NUN BUT THE BRAVE

NUN BUT THE BRAVE

by Alice Loweecey

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635110494
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication date: 05/24/2016
Pages: 302
Sales rank: 694,454
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Giulia Driscoll led a sobbing grandmother to Driscoll Investigations' entrance door.

"My whole family will say a novena to Saint Anthony in gratitude for how quickly you found my granddaughter."

Giulia handed her another tissue. "Thank you."

"My son says he's not Catholic anymore, but I'll threaten him with no more of my canned ginger pears. He'll do anything for those."

She honked into the tissue and kissed Giulia's cheeks. Giulia waited for the sound of the downstairs door squeaking shut before she closed the frosted glass door.

"I don't know what she doused herself with, but my room needs a whole can of Febreze."

Giulia's all-natural, earth mother assistant Sidney wrinkled her nose. "White Shoulders. When I was a kid, I swore my great-aunt took baths in it."

"My grandfather used Old Spice. A lot of it." Zane, Giulia's tow-haired bodybuilder admin, got his "genius at work" expression. "I should create a statistical analysis correlating the age of older adults with fragrance saturation levels."

Giulia returned to her own office and brought out a red flash drive. "But you really want to use your MIT brain on this research."

The door opened and a tall woman in jeans and a stained brown t-shirt stumbled over the threshold.

"I miss my kids," she slurred. "I can't live without my kids." She staggered forward and fell onto Giulia. "You have to get me back to my kids."

The last word dribbled out of her mouth as her entire weight slumped onto Giulia's shoulders.

Giulia clasped her hands around the unconscious woman's back. "Zane, help?"

He scrambled out from behind his desk and eased the woman onto the floor. "Dead weight is not a cliché."

Sidney squatted next to the woman's head. "She overdid something herbal and smoky." She waved her hand in front of her nose.

Giulia opened the woman's eyes. "Her eyes are dilated. How's her pulse?"

Zane placed three fingers on the scrawny throat at the carotid artery. "Too fast."

Giulia picked up the phone on Zane's desk and called 911. "We have an unconscious adult at Driscoll Investigations." She gave the address and the few details she possessed and hung up. "They'll be here in five minutes."

She knelt next to Sidney and felt the unconscious woman's forehead with the back of her hand.

"Do you know her?" Sidney said.

"She's my sister-in-law."

CHAPTER 2

"Her name is Anne Falcone," Giulia said to the EMTs six minutes later.

"Any idea what she's on?" The ponytailed EMT strapped a blood pressure cuff around Anne's flaccid arm.

"Not a clue. She opened the door, fell on top of me, and passed out."

The bald EMT said, "Bloodshot eyes; pupils big as dinner plates."

"BP one fifty over ninety-nine." She loosened the cuff and put it away.

Giulia stayed out of their way. "Will she be all right?"

"It's possible." The EMT's ponytail swung back and forth as she clipped an oxygen meter on Anne Falcone's left index finger. "Depends on how long she's been taking whatever she's taking, her overall health, her mental state, whether what she's on has been cut with something she's allergic to. Lots of factors."

Anne gasped, sat up like her spine was on springs, and vomited all over her baggy jeans.

A voice said from the doorway, "Excuse me. I have a ten-thirty appointment."

Everyone not vomiting looked up.

The youngish woman's tri-color hair managed not to clash with her fluorescent orange peasant blouse, her brown pencil skirt or her strappy gladiator sandals.

A beat, and Sidney ran into the bathroom for paper towels. The patient collapsed onto the floor again. Ponytail EMT swept her index finger through Anne's slack mouth to clear the remaining vomit. Giulia stepped over the tableau on the floor, hand out.

"Good morning, Ms. Philbey. I'm Giulia Driscoll. As you can see, we had an unexpected visitor. If you wouldn't mind waiting in my office for a few minutes?" She escorted the new client into her private space and closed the door.

The bald EMT extended the collapsible frame on the gurney. "At least her throat's open. That means it's not an allergic reaction. Probably a simple OD. She'll need detox and maybe rehab. You said she came here for help, so she's got a good start."

The stench of whatever used to be in Anne's stomach sent Giulia into the bathroom again for the Febreze. "I know you only trick the nose into thinking the smell is gone," she apostrophized the spray can, "but please trick us." She knew her humor wasn't appropriate for the situation, but she needed something to distract herself from the sight of her sister-in-law in what looked like the penultimate stage of meth addiction.

Ponytail EMT strapped Anne's ankles, hips, and shoulders to the gurney. Sidney finished cleaning the splatters on the floor. Zane disappeared into the bathroom. New retching sounds followed.

The bald EMT said to Giulia, "We're heading to Vandermark's ER. Are you riding along?"

"No." There was no way she could explain her bizarre family situation in less than twenty minutes. Besides, she had a client waiting. "I'll call my brother. He'll meet you there." She hoped.

"Sounds good."

They maneuvered the gurney down the narrow stairs with only a few clanks and bangs. Giulia opened her office door and said to the client, "One more minute, please," before closing it again.

She took out her cell, but returned it to her pocket without unlocking it. At Sidney's quizzical expression, Giulia said, "I don't want my brother to have my new cell number," and picked up Zane's desk phone.

Her brother's phone number came back to her after a moment of mental archaeology. If he hadn't changed it, this should be an interesting conversation.

He answered on the fourth ring.

"Salvatore, it's Giulia. Don't hang up. Anne came into my office a few minutes ago. She's very ill. We called for an ambulance and she's on her way to Vandermark Memorial."

A click and a dial tone.

Giulia glared at the receiver, justified in her choice of an office phone to make the call. Most certainly she didn't need a rerun of her first year out of the convent, when her brother called her every Sunday after Tridentine Mass. Something about Latin inspired him to damn her to Hell in the best Jonathan Edwards tradition. Even this minimal contact roused several Italian and Irish curses in her head, but she refused to let any of them touch her tongue. A few deep breaths later she replaced the phone in its cradle.

Sidney said, "It's not nice of me, but when she draped herself over you, you both looked exactly like Elsa and Anna in the climactic scene from Frozen." She poked her phone. "I'll show you."

"Don't play that song," Giulia and Zane said together.

The tinkling opening bars of "Let it Go" played from the phone's speaker before Sidney hit Stop.

"That earworm will be stuck in my head all day," Giulia said.

"At least it made you smile."

"When did you become so devious?"

Without waiting for an answer, Giulia walked into her office. The client put her smart phone into her small cross-body bag and slapped a printout on Giulia's desk.

"Are you as good as your reviews?"

Giulia must have missed the memo about today being "startle the PI day." She picked up the paper, used to clients who tried to throw her off-stride as a test of sorts.

This test started with a screencap of Driscoll Investigations' reviews on Yelp. All anonymous, but she knew exactly who'd written each of the fourteen excerpts squeezed onto the paper:

"Saved my life."

"Restored my family."

"Repaired my reputation."

"Found my daughter."

Five more of the latter, substituting "biological mother/father/twin/sister/brother."

"Compassionate yet tenacious."

"A bulldog in human form."

Giulia remembered the "bulldog" case well. DI had more than earned its fee that month.

If prison officials would ever let an inmate post to Yelp, she wondered what The Silk Tie Killer's review would do to her overall rating.

She raised her eyes. "We strive to bring all our cases to a satisfactory conclusion."

Ms. Philbey's light brown eyebrows expressed an unflattering opinion of Giulia's answer. "Come on. That was bland. These reviews were written about someone daring with guts."

Giulia set the paper on her desk. "How can Driscoll Investigations help you, Ms. Philbey?"

A minuscule one-shoulder shrug. "I'm here and you have the best reviews of the local detective agencies, so what the hell." She unzipped her narrow purse and set a four-by-six photo on top of the printout. "This is my twin sister, Joanne. Before you ask, yes, we're identical."

The photo showed two women lit from beneath by the candles on an elaborate birthday cake. On the left, the client's brown hair was streaked with only blonde highlights and her skintight tie-dyed shirt was austere compared to today's outfit. Green glitter eye shadow and peacock feather earrings overpowered her hazel eyes and thin lips.

Her twin's baggy gray sweater didn't hide the difference in their figures. She carried at least fifty pounds more than her sister. Where the twin at Giulia's desk combated the bland on multiple levels, her sister either didn't care or had given in to it. Her light brown hair fell straight to her shoulders, free of embellishment. She wore little makeup and no jewelry. Her shoulders slumped, but her smile was genuine.

"Joanne made that cake for our twenty-fifth birthday, two years ago."

"Where can I sign up to take lessons from her?" Giulia said.

The bottom layer of the cake was decorated to look like the redwood base of an above-ground pool. The top layer framed pool-blue frosting with two marzipan figures on it. On the "water," a girl in a bikini lounged on a float made of gummy worms. On the "redwood" deck, another figure in shorts and a shirt played with a cat.

"I'm not joking," Giulia said. "Your sister is talented."

"She's also been missing for three months."

