Saturday, October 19, 2013

Good Night Sleep Tight Don't Let the Stalkers Bite (Charlie Bannerman Mysteries) by Teresa Watson

Good Night Sleep Tight Don't Let the Stalkers Bite (Charlie Bannerman Mysteries) by Teresa Watson

Charlie Bannerman's week started by catching her Malamute, Duke, who had treed a neighbor's cat. Then her car wouldn't start. Everything seems to go downhill from there. She has to deal with a crazy ex-boyfriend, who still has the hots for her, his current girlfriend who is a bit unhinged, and a neighbor who is at war with the neighborhood teenagers. Then things get deadly: her car is blown up (with a body in it) and someone drives a truck into her house. With the body count rising, Charlie must figure out who is stalking her before they permanently turn the lights out.


Despite the dark purple bruise on my knee Wednesday morning, I decided to get out of the house for a while. Duke had plenty of food, but I felt like Old Mother Hubbard’s dog looking for something in the cupboards. I let him out back to take care of his business, and brought him back inside. I had a feeling Blinky was nearby, and I didn’t want Duke to hurt her in case she got too close.
Mr. Crubbs was checking the oil in his Cadillac when I came out the front door. I don’t know why he bothered to keep it running; he had his license revoked last year after he had a few near misses, including a fainting spell in the grocery store parking lot.
His yard looked pretty good, considering all the work that had been done yesterday. I was impressed by how fast they had finished, and I was still certainly that Keaton had something to do with it. But I knew if I asked Mr. Crubbs, he wouldn’t tell me a thing, so I let it go.
My Beetle started with no problem, and I headed first for the newspaper office. The editor of the Daily Sun, Ralph Moxley, gave me feature stories to do once a week and I had yet to pick up this week’s assignment. This was not a good thing, as Ralph usually wanted the story by Friday afternoon.
“About time you came in,” he growled when I walked into his office.
“I’m sorry, Ralph. I had a couple of things come up at home.”
“I heard about one of those ‘things’. Heard you broke Cash Christian’s nose in three places and knocked a couple of teeth out, too.”
“I hadn’t heard about the teeth. Where did you get that?”
“Doc Mendelson told me last night at Rachel’s. Cash came to see him in the afternoon, missing his two front teeth.”
I would have to ask Bernie about that. “Sorry, Ralph, I can only claim the nose.”
“I’ll have Sarah write ‘the assailant says she broke her victim’s nose, but not his teeth during an exclusive interview with this newspaper’s editor on Wednesday morning’.”
I gasped. “Oh please, Ralph, don’t do that! My mother would be mortified! Anything I say about the incident is strictly off the record.”
Ralph waved his hand at me. “Don’t give me that ‘off the record’ crap. Besides, I know what happened. I got the story from Bernie.” He grew serious. “Are you ok?”
“A few bruises, that’s all.”
“Off the record, I’m proud of you for fighting back. Cash deserves much worse than what you gave me, let me tell you. He’s been a terror in this town for years. It’s about time he got back a little of what he has dished out.”
I raised my eyebrows in surprise. I had never heard Ralph talk about Cash like this before. He never said anything when we were dating, wisely kept his own counsel, and throwing work at me to keep me busy after we broke up. I had to admit, Ralph may be a grump and a sour puss at times, but deep down, he was a big softie.
“Here,” he said, shoving a folder at me. “This week’s feature. Isabella Tracy is hosting a charity event at the country club next week and wants a big write up for Sunday’s edition.”
I rolled my eyes. The one thing I didn’t want to do was interview Isabella, especially considering the problems between her and my mother. “Can’t you put someone else on this? What about Sarah? She’s wanted to do a feature piece for a while now.”
“Yes, but she’s not best friends with Isabella Tracy’s oldest daughter, now is she?” Ralph countered. “You are. What’s the problem?”
“She had a minor disagreement with Mother, and they aren’t on speaking terms. I’m not sure Isabella will even speak to me.”
“So don’t talk to her about the argument, talk to her about the charity event! Make sure Sydney is there with you. She can act as a buffer between you and her mother. Just get me that story by Friday afternoon.”
I turned to leave. “Charlie.” I looked back. “Be careful. Cash has a mean streak a mile long, and Deja is just as nasty as he is. Watch your back.”
“You know something I don’t, Ralph?”
“Just be careful, that’s all I’m saying. Now get out of here. I’ve got work to do.”
I stopped by Sarah’s desk. “You didn’t write an article about an attack on Cash Christian, did you?”
“Oh, you mean about you breaking his nose in three places, knocking out two of his teeth, and breaking his jaw?” Sarah said.
“Breaking his jaw?” This story gets bigger and bigger. “Who told you that?”
“Deja Taylor. She said his mouth hurts so bad, he can’t kiss her.”
I bit back a retort. “I didn’t break his jaw, nor did I knock out two of his teeth. I merely broke his nose.”
“I heard he wanted you arrested.”
“And I want a million dollars. Neither one of those things is happening.”
“Don’t worry, there is nothing in the paper about his broken nose or his assault on you, I promise. Ralph threatened to fire all of us if we even thought about writing something about it.”
I felt some tension ease that I had not realized I had been feeling. “Thanks, Sarah.”
“Are you ok?”
Assuring her I was fine, I said goodbye, walked out the front door and headed for the parking lot located on the left side of the building. I looked in my purse, located the keys and pulled them out. When I raised my head, I saw someone sitting in the passenger’s seat of my car.
Right before it blew up.

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