Burned-out high school teacher Deena Sharpe is ready for a change. She has no idea a fifty-year-old murder case is about to turn her life upside down.
The Perry County Sheriff’s office has found a skeleton in the closet…literally. When they identify the man’s body fifty years after his disappearance, his family turns to Deena to uncover the truth about his murder. The clock begins ticking when she discovers a mysterious writer is about to implicate the victim in his latest conspiracy theory book. She must channel her inner super-sleuth to solve the puzzle and protect her family name. With the help of her off-beat brother and others from the cozy town of Maycroft, Texas, Deena takes on a quest that leads to more questions than answers.
Sharpe Shooter is the first book in the Maycroft Mystery Series. With antique shopping, car chases, and ghosts in the night, the story will keep you guessing as you follow Deena on her quest for the truth.
Q: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself–maybe something readers might not guess?
I am Russell Sinclair, Deena Sharpe’s brother. She’s the star of the show even though she’d couldn’t have solved this mystery without me. I’m a confirmed bachelor. It’s not that I don’t want to get married, I just haven’t found someone willing to put up with my quirks. You see, I serve in Vietnam and came back with PTSD, hearing loss, and killer migraines. I’m an easy-going guy as long as things don’t get too stressful.
And as far as looks, a lot of people say I resemble Jimmy Buffett. It’s probably the Hawaiian shirts, cargo shorts, and flip flops. If you knew me better, you would know I am a comic book collector. Don’t tell Deena, though. She’ll want me to sell them in her antique booth.
Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best? Why?
Like I said, I’m a pretty easy going guy so long as you don’t cross my friends or family. My best friend is Cliff. Known him since high school. I work as a semi-partner in his appliance repair shop. He knows the real me and somehow still likes me.
Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with? Why?
One guy, Neal Fortune, is a writer. I used to look up to him because of his interest in uncovering the truth in all kinds of conspiracies, such as Area 51 and Watergate. After this experience though, I’m not so sure how I feel about him.
Q: Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?
From what I understand, she’s a lot like my sister. They are both former journalism teachers who are recently retired. Both have great husbands who are avid sports fans. Both have smart, good-looking brothers. Both love treasure hunting and selling old junk in antique stores. She’s fine by me.
Q: What’s next for you?
My busy-body sister is trying to set me up on dates. I think she just wants me to get married so someone else has to take care of me. Whatever. I just want to hang out with my buddies at the VFW, hunt, fish, and help Deena stay out of trouble. That last one is usually the toughest.
Excerpt from “Sharpe Shooter” by Lisa B. Thomas
Perhaps I should have had a plan before setting myself up to be fired, Deena Sharpe thought as her eyes traveled around the empty classroom. Thriving just days earlier with busy teenagers, so alive that their youth spilled over into the hallway, the room now seemed like an empty tomb awaiting a sarcophagus.
The tap-tap-tap sound coming down the hallway meant Janice Marshall, the assistant principal, was ready for Deena to vacate the building. No one likes the screeching of fingernails on a chalkboard, but most teachers at Maycroft High School would have chosen it any day over the incessant sound of those clicking heels. Like I always say, Deena thought as the annoyance grew louder, there is something fishy about a woman who can stand on her feet all day in high heels. She is not to be trusted.
Luckily, she would never again have to endure Ms. Marshall’s condescension or shoes.
“How much longer are you going to be, Mrs. Sharpe?” She stood in the doorway as though entering might actually infect her with cooties.
“Oh, just a bit longer.” Deena relished her intentional vagueness. Using her gooiest Southern drawl, she added, “You don’t have to wait for me, dear.”
Ms. Marshall smirked, leaned against the door frame as if she herself were the very foundation of the building, and began occupying herself on her cell phone.
Standing over her desk, the perch from which she ruled her flock, Deena slowed her movements, accomplishing two goals: savoring the moment and bugging her watchman. “Is this how you deal with all teachers when they leave this school? Are you worried I might steal this stapler?” She held it up as a visual aid.
Ms. Marshall rolled her eyes. “No, but this is a special circumstance.”
Still holding the heavy black stapler, Deena contemplated bashing her in the head or shoving it somewhere else. She envisioned the headline in the Northeast Texas Tribune: Ex-Journalism Teacher Bludgeons Assistant Principal with Swing Master II.
She dropped it in the box she was filling to take home.
Deena envisioned herself as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider—always ready to fight the good fight. She called it her Walter Mitty Complex. In her mind, she would kick butt and take names; in reality, she would step aside and apologize. Still, she was always looking for ways to unleash her inner Lara. She even took karate at one time but gave up when she got walloped by a six-year-old warrior princess.
Now, surrendering her classroom keys to the principal’s chief stooge seemed like waving a white flag on her career. She still managed a pained, melancholy smile as she headed out of room 106 and down the hallway for the last time. Surprisingly, she felt no sense of relief, her stomach queasy, her chest tight. Instead, she felt the same foreboding she got every year on the eve of the first day of school.
About The Author
Born and raised in Texas, I always knew I wanted to be a writer. Finally, after thirty-three years as a high school Journalism and English teacher, I dusted off the laptop and released my first novel. Having grown up reading Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and Agatha Christie, I was drawn to the mystery genre.
With two grown children out of the nest, I live a quiet life with my husband and Peekapoo puppy. Besides writing, I enjoy my grandchildren, photography, traveling, and antiquing (aka. buying and selling used junk). Like my main character, Deena, I have an antique booth and enjoy treasure hunting and reselling vintage finds.