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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Showcase- Murder in Knoxville by Wayne Zurl

If you love a good mystery crime novel as much as I do, then look no further than my fellow author at Melange Books, Wayne Zurl and his Sam Jenkins Mysteries.
Murder in Knoxville
and other Sam Jenkins Mysteries
Sam Jenkins is the new police chief in town and everyone wonders, will Prospect, Tennessee ever be the same?
Here are six novelettes where Jenkins gets to show off his skills learned as a former New York detective.
A LABOR DAY MURDER and A MURDER IN KNOXVILLE take the reader into the world of domestic violence with a smattering of political corruption. In BULLETS OFF-BROADWAY, the investigation leads Sam into the life of a victim who spent his leisure time reenacting the days of the old west and was killed with an antique revolver. The hard-boiled story of SCRAP METAL AND MURDER begins with a simple larceny and quickly escalates into the murder of a building contractor, infidelity and more suspects than you can shake a claw hammer at. And the off-beat stories, BY THE HORNS OF A COW and its sequel SERPENTS & SCOUNDRELS show the more bizarre side of police work as Jenkins looks for a stolen fourteen-foot-tall statue of a dairy cow and ends up among a group of snake handling fundamentalists who use their serpents in a deadly manner.
A Labor Day Murder
I don’t think she really hates me, but she does cringe every time I walk into her office. Maybe it’s the lawyer jokes I tell. Or maybe it’s how I show a lack of respect for the local politicians. I guess I’m comfortable with our relationship. And someday Moira may learn the Jenkins method of compromise: We talk about it and then do it my way.
“You expect me to go before a judge and ask for a warrant so you can search a restaurant for the proceeds of illegal gambling?”
“Yes, ma’am. That’s why I’m here,” I said.
“Lord have mercy, Sam. It’s only a card game.”
“In the last seven days, my cops have made two DUI arrests of men leaving that place after hours. Both people said they were playing cards, and the owner was chopping the pot.”
“If you held a card game at your home wouldn’t you accept some reimbursement for the food and drink you offered the players?”
“This guy is taking fifteen percent from each pot. They’re playing dollar-five poker. That’s more than the goombahs get back where I used to work. He’s also operating a cash bar, serving untaxed moonshine. His restaurant only has a beer license.”
“I hear what you’re sayin’, Sam. I understand. Do you understand that Audie Blevins has operated that restaurant for almost forty years? His daddy owned it for Lord knows how many years before that. Audie’s brother is the chairman of the county commission, and Audie’s a very, and I emphasize very, big supporter of and contributor to the local Republican party.”
“Well, three cheers for Audie. He sounds like a real good ol’ boy. Do I have to tell you I don’t give a rat’s ass to whom he’s related or to what he contributes?” I asked.
Moira Menzies is a pretty blonde, around fifty, and if she smiled more often would be even more attractive. She’s also the chief assistant district attorney general for Blount County, Tennessee. Whenever I need a search or arrest warrant, I deal directly with her.
For a moment before she spoke, she closed her eyes and shook her head. “You’re not goin’ away, are you?”
I smiled at her. My lady-killer smile has been known to melt the coldest heart.
We were sitting in her second floor corner office in the Justice Center, overlooking the new jail.
She stood up and put her hands on her hips. “Don’t try that smile on me, Jenkins. More cops have tried that act than I can count.”
I looked up at her. “Yeah, but I’m the only ex-New York cop you know, and I’ll bet I’m the best lookin’ police chief in the county.”
She dropped the pencil she’d been holding onto her desktop—with a little more force than necessary. “You sure ain’t the most modest. Come on, I’ll walk you up to the judge’s chambers.”
Twenty minutes later, I had my ‘no knock’ search warrant for the Iron Skillet restaurant.
“You think the judge will drop a dime on Audie and give him a heads-up about the warrant?” I asked.
“Judge Myers is a pretty straight shooter, but anything’s possible. Audie is well-connected.”
“Let’s hope Judge Myers believes in truth, justice and the American way.”
“Let’s hope he believes in at least the first two,” she said.
* * *
At 11:30 Saturday night, six of the twelve cops employed by Prospect PD and I waited outside the Iron Skillet on Sevierville Road. Five of us had driven our personally-owned pickup trucks to haul away the furniture, file cabinets and other accouterments used by the owner to promote gambling and sell untaxed alcoholic beverages.
“Twelve cars plus Audie’s. Must be a couple of games goin’ on,” Sergeant Stan Rose observed.
“I guess,” I said. “No one new has shown up for thirty minutes. Time to kick in the door.”
Stanley nodded. “Sounds like a plan.”
“I wish we had a paddy wagon. It looks unprofessional using our own pickup trucks.”
“A paddy wagon? Sometimes we look like the Keystone Cops, but there’s no reason we need a paddy wagon.”
“Each precinct had a paddy wagon in New York.”
“You own a pick-up in New York?”
“Of course not.”
“You sayin’ I’m getting like the locals?”
“I’ve got no theory. I’m just presenting the evidence.”
“Don’t you feel stereotypical driving a Cadillac?” I asked.
