Tag Archives: Gerry Schmitt

A day in the life with Afton Tangler by Gerry Schmitt

Last night was like something out of a nightmare. A medical helicopter was shot down just as it was making its final approach over the Mississippi River to land at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Two pilots killed, dozens of students injured, rotor blades carved into the side of the Science Building, debris scattered everywhere. To top it off, a cooler containing a human heart crashed through one of the dorm windows. I’m Afton Tangler and even though I’m a family liaison officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, I was one of the first responders who helped retrieve that mangled heart.

Just a few hours later, I was sitting in a meeting with a deeply troubled deputy chief, three world-weary detectives, a guy from the NTSB, and a tech from our IT Department. After watching footage hastily gleaned from three different cameras, the consensus on the crash seemed to be either terrorism or sabotage. But I thought there might be more going on here. I even ventured my opinion that the transplant patient, Leland Odin, the man who was literally lying on the operating table, waiting for his unsalvageable heart, was somehow involved.

Odin’s a millionaire, you see. A business tycoon who headed Diamond Shopping Network, a major home shopping company. On the surface Odin looks squeaky-clean, but I think someone wanted him dead. Could be a business rival or maybe even an associate within his own company. Whatever the case, I’m guessing that Odin crossed the wrong person – and made them angry enough to exact a clever and spectacular revenge. Because now, with no donor heart available, Odin will probably die within a matter of days.

Obviously we jumped on Odin’s family and business associates immediately. Met with his wife, partner, attorney, and step-daughter, tried hard to pound out some answers. They all claimed to know nothing at all, told us Odin had no enemies.

Clearly he did.

But we just lucky, we got a break. The University of Minnesota Police located what they guessed was the shooter’s nest. The third floor of the Huang Sheng Noodle Factory where the surface-to-air missile was fired. When I arrived at the Noodle Factory on the opposite bank of the river, it was a total bugout. Tactical Response’s shiny black SUV’s were parked everywhere, accompanied by a huge contingent from Crime Scene, MPD, UMPD, and even INS.

When I was finally allowed to take a peek upstairs, it looked like the perfect place to shoot down a helicopter. A narrow window afforded a bird’s-eye view directly across the river, right up a leafy green riverbank to the University of Minnesota Medical Center and their private helicopter landing pad.

There weren’t a lot of clues, but we’re going to work with what we found. A cigarette butt from a pack of expensive Chinese cigarettes, a brand called Double Happiness. And shaky descriptions of two Asian people who rented the upstairs room, but left after only a few hours. But here’s the weird thing – the occupants were a young man and an old woman.

We immediately covered the airports and bus terminals, hoping to detain our possible suspects before they made a hasty exit. Instead, things got even stranger. Because we just received word that Jay Barber, Odin’s business partner and one of the people we interviewed, has been kidnapped. Apparently, Barber went out running to clear his head and disappeared in a pouf of smoke. All that was found of him was one scuffed running shoe that was tearfully identified by his wife.


You can read more about Afton in Shadow Girl, the second book in the “Afton Tangler” thriller series.

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree. . .

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage. . .

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About the author
Gerry Schmitt is the author of Shadow Girl, an Afton Tangler Thriller, and Little Girl Gone, the first book in the series. Writing under her pen name Laura Childs, she is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-nine mysteries that include the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Her books have also been on the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller lists as well as having won the prestigious Favorite Character Award from the Romantic Times Book Review. Gerry is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won dozens of TV and radio awards, and written and produced two reality TV shows. She and her professor husband enjoy travel and their two Shar-Pei dogs.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a hardcover copy of Shadow Girl. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends August 4, 2017. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt

Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt is the second book in the “Afton Tangler” thriller series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, coming August 1, 2017

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree. . .

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage. . .

This fast-moving and well-written drama immediately grabbed my attention quickly becoming a page turner that I could not put down. The author does a great job in staging this grippingly riveting tale where there was a no holds bar on the part of the villains and when their mission comes a bit too close to Afton, this mama bear takes action that had my adrenaline pumping as fast as I could read to see how this will all play out.

The visually descriptive narrative kept me immersed in all the action as I was rooting for the team of Afton and Max as their pursuit of these ruthless beings took them to a hospital, an abandon building, a chapel, a park and last but not least, the railroad tracks. All the while, this gang continues to wreak havoc on a city that is looking for them.

The suspenseful nature, the intrigue, the intensifying need to capture their prey and the pivotal role of the key players, including Bonaparte, all came together in a wild and frenzy ride where time did not stop for the wicked as the aftermath was vividly captured on the page. Boasting a wonderful cast of characters with engaging dialogue, the author did an outstanding job in telling this dramatic story and I can’t wait to see what new opportunities await Afton in the next book in this terrific series.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author.

