Monday, 25 March 2019

New Release Spotlight & Guest Post: Checking The Traps by Joan Livingston

Checking the Traps
Isabel Long is a bit banged up from her last case with a broken collarbone and her arm in a sling. But that doesn’t stop her from pouring beer at the Rooster Bar or taking her third case with Gary Beaumont, a local drug dealer who once terrorized her. Gary is convinced his brother didn’t jump off a bridge known for suicides. Somebody pushed him.
Gary’s brother was a boozer who drove for a highway crew. But what interests Isabel and her ‘Watson’ — her 93-year-old mother who lives with her — is that the man wrote poetry.
The chief suspects are one of Gary’s business associates and a famous poet who plagiarized his brother’s poetry for an award-winning book. Yes, he was that good.
As a journalist, Isabel did regular meetups with her sources for stories. She called it checking the traps. She does the same as a private investigator, and this time, she’ll make sure she doesn’t get caught in one.

Amazon UK       Amazon US 

Music to Read By

By Joan Livingston

My Isabel Long Mystery Series has its own soundtrack. That’s because several scenes take place in a country bar, called the Rooster. Actually, Isabel, a longtime journalist turned amateur P.I., works there part-time Fridays, which is music night.
The bands that play at the Rooster have names like The Country Plowboys (the members all work on highway departments), Wild Fire (yup, they’re volunteer firefighters), and the Back Door Men (because, I suppose, they fancy themselves studs.)
Some are good musicians, some are not so good, But Jack, the Rooster’s owner, will invite them back as long as they keep the customers dancing and buying beer.
The bands’ playlists tend to be a lively mix of country, rock, and a bit of blues. Think covers of songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alabama, Allman Brothers, and just about any country star or band that’s got a danceable beat.
And since Isabel and Jack are an item, it is typical that he will shut down the bar so they can dance a fast number.
Ah, that changes in Checking the Traps, the series’ third book because Isabel is a bit banged up from a car crash in her last case. She broke her collarbone, so she wears a sling for the entire book. While it doesn’t stop her from taking a new case or pouring beer one-handed, dancing a fast song is out of the question.
But Jack is a pretty thoughtful guy. Here’s a scene from Checking the Traps that proves it:
Jack pours bottom-shelf whiskey into shot glasses, and then he’s back into the crowd with a tray. He glances over his shoulder.
Get ready, Isabel.”
Get ready for what?”
He chuckles.
You’ll see.”
Before the accident, this would have been Jack’s chance to tip the musicians with free booze, so they’d play Waylon Jennings’ “Good Hearted Woman,” which has become our song of sorts. Then, he’d clang that cowbell to announce the bar was closed while we hit the dance floor. He’d keep me moving all over the place, but with my injuries that would be impossible. He understands that, so I’m a bit mystified when he returns, and darn, he’s reaching for that cowbell. He clangs it and yells over the crowd.
Bar’s closed while this woman and I take the dance floor,” he says. “You all gotta keep your distance though. We don’t want Isabel gettin’ hurt worse than she is.”
Jack… ”
Don’t worry, Isabel. I’m gonna go easy on you.”
With his fingertips pressed against my back, Jack leads me onto the dance floor as the Back Door Men start Alabama’s “Feel So Right,” one of the mushiest country and western songs ever, and certainly a lot gentler than our usual. People move aside when we get to the middle of the floor. Jack has his arms caged protectively around me as we move slowly together. No twirls tonight, no fancy stepping, but we are dancing. I rest my head against his chest. I hear his heart beat.
You doin’ alright there, Isabel?” Jack says at the end.
I look up.
Yeah, Jack.”
He grins that big Jack grin.
Good. Time to get back to work,” he jokes.
Right, boss.”

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Checking the Traps, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the third in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first two are Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge.
An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.
After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long mystery series.

Twitter: @joanlivingston 

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