Now is your chance to WIN a copy of To Murder A Saint by Nicole Loughan!
Nicole just published her Audio version of her book at Audible.com. Read by Suzy Lexington the story leads from the swamps of Louisiana to New York City, and back to Louisiana again as Fanchon, one of two lovely girls from the swamps, searches for her best friend Josephine’s murderer. A tightly written story imbued with ambiance, it is a wonderful beginning to the Saints Series!
The ground is too wet…If you bury the dead here, they can come back.” Her father always warned her that the bayou was a mysterious and dangerous place. She never suspected that the greatest danger of her life was lurking in New York City. Before their bags are unpacked one of two Cajun girls in fresh from Louisiana is found savagely murdered in New York. All the clues point to a wild animal, a perplexing development for a third floor apartment. Lacking a suspect the police accompany the murdered girl’s French speaking roommate back to her reclusive Southern Louisiana town in search of a lead. They are met with a warning that the killer is not finished yet and learn that this is not the first mysterious death in the family.
It’s probably a bad sign on a first date that my mind wandered to how best to bury somebody. Namely it wandered to burying Jason Stepwald: lumpy, chubby, balding insurance salesman, Jason Stepwald. Not handsome, full head of hair, marine ‘Semper Fi Jason’ as advertised on his My Date profile page.
I think I started picturing Jason dead when he would not stop talking about insurance rates while his mouth was stuffed with oysters. The shining grey and white matter swirling around on his tongue as he talked about tort reform set a picture in my mind of him buried in the wet soil of my parents’ front yard. I remember my father telling me when I was young, “The ground here is too wet, cher. If you bury the dead here, they can come back.”
With those words in my mind I saw Jason lowered into the ground, a respectable burial, and then his decayed corpse bubbled back to the surface, his tongue sticking out. It was the very color of the gelatinous goo currently occupying his mouth.
My attention came back to living Jason when I inhaled a pungent fish smell. Jason decided that I might try one of his half shell delicacies if it was swirled within an inch of my face.
“You want one?” he asked. “Clams are an aphrodisiac, you know.”
“Where I come from we call ‘em oysters,” I told him, pushing his hand away. I noticed that his hands were soft. My dad always said nobody dates a man with soft hands.
Jason recovered from my slight and said, “So, Fanchon. That’s an interesting name.”
“Well,” I said. “A name like Fanchon in Louisiana helps people separate poor bayou trash from just plain regular white trash.”
His eyes grew wide and some of his red wine dribbled down his chin. The red wine glistening on his neck was just too much for the dead Jason image in my head. I had to turn away from him or I was going to lose it.
“I didn’t mean to upset you or anything like that,” he said.
While looking away I suppressed a smile and turned back to face him. “It’s fine. If you really care to know it’s a Cajun name. I am from a French parish town near New Orleans. It comes from…”
He interrupted me. “You know what’s interesting about New Orleans?”
“I have no idea,” I said resting my head on my hands, giving up on getting a chance to speak.
“Well it’s interesting because the whole city sits below sea level, you know. What happened with Katrina, it was just a matter of time,” he said chewing with his mouth opened yet again. “That’s the risk of being below sea level; they don’t even offer flood insurance there. I have been to a place in even worse shape called Kiribati. It is so low they will be underwater in the next two years. Talk about an insurer’s nightmare. They are mostly savages in little huts though, so it’s not like they would even have anything to insure.”
After he steered the conversation to insurance yet again I couldn’t take it.
“I have to use the restroom,” I said, walking away before he could reply.
Once safely locked away in the bathroom I sat on a yellow chaise, facing a full-length mirror by the door. I took a deep breath and examined my reflection. I thought I looked pretty good that night, not like my usual self at all. I thought back to how excited I was getting ready with my roommate, Josephine. She sweetly brushed my unruly dark hair, taming it with all her gels and curlers. She pulled out her best red dress and stuffed me into it. It was so tight on me we had to buy stockings that sucked me in from my knees to my chest. I remember I told her, “I hate tight clothes.”
She replied with her usual pseudo French cadence. “Men here drawn to tight clothes and red like flies to honey, cher. Deese men won’t be impressed dat you know how to gut a fish,” she said as she pushed a stray hair out of my face. “You my beautiful friend, cher. It time you act like it.”
And don’t miss Nicole’s second volume in the Saints Series! All Saint’s Secrets is out NOW!!
“After her death the kids used to say her ghost haunted the plantation.”
The bayou holds many secrets. One of them is what really happened to Lisette, a beautiful Creole teenager who died on the last day of school. Everybody in Fanchon’s reclusive bayou parish knows Lisette died in a boating accident, but when the police take a closer look, they unearth the dead girl and find a surprise in her grave.
All Saints’ Secrets is the sequel to To Murder a Saint. It is highly recommended that the Saint books be listened to in order.
About The Author:
You may know her as the syndicated humor columnist “The Starter Mom.” Nicole is a graduate of Michigan State University and an award winning Journalist, recognized by the Michigan Press Association as a top feature writer. She writes for two daily newspapers in the greater Philadelphia area. To Murder a Saint is the first book in the Saint Series. All Saints’ Secrets released in August. It is recommended that the books are read in order.
Nicole loves a mystery. Her favorite female sleuths were dreamed up by Charlaine Harris and Janet Evanovich. She draws inspiration from the classics too such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allen Poe. She said she has to mention her first experiences with New Orleans came from the venerable Anne Rice.
About the Narrator:
Currently, Suzy is working as a journalist and living in NYC.