Dead Men Don’t Swing: Karen Vaughan
Magnets attract metal, a piece of iron or steel that possesses that property of attracting specific substances. It can also mean a person that attracts a specific person or thing. But, what if like Laura Fitz you attract something that you would rather not even have to deal with? Laura has a unique something that seems to always find her and like a magnet she cannot seem to disattract herself from this. You see she is a CORPSE MAGNET and she seems to find dead bodies on a regular basis and no matter how hard she tries they seem to feel in order to get justice just attach yourself to Laura.
Denny Howard is with his girlfriend Melissa who has stated he better put it or shut up and she meant it in the most wonderful way. Wanting him to perform according to her rules it was his mistake trying to get out of it and not just for this one night. Denny did not want a long term relationship but dear Melissa was running the show with her set of kinky toys so poor Denny had to use what he still had at the time. Melissa unfortunately got over zealous so just how did dear Denny wind out falling over her balcony, breaking part of it and winding up in the dumpster with his important equipment detached? Added in some how a Jimmy Choo spiked heel with a retractable blade was coming out of his forehead. Landing with a big thud brought our favorite almost forensic detective Laura Fitz along with her hunky husband Gerry to the scene interrupting his own version of what some call the horizontal mambo.
This was just the beginning as the police came, Laura as the manager of the building complex had to question some of the tenants but when she comes to Stella it took everything out of her not to deck the nasty old woman. Since she is studying to become a CSI investigator and had a paper to write she with the help of our author Karen Vaughan who must have done some research on this subject and how bodies are handled, what is evidence, what needs to be bagged, she wrote it up as if it were her own case file and she was the lead detective. Either the victim fell over the balcony and into the dumpster or something else happened. But, this is just the first of her woes as going to class, trying to have some coffee to keep her awake Stan the janitor makes some unwarranted remarks and advances as once again Laura needed to use her sarcasm, humor and bluntness to rid herself of this annoying man. But, there is much more as the case proceeds to find Missy Sawyer the owner of the unit where the murder took place, it seemed odd that she disappeared, requested that the balcony supports be fixed and then leaving little of what belongs to her in her apartment.
Laura is on the case and interviews many tenants in the building and no one seems to alike the deceased. On top of that she learns about a special club or swing club, whom the tenants started, and you can image the kinky toys, whips, chains and more plus sharing and I won’t mean objects.
Laura and Gerry are embroiled in their own careers when someone decided to threaten her with a phone call, with a note warning her to back off and leave the dead to the dead and stop wondering who killed Dennis since no one really cares. Added in with the murder, the note left for her, the dead rat on her door and the flat tire and message on her car, Stella the miserable woman next door reported her to the building owner hoping to get her fired. The scene with Detective Gibbons chewing out Stella was priceless. So, who hates Laura so much that they want her out of the way?
Things escalate even more when two bodies are found in the laundry room and the victims had snakebites. Someone is sending a clear message to anyone in that social club since the two dead were acting out their own form of social club fun while getting something clean.
As Gerri and Laura try to have an evening out with some friends at a club telling cute and humorous personal stories they begin to wonder if anything will ever be the same. As Stella is downright uncontrollable after finding the two dead in the laundry room, her former husband comes to her rescue taking her in and hopefully she will decide to finally move. Angry at Laura for not wanting to give the eulogy at Dennis’ funeral, she’s definitely out to make Laura’s life miserable.
When Missy decides to come clean to her husband and explains her version of what happened to Denny why does he believe her and will a lawyer get her out of trouble? Did she really kill Dennis? Was it an accident? Is there something the author has yet to reveal?
When Missy gets desperate and is on the lamb and Stan the janitor won’t leave Laura alone you would think things could not get any worse. Missy decides to have some fun with a guy in the bar never expecting him to report their dalliances to the police after seeing the newscast on CNN. Not even that would stop Missy as she decides to turn herself in, try to get sympathy on her side but when things don’t pan out exactly as she wants she goes off again but this time anyone in her wake well poor Brenda. Thinking things through her only recourse is to find a way out but Weldon and the police have their own plan. Will their ruse entice her to return? Will she admit killing Denny even by accident? What will she cook up next? Watch out Laura she might be gunning for you? Stella still stings from being shunned by the police, laughed at and not taken seriously. Why won’t she just move or disappear? When things seem to settle down and they falsely think that Missy might be under control the last thing that happens is someone shoots a dark into Laura and a stronger message is sent. Nervous, trying to help the police deal with the case, into her hopes of becoming a part of a CSI team she receives a call from the school’s coordinator and gets a job but why doesn’t she show up? Where is Laura? Who kidnapped her and what will her fate be? Well only the author can reveal the answers or you the reader when you find out after reading this humor filled, fun filled, suspense packed novel with some unusual twist, surprises and characters that will make you wonder just what kind of a world are we living in when social clubs are not defined by mah jong or canasta but by well you know what I mean. Who caused the balcony support to break? What secrets lie beneath inside the garbage dump? Sometimes the answers are not going to be crystal clear but I guarantee that you won’t want to walk on a balcony anytime soon before checking the support because as Denny learned in more ways than one: DEAD MEN DON’T SWING! Characters that you want more of and who knows what corpse will attach itself to Laura next time.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine