Did Simon Langford abuse his son and kill his wife? Paula Mitchell, a Rhode Island private investigator, is hired to prove he’s an innocent man.
When Simon refuses to answer Paula’s questions, she interviews his friends and acquaintances. Trouble is, they’re almost as secretive as Simon, and she’s sure some are lying. When Simon is arrested for his wife’s murder, Paula knows she needs to work fast, or Simon will go to prison, probably for life. And might never see his little boy again.
After old flame Steve comes back to town, Paula is excited about the rekindling of their romance. Events turn dangerous, though, and Steve’s need to protect Paula might get in the way of her solving the case.
Paula’s frustration escalates until the day she discovers some answers from an unexpected source that provide a surprising breakthrough. But when she acts on the information, she puts her own life in danger.
Third novel in the Paula Mitchell, PI, series.
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Excerpt from SECRET EXPOSURE
I came in behind the stranger as he brandished a gun in his right hand. He shouted, “Where is she? Where’s Marisa?”
The receptionist rose slowly from her desk, openmouthed. I jerked the guy’s arm down and backward and put him into a choke hold. He dropped the gun and gagged. I spun him around and gave him a shove. He fell on his ass and looked up at me in astonishment. A good thing he was only a couple of inches taller than I am, and that my reflexes have always been excellent.
The woman at the desk already had the phone to her ear, talking to the police. Jack opened his office door and stuck his head out. “Paula, what’s going on out here?”
A young woman, maybe thirty, short, with a pixyish face and Cupid’s-bow mouth stood behind him. She whispered, “Simon? What are you doing?”
I grabbed the gun from the floor and pointed it at Simon. “Good question. What the hell is wrong with you?”
Simon scooted backward on his butt until his back hit the wall. He raised his trembling hands. “She’s a no-good liar. I never, ever abused our son. Tell the truth, Marisa. I could never hurt Henry.” Tears streamed down his face. I didn’t remember ever seeing anyone so miserable.
Someone shouted in the hallway, “Police! Freeze!” Anders and Peterson came in, weapons pointed. Right at me. My heart did a little jig in my chest, and I carefully placed Simon’s gun on the floor. They slowly lowered their guns when they saw me.
That’s how my day started. Just another typical summer morning for a private investigator in Springton, Rhode Island. Right. After the police took our statements and hauled Simon away, Jack offered me a brandy. I declined. I had work to do. “Give me the subpoena, and I’ll get it served.” I glanced at Marisa who had sunk down into a visitor’s chair looking pale and wan. “You okay?” I asked her.
“I guess so. I’ve never seen Simon so crazy. He’s always controlled. I don’t know what’s happened to him.”
“You asked for a divorce,” Jack reminded her. “I’m guessing he doesn’t want one.”
“He should have thought of that before abusing our son.”
Well yeah, I thought. Decided to get the hell out of Dodge. Unmarried myself, messy divorces made me uneasy, even though I sometimes had to get some unsavory evidence about one spouse or the other.
“Well, it’s been fun. I’m going to go serve this subpoena. Hope the guy doesn’t have a gun.”
“It’s a woman,” Jack said, grinning at me.
“Great.” I picked up my huge purse, my battle bag, and left them to it.
The woman gave me no trouble except for the cussing when she realized what had I handed her.
I drove back to my office and said hello to Brian, our gorgeous twenty-six-year-old receptionist. Tall, blond, blue-eyed. If he didn’t work for Geri and me, