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THE VIOLET CROW
by Michael Sheldon
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 Gardenfield and Chief Buddy Black
The borough of Gardenfield is home to some 35,000 peaceful souls nestled in the friendly confines marked by Tiny’s Package Store to the north, the J. Kilmer Pub to the east, Lillian’s Tavern to the south, and the Tiki Lounge to the west. A Philadelphia suburb, it is a prosperous community with colonial roots and a variety of pretensions, including a prohibition on the sale of alcoholic beverages within Gardenfield proper. In fact, thirsty Gardenfielders simply have to drive past the town limits on any of the major roads, in order to enjoy a beer or a cocktail.
Buddy Black was not a drinking man by habit. Nor was he averse to dropping by a tavern from time to time, to see what the locals were up to and let off some steam after work. Tonight he made a beeline for Lillian’s. It had been a while. Lillian greeted him at the door. Rail thin and dyed blond, she appeared to be in her 60s and to subsist on nothing but whisky, cigarettes, and conversation. She welcomed Buddy with a hug. “Hi, hon. Nice to see you again. She’s expecting you.”
“How could she be expecting me? I only decided to come here 10 minutes ago.”
“We read the papers, too, y’know.”
“I’m that predictable…?” The Chief freed himself from Lil’s embrace and headed for the bar. “Daisy, did you really know I’d come here tonight?”
The woman behind the bar was dressed in tight jeans and a low-cut flower-print top. She was busy polishing a wine glass, and didn’t look up until she’d finished her task. Then she flashed a smile that was warmer than Lil’s rather spectral hug. “Buddy! I haven’t seen you since—what?—Bay of Pigs. It’s about time you came to see me.” Without asking she opened a bottle of Rolling Rock and set it down in front of the Chief.
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.