CHAPTER 3

Giulia flipped to a fresh page on her current legal pad.

Diane Philbey sat up. "Now I'm happier. Do you always pull a quick-change act when you get down to business?"

Giulia said, "Where does your sister live?"

Diane's thin lips quirked. "Thank you for assuming she's still alive."

"Since you're here, I presume, if you'll forgive blunt speaking, the police haven't found her body."

"Don't." She trampled Giulia's final word. "Everyone's telling me to 'accept reality.' Her friends, the people at the nursing home where she works, even the police. Guess my sister isn't important enough for them to spend more than three weeks on. She's an adult, they said. Sometimes adults choose to start a new life, they said. Then they asked me if we'd had any differences recently." Diane faced northwest and flipped off the world. "Everybody's Jo's friend. She's not like me. I'll shoot my mouth off when I think it's called for. Drives my boss nuts."

Giulia wrote faster than she thought possible rather than put the brakes to this revealing gush of information.

"Jo never drives anyone nuts," Diane continued. "Even her ex-boyfriends hang out with her after they split up. She dated this one singer. Man, he was six feet of walking ego. Even though she dumped him, he sent her flowers for her last birthday." She swallowed. "Not her last-last, because she's not dead. I meant her — our — most recent birthday."

She sprang out of Giulia's client chair and leaned out the window. "A Tarot Reading shop and a pizza place. Get your future told first in case you're supposed to die right after you eat that pizza. Best last meal choice ever, right?" She turned around and sat on the windowsill. "I'm not scattered like this when things are normal. I've been bottling up my escalating freak-out about Jo, and I have to keep moving or I'll break something. Jo got into Tarot once. She dragged me to this Halloween setup with a guy in a wizard cape. He told me I'd been separated at birth from a long-lost male twin. I suggested he keep his day job."

"Does your sister often find new hobbies and hope you'll join her in them?"

"Nah, not so much. She's into cooking and hunting and cats and guys with mondo shlongs. Who isn't? Into mondo shlongs, I mean. The Tarot thing happened when her boyfriend from Le Cordon Bleu school dumped her on their graduation night. She got over it when she got over him." Diane walked over to the framed watercolor on the wall facing Giulia's chair. "Not bad. At least it looks like what it's supposed to be, a garden with lots of flowers. I dumped a mondo shlong because he only liked radical modern art." She massaged her temples. "I'm getting distracted again." She turned on Giulia. "You're like the missing person whisperer. You've got to find Jo. All those reviews have to mean something. I wouldn't have come here if I wasn't impressed by them." She wiped her eyes with her ring fingers. "I swore I'd keep my act together. Did I smear my mascara?"

She pulled a tissue from the box Giulia held out to her. "I haven't said any of this out loud to anybody except our older brother since April." She opened the tissue and made an approving face at its lack of black mascara streaks. "What was I saying?"

"You were telling me how well people liked your sister."

"Oh. Right. So you see what I mean when I told the detective in Penn Hills to get her head out of her butt. Jo didn't have a fight with an ex. She isn't involved in dangerous activities. She bakes fancy cakes as a side job. I mean, seriously, what's dangerous about that except packing on the pounds?" Diane leaned both arms on Giulia's desk. "And she didn't up and decide to walk away from everything and everyone, no matter where her cats went."

"Cats?" Giulia kept her voice at the same encouraging yet neutral level.

"Yeah, her super-friendly rescue cats, and I mean super-friendly. Weirdo beasts think they're lap dogs. I like cats who don't give a crap if you're in the house or not. Hers are huge, like fifteen or twenty pounds. When they flop on your lap, you know it. The orange one is missing an ear and the gray one's got seven toes on its front paws."

"The cats are missing too?"

"Yeah. Good thing, I suppose, since when I got her landlord to open her apartment, I was sure we'd get a noseful of rotting cat carcasses." A deep breath. "My brother doesn't approve of gallows humor, but I've got to cope somehow."

Giulia's imagination gifted her with a detailed multi-sensory image of a closed apartment perfumed by deceased cat.

"Her place was in perfect order, like always. She's the OCD twin. I'm the wild twin. The police said the neatness of her apartment was a classic sign of someone trying to drop off the grid on purpose." She slammed the balled-up tissue into the wastebasket. "They are wrong, wrong, wrong, and I want you to prove it."

Giulia set down her pen. "This kind of investigation can take time. Here are our rates." She took a half-sheet of paper from her center drawer and slid it across the desk.

Diane studied it. "I expected worse. I've got some savings, but do you take plastic? My credit card gives me cash back."

"Certainly." Giulia buzzed Zane. "Please bring in a standard down-payment invoice for Ms. Philbey."

After the payment finished processing, Giulia flipped to a fresh page on her legal pad and asked Diane several specific questions about police involvement so far, sifting through Diane's rancor for essential information. "Today is Monday. I'll spend the next two days gathering information and traveling. I should be back here Thursday. Expect a preliminary report Friday morning."

Diane typed it into her phone. "Finally something concrete. I've been a pig on ice for weeks."

"If we have an unanticipated breakthrough, of course we'll call."

Diane dropped her phone into her purse. "If you succeed in four days where the police failed in three months, you'll have earned another gushing review. But only if you bring my sister to the PT clinic where I work so I can kick her butt."

Giulia tried a tentative smile. "Why there?"

"So I can begin the physical therapy she'll need after I pound some sense into her."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Nun But The Brave"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Alice Loweecey.
Excerpted by permission of Henery Press.
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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Nun But The Brave 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Christine_O_Cheallaigh More than 1 year ago
I got this book as an Advanced Reader Copy clear back in 2016, but I just got around to starting it a couple days ago, and just finished it earlier today (sorry, Alice!). This is the third book in the Giulia Driscoll Mystery series, but I’d never even heard of the series before winning this copy from a contest last year, so this is the only one I’ve read. Now I want to read the rest of the series! The characters were engaging, and I was pulled in from the first page. I have a couple friends who are Preppers (although not to the extent of these guys---they’re not convinced the world is going to end any day now, they just want to be ready in case something major does happen---they’re not crazy, just thinking ahead) so I’ve heard some of this before, especially the whole living off the grid idea from one of them. He would be perfectly happy living without technology, as long as he had an endless supply of books to read and a lantern to read them by once it got dark. Of course, he’s not a Luddite by any means, neither of my friends are, they both recognize the value of technology in our society, they just try not to be any more dependent on it than they have to be. They’re more like Giulia in that respect---she does her own canning, grows a lot of her own vegetables, and has other skills that a Prepper would find valuable, but she is perfectly content living in a technology-filled world with working indoor plumbing, electricity, and Starbucks. Being a former nun, however, Giulia could also just as easily live off the grid if she absolutely had to…she just wouldn’t want to. Giulia learns way more about Preppers than she ever wanted to when a client asks her to search for her missing twin, convinced she’s still alive even though everyone else she talks to (other than their brother) is equally convinced that either the missing woman is dead or missing voluntarily, having decided to start a new life elsewhere…which is where the Preppers come in, as she did join them (briefly) before realizing that particular group had some major flaws that she wanted no part of. Until the last couple chapters, I was convinced the person responsible for her disappearance was one person (in my defense, he really did seem like the most likely suspect) only to realize it was someone else entirely. That doesn’t mean there weren’t some shenanigans going on at the Prepper community, but they didn’t involve the young woman’s disappearance. All in all it was a very clever story, and I learned things I didn’t know before about the Prepper lifestyle (and yes, would have been just as happy to not learn, but am not sorry I did), as well as a few things about Catholicism (like what Saint Anthony is the patron saint of…he’s actually the patron saint of Native Americans, something I had never heard of before, and he is also known as the “finder of lost articles,” something else I’d never heard of before…so two more things to add to my vast store of mostly useless trivia). The fourth book in the series is supposed to come out sometime this month, which means I’m going to have to start watching for it to hit our local library’s new shelf sometime around Thanksgiving, and looking for the first two books, so I can get caught up on Giulia and her world!
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Nun But the Brave - Giulia Driscol Mystery Book 3 Author: Alice Loweecey Published: 7-12-2016 Publisher: Henery Press Pages: 292 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Women Sleuths, Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuths; Police Procedural ISBN: 13: 9781635110494 ASIN: B01E5YNFLC Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4.5 Stars I received a copy of "Nun But the Brave" from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Description From the Publisher: Giulia Driscoll’s sister-in-law barges into Driscoll Investigations and promptly passes out from OD’ing on an unknown drug. Two OD’d teenagers are found dead behind the police station. DI’s new client insists her missing twin sister is not dead and enlists Giulia as the “Missing Person Whisperer.” Hooray for steady work? The missing sister’s trail leads to married, pregnant, ex-nun Giulia’s first experience with online dating sites, to the delight of her husband and employees. Those dates lead her to local Doomsday Preppers. They grow their own everything, and that everything may be connected to the drugs, her sister-in-law, and the missing twin. These Preppers are about to learn the