Abandoned baby found by Amish — murder suspected

LANCASTER, Pa.Sunbury Press has released Plain and Deadly, Barbara Workinger’s latest novel in the Life as a P.I. hasn’t always been what Ellerie March envisioned for herself. With a caseload mostly resembling the domestic scenarios on Jerry Springer, she’s not exactly working high-profile cases or helping to stop deadly criminals in their tracks. That is, until she meets Liddy and Annie Beiler—two Pennsylvania Amish women who have discovered an abandoned baby … or so they say. El takes the case in hopes of locating the baby’s missing mother, only to find herself in the midst of a homicide investigation and all too close to the family who might be responsible for this whole mess. Set against the backdrop of Pennsylvania and Ohio Amish country, city girl El casts her net for suspects—some of whom are the very people she needs to rely on to solve the case. Though she knows about keeping friends close and enemies closer, the lines of who is who become blurred in this “whodunit” escapade … especially when an unexpected romance springs up in the middle of everything, much to the delight of El’s grandmother and investigative “partner.”Through the course of the investigation, El uncovers not only secrets about the Amish and their friends, but also discovers special relationships she could have only found by following her instincts and her heart. The desperate search for the truth reaches its peak in a land where El thought the world would always be simple and safe, proving that even the most unsuspecting of places can be both Plain and Deadly.

pad_fcExcerpt:
“Care to elaborate on who is in the waiting room? And why they are here?” I suggested, trying to sound more patient than I felt.

“Two Amish ladies. Dressed Amish at least, of course they could be.”

“Tracy, cut the speculation. Let’s assume they are Amish. Did they say why they wanted to see me?”

“It’s something about a missing person. That was all they said.” Tracy narrowed her eyes. I could almost see the black and white 16-millimeter film running in her one-track mind. “What do you think?” she asked.

“I think you’d better show them in, Tracy.”

“OK,” she whispered, removing handfuls of papers from the two chairs that faced my desk.

A few minutes later, the two women were seated across from me. Amish they were. I’d seen enough Amish in my growing up years in Lancaster to know the real thing when I saw it. And knowing that, I was as surprised as Tracy was to have the pair in my office. It was a first for me and I’d venture it was a rarity for any investigator. The Amish had little need to frequent a domestic investigator’s office.

The elder of the two introduced herself as Liddy Beiler. Liddy was in her early forties, I guessed. Hard to tell. Amish women, without any help from cosmetics and beauticians usually looked older than the “English”—which was how they referred to the non-Amish. Despite, or maybe because of the natural look, Liddy was beautiful in a serene, clear-eyed way. Glossy dark hair was pulled away from her face and showed only slightly from its containment beneath her black bonnet. She was also very plump. Maybe that accounted for the absence of lines in her face.

The younger woman, twentyish Annie Beiler, was Liddy’s daughter-in-law. If Liddy was beautiful, Annie was drop-dead gorgeous. Huge luminous blue eyes stared out from a perfect oval face. Despite her attempt to tame her ash-blond hair beneath a traditional Amish prayer cap, it curled out in becoming tendrils around her face. Amish or not, I imagine every male from nine to ninety noticed Annie.

In Annie’s arms a rosy-faced baby of about two or three months of age slept peacefully, wrapped snugly in a miniature Amish patchwork quilt.

“What a sweet baby you have,” I said, my not-so-well-hidden maternal instincts turned on full blast.

“Oh, he’s not mine,” Annie said. I thought she looked momentarily sad when she said it. I had obviously been spending too much time around Tracy: everything seemed like a scene in an old movie.

“Oh?” I said to no one in particular.

“He—we call him Jeremiah—is why we are here,” Liddy said, answering what was to be my opening question if I hadn’t been too besotted with small Jeremiah to remember to ask it. Liddy spoke formally, using very few contractions and had a decided Pennsylvania Dutch accent, pronouncing the “J” in Jeremiah like a “Ch,” making the name sound like Cheremiah. Her voice was smooth, the tone soothing. Reminded me of a few shrinks I’d met in my work.

