Officially posted the morning of December 17, 2013.
Welcome to a virtual book tour. Today I act as virtual host to Hawk MacKinney. Hawk is the author of a thrilling mystery, The Lady of Corpswood Manor. If you dare to read this book, the book’s hero will hold your hand and help you get through the mystery to its conclusion if your heart is strong enough to survive.
First we need to do a little business: This is a virtual tour, or a Super Book Blast. No longer do you have to run to the bookstore on the day the author is in town. Today, Hawk MacKinney is visiting your computer screen on this blog.
If you enjoy the virtual tour, you may wish to continue following it. Over the next few days the tour will be hosted by:
- 12/18/13 Nixxes Nook — http://nyxxsnook.blogspot.com/
- 12/19/13 The Simple Things of Life — http://pwrspot.blogspot.com/
- 12/20/13 Journey of a Bookseller — http://bkfaerie.blogspot.com/
The blog spots of other hosts are listed at http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/10/virtual-super-book-blast-tour-lady-of.html.
As an incentive for you to follow as many steps of this tour as possible, Hank MacKinney will reward the lucky winner of his drawing with a gift certificate. Name will be drawn from those who comment on this blog or on any of the other blogs toured. So don’t forget to follow along and comment.
The Lady of Corpswood Manor takes the reader into the laid back country of rural South Carolina. Few of you have been there, but it is charming. I spent one summer working there. My new bride and I did our share of exploring and had fun. The further you get from the cities, the more laid back the people are, except for the occasional citizens who think of themselves as the local aristocrats (perhaps we should call them big wigs).
The hero of the story is a retired SEAL, Craige Ingram, who is now part time PI.In his ancestral home, he has the opportunity to examine an interesting brooch. As the story progresses, this brooch becomes an interesting piece of evidence. As is typical of rural South Carolina, life slides along with the speed and ease of spilled sorghum syrup until. . .
Slewing grit and gravel, Randall’s pride-and-joy pick’em-up truck skidded into the crowded side-street parking lot. Jammed on the brakes; smoked rubber on the four new tires he’d put on yesterday. Broad-shouldered Randall flung open his door and jumped out, his buddy close behind, motor still running. The two of them made a soccer sprint for the side entrance of the local all-night Early Bird Breakfast & BBQ Eatery. Slammed through the double doors between the two dining areas. Nigh onto every face among the usual before-sunup breakfast crowd of packed tables and booths turned in the direction of his crash and thud. Most ever’body recognized wild-spirited high school senior rambunctious soccer stud Randall McClure. Randall looked around; spotted the uniforms; hurried up to the table; blurted, “…Sheriff Doogie! Better get parish fire trucks out to Corpsewood Manor…and quick!”
Tall, robust, soft-spoken Doogle “Doogie” Eubanks had about seen and heard it all…done a good deal of the seein’ and hearin’ hisself. Born in Summerville in the north Georgia Mountains, graduated from the University of Bulldog Georgia. Married the first cuddly thing he’d had fumbling sex with…his high school sweetheart from Frog Holler. It was a solid pairing…some ups and downs, but solid. Thirteen years with the Georgia Highway Patrol, the last five cruising I-20 between Atlanta, Madison, and Thomson, sometimes farther down the road to the east. After those thirteen years Doogie had the hankerin’s for settling down about the same time his mother-in-law got sick with the beginnings of what would eventually take her. To make it easier for the wife to be near her mother, Doogie requested a transfer, and about the same time got a good offer with a sizable raise from the patrol division of Aiken County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Office. Took the South Carolina promotion and sizable bump up in his paycheck.
Moved the family to Beech Island down the deceptively lazy river dividing South Carolina and Georgia. Found a spread he liked southeast of Hamburg not far from Ingram property and Moccasin Hollow.
Coffee cup halted between saucer and mouth, Sheriff Doogie shoved back his plate of home-fried ham and scrambled eggs. Put down his hot biscuit layered with fresh churned butter and homemade blackberry jam. Leveled a steady gaze at the two gangly high schoolers. “Okay…” voice steady, easy drawl unhurried, “What’d you about-to-be-high-school-graduate big shot young bucks do this time? Get some cheap beer; start a fire to roast s’mores…fire get out’a hand?”
“We didn’t start no fires.”
Sheriff said, “I’m trying to finish my breakfast. Only decent meal me’n and the deputies here might get until suppertime, and we…”
Like he hadn’t been raised right not to butt in, Randall interrupted like the sheriff wasn’t talking, “Fire’s done spread back in the thick undergrowth. Ain’t no brush pile fire neither. Old stand of pulpwood pines done crowned somethin’ fierce…big heart of pines smokin’.”
