Friday, January 23, 2015

"Dead in a Dumpster" by B. L. Blair

Dead in a Dumpster
(Leah Norwood Mysteries Book 1)
by B. L. Blair

Author B. L. Blair stops by today to share an excerpt from her latest book, Dead in a Dumpster. She is also offering a $20 Amazon gift card as a prize in our giveaway, so don't forget to enter below. You can also read my review.
For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Notice Me.

When Leah Norwood finds the body of Isabel Meeks in the dumpster behind her store, she can’t believe the police consider her a suspect. Sure, she didn’t liked Isabel, but then again, neither did anyone else. Isabel had a condescending attitude and a bad reputation. As manager of the antique store, Patina, she had made a lot of enemies.
There is Patina’s assistant manager, the handsome and charming Trent. Isabel was blackmailing him. There is Patina’s owner, the aloof and influential Anthony Thorpe. Isabel was smuggling drugs through his store. And there is the entire drug dealing Cantono family. Isabel had lost a box containing heroin from one of their shipments. That is just to name a few and didn’t even include the stranger who was seen arguing with Isabel just hours before her death.
The police have too many suspects and too many soft alibis. Leah needs to prove to the sexy new chief of police that she had nothing to do with Isabel’s death.
Leah loves a good mystery. Can she find the killer before the police arrest her for murder?

“So you found the victim about seven fifty?” asked the baby-faced young cop.
Why was everyone so young?  The name on his badge read Keith Cisneros.  I have always been a little nervous around police officers.  I’m not sure why.  However, I couldn’t be nervous around Keith.  First, he was just too young.  Second, I didn’t have any nerves left.  I was too wet, too cold, and too miserable.  And third, I knew Keith.  Not well, but well enough to not find him intimidating.
We were standing by the dumpster and trying not to look at Isabel.  I don’t think Keith had ever seen a dead body either because the look on his face made me think he wanted to follow in my footsteps – scream, run into the nearest building, and lose his lunch.  But the kid was made of sterner stuff.  My estimation of him rose as he held his ground and questioned me.
“What were you doing out here?” he asked.  Okay, so my estimation of him fell a little.  I glanced at the trash bags sitting at our feet and tried to keep my voice even as I answered.
“I was taking out the trash.”  I don’t think I succeeded as he looked at the trash and then flushed.  Now I felt bad, like I had kicked a puppy.
“So did you …”
“Cisneros.”  A deep, smoky voice cut through the night.  Both of us jumped and then turned toward the voice.  From the shadows, a figure emerged.  If I had any nerves left, I might have been a little anxious.  The man walking toward us moved like a stalking panther.  Smooth, long strides that ate up the space.
He was breathtaking.  Not gorgeous or handsome but there was a power about him that drew the eye.  He wasn’t exceptionally tall, standing about five eleven, but his shoulders were broad and his hips narrow.  Dark hair cut short in a military style, covered his head.  His face was attractive in a timeless way.  Chiseled and clean-shaven but with just a hint of a five o’clock shadow.  He had a small indentation on the right side of his mouth that was trying very hard to be a dimple.  It was as if he was willing it not to appear with the strength of his personality alone.  He had intense green eyes that swept over me briefly before settling on Keith. 
He looked familiar, but I knew we had never met.  I would have remembered him.  He stopped between us and turned to Keith.  “What have we got?”
“Victim identified as Isabel Meeks.  Gunshot wound to the chest, close range.  She was found about seven fifty p.m. by Ms. Norwood.”
Keith pointed to me, and the man turned his eyes to mine.  His gaze swept down my body and back up.  He then dismissed me without a second glance before turning back to the rookie.  “Has the ME been called?”
Now, I know that I am not the most attractive person in the world.  I am what most people would call average.  Average height, average weight, average looks, but being dismissed so completely really pissed me off.  I was cold, wet, tired, and quite frankly, still a little queasy.  And it had been a really bad day. 
“Can I leave now?”
Both of them turned toward me.  Keith seemed a little surprised that I was still there.  The other man just seemed irritated that I had interrupted him.
“You found the body?” he asked and then continued when I nodded, “We will need to ask you some questions.”
Keith had been asking me questions.  My nerves were shot and my temper short.  I am not usually such a bitch, but I had enough of standing out in the freezing rain.  I probably shouldn’t have mouthed off to a police officer, but I figured my day couldn’t get any worse.  I summoned up my inner diva, gave him my most haughty look, and asked in a snooty tone.  “And you are?”
He stared at me a minute, his eyes hard and unyielding.  He raised his eyebrows just a notch, pulled out a badge, and held it toward me.  “Chief of Police Alexander Griggs.”
Well, damn, my day just got worse.

Praise for the Book
"If you enjoy strong women characters with a hint of romance give this book a read. This book is a cozy in the sense that there isn’t any explicit sex scenes or violence. I don’t remember there being any foul language either. But there is more action and danger than a Miss Marple type of novel." ~ Felita Daniels
"B. L. Blair does such an excellent job with Dead in a Dumpster. The writing is fluid, easy, and flows along nicely. All of the characters presented are written in a way that each one could be the murderer - the set up was executed so well. Red herrings were tossed in along the way to shake up the characters and the reader, as well. I thought I knew who did it a couple of different times, only to be blindsided by new developments. The novel is very descriptive, giving the readers a wonderful picture to paint in their minds. I felt like I was actually in Reed Hill. I felt like part of the community and part of the story. The secondary characters don't clog the story with unnecessary dialogue or events. The everyday events in this novel are written very realistically with, of course, the addition of the murder/drug scenario. I am very excited to see what Leah does next!" ~ Sapphyria
"With a good pace that made me read the book a lot quicker than I thought, with nice characters, enough red herrings and possibilities, some dangerous situations (plus another dead body and drug traffic), Dead in a Dumpster was an enjoyable read and I look forward for the next volume." ~ CCAM&GZM
"I really enjoyed the mystery and light romance in the story." ~ Paula of Harps Romance Book Review
"A very good story. It moves along and keep me reading. The murderer was easy to figure out after a while however there is so much else going on that I stayed with the book just to see how everything would turn out. Got to love a story that ends with two men interested in the heroine. Can't wait for the next book." ~ Amazon Customer

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Leah Norwood is the owner of "Scents and Sensibility", a small fragrance store in downtown Reed Hill, Texas. When she finds a dead body in the Dumpster outside her shop, she quickly becomes the main suspect. Leah has always fancied herself to be a bit of a detective, so she sets out to track down the real killer and clear her name. She puts herself in harm's way in her pursuit of the killer and gets a bit too close to the investigation - and the dashing Chief Griggs. Then another dead body shows up. Are the murders related to drug trafficking, an illicit affair, or something else? Can the killer possibly be one of the members of their own small community?
This story gets off to a great start. Leah Norwood is a likable heroine, feisty and full of humor. We are introduced to a long list of characters, but every good mystery needs a lot of suspects. There are a number of editing errors and the dialogue is a bit stilted. Nevertheless, this is a well-crafted story, and the plot is not predictable, even though I did guess the identity of the killer early on.
An enjoyable, fast-paced read. I look forward to Leah Norwood's further adventures.

About the Author
B. L. Blair writes simple and sweet romance and mystery/romance stories. Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the time to finish them.
She is the author of the Holton Romance Series and the Leah Norwood Mysteries. She loves reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her family.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.