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TODAY, we're playing host to a tour making it's way through the blogosphere with PICT. It's the latest addition to the Ozarks Mystery series ready to satisfy and tantalize Legal/Crime Thriller fans round the world. Ready or not, we're shining the spotlight on...
The Wages of Sin
An Ozarks Mystery, Book 3
“The Elsie Arnold series deserves to run and run.”— Alex Marwood, author of The Wicked Girls and The Killer Next Door
In rural McCown County, Missouri, a young pregnant woman is found beaten to death in a trailer park. The only witness to the murder is Ivy, her six-year-old daughter, who points to her mom’s boyfriend—father of the unborn child. County prosecutor Madeleine Thompson promises the community justice, and in the Ozarks, that can only mean one thing: a death sentence. When Madeleine’s first choice for co-counsel declines to try a death penalty case, she is forced to turn to assistant prosecutor Elsie Arnold. Elsie is reluctant to join forces with her frosty boss, but the road to conviction seems smooth—until unexpected facts about the victim arise, and the testimony of the lone eyewitness Ivy becomes increasingly crucial. Against Elsie’s advice, Madeleine brings in the state attorney general’s office to assist them, while cutthroat trial attorney Claire O’Hara joins the defense. Elsie will not let the power of prosecution—of seeking justice—be wrested from her without a fight. She wants to win the case, and to avenge the death of the mother and her unborn child. But as the trial nears, Elsie begins to harbor doubts about the death penalty itself. Meanwhile, the child Ivy is in greater danger than anyone knows.
“Unflinching and gritty.” — Library Journal
~~ EXCERPT ~~
Oh my God. Let this be over, Elsie thought, doodling on the page of a legal pad. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Elsie Arnold had been tied up in Judge Carter’s court for nearly two hours that morning, representing the State of Missouri in a preliminary hearing. The criminal defendant was charged with robbery in the first degree. Only Judge Carter, Elsie thought, would be coldhearted enough to subject her to a robbery prelim on the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend.
Public Defender Josh Nixon was grilling the bank president, Donna Hudson, in cross-examination.
“So you were present at the time of the alleged robbery?”
“Yes—I said so. In my office.”
“But isn’t it true that, if you were shut up in your office, you did not have occasion to hear whether the defendant threatened any harm?”
“The buzzer sounded. I heard it.” The woman sat stiff, with righteous indignation in every wrinkle of her face.
“The alarm, right? But you didn’t hear any statements made by the defendant, did you? Because you remained safely in the back of the bank.”
“I saw the bomb.”
A comical grin grew on the defense attorney’s face; Elsie closed her eyes so she wouldn’t have to see it.
“The bomb?” he repeated.
“The box. The box with the tape.”
The criminal complaint filed by the prosecution did not allege that the defendant had threatened the bank employee with a bomb. The criminal charge stated that the defendant threatened the use of what appeared to be a bomb.
“Describe this box, please.”
“It was a box, about this size,” she said, making a rectangle shape with her hands. “And it was covered with duct tape.”
“Did the defendant detonate this deadly bomb? This dangerous instrument you described?”
The banker eyed the defense attorney with resentment. “You know what happened.”
“Tell me. For the record.”
“The bank teller gave him the money. Everything in her drawer. He ran out, left that box on the counter.”
“Then what happened?”
“The bomb squad came and took over.”
“What did they do? If you know.”
“They exploded it.” The lines deepened around the woman’s mouth. “They blew it up. And the mess went everywhere.”
“Mess? What kind of mess?”
Elsie wanted to cover her ears to block out the answer that was coming.
“The chocolate, the cherries.”
Josh Nixon leaned on the empty jury box, nodding sagely. “So the bomb was not a bomb at all? It was—what did you say?”
“A box of candy. Chocolate-covered cherries. Wrapped in duct tape.”
“And for the record, Ms. Hudson: was the money recovered? The money from the bank teller’s drawer?”
“Yes, it was. But—”
Before she could complete her sentence, the defense attorney turned his back to her, cutting the witness off. “No further questions,” he said, and walked back to the counsel table. Nixon slid into his seat, stretching his long legs out in front of him and tucking his longish sun-streaked hair behind his ear. He hadn’t bothered to don a tie.
Nancy Allen practiced law for 15 years as Assistant Missouri Attorney General and Assistant Prosecutor in her native Ozarks. She has tried over 30 jury trials, including murder and sexual offenses, and is now a law instructor at Missouri State University. Her first novel,The Code of the Hills, was published by HarperCollins in 2014. The Wages of Sin, is the third book in her Ozarks mystery series.
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Be sure to catch the whole tour running April 26 - May 11, 2016 on a blog near you! Special thanks to the PICT team for the chance to participate in this promotion. For more information on this title, tour, or those forthcoming, feel free to click the links provided above.
Until next time...happy reading!