“Randall…” Sheriff raised his voice.
Randall kept right on, “…flames shootin’ out ever’where…roof, windows…top to bottom.”
Stout Deputy Rolston Kearny said, “What you talking about?” knife in one hand, butter and marmalade-smeared cornbread in the other.
Randall said, “Early ‘fore sunup we were in that deer stand Papa and Uncle Ezrah built.” Words stumbling faster, “Hour or so after we got there, we heard what sounded to be gunshots over toward Corpsewood. One sounded like a shotgun. Others were heavier, maybe a huntin’ rifle. Didn’t think nothing about it at the time. Figured it to be hunters. Couldn’t been much more’n half hour after that we smelled smoke. First smelled like cedar and grass smoke; got thicker, an’ wadn’t no grass or hay-fire smell. Turned bad smelling, like an oil fire or burning rubber or electrical stuff. Spooked the deer. Does, couple of bucks, yearling fawns all hightailing the same direction right under our stand. Come an’ gone before an eye could blink. Smoke got real thick… hardly no wind except a few light now-and-then breezes. We climbed down. Decided we better take a look-see. Didn’t want to be caught in a fire. Hadn’t gone no distance before we spotted flames shootin’ above the trees. Tops of the flames pushing up into what was left of low-hanging river fog.”
“Randall…slow down.” Doogie had been in law enforcement long enough not to be rattled easy, but he’d seen runaway crown fires eat whole mountainsides faster than man or animal could run. Moving fast in all that dry brush and thick pine mats, a fire was alive. Go through anything in its way. “What in tarnation you talkin’ about?”
“Corpsewood Manor…I been tryin’ to tell you, the whole place is a goner from the roof to the cellars. Flames roaring out the whole front, trees burnin’. Didn’t see nobody. Anyone still inside Corpsewood Manor is a goner.
That certainly livened thing up in town. Of course, few things surprise Craige. He has seen plenty of action and violence in the SEALS. Could the fire be a coverup for a crime? Nothing can shake Craige, except for seeing someone from a past case. . .
This was a dead woman. The blunderbuss-shocker of seeing that particular woman-wraith joggled his reality. Craige couldn’t have been more shaken if one of their KIA SEAL casualties had unzipped the body bag, stood up in full dress uniform, came to attention, and marched off. He wrestled with brain-locked premonitions. She was like a chokehold of death, much too lethally close for his liking. As quick as he thought it, he dismissed this ready-made way to ending up very dead. It almost had been for him and Spinner. Couldn’t have been her…but…if it was, how was she here? Why was she here? Was she on a search and destroy, here to take care of loose ends? Following him? His thoughts were disjointed. He felt like a lonesome abandoned fence post…lost for words in a honeysuckle-snarled weedy field. Brain-locked, his feet epoxied to the spot like he was a pole-axed chunk of granite.
The pain of betrayal she’d put Kentucky-born, Texas-raised David Wellington Spinner Krespinak through came flooding back, fresh, beyond nasty, and stoking a rising anger. Craige took it considerably more than personal when anyone locked cross-hairs on a friend. Spinner was a hard-as-titanium, damn fine XO. Solved problems; didn’t pass them on. Took the heat for the dirty work Commanding Officer Craige wanted done. Spinner, Gray and Craige as close, maybe closer, than blood kin. Had shared guts and gore and KIA losses during more than a few ReCon-and-RetrieveOps. With options down to one, if de rigueur critical they’d left their share of blood spattered calling cards. His backside had been in a fair share of close calls, saved more than once by SEALmates. Stay smokescreen concealed, kill if you have to…or be killed, unforeseeables could pack deadly surprises. Some in CTU/S paid that price.
Wow, what a premise for a book. Are you sure you can handle that kind of tension? Read the book to find out.
Hank MacKinney has postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction.
I can identify with that kind of a biography because I was a scientist, engineer and teacher before beginning to write fiction after retirement. The difference between me and Hank is that he is an accomplished author of a number of good selling books. His Craige Ingram Mystery Series contains murder and mayhem with a touch of romance. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention.
His literary agent, Barbara Casey, says of Hank, “Without question, Hawk is one of the most gifted and imaginative writers I have had the pleasure to represent. His reading fans have something special to look forward to in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Intrigue, murder, deception and conspiracy–these are the things that take Hawk’s main character, Navy ex-SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram, from his South Carolina ancestral home of Moccasin Hollow to the dirty backrooms of the nation’s capital and across Europe and the Middle East.”
Enjoy the tour. Check in with http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/10/virtual-super-book-blast-tour-lady-of.html to find other blog sites participating. Certainly, other hosts will write from a different point of view. Remember to comment. Your comment may win you a gift certificate.