“He is?” I said. In a few moments I mentally examined and discarded several of possibilities as to why.

“Yes. It is Jeremiah why we are here … and this note.” She fished in her commodious black purse, coming out with a neatly folded piece of paper. She handed it over, carefully lifting it high over the clutter of my desk. I wondered how Liddy, with her Amish sense of neatness and order, could stand my office. I would learn later that the Amish don’t judge the English, although they do wonder about us.

“We want to hire you,” she continued in the direct, no-time-for-useless-preliminaries way the Amish have.

I read the note, which looked to be hastily but legibly printed on the kind of lined paper I’d noticed the Amish usually used for correspondence.

“To Liddy Beiler, midwife: I am leaving this Amish babe with you because it is the only safe place for an Amish child. You must keep him for just two weeks already. I am in danger and he will be, too, if he is found with me. If he is given to the English I will maybe be killed. I need to fix up some trouble and I will come for him. Bless you.”

The note was signed “A Mom.”

About the Author:
In writing her mysteries, Barbara Workinger draws on her background as a research journalist, an antique dealer, and an interest in the art of quilting. She combines them with a fascination for the Amish area where she lived for over twenty years. Ten of those years were spent in researching the Amish.

Plain and Deadly: An Ellerie March Mystery
Authored by Barbara Workinger
List Price: $16.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
214 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064634
ISBN-10: 1620064634
BISAC: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Plain-and-Deadly-9781620…

Cold case reopened in Alburquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.Sunbury Press has released Dennis Herrick’s murder mystery novel A Brother’s Cold Case. The book had been previously self-published by the author.

abcc_fcAbout the Book:
When the murder of Andy Cornell’s brother is still unsolved after two and a half years, Andy enters Albuquerque’s hidden worlds of cartel violence, street people,  and Pueblo secrets to find justice.

He and Rick were inseparable as boys. So Andy is determined as a newspaper’s police reporter to help the cold-case unit find a breakthrough on the murder of his detective brother.

Andy’s ex-wife, a cold-case detective he once loved, a Pueblo tribal policeman, a college history professor, and a homeless drug informant seem unlikely allies. But they help Andy untangle conflicting details about his brother’s cold case.

To solve Rick’s murder, Andy must prove his own innocence when he becomes the suspect in the homicides of another man and a long-time reporter friend.

What Others Are Saying:
A Brother’s Cold Case is timely and compelling. This story of a reporter’s search to connect a series of unexplained deaths before he becomes the next victim could have been ripped from newspaper headlines. Complete with a harrowing Sandia Mountain ambush, a life-threatening fire, and a long-surviving Pueblo Indian community with closely held secrets, this mystery will keep you up at night. Dennis Herrick’s new book is a good tale well told.” —Anne Hillerman, author of Spider Woman’s Daughter and Rock With Wings

Excerpt:
Taking another swig caused him to look up. That’s when he realized the man had turned to walk toward him.

“Beat it,” he ordered the man.

The man continued walking toward him. Rick slid off the picnic table bench and rose to his feet. He didn’t want to be sitting if it came to fighting for his booze.

The man stopped on the other side of the table. He wore dark clothes and stared at Rick from under the bill of a baseball cap pulled low over his eyes. His right arm extended toward Rick.

“What the hell you want?” Rick shook his doubled-up fists as a warning. “I told you to go away, you sonuvabitch. I mean it.”

The man seemed to smile as he stepped into a pool of light. Or was it a sneer? “Hello, Rick.”

Rick blinked. Another former cop? Not familiar. Who is this guy, Rick thought, and how does he know my name?

