Authors: Rolynn Anderson
Tags: #Contemporary, #suspense, #Family Life/Oriented, #Small Town
Recipient of an
Reward of Novel Excellence Honorable Mention in the Thriller/Suspense Category
“...an excellent story that runs very deep with themes, characterizations, and understanding of the human condition...very well-written and kept me interested the whole way through... Loved it!”
~Lisa R... (5 Stars)
“By introducing some great characters and providing a plot and action that draw you in and keep you turning pages...the unique concept will grow on you and have you anticipating not only more from this author, but more from these characters.”
~Laura R... (5 Stars)
“I really wasn't sure how a story about a funeral planner would keep me interested. Wow was I surprised; I was immediately hooked and could not wait to find out how all these characters would handle the twists and turns in the plot.”
~Susan M... (5 Stars)
“A Must Read!...a book every mystery reader will love! And so will those who like romance novels!”
“Perfect blend of suspense and character development... A superb first novel for this fine author.”
~Brian G... (5 Stars)
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Text copyright © 2014 by Rolynn Anderson
Originally published by Wild Rose Press
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Published by AmazonEncore, Seattle
Amazon, the Amazon logo, and AmazonEncore are trademarks of
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Cover Designer: Kim Mendoza
This title was previously published by Wild Rose Press; this version has been reproduced from Wild Rose Press archive files.
To Steve, who loves me, our trawler,
cruising in Alaska, and a complex thriller
After twenty years of boating, I summoned the courage to cruise the Inside Passage to Alaska in our trawler,
. It's a long trip with several harrowing sections of sea to cross, but now I wish I'd ventured to Alaska sooner.
Petersburg, in particular, charmed me. Set on Mitkof Island, first settled by tribes of Tlingits and later, Norwegians, the town's intriguing story had this Scandinavian hooked the minute I stepped off the marina gangway. When I found out a local 1932 crime was yet to be solved, a plot began churning in my head.
In Lie Catchers, I changed names, stretched truths and ratcheted up the conflict to create a page-turner, but I hope I also captured Petersburg's intrigue and warmth. All fabrications and errors are mine, not those of the people or books I consulted.
Kudos to my faithful book group for their critiques - Carol Scalise, Barbara Wyckoff, Sue Ratty-Seeman, and Marti Valley. Barb Cutshaw helped me hone the first three chapters and Susie Miner played detective for me on her last trip to Petersburg. Craig Tomash helped with details about 1932 pistols. Jim Engell, a teacher in Petersburg, and Brenda Nordheim, of the Wild Celery were kind enough to offer details and encouragement; the adventurous Rite in the Rain company allowed me to use their product name. Laura Kelly, my amazing editor, raises my confidence and my craft to new heights every time. And as always, my husband, Steve, cheers me on and offers enough wild ideas for plot twists to keep my imagination stoked. Thank you all!
Brief. Attorneys know all about briefs. Foreplay with a lawyer? A guarantee…brief.
Liv Hanson stopped typing and hissed an exhale. She picked up her coffee mug and positioned the tiny square cup heater so it aligned with the plastic mat under her computer. On this gray Petersburg, Alaska, morning, she pretended to muse over a serious writing project.
But in half a second, she’d dropped her shoulders and closed her eyes to the drivel she’d typed for
. Three hours of writing and she’d fine-tuned fifteen hundred words lamenting the terrible trials ahead for women dating lawyers.
Liv rolled up to the desk and put down her cup. “‘Trial?’ Should I use ‘trial’ in the title with a punched-up double meaning? ‘The Ultimate Dating Trial.’ Or ‘Dating an Attorney: One Trial After the Other.’” She hunched in the chair. “I’m insufferable.”
Her phone vibrated, the screen showing ‘Renee.’
With a swipe on the screen she set the speaker option. “Is this a deadline nag?”
“Good morning to you, too,” Renee answered.
“It’s done. Give me one hour of polishing and I’ll e-mail the damn thing to you today.”
“Ah-hah! It’s a good one, I can tell. The madder you are about what you write, the funnier it is.”
“It’s too easy to dump on lawyers. Hell, women will start laughing the minute they read the title.”
“And you’ll grin all the way to the bank, Liv. Two thousand per e-zine article, lampooning one career a month.”
