Hotline to Murder

Hotline to Murder

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by Alan Cook

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Tony Schmidt joins the Central Hotline in sunny Bonita Beach, California to improve his listening skills. Shahla Lawton joins the Hotline to fulfill a volunteering requirement for her high school. Neither one expects to get mixed up in a murder investigation.

But that is before Shahla’s best friend, Joy, also a listener, is murdered. Tony and Shahla

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Tony Schmidt joins the Central Hotline in sunny Bonita Beach, California to improve his listening skills. Shahla Lawton joins the Hotline to fulfill a volunteering requirement for her high school. Neither one expects to get mixed up in a murder investigation.

But that is before Shahla’s best friend, Joy, also a listener, is murdered. Tony and Shahla discover that they are able to uncover information that the police can’t. Information about the “inappropriate” callers who haunt the Hotline, and information about other people with a connection to the Hotline who may have hidden motives to kill the beautiful Joy. Questions arise. Will the murderer strike the Hotline again? And if the murderer does strike again, will Shahla be the next target?

Although he has been out of college for years, Tony still lives with his college roommate, Josh, and his lifestyle might be described as extended fraternity. Faced with the responsibility of taking calls from people who range from disabled to obsessive to abused to suicidal, and also of helping to solve a murder, Tony finds he has to mature fast. Since this involves admitting that girls like Shahla can be smart and dedicated, and not just underage sex objects, as Josh sees them, the relationship between Tony and Josh may suffer.

Tony and Shahla have harrowing adventures together in venues ranging from Southern California to Las Vegas, as they try to distinguish the annoying-but-harmless callers from the dangerous, and figure out whether the murderer might just be somebody not connected with the Hotline.

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Product Details

Alan Cook
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405 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

After spending more than a quarter of a century as a pioneer in the computer industry, Alan Cook is well into his second career as a writer.

In Alan's first children's book, Matthew and Mason are on vacation on the Greek island of Crete when they are whisked back in time 4,000 to the Minoan civilization at Knossos Palace. Captured, they escape death by becoming bull dancers on a team with other slaves. Beautifully illustrated by Janelle Carbajal.

The fourth Carol Golden novel takes Carol into the exciting and dangerous world of tournament backgammon. She listens to a caller who calls himself Danny on the crisis hotline Carol volunteers for say he is afraid he'll be murdered. A backgammon player, herself, Carol, disobeys the hotline rules and sets out to find and help Danny. She needs all her experience with spies and detective work to survive this adventure.

In the third Carol Golden novel, Carol is abducted by a shady government group and required to help find an old boyfriend of hers she doesn't remember (because of her amnesia) who is trying to bring about the "downfall of the western world." She will travel to all seven continents before she can figure out what's going on.

Having recovered her identity (lost in FORGET TO REMEMBER) if not her memory, Carol Golden seeks out some of her cousins in the second Carol Golden novel, only to find out they appear to be targeted for murder. While trying to figure out what's going on, Carol encounters the Grandparent Scam and a Ponzi Scheme, and finds out that she may be one of the targets of the murderer.

Carol Golden isn't her real name. She doesn't remember her real name or anything that happened before she was found, naked and unconscious, in a Dumpster on the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula in Southern California. After some initial medical assistance, government at all levels declares her a non-person. She can't work because she doesn't have a Social Security number, which she can't get because she doesn't have a birth certificate. She can't even legally drive a car or fly on an airplane. This is the first Carol Golden novel.

Alan's Lillian Morgan mysteries, CATCH A FALLING KNIFE and THIRTEEN DIAMONDS, explore the secrets of retirement communities. They feature Lillian, a retired mathematics professor from North Carolina, who is smart, opinionated, and skeptical of authority. She loves to solve puzzles, even when they involve murder.

Silver Quill Award from American Authors Association and named Best Pacific West Book by Reader Views. Drake and Melody are teamed up to run a race along the California Coast for a prize of a million dollars—in 1969 when a million is worth something. Neither knows the other is in the race before it starts. They once did undercover work together in England, but this information is supposed to be top secret. The nine other pairs of runners entered in the race are world-class
marathoners, including a winner of the Boston Marathon. If this competition isn’t enough, somebody tries to knock Drake out of the race before it begins. But Drake and Melody also receive threats calculated to keep them from dropping out. What’s going on? The stakes increase when startling events produce fatalities and impact the race, leading them to ask whether the Cold War with the USSR is about to heat up.

Silver Quill Award from American Authors Association and named Best Mountain West Book by Reader Views. Suspense takes a thrill ride. It is 1964, 10 years after Gary Blanchard’s high school adventures in The Hayloft. He and his love, Penny, are going on the trip of their lives, and, oh yes, they’re getting married along the way. What they don’t know is that they’re being stalked by Alfred, a high school classmate of Penny who has a bellybutton fetish. The suspense crackles amid some of the most scenic spots in the western United States, including Lake Tahoe, Reno, Crater Lake, Seattle, and in Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks, as well as the redwood trees and rocky cliffs of the northern California coast.

THE HAYLOFT: a 1950s mystery, takes us back
to bobby sox, slow dancing, bomb shelters—and murder. Within two weeks after starting his senior year of high school in the 1950s, Gary Blanchard finds himself kicked out of one school and attending another—the school where his cousin, Ralph, mysteriously died six months before. Ralph’s death was labeled an accident, but when Gary talks to people about it, he gets suspicious. Did Ralph fall from the auditorium balcony, or was he pushed? Had he found a diamond necklace, talked about by cousins newly arrived from England, that was supposedly stolen from Dutch royalty by a common ancestor and lost for generations? What about the principal with an abnormal liking for boys? And are Ralph’s ex-girlfriends telling everything they know?

HOTLINE TO MURDER, his California mystery, takes place at a listening hotline in beautiful Bonita Beach, California. Tony Schmidt and Shahla Lawton don't know what they're getting into when they sign up as volunteer listeners. But when Shahla's best friend is murdered, it's too late for them to back out. They suspect that one of the hotline's inappropriate callers may be the murderer, and they know more about them than the police do.

ACES AND KNAVES is a California mystery for gamblers and baseball card collectors. Karl Patterson deals in baseball cards and may be a compulsive gambler, so he's surprised when his father, Richard, CEO of a software company, engages him to check up on the activities of his second in command. It doesn't hurt that Richard assigns his executive assistant, Arrow, an exotic and ambitious young woman, to help Karl, but none of them expects to get involved in murder.

Alan splits his time between writing and walking, another passion. His inspirational book,
WALKING THE WORLD: MEMORIES AND ADVENTURES, has information and adventure in equal parts. It has been named one of the Top 10 Walking Memoirs and Tales of Long Walks by the walking website, Walking.About.Com.

Alan lives with his wife, Bonny, on a hill in Southern California.

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3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a departure from his senior citizen Lillian Morgan mysteries Alan Cook introduces Tony Schmidt, an aging frat boy living in Bonita Beach, California. Volunteering at a suicide hotline to develop his communication skills and aid his job as a marketing manager for, Tony discovers that dealing with the emotional backlash of suicidal callers is the least of his problems. Tony is uncomfortably attracted to the seventeen year-old volunteer Shahla, and when her friend and hotline listener is murdered Shahla pulls him into an investigation despite his inclination to leave things to the police. As the two track down their weirder callers and fellow volunteers all the way to Vegas Tony must also cope with his irritatingly immature roommate and confront his growing suspicion as to his college friend¿s involvement with the murder. Cook has created a very engaging hero in Tony, who realizes that he has to grow up fast as he encounters the pain of the callers and learns just how much that he himself has to lose. Shahla is at times wiser than her years while still flashing glimpses of being a teenage girl, and her impulsiveness nicely contrasts with Tony¿s reserve. This is a very entertaining mystery that builds up speed and takes the reader along to its surprising conclusion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not long after Tony Schmidt joins the Central Hotline in Bonita Beach, California, Joy is found murdered. Both are listeners¿people who man the Hotline and talk to the callers. Tony pairs up with Shahla Lawton, another listener and Joy¿s best friend. They begin working many shifts together. Since Tony and Shahla work at the Hotline, they find they can often get information the police are unable to obtain. But instead of turning everything over to the police, they begin to follow up on much of the information themselves. Partly because the police don¿t seem too receptive to the information and partly because of privacy rules. They begin looking into some of the inappropriate callers and others with a connection to the Hotline to determine who might have had a motive to kill Joy. There are many strange people and they have to sift through information to determine if the person is just having trouble or if they might have a motive to have killed Joy. Tony and Shahla put themselves in many very sticky situations and find themselves in peril more than once as they work to uncover the identity of the killer. This is a great story. It moves along quickly and keeps you guessing as to who committed this murder and why. There are plenty of red herrings and things happen regularly that made me change my mind continuously about who I thought did it. I really enjoyed getting to know Tony and Shahla. Even though Shahla is only a teenager, she is such an integral part of this story. Their relationship is terrific. I hope there will be more books with these two main characters. This story is well crafted and the California setting terrific. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My vision requirers white print on black background. This book shows black print on black.