THE VIOLET CROW
by Michael Sheldon
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How do you solve the ultimate mystery, where the murder victim has no identity and there’s no physical evidence? You go psychic—deep psychic—and hire Bruno X. Sure, you’re going to have to put up with some Yiddish trash talk and recycled borsht belt shtick. But he’s the only one who can who can stop the crime spree in the ordinarily placid Quaker community of Gardenfield, New Jersey.
Follow Bruno X in Michael Sheldon’s fictional debut, THE VIOLET CROW as he fends off rabid journalists and feckless politicians; untangles webs of deceit in Professor Littlejohn’s Deviant Behavior 101 class; reveals why the Quakers are still fighting over decades-old military medical experiments; and finally, uncovers the secrets of the biotechnology firm whose symbol is The Violet Crow.
Introducing Bruno X
He was dressed in a black Vestimenta suit and white shirt with no tie. Classy Italian duds, but about 10 years old and showing obvious signs of wear. He was less than average height and slightly overweight—typical for a guy in his late 30s or early 40s who didn’t do much manual work. With thick dark hair, brown eyes and glasses with metal frames, he had the look of one of those orthodox Jews from Brooklyn, except he didn’t have a beard and he wasn’t wearing a hat.
Chief Black greeted him personally and began to show him to a room they’d prepared for him. He tried a mild pleasantry to break the ice. “We hope we got the feng shui right for your purposes…” The room was dark with a comfortable chair, incense holders, and other new-age paraphernalia.
“Feng shui, shmeng fui,” the psychic scoffed. “You should know, I can’t tolerate incense. And who wants to sit in the dark? Let’s go in your office. You can test me there.”
“Sure. Don’t you want to find out if I really have psychic powers?”
The Chief said something lame about trusting the people who recommended him, then hated himself for saying it.
The psychic nodded and pointed toward the Chief’s office. “OK. I get the picture. Shut the door please. Thank you. So you don’t want to test my powers…? You say you believe me…? That’s baloney! You don’t care. You think I’m a shnorrer, a con man, a fake… But it was the newspaper lady’s idea—what’s her name, Cromwell, the one with the cute little tuchus?—to use a psychic, and you think I’m gonna do something that’ll make her look stupid. Am I right?”
He gazed with disconcerting directness; he was right in the Chief’s face. It was as if he had eavesdropped on the conversation with the Mayor.
Michael was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Haddonfield, New Jersey. His father was a dentist, which accounts for his sense of humor. His mother, a Jewish mother without peer, instilled in him the idea that the world doesn’t owe you a living—and a love of raw oysters and dry martinis. His training in the craft of storytelling came from reading the masters beginning with Chaucer and Rabelais, through Sterne, to MacDonald and Westlake.
Michael Sheldon will award a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter a $10 Amazon/B&N gift card.