Shadow of Doubt

Shadow of Doubt

by Nancy Cole Silverman

Paperback(A Carol Childs Mystery)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781940976532
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication date: 12/02/2014
Edition description: A Carol Childs Mystery
Pages: 252
Sales rank: 846,113
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.53(d)

About the Author

Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in news and talk radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. But it wasn't until 2001 after she retired from news and copywriting that she was able to sit down and write fiction fulltime. Much of what Silverman writes about today she admits is pulled from events that were reported on from inside some of Los Angeles' busiest newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. In the last ten years she has written numerous short stories and novelettes. Today Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bruce and two standard poodles.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

My name is Carol Childs. I'm a reporter — or more correctly — I'm a middle-aged mom in transition from my role as a sales exec with KCHC, a talk radio station in Los Angeles, to that of a news reporter. Most of what I do is a balancing act. My daughter Cate is in college, and my fourteen-year-old son Charlie is more preoccupied with sports than he is in need of mothering these days. Thankfully, I have a new relationship in my life, a hot FBI agent named Eric Langdon. He seems to think I've got it all together.

KCHC recently had an opening in their news department and I convinced management to give me a chance. The only problem was KCHC's news director Tyler Hunt, a one hundred and twenty-five pound boy-wonder who considered anybody over thirty-five ancient. He didn't want me for the job but offered it to me on a probationary basis. To him, I was the world's oldest cub reporter in need of a good story. And now, right in front of me was exactly what I needed, a damn good story.

I'd been asleep or at least in that twilight state, floating blissfully when I heard a banging on my front door. Tucked safely in Eric's arms, I was tempted to ignore it, but the knocking was persistent. I lifted my head, careful not to disturb Eric, and peeked with one eye at the clock. It was barely six forty-five.

"Did you hear that?" he mumbled. The soft early morning stubble of his beard tickled my ear.

"No," I said, snuggling back against his chest. "I'm sure it's nothing."

"Nothing's sounding very determined." He sat up and I was suddenly disengaged from the crook of his arm. Without a word I slid out of bed, grabbed my robe and stumbled down the stairs toward the front door. The incessant knocking was getting louder.

"Carol! Carol! Are you home? Please, it's an emergency."

I opened the door to find my neighbor, Samantha Millhouse, barefoot and disheveled in a pair of sweat pants and a stained t-shirt, clutching her cell phone. Her short dark hair, usually so neatly styled, showed evidence of hot rollers on one side while the other was like an untamed bush growing out of the side of her head.

"My aunt died," she said flatly. She sounded more annoyed than disturbed. I tightened the sash around my robe and opened the door wider.

"Pepper?" My voice must have raised an octave. "I just saw her on TV last night at the Silver Screen Awards."

"She's dead!" she said as she stepped inside the door. "Her housekeeper found her, looks like she drowned. I need to use your phone. My cell died while we were talking and I'm going to need to call my assistant, Andrew."

I nodded in the direction of the kitchen. Sam pushed by me. "Arminta said she found her body in the tub. When she came into the house this morning she heard music coming from my aunt's bedroom upstairs. She went to check on her and there she was, drowned."

"Are you okay?"

Sam exhaled and reached for the phone. I watched as she took the receiver off the hook then swung around and looked at me. "You know there was never any love lost between us."

I knew Sam's relationship with her aunt was rocky. It was apparent to me the two didn't get along the day I moved into the complex with my son Charlie. Sam's Aunt Pepper had stopped by with one of her clients, a young starlet named Amber Marx, who happens to be my son's big celebrity crush. For about two seconds I think he thought Amber, not Sam, might be our new neighbor. She was standing outside Sam's place smoking as we came up the walk, trying very hard to avoid the scene going on inside. Pepper was raging. I don't think there was a soul in the neighborhood who couldn't hear her screaming.

I glanced over at the coffee pot on the kitchen counter. In another minute it'd turn on automatically. I needed a cup. "Is there anything you need me to do?"

