Bark M For Murder

Bark M For Murder

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by J. A. Jance, Virginia Lanier, Chassie West, Lee Charles Kelley
     
 

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Who let the dogs out?

Evildoers beware! Four of mystery fiction's top storytellers are setting the hounds on your trail -- in an incomparable quartet of crime stories with a canine edge. Man's (and woman's) best friends take the lead in this phenomenal collection of tales tense and surprising, humorous and thrilling: New York Times bestselling author

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Overview

Who let the dogs out?

Evildoers beware! Four of mystery fiction's top storytellers are setting the hounds on your trail -- in an incomparable quartet of crime stories with a canine edge. Man's (and woman's) best friends take the lead in this phenomenal collection of tales tense and surprising, humorous and thrilling: New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance's spellbinding saga of a scam-busting septuagenarian and her two golden retrievers; Anthony Award winner Virginia Lanier's pureblood thriller featuring bloodhounds and bloody murder; Chassie West's suspenseful stunner about a life-saving German shepherd and a ghastly forgotten crime; rising star Lee Charles Kelley's edge-of-your-seat yarn that pits an ex-cop/kennel owner and a yappy toy poodle against a craven killer.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061738685
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/17/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
106,993
File size:
544 KB

Read an Excerpt

Bark M For Murder


By J. A. Jance Virginia Lanier Chassie West Lee Charles Kelley

Avon

ISBN: 0-06-081537-X


Chapter One

I stepped from the van into a penetrating cold wind. It was an unseasonably chilly day in southeast Georgia. We usually had a few days like this in late January and early February, but not a week before Christmas with carols reverberating in our ears and a Santa in every mall. A northeaster was blowing between 18 to 25 m.p.h.

I had donned my bright Day-Glo orange rescue suit and was fully protected from the cold and wind. I attached the long leads to Caesar's harness, then Mark Anthony's, stepped aside, and watched them bail out of their cages with unrestrained enthusiasm. They are two highly trained man-trailing bloodhounds from my kennel. I tucked items into my zippered pockets and attached a quart water bottle. Jasmine Jones parked her van behind mine.

I watched her unload. We wore identical suits. My hair is a mousy brown. Her black tresses artfully hugged her scalp and complimented her long regal neck. She is African American with skin one shade lighter than milk chocolate. I'm pale, never tan, and look like the girl next door after a bad night.

I hired and trained her in man-trailing, search-and-rescue, and drug searches. She lives beside me in a garage apartment and we are close friends.

Jasmine unloaded Ashley and Miz Melanie and secured them to the van. She smiled and started toward me. I met her halfway.

"For right now we'll leave the backpackshere."

"Right. Aren't you taking your gun?" Her holster was fastened over her rescue suit.

"Never leave home without it." I patted my left breast. "Move yours inside your suit. The dispatcher mentioned shots were fired. We're out in front if we man-trail. I don't want the perps to know we're carrying, might keep us from being used as target practice."

"What do you know so far?" She was placing items in the pockets of her suit.

I glanced across the empty parking lot and saw Sheriff Philip Scroggins emerge from the double door of the Suwannee Swifty convenience store. He spotted us and waved.

"Have you ever met Sheriff Scroggins?" I asked.

"Last June, when the Shop'n Go was hit. You were busy with the seminar."

"Right, I'd forgotten. Brace yourself. Here he comes."

"Oh, dis ol' gal don't have to fret 'bout being bear-hugged," she drawled, parodying southern mush-mouth, "I be duh wrong color for dat!"

I examined her guileless countenance and saw a hint of a smile on her lips.

"It's getting to where I can't take you out in public," I complained. "Behave yourself."

We lifted the sagging yellow crime scene tape, and ducked under.

Sheriff Philip Scroggins was sixty-five, bald, and was almost as wide as he was tall. He was 5'4" and weighed over two hundred pounds. He had been my father's friend and was now mine. His booming voice was always a shock to the senses. "Jo Beth, darlin', how are you?" he bellowed, grabbing me around my waist and lifting me a foot off the ground.

"Not breathing," I said, grunting. "Put me down ... please?"

He complied, then grabbed Jasmine.

"Jasmine, my beauty! I'm so glad to see you!" He held her aloft and turned two complete circles before releasing her.

The shocked expression on her face made me start giggling, which I tried to cover with a fake fit of coughing.

He thundered an apology. "Me carrying on like this, while a good woman was murdered in there a little over an hour ago. I'm ashamed of myself."

He contemplated the building and turned back to face us.

"Who died?" I asked.

We were in Collins, the county seat of Gilsford County. It was only 20 miles to Balsa City, my hometown. I know a lot of people here.

"Mrs. Walter Pearson, only fifty-seven years old. A nice widow-woman with two grown sons." He looked pensive. "Who expects to die during a robbery on Main Street at nine in the morning?" He sighed. "Sergeant Lyons is driving the sons home now. He'll be back shortly."

I didn't know her. "Any witnesses?"

"I think we got lucky on this one, Jo Beth. One of the perps lost his cap inside the store, and I hope we have a credible witness."

My pulse quickened. We had a chance.

"The cap was bagged and not handled by anyone?" I inquired, trying to mask my anxiety.

Some deputies and bystanders will finger a scent item, searching for a name - or worse, pass it around like a collection plate. This contaminated the scent article with other people's scent.

"Rest easy, honey. Lyons was the first officer on the scene. He found the witness and bagged the cap before the ambulance attendants arrived. The scene isn't too contaminated either. The only ones who went inside were me, Lyons, and the ambulance attendants."

Deputy Sergeant Tom Lyons and I were smiling enemies. He hates my smart mouth and feminist ways, and I despise the way he talks about women and mistreats his prisoners.

"Where's the witness?" I was anxious to get started.

"He's sitting in my squad car. Come on over and I'll introduce you."

The three of us walked over to his car. Scroggins opened the door and nodded at me. I leaned down and saw a small black boy who was huddled in the far corner of the backseat. He was wrapped in a blanket and was clutching its folds under his chin. His eyes were showing too much white and his small hands were shaking. He stared at me.

"Hi," I said awkwardly, "I'll be right back."

I straightened, closed the door gently, and glared at Scroggins.

"Where's his mother? He should be taken home!"

"I agree," he said quietly, "but so far he hasn't remembered his last name and I'm certainly not going to let a pile of people line up and try to recognize him. How do I know that one of the perps isn't out there in the crowd standing around watching? Just a look at his face would traumatize the kid, and we'd never get anything.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Bark M For Murder by J. A. Jance Virginia Lanier Chassie West Lee Charles Kelley Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

J. A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, the Ali Reynolds series, and five interrelated thrillers about the Walker family, as well as a volume of poetry. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.


Virginia Lanier lives on the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp in Echols County, Georgia.


Chassie West's first mystery, Sunrise, garnered much critical acclaim and earned her an Edgar® Award nomination for Best Original Paperback. Her later novel, Killing Kin, was nominated for an Edgar® and an Anthony Award. Her most recent novel featuring Leigh Ann Warren is Killer Chameleon, published by HarperTorch. Ms. West lives in Columbia, Maryland.


Lee Charles Kelley is a successful New York dog trainer whose critiques of the alpha theory and operant conditioning have made him a controversial figure in the dog world. The author of five previous novels featuring Jack Field—Dogged Pursuit, 'Twas the Bite Before Christmas, To Collar a Killer, Murder Unleashed, and A Nose for Murder—Mr. Kelley lives on the island of Manhattan with a Dalmatian named Fred.

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Brief Biography

Hometown:
Bellevue, Washington
Date of Birth:
October 27, 1944
Place of Birth:
Watertown, South Dakota
Education:
B. A., University of Arizona, 1966; M. Ed. in Library Science, University of Arizona, 1970
Website:
http://www.jajance.com/

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Bark M for Murder 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is rare to have a collection of stories all about canines. This book has four of them. I enjoyed all four fairly well, but I did have my favorites that I cheered for as the stories progressed. ¿Red Shirt and Black Jacket¿ follows two bloodhounds as they search for a murderer through the backwoods of Georgia. The dogs and their handlers are not afraid of the culprits but the criminals in hiding were sore afraid of them. ¿Nightmare to Nowhere¿ tells of a woman that had an accident, or so she thinks, whom a German Shepherd leads from the scene of that accident into a mystery life. The Shepherd knew where he was going but how far dare this woman trust him? ¿The French Poodle Connection¿ was perhaps my least favorite. This could be because I have never really adored Poodles. The story is interesting and canine lovers will find it interesting as the story traverses through a mystery. ¿The Case of the London Cabbie¿ is very good. J.A. Nance keeps the story moving and interesting. Two Golden Retrievers share a story of ¿who is what they say they are¿ and ¿who do we believe?¿ You will find this mystery fast moving and intriguing as you watch the characters weave their way to deception. All in all, if you like dogs and mysteries, you will not want to put this book down.
harstan More than 1 year ago
¿Red Shirt and Black Jacket¿ by Virginia Lanier- Two robbers kill a convenience store clerk and the police send Jo Beth Sidden, Jasmine Jones and their bloodhounds to scent out the killers. The dogs steal the show in this exciting mystery that has a very big chase scene. --- ¿Nightmare in Nowhere¿ by Chasse West. Duke the German Shepard wakes A.J. up by licking her she carefully gets out of the backseat of a car that looks like it is going to drop into a deep river. She has no idea where she is or why she was in the car or who was the driver. The dog takes her to Jake, a police officer vacationing in Maryland but he has no phone to call for outside help. Jake tries to help the amnesiac but someone keeps shooting at them forcing them to run from the cabin. Chassie West has written an exciting tale with realistic characters. --- ¿The French Poodle Connection¿ by Lee Charles Kelley. Former cop turned homicide detective Jack Field is at Cady Clark¿s home teaching her dog not to bite people when her ex-husband turns up with a gun because he just robbed a bank. Cady gets the gun after Jack knocks her ex unconscious and holds it on Jack forcing him to go to a deserted area while she frees her ex. This is the beginning of a crime spree that ends with four dead, five if you count Cady, who Jack doesn¿t because he believes she is alive. Lee Charles Kelley has written an entertaining mystery filled with twists and red herrings. --- The Case of the London Cabbie by J.A. Jance- Septuagenarian Maddie Watkins plans to prove that the twenty nine year old man her sister loves is a con artist after her fortune. She hires him under a false name to drive her around to look at properties that supposedly belonged to her later husband. Catching him in many lies, she follows him in her car only to be threatened by him when he catches her and her sister becomes his hostage. JA. Jance has written a fantastic mystery with a heroine who deserves her own series. --- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Short mysteries involving dogs. Good for reading when have short stretches of time available.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The mysteries are great, the writing is great and you can't go wrong when dogs are involved! Virginia Lanier, Lee Charles Kelley and Chassie West all do a wonderful job of keeping you entertained.
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Excuse me? Flowerfe?" She called out sftlt as she limped in. "Cou you help me?r
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rushetheres
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Come quick to camp 3 legged kit!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun, quick easy reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didnt like the book because the stories were too short.Maybe I was expecting too much from them.
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