Zen student and stunt double Darcy Lott wonders whether she can trust her own brother in this intriguing mystery.
Darcy Lott is thrilled to be reunited with her brother Mike, who disappeared twenty years earlier. But her joy at bringing him home to San Francisco turns to fear when she learns that he has become the victim of escalating attacks – and he has no idea who is targeting him. Darcy determines to find out who is after him and why – before the attacks turn deadly.
However, when Darcy searches Mike’s apartment, a disturbing discovery makes her question whether she really knows her brother any more . . . or trusts him.
About the Author
Susan Dunlap has taught yoga, worked as a paralegal, and been part of the private investigative defence team in a capital murder case. She is a founding board member and former president of Sisters in Crime. As well as the Darcy Lott mysteries, she is the author of the Jill Smith, Veejay Haskell and Kiernan O’Shaughnessy series. She lives near San Francisco.
Read an Excerpt
A woman in uniform strode out. Cops don't walk, they only stride. I could have asked her for an update, but it's a harder go with a woman. A guy will give a girl leeway, more if she's young and pretty. Try those moves with a woman and she'll snort in your face. Especially a woman in a macho job. Trust me. I've snorted at wannabe stunt doubles.
So I waited, listening to watchers speculate, flip those maybes and stroll down the other side, me staring up at the window for a glimpse of the victim, hoping against hope for sight of blond hair, brown, black, gray, anything but red. The idea that had started as a long shot was solidifying in my mind. Don't assume! But I'd assumed it into granite.
Were the cops going to let me in? Answer my questions? Not likely. But there was an outside staircase to Wally's apartment. He probably used it to take out the garbage. I could creep up, stand on the edge of the landing, peer in. If the back door had been left open, I could slip in.
Thursday the phone rang. My agent said, "So, the video you were going to send?"
"No hello? How are you?"
"I know how you are. Late."
"Yeah," I admitted. "I'm sorry. Really. It would have been"
"I got you an extension."
I just stared at the phone. "Every stunt woman on the west coast will have sent a video. They must be overwhelmed. How could you get them to make an exception in order to get another one?"
"I'm good." He gave the most minute of chuckles. "I keep telling youI'm that good."
"I guess! What'd you tell them ?"
"I said, 'There's Darcy Lott and then there's everyone else. But don't take my word. Whittle your applicants down to five and then we'll send you Darcy's."
I swallowed. "You're not merely good, you are the best."
"I know. But still, get it to me Monday."
I pulled out my phone, did a search and found Book of Serenity, One Hundred Zen Dialogues . Case 5: A monk ask Qingyuan, "What is the meaning of Buddhism?" Qingyuan said, "What is the price of rice in Luling?"
Traditionally a student is given a koan to hold loosely in her mind. Ponder is too direct a term because the strength of the koan is it forces the student to break through the wall of thought to understanding. We Zen types like to ponder, to discuss, ruminate. Letting go of thought is like letting go of skin. We fight, fight and only when we're overwhelmed do we let go.
What is the meaning of Buddhism? we all want to know.
I could imagine asking Garson-roshi in dokusan.
Leo in his black robes sitting on his cushion in the formal interview room, facing me on my own cushion and saying, "What is the meaning of life? What is the Truth? We want to know that, too, right?"
Me, sheepishly nodding.
Him saying: "And what will the Dow be at the closing tomorrow?"
Me: "If we knew that we'd be rich."
Him smiling. "Traders devote their lives to predicting –"
Me: "But they can't know."
Leo snapping his fingers.
Now! Just this!
Don't delude yourself.