true meaning of doom. Books in the Giulia Driscoll Humorous Mystery Series: · CHANGING HABITS (prequel short story) · NUN TOO SOON (#1) · SECOND TO NUN (#2) · NUN BUT THE BRAVE (#3) · THE CLOCK STRIKES NUN (#4) May 2017 My Review of "Nun But the Brave": If you have never read any of Alice Loweecey's books ou are in for a treat. Former nun and now married private investigator Giulia Driscol is a character that makes one hunger to read more about. Originally introduced in the Falcone & Driscol Investigation series where she meets and marries her husband, Frank. We are now seeing her sister-in law. The returning characters are all well done and we meet a few new ones. Unique plots from Loweecey are common. She does a wonderful job of bringing the characters and scenes to life for the reader. Pulling them in and making them a part of story that flows quickly with plenty of twists and turns. Giulia goes where angels fear to tread to find the answers and help her clients and family. My rating of "Nun But the Brave is 4.5 out of 5 stars.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
Another great Giulia Driscoll Adventure! This is the third book in the Giulia Driscoll series and I have read them all in order. It is not necessary to read them all, but what I have noticed is that Giulia's character, along with Sydney and Zane have definitely developed with each subsequent book and the cases they have dealt with are more detailed and interesting. I love the quirkiness of the DI staff along with her husband Frank and the police she works with. If you have not read any of the books in this series, it will become apparent quickly that Giulia is an ex-nun. In this book she is hired by a woman to find her missing twin. The police think she disappeared by choice but her family and some of her co-workers and friends do not believe that is the case. As Giulia delves into the case, she ends up going undercover on a doomsday dating service. She meets some interesting people and it becomes a little dangerous for both her and the child she is carrying. We also meet her niece in this story. It was mentioned in a previous book that her brother will not speak to her or let anyone in his family see of speak to her since she left the convent. Her niece wants her to find out what has happened to her mother. She ODs at the beginning of the book which is totally out of character for her. Frank is also investigating the overdose deaths of three teenagers. As the story progresses, Giulia begins to think that all these things are tied together. This is a very good, funny at times, cozy-mystery series. Nun But The Brave is a very good cozy with a great plot that has several things going on, but it is well-written and not the least bit confusing. The pacing of the book was excellent, and the various characters were realistic. Giulia makes several references to being a nun being similar to cult-like living, at least in the subservient, non-questioning side. I recommend this book for lovers of mystery and PI procedure. It has a very engaging and intriguing storyline that I think will appeal to many different people. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
TessT More than 1 year ago
Ex-Nun Giulia Driscoll has just met with a grandmother who needs Giulia to find her lost granddaughter. Not long after a woman stumbles into the office, apparently high on something, she starts mumbling about her children. Everyone there realizes she needs help, but the problem is she's Guilia's sister-in-law. Who better to write a mystery series about an ex-nun turned detective than an ex-nun? Alice Loweecey's characters are colorful, exciting, humor and have just the right amount of love. FTC Full Disclosure - A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
weluvdopey More than 1 year ago
This is a great book; this is the third book in the A Giulia Driscoll Mystery series written by Alice Loweecey. This book can be read as a standalone, but once you read this one you will want to go back and read the other books in this series. This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night. If you are looking for a great book, then you need to read this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
[I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley. I thank them for their generousity. In exchange, I was simply asked to write an honest review, and post it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising] "George Orwell was right: All Preppers are equal, but some Preppers are more equal than others." Giulia and her husband Frank are up to their necks in trouble yet again. Driscoll Investigations is doing well. Frank is still on the force. Zane and Sidney are still holding down the fort when Giulia goes undercover. And then, Giulia literally runs into her sister-in-law, and the whole thing goes TILT. With Anne being hospitalized, Giulia calls her brother who is getting closer to a rubber room himself, and after the information is relayed, he proves he'll never be "normal". She fears for her neice and nephew as she tunes him back out of her life. As this is going down, a client comes in with a missing person case. Little could she know the two cases dovetail as Giulia goes undercover as a mousey woman and learns more than she wants about people getting ready for the end of the world as she gets to infiltrate a "Doomsday Prepper" compound and their charismatic leader. Will she find the lost sister? Will she find what caused her sister-in-law's collapse? And, can a Doomsday Prepper live on home grown coffee and goat's milk? I started this book about six hours ago, and literally haven't stopped reading. I love this author's quirky sense of the absurd coupled with her tight descriptions of the action drving the story forward. Henery Press landed a winner with Alice Loweecey. Here's hoping her inventiveness keeps the "Nunmobile" running a long time