Stan is from Los Angeles and usually sounds like a Cal Tech graduate. “I do not. A brother’s got to look good when he’s on the road. Clean car, pretty woman…you unnerstand what I’m sayin’?” Occasionally he lapses into Ebonics for my benefit.
“Uh-huh. My man. Right on. What it is!” I said, sounding more like a Black Panther than a police chief.
“Honky racist.”
“You wish.”
“We ready to go?” he asked.
“I was ready before you started all this ethnic crap.”
“Well then, great white leader?”
“My wife doesn’t give me as much trouble as you.”
Stanley gave me a big grin. “Come on, man. It’s show time.”
I keyed the portable radio I held, “Prospect-one to all units—do it.”
Officers Bobby John Crockett and Vernon Hobbs pounded on the front door. Harlan Flatt, Leonard Alcock and Junior Huskey covered the back door and the windows at the rear of the restaurant. Stanley and I moseyed up to the front entrance.
A thin man with short dark hair and a wispy mustache, looking like a bartender in his white apron, answered the door. The two cops pushed their way in. Stan and I followed.
“Police department. We have a search warrant. Nobody move!” Bobby called out.
No one moved.
“Where’s Audie Blevins?” I asked, waving a copy of the warrant in my left hand.
“That would be me,” said a short, well-dressed man of about sixty.
I handed him the paper.
“This is a warrant to search your premises for evidence of illegal gambling and untaxed liquor,” I said. “I see two card games. Care to explain anything?”
“Jest some friendly games, officer. We get t’gether ever once’t in a while ta play cards. Nothin’ more.”
“Have a seat, Mr. Blevins, and don’t touch anything.” Turning to the bartender I said, “What’s your name?”
“James Begley, sir. Most ever’ one calls me Jammer.”
“Okay, Jammer, you have a seat, too.”
I told Bobby Crockett to open the back door and let the other three cops in. While Stan and I took names, and capped the drinks on the tables with Glad-Wrap, the boys searched the restaurant, the adjacent office and the storerooms.
The quickest way to put pressure on a restaurant owner is to threaten to take away their liquor license. I demanded a copy of his from Audie Blevins. As I recorded all that information, Junior Huskey got my attention.
“Sam, look-it here.” He handed me two folders and a well-stuffed, padded manila envelope. One folder was marked players; the other was unmarked. The envelope was full of cash. I looked over the two-page list of players. There were over thirty names with telephone numbers. The unmarked folder had several loose-leaf pages showing dates and dollar figures. The dates went back more than two years.
“Good work, kid,” I said to Junior, “a list of gamblers and profits from the games. You ought to be a detective.”
“I could live with that, boss.”
I gave him an encouraging thumbs-up even though we have no detectives at Prospect PD.
Crockett and Harley Flatt carried in four plastic, gallon milk jugs all full of clear liquid.
“They’s about six or seven more jest like these in the back,” Harley said. “Take a whiff, boss.”
He popped the cap off one jug and lifted it to my nose.
“Yahoo.” I took a half step backwards. “Smells like pure alcohol. Must be 190 proof or better.” I turned to the closest table of players. “Any of you guys feel like you’re going blind?” No one seemed to enjoy my attempt at humor. “Harley, confiscate everything and box up all these glasses we’ve put tops on. We’ll let the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms people analyze this for us.”
Then Vern Hobbs walked up, extended his hand and showed me a large revolver.
“Got this in the office, boss. Nice lookin’ gun.”
It was an old Smith and Wesson model 1917, .45 caliber revolver...a revolver that fired .45 automatic ammunition.
“This pistol have a story behind it, Mr. Blevins?” I asked.
“I got a right ta keep a gun in my restaurant. It’s all bought an’ paid fer, all legal-like,” he said. “Ain’t yew ever heard o’ the Second Amendment?”
I wanted to give Audi the finger, but resisted the urge. “Bag it, and tag it, Vern. I’ll send it off to be checked.”
All the players we met that night were on the list Junior found. I wanted each man charged with participating in illegal gambling, privately interviewed and a statement taken from each one. We had several hours of work ahead of us. I’ll send it off to be checked.”
When we finished issuing appearance tickets to the players and Jammer Begley, we took Audie Blevins to Prospect PD to process his arrest. At three in the morning, we released him on one hundred dollars bail. Two sixty-inch round tables, sixteen chairs and two tall file cabinets filled the lobby of our office and the squad room. The evidence closet held eleven-and-a-half gallons of moonshine, over three thousand dollars in cash and a few other evidentiary items taken from the Iron Skillet. In a few hours, the Sunday eight-to-four shift would arrive at work, wonder what the hell went on the night before, and then life would go on.
 Heat Level: 1 flame
Love scenes are not consummated, or if the love scenes are consummated details are not given.
Wayne Zurl
Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.
Zurl has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. He has written four novels and more than twenty novelettes in the Sam Jenkins mystery series.
Available Now
Sam Jenkins Mysteries


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Snippet from Tangled Web of Love

Get the wine from the fridge, because boy are you going to need it.


