EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Murder in One Take
by April Kelly and Marsha Lyons
Murder in One Take is the first book by April Kelly and Marsha Lyons featuring the Ervansky-O'Brien crime-fighting team. Also available: Murder: Take Two and Murder: Take Three.
Murder in One Take is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
Det. Blake Ervansky is first on the scene when an Oscar-winning star is shot by his ex-lover. As lead cop on the case, Ervansky has everything he needs to put away Ali Garland: motive, weapon, videos of the murder and a dozen eyewitnesses, one of whom is his partner of less than 24 hours, Sgt. Maureen O’Brien.
This is LA, the beating heart of show biz, though, so nothing is as it seems, even Ervansky’s new partner. Ali Garland appears to have been justified in defending herself with lethal force, but could this wide-eyed ingénue be the architect of an airtight double fake? Has she really pulled off the perfect murder?
Ervansky and O’Brien will only unravel her skein of deceit when they turn to the same Hollywood magic that convinces audiences aliens can phone home, talking clown fish do search and rescue, and every hooker is just a nice girl waiting for the right millionaire.
Attorney Sam Klein didn’t usually handle divorces, and as he rode the twenty-two stories down from the penthouse to the parking garage mulling over his lost morning, he remembered why. The man he had deposed was one of those masterwonks of the internet. His software, in more than a billion computers around the world, had put him in the top ten on America’s income roster. Unfortunately, it was that same software that hid his true financial worth from Sam, a canny cyber obfuscation of how much and where.
Klein represented the man’s future ex-wife, a woman who had married him when he was still playing Dungeons and Dragons and tinkering with code in his father’s basement. Two children and fourteen years of nerd-sitting entitled her to half of that massive financial pie, and even the much thinner slice Sam intended to carve off for himself would be a substantial part of his income this year. That is, if he could find the money.
From 8:00 that morning till noon he had charged the bastard from every direction, and had still walked out with the same phony forty-nine-million-dollar figure the little jerk and his patronizing attorney had presented to Sam’s client at the start of this divorce. Sam wasn’t stupid; he knew half of forty-nine million was getting dangerously close to real money, but he also knew his client should be getting ten times that amount. She was still willing to gut it out, scraping by on the seventy-thousand-a-month maintenance and child support he had won for her, but Sam was tired of being yanked around by that jackwad and his lawyer.
God, I need a cigarette, Sam muttered, handing his ticket to the valet, then patting his pockets till he found the Nicorette. By the time his silver Mercedes rolled to a stop in front of him, the gum was already taking a bit of the edge off. For the hundredth time he wondered why he lived in a city where smoking ranked somewhere between child molestation and elder abuse, and for the hundredth time the one-word answer was money. Only New York City could boast a bigger cauldron of bubbling cash, and he didn’t like the weather there.
As soon as he had cleared the gate of the parking garage, Sam checked his cell phone and found five urgent messages from Dennis. Why did I ever agree to hire the nephew of my third-most-profitable client, he asked himself. The fussy little drama queen thought running out of Splenda packets at the office constituted an emergency, and Sam was fed up with his over-the-top responses to those little glitches of everyday life. “Call Dennis,” he told his phone, and it did.
“Oh, Mr. Klein, I’m so glad you finally got back to me,” Dennis blurted out breathlessly. “We have a bit of an emer—”
“Dennis!” snarled Sam, cutting off his assistant’s yammering. “Whatever it is can wait till I get there.”
“But Mr. Klein, you don’t know—”
“White meat turkey!” he barked. “Kaiser roll, light mayo, no lettuce. Make sure it’s there in fifteen minutes, and tell Karen to put up a fresh pot of coffee in exactly ten minutes. Did you get all that?”
There were two beats of silence before Dennis responded, having used the time to switch from panic to snippy mode. “Of course, Mr. Klein,” he smarmed into the phone. “I’ll get right on it, sir.”
The connection broke and Sam wondered if there were any way to fire Dennis without losing his uncle as a client.
Once back in Century City, Sam opened the polished mahogany door of his own suite of offices and was immediately comforted by the warmth and hominess of the lobby. None of that stark, minimalist, contemporary crap for Sam Klein. He had selected the Jaipur carpets himself, as well as the Victorian camel-back couches and the softly glowing Venetian glass sconces on the walls. He gave himself a few seconds to absorb the calming vibe, then walked past the way-too-perky receptionist—Judy, Jody, something like that—and headed toward his private office.
Sam had barely rounded the corner of his outer office when Dennis popped up from his desk like a Whack-a-Mole rodent.
“Turkey sandwich and coffee. My office, now!” Sam ordered, a preemptory strike to cover him as he crossed to the safety of his office.
He was able to open the door right before Dennis’ nattering started—“Mr. Klein, there’s something you should know”—and shut it before he could finish.
Sam enjoyed nearly a full nano-second of relief before the skeletal form of “supermodel” Brianna launched itself from one of his leather wingbacks and started screaming at him from a foot away. Not for the first time, he thought: Jesus, she looks like a coat hanger with a head. The description, as always, pleased him, and he fought the urge to smile until he finally pro-cessed what she was saying.
“Dev’s dead! Didn’t you hear me? That stupid bitch killed him!”
“What?! Dev’s dead?”
“Shot to death! Where the hell have you been this morning? It’s all over the news! The police arrested Ali for killing him.”
