Tag Archives: Susan M. Boyer

A Day In The Life With Liz Talbot by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry BombshellEvery day dawns ripe with possibilities for intrigue when you’re a private investigator. That’s one of the things I love best about the job—that and dressing up in costumes for surveillance and pretexting. Last spring, I suspected my friend Olivia and my second cousin Sarabeth were being blackmailed. They clammed up and wouldn’t talk to me, so I followed them around for a few days to see if I could figure out the whys and wherefores. Some folks might call that sticking my nose into other people’s business. But when you think about it, that’s my job. And I had my reasons for prying into their affairs. They were tangled up in a case I was working at the time—my grandmother’s murder.

One afternoon during surveillance, I was trés incognito in a landscaper’s jumpsuit with my hair tucked under a safari-style hat, old work boots, and my biggest sunglasses. I shamelessly eavesdropped on Olivia and Sarabeth while in line for coffee at the Book and Grind. They had no clue who I was, and I stood right behind them. Anyway, I overheard them whispering about meeting someone in the park at five. I slipped out of line. The best way to keep someone from discovering you’re following them is to be where they’re going first.

When I walked through the wrought-iron gate into the park that occupies Stella Maris’s town square, my long-dead best friend, Colleen, waited for me. She sat on a bench, tucked into the shade of a magnolia tree, like any live person might sit, enjoying the azaleas and the annuals the garden club had just put out. She smiled and waved like she was expecting me.

I sat down beside her.

Colleen looked me up and down. She smirked. “Nice outfit.”

Spirits shouldn’t smirk. I mean, really, what do they have to be smug about?

Something caught Colleen’s attention and she sobered.

I followed her gaze and watched as Olivia and Sarabeth strolled into the park. They looked straight at me, then away. They proceeded into the park, talking to each other in muted tones.

I stood. “Let’s go.”

A winding path led to the fountain in the middle of the park. A brick walkway encircled the fountain. We followed Olivia and Sarabeth towards the fountain, but when they turned right on the circle walkway, we turned left. I went to the far side of the fountain, ducked behind a tree, and slipped behind a hedge of large azaleas. Colleen followed. Stooping slightly, I traced the hedge back around to the other side of the fountain until I heard voices. I crouched down, straining to hear above the sound of splashing water. Colleen didn’t bother to crouch. No one could see or hear her but me.

“Good afternoon, ladies.” A man’s voice carried through the bushes, but I couldn’t place it. “Wonderful day for a walk in the park, isn’t it?”

I parted the limbs of the hedge just enough to get a peek. It was Adam Devlin. Colleen’s brother-in-law—her sister, Deanna’s, husband. Colleen’s eye narrowed.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a wonderful day for anything.” Olivia’s voice was dry ice.

For her part, Sarabeth glanced nervously around, as if to see if they were being observed.

“Well now, that wasn’t very nice,” Adam said. “There’s not a drop of Southern friendly in your voice. You ladies stay calm, now. Anybody who sees us will just think we stopped to chat while taking an afternoon stroll.”

“Just get to the point,” Olivia said. “What do you want from us?”

“It’s very simple. All I want is your good will and cooperation.”

“Cooperation with what?” Olivia asked.

A weed-eater fired into action not thirty feet away, drowning out Adam’s answer. My eyes nearly popped out of my head in frustration. I wondered if Colleen could somehow hear—with some sort of super-sensitive spirit hearing—but from the squinched-up look on her face, I guessed not.

Whatever he wanted, it must have been right up there with their first-born sons, because I could read Olivia’s lips. “You want to do what?” Her face was the perfect image of genteel, righteous indignation.

Adam stood at an angle. His head rose and his shoulders shook with a chuckle.

“You have lost your ever-loving mind.” Olivia had impeccable enunciation.

Adam said something else and then sauntered off towards the East Main Street gate.

With dumbfounded expressions, Olivia and Sarabeth watched him walk away and then collapsed on a bench just on the other side of the hedge. I could have reached out and touched them.

The groundskeeper with the weed-eater moved farther away from us.

“This makes no sense,” Olivia said.

“Well, he’s obviously crazy,” Sarabeth said.

“What are we going to do?” Olivia asked. “We can’t let him get away with this.”

Sarabeth said, “If we don’t we’ll go to jail. Our children will grow up motherless. I say we do exactly what he wants.”

They say quietly for a few moments and then went home to make dinner.

Eventually I discovered exactly what Adam Devlin was after. But I had bigger fish to fry at the time, and to this day I haven’t figured out what he held over Olivia and Sarabeth. But I will. You can bet your mamma’s pearls on that.

