Reason To Die
by Debbie De Louise Genre: Crime Mystery
Someone is strangling disabled people in the small town of Baxter, Connecticut. Detective Courtney Lang and her ex-partner and ex-lover, wheelchair-bound Bill Thompson, are paired up again and put in charge of the investigation.
During the search, Courtney uncovers information that points towards a connection between the murders and an unsolved series of muggings by a masked man, the same man who shot and disabled Bill a year ago on the night he proposed marriage to her.
Complicating matters for Courtney is her guilt about Thompson's shooting, her affair with her new partner, Mark Farrell, and her unresolved feelings over the deaths of her mother and sister who perished in a fire when she was away from home.
As the deaths accrue and the “Handicapped Strangler” as the killer is coined by the press continues to rampage the town adding victims of different ages, sex and disabilities to the murder count, Courtney discovers a clue that could crack open the case but may put her and Bill's life in jeopardy.
As Agnes walked to the bathroom now, she tapped her cane around in habit. She knew the twenty steps down the hall by heart. She had her own built-in GPS. But the cane was a comfort, a guide she hesitated to give up.
When she was through taking care of her needs, she started back to the living room. Chirpy suddenly began squawking. She thought he was resting. Something had stirred him. Then she heard a noise by the front door. Someone was on her step.
“Settle down, Chirpy. Looks like we have a visitor,”she said as she cut across the room to answer the light knock. The bird continued to squawk. She wondered why he was so excited.
“Who is it?” she called when she got to the door.
A male voice replied, “Talking Books delivery for Ms. McCarver.”
How very strange. She’d had a delivery of the audio books last week, and they usually only arrived once a month in a box delivered by the mailman. Maybe there had been a mistake.
“I haven’t ordered any new books,” she said, “and they usually come in the mail.”
“No mistake, Ma’am. Talking books are being hand delivered now. Can you please open the door and take them? I have several more stops to make today.”
Agnes hesitated a moment. Chirpy had finally quieted down. Edna would probably scold her for letting a stranger in the house just because he claimed he had audiobooks for her, but he sounded nice enough. He sounded a lot like the kind librarian from the Helen Keller Library who visited yesterday.
Reaching up, she unlatched the safety lock and then twisted the doorknob. She heard the man step forward. He closed the door behind him and then pushed her to the ground. Her cane flew away. She tried to grab for it, but it was out of reach. It happened so fast, a scream lodged in her throat as he put his gloved hands around it and squeezed. From a hazy distance of fear, she heard Chirpy start squawking again. The pressure on her throat tightened. She couldn’t yell or even talk. Blackness engulfed her as the gray shadows of her limited sight dissolved. All she could hear in those last moments were Chirpy crashing against his bars in a useless attempt to free himself and the bad man’s raspy breathing against her cheek as he squeezed the life out of her.
My name is Debbie De Louise. I am a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island and the award-winning author of the Cobble Cove mystery series. I have a B.A. in English and an MLS in Library Science.
My first novel, a paranormal romance, "Cloudy Rainbow" (Booklocker 2008) received an honorable mention in the Writer's Digest self-published awards. I wrote that book after my beloved cat, Floppy, died from diabetic and liver complications. The book is dedicated to him, and he is featured as a character in it. I have recently signed with my publisher to reprint this book, and it will soon be available as a paperback as well as an eBook.
My second novel, the first book of the Cobble Cove Mystery series, "A Stone's Throw," (November 2015) was published by Limitless Publishing, LLC. It is the story of a widowed librarian who visits her husband's hometown and finds a new love with the town's newspaper publisher but also discovers some alarming truths about her husband's death and its connection to the publisher and his family. Along with a variety of characters, there is also a cat and dog who play minor but interesting roles in the novel. The second Cobble Cove Mystery, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" was released in October 2016 by Solstice Publishing and a reprint of "A Stone's Throw" with an additional chapter was published in March, 2017. The third book of the series, "Written in Stone," was released in April, 2017. I've also published a romantic comedy novella, "When Jack Trumps Ace."
I'm currently working on a standalone mystery, Reason to Die, and have several other writing projects planned for 2018 including a new cozy mystery series along with the fourth volume of the Cobble Cove mysteries.
I'm a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters-in-Crime, the Cat Writer's Association, and Long Island Authors Group and have published articles in Cats Magazine and Catnip (Tufts University Veterinary Newsletter). I won the Glamour Puss special award from Hartz Corporation for my Catster.com article, "Brushing your cat for bonding, beauty, and better health," (June, 2016). My short mystery, "Stitches in Time" was published in the Cat Crimes Through Time Anthology, (1999). I have also published several other short stories of various genres in Solstice anthologies. I live on Long Island with my husband, daughter, and our cat, Stripey.