Rick grabbed his bottle and backed up a step. Now illumination from a park lamp glimmered on the steel pistol in the man’s right hand. A long sound suppressor extended from the barrel. With the table separating them, Rick couldn’t try to move closer and grab the gun as he’d been trained at the police academy years ago. Under the best of circumstances, that was hard to pull off anyway. Still, Rick thought, with the bourbon reassuring his brain of all things possible, maybe he could do it.

He moved sideways around the table to get closer. “Put the gun down,” he said as he took a step toward the man. He almost lost his balance, stepping sideways like that. “Put it away and just leave. We’ll pretend this never happened.”

Rick could see the man’s teeth gleam in the indirect light.

A rush, Rick thought. I’ll throw the bottle at him and rush him.

Rick was a split second from jumping at the man when his world ended.

herrickAbout the Author:
Dennis Herrick writes mostly about the American Southwest, focusing on the Pueblo natives for his short stories, magazine articles, and his historical novel, Winter of the Metal People.

A Michigan native, he worked for and around newspapers all of his adult life as a daily newspaper reporter, a chief of staff handling press relations for a congressman, a weekly newspaper publisher and editor, a newspaper broker, and finally a full-time lecturer on journalism at the University of New Mexico.

He is a winner of the Tony Hillerman Mystery Contest and the Society of Southwestern Authors Contest.

He and his wife, Beatrice, have been married since 1967. They live along the west bank of the Rio Grande between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

A Brother’s Cold Case
Authored by Dennis Herrick
List Price: $16.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
258 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064795
ISBN-10: 1620064790
BISAC: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural

Also available on Kindle
For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/A-Brothers-Cold-Case-978…

Elderly woman with Alzheimer's accused of murdering her caregiver

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga.Sunbury Press has released Sharon Marchisello’s murder mystery novel Going Home, about a daughter’s quest to help her mother who is suffering from Alzeimer’s and is accused of murder.

gh_fcAbout the Book:
Michelle DePalma expected to jet into Two Wells, Texas, check on her elderly mother, and hurry back to her orderly life in Atlanta, where she has a happy marriage and satisfying career. Instead, she finds her mother, Lola Hanson, hovered over the bludgeoned body of her caregiver, Brittany Landers.

Since the events of 9/11, one month earlier, Lola’s memory loss has amplified, and the family suspects Alzheimer’s. Now Lola can’t tell anyone what happened to Brittany.

The agency that provides home care for Lola promptly withdraws its services. Michelle is stuck in her home town longer than planned as she cares for a mother with whom she has never been close and tries to prove her innocence. The police officers who investigate the crime are old antagonists from grade school. A secret thought to be long buried—that Michelle bore a son out of wedlock and gave him up for adoption—surfaces when a surprise daughter-in-law and granddaughter show up, distracting Michelle from her quest to solve the murder. And then she stumbles upon a motive which makes Lola look even more guilty.

Going Home was inspired by the author’s mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and explores the challenge of solving a murder mystery when a potential witness cannot rely on her memory. Written from the perspective of a baby boomer forced to reverse roles with her parents, it crosses into the mainstream genre of women’s fiction and touches increasingly common issues such as elder abuse and end-of-life decisions.

Excerpt:
My mother never left the front door wide open—no way would she “heat the whole neighborhood.”

I jumped out of my rental car and hurried up the walkway. This was my first visit in over a month—since before the awful events of September 11—and although I had spoken to my elderly mother over the phone several times a week, I was not sure what to expect.

“Mom, what—?”

A smile illuminated my mother’s face as if someone had twisted a dimmer switch. “Michelle! It’s so nice to see you!” She took a step toward me, right through the puddle of blood.

On the tile floor a young woman was sprawled, her blond hair caked with blood. I knelt at her side. No pulse. No breath. Blue-gray pallor. It had been years since I’d been proficient in CPR, and it wasn’t coming back to me. How many compressions? “Have you called 9-1-1?” My voice shook as I uttered those numbers.

“What’s wrong with Brittany?” My mother squatted beside me as if we were playing a game.