You can read more about Liz in Lowcountry Bombshell, the second book in the “Liz Talbot” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first book in the series is Lowcountry Boil.

dru’s book musing is giving away one (1) kindle copy of “LOWCOUNTRY BOMBSHELL.” Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends September 18.

Meet the author
Susan M. Boyer lives with her husband and houseplants in Greenville, SC. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil is a USA Today Bestseller, an Agatha Award winner for Best First Novel, a Macavity nominee for Best First Novel, a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense recipient, and a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® finalist. Lowcountry Bombshell, the second Liz Talbot Mystery was released September 3, 2013. Visit Susan on the web at susanmboyerbooks.com

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Lowcountry Bombshell by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry BombshellLowcountry Bombshell by Susan M. Boyer is the second book in the award-winning “Liz Talbot” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, September 2013

Liz Talbot thinks she’s seen another ghost when she meets Calista McQueen. She’s the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe. Born precisely fifty years after the ill-fated star, Calista’s life has eerily mirrored the late starlet’s and she fears the looming anniversary of Marilyn’s death will also be hers.

Before Liz can open a case file, Calista’s life coach is executed. Suspicious characters swarm around Calista like mosquitoes on a sultry lowcountry evening: her certifiable mother, a fake aunt, her control-freak psychoanalyst, a private yoga instructor, her peculiar housekeeper, and an obsessed ex-husband. Liz digs in to find a motive for murder, but she’s besieged with distractions. Her ex has marriage and babies on his mind. Her too-sexy partner engages in a campaign of repeat seduction. Mamma needs help with Daddy’s devotion to bad habits. And a gang of wild hogs is running loose on Stella Maris.

With the heat index approaching triple digits, Liz races to uncover a diabolical murder plot in time to save not only Calista’s life, but also her own.

Liz Talbot is back and I’m so happy. In Liz’s latest adventure, her client wants Liz to protect herself from dying. On a certain day. Just like a celebrity. Is the client a crackpot? Liz and Nate will soon find out as they discover someone wants their client dead and will harm anyone that gets in their way.

I love it! There is no sophomore slump for this author as she delivers a well-written tale filled with suspense, humor and some fun that both delighted and entertained me from beginning to end. I love the comfortable ambiance that exudes through the pages in this finely developed story, making me feel like I’m part of the drama. Liz is a wonderfully developed character and I like learning more about her, especially her interaction with family and friends that includes her brother Blake, her best friend Colleen, and her partner Nate. Flowing with southern charm and delicious flavor, this fast-paced drama quickly draws you in and never let you go until that last sentence that is filled with so many possibilities that I hunger for the next book in this enchantingly charismatic series.

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me an ARC of this book, in hopes I would review it.

On A Case With Liz Talbot by Susan M. Boyer

Naturally, I can’t talk about my clients. A private investigator who runs around blabbing about confidential matters would have a lot of spare time on her hands. I can’t name names, you understand. But I can give you an idea of what an average day looks like.

Take today, for example. I went for an early run on the beach with my golden retriever, Rhett. After breakfast I typed up some interview notes from yesterday and packed my surveillance supplies: cooler with water, Diet Cheerwine, and sandwiches, chocolate, gloves—both latex and leather—hand sanitizer, Lysol, trash bags, plus a few of my favorite toys: camera, Taser, binoculars, and eavesdropping equipment, and my Sig Sauer 9.

I’m currently working five cases. Sadly, three involve marital misbehavior. I declare, if more people took their “I dos” to heart, I’d have to find another job. Today I drove into Charleston to tail one of the pillars of society. Let’s call him Romeo.

Romeo may or may not have a chick on the side. His poor wife is so beside herself she’s taken to hiring all manner of psychics, chakra balancers, tarot card readers, and me, in an effort to establish his fidelity. Like some women in her predicament, she thinks she wants to know the truth, but very likely she does not, bless her heart.

I snagged a parking space under a shade tree across from Romeo’s downtown law office. It was quarter to twelve. Every day since I’d been tailing him, at noon he’d walked a few blocks down Broad to the Blind Tiger Pub and ordered a pot roast sandwich, extra horseradish sauce. He lunched alone and went straight back to the office. Romeo looked over his shoulder a lot, but I’d seen neither hide nor hair of another woman—until today.