My Musing ~ Little Girl Gone by Gerry Schmitt

Little Girl Gone by Gerry Schmitt is the first book in the NEW “Afton Tangler” thriller series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, July 2016

Little Girl GoneIn the first Afton Tangler thriller, the unforgiving cold of a Minnesota winter hides the truth behind an even more chilling crime…

On a frozen night in an affluent neighborhood of Minneapolis, a baby is abducted from her home after her teenage babysitter is violently assaulted. The parents are frantic, the police are baffled, and, with the perpetrator already in the wind, the trail is getting colder by the second.

As family liaison officer with the Minneapolis P.D., it’s Afton Tangler’s job to deal with the emotional aftermath of terrible crimes—but she’s never faced a case quite as brutal as this. Each development is more heartbreaking than the last and the only lead is a collection of seemingly unrelated clues.

But, most disturbing of all, Afton begins to suspect that this case is not isolated. Whoever did this has taken babies before—and if Afton doesn’t solve this crime soon, more children are sure to go missing . . .

The author got me good by delivering a well-written drama that completely captured my attention from beginning to an ending worthy of the all the pages that preceded It. From the start we know who did it but what we see is how this case is investigated and solved and that is what makes this tale so enticingly intriguing. Afton is one determined and gutsy protagonist and I like how she thinks in this fast-paced and intensifying thriller that kept me riveted to all that was happening with anticipated action and reaction. The multiple point of views enhanced the telling of this tale which gave me a great perspective on the various players in this story. The narrative kept me immersed in all that was transpiring giving me that heart-pounding moment when I knew everything was going to be as it should. A great read and I’m looking forward to the next book in this exciting new series.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) book from the author.

A Day in the Life of Afton Tangler by Gerry Schmitt

Little Girl GoneI’m sitting here in police headquarters shivering like a Chihuahua in a snowstorm. But not because of the brutal cold. It’s because Chief Thacker called me in to help deal with a baby that’s been kidnapped. A three month-old by the name of Elizabeth Ann who was stolen from her crib in an affluent Minneapolis neighborhood. Her teenaged babysitter was also violently assaulted and is over at Hennepin County Medical Center right now with rope burns and a broken nose.

The parents are frantic and the detectives I work with seemed stunned when they viewed the grainy baby cam footage that was salvaged. It looks as if the perpetrator might be a woman! Maybe even a woman they’re tentatively calling the doll lady – a woman who creates “reborn” dolls that look and feel like they’re alive. There’s a crazy cult-like following of these dolls, and doll enthusiasts, as well as childless couples, actually sign adoption papers and pay high fees just to get their hands on these dolls.

Is that crazy or what?

Still, the trail for Elizabeth Ann and her abductor is getting colder and not much is being done. There just aren’t a lot of clues.

I’m not a police detective, although I’d like to be. I’m Afton Tangler, a family liaison officer who’s tasked with dealing with victims and victims’ families in the messy aftermath of violent crimes. I’m also a mom, so I understand the heartbreak that Elizabeth Ann’s mom and dad are suffering right now.

My friend, Detective Max Montgomery, just told me that the dead body of another child had been discovered at the bottom of wooded ravine and a young man with a camera phone has been seen snapping pictures of newborns at nearby Memorial Hospital. And, lucky girl that I am, one of the FBI agents on the case just made a pass at me.

When I finally got home tonight and saw my own kids, Poppy and Tess, I knew I had a big decision to make. I’m thirty-four years old, have never drunk a Cosmopolitan, never worn a Wonderbra, never vacationed at Club Med. If I know what’s good for me, what’s smart for my career, I’ll keep my nose clean, stay the hell out of this investigation, and maybe even get around to pursuing my frivolous “want list” some day.

Or I can bulldog my way into this investigation, find that missing baby, and nail the son-of-a-bitch kidnapper’s ass to the wall.

It isn’t a difficult decision.


Little Girl Gone is the first book in the NEW Afton Tangler thriller series, published by Berkley Publishing Group, July 2016.

In the first Afton Tangler thriller, the unforgiving cold of a Minnesota winter hides the truth behind an even more chilling crime. . .

On a frozen night in an affluent neighborhood of Minneapolis, a baby is abducted from her home after her teenage babysitter is violently assaulted. The parents are frantic, the police are baffled, and, with the perpetrator already in the wind, the trail is getting colder by the second.

As family liaison officer with the Minneapolis P.D., it’s Afton Tangler’s job to deal with the emotional aftermath of terrible crimes—but she’s never faced a case quite as brutal as this. Each development is more heartbreaking than the last and the only lead is a collection of seemingly unrelated clues.

But, most disturbing of all, Afton begins to suspect that this case is not isolated. Whoever did this has taken babies before—and if Afton doesn’t solve this crime soon, more children are sure to go missing.

# # # # # # # # # # #

Meet the author
Gerry Schmitt is the author of Little Girl Gone, an Afton Tangler Thriller was released July 5, 2016. Writing Gerry Schmittunder her pen name Laura Childs, she is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-six mysteries, including the Scrapbooking Mysteries, Tea Shop Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Gerry is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won dozens of TV and radio awards, and produced two reality TV shows. She and her professor husband enjoy travel and their two Shar-Pei dogs.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a hardcover copy of Little Girl Gone. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end July 13, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.