F. M. Meredith – A Crushing Death
I’m delighted to welcome back one of my favorite mystery authors, F. M. Meredith.
F. M. Meredith, who is also known as Marilyn Meredith, is nearing the number of 40 published books. Besides being an author she is a wife, mother , grandma and great-grandmother. Though the Rocky Bluff she writes about is fictional, she lived for over twenty-years in a similar small beach town. Besides having many law enforcement officers in her family she is counts many as friends. She teaches writing, loves to give presentations to writing and other groups, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, three chapters of Sisters in Crime and on the board of Public Safety Writers Association.
A Crushing Death
A pile of rocks is found on a dead body beneath the condemned pier, a teacher is accused of molesting a student, the new police chief is threatened by someone she once arrested for violent attacks on women, and Detective Milligan’s teenage daughter has a problem.
An F.M. Meredith Giveaway
A copy of any book in the Rocky Bluff mystery series except for the latest—either for Kindle or an autographed paper copy—will be given away to one of the commenters on this final blog of this tour.
A Crushing Death, Excerpt from Chapter 1
It never failed. On a holiday or a scheduled day off, or right in the middle of a great night’s sleep, the phone rang, like it just did.
Without opening his eyes, Detective Doug Milligan reached for his phone and answered. “Milligan.”
“You’re needed at the old pier.” The voice belonged to Sergeant Abel Navarro. “Homicide. Zachary will meet you there.” Then he was gone.
His wife, Stacey, rolled over to face him. “What is it?”
“Homicide. Got to go.” He leaned over and kissed her.
Her face registered curiosity.
“All I know is that a body was found at the old pier.” He grabbed his clothes from a chair and went into the bathroom.
Because Rocky Bluff P.D. was small, underfunded and understaffed, Doug and his partner Felix Zachary investigated all major crimes including homicides and other crime scenes.
When Doug drove onto the broken up asphalt of the parking lot, he parked next to Felix Zachary’s new Escalade. A RBPD blue-and-white patrol car was beside it. Nearer the chained- off steps leading to the dilapidated wooden pier, a young couple huddled against a white Chevy truck.
A flashlight beam bobbed around underneath the pier.
When Doug got out of his own van, he immediately felt the damp air, smelled the ocean, and heard the waves pounding the beach. He opened his trunk and brought out his portable evidence kit.
Weeds sprouted through the cracked asphalt of the lot, some standing many inches high. Doug hurried across, but when he reached the sand, walking became more of an effort.
Though condemned for years, the city fathers had yet to make plans to tear down the battered pier. The last major damage done to it was in 1995 when a winter storm with 18 foot high waves ripped off the end of the pier, including some of the wooden footings. The recent earthquake shook more boards and railings loose.
When Doug reached Felix and the uniformed officer on the scene, he asked, “What have we got?”
Officer Vaughn Aragon, much shorter than Doug or Felix, played the beam of his flashlight over what looked like a pile of large stones stacked on the chest of a body. “Those kids back there found this.”
Doug pulled on latex gloves and squatted close to the head. “Either of you recognize the victim?” From what he could see, the corpse was male, light brown hair, close to 6 feet tall, and possibly 180 pounds or more. There were no visible signs of decomposition. He touched the body. Cold.
“I think I know who it is,” Aragon said. “His wife reported him missing yesterday. I saw his photo at the station. If I’m right, it’s Martin Tivazian.”
Doug recognized the name. “That’s the high school teacher accused of improper actions with one of his students.”
“Yes. I’m sure it’s him.”
“Have you called the medical examiner’s office yet?”
“Did it soon as I arrived.” Detective Felix Zachary towered over the much shorter Aragon. Except for the new chief, he was the only African-American officer on the RBPD. “It’ll be awhile before someone gets here from Ventura.”
Being too small and too poor to have a coroner of its own, Rocky Bluff P.D. used the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office for any deaths suspected of foul play. Obviously this one met the criteria.
Doug turned to Officer Aragon “While we’re waiting for them, interview the young couple who found the body. Ask them the usual questions and get their contact information.”
Aragon trotted off.
“Felix, did you get a chance to look around at all?” Doug played his flashlight beam in a widening arc around the body. He spotted a few partial footprints in the dry sand, but nothing that looked like it would hold up in a cast. It wouldn’t be easy to discern between those of the kids who found the body, Aragon’s and their own, let alone whoever deposited the body under the pier.
“I didn’t get here much before you. What I did see was what looks like drag marks over there.” Felix pointed his flashlight toward an approximately two-foot wide depression that came from the direction of the parking lot and ended at the corpse.
“Maybe the victim was brought here unconscious and then the stones piled on.” Doug played the beam of the flashlight over what he could see of the victim. He had a long face and thick dark hair. He wore khaki slacks and what looked like expensive loafers.
“Or he was killed somewhere else and the stones are some kind of a statement.”
Felix turned toward the ocean. “Hope someone from the medical examiner’s office gets here soon, I think the tide is coming in.”
My ✰✰✰✰✰ Review
I haven’t read all of the books in the Rocky Bluff Mystery series, but I have read quite a few, and I have to admit that each one was totally enjoyable and a delight to read. They’re kind of a cross between cozy mysteries and police procedurals. All of Marilyn’s novels are timely. This book is about the murder of a high school teacher who’s been accused of inappropriate behavior by a love-struck student—and the Rocky Bluff police chief being stalked by a former convict she helped to put away. The characters are well-developed and believable, and the story is so interesting that when you get to the final page, you don’t want it to end. I’m already looking forward to reading the next book in the Rocky Bluff Mystery series. I highly recommend them all. And what’s nice is that each book can be also read as a stand-alone.
A Crushing Death can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Crushing-Death-Rocky-Bluff-P-D/dp/1610092260/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457618775&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Crushing+Death+by+F.M.+Meredith
Facebook: Marilyn Meredith
Contest: Once again, the person who comments on the most blogs during this tour, can have a character named after them in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.
This is the last of the blogs in this tour. I will be in touch with the winner of the character naming contest.
Marilyn aka F. M.Meredith
On May 26th, I’ll be summing up this blog tour on Jackie King’s blog:
Marilyn and I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment and be entered to win an autographed print copy of this wonderful novel.
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