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Archive for March 16th, 2016

The Deadly Dunes

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The Deadly Dunes (Mac McClellan Mystery – 3) by E. Michael Helms

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Hours after hiring Mac McClellan to investigate the supposed suicide of her archaeologist brother, single-mom Jessie dies in a car accident. Jessie had just showed Mac artifacts and a copy of a map Jake found, items that indicate Hernando de Soto and his explorers might have camped on Five Mile Island during the winter of 1539-1540. Studying the map, Mac determines the site lies in the middle of a planned resort, The Dunes. Declaring the area an historic site could shut the project down. Suspicions aroused, he forges ahead, even though he no longer has a paying client.

Everywhere Mac turns, greed abounds, and no one he interviews seems innocent, even Jessie’s closest friends the Deckers, who have adopted her teenage daughter. Ron Decker’s construction company is building the Dunes, and he is heavily invested in its success. Then there is the oily son and ex-stripper wife of an old curmudgeon who won’t sell the one lot the project still needs to acquire. Jake’s estranged wife Laurel had plenty to gain from his death, and as Mac continues to dig, he begins to wonder if Jessie herself had more at stake than he was led to believe.

No one is happy about Mac’s persistence, and someone is unhappy enough to crash his truck and frame him for yet another murder. But Mac isn’t giving up, no matter what the cost.

Book

My Review

4 stars

An archaeologist, Jake has been found dead, the police rule it a suicide but his sister, Jessie knows better. Because he was looking for Hearnando de Soto had camped in the same area he was investigating, Jessie knows that it was murder. She calls Mac in to investigate. Mac discovers that a resort is planned on being built in the same area. There are a lot of suspects that seem to have something to gain from this resort. But when they decide to try and take out Mac, things get very personal.

This is Mac’s first official case as a private investigator. But this case is no so cut and dry. Because Jake had some mental health issues the suicide seems to be closer to the truth, but the more Mac digs the more it looks like someone is trying to hide something. Then they target him and things get really exciting.

This is a great mystery. I didn’t know who did it until the end because there are a lot of potential killers for many different reasons. There is a lot of action and you can’t help but liking Mac. Mac is a true down home hero. I couldn’t put this book down until the wee hours of the morning.

I f you are looking for a great mystery full of thrills and chills I recommend you check out Deadly Dunes. As for me, I’m going to find the first two books in the series and find out more about Mac.

To purchase The Deadly Dunes make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and E. Michael Helms website.

I received Deadly Dunes for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Contemporary Adventure Thriller
Date Published: February 2015

