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Book one in the Lupa Schwartz Mystery Series, Extreme Unction, is currently FREE in eBook format at all online channels. All other books in the series are also on sale in anticipation of the release of the next in the series, Five Secrets. Books two through four – Common Sense, Fair Play, and Shared Disbelief – are each currently $2.99 in eBook and Five Secrets will also be $2.99 when it is released on July 18.
Born In the Balkans, Lupa Schwartz is the son of an ex-CIA operative and his freedom-fighter wife. After his parents were killed following the collapse of the Tito regime, Lupa escaped to America and worked for years in car repossession. Upon leaving that career, he purchased a large Victorian house in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, hired a live-in cook/house-keeper and began a new life as a private detective. Over the next few years, he built up a reputation as an eccentric, a car collector, and a ladies’ man.
Cattleya Hoskin was raised along with her sister by their great aunts in Ohio after their mother and father were killed on a clandestine trip to Yugoslavia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Recently divorced and trying to make a name for herself as a reporter in the Cleveland offices of Gamut Magazine, Cattleya has come to Pittsburgh hoping to score an interview with the notorious detective with the tenuous link to her family’s past.
That’s the deep background to the mystery series I have been working on for over a dozen years now. Each story is a standalone mystery chronicled by Cattleya for the magazine, which allows her to tag along with Lupa, provided she edits her peers’ stories on her down time. The first novel in the series, Extreme Unction, is available in both paper and electronic formats.
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Suspicion in the case is focused on Fr. Coneely, an outspoken euthanasia advocate who had earlier made the mistake of telling the family of the now-dead man that, hypothetically, he could safely apply poison-laden oil to their suffering father during last rites, and nobody need be the wiser. Was Mr. Hanson the willing victim of a mercy killing, or was a lapsing insurance policy the real motive for one of Hanson’s five children to taint the oil?
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Common sense tells Cattleya Hoskin that her reporter ex-husband wouldn’t have gone out night fishing by himself in the middle of an investigation. The unaccommodating local authorities see it differently. In an effort to prove them wrong, Cattleya enlists the help of her private investigator friend, Schwartz, to follow through with Dave’s investigation—theft from the power grid in a small Ohio town.
Crooked contractors, a menacing white van, and some long-abandoned coalmines and antebellum tunnels complicate the inquiry. Aggressively loud church bells and the amorous advances of a bounty hunter Schwartz brought in to help add to an already convoluted situation. Yet Cattleya feels she owes it to Dave to figure out what happened to him, for better or for worse.
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Cattleya Hoskin has settled into the Schwartz residence and her new gig chronicling Schwartz’s exploits for Gamut Magazine. With cases running dry, she takes matters into her own hands and pushes Schwartz to investigate a case that has the entire country buzzing, the on-air poisoning of a reality game show contestant on Cattleya’s favorite TV program, Overlord.
Schwartz next takes Cattleya undercover to investigate the death of a smalltime store manager in their old stomping grounds of Paine County, Ohio. With a renewed passion for logic puzzles as fuel, can Cattleya solve the homicide before Schwartz, or are all of her attempts going to prove to be Counterfeit?
Finally, is a bounty hunter ever supposed to share as much information on a former client as the unnamed protagonist in this peripherally related yarn? Was there ever even a murder plot to begin with, or was it all just the fanciful Confessions of the Cuckold?
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Coerced into action, the pair face their hardest, most draining case yet. Cattleya risks breaking her professional ethics by using her media connections to draw out the psychopath. For Lupa, this case puts both his credibility and his friends’ lives on the line. Only together can they hope to catch a monster, but it could mean tearing down their careers to do it – if they survive at all.
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In order to protect this client and Ulric, Cattleya and Schwartz delve into the mysteries of sacred geometry and a genetic line that traces back to Charlemagne and beyond. Now the pair must work together to expose an ancient secret before being thwarted by the agents of a shadow government, which has been secretly operating since Mesopotamia.
If they succeed, they just might topple an empire. If they fail, there may be no place for them in the New World Order — or anywhere else.
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Anyway, I hope you liked this little Lupa Schwartz spotlight. Here are some other J.D. Core links: