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Beverly Hills Voodoo

Beverly Hills detective Art Murry has seen it all--or so he thinks. Then he's handed the grisly decapitation of Julia Garoute--his big ticket to regaining his reputation as a hot shot homicide detective. But can he and his rookie partner, Billy "the Kid," solve the crime before another detective steals the case and the glory specifically the cop who broke up Murry's marriage?

If a new partner and the threat of losing the case aren't enough, Julia's headless corpse leads Murry into the murky world of a secret voodoo society--one where potions, powders, and black magic make him question his sanity.

When the trail leads to Haiti, a 20-year-old murder, and motives of revenge, Murry must unravel what's real and what's not before his partner becomes another victim of the deadly sorcerer whose touch can kill.

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AWARDS:
RT Reviewers Choice Award Nominee (Finalist)
EPPIE AWARD Finalist

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release


L.F. Crawford

L.F. Crawford holds an M.A. in Psychology – handy in developing characters and their murderous motivations. She started writing 16 years ago and is an award-winning author of over 14 books. One of the things she enjoys most about her job is the research – which recently included a helicopter ride in a Robinson-22. Beverly Hills Voodoo, featuring Detectives Murry and Kidman – and a touch of the supernatural – was the first book in her current suspense series. The sequel, Fortune Cookie Karma followed and, Bad Moon Rising, the third book in the series is now out in hardcover. Three of her books were nominated for the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers Choice award for Best Mystery. Two have been on the publisher’s bestseller list. Her books have won the Eppie for Best Mystery and been a finalist for Best Mystery three times.

Reviews

5 beacons

"No question about it, multi-published author, L. F. Crawford's exciting who-done-it, Beverly Hills Voodoo is well researched and professionally crafted. "

JoAnn -- Lighthouse Literary Reviews



5 flames - Collector's Treasure

"L. F. Crawford presents to her reader a well crafted, well researched gem of a story with a fast paced plot and highly defined characters that will definitely hold your interest and keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. I couldn't put it down. Well done."

Sandee McCann -- Word Museum



5 voodoo dolls

"I recommend Beverly Hills Voodoo to anyone looking for a mystery with great characterization and a great plot. Ms. Crawford is to be commended for this spellbinding work."

Jaye Dee Tyrack -- Gotta Write Network


"The markedly talented L.F. Crawford hits the ground running with her new suspense series. This book expertly combines elements of suspense, romance and the occult to produce a highly intriguing mystery. A definite winner!"

Jill M. Smith -- The Romantic Times Magazine


"Detective Art Murry has been to hell and back--his wife left him for his partner, he's got a wet-behind-the-ears new partner and a captain who hates him. Now he has a homicide to solve that involves voodoo, several wealthy, powerful suspects, and a Medical Examiner whose whipped cream he'd like to taste. Can he reconcile his personal life with his professional one, and fit all the clues together to unravel the twenty-year-old mystery of death, revenge, hate and love? Does he have a choice? This was a fast-paced, funny, suspenseful read. Once started, I only stopped to feed the kids! Crawford has a knack for creating dynamic plots and flawed yet lovable characters, then weaving them all together into a gripping tale."

Scribes World Reviews
Excerpt

Prologue

HE YANKED THE white coverlet from the empty bed, the nubby texture easy to grip with his gloves.His hands shook. His mind screamed with pent-up anguish, then the need to lash out. Julia was dead. He’d lost her! Lost her! Damn Nicolas. Damn Lyselle. Damn them all.

Hurrying downstairs to the basement, he resisted the urge to crush the scattered bottles, destroy everything, including her body.

Where was the calm that usually settled over him in the presence of death?

He should burn the place down. No.

He crouched,shaking out the white chenille so that it floated a moment before settling against the cement floor. He lifted the headless body onto it. In the periphery of his vision he could see her lifeless eyes, still open, watching. His hands shook even more as he folded the coverlet over her feet, her body, then the bloody, ragged, stem of her neck. He took a deep breath to steady himself as a dark red stain immediately seeped through. He gathered her into his arms and carried her to the car, marveling at how light she was as he laid her in the trunk. He glanced around before climbing behind the wheel, reassured by the quiet.

His fingers felt stiff as he drove. The tires skidded around a hairpin turn, and he fought the desire to go faster, to send himself and Julia soaring off the mountain.

He looked down at the speedometer and forced himself to slow down. Stupid to get caught now.

Finally,his lights flashed on the white scrolled metal fence. Was anyone home? He couldn’t tell. Feeling invisible, powerful, he punched in the alarm code Nicolas had given him. As the iron gate swung closed behind him, he eased the car up the long drive. Parking in the shadows, he got out and listened. Nothing but a distant siren. He removed his boots and crept upstairs. Inside her bedroom, he slid open the closet door and found the long raincoat and wig box he needed.

Quickly returning to the first floor, he put his boots back on, grabbed the raincoat and wig, and deposited the box in the backseat of the car. The awkward angle made her difficult to lever into his arms. The bedspread snagged on the corner of the trunk. He tugged it free and stepped back. The feel of her in his arms, pressed against his chest, brought back the memory of the vibrant young woman Julia had been. His heart ached for her and for the wife of his youth that he had lost so long ago, the two ghosts haunting him as he carried her toward the house.“I’ll make them pay,” he murmured.

Twenty years of memory throbbed like an old scar, newly inflamed with a fresh rush of anger. He’d make all of them pay.

He crossed the threshold and moved quietly through the house. In the kitchen, he laid the body on the clean white tile and unwrapped it. Her silk blouse was drenched in blood, and the coppery smell sickened him. It was hard to leave her sprawled like that on her own kitchen floor, but he had to.

Bunching the bedspread under his arm, making sure no blood dripped on the tile, he retreated out the door.

He could feel the sweat drenching his chest as he drove slowly back to the old mansion, every mile taking hours in his head, the minute scrawling by slower than the pavement.

Finally, finally, he was there.

On the basement floor next to Julia’s head lay the couline, the wooden handle wiped clean. Trying to ignore her sightless eyes, he picked up the long blade, the familiar weight sparking more bloody memories from his past. He pushed them away, considering his next move.

He put the weapon in the car, then enfolded the head in the bloody coverlet and carried it upstairs. After propping it between two pillows, he smoothed the damp bedspread back into place.

Now for the hard part. He slid the slim boning knife from his pocket, eased off his gloves so he could get his fingers behind her eyelids, then very carefully cut out the opaque, lusterless eyes. There was no blood, and they were surprisingly dry. He retreated down the stairs and set them gently on the living room tile so that Lyselle would see them the moment she opened the door.