“Mom, what happened?” I cried. What if this woman—Brittany—was dead? Ants gathered at a stream of coagulated blood from her nostrils. “Did you call 9-1-1?”

Mom’s blank stare confirmed she had not. Unlike most of my friends, I had no cell phone, so I dashed to the black wall phone in the kitchen.

“What is your emergency?” The female voice was pleasant but businesslike, with an East Texas twang.

I gave my name and our address. “My mother’s caregiver is unconscious, maybe even dead. I just got here, so I can’t say for sure what happened, but it looks like a blow to the head.”

“I’ll send paramedics right away.” She confirmed the address I had given her. “Is the victim breathing?”

“No.”

“Is there a pulse?”

“I couldn’t find one.” My own heart pounded.

“Has anyone started CPR?”

“Not yet. I called you first.” Had I made a fatal mistake?

“Is anyone else in danger?”

“In danger? What do you mean?”

“Is the person who did this still there? Is he trying to hurt anyone else?”

“No … I mean, I don’t think so. I didn’t see what happened.”

“Are you alone?”

“My mother’s here. But she’s seventy seven years old and …”

“The emergency crew should arrive momentarily. I’ll stay on the line until they get there, so leave the phone off the hook. Do you know CPR?”

“I was a flight attendant for ten years. We reviewed CPR every spring in recurrent training, but I never used it for real. And it’s been nine years since I left In-Flight …”

The woman politely cut off my blathering with brief instructions to refresh my memory and told me to start CPR.

“Lord!” The voice of Karen Jackson, another of my mother’s caregivers, boomed from the entryway.

“Don’t do this, Britt!” Karen was bent over Brittany’s body when I returned from making the call. Mouth wide open, eyes popping like peeled grapes, Karen looked up as I approached.

I knelt beside her and began chest compressions as Karen tried to blow air into Brittany’s lungs.

About the Author:
Sharon Marchisello is the author of The Ghost on Timber Way, part of a short story anthology featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles and corporate training manuals. Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat. Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society.

Going Home
Authored by Sharon Marchisello
List Price: $16.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
284 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064382
ISBN-10: 1620064383
BISAC: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General

Also available on Kindle and Nook

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Going-Home-9781620064382…

Thomas Malafarina's "99 Souls" now available in a 2nd edition with new cover art

CAMP HILL, Pa.Camp Hill, PA – Sunbury Press has released a second edition of Thomas Malafarina’s first novel “99 Souls” with Alecia Nye cover art. The duo had previously paired up successfully on the author’s novel “Burn Phone.”

About 99 Souls:
99 frontThomas Malafarina’s first novel is set in 1965 in his native Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

A boy is savagely disemboweled in the presence of his friends at an abandoned coal mine by an unidentified creature. During the investigation, which follows, a Philadelphia television reporter learns from an eccentric old codger a terrible legend about the disastrous history of the mine – a tale about a mine disaster many years ago in which three coal miners were trapped a mile below the surface. Out of desparation, one of the miners sold his soul to Satan in order to get revenge for the disaster. In return, Satan transformed this man into an immortal soul-feeding demon that must remain trapped in the mine until he gathers ninety-nine souls.

How do you kill what can’t be killed? How do you stop the unstoppable?Welcome to a place where terror reigns, where unspeakable horror and demonic savagery is the norm; where lost souls writhe and struggle for a freedom that may never come.

Welcome to Coogan’s mine; the home of Devil Dan.

List Price: $14.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
160 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1934597255
ISBN-10: 1934597252
BISAC: Fiction / Horror

Praise from George Andrade of “Horror News”:

“What is noteworthy about the legend in Ninety-Nine Souls, though, is that Malafarina takes advantage of it to reflect the idea that though it is easy to become cynical, amused and even bored with the small town happenings in this country we all know in our deepest selves that we’ve been there – that no matter how coiffed and educated (“civilized”) we fancy ourselves to be we recognize deep down that but for the grace of God go ourselves, that but for the happenstance of our birthright, our locations or just plain luck we are not in a position where just plain bad luck, or an accident, can end our dreams of “getting out”.  The feeling of being trapped and powerless and the need to “do what you need to do to survive” is an ageless design in the patchwork quilt that is the American identity.”