I’d waited only ten minutes when a guy parked a rickshaw bicycle taxi several yards from Romeo’s office. The driver hopped off and hotfooted west on Broad Street, head down. Less than a minute later, a woman wearing a black and white polka-dot dress, five inch heels, and a wide-brimmed hat climbed into the passenger seat. She wore large sunglasses, and her hair was either short or pulled up. I’d be hard pressed to describe her aside from her clothing and body-type—slim with curves. Let’s call her Jackie.

Romeo walked out of his office and turned east on Broad. A muscular guy with colorful tattoos appeared from underneath a crepe myrtle—we’ll call him Thug. Thug must have spoken to Romeo, because he turned around. Thug gestured towards the rickshaw with his head. I started snapping pictures.

Romeo looked right, then left, and walked towards the rickshaw. Jackie slid over and he climbed in. Thug got on the seat and started peddling. Great. I couldn’t follow them in my car. They’d make me in an instant. I hopped out, crossed the street, and jogged after them.

They turned down Legare, a one-way, residential street. I had to run hard to keep up. Romeo and Jackie had their heads together. Thug made a left on Tradd. I caught a break when a carload of sightseers hung him up. I slowed to a jog. Half a block later I had to stop and pretend to tie my shoe to avoid passing them. Jackie and Romeo were speaking in unloving tones, but I couldn’t make out the words. Thug turned left on Meeting Street and put his well-muscled legs into his work. The distance between us widened quickly.

He turned right and headed the wrong way down St. Michael’s Alley. I sprinted, but that last half block seemed to take an eternity.

I pulled up short and peered around the corner. The rickshaw stood fifty feet in front of me. Thug and Jackie scurried in the opposite direction. Romeo was still in the rickshaw, slumped a bit, and very still.

I pulled out my iPhone and scrolled to Sonny Ravenel’s name. He’s a Charleston police officer and family friend. While the phone rang, I approached the rickshaw. I couldn’t see blood, which was encouraging. Thug and Jackie darted up Church Street. I could follow them or try to help my client’s husband, who had bigger problems just then than his questionable fidelity.

I called his name. He didn’t move.

“Liz, what’s up?” Sonny answered the phone.

I felt for a pulse.


“I’m at St. Michael’s Alley and Meeting Street. I need you and EMS PDQ.”

“Are you all right?”

“I am. But the guy I’ve been tailing doesn’t have a pulse.”

“Don’t move. I’m on my way.”

Today really wasn’t an average day, I guess. But this kind of thing comes up in my line of work.

You can read more about Liz in Lowcountry Boil, the first book in the new “Liz Talbot” mystery series.

** Thanks to the Susan, I have one (1) autographed copy of LOWCOUNTRY BOIL to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends September 21. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Meet the author
Susan M. Boyer has been making up stories her whole life. She tags along with her husband on business trips whenever she can because hotels are great places to write: fresh coffee all day and cookies at 4 p.m. They have a home in Greenville, SC, which they occasionally visit. Susan’s short fiction has appeared in moonShine Review, Spinetingler Magazine, Relief Journal, The Petigru Review, and Catfish Stew. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense recipient and an RWA Golden Heart® finalist. Visit Susan at www.susanmboyerbooks.com, on Facebook or Twitter.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer is the first book in the new “Liz Talbot” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, September 2012

Private Investigator Liz Talbot is a modern Southern belle: she blesses hearts and takes names. She carries her Sig 9 in her Kate Spade handbag, and her golden retriever, Rhett, rides shotgun in her hybrid Escape. When her grandmother is murdered, Liz high-tails it back to her South Carolina island home to find the killer.

She’s fit to be tied when her police-chief brother shuts her out of the investigation, so she opens her own. Then her long-dead best friend pops in and things really get complicated. When more folks start turning up dead in this small seaside town, Liz must use more than just her wits and charm to keep her family safe, chase down clues from the hereafter, and catch a psychopath before he catches her.

Private investigator Liz comes home to Stella Maris after inheriting her grandmother’s house to learn that her death may not have been an accident. With inside help, Liz’s search for a killer uncovers a devious plot that includes trickery and murder and she’ll have to act fast to unmask a killer to save her hometown.

This book oozes southern charm and a mystery that makes you feel like you are a part of the action with every page you turn. I love the way the author presented this lighthearted whodunit with unforeseen revelations as the story came to a close. Liz is my kind of person who carries a Sig and knows how to use it. Surrounded by a quirky cast of characters, this delightful book boasts engaging conversations and a southern charm that embraces you. This was a fun and enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next book in this wonderful debut series.

Susan is the recipient of the 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense