A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth is the author of 16 novels. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and an ex-VP of the Short Fiction Mystery Society.
Jan Kepler and Swatara Creek Police Office Flora Vastine were neighbors and schoolmates, but never close.
When Jan, a school teacher, avid birder and niece of a fellow officer, goes missing and is found dead in a nearby tract of woods, Flora finds herself thrust into the middle of an examination of the other woman's life, as she searches for clues.
As usual, the police have more than one crime to deal with. There's illegal timbering and a series of vehicle thefts taking up their time.And there are other issues to deal with. Flora is concerned there's some shakiness in her relationship with Cpl. Harry Minnich, who seems to be making a lot of secretive phone calls.
Still, Flora maintains focus on the murder, and despite evidence implicating other suspects, the odd behavior of another former classmate rouses Flora's suspicion. Flora's probing opens personal wounds, as she observes the cost of obsessive love and tracks down the killer.
The past is always with us. The past comes back to haunt former police chief Daniel “Sticks” Hetrick and his protégé, Officer Flora Vastine as an outbreak of arson shakes residents of rural Swatara Creek, Pennsylvania.
At first, the minor nature of the fires inclines authorities to see them as pranks, possibly the work of juveniles. Then, tension increases in the wake of a murder at the site of one fire and an increase in the value of targets.
Hetrick and Flora must confront troubling, dangerous people from the past, and errors in judgment add to their jeopardy.
Domestic disturbance calls to the residence of Booth and Stacey Keiser aren’t uncommon. Keiser, a State Police trooper, is known for his volatile temper, and his wife has often been the target for his rage. So officers of the Swatara Creek Police Department aren’t surprised when the couple are found dead on the lawn of their home.
Officer Fred Drumheiser is ready to write it off as a tragic murder-suicide. But Corporal Harry Minnich isn’t prone to snap judgments. Something about the situation rubs Harry wrong, and his suspicions lead to a forensics test with a surprising conclusion.
A short story.
Trouble follows Sticks Hetrick when he and Anita Bailey, the new woman in his life, go on a Caribbean cruise. Though he has no jurisdiction, Hetrick assists a Jamaican police inspector investigate two murders which have roots back home in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Officer Flora Vastine, Hetrick's protégé and the team in Swatara Creek, are probing mysterious assaults on young women which will put Flora's life in jeopardy. Both Hetrick and Flora will learn the past has consequences which can't be denied.
As the 19th century winds to a close, Sheriff Sylvester Tilghman of the small Pennsylvania town of Arahpot ponders his biggest problems: finding a new deputy and convincing his true love, Lydia, to marry him. But an early autumn day finds Arahpot’s usual tranquility shaken when a stranger is fatally stabbed. Upon seeing the victim, Tilghman recalls witnessing a strained encounter between him and Valentine Deibert, an obese man with a wife half his age who had recently moved to Arahpot. The sheriff questions Deibert who denies knowing the victim. Tilgman is unconvinced, but lacks a connection until the widow arrives in Arahpot. Suddenly Sylvester is plunged into investigating two murders. As he works through an abundance of motivated suspects, Tilghman finds himself in danger. And worse -- Lydia is pushing her obnoxious cousin as a candidate for deputy.
When a lonely widow finds the severed head of an unknown young woman on her front porch in rural Swatara Creek, Pennsylvania, Police Chief Aaron Brubaker is baffled. Anxious to conceal his ineptitude from municipal officials, Brubaker (whose experience has been largely limited to policing weekend drunks and speeders) strikes a deal for former chief Daniel "Sticks" Hetrick to come in as consultant. Hetrick, bored in an enforced early retirement, has a broader background, including a stint as a State Police criminal investigator and is eager to prove his ability to one particular supervisor. In tracing the ID of the victim, Hetrick discovers a link to a major theft of rare ornithological books and a trail that leads from Philadelphia to his hometown where he is forced to confront danger and the darker side of his community and its residents. Read all the thrilling Daniel 'Sticks" Hetrick Murder-Mysteries from author J.R. Lindermuth! CRUEL CUTS, SOMETHING IN COMMON, CORRUPTION'S CHILD, BEING SOMEONE ELSE, and PRACTICE TO DECEIVE.