She looked like she was about to answer when Eric's cell phone rang. I turned to see Eric, standing at the top of the stairs, barefoot with a towel wrapped around his waist looking like he was ready to model for a fitness magazine. He held his cell to his ear and from the serious look on his face I knew the call was from the FBI.

Sam looked back at me apologetically. "I'm sorry, Carol, I thought you were alone."

I glanced up at Eric. I've got this. With my thumb and little finger to my head I motioned I'd call later, then turned my attention back to Sam. She was on the phone with her assistant. I could hear her giving instructions on what to do and who to call. I waited for her to finish. I was chomping at the bit to learn more. News of Pepper Millhouse's death was big. I needed to call the station.

CHAPTER 2

Tyler Hunt has a constitution I could set a clock to. I called to give him a heads-up on Pepper's death but he wasn't answering. When I got to the radio station, I saw Tyler heading to the men's room with his newspaper and crossword puzzle, as was his habit this time of day. I raced down the hall after him, but too late. The door swung closed in my face. I debated whether or not to knock, then decided I'd given it my best effort.

After leaving Sam, I verified with the paramedics the circumstances surrounding Pepper's death and interviewed her housekeeper. I'd missed my window of opportunity with Tyler and I wasn't about to go further. If Tyler didn't like me breaking news of Pepper's death in the Kari Rhodes Show, he'd let me know. It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. But for now, this was my chance. Without a moment to spare, I slid into the news booth and began my report.

"This just in — Hollywood agent Pepper Millhouse was found dead in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills mansion this morning ... this after an eventful evening at the Silver Screen Awards at the Beverly Hilton where her client, Amber Marx, won best supporting actress for her role in The Long Summer. In an exclusive report to KCHC radio and this reporter, Ms. Millhouse's niece, Samantha Millhouse, says her aunt's body was found by her maid when she entered the home earlier today and heard music coming from her employer's upstairs bedroom. Paramedics called to the scene report that the initial cause of death appears to be an accidental drowning."

I barely finished my report when Kari Rhodes, KCHC's entertainment reporter, glared at me over the top of her red designer framed glasses and mouthed, Stay put!

Already the switchboard was starting to light up. That's the way it is with talk radio. When news breaks, particularly when somebody important dies, listeners pick up the phone and want to talk. Suddenly the airwaves turn into a shrink's couch, allowing fans to phone it in. It doesn't matter who's on the air; it can be some oversized personality with all the empathy of an anteater, but in a city like Los Angeles, where people spend more time in their cars than they do one-on-one with their friends and family, radio's their immediate go-to.

"Dead?" Kari's voice resonated out over the airwaves, full of vibrato. Not a surprise for a former Broadway gypsy who'd sung and tap danced her way into talk radio after blowing her knee out on stage years ago. Her midday show was like a coffee klatch with news and celebrity gossip she dished out like a Jewish yenta.

"Carol, I can't believe what you're reporting. Pepper Millhouse dead? Not only am I surprised, but you realize of course, this makes three?"

I stared through the glass that divides the news booth from the broadcast studio. I was stunned. I was prepared for any number of reactions; sadness, surprise, disbelief. What I didn't expect was for her to tie Pepper's death to that of two other people. "I'm sorry," I said. "Three? I'm not following."

Kari stood up and began a slow two-step while playing with the cord to her headset.

"I'm not surprised you don't know. They weren't big names, but names none the less. Older ladies. Their deaths wouldn't draw much of a reaction. But that's the way it is in Hollywood. Death in threes. Think about it. A few years ago it was Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. It's called a Triaphilia."

"Exactly who are the other two people you're referring to?"

"To start with there was Adel Powers. She was the founder of the ACT agency. She died six weeks ago, and Helen Howard, a senior partner at the same agency, just two weeks ago. And now Pepper Millhouse. You may not have known them, but believe me, I've known these gals for years. Worked with them and ..." she sighed, and throwing the microphone cord over her other shoulder, added, "I just don't buy they're suddenly all dead. It's all too curious, and all under frighteningly similar circumstances. Each of them found alone, at home and in their tubs. Now tell me, don't you think there's something to that?"

