That’s right: I’m about to launch a new book. Dead Man Lying is a new Lei Crime Kindle World novella.
I know many of you liked FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm from Torn Roots and Palm Trees & Snowflakes. You’ll be happy to know she returns in Dead Man Lying, along with the beginning of the whole Lei Crime Kindle World, Maui police detective “Lei Texeira herself.
It will launch along with a new crop of Lei Crime KW titles in June. For now, here’s a peak at Chapter 1.
Vanessa paused at the edge of the forest to try to rub some of the dirt off her shoes. “Steve Sangster. I can’t believe I’m investigating his death. Did you like his music, Detective Texeira?”
“Call me Lei. Yeah, I love all that folksy-rock stuff. I even had one of Steven Sangster’s albums as a girl. Did you?”
Vanessa could not repress a smile. “I was a big fan. I had all his old CDs — still do. I had such a crush on him when I was 16. He was so handsome.”
Lei smiled back. “The blue eyes and the square chin, huh?”
So this is the famous Lei Texeira, Vanessa thought, looking at the slender detective with her peripheral vision while appearing to study the heiau. She was small for a cop, but athletic, with beautiful big brown eyes and a sprinkle of freckles across her cheeks and nose. Her features spoke of a mixture of Hawaiian, Asian and European extraction. Her dark brown curls rippled to her shoulders, and Vanessa wondered briefly how much of the curling was due to the incredible humidity of Hana, on Maui’s rain coast.
“Is this where it happened?” said an unfamiliar voice. Vanessa and Lei turned and Vanessa’s shoe slipped again. Her knee buckled and she almost went down, but Lei’s small hand grabbed her arm, steadying her. Vanessa was impressed — Lei was stronger than she looked.
Steady again on the wet lava, she looked up to see a short, balding man letting the yellow police tape down behind him.
“Don’t the words ‘Do not cross’ mean anything to you?” Lei demanded, stepping toward the man.
“I’m Simon Sangster. He — the victim … I mean, he was my father,” the man stammered. He did not step back, but actually put a foot up on the lava rock.
“I’m sorry for your loss, Mr. Sangster, but you still cannot step past the yellow tape.”
The man scowled, straightened his back and puffed out his little chest, which did not protrude nearly as much as his belly. “Now that my father is … this is now my property.”
“Even so, this is a crime scene and you’ll have to step back past the yellow tape,” Lei retorted. She lifted the tape for him.
“It’s so that no one compromises the investigation,” Vanessa offered. “Please, step back.”
“In-investigation?” he said, seeming to deflate. “I thought it was an accident?”
“We’ll have to wait for the coroner’s final report to know that,” said Lei. She stepped off the heiau and took the younger Sangster by the arm.
Vanessa had one foot off the lava platform when a tree beside the path exploded and a boom rolled up the hill. Lei dove between the trees, pushing Sangster with her. Vanessa dropped and rolled, conscious of her jacket tearing on the rock, ending up half buried under bushes with long, pointed leaves. The top half of a young koa tree toppled. She waited, counting to five before lifting her head. Her face was wet from the bushes and covered with bits of shredded wood.
About the book
When a once-famous singer is found dead on his own estate on Maui, it’s all FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm can do to untangle the webs of lies spun by every member of the singer’s family. Dead Man Lying is a new addition to the Lei Crime Kindle World, based on characters and settings created by Toby Neal.
Dead Man Lying will launch in June 2016.
You can win a free e-copy by leaving a comment below.