Sam set his attaché case down and sank heavily onto the nearest chair as his sucky day got suckier. He calculated his losses, above and beyond the monthly twenty-grand retainer. He’d been helping a broker churn stocks on Dev Roberts the past couple years in return for a tidy fee which he billed as legal services, although a stickler for the truth might call them kickbacks.
The coat hanger was in his face again, and Sam snapped back to the disaster at hand.
“I said, what about the money? Am I getting it? ’Cause I’m not keeping this kid if I don’t get the money.”
Sam scanned her scrawny midsection, wondering first what other men found attractive in these stick women who dominated the media, and second how the fetus was surviving on two raisins and a Wheat Thin every other day. The kid might be born anorexic and have a whore for a mother, but little Dev or Deb would be filthy rich before the first diaper change. “Of course the money goes to you and Dev’s unborn child.”
“All of it? I’m not losing my figure and my modeling career for a measly few million bucks.”
Her “modeling career.” It was all Sam could do to keep from laughing. The coat hanger was too dimwitted to have noticed the only cover she had ever gotten was a second-tier women’s magazine that had miraculously scooped the bigger and better mags with an exclusive Dev Roberts interview two months later. At Dev’s request, Sam had brokered the deal. Prior to that Brianna, who insisted the press always refer to her as Supermodel Brianna, had done some lingerie ads and, for all Sam knew, pole-dancing at bachelor parties. “Yes, with the exception of a half-million-dollar bequest to a children’s hunger initiative, you get it all.”
“What about the house?”
“Dev’s life insurance will pay the mort-gage off and then it’s yours, free and clear.”
“How much are we talking about here? Bottom line.”
“I’ll need to check the investment portfolio and factor in the chalet in Vail, but I’d say in the neighborhood of sixty or sixty-five million.”
The coat hanger visibly relaxed and got a dreamy look on her face. “Yeah, that’s what I figured.”
As if this twit had the ability to calculate anything more than a ten-percent tip for her acrylic nail technician, Sam silently observed.
Supermodel Brianna, real name Brenda Schultz, left happy, with thoughts of lynx coats and Lamborghinis filling the nearly empty space between her two-carat diamond earrings. A moment after she left, Dennis entered with a turkey sandwich and coffee, and Sam told him to pull the Roberts will from the safe.
As Sam hungrily tore into his overdue lunch, he did an assessment of the situation. If he could convince the coat hanger to keep him on to handle legal matters and manage the money, he’d be in the same cushy position as before. Plus, he had that little nugget of his own buried in Dev’s will. He hadn’t expected it to pay off for another twenty or thirty years when a much older Dev Roberts overdosed or had an M.I. in the saddle, but what the hell, Sam deserved this. Who cared about one more dead actor anyway?
Praise for the Book
"This perfectly crafted Hollywood murder peels back the curtain on not one, but two worlds, giving the reader a glimpse into the glamour of show business and the slow grind of down-and-dirty police work, blending the two domains in clever metatextual ways. Plenty of snappy banter and clenched-jaw exposition ... all the intrigue of Hollywood’s big-budget blockbusters." ~ Kirkus Reviews
"I completed this book several weeks ago and felt compelled to comment. My wife and I read all the time and especially enjoy murder mysteries that are well written. This is one of the best we have ever read. [...] Don't fail to get this book. You will not be able to put it down. It is much more entertaining that watching the lame shows on TV where they solve a murder in one hour minus 15 minutes worth of commercials. Looking forward to reading the next book in this series." ~ Whitt
"Kudos to the authors for finding a unique way to write a murder mystery and make it track so well. They combine their knowledge of Hollywood and the law to do so. There were no gaps, no wondering what happened to a character, no loose threads to try to pick up in the plot. It was solid and engaging and really well written, and I read the final words with a sigh of genuine satisfaction, along with the hope that there is another Maureen/Blake book in the works!" ~ Rebecca, Reader Not Reviewer
With every chapter of Murder in One Take came more interest and questions for which I wanted answers! The story kept ahead of me as a reader which was a real motivation to keep turning the pages. There was cogent background built for each character that laid cohesiveness to the twists and turns of plot which switch backed through the entertainment industry and investigatory tactics only writers from experience could possibly capture. [...] These two authors have definitely begun what I hope will become a great collaborative writing project to produce a series of fine mysteries worthy of lasting interest in the lives of such well-conceived and creative characters. Sgts. O'Brien and Ervansky will leave you wanted MORE!" ~ Susan Simmons
About the Authors
April Kelly and Marsha Lyons were debate team partners at Colonial High School in Orlando and roomies at The University of South Florida, before Marsha went to law school on a mission and April went to Hollywood on a whim.
While Marsha’s career includes teaching at the FBI Academy at Quantico, becoming the youngest Assistant U.S. Attorney in Miami, and going into private legal practice, April’s began in stand-up comedy, moved into writing on shows like Mork & Mindy and Webster, then to producing her own shows like Boy Meets World, and co-creating Girl Meets World.
Throughout their wildly different professional lives Marsha and April have remained best friends, finally deciding to put their separate talents together to write a show-biz crime novel, Murder in One Take, their debut as a team. Murder: Take Two and Murder: Take Three are also available in the series.
Marsha is married with children, and April is single with dogs.
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of ten paperback copies of Murder in One Take by April Kelly and Marsha Lyons.