THE BODY IN THE TRENCH, the 7th Jazzi Zanders mystery, is on Amazon now. I thought I’d tease you with a small snippet:
The hard rain had turned into a steady shower as they dashed to their vehicles. Jazzi didn’t like the feel of a poncho, but it kept her dry. She listened to the rhythm of the windshield wipers as they drove to Len’s job site. Gaff’s car was parked in the soggy grass area, and they parked next to it.
When they climbed out of the van, George scooted to the center of the backseat. The pug circled and snuggled down to wait. He had no desire to leave the vehicle and get wet. Ansel reached to pat his head. “We’ll be back.”
Their footsteps squelched as they plodded across the gravel to the trench. Gaff walked out from under the building’s roof to join them. He’d been waiting in the half of the warehouse shell that was finished. He was wearing a long raincoat and carrying an umbrella. He motioned them to the boards lying beside the mound of mud where the trench collapsed.
Ansel bent to study them, then jerked his gaze to Gaff.
“I asked Hammer about this, and he got really upset,” Gaff told them. “He said he built the wall himself, but now, it wasn’t put together right. Two heavy support beams should have been nailed across the vertical boards. There are nail holes where they must have been, but somebody removed them.”
Color drained from Ansel’s face. His expression turned grim, then bleak. “Someone purposely did this, made the wall weak enough to collapse on Xavier. There’s no way it was an accident.”
Jazzi could tell he’d been hoping it was. Old friends worked here. And even though his family wasn’t worth much, he didn’t want the murderer to be one of them.
“This puts a whole new spin on things,” Gaff said. “Someone planned this. It was premeditated, no accidental bump.”
Jazzi shivered. Someone purposely buried Xavier alive. Walls collapsed sometimes when dirt was too heavy pressing against them, and that’s what Ansel was sure must have happened. He grew quiet and moody. She wanted to comfort him, but this wasn’t the time. “What now?” she asked Gaff.
He tossed Ansel a sympathetic glance. “I start digging into the backgrounds and finances of everyone on the crew. I try to find answers. Want to come with me for interviews when I do them?”
Ansel shook his head no, but she nodded a yes.
“I’ll give you a heads-up when I have something,” Gaff told her. “And you’ll share with me?”
“I always do.”
He gave her a brief smile before motioning toward their vehicles. “Then we can call it a wrap for now. And thanks for meeting me here.”
Ansel silently followed them to the vehicles. He handed Jazzi the keys to his van, and she drove home. She didn’t try to make small talk. He wasn’t in the mood.