and how this period shaped her emerging identity as a woman and as a writer. Pain, Parties, Work—the three words Plath used to describe that time—shows how Manhattan’s alien atmosphere unleashed an anxiety that would stay with her for the rest of her all-too-short life.

Thoughtful and illuminating, this captivating portrait invites us to see Sylvia Plath before The Bell Jar, before she became an icon—a young woman with everything to live for.

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I am loving this portrait of Sylvia before the dark days that would come later and define her for all time.  Once upon a time, she was happily engaged…and this story spotlights that time.

What are you sharing?  I hope you’ll come by and leave your comments and links.

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Friday Sparks: Book Beginnings/Friday 56 – “Real Murder”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today’s feature is a review book that is part of Lauren Carr’s Lovers in Crime Series:  Real Murder.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue)

Friday the Thirteenth, February 13, 1976

Dolly’s Gentlemen Club, Newell, West Virginia

In the upper tip of West Virginia’s northern panhandle, the tiny town of Newell has two claims to fame—Homer Laughlin China Company, whose wares are used in restaurants and fine dining all over the world, and Waterford Race Track.  Folks will travel for miles to see the Thoroughbreds race for the finish line.

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P. 56:  (Eighteen Years Later)

“You mean like a secret adoption?”

“It’s not unheard of,” Joshua said.  “I’m sure Tad would know about it if there were any truth to it.”

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Blurb:  “It’s not a real murder.” When Homicide Detective Cameron Gates befriends Dolly, the little old lady who lives across the street, she is warned not to get lured into helping the elderly woman by investigating the unsolved murder of one of her girls. “She’s senile,” Cameron is warned. “It’s not a real murder.” Such is not the case. After Dolly is brutally murdered, Cameron discovers that the sweet blue-haired lady’s “girl” was a call girl, who had been killed in a mysterious double homicide. Meanwhile, Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton is looking for answers to the murder of a childhood friend, a sheriff deputy whose cruiser is found at the bottom of a lake. The sheriff deputy had disappeared almost twenty years ago while privately investigating the murder of a local prostitute. It doesn’t take long for the Lovers in Crime to put their cases together to reveal a long-kept secret that some believe it’s worth killing to keep undercover.

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I have enjoyed this series, so I’m eager to plunge into this one.  What do you think?

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Let’s spark our celebration today, Fourth of July, with our reading snippets.

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/THE FRIDAY 56 — “ENON”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

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Today I’m featuring an ARC from Amazon Vine.  Enon, by Paul Harding, is the story of a year in the life of a man coming to terms with a personal tragedy.

 

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Beginning:  Most men in my family make widows of their wives and orphans of their children.  I am the exception.  My only child, Kate, was struck and killed by a car while riding her bicycle home from the beach one afternoon in September, a year ago.  She was thirteen.  My wife, Susan, and I separated soon afterward.

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56:  Houses retain traces of the people who have lived in them and I feel those traces immediately whenever I step into one.  When Susan and Kate and I looked at the few houses within our price range in Enon, there were times when my stomach soured and my head ached before i had walked through two rooms.

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Blurb:  Hailed as “a masterpiece” (NPR), Tinkers, Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize–winning debut, is a modern classic. The Dallas Morning News observed that “like Faulkner, Harding never shies away from describing what seems impossible to put into words.” Here, in Enon, Harding follows a year in the life of Charlie Crosby as he tries to come to terms with a shattering personal tragedy. Grandson of George Crosby (the protagonist of Tinkers), Charlie inhabits the same dynamic landscape of New England, its seasons mirroring his turbulent emotional odyssey. Along the way, Charlie’s encounters are brought to life by his wit, his insights into history, and his yearning to understand the big questions. A stunning mosaic of human experience, Enon affirms Paul Harding as one of the most gifted and profound writers of his generation.

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I am eager to plunge into this emotional journey of a novel…and I will have a box of tissues handy.  Come on by with your own excerpts and links, please!

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WHAT IGNITES YOUR INTEREST ON A FRIDAY?

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What sparks your enthusiasm as a weekend approaches?  What ignites your passion?