“99 Souls is a terrific first novel, though, and a promising debut; it’s about small town conspiracies and the sins of our fathers, greed and corruption, supply and demand and the angst that accompanies them … and eventual comeuppance. It just so happens to be a very sinister horror novel as well.”

Other Alecia Nye covers:
“Burn Phone” by Thomas Malafarina
“Pythagoras the Mathemagician” by Karim El-Koussa
… more to come!

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/99-Souls-9781934597255.htm?categoryId=-1

Horror novel Ninety-Nine Souls by Thomas Malafarina now for sale

CAMP HILL, Pa.Camp Hill, PA – Sunbury Press has released Thomas Malafarina’s horror novel Ninety-Nine Souls. It is available from the publisher and from Amazon.com and other online booksellers.
This is Malafarina’s first novel and is the first of three books contracted by Sunbury Press.

About the book:

99 Souls FrontThomas Malafarina’s first novel is set in 1965 in his native Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

A young boy is savagely disemboweled in the presence of his friends at an abandoned coal mine by an unidentified creature. During the investigation, which follows, a Philadelphia television reporter learns from an eccentric old codger a terrible legend about the disastrous history of the mine – a tale about a mine disaster many years ago in which three coal miners were trapped a mile below the surface. Out of desparation, one of the miners sold his soul to Satan in order to get revenge for the disaster. In return, Satan transformed this man into an immortal soul-feeding demon that must remain trapped in the mine until he gathers ninety-nine souls.

How do you kill what can’t be killed? How do you stop the unstoppable? Welcome to a place where terror reigns, where unspeakable horror and demonic savagery is the norm; where lost souls writhe and struggle for a freedom that may never come.

Welcome to Coogan’s mine; the home of Devil Dan.

Publication Date: Jul 12 2010
ISBN/EAN13: 1453653716 / 9781453653715
Page Count: 160
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: Fiction / Horror

About Thomas Malafarina:

Thomas M. Malafarina was born July 23, 1955 in the town of Ashland, Pennsylvania, in the heart of the hard coal region. He was raised in a small, wood-framed row house along with his parents, his younger brother and two older sisters. Growing up in this blue-collar community Thomas learned the importance of hard work and dedication to family. These values instilled by his parents guided him through to his adult life.

Thomas has enjoyed a life-long love of writing, music and art and has been intrigued by the world of horror since before elementary school. While other kids were assembling model airplanes and cars, Thomas preferred to build Aurora Universal Studios Monster models of Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolf Man, Dracula and others. While others were drawing pictures of flowers and trees, he was drawing horrible monsters.

Thomas continued his love of all things horror by amassing an extensive collection of horror movies and books. Every year Thomas uses his artistic skills to create and donate a truckload or more of disturbing horror art sculptures and scenery to the Womelsdorf JC’s annual non-profit “Barn of Terror” Halloween Haunt.

For many years while working as a manufacturing engineer, technical trainer and technical writer, Thomas dreamed of finding some extra time write a horror novel. Ninety-Nine Souls is Thomas’s first book and is the culmination of that dream but signifies much more. It symbolizes a rekindled love Thomas has for writing and an enjoyment of creating horror stories that had burned deep within him unfulfilled for far too many years. Now with the flame relit, Thomas plans to produce many more works of horror fiction for the horror loving public’s enjoyment.

Thomas lives in South Heidelberg Township, just outside of Wernersville, PA with his wife JoAnne. They have three grown children and three grandchildren.

Available on Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/Ninety-Nine-Souls-Thomas-M-Malafari…