I was scanning the LA Times obits on my laptop when out of the corner of my eye I caught Tyler in the hallway, his hands flattened against the studio glass, looking like he wanted to kill me. I was in trouble, but we were on the air and Kari wasn't about to let me go. She sashayed her skinny body over to the glass partition between us and smiled. I looked at Tyler. What do you want me to do?

Tyler shook his head, his expression letting me know the damage was already done. I measured the next words carefully.

"I'll agree, Kari, the circumstances surrounding their deaths are strange, but in reality Miss Powers was well into her eighties." I started summarizing from obits I'd pulled up on the Internet while Kari continued to pace in front of me. "And Miss Howard had been in and out of addiction treatment centers for pain medications. Her obituary says she had a history of heart trouble."

"But Pepper Millhouse was in this studio just last week and she looked to me to be in remarkably good shape."

I glanced back at my notes. Pepper Millhouse was fifty-six, a non-smoker and from what I knew of her through Sam, a workaholic. The paramedic report was preliminary, the initial cause of death thought to be drowning. If conditions were at all suspicious there'd be a coroner's report out soon.

"News like this is always shocking," I said. "As soon as we hear back from the Medical Examiner, I'll have an update."

I felt I'd done my best to address Kari's issues. I stood up and was about to remove my headphones when Kari tapped impatiently on the glass. She pointed at the screener, a pimply-faced intern, who held up a yellow pad. Amber Marx. Line 1. I glanced over at Tyler. He held up five fingers, stared at me like I dare not go a minute over, then turned and walked away.

Meanwhile, Kari's saccharine sweet voice thanked Amber for calling and announced that she'd asked me stay on in the studio with her. "But first, Amber, let me start with congratulating you on your award for best supporting actress last night."

"Stop!" Amber's voice sounded like it was about to crack. "This isn't about me. It's about Pepper Millhouse, and I want everyone to know what a wonderful person she was and what a loss she's going to be, not just to me, but to the entire industry."

I wasn't surprised to hear Amber say how much she'd miss Pepper. There wasn't a supermarket tabloid in the country that didn't have headlines screaming about her troubled relationship with her father. Few had any details but all of them included pictures of her as one of Hollywood's sweethearts. Baby photos from her first appearance on the big screen right up to shots of her on the set of her current picture, The Sorcerer's Daughter.

The bright spots in her life were all because of Pepper. She had made her a superstar. But behind the scenes Amber's life was an evolving tragedy, worsened with the recent drowning of her mother on a family vacation while in Mexico.

"And I hope, Carol, you will find out what really happened last night. 'Cause I agree with Kari, something strange is going on. Pepper Millhouse wasn't just my agent. She was like a mother to me."

I didn't say another word.

Kari wrapped the segment with Amber. Together they re-capped their relationship with Pepper. Kari credited Pepper with helping her find a new career here in L.A., and Amber went on, sometimes tearfully, about how helpful she had been both professionally and personally.

Their stories made Pepper sound more like Mother Teresa than the Queen of Mean Sam had described. I had heard enough and planned to leave during the commercial break when Kari pointed a long manicured finger in my direction and signaled me to stay.

"Amber wants to talk to you, privately."

I was surprised by Amber's request, and even more so because she appeared to have remembered our meeting in front of Sam's condo. At the time, she seemed so much more interested in my son. I had no idea she knew I worked for the radio station. I figured Sam must have told her.

"How's Charlie doing? Does he like his new school?" Her voice sounded much lighter, at ease.

I was a little uncomfortable with her reference to Charlie. I decided it was best to keep my answer short but friendly. Amber Marx may have only been three years older than my son, but I didn't need to read the tabloids to know she was far more sophisticated. I told her he was doing fine and hoped to go out for varsity football next year.