For me, it’s great books and movies.  One of my current reads is an epic story penned by a well-known Southern writer:  Pat Conroy.  Beach Music has been on my stacks for quite awhile…and it is a heavy-weight (literally).  With almost 800 pages, it is definitely one to savor, and it takes the reader back and forth in time and across countries.  From South Carolina to Italy and also to Holocaust times, we can immerse ourselves in the culture, the ambience, and the flavors of this world painted by this author.

From Amazon:  PAT CONROY, America’s preeminent storyteller, delivers a sweeping novel of lyric intensity and searing truth–the story of Jack McCall, an American expatriate in Rome, scarred by tragedy and betrayal. His desperate desire to find peace after his wife’s suicide draws him into a painful, intimate search for the one haunting secret in his family’s past that can heal his anguished heart.

Spanning three generations and two continents, from the contemporary ruins of the American South to the ancient ruins of Rome, from the unutterable horrors of the Holocaust to the lingering trauma of Vietnam, Beach Music sings with life’s pain and glory. It is another masterpiece in PAT CONROY’S legendary list of beloved novels.

 

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Meanwhile, I am reading a few other books, just so I can see an ending on the horizon.  Right now, I’m approaching the 600 page mark in my epic novel.

Today is also a day to enjoy new movies, and I’m eager to see August:  Osage County, with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and many others.

 

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Now I’m off to see the movie….Sparky (my Kindle) is coming with me, so afterwards I can read while I eat lunch.  I’m taking this book along:  I See London I See France, by Paulita Kincer.

 

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So…again.  What sparks your weekend moments? 

 

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FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 – INNOCENT

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today, I’m featuring a book from my TBR stacks.  One that I purchased a couple of months ago.  It is a sequel to the book Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow.  This book is entitled Innocent.

 

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Beginning:  Prologue – September 30, 2008

A man is sitting on a bed.  He is my father.

The body of a woman is beneath the covers.  She was my mother.

Chapter One:  Rusty, March 19, 2007, Eighteen Months Earlier

From the elevated walnut bench a dozen feet above the lawyers’ podium, I bang the gavel and call the last case of the morning for oral argument.

“People versus John Harnason,” I say, “fifteen minutes each side.”

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56:  Brand was right.  They had a job to do.  But it was a peril.  The joke was thinking you were ever really in charge of your life.

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Blurb:  The sequel to the genre-defining, landmark bestseller Presumed Innocent, INNOCENT continues the story of Rusty Sabich and Tommy Molto who are, once again, twenty years later, pitted against each other in a riveting psychological match after the mysterious death of Rusty’s wife.

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So now I am eager to see where this new journey will take these familiar characters.  What are you sharing today?

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 – THE EDGE OF NORMAL

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today I’m spotlighting an ARC from Amazon Vine called The Edge of Normal, by Carla Norton.

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue) Seattle, Washington, Six Years Earlier

Her name had been out of the headlines so long that he was sure no one was searching for her when he fit the key into the lock for the last time.  The door swung wide on its hinges, but he felt no need to secure it behind him.  The steps groaned beneath his weight as he descended into the basement and ordered her to stand and face the wall.

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56:  Reeve studies the tall young man, wondering—as she often does when meeting someone new—whether he knows who she is and what happened to her.

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Amazon Description:  In many ways, Reeve LeClaire looks like a typical twenty-two year old girl. She’s finally landed her own apartment, she waitresses to pay the bills, and she wishes she wasn’t so nervous around new people. She thinks of herself as agile, not skittish. As serious, not grim. But Reeve is anything but normal.

Ten years ago, she was kidnapped and held captive. After a lucky escape, she’s spent the last six years trying to rebuild her life, a recovery thanks in large part to her indispensable therapist Dr. Ezra Lerner. But when he asks her to help another girl rescued from a similar situation, Reeve realizes she may not simply need to mentor this young victim—she may be the only one who can protect her from a cunning predator who is still out there, watching every move.

From the author of the #1 non-fiction bestseller Perfect Victim: The True Story of the Girl in the Box comes a novel that draws you into a chilling and engrossing world. With masterful plot twists and shifting points of view that make it as irresistible as Gone Girl, Carla Norton’s The Edge of Normal is a stunning debut thriller.

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I am very eager to dive into this one.   What are you spotlighting today?

 

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 – JUSTICE FOR SARA

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today’s spotlighted book is a suspense novel from a favorite author:  Justice for Sara, by Erica Spindler.

 

 

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Beginning:  Liberty, Louisiana, Monday, June 3, 2013: 10:00 a.m.

Katherine McCall stood at the broken front gate and stared at the words that had been spray-painted in black across the yellow clapboard siding.  Simple.  Ugly.  A warning.

We know u did it

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56:  Tuesday, June 4

1:00 p.m.

Kat wanted to talk to Ryan before Luke did, so she headed directly there from the police department.  R & B Imports wasn’t the small-scale operation she had expected, but a big, impressively slick one, from the contemporary leather seating in the waiting room to the complimentary beverage center, complete with an espresso machine.

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Blurb:  When seventeen-year-old Katherine McCall awakened one morning to find her beloved sister, Sara, brutally murdered, her whole life changed in the blink of an eye. Kat was named the prime suspect and, on a string of circumstantial evidence, charged and tried. While the jury found her innocent, not everyone else agreed, and her only choice was to go into hiding. But she carried a dark secret with her, one that made her worry she might actually have had something to do with Sara’s death . . .

Now, years later, Kat is still haunted by her sister’s unsolved murder and continues to receive chilling anonymous letters, but she has tried to move on with her life. Until, on the tenth anniversary of Sara’s death, she receives a letter that makes the past impossible to ignore: “What about justice for Sara?” What about justice for Sara? And for herself? Kat realizes that going back to Liberty, Louisiana, might be the only way to move forward and find some peace. And there’s a killer out there who was never caught.

But the town she’s come back to is hardly different from the one she left. The secrets and suspicions still run deep. Kat has an ally in Detective Luke Tanner, son of the former Liberty police chief, but he may be her only one. With plenty of enemies, no one to trust and a killer determined to keep a dark secret buried, Kat must decide if justice is worth fighting—and dying—for.

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So far, I’m loving this one from the best-selling Erica Spindler.  What are you sharing today?

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 — AFTER I’M GONE

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

 

Today’s featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine:  After I’m Gone, by Laura Lippman.

 

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Beginning:  July 4, 1976

They left at dusk, about an hour before the fireworks were scheduled, and by the time they were at the old toll bridge over the Susquehanna, Felix could see glimmers of light through the one tiny window, little celebrations everywhere.  He had told Julie to take the old way to Philadelphia, up Route 40.  He was being cautious, yet nostalgic, too.  He had gotten his start out here, taking action in the bars.

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56:  If only people knew how obvious their lies were, at least to him.  Maybe then they wouldn’t bother with them.  “Nothing important,” she said, and he knew it was at least somewhat important.

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Blurb:  Laura Lippman, the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Most Dangerous Thing, I’d Know You Anywhere, and What the Dead Know, returns with an addictive story that explores how one man’s disappearance echoes through the lives of the wife, mistress, and daughters he left behind.

When Felix Brewer meets Bernadette “Bambi” Gottschalk at a Valentine’s Dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative—if not all legal—businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July, 1976, Bambi’s comfortable world implodes when Felix, newly convicted and facing prison, mysteriously vanishes.

Though Bambi has no idea where her husband—or his money—might be, she suspects one woman does: his mistress, Julie. When Julie disappears ten years to the day that Felix went on the lam, everyone assumes she’s left to join her old lover—until her remains are eventually found.

Now, twenty-six years after Julie went missing, Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating her murder. What he discovers is a tangled web stretching over three decades that connects five intriguing women. And at the center is the missing man Felix Brewer.

Somewhere between the secrets and lies connecting past and present, Sandy will find the truth. And when he does, no one will ever be the same.

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I am very eager to read this one!  I am addicted to this author’s mysteries.  Now I’m off to see what the rest of you are sharing.