Aspiring journalist Copper Black has just found out that her boyfriend is responsible for his not-quite-ex-wife’s pregnancy. An unexpected house-sitting job at a notorious Las Vegas “party house” should provide not only a private swimming pool but also much-needed distraction.
While researching a story about an exclusive private school, Copper accidentally discovers the dead body of the school’s beloved founder. Now involved in a high-profile murder investigation, Copper turns to her brother, a civic-minded pastor who is overseeing the construction of a center for the homeless. An Indian medicine man claims the site is a sacred burial ground, attracting hordes of protesters.
As she tries to solve the murder, help her brother, advance her career, and sort out her love life, Copper stirs up a world of trouble. Her escapades as she evades a sociopath and a suspicious homicide detective make Megan Edwards’ rousing debut Getting Off on Frank Sinatra a nonstop roller coaster of a read.
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My life in Las Vegas improved dramatically when I started getting off on Frank Sinatra. That’s what I tell people. Then, while they’re still trying to figure out how to react, I continue.
“I’d like to get off on Dean Martin, too, but I just can’t. And in case you’re interested, Mel Tormé is too short, Hugh Hefner’s a dead end, and I can never remember whether Jerry Lewis goes both ways.”
The truth is, I can never even remember where Jerry Lewis is exactly, but I know there’s a street named after him somewhere on the west side. Hugh Hefner is really just a driveway next to the Palms casino, and Mel Tormé can claim only one block near the Fashion Show Mall. Frank Sinatra, on the other hand, really takes a girl places. When I-15 is jammed, I leave the red lights to the tourists and slip off to join the taxis and locals zipping unimpeded up the back side of the Strip. Dean Martin serves almost the same purpose on the other side of the freeway, but he didn’t rate an exit. So Ol’ Blue Eyes is my man. When life in the fast lane slows to a crawl, I know I can count on Frank for relief.
In fact, getting off on Frank Sinatra saved my life the time a crazed maniac in a jacked-up Ram pickup tried to push me off the freeway. If Frank hadn’t been right there offering a quick getaway, bits of my DNA might still be clinging to the embankment just north of Russell Road.
Now that I think of it, Frank Sinatra also helped me out the day I found my first dead body. It was the hottest day of the millennium, and I had not only discovered the bloody corpse of a local philanthropist, but I’d spent more than three highly stressful hours with a homicide detective who was trying to decide whether I was capable of mutilating a woman’s face and strangling her with a drapery cord. A traffic jam on the way home might well have turned me into a genuine psycho killer, but there was good ol’ Frank waiting to fly me to the moon. Or at least get me up to Flamingo without committing a felony.
I should never have found that body, let alone recognize that it belonged to Marilyn Weaver. Yes, that Marilyn Weaver, the founder of the most prestigious school in Las Vegas and the city’s best-loved altruist. I had met her only the day before, and I had met her son just that afternoon. How I ended up snooping in her bedroom, looking inside her closet, and entangling myself in a high-profile murder investigation is a perfect example of that plentiful Las Vegas commodity: bad luck. I’m going to call it bad luck, at least. Because if I don’t call it bad luck, I’ll be stuck agreeing with what I know my family and friends think: It was David’s fault.
Before my rendezvous with murder, David Nussbaum and I were as perfect a pair as Barbie and Ken. Like them, we were designed to complement each other. I’m blonde, and he’s dark. He’s Jewish, and I’m a WASP. We do have some things in common, of course. We both come from commuter towns north of Manhattan, and we both went to Princeton. I still think it’s ironic that we met in Las Vegas instead of on the East Coast, and until everything flipped upside down, it was my favorite coincidence. The day I hooked up with David was the day I smelled the roses, saw the birds, and heard the music. The morning he turned twenty-eight, I still lived in paradise.
By midnight, I’d moved to hell.