SAY GOODBYE, by E.J. Rand
a Reluctant Sleuth Mystery novel
published by Deadly Ink Press in February 2008
(click here to read an excerpt)
A second chance at true love is hard to find after the death of a long-term spouse, and all the more difficult for Gary Kemmerman. In SAY GOODBYE, on the snowy February morning we meet him, he becomes an amateur sleuth against his will and meets Becca — his second chance — because of the case he's begun investigating.
Mystery readers will enjoy the trials of an "everyman," middle-aged and curious, with cranky back and constant worries, who wears his heart on his sleeve and makes mistakes. He's not bulletproof — after he figures out the reason for his friend's murder and falls for Becca, the question is whether they can stay alive. SAY GOODBYE twines love and murder into pounding suspense. What starts as a whodunit evolves into a race against time and death. A SWAT team cannot accomplish what Gary might, alone, with heart and brain as his only weapons.
Romance readers will find SAY GOODBYE a deep love story folded into a murder mystery. Becca, a divorcee with a grown daughter, has built defenses against men; Gary's reluctant to move past memories — but nothing brings chemistry to a boil like mortal danger. Falling for her allows him to let go of his late wife. As the couple's attraction deepens, they are embroiled in the web caused by his probing. Finally, the killer targets them and Gary finds the past repeating itself: he'd lost his wife the year before, and he's about to lose his new love. But he can't say goodbye again.
Along the way, we're introduced to a clever multi-million dollar scam at a major securities firm. An expert has vetted the scheme (in a larcenous aside, he described how he'd like to do it). "That much money," as the gang leader says, "is worth killing for." Residents of the tri-state area will identify with the cruel weather, horrendous traffic, and local sites. Yes, bodies by the car-full are buried in The Meadowlands.
A recurring theme in the series is Gary's fear of losing Becca, his need to keep her safe, and his inability to do that — she's a nurse, and strong willed. By novel three, he makes her a partner: it might be safer knowing what she's doing. But even that doesn't work.