In the Spirit of Murder - a mystery/police procedural by Laura Belgrave

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When her muffler finally gives out in a sleepy little Florida town called Indian Run, veteran police Detective Claudia Hershey figures it must be serendipity that brings her there. Indian Run has everything that her hometown Cleveland does not: wide-open spaces, a sun-kissed sky, people who know your first name, and — best of all — nothing more than nickel-dime crimes that are easier to solve than crossword puzzles. What better place to raise her teen-aged daughter?

So Claudia digs in, gets hired on with the small police department that patrols Indian Run’s backwoods community, and begins to relax for the first time in her life. She finds a little romance and occasionally even an evening here and there to play her oboe and try her hand in the kitchen.

And then death comes calling. A woman turns up bludgeoned in her own home. But she isn’t just anybody. She’s one of a small cluster of psychics and mediums whose long-ago draw as a tourist attraction had faded to little more than an idle curiosity — a curiosity that instantly blooms again with the woman’s murder. The media noses in fast, and Hershey is abruptly thrust into a nightmarish case that reaches from the secretive heart of the psychic community to the powerful corridors of the state Legislature. Suddenly, the skills she thought she’d never have to use again are not only needed, but challenged by the curmudgeonly police chief who’d hired her in the first place.

There are problems for Hershey from the start. The responding officer has walked all over potential evidence. A video tape that might be helpful looks like a dead-end. Worse, no one will talk to her. Not the psychics. Not the mediums. Not the dead woman’s boyfriend, and certainly not the clients who’d come to her for readings. Hershey is on her own in a case that quickly evolves into a cat-and-mouse chase that can only turn more deadly . . .

In a fast-paced police procedural that’ll keep even veteran mystery buffs guessing, IN THE SPIRIT OF MURDER puts a refreshing — and human — face on the standard “tough cop” police procedural. Claudia Hershey may have to work alone, but she’ll have readers on her side from the opening page to the stunning conclusion as she makes choices that threaten not only her career, but her very survival.

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