Monday, July 22, 2013

On Tour and an Excerpt: Front Page Fatality by LynDee Walker

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime.

As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last. ~~ synopsis from Goodreads

“Nichelle, what a great job you did on the murder conviction!” Shelby put her hands on her tiny hips and stuck out her inversely-proportionate chest, straining the cotton of her simple cornflower t-shirt. “Though I’m pretty sure the prosecutor was approaching the bench, not the beach.”
My temper flared, but before I opened my mouth to tell her that quickly pounding out the day’s lead story was different than writing up the garden club meetings she covered before her big move to the copy desk, Bob cleared his throat.
“That one’s on me, since I edited that story, Shelby,” he said, before he dismissed her with a promise that deadlines would be adhered to by all.
“Sorry, chief.” I shrugged at Bob as Shelby’s spiky black hair disappeared into the maze of cubicles. “Bench, beach. Potato, tomato.”
Bob chuckled before he turned to the features editor. I tuned out what they were talking about. For the most part, I preferred hard news writing to any other kind.
I had grabbed the police report on the first drug dealer murder from my file drawer on my way into the meeting, and I pulled it out and read it again. Noah Leon Smith, age twenty-six, had died the Friday before Memorial Day of a massive head injury inflicted by a .45 caliber bullet. He’d been found sprawled across his own sofa in a neighborhood that saw more than its fair share of violence. The easy assumption was that he’d been killed by another dealer, or maybe a desperate customer. But now did a second victim prove that easy assumption faulty?
My eyes scanned the detective’s narrative with that in mind, and four simple lines jumped out at me like a pair of old sneakers at a Manolo collection debut.
Bathroom sink, lower cabinet: four kilograms beige powder, two large plastic bags dried, green leafy substance. Upper cabinet: fifteen large bags containing tablets, various sizes and colors. Lab results: powder: heroin. Green leafy: marijuana. Tablets: Oxycontin, Vicodin, Zoloft, Effexor, Ri- talin. Kitchen, freezer compartment: three paper grocery sacks containing a total of $257,400 in large bills.
I’d dismissed it before. Sure, a business rival or a junkie would have stolen the drugs and the money—if they had time, knew where to find it, and weren’t already flying on a sample of Noah Smith’s pharmaceuticals. But another dealer with holes where he shouldn’t have them made me wonder if the crime scenes were similar. If the new victim still had a house full of smack and cash, now that was a story.
My fingers wound around a lock of my hair, my thoughts hijacked by scenes from old Charles Bronson movies as I considered the possibility the shooter was more interested in payback than a payday. That could be a very sexy story.
Bob’s endearingly cheesy dismissal snapped me out of my reverie. “All right, folks,” he said every morning. “My office is not newsworthy, so get out and go find me something to print.”

About the author

LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born.

Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is working on her next novel.

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  1. Thanks so much for having me on today, Susan!

  2. I don't really read any cozy mysteries (or any mysteries, period), but this sounds really fun! Maybe I'll give it a try.

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