"That's great. Tell him I'll have to come watch a game sometime."

That wasn't going to happen. I wasn't about to encourage any relationship between Amber Marx and my son.

"You must miss a lot not going to a regular school," I said.

"Not really. I travel a lot. Most kids just read about what I've seen firsthand. Last year I was in Europe on tour. I met the Queen and the Pope on the same trip. Plus I have tutors and there's nothing I can't find online. And I've got tons of fans following my tweets. What's to miss?"

My bullshit meter was beginning to run a little hot. I didn't for a minute believe she was as cool and collected as she wanted me to believe. I congratulated her on her big win last night, reiterated my sorrow for her loss and told her I needed to get back to work, but she interrupted me.

"Look, Carol, I want to thank you for checking into Pepper's murder."

"Murder?"

"What else could it be?" she said. "And when you find the killer, I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn it's my father. He's had it in for Pepper ever since the emancipation. Without Pepper, I never would have been able to get away from him. He blames her for everything."

She hung up and I sat staring at the phone. Did Amber really believe her father murdered Pepper Millhouse? If she did, I didn't have time to wonder. My cell phone buzzed.

Tyler. I'm waiting!

It's a straight shot down the hall from the studio to the newsroom. Tyler's office was in the corner, a small space that looked like it had once been a storage closet. Lined against the walls were stacks of newspapers, magazines, maps and periodicals. Tyler's a hoarder. His desk in the center of the room was piled high with more of the same. On the wall behind him were framed photos of some of old Hollywood's legends, black and whites of Marilyn Monroe in jeans and a midriff top pumping iron, James Dean in a tight fitting t-shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled into his sleeve, and his favorite, Jack Webb on the set of Dragnet.

When I walked in, Tyler's attention was focused on his computer. Silently, I took a seat in front of his desk, crossed my arms and legs and waited, thankful for the stacks of newspapers piled between us. He ignored me. Part of the plan, I figured. I reminded myself I had nothing to fear. He was half my age, barely old enough to drink, and, if nothing else, I represented a good portion of his listening audience. On staff I was his token middle aged, well-educated, woman. He needed me.

"Carol, I don't mean to go all Joe Friday on you, but really, what's it going to take? 'Just the facts, ma'am.' That's all I want. Just sit in that news booth and read the news. Nothing more. Not until I say so. Think you can do that? Just the facts. Just once?"

"Really, Tyler? Joe Friday?" I couldn't believe I was about to get that lecture.

"My point being, Carol, is that Kari Rhodes is talent. You're news, and I need you to stick to the stories on the wire. Nothing more, no surprises. Got it?"

