– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Lake Templeton Murders’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
HS Burney writes fast-moving, action-packed mysteries set against the backdrop of majestic mountains and crystalline ocean in West Coast Canada. She loves creating characters that keep you on your toes. A corporate executive by day and a novelist by night, HS Burney received her Bachelors’ in Creative Writing from Lafayette College. A proud Canadian immigrant, she takes her readers into worlds populated by diverse characters with unique cultural backgrounds. When not writing, she is out hiking, waiting for the next story idea to strike, and pull her into a new world.
A body washes up on the shores of Lake Templeton, a small town on the coast of Vancouver Island. Sharon Reese, the victim, was a dedicated government employee. Everyone liked her, but no one knew much about her. Was she hiding something? Maybe a questionable past riddled with scandal. And did it lead to her plunge to death, in a drunken stupor, off the dock outside her secluded lakefront lodge?
Was it an accident? A suicide? Or cold-blooded murder? Private Investigator, Fati Rizvi, is determined to find out.
Fati arrives in Lake Templeton to find secrets that run as deep as the City’s sewers. Everyone is hiding something and nothing is as it seems. A cult escapee. A corrupt politician. A struggling airline. A multi-million dollar public-private project to revitalize the Lake Templeton waterfront. How are they all connected?
As Fati valiantly unravels the knots, another body is found on the shore. Is it the same killer? And can Fati stop them before they strike again?
Our murder victim, Sharon Reese, has a complicated and mysterious history. In this scene, Private Investigator, Fati Rizvi, starts to uncover it. It opens up a whole new world into Sharon’s character and Fati starts to better understand who she was as a person.
Sharon’s story is gripping. Her mother abandoned her shortly after they arrived at the remote commune in the Haida Gwaii Queen Charlotte Islands. She relinquished her daughter’s hand without hesitation, as if under a trance. A confused Sharon was shuffled screaming and wailing into a wooden cage where she was kept for two weeks. Twice a day, a stone-faced woman would push a leaky gruel through a trapdoor, ignoring Sharon’s dirty fingers that tried to grab at her ankles. This was Sharon’s initiation. She was seven years old.
On the ninth day of her confinement, Sharon stopped crying. She drew inwards. At the two week mark, they took her out of the cage, washed her down with cold water, and gave her clean clothes. She was cleansed. Now, she was worthy.
Sharon joined a community of zombies, paralyzed by ideological rigidity. Haunted souls searching for something elusive. They wore simple clothing and grew their own food. No one talked about where they came from. They were there to be reborn.
The cult leader, Jefferson Wall, lived with them like a God among men. When he entered a room, everyone froze in rapt attention. His words were napalm, soothing and irresistible. Several hours every day were spent in prayer, meditating on the leader’s sermons. As per the usual cult formula, he had his pick of girls of all ages at the commune.
Alcohol abuse was rampant. They drank moonshine they brewed themselves. Girls as young as eleven were force-fed the brew to dull their senses on nights they had to copulate with the leader. Being drunk was the only way to survive this life. But Sharon never partook, not even once. And no one pushed her.
Sharon escaped the fate of the other young women at the cult. She was never raped by the leader. Instead, she became his sidekick. He took a keen interest in her – groomed her like a daughter. Sometimes slipped her chocolates and let her read the news, which only he had access to.
Maybe it was because she was stronger than the others. The two weeks at the cage affected her differently. She didn’t shrink into a sniveling mess. She lengthened, strengthened, and endured. She walked out with her eyes dry and her head held high. At seven years old.
Sharon said she was not privy to the mass suicide plan. I am skeptical. She was the only one at the commune that Jefferson Wall took into his confidence. Why would he have kept this from her?
Sharon said that the poison in her drink was diluted, not as potent as what others took. Maybe Jefferson Wall wanted her to continue his quest, to build a new flock, to carry on his legacy.
Win $10 Amazon Gift Card. (Open INT)
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The Magic of Wor(l)ds