Gently she opened the door. The cottage seemed bizarrely quiet as she crept down the stairs. Sighing in relief that nobody was there, she headed for the living room. Finding her shoes and bag where she had left them, she was about to turn and walk away when she saw Paul’s abandoned shirt on the back of the couch. Sadie picked up the shirt, instantly smelling her perfume mingled with Paul’s aftershave. She swallowed hard. Her cheeks burning, she dropped the shirt like a red-hot poker. It was covered in lipstick. Her lipstick.

And then she remembered.

As if someone had pressed a play button in her head, she found herself reliving last night. The touch of Paul’s hands on her naked body; the taste and smell of him all seemed more real now than it did last night in her drunken brandy haze. It had been hot, intense, but this was heavy stuff—last night she’d had the best sex ever. The best sex ever with my sister’s, best friend’s ex. Not even minding his declaration of, “This is so wrong,” as she slid up his naked body after doing that thing with her tongue that had driven him insane. She held no regrets, knowing that when she said, “Want me to do it again?” he had pushed her back down.






Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Looking for a beach read this summer?

As if someone had pressed a play button in her head, she found herself reliving last night. The touch of Paul’s hands on her naked body; the taste and smell of him all seemed more real now than it did last night in her drunken brandy haze. It had been hot, intense, but this was heavy stuff—last night she’d had the best sex ever. The best sex ever with my sister’s, best friend’s ex. Not even minding his declaration of, “This is so wrong,” as she slid up his naked body after doing that thing with her tongue that had driven him insane. She held no regrets, knowing that when she said, “Want me to do it again?” he had pushed her back down.


Latest Review

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Some great reviews for Tangled Web of Love

ByNancy Pennickon June 20, 2017

A Great Story!

Faith has been in a two-year relationship with a man who doesn’t want to commit or say the “L” word. She decides she is happy with her life until cute old guy enters her cafĂ© one day right after she has a giant fight with her boyfriend. Torn, she is attracted to Abel and his romantic way of flirtation. Then Paul returns, and the games begin!
What I love about Jo Rawson’s books, is that she develops her main and secondary characters, giving them such interesting personalities. No one is really perfect, and no one is truly bad in her books. Then add humor and drama with many twists and turns before you get to the end of the book. The story is not the usual cut and dry love story, of which I read too many. You feel as if you are immersed in someone’s life as you read. Side stories do not distract, but add to the intrigue. Sometimes I found myself rooting for one character then later in the story, not so much. A perfect book to read anytime, anywhere! I must warn, there is a cliffhanger.
I was given a copy of this book for an honest review.

Nancy-  OH USA

I was intrigued from page 1, Faith and Paul, what will happen between them and will it lead anywhere?  The twists and turns as the other characters Abel, Frankie and Sadie appear. The friendships, the love interests, the secrets. Very well written covering all emotions, happiness, sadness, excitement and leaves you wanting more. Please pick up your pen and write the next book. I NEED to know what happens next!
Helen - From Staffordshire

By Clare R on 23 Jun. 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

Just finished reading this new novel, "Tangled Web of Love" from Jo Rawson and it was an absolute page turner, I was captivated from the very start. I couldn't wait to see how Faith would choose between Paul and mysterious stranger Abel. The back story which accompanies the protagonists love life leaves you constantly wondering which way it is going to go and the way in which all of the characters are linked gives a realistic view of village life and how the characters are intertwined. Something tells me we haven't heard the last of the lovely Faith! Can't wait to hear more! Definitely reading this book.

''Tangled Web of Love captivated me from page 1! Each character is extremely well developed, adding to the humour, and frustration, of village life. If you are looking for a great holiday read, keen to better understand village life in England, or a romance genre fanatic this book is for you. I'm sure we will be hearing more from Faith and Abel as their life together develops - can't wait!'' Hayley - Goa, India.

By Liz on 28 June 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

Tangled Web of Love Shove the husband out of the house and the kids off to school. Get the wine from the fridge, because boy are you going to need it. Tangled Web of Love is exactly what it says on the cover. A tangled web of double dating, secrecy, sexual favours, and betrayal. Ms Rawson takes you off on a journey that no matter what, you can’t put this book down until you have read to the end.
As always Ms Rawson has an amazing skill of brining all her characters to life that you actually feel they are real and so build a personnel bond to them. What is so amazing and skilful about this book, is how Ms Rawson interweaves the core characters storyline into the lives of her secondary characters. If your head is spinning now, then be warned. There are so many twists and turns you will find yourself routing for Faith then Abel, but now it is Paul or could it be Sadie? WARNING this book is spicy, scheming, humours and contagious. You will love it. I can’t wait to know what happens next.
I was given a copy of this book for an honest review.