"But ..." I was about to tell him that I had tried to alert him to the story, short of following him into the men's room that is, and that I had done exactly as he requested. Stuck to the facts. That Kari — being talent — had trapped me. But before I could get another word out of my mouth, he stopped me.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Shadow Of Doubt"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Nancy Cole Silverman.
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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Shadow of Doubt 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mystery ok just too wordy and hard to follow at times
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
I Have No Doubt You’ll Enjoy This Debut Earlier this year, I met author Nancy Cole Silverman at the LA Times Festival of Books. After chatting with her for a few minutes, I picked up her first novel, Shadow of Doubt. It’s taken me from April to now to make the time to read it, and I wish I had read it sooner. This book introduces us to Carol Childs, who is changing careers from radio advertising to radio news. She is working at KCHC, a talk radio station in Los Angeles. She’s so new to her job that she is still on probation, needing to get everything okayed through her news director Tyler. And that means Carol is hungry for any scoop she can get, so when her neighbor Samantha shows up on her doorstep one morning with news that her aunt has died, Carol is thrilled with her scoop. You see, Samantha’s aunt is Pepper Millhouse, the head of the leading talent agency in Hollywood, so her death is big news. Then one of Carol’s co-workers connects Pepper’s death to another couple of recent deaths, and Carol begins to wonder if the tragic accident isn’t really murder. Can she follow the story, find the truth, and stay on her news director’s good side? The book drew me in right away, and kept me engaged until the very end. I must say, the murder method was ingenious and also a little scary. It’s always nice to find something creative like this in a murder mystery. The book contained plenty of twists and conflict as Carol dealt with her boss, her FBI boyfriend also involved in the case, and tried to learn the truth. All this leads us to a nail biting scene and the wonderful solution. Just as skillfully drawn are the characters. Yes, it is a debut, so there is room for them to grow, but I felt like we got to know the main players. The characters who will be series regulars and those who are just suspects in this book are both strong. They’re an interesting bunch, and I look forward to seeing more of them in the future. Unfortunately, there were a couple of flaws. First, one of the characters really bothered me. I’m sure we were supposed to find Misty, a psychic (of sorts) to the stars, a bit creepy and comic relief at the same time. I just didn’t like her at all. Additionally, there were a number of typos in the book, either missing commas, words out of order, or repeated words. Normally, I can let one or two go, but there were several handfuls here, which was enough to annoy me. They were scattered around enough that it didn’t hamper understanding the story. They just annoyed when I had to backtrack and reread to understand what the author meant. But let me be clear, neither of these is a reason to avoid the book. This is a solid debut that will entertain you. I never wanted to put the book down. It’s that delightful. So if you’ve missed Shadow of Doubt, don’t let shadows fall before you pick it up. You’ll find yourself turning pages until the end, and then looking for the next in this promising series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm hooked on Carol Childs. Looking forward to reading the reason the series Nancy Cole Silverman has written. I didn't know what to expect, but Nancy did a great job weaving the story together. Right up until the last page it had me interested. On to the next one to see what is in store for Carol.
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Shadow Of Doubt - Carol Childs Mystery 1 Author: Nancy Cole Silverman Published: 12-2-14 Publisher: Henery Press Pages: 252 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Women Sleuths; Women's Fiction; Cozy Mystery ISBN: 9781940976532 ASIN: B00NEON2RM Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley . 40 year old mother of two, on in college, Laura Childs has changed her career choices. Formerly a sales executive for KCHC Radio Station she has shifted over to Investigative reporter. The only problem is her boss Tyler Hunt her news director believes everyone over 35 should be put out to pasture and leave the real news reporting to the younger generation. The gods have smiled on Carol when she is awakened early one morning by her neighbor Samantha who needs to use her phone since her cell has died. As her love interest, FBI agent Eric Langdon also receives a call on his cell and leaves, Carol talks with Sam about what has happened. It appears Sam's aunt, Pepper Morehouse had been found earlier by her housekeeper dead in her bathtub. Few will mourn the woman's passing but Sam seems almost chipper. When it is revealed Pepper was poisoned, Sam and her twin Sarah lead the suspect list. Tyler's ire of Carol announcing the death without clearing it with him first has him sending her out on a filler piece. On the way she is passed by a stream of police vehicles which she decides to follow and comes across the scene of the recovery of the body of a missing co-ed. It is there on the campus she meets Misty Dawn, the psychic who led the authorities to the body. She tell Carol that death surrounds her. Later she arrives at the station to tell Carol there will be more bodies. Soon has more suspects than she can count. As the body count continues to rise Carol continues to investigate to prove her friend and neighbor Sam innocent and the danger to Carol continues to grow. Can she find the killer before the killer edits Carol out of the story permanently. From the start to the end you will be glued to this story. If you had any dealings with Pepper you could easily be placed on the suspect list for a reason. Follow the clues Ms/ Silverman has dropped like breadcrumbs throughout the story for you to find and see if you can find the killer first. With its well planned plot and dynamic characters you are going to love this series. Look for Beyond a Doubt, book 2 in the series that is now available. Take a break from reality and join Carol in her search for the truth. 