I’ve been thinking about this book for a long time. It’s a spinoff of TRUST, in that it’s set in the same world, the seaside village of Waverly, MA. The main character in this series is Jane Cho, a former legal investigator who returned to Waverly to run a takeout food shop, Comfort & Joy, and live a quiet, safer life. Jane is a cousin to David, who was in TRUST and so their grandfather has a strong supporting role, as the retired town sheriff, and David’s best friend, Jake, is the current sheriff.
Jane is enjoying the simpler life, but she was a really good legal investigator (think Kalinda from the Good Wife), and she has a rather disturbing admirer, one who is willing to kill if necessary in an attempt to impress Jane and to help make her problems disappear. That’s bad enough, but the truly scary thing is that Jane thought this person had been convicted and was in jail, and her problems were over. Turns out, they are just beginning. Here’s the first scene.
The nightmares were back. They started up again about a week and a half ago, out of the blue, for no apparent reason. Things were going well. Jane Cho was living her dream of running a tiny, mostly take-out food shop, cooking and baking all her favorite things. Comfort & Joy was a hit from the day the doors opened. There was nothing else like it in the small seaside village of Waverly.
Quitting a job she had loved hadn’t been an easy decision, but felt like the only sensible option, given everything that had happened. Coming home to Waverly, where her grandfather was a retired Sheriff, and her cousin, David lived, felt right and safe. Jane had always loved to cook, and found the repetitive, mindless motions of chopping, dicing and stirring relaxing. It soothed her soul like nothing else.
No matter how often she reminded herself that they’d caught the killer, and he would be behind bars for a very long time, it had taken a while for the nightmares to go away, but they finally did and she’d thought they were gone forever. It didn’t make any sense that they were suddenly back now. Her grandfather said it was just part of the natural transition. Now that she was settled into her new routine with the shop and things were going well, perhaps a part of her missed her former life. She had been a very good legal investigator. But, she loved running Comfort & Joy too. Jane pushed the bothersome thoughts out of her mind and got to work getting ready for the day ahead.
For the next few hours, she made chicken pot pies, and beef stew, baked cornbread and muffins and tossed an assortment of salads and then packaged them into individual serving boxes. She had her favorite jazzy music playing in the background and started the coffee brewing so it would be ready when the doors opened at 8am for her first customers. Her grandfather was usually one of the first to arrive, with several of his cronies, all retired policemen who still kept abreast of everything going on in the small town and discussed it at length over their morning muffins and coffee.
As she unlocked the front door and switched the closed sign to open, a cold draft blew through her hair and rattled the window panes. The strange sense of unease crept back again, but Jane pushed it away, determined to focus and have a good day. Melissa, her assistant had arrived a few minutes earlier and welcomed their first customer. A moment later, her grandfather and his two buddies strolled in.
“Good morning, Janie!” he greeted her.
“Hi Gramps.” Jane smiled. Even at 92, her grandfather was one of the most cheerful, positive people she knew and he always brightened her day. “The usual for you?” Gramps glanced at his friends and they all nodded.
Jane poured their coffees and set out two corn muffins and a blueberry, all grilled with plenty of butter. Once they were set, she asked Melissa to keep an eye on the front counter while she ran the trash out back to the dumpster.
The air was cold and raw as she lugged the heavy trash bag to the shed where the dumpster was. She fished in her pocket for the key, but when she looked closer, saw that the shed was open and the padlock was hanging there. That was odd, it wasn’t like her to forget to lock it. But, she hadn’t been sleeping well all week and must have been distracted. She pushed open the door and then the key dropped out of her hands.
In front of her, lying flat on the ground and looking quite dead, with a deep, bloody gash across her forehead, was Samantha Sellers. She was about Jane’s age and hadn’t been happy about Jane opening Comfort & Joy. She had actually just brought a lawsuit against her, trying to get the town to shut her down. It was what Jane noticed next that sent a chill up her spine. The stilletto heel of Samantha’s bright red pump had been shoved in her mouth and stuck to the shoe was a yellow sticky note with a message written in bold black marker,
“I took care of her for you.”
MOTIVE is coming soon, if you’d like an email alert when it is released please sign up here, http://eepurl.com/QZb41