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Accidental Drowning has been optioned for a possible movie adaption by a Hollywood producer.
Bo Granger loses his job as the manager of a country club golf shop and turns to flying his private drone as a pastime.
Accidentally he captures video with his drone of a woman being murdered by drowning. Bo is torn over whether or not to turn his video over to authorities. He is afraid of reprisal by the person who owns the mansion where the drowning took place, and he worries that his invasion of privacy will derail his wife’s campaign to become governor of California as she is defined as a state legislator by her privacy platform.
Bo endures a series of misadventures as he wrestles with doing the right thing. He is nearly shot to death by a goon hired by the dead woman’s husband, he’s falsely charged with sexual assault by his wife’s housekeeper in a dirty politics scheme, and he gets involved in a torrid romance with a female newspaper reporter who is determined to get the story of a lifetime
Excerpt
The line of club members was out the door. Sequoia Country Club’s pro shop was under siege from filthy-rich golfers—club initiation fees had recently topped three hundred thousand dollars—wanting the newly arrived, multicolored umbrellas. Part of the reason for the unusual customer demand was a steady rain that had swept across the peninsula in the early morning hours. Another was the genius of shop manager Bo Granger, who’d paid a meteorologist out of his own pocket for a long-range forecast the week before. Even though April was still considered the rainy season in the Bay Area, he’d gambled on a big storm hitting precisely on the morning of the club invitational, which boasted a field of 150 golfers. He’d ordered three-dozen of the splashy Leroy Neiman–like designer umbrellas that featured a well in the shaft suitable for housing airplane-sized bottles of booze. He’d been smart, too, in sending e-mail notices to all members announcing his upcoming rainy-day special. Bo figured the huge run on club merchandise was going to be a hit with his new general manager.
Bo had been with the club a little over four years. He’d felt secure enough in his position to warrant this bravado with the umbrellas. Even at a discounted seventy-five dollars a pop, he stood to rake in sales of $2,700 if he could unload three dozen. It was not yet nine thirty in the morning, and he’d sold twenty-four.
Bo was well regarded by the majority of the club’s 550 members, most of them Silicon Valley millionaires. In addition to being a shrewd buyer and mover of golf merchandise, he was very likeable. He had a way of making every club member who came into his shop feel special—especially the good-looking women. He’d almost married one of the better-looking ones, Sally Anne Perkins. She was the daughter of a venture capitalist and had graduated a few years back from the prestigious Stevenson College in New Hampshire with a degree in “green anything.” During the time Bo dated her, she didn’t work; in fact she’d never had a job—didn’t need one with Daddy’s money. She mostly stayed at home and watched game shows. Despite her abundant free time, she didn’t volunteer much—the annual beach cleanup along the San Martin County coastline being the exception. After dating for a year and a half, they broke up. Sally Anne had caught Bo tossing recyclable materials into the garbage yet again. She took a picture of him in the act and posted it on Instagram with the tag, “Should I marry a man who’s this insensitive to our carbon footprint?” She received 547 responses saying no.
Bo got his name from his younger sister. She couldn’t say Robert—it came out Bobo—so his parents went with the abbreviation. Bo’s personality was pleasing. He’d been brought up to be liked by Elaine, a housewife, and Steven Granger, a Walgreen’s pharmacist. “Pleasing people will get you further in life than any degree,” his father had preached. Life with Elaine and Steven was vanilla. Steven made him join the Boy Scouts; Elaine made him play the piano. The most childhood excitement Bo could remember was a road trip to LA where he and his sister, Bobbie, were treated to entire days at Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.
Bo attended Lowell High School in San Francisco, where he failed to distinguish himself as either an exceptional student or athlete—although he did play number three on the golf team—but as a senior was voted Best Personality over a guy who went on to be a nationally recognized comedian.
Bo attended San Francisco State and got his BA in business in four years. It wasn’t until his junior year that he figured out what he wanted to do with his life. He played for State’s golf team and set his mind to becoming a PGA instructor after he graduated. He figured he could make a good living at it and be exposed to beautiful women who were eager for him to teach them the game. Part of that reasoning was fostered by his good looks. His dark, wavy hair, movie-star-like strong jawline, and penetrating hazel eyes had served him well with college co-eds. He’d left a trail of brokenhearted young girls behind him at State. One of his rejections was good-looking enough to land spots in two different national TV commercials. “I dated the Chick-fil-A girl,” he was proud of saying.
Unfortunately, Bo never reached his goal of being a PGA-sanctioned teaching pro—three times he’d failed at putting together the requisite successive rounds of eighty-two or better. That was the golf world’s equivalent of “three strikes and you’re out.” His last opportunity to qualify was at the California Club in South San Francisco. Bo had carded an eighty and an eighty-two on his first two rounds. He was confident that he could post one more round under eighty-two—too confident. His premature celebration the night before his final round did him in. He wasn’t normally a cocktail drinker—he mostly stuck with beer—but the vodka gimlets he was offered by a fellow competitor’s caddy in the club’s bar went down way too easily and too often. By eight o’clock that evening, he had to be carried into the men’s locker room, where club members constructed a bed out of bench pads and left him there to sleep it off. It didn’t help that Bo had an eight o’clock tee time in the morning. It was the par-three, two-hundred-yard twelfth hole that killed him. Sitting at seven over par through eleven holes, he was just three strokes under the dreaded eighty-two-stroke maximum.
About the Author

Pete Liebengood is a retired TV sportscaster (KRON-TV San Francisco and a past play-by-play contributor to ESPN. He’s authored two other novels, “Class of ’62” and “Honeyball.”
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