4 1/2 Stars.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS I was kept guessing until the end. Good suspense. Lots of drama, some action and a clean read. Interesting characters. I liked Carol Childs, she did her job, fought for her friend, Sam who she was sure was innocent. She kept digging to help find the killer. Top Hollywood agent was found dead. Carol Childs was one of the first to find out about it when her neighbor woke her up to use her phone. Sam said, "Her Aunt Pepper had died in the bath tub." Sam and Sarah twins both thought the other killed their Aunt Pepper. Carol's boyfriend Eric was a FBI Agent. They were on the case when there was multiple victims. Misty a Hollywood psychic was stalking Carol or so she thought. Misty even worked with the FBI on occasion. She kept warning Carol of danger. I read the book pretty fast because I really wanted to know who the murder was. I kept jumping around on who I thought it was. I would read another book by Nancy Cole Silverman. I was given this ebook to read by Net Galley and Henery Press. In return I agreed to give honest review of Shadow of Doubt and be part of its blog tour.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Carol Childs is trying to make it as a radio news reporter with a boss that seems to be holding her back. When her neighbor knocks on her door and tells her aunt, a top Hollywood Agent, has been found dead Carol knows a scoop when she hears one. When the niece becomes the prime suspect Carol ends up right in the middle of the investigation and it is a wild ride. Carol’s boyfriend Eric is the FBI agent assigned to lead the case and a psychic, Misty Dawn, plays a key role. When the body count starts to rise time is of the essence and while Carol doesn’t actually trust Misty she follows the clues no matter the source. She just needs to learn to keep her boss in the loop because he really hates surprises. Nancy Cole Silverman has worked in the radio business so they atmosphere of Carol’s workplace seems not typical but genuine. She has created a protagonist in Carol that is very easy to identify with, a working mom just trying to make a life. A hunky FBI agent for a boyfriend is mighty nice too. He does his best to keep her safe but she doesn’t make is easy. I have to say my favorite character was Misty Dawn, the psychic. She is an unusual woman but does seem to have a gift. It was funny how she knew everything Carol was up to in her personal life. That knowledge made Carol take her seriously about her clues in the case, even when Misty herself became a suspect in Carol’s mind, that and the fact the Misty tells her there is a dark cloud all around her that Carol is determined to get rid of. The mystery was very well written and has plenty of curves to twist up the plot. Plenty of suspects and any of them truly could be the killer. The author keeps us on our toes until the very end when The Bathtub Killer is finally revealed. Nancy Cole Silverman is off to a great start with this series! BEYOND A DOUBT will be released in July 2015 and I hate that we have to wait that long!
megHan-sHena More than 1 year ago
Carol Childs Mystery 1: Shadow of Doubt I am one for covers, analyzing them, enjoying them, and really seeing how they fit in with the story.  I have even been known to choose a book based solely on the cover.  I know you shouldn't judge a book by one (isn't that what the old saying is?), but sometimes I just can't help it - ignoring covers that are so bad they completely turn me off of the book, grabbing up one with an amazing cover hoping that the inside story will be just as good as the cover - or even better.  I love how the author did her cover.  It has a bit of an art deco look to it and really caught my attention.  The book description is interesting and sounded like my kind of mystery - I wanted to know where this was going to go before even opening up the book.  As I flipped through the pages toward the story, I went to skim her acknowledgement page and, I must say, it is one of the sweetest ones I've read yet.   The story is an awesome mystery and an adventure that was fun to read, one filled with characters that I liked reading about.  The prologue (where the death, which was uniquely done, occurs) pulls you in and, before you know it, you've been sitting there a lot longer than you had planned and the book is almost over.  It was fun trying to see if I could put the clues together and find out who did it before the end.  A well written story - I can't wait until the next book in the series comes out!! Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am always thrilled with a thriller that has a smart capable woman. Unhappily there are too few.  But this book has my two must ingredients for a great read - the brainy heroine and a crazy quilt of a plot. The twists turn in a direction I did not see coming.  I certainly hope Carol keeps it up in the next book.  And the next one.