Liv tightened her hold on the phone. “One a month? That’s their new deal? God, it sounds like a prison sentence.”
“Your sarcasm sells, Liv. Makes this agent happy.”
“TJ Hawk’s humor sells, you mean. I can’t attach my name to this series, Renee. I won’t.”
Movement out her window caught Liv’s attention. Tuck Barber stepped out of his second story apartment and descended the stairs to their shared alley. She appreciated the way he took the steps. No looking down or grabbing of the railing. Head erect. Confident. Imagining his big hands on her, right one solid on her back and the left grasping her hand, brought a shiver across her shoulders.
We dance tonight. And then?
“Sorry. My mind wandered.”
“You’ll sign the contract, won’t you?”
? I have no choice, Renee. I need the money.”
“What profession will you harpoon next, doll?”
“Maybe yours.” Liv paused. “Kidding. Send the contract. I’ll sign it and fax it.” With that promise, her new idea for a writing project thumped to the bottom of her to-do list. Two years after her return to Petersburg, she was no closer to pulling her family out of debt and she had yet, at age thirty-three, to have written anything worthy to call her own.
The pungent odor of smoked salmon greeted Parker Browne when he opened the door of The Smiling Coho, but the sight of Liv Hanson, teetering on the third rung of a stepladder, made him forget about fish.
The chief’s sister was stacking jars of smoked salmon on a shelf, her expression a study in concentration as she turned container labels front and center, perfectly aligned. She certainly wasn’t dressed for ladder-climbing: fashion-model pretty in a short black sheath over black skin-tight leggings, decorated with black lace at the calf. Ebony, yellow, and white jewelry jangled on her arm and adorned her ears and neck.
Back to the lace encircling her calves.
Jesus, she’s wearing high heels on a ladder
. He strode to her side and cleared his throat, poised to help her down.
She turned her head, her shiny blonde hair forming a parenthesis around a howdy-customer smile.
“Liv Hanson? Did I say that right?”
“As in ‘leave’ not ‘live,’” she corrected. “Welcome to The Smiling Coho.”
“The chief…uh…Ivor, meant to come along and introduce me, but a fight broke out at the marina.”
She pursed her lips. “My brother’s good at settling territorial disputes.
Parker stood by as she came down the ladder. She took the hand he extended and thanked him.
“Nice place, Ms. Hanson.” He smiled his approval of the cozy store, the left wall filled with shelves of jarred smoked salmon and fronted by a counter set up for sampling the fish. A variety of merchandise filled the rest of the store, including clothing and purses. He leaned over the jewelry display and said, “Great selection.”
Liv touched her necklace.
“I have three older sisters who used to drag me around malls. They’d like this place.” He cleared his throat. “Your brother says you live upstairs and work here in the afternoons.”
“I do. I’m the buyer for the clothing and accessories, but our main focus is salmon canning,” she said, proudly pointing to the salmon display. “My family’s business for fifty years. And you are?”
“Sorry to start asking questions before I introduce myself. Parker Browne, Detective. Seattle PD.”
“Hard-boiled, laconic, dogged. Single.”
He stared at her.
“I wrote a story about detectives. Saw the statistics.”
“I’d like to read it.”
Vigorous shake of her head, rosiness blooming on her cheeks. “A silly feature. Filler. Stereotyped.” Pulling in a breath, seeming to collect herself, she asked, “Why is a Seattle detective questioning people in Petersburg, Alaska?”
“Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Everett Olson’s body was found in Puget Sound a couple of days ago.”
A hand went to her heart. “Oh, my God!”
“Died sometime last week.”
“Drowned?” she asked, eyes wide. “Was his zipper down?”
Parker winced, imagining all of Petersburg more enlightened about drownings than he was. “Yes. And they found his rented boat adrift in Elliot Bay.”
“But you’re guessing foul play?”
“It’s possible. We have an autopsy underway.”
“His girlfriends, Tilly and Susanna. Do they know?”
He shook his head. “Chief Hanson thought I should tell you first, so you can support Ms. Grant.”
“I appreciate that. Tilly and Ev split months ago, but she’ll be very upset. We all thought theirs was a temporary separation, anyway.”
“Your brother said as much.”
She gave him a measured look and folded her arms, back against the cashier’s desk. “You’ll question my neighbor, Tuck Barber.”