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Clean Slate


Private investigators, Rhett and Toni Sanders, take on two cases. First they must solve the murder of Vernon Chandler who was shot in his condominium. Police arrested Chandler’s one time best friend, Anthony Hill, who had motive, no alibi, and records showed that he’d recently purchased the murder weapon. Hill’s attorney, Chris Beck, believes he’s innocent, and that’s enough for the Sanders to get involved.

The other case begins with the apparent death by natural causes of the ex-wife of Marshall Hudson, a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Richard Weed, Hudson’s successful but ruthless campaign manager, has a track record for success because he ensures that all of his candidates who run for office have clean slates. If anyone knows a dark secret about one of his clients, Weed does whatever it takes to permanently silence that person.

The investigations take place in Houston and in parts of New Mexico. There is suspense and a few shocking plot twists in this old-fashioned detective mystery. Does Marshall Hudson have a deep dark secret that, if publicized, would eliminate any chance for his election? Are two mysterious deaths in Memphis and South Dakota relevant to the investigations? Who are those Penitentes who have secrets of their own who lend a hand? Why would our Department of Homeland Security get involved? And will Rhett and Toni survive?

Books by the Author:

Canyon Road

Clean Slate

Lakota Betrayal, A Novel

Navfac: The Final Tour of Duty

Random Sample: An Uncertain Suicide

Random Sample: The Improbable .38

Random Sample: Something Else In Common

What Every (New) Author Should Know: A Survey of American Readers (no information for this book was available)



Sample Chapter of book

Chapter 1

Friday Night. Santa Fe, New Mexico

The sweat was evaporating almost as quickly as it left the pores of Kandyce Hudson’s skin. That’s what happens this time of year on the Aspen Vista hiking trail at an elevation above ten thousand feet. It was cool with ridiculously low humidity. It was typical Santa Fe weather in late March.

Her jog today had been productive. She often used jogging to do serious thinking. Time was running out and she had important decisions to make so she’d taken the longer of the two trails — about six miles in length which provided Kandyce with more time to weigh her options.

Kandyce had moved to Santa Fe last September to be closer to her son, Timmy. Of course, she no longer calls him that to his face now that he’s eighteen years old. But now her son was only a few months away from graduation. He certainly wouldn’t stay in Roswell after graduation, and Kandyce wouldn’t relocate again just to be close to him if and when he went to college, wherever that might be. Returning to Gulf Shores, Alabama, where she was raised and where her mom still lived would just be giving up on everything she wanted.

Now her jog was over. She’d walk the final quarter of a mile to the parking lot. Kandyce was feeling confident. She’d made some decisions. She’d keep her married name until Timmy graduated from college. While she liked her job at the folk art store on Canyon road -- and was grateful to her friend, Scout, for hiring her — in June she would go back to Houston and resume her career as a paralegal, if anyone would have her. It had been almost twenty years since she’d worked at the law firm, but she still knew people there, people who today had influence. She remembered that she had loved the work. And she was confident she would get a job there if she just asked the right person.

Even though her recent brief romance with the local bachelor, Phil, had left her feeling naïve, taken advantage of, and yes, stupid, she was not through with men. This morning in her small rented casita when she’d looked at herself in the mirror while dressing, Kandyce acknowledged that she was still reasonably attractive and that she deserved a healthy relationship. She’d just be smarter next time.

As she jogged the trail, Kandyce acknowledged that her life was about to change; and while she felt some anxiety, she also felt excitement. She felt young again. She smiled. It had been a great hike. The smell of the cedars and aspens in the crisp air had been emotionally therapeutic.

Now as she walked toward the parking lot, she wondered. Who were those two men walking in her direction? Something was odd about them.

They could’ve been brothers. Both about 5’ 8”. If she had to guess she’d say they were in their late twenties. Black hair. Tan skin. Latino’s? Indians? Pakistanis? They wore khaki pants, windbreakers, and loafers. Not at all what hikers or joggers would wear on the Aspen Vista hiking trail. They walked with their hands in the pockets of their jackets.

One hundred yards from the parking lot, they stopped and stepped apart to let Kandyce pass between them. The man on her left asked, “Señora, you see dog?”

The other man said, “We lost dog. Black. You see, señora?”

Latinos she concluded.


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