I like Jo’s works, and this cover….
Ancestral Whispers by Jo A Hiestand released in January in the Mystery (British) genre.
The porch door was unlocked, as Declan had said it would be. As I walked across the flagstone floor another jolt of lightning brightened the sky. Shadows of trees and the leading in the diamond-lozenge windows twitched on the floor before evaporating into the blanketing blackness. Mark opened the door to the nave and we entered the church proper.
A single candle burned, breaking up the dark. It sat on the small table near the door and cast a pool of yellowish light on the tabletop and floor around it. I shut the door, aware of the soft whoosh of air and the scent of rain, and called Declan’s name. There was no answer.
“Let me look around,” Mark said, heading for the altar. “He may be in another part of the building.”
I nodded and walked to the center aisle, shining my torchlight on the floor and nearby furniture. Pews that I’d seen in the daylight took on the appearance and threat of monsters as the light from my torch swept over the pieces. Stopping behind the last pew I again called for Declan.
Thunder crashed and a cloud opened up. Rain drummed against the roof and western windows. The copper gutters glugged and rattled in the onslaught. Somewhere beyond my torchlight a tree branch clawed at a window.
I crossed to the bell tower, for its open door suggested Declan might be in there. Why, I had no idea. My footsteps sounded sharp in the empty nave. If Declan were hiding, making certain it was I, he’d hear me.
Standing outside the door, I flashed my torch beam into the tower area and called. The air was still, the place empty. The only sounds were the rain’s tattoo and the sweep of the tree branch on the windows.
It seemed peaceful enough, ordinary enough. But something raised the hairs on the back of my neck. I’d had the same feeling in March when King Roper had come into the incident room and pulled every officers’ attention from their work to Roper.
I slowly turned around. The torchlight slid over the stone floor of the nave and came to rest on a pair of sodden shoes. I held the light there, afraid to see more, afraid to confirm my fear. But in the white light of the lightning strike the figure jumped into terrifying reality. A tall, dark shape stood silent in front of me, his stare burning into my eyes, his teeth vividly white as he grinned, his wet hair glistening. Thunder rumbled eastward. A second bolt of lightning threw his shadow behind him. It danced as the lightning flickered in the dark. In that moment the figure moved and reached for me in lightning-fast speed.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British. Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times and lived there during her professional folksinging stint.
Jo’s insistence for accuracy–from police methods and location layout to the general “feel” of the area–has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research. These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the details filling both her Peak District mysteries and the McLaren mystery series.
In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English. She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.
Her McLaren mystery, BLACK MOON, received the ‘N.N. Light Best Mystery Book’ award for 2019.
Jo lives with her cat, Tennyson, and way too many kilts in the St. Louis-area.
- $30 Amazon or B/N GC
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