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MysteryPeople Presents: MELISSA LENHARDT, TERRY SHAMES, JAMES ZISKIN
Tuesday, January 24th at 7pm
speaking & signing
The Fisher King
An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock
Heart of Stone
Join Terry Shames, Melissa Lenhardt, & James Ziskin for a panel discussion on rural noir and small town secrets as they speak and sign their latest tales of murder in the hinterlands. Terry Shames joins us with her latest Samuel Craddock mystery, An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock, while Melissa Lenhardt will be here with her second small-town texas mystery, The Fisher King, featuring sheriff and fish-out-of-water Jack McBride. James Ziskin is here with his latest Ellie Stone mystery, Heart of Stone.
ABOUT THE FISHER KING
When the dust settles in this Texas town, who will be left standing?
It’s been six weeks since Jack McBride’s life went to hell: the resolution of his first case as chief sparked a countywide drug war, his brother Eddie rode into town with a pocket full of cocaine and trouble on his mind, his estranged wife returned from her one-year sabbatical determined to win him back, and Ellie Martin ended their brief affair.
To the Stillwater natives, the increase in local crime can be traced directly back to the day the outsider McBride took the job, and they’re gunning to get rid of him. One particular group is led by Joe Doyle, a successful local businessman who’s running for city council against Ellie and her plan to revitalize downtown. Now Jack has discovered proof Doyle is the biggest crime lord in the county, and, with murders piling up and the drug war intensifying, Jack suspects the crimes aren’t business, but personal—and he’s the target.
The bitter election and Jack’s investigation spark old rivalries and new jealousies, making Ellie and those who love Stillwater most wonder if it’s even worth saving.
ABOUT AN UNSETTLING CRIME FOR SAMUEL CRADDOCK
When the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooper
Craddock’s fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young black man whom Craddock knows and respects. Sutherland cites dubious evidence that points to Bennett, and Craddock uncovers facts leading in another direction. When Sutherland refuses to relent, Craddock is faced with a choice that will define him as a lawman—either let the highway patrol have its way, or take on a separate investigation himself.
Although his choice to investigate puts both Craddock and his family in danger, he perseveres. In the process, he learns something about himself and the limits of law enforcement in Jarrett Creek.
ABOUT HEART OF STONE
In the waning days of a lazy August holiday, Ellie Stone is enjoying a bright Adirondack-lake morning. Nearby, two men plummet to their deaths just a few feet short of the water of a dangerous diving pool. A tragic accident, it seems. But the police quickly establish that the two victims—one a stranger to the lake and the other a teenaged boy from a nearby music camp—surely didn’t know each other. So how did they come to die together?
Wading into a slippery morass of free-love intellectuals and charismatic evangelicals, Ellie’s investigation forces her to navigate old grudges and cold war passions, lost ideals and betrayed loves. As usual, she sticks her nose where it’s unwanted, rattling nerves and putting herself in jeopardy. But this time it’s her heart that’s also at risk.
ABOUT MELISSA LENHARDT
Melissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is also the author of Sawbones (Redhook). She is a board member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and two sons.
ABOUT TERRY SHAMES
Terry Shames is the Macavity Award-winning author of the Samuel Craddock mysteries A Killing at Cotton Hill, The Last Death of Jack Harbin, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, and The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake. She is the coeditor of Fire in the Hills, a book of stories, poems, and photographs about the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire. She grew up in Texas and continues to be fascinated by the convoluted loyalties and betrayals of the small town where her grandfather was the mayor. Terry is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.
ABOUT JAMES ZISKIN
James W. Ziskin is the author of Styx & Stone, No Stone Unturned, and Stone Cold Dead, the first three Ellie Stone mysteries. A linguist by training, Ziskin was director of New York University’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò for five years, where he collaborated with an impressive catalogue of writers, journalists, and academics on cultural and educational events.
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