Sticks & Stones

Sticks & Stones

by R. Franklin James

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Overview

Sticks & Stones by R. Franklin James


"Sticks and Stones can break my bones …." Despite what the old children's rhyme says, words can cause grievous harm. A lesson ex-con Hollis Morgan, a casualty of her deceased ex-husband's white collar crimes, knows all too well. Now that she has received an official pardon, she is free to pursue her dreams of moving up in the world from paralegal to attorney. While awaiting the results of the bar exam, she hopes to clear the name of a friend accused of libel by philanthropist Dorian Fields, a man whose charitable giving looks a lot like money-laundering. Only problem: the evidence has disappeared and her friend Catherine is found dead. Although initially thought a suicide, Hollis' friend was murdered. Catherine was writing an article about Fields for a tabloid. Hollis and attorney Mark Haddan convince the magazine to let them carry on with the libel defense, but they have fewer than 60 days to prove Catherine's exposé was well-founded. In the meantime Hollis has other distractions; she is also helping to settle the estate of Margaret Koch, a rich client of the law firm whose impetuous actions as revealed in her letters still embitter the lives of those she left behind. And then there are the two men vying for her attention--one a police detective, the other a private eye. Normally Hollis trusts her built-in lie detector, but in this case, too many people are lying for too many reasons. One of them is not only a liar, but a killer. Sticks & Stones is Book Two of the Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, which began with The Fallen Angels Book Club.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603819190
Publisher: Epicenter Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/01/2014
Series: A Hollis Morgan Mystery Series , #2
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 327,217
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author


R. Franklin James worked as a paralegal for a prestigious law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, she pursued a career in public policy and government service. Her short story "The Award" was published in the 2008 Sisters in Crime Anthology. She and her husband now live in northern California. You can find R. Franklin on the Web at www.rfranklinjames.com.

Read an Excerpt


Faber frowned. "Ms. Morgan, do you have any idea who might have done this?"

"Could you please call me Hollis?" She righted one of the dining room chairs and sat. "No, I don't know anyone who would care enough about my law school notes and monthly bills to break into my home."

"Is there a friend you can stay with or someone who can stay with you?"

Hollis shook her head. "No, there's just me. I'll be okay." She sat on her shaking hand.

If Faber noticed, he didn't say anything. He rubbed his hand over his head. "Okay, all right. Vega will take it from here." He walked over to the front door. "Actually, there's another reason I came in on this. I … I bought these tickets to see Yo-Yo Ma on Sunday. I know it's short notice, but I just got them today and the only person I could think of to ask to go with me was you."

Hollis looked up to the ceiling.

"Detec--"

"John, call me John." He laughed.

His laugh caught her off guard. It was surprisingly contagious.

"John, I adore Yo-Yo Ma, and I would really like to go with you--"

"But."

Hollis nodded. "But someone else already asked me."

"Already asked you to hear Yo-Yo Ma?"

"I know. What a coincidence!" Hollis slapped her thigh. "I don't have a date for six … never mind." She blushed.

John laughed. "Look, maybe some other time then."

"I would really, really like that. Please ask me again." Hollis said in what she hoped was her most earnest voice.

He looked her in the eyes and said, "You can count on it."

After the detective was gone, Hollis just sat, dejected, in the middle of the room. Taking a breath, she started to put the sofa pillows back in place. She didn't usually cry, but she felt tears were just a few eye-blinks away. Pulling her thick hair back into a ponytail, she began to return books and CDs to their places on the shelves. Who would want to burgle her? She exhaled a long sigh and replaced the dining room chairs around the table.

It took the rest of the evening to return her condo to a semblance of order. She wiped her kitchen counters down with disinfectant and vacuumed the carpets twice.

A folded piece of paper under one of the corners of the living room throw rug caught her eye. It looked like binder paper--the type a child would use in school. It was folded several times until it was about one-inch square. She opened it carefully. She didn't watch much TV, but enough to know there might be fingerprints.

She froze. It contained her name and address.

John was right, this wasn't a random crime. She had something someone wanted, but what?

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Sticks & Stones 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
VicG More than 1 year ago
R. Franklin James in her new book, “Sticks & Stones” Book Two in the A Hollis Morgan Mystery series published by Camel Press brings us another adventure with Hollis Morgan. From the back cover: “Sticks and Stones can break my bones ….” Despite what the old children’s rhyme says, words can cause grievous harm. A lesson ex-con Hollis Morgan, a casualty of her deceased ex-husband’s white collar crimes, knows all too well. Now that she has received an official pardon, she is free to pursue her dreams of moving up in the world from paralegal to attorney. While awaiting the results of the bar exam, she hopes to clear the name of a friend accused of libel by philanthropist Dorian Fields, a man whose charitable giving looks a lot like money-laundering. Only problem: the evidence has disappeared and her friend Catherine is found dead. Although initially thought a suicide, Hollis’ friend was murdered. Catherine was writing an article about Fields for a tabloid. Hollis and attorney Mark Haddan convince the magazine to let them carry on with the libel defense, but they have fewer than 60 days to prove Catherine’s exposé was well-founded. In the meantime Hollis has other distractions; she is also helping to settle the estate of Margaret Koch, a rich client of the law firm whose impetuous actions as revealed in her letters still embitter the lives of those she left behind. And then there are the two men vying for her attention—one a police detective, the other a private eye. Normally Hollis trusts her built-in lie detector, but in this case, too many people are lying for too many reasons. One of them is not only a liar, but a killer. Sticks & Stones is Book Two of the Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, which began with The Fallen Angels Book Club. Hollis Morgan has received a judicial pardon and is now a paralegal. Her friend, Catherine, needs her legal help but before Hollis can provide it someone kills Catherine. Not a good thing to do as now Hollis wants to find out who did it. “Sticks & Stones” is a clever murder mystery, loaded with twists and turns and red herrings that will leave you guessing all the while you are flipping pages to find out what happens next. Ms. Franklin James has provided us with an action-filled thriller which propels Hollis Morgan, and us, to the end in this exciting mystery that leaves you wanting more. I am already looking forward to the next book in this series from this very talented author. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Camel Press. I was not required to write a positive review. 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.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissBethBC More than 1 year ago
Hollis Morgan had been knocked around by life a time or two, but she'd made a life for herself inspite of the cards she was dealt.    She served time for a crime her husband committed, (Insurance fraud).   His scheming and conniving ways eventually caught up with him...now he is deceased. Hollis had served "his" time, and taken the California bar exam.    She had always wanted to be a probate lawyer and leave her job as paralegal behind.   She was like a dog with a bone when it came to researching things and got herself into more trouble...seemed like someone was always dying around her and she'd often been considered a person of interest if not the suspect.   She'd also been a little too close to the police investigations and warned against withholding evidence. In this installment a close friend came to Hollis for help and was murdered before the next dawn.  Hollis was then thrown into a plight to clear her friend's name and reputation.   And a wonderful mystery ensued, well actually two.    And there were a couple of love interests for Hollis, one of which would be nice to have on her side. R Franklin James has a great writing style.   She plots a great story and writes it out like it is magic and it flows quite nicely.    The reader is easily  drawn in to the world of Hollis and her coherts.   There are always twists and turns and some surprising results which are quite satisfying for the mystery lover.