Dead in a Pickup by B. L. Blair

About the Book

When Leah Norwood finds the body of Brandy Perez in a pickup parked outside a house for sale, she is once again drawn into the hunt for a killer. Brandy was a party girl with a questionable reputation. She dated a lot of different men including local bad-boy Marcus Cantono. At the time of her death, Brandy claimed to be in a relationship with a wealthy businessman, and there are only a few men in Reed Hill who fit that description.

Marcus is already dealing with vandals trying to close down his restaurant, his mother’s sixty-fifth birthday party, and family members restarting their drug dealing operation. He doesn’t need lead murder suspect added to the list. The evidence against him is strong, and Leah’s snooping soon makes her a target. She’s determined to help Marcus while trying to keep her relationship with the sexy chief of police intact.

Leah loves a good mystery. Can she find the killer before the killer finds her?

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Glancing at the pickup again, I wondered if the woman would know anything. If she was waiting for someone who lived in the area, she might be familiar with the residents. She still hadn’t moved, and I was getting a little worried. It was a warm spring day, and I was surprised she was sitting in the cab with the windows up and the engine turned off.

Before I could decide whether to approach her, my phone rang. Thinking it was Tracy, I answered without checking. I was surprised to hear Griggs on the line.

“Good morning,” he said when I answered.

“Hi,” I replied with a smile. “Please don’t tell me you can’t make lunch.”

“Are you kidding me?” he said, humor lining his voice. “I think I’d get run out of town if I canceled on you again.”

“Oh, I doubt that.”

“You weren’t at the council meeting or at the gym.”

“What do you mean?”

“Gabe made a very pointed comment at the city council meeting the other night about not showing for our double date.”

As one of the leading employers in town, Gabe sat on the city council. He had been instrumental in hiring Griggs as our police chief, and he and Griggs had become friends. Gabe, Olivia, Griggs, and I had planned to meet at the movies on Saturday. It was one of the times Griggs had to cancel. Gabe understood this. He was simply giving Griggs a hard time.

“He had to know you couldn’t help it,” I said.

“Sure. As a council member and city leader, he understands and supports my dedication to the job. But as your friend, he’s not happy.”

I could still hear the humor in Griggs’s voice so I didn’t apologize for Gabe’s behavior. My friends could be protective.

“Of course, Cantono wasn’t as understanding.”


“Yes. Marcus. When I saw him at the gym this morning, he asked how our date went. He wasn’t pleased when I told him I had to cancel. I think he might’ve threatened my life.”

I laughed. Marcus and Griggs had gotten off on the wrong foot. Griggs being law enforcement and Marcus being part of a law-breaking family hadn’t helped. They now seemed to have reached an understanding. Not exactly friends, but no longer enemies.

“I’m sure he didn’t mean it,” I said. “You must’ve gotten to the gym early.”

“Yeah. I got a decent night’s sleep as it was quiet at the station. No domestic calls, no accidents, and especially no murders. I had to sleep on the couch in my office, but I wasn’t disturbed. I think that may be what angered Cantono. He didn’t look like he had slept at all.”

“That’s odd. I saw him at the store yesterday. He didn’t mention any late plans. Just going to Bella’s to help out. Maybe he didn’t sleep well and went to the gym early to wear himself out so he could sleep tonight.”

“Maybe. He certainly looked tired, but enough about him. What are you doing?”

“I’m sitting on the porch of a house waiting for my real estate agent to arrive so she can show it to me. Do you know anything about an accident on the freeway?”

There was a short pause. “We heard about it, but it’s being handled by the state troopers. They didn’t ask for any assistance so it can’t be that bad.”

“Probably a fender-bender that backed up traffic. Tracy said she was almost to the exit. Hopefully, she’ll be here soon.”

Another pause. “You’re looking for a house?”

He sounded surprised. It had been my plan to purchase a house for years. I had been saving for a down payment that would allow me to have a reasonable monthly mortgage. We had paid off all our business loans, and the store was doing well. Buying a house had been such a big part of my life for a while now that I didn’t realize until that moment I had never mentioned it to Griggs. In some ways, it felt like we’d been dating forever, but in reality, we still barely knew each other. I took a few minutes to tell him about my plans.

“I just bought a house myself,” he said. “I thought I could show it to you today.”

“I’d love to see it.”

“Great. I’ll meet you at the store around one.”

I agreed, and we said goodbye. I was starting to get worried about Tracy. The ten minutes had stretched to thirty, and she still wasn’t anywhere in sight. I looked up and down the street. There was no traffic. Cars were parked along the curbs, but nothing was moving. It was a little eerie.

The woman in the pickup still hadn’t moved. I rose from the porch and walked toward her. The pickup was old, but it was in decent shape. It looked like something from the fifties or sixties with a smaller cab and bed. The closer I got, the more concerned I became. She was so still. A knot formed in my stomach as I edged nearer.

The woman appeared to be asleep, head back against the headrest, eyes closed, but I knew she wasn’t asleep. I stared through the windshield and saw the bruising around her neck so very reminiscent of my own. Unfortunately, the tie lying on the seat next to her was familiar too.

Tracy pulled up behind my car as I was calling 911. It was too late for the woman inside, but I knew a crime scene when I saw one. The one thought that kept running through my head was what was Marcus’s tie doing on the seat of a dead woman’s pickup?


About the Author

B. L. Blair writes mystery/romance stories. Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the time to finish them.

She is the author of the Leah Norwood Mysteries and the Lost and Found Pets Mystery Novellas. She loves reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her family.

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