Today I’m happy to welcome author John Lindermuth back to Reade and Write.
This is John’s third visit to Reade and Write. You may recall back in August, 2017, he was here to talk about his book The Tithing Herd and back in August, 2016, I interviewed him about his books Something So Divine and Shares the Darkness. You can click on the titles of the books to read the posts.
Today John is here to celebrate the February 27th release of his latest novel, In Silence Sealed. This is the 8th mystery in the Sticks Hetrick series and I’m happy that John can be here to tell us a little about it.
Take it away, John!
“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.”
Those lyrics from the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune illustrate what Lydia Brubaker, daughter of Swatara Creek’s police chief, is feeling as she begins a romantic relationship with Jason Russell in In Silence Sealed, eighth in my Sticks Hetrick crime series.
They met and began seeing one another after she handled sale of a farm property to Clay Stoneroad, Jason’s stepfather, a famous writer. Lydia is soon dismayed to discover she really doesn’t know Jason at all. He’s handsome and charming–all the things she thinks she wants from a man. But Jason has a habit of stretching the truth, and he’s proving to be a leech.
In fact, the entire Stoneroad household is acting a bit strange. Clay is seeing stalkers he later claims exist only in his imagination. A newcomer to town insists his secretary is her missing sister, which the secretary denies. And a reporter for a sleazy tabloid is trying to blackmail the family.
Lydia’s world comes crashing down when Jason is murdered and she becomes the prime suspect.
The idea for this story began as I considered how much a person can really know about another person. Our perception is based on our senses, what we observe about the person, which may be influenced by what they “allow” us to see. Our knowledge of others is based to a large degree on trust, and that makes for a great deal of vulnerability.
In the case of the Stoneroad family, everyone is keeping secrets. And that increases the difficulty for Daniel ‘Sticks” Hetrick to figure out who actually murdered Jason Russell.
Here’s a short excerpt:
“My dad would have a fit if he knew I came here,” Lydia Brubaker said.
Jason grinned. “What’s wrong with Vinnie’s? I kind of like the place, considering it’s where we spend most of our time.”
Lydia felt his hand on her thigh beneath the table. She leaned forward. “It has a reputation.”
“That’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
“It is when it comes to my dad.”
Jason gave her another of those boyish grins that were among the things she found so enticing about him. “I’ve never dated a cop’s daughter before. Is he strict?”
Dating? Lydia wondered if that was the right word for it. They’d been seeing one another for about two weeks now, meeting in bars here and over in Harrisburg and out at the diner on the highway where she’d always been the one paying for the beers and their food. Making out in their cars. Could any of this be classified as dating? Jason was attractive—well, sexy. No guy had turned her on the way he did in a long while. Still, it was more than a sexual attraction made her want to be with him. She couldn’t explain it, even to herself.
“Lydia?” he said again and she realized he was waiting for an answer to his question.
“He can be,” she said. “Mostly he’s a big pussycat when it comes to me. But there’s a limit to what I can get away with. For instance, being seen in this place.”
Jason laughed. “What’s he gonna do—ground you? You’re an adult, aren’t you?
“Of course. It’s just…”
He leaned closer, his brown eyes peering into hers. “You know, that’s something I don’t understand. You make a pretty good buck, yet you’re still living at home with your parents.”
“This from a guy who still lives with his mother.”
“My case is different. We just moved here. And I don’t have a job.”
His hands were both flat on the table again. Lydia regretted her remark. She reached across and squeezed one of those beautiful hands. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sure you’ll find something soon.
“My parents are pretty cool. They’ve insisted I stay with them and build up a good bank account before I go out on my own. Actually,” Lydia added and felt the heat of a blush she hoped Jason wouldn’t notice in the dim light of the bar, “I think they’re hoping I’ll meet somebody and get married rather than moving into an apartment on my own.”
“I’m sure you’ve already had plenty of offers.” He squeezed her hand back.
Lydia frowned. “None I’ve taken seriously.”
“I’d like to meet your folks.”
“Really? But I’m not supposed to socialize with yours. Like last week when I offered to come out to the farm and pick you up…”
Jason shook his head. “You don’t want to spend time with them. They’re the original odd couple. Besides, I like it better when it’s only the two of us.”
Just then Lydia was jolted forward as someone bumped against the back of her chair. “Hey, watch it!” she shouted, twisting around.
“Sorry, hon,” a seedy looking older man holding two mugs of beers in his hands said in apology. “I don’t think I spilled none on you.” He nodded at the two of them and continued on his way, weaving a staggering path toward another table to the rear.
“Oh, great,” Lydia said. “Now I know we have to get out of here. That guy’s one of the auxiliary cops. If he tells my old man he saw me here I’m toast.”
“Drunk as he is he probably won’t remember where he was by tomorrow,” Jason told her. He glanced at his watch. “It’s early yet. What say we have another beer before we leave?”
Sounds like another good one, John. Thanks so much for coming back to the blog to share your work with us.
Readers, if you’re interested in learning more about In Silence Sealed, you can find and preorder it here. And you can check out John Lindermuth’s numerous other works by following him on his Amazon author page. You’ll find the link here.
Until next week,