BY: JAMIE TREMAIN

Private Investigator Dorothy Dennehy and her new business and life partner, Paul Webster, are about to leave Portland, Oregon, for a private investigator conference in New York. However, before they can leave, Paul is murdered—apparently, the victim of a mugging gone wrong, it’s assumed, because an expensive diamond ring was stolen from him. No witnesses are found for the crime, and the Portland Police detective in charge, Michael D’Amico, seems to feel Dorothy is the prime suspect. As Dorothy and her team search for clues to clear her name, dark secrets are revealed about Paul’s mysterious past. But the closer Dorothy gets to the truth, the more likely she is to become the next victim.

TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Lighting Strike by Jamie Tremain, Dorothy Dennehy, PI, is accused of murder when her fiancé, Paul Webster, is killed. The detective that investigated the case when Dorothy killed her first husband in self-defense has moved to California and is now the lead investigator for Paul’s murder. So convinced that Dorothy is trying to get away with “another murder,” the detective ignores any and all clues that don’t lead directly to her. So Dorothy and her team decide that, if they want to clear Dorothy’s name, they will have to solve the murder themselves.

Like the first book in the series, this is a page turner you won’t be able to put down. Bravo!

REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Lightning Strike by Jamie Tremain is the second book in her Dorothy Dennehy, PI, Series. Dorothy and her fiancé, Paul Webster, are getting ready to leave for a private detective conference in New York. But when Paul gets a call and runs out of the house, he ends up dead, the victim of an apparent mugging gone bad. Dorothy is devastated, but she is even more undone when the lead detective on the case is someone she knows—a friend of her first husband, a cop she killed in self-defense. Still angry that Dorothy was cleared of any wrong doing in her husband’s death, the detective is determined to pin Paul’s murder on her. Dorothy knows if she wants to clear her name, she will have to find the killer herself.

Lighting Strike, like The Silk Shroud, is well written, fast paced, and intense—a marvelous whodunit you won’t be able to stop reading.

Chapter 1

Eyes locked in a stalemate, the young unseasoned officer, representing Portland’s finest, refused to give way.

“This is a crime scene, no civilians allowed.”

“I’m telling you for the last time, let me through.”

“And I’m telling you, you’re not—” The terse response came to a sudden stop.

“Jackson, let him pass. I’ll vouch for him.”

Officer Jackson straightened at the sound of his senior partner’s voice. The civilian gave a curt nod of thanks and hurriedly ducked beneath the yellow crime scene tape. He gazed at the body lying on its side, blood congealing underneath on the cold concrete floor of the parking garage.

Jackson’s partner approached him. “HB. You know him?”

Cursing under his breath, HB turned away from the body and acknowledged the officer. “I do.” He briefly closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “I can identify him.”

He steeled himself to look at the body again. Ringing in his ears masked all other sounds as he tried to comprehend the scene. It took great effort to concentrate on the questions coming at him. For twenty minutes, he answered one and all as best he could but finally he reached his limit.

“Listen, you’ve got all I can tell you. There’s someone I need to inform.” To himself he wondered how he could ever break this kind of news to her.

“We know where to find you, man. Good luck.”

HB nodded his understanding and returned to his car. In his mind, he tried various ways to frame the news he needed to relay.

Today he regretted the police scanner he monitored on a regular basis. Not given to emotion, he felt like he’d been sucker punched in a bad fight, and he didn’t relish being the bearer of such horrific news.

Drumming his fingers on the wheel and impatient with too many red lights, he finally parked in front of Maxwell’s Bar and Grill located on the waterfront. A decent crowd was inside, judging from the parked cars, and HB knew Max Dennehy would be enjoying his barkeep duties. Dread tugged at his insides, knowing his news would destroy Max’s day.

Laughter and music greeted him as he entered the restaurant. The pounding beat from background music added to his growing headache. Behind the bar stood a tall, hefty man. In his mid-sixties, he still commanded a presence. One beefy hand covered the tap handle as he pulled a draft for a customer. HB steeled himself and moved toward him.

He made it right to the massive polished oak bar before being spotted.

“HB, wasn’t expecting to see you today. What’ll you have friend?”

“Can I have a word with you, in private?”

Max hesitated at the solemn look on HB’s face. “Let’s head upstairs. It’s quieter there.”

He maintained a large office and guest apartment above his establishment. The two men went outside and up the stairs.

“What’s this all about, HB? You look like you’ve lost your best friend.”

HB swallowed and sucked the air through his teeth. “I came to you first, Max. I can’t go to Dorothy with this alone.”

A chill ran down Max’s spine and he braced himself. “Spit it out, man.”

“It’s Paul. He’s been murdered.”

Chapter 2

No, I don’t believe you. They’re on their way to the convention today. It can’t be true.”

But as a former cop, Max Dennehy knew all too well HB spoke the truth, whether he liked it or not.

HB stood ashen-faced before him. “I wish it weren’t true, but I’ve just come from the scene. Looks like he was mugged and maybe fought back. I told the cops I’d let next of kin know, but I just can’t be the one to tell Dorothy.”

At the mention of her name, the burly man leaned his full weight against the wall. His shoulders sagged. “My poor darlin’, she’ll be heartbroken.” He rubbed his hand over his face, gathering his thoughts. “No, you were right to come here first. I’ll be the one to tell her, God help me. She’ll want details, so you’d best come as well. I’ll let them know downstairs I’m done for the day. Can you drive?”

“Car’s right outside. I’ll wait for you.”

***

Holden Bartholomew, or HB as he preferred to be called, ranked as lead investigator at Quail International ~ Investigations and Security. The company name had recently changed from Dennehy Security and Investigations, where HB had been since its early days. His background was sketchy, but on the recommendation of Max Dennehy, he’d been hired by his daughter Dorothy, owner of the investigations company. Devoted to Dorothy, HB would do anything for her.

A light drizzle started while he sat in his car, waiting on the man who’d given him a second chance at life. His thoughts dwelt on the past several months, back to when a new client had entered the picture. Paul Webster, a successful Portland businessman, had taken them on a wild ride, involving smuggled artifacts from China and industrial espionage with an import and export company. HB always had Dorothy’s back when danger threatened, but it was Paul she turned to for comfort. They’d decided to pool resources, not just in business, but sharing a life together.

The passenger door opened, shaking HB from his reverie. Max looked anguished, red-rimmed eyes betrayed his crying. Fastening his seatbelt, he turned to face HB. “How am I going to tell her, how do I tell her the man she loves has been murdered?”

The pain etched on Max’s face was foreign to HB. The usually stoic and rock steady Irishman was crumbling before his eyes. “Hey now, Max, you need to keep it together for her, you know.” HB paused. Not a man given to many words, his expertise with offering sympathy was skimpy at best. “Not sure how she’ll handle this, but we can’t sugar-coat it. She needs to know upfront exactly what’s happened. I’ll find out who’s in charge of the investigation. Maybe I can get some answers.”

Max wiped at his eyes with a white handkerchief then blew his nose. “You’re right, I need to calm down and just be her father. Let’s get on over to the house.”

During the ten-minute drive, HB shared more details of the crime scene.

The older man had settled somewhat, handkerchief put away. “Thanks, son.” He sighed and shook his head. “Bloody shame, you know. By now, they’d have been on their way to the airport. She was looking forward to the convention where she could introduce Paul as her new partner.”

As they swung into the driveway, the front door opened and a smiling Dorothy greeted them. Walking toward his daughter, Max spoke under his breath. “Let me handle this, HB. My little girl is about to be hurt real bad.”

“Dad, HB. This is a nice surprise. I thought you were Paul. He should’ve been home by now. He ran out of here a few hours ago after a phone call. An old army buddy needed to see him right away.” She glanced at her watch, “But I’m not impressed. He’s cutting it close. We should have left already for the airport. And I can’t get him on his phone.”

Max and HB stood silent.

Dorothy looked at both of them. One eyebrow raised in puzzlement. “What’s going on with you two? As much as I’d love to visit, there’s not much time. We’ll have to move the moment he arrives.” Her eyes glanced up and down the street as if willing his car to appear. “It’s not like him to run so late.”

The skies opened up and the rain started in earnest.

“Well, don’t just stand there you pair of chattering fools, come on inside before you’re soaked.”

Still not willing to utter a word or start the dreaded conversation, the men appeared to be more interested in the luggage waiting just inside the door and making a fuss over the small amount of rain they’d received.

Dorothy stared at her father and HB. She smiled tentatively at them. “Is it a problem with one of our cases? Dad, you can help HB surely?”

“Well, of course, darlin’, but this isn’t about a case we’re working on. It’s something else. Come and sit down so we can talk.”

“But I’m leaving.”

Max could see the confusion in his daughter’s eyes. He steered her into the living room while HB made a beeline for the cabinet where he knew Paul kept his liquor. A bottle of brandy materialized and three glasses.

“You two are awfully mysterious. Are we celebrating something?”

Max pulled Dorothy down onto the sofa beside him and held her hand. “We’re not celebrating, darlin’, but you might want a wee brandy when I’ve told you why we’re here.”

HB fumbled with the decanter and ended up sloshing some of the amber liquid on the table.

“What on earth is going on? You’ve something to say, say it already.”

“Sorry, Dorothy. I—I’m not usually this clumsy. I’ll get something to mop this up.” HB moved off to the kitchen, leaving father and daughter alone.

“For goodness sake, Dad, let it out. You and HB are making me nervous. Has Victor Lau escaped from prison? Is Alanna all right? I know she went for her yearly physical last week. Don’t tell me she’s had bad news.”

“No, no, Victor is still locked away and Alanna’s right as rain. It’s bad, my darlin’. There is no easy way to tell you this so I’ll just say what’s happened. It’s Paul,” Max swallowed hard. “Sweetheart, he’s dead.”

HB stood, rooted to the spot, and listened from the kitchen. He heard no exclamation, scream, or cry from Dorothy. He moved toward the living room and found Dorothy staring straight ahead. Max motioned for him to sit with them.

“It’s a terrible shock, darlin’. We’ll tell you the little we know.” Max reached for one of the brandy glasses. “Here, sweetheart, have a sip or two of this fine brandy.”

“Brandy? No thanks, I’ve never liked brandy.”

She stood up abruptly and made toward the stairs. “I have a few more things to pack. Do you think you could make a cup of tea, Dad? Let me know when Paul arrives.” Dorothy left Max and HB staring at her with their mouths open.

© 2019 by Jamie Tremain