Welcome to our stop on the Death In Smoke blog tour! Please scroll down for an excerpt.
She stumbled on a bloodied body buried in a snow bank. Will a cold case in Kansas lead her to the killer?
Against a canvas of crime and murder, artist and detective Leila Goodfriend investigates two brutal murders that happened a thousand miles—and decades apart.
As she unravels the truth about these two violent killings, she tracks a trail of blood and revenge, littered with smoke screens and stone relics of a perilous past. From Cape Cod to a casino in Kansas, Leila has to trust her instincts. And her developing relationship with Detective John Grace is put to a new, dangerous test.
Despite the detective’s warnings, Leila puts her life at risk, obsessed with proving her friend’s innocence, at least of murder.
She exposes new suspects and clues, and in the end, reveals a dark, deadly secret from her own past.
Death In Smoke, the new psychological thriller from acclaimed author Barbara Elle, takes readers on an inner and physical journey across time, challenging your assumptions about what is truth—what remains a mystery.
Leila inhaled deeply and exhaled for the pleasure of watching her breath float in the air like a smoke signal.
But there was no one to see it.
It was a cold, crisp morning, too cold to be tramping around a frozen pond. She had layered up in long johns, a grey sweater as shaggy as a wooly mammoth, and a parka so old she couldn’t give it away. In spite of the fact that the temperature dipped below freezing in the early morning hours, she was toasty warm. The surface of the hard frost cracked under her furry, fleece sheepskin boots, breaking through to the deeper, powdery snow buried below.
Walking alone was good for thinking. She hadn’t been doing much of that since she arrived the day before at the Teddy Roosevelt Inn and Fishing Club on Cuttyhunk Island in the middle of winter for a five-day workshop, advertised as a creative retreat. Whatever that meant. She had slipped out of the inn before anyone else showed signs of life. She longed for peace and quiet.
To walk. To escape.
The only soul awake when Leila crept down the back stairs was Beverly, dressed like a Geisha, wearing a flowing, flowered silk housecoat, with a crown of pink curlers and a curl of cigarette smoke circulating over her head. She ran the place with her milquetoast of a husband, Bob. She was laying flaccid ovals of dough on cookie sheets for the guests’ breakfast. Leila disliked staying at inns, it felt like an intrusion, though what kind of person didn’t like inns?
She intended to slip out the back door unnoticed, but Beverly turned around, confronting her. “So, where you headed?” the woman asked, squelching a cigarette in a water glass and waving a towel to disperse the evidence.
Leila hated cigarette smoke. It made her wheeze.
Not sure why she had to explain, Leila simply said, “For a walk.”
“Awfully cold out there.” Beverly stared at Leila with a certain indefinable coldness. This woman was ill suited to a service industry. “Colder than you shore people think. Shore people always underestimate how cold it is on the island.”
“I’ll be okay.” Shore people, what did that mean? Did she detect the remnants of a Scandinavian accent?
Beverly opened an industrial oven, allowing a blast of heat to escape. “The first batch of scones will be ready in a jiffy. Relax. Sit down. I’ll get you some coffee.”
Leila considered the offer briefly. Coffee sounded good, but she really wanted to clear her head. And be alone. “No, really, that’s okay.”
Beverly shoved the tray into the yawning mouth of the oven, slamming the door shut with a hefty, black orthopedic shoe. “Well, if you must, though I don’t know why anyone takes a walk on a morning like this. Be sure you follow the priests.”
Follow the priests. What did that mean?
In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?
Now, Death In Smoke (The Cape Mysteries Book 2) asks what’s the connection between a bloodied body buried in a snowbank on a remote island off the Cape and a cold case in Kansas? Can artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend solve this new mystery?
Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers and as a freelance journalist.
Growing up in Boston, but she became a New Yorker as an adult. Her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting The Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories.
Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often traveling the world with her touring musician husband, bass player and musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.
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