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Maxie's in trouble and

in over her head.

It all started with a friend asking Maxie to shoot her husband and went rapidly downhill from there. Now the Huffelwitz's resident bookie, a prim little old lady with a genius for numbers and a passion for the ponies, has dragged Maxie into the middle of the biggest mobster muddle Maxie's ever seen. And then Amelia showed up!

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Here's the opening scene for TROUBLE IN RIVER CITY 

“Just shoot him. Would you do that for me? Please?”

“Love to,” I said, “but I have this thing about guns—I don’t like ’em.”

“You don’t have to like ’em,” said my friend, Linda. “You also don’t have to like him. I sure as hell don’t. All you have to do is shoot him.”

Before we go any further, I should explain that I’m a private investigations agent with my own (always struggling) business. Linda’s a waitress at Wild Bill’s, my preferred lunch/beer/billiards place right across the street from my office in the Huffelwitz Building, which rates as one of River City’s shabbiest office buildings in one of its least desirable neighborhoods. Some residents consider Wild Bill’s one of the contributors to that “least desirable” designation, but the beer is cold, the hamburgers to die for, and the pool tables are top flight, whatever you may think of the clientele. 

Linda and I were bonding over girl talk and some of Bill’s best beer and nachos when she popped her question. 

“Calendar’s full,” I said again. “Sorry.”

“Yeah, right.” She eyed me disapprovingly. “You’re not being very helpful.”

“I assume you’ve considered the do-it-yourself approach?” I said. Helpfully, of course.

“Can’t hit the broad side of a barn. No, really,” she added when she saw I didn’t believe her. 

What was I supposed to think? She’s from Texas. Everybody from Texas knows how to shoot a gun, right? 

“I was maybe eight when my daddy took my brother and me out behind the barn for a little target practice with his old .22. There was a great big old stack of the last year’s hay out there, so he pinned a target on a bale and handed me the rifle and told me to do my best.”

“So you missed the target. Big deal. Most folks miss their first time out. Those things aren’t all that big.”

Linda scowled into her coffee, remembering. “I didn’t just miss the target. I missed the whole damn barn and killed my daddy’s tractor that was sitting out in the field, instead. I haven’t handled a gun since.”

“Bummer,” I said. 

“You can say that again.”

“Bummer.” I’m nothing if not agreeable.

We silently chugged more beer, glumly considering the disadvantages of not playing well with guns.

“What about poison?” I said.

“Won’t work. He hates my cooking.” She sighed. “Can’t say I blame him. I don’t much like my cooking, either.”

“Cut his brake line?”

“Wouldn’t know a brake line from a brake light. After I killed that tractor, my daddy wouldn’t let me near the cars, either.”

“Run him over with your car?”

She considered that for a minute, then shook her head regretfully. “Can’t take a chance on throwing the front end out of alignment—I don’t have the money to get it fixed.”

“Good point.”

“Besides, the bastard’s so big, he’d probably crumple the whole front half of the car and still be standing there after, making my life miserable.”

“That would be bad.”

She nodded. “That would be very bad.”

“I don’t see any help for it, then,” I said. “You’re just going to have to divorce him.”

She heaved another sigh, bigger than the first. “I was afraid you were gonna say that.”

Me again--I'm shooting to publish TROUBLE in late August. That's my goal, anyway. Unfortunately, my aim on these things is about like Linda's out there behind her daddy's barn--it's sometimes waaaay off the mark. But I'm always optimistic! 

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