Excerpt From “Murder, She Floats: A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery” by Stephen Kaminski

uA suicide note found in a locked room. A shard of glass buried in a scoop of whipped potatoes. A pickle jar filled with poisonous spiders. Precious jewels yanked off of a woman’s neck but left at her feet. It’s just a week in the life of Damon Lassard when he boards The Vitamin of the Seas with his charismatic mother for a ‘relaxing’ Caribbean cruise.

After Damon’s acerbic dining companion is found floating alongside the ship and local police rule the death a suicide, the loveable amateur sleuth is left to find the killer himself. He encounters seductive sirens, cunning con artists, and fascinating family members en route to solving not only the murder but a handful of clever capers as well.

Murder, She Floats is the third book in the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery series by Stephen Kaminski. It Takes Two to Strangle was the Winner of the 2012 Reader Views Award for the Mid-Atlantic Region and Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk was the winner of the same award for 2013 as well as a finalist in the 2013 Chanticleer Media Clue Awards.

EXCERPT:

Jack launched a half-inch sliver of glass from his mouth. The bloodied shard landed in a ceramic gravy boat.

“Oh my gosh,” Fava shouted. “Jack, are you all right?”

Jack coughed, and blood spilled from his mouth onto his plate. It slithered among the beef Wellington, mashed potatoes, and asparagus like lava finding recesses in rocky terrain. Jack swept a cloth napkin from his lap and crammed it into his mouth.

Houston rose to his feet and yelled for help. Niels sprinted across the dining room, followed by Kristjan and the mustachioed headwaiter, Charles.

Jack gathered a small clump of unswallowed food from his mouth into his napkin, wadded it up, and set it on the table. He snatched Fava’s napkin from her outstretched hand and pressed it firmly against the inside of his right cheek.

“That little spear was smack in the middle of my mashed potatoes,” Jack said through a mouthful of napkin. He pointed at the glistening spike floating in rich, brown gravy.

Charles and the waiters rushed to a stop beside Jack. Their eyes followed his finger and focused on the shard of glass in the gravy boat.

“My most sincere apologies, sir,” Charles gushed. “Let me clean this up and get you a fresh entrée.” He reached for Jack’s plate.

Jack caught Charles’s arm in midair. “Not so fast.”

The headwaiter’s face registered shock. “You’d prefer me to leave the plate, sir?” he asked. “I assure you it’s no trouble at all. Besides, there’s blood all over your food.”

Jack’s wrinkled eyes narrowed. He removed the red-splotched napkin from his mouth and tossed it on the table.

Without removing his grip from Charles’s arm, he turned to Fava. “Do you have your camera in your purse, dear?”

Fava looked just as confused as Charles. But she answered, “Of course. You know I carry it everywhere.”

Jack smiled. “Be a good girl and take photographs of everything here. That shard of glass in the gravy boat, my plate, both of our napkins, and the inside of my mouth.” He looked at Kristjan. “Go find one of the ship’s doctors. I need him to document the lacerations inside my cheek.” Jack focused on his tablemates. “If you all don’t mind, could I trouble each of you for a written statement, detailing exactly what you witnessed here?” He picked up his fork and delicately pushed around the bloodied food on his plate. The sight was repulsive, and Kitty turned away. But every other set of eyes around the table watched in horrified amazement as Jack pulled a second fragment of glass from the depths of his whipped potatoes.

Jack turned his head toward Niels and Charles. To Niels, he said, “I suggest you collect the other waiters and remove the plates from anyone else who ordered potatoes.” Then he directed his attention to Charles, finally releasing the man’s arm. “And you tell the captain to put in a call to corporate headquarters. They’ll want to get their lawyers up to speed. Had I swallowed that sliver of glass, it would have torn up my insides. I could have internally bled to death.”

http://www.amazon.com/Murder-She-Floats-Dabbling-Detective/dp/1939816491/ref=la_B009FK7BLW_1_3_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411404642&sr=1-3

***

27c14beabefb32f5b8db0e6935552676STEPHEN KAMINSKI is the author of the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series published by Cozy Cat Press. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School, and currently serves as an executive of a national health services organization.

Please visit his website: http://www.DamonLassard.com

 

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Excerpt from “Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk: A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery” by Stephen Kaminski

2337babcdf58e3d302d7df70fc3fee6a_kp32Jeremiah Milk lived a life filled with emotional extremes. Amniotic band syndrome—a congenital condition—left his fingers and toes malformed. Ridiculed as a child, he became an adolescent hermit. As an adult, Jeremiah’s wounds healed when he landed a position as a park ranger and married a woman who loved him despite his physical appearance. But fate ripped his life to shreds when his wife and infant son died on the same night in separate calamities. Shortly thereafter, the tides turned once more as an act of Jeremiah’s ostensible benevolence translates into a financial boon. The book on Jeremiah’s life closes without mercy when he’s found murdered at Tripping Falls State Park.

Damon Lassard—Hollydale’s loveable civic leader, amateur sleuth, and Jeremiah’s neighbor—springs into action. He’s obstructed by a prickly lieutenant, but wriggles information unknown to the police from a colorful bevy of suspects. Aided by his best friend Rebecca and his reluctant ally Detective Gerry Sloman, Damon engineers a deep dive into Jeremiah’s past to solve the crime. Along the way, Damon strengthens his relationship with the breathtaking Bethany Krims, cracks a local horticultural mystery, and tries in vain to tame his wickedly sarcastic mother.

“Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk” is the second installment in Stephen Kaminski’s Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series.

EXCERPT:

Just after the furniture had been rearranged, Mrs. Chenworth arrived with Cynthia. A chorus of “Surprise!” filled the space.

Mrs. Chenworth put her hand to her heart and breathed in deeply. “Oh my! What a surprise, indeed!” She bustled forward like a corpulent Moses parting seas of people. “I had no idea anyone would throw me a party. But just in case, I made a dish for the occasion!”

Mrs. Chenworth pulled foil from the top of a pie tin and set the offering on the table among a crowd of plates laden with food. She turned to Lynne, who was standing beside her. “Apple pie and meatloaf are my two best dishes.”

Lynne looked down at a flaky, lopsided pie crust. “Which is this?” she asked with a wicked grin.

Mrs. Chenworth’s mouth shot open wide, but then she smiled and slugged Lynne’s delicate left shoulder. “Oh, you kidder,” the birthday girl said and turned to a cluster of chattering woman making their way toward her.

Lynne rubbed her shoulder. “That hurt,” she said to Damon.

“You deserved it, Mother.”

***

27c14beabefb32f5b8db0e6935552676STEPHEN KAMINSKI is the author of It Takes Two to Strangle, the first book in the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School. Stephen has practiced law for over a decade and currently serves as General Counsel to a national non-profit organization. He is a lifelong lover of all types of mysteries and lives with his wife and daughter in Arlington, Virginia.

Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk is available in paperback or electronic format:
http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Over-Killed-Milk-ebook/dp/B00EV45NAS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1378301709&sr=8-3&keywords=stephen+Kaminski

Website: http://www.damonlassard.com

 

Excerpt from “It Takes Two to Strangle: A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery” by Stephen Kaminski

When the owner of a traveling carnival is strangled—not once but twice—on opening night of the summer fair in Hollydale, the police surmise he was not well liked. As the head of Hollydale’s citizens association and local liaison with the carnival, Damon Lassard feels obligated to help his dear friend, Detective Gerry Sloman, solve the crime. Damon is determined to bring the killer to justice, to the fascination of his mother, best gal pal Rebecca, and lovely local weather girl, Bethany Krims. To unravel the threads underpinning this peculiar murder, Damon will travel far from Hollydale as his quest to find a murderer leads to the discovery of long hidden and horrific crimes.

It Takes Two to Strangle introduces Hollydale’s lovable neighborhood leader, Damon Lassard, and twists the dabbling detective through an intricate maze of greed, deception, and murder.

EXCERPT:

Damon steered his car through the downtown streets in search of a friendly place where he could gather information. He stopped at a diner on a busy street half a mile from the Uniontown mall. A short line of people smoking dotted the sidewalk to the left of the entrance. The interior of the restaurant was so brightly lit Damon had to narrow his eyes upon entering. Sitting at the breakfast bar, he ordered a lemonade and asked the waitress if she knew the baseball coach at Battle Park High School. She responded politely that the school was “a ways out of town,” and she didn’t know any of the coaches. But when she returned with his drink, she brought one of the hostesses and introduced her as a rising high school senior.

“You’re looking for the baseball coach at Battle Park?” the girl asked, knotting shoulder-length kinked black hair with her index finger. Acne and light freckles were blanketed by heavy pancake make-up, usually reserved for women three times her age.

“I am,” Damon replied. “Do you go there?”

“No, but I have friends who do. I can find out in about ten seconds.” Which she did. The hostess reached into the front pocket of her apron and removed a smart phone. She pressed a speed dial code, spoke quickly and gave him a thumbs-up in ten seconds flat. But she kept talking for another five minutes, and, without failing to remove the phone from her ear, seated a young family who had just approached the hostess stand. Damon sipped his lemonade patiently. It was terrible—made from straight powder and without enough sugar. But by the time he choked down half of it, the teen returned and gave him the name of David Johnson, who taught biology when he wasn’t coaching the team.

Great, Damon thought sarcastically, could there be a more common name? The phone book could be littered with David Johnsons and D. Johnsons. And he didn’t even know whether this particular one lived in Uniontown.

But the hostess had even more information for him—a diamond in the diner. She didn’t know whether the coach would be there, but there was a baseball complex five miles northwest of town that hosted high school summer league games almost every Sunday night during June and July.

Damon wrote down directions to the park and slipped the hostess a twenty dollar bill but left the remainder of the lemonade on the counter.

***

STEPHEN KAMINSKI is the author of It Takes Two to Strangle, the first book in the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School. Stephen has practiced law for over a decade and currently serves as General Counsel to a national non-profit organization. He is a lifelong lover of all types of mysteries and lives with his wife and daughter in Arlington, Virginia. The second book in the Damon Lassard series is expected to be published in September 2013.

Links:

http://www.damonlassard.com

http://www.amazon.com/It-Takes-Two-Strangle-Detective/dp/0988194317/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363627846&sr=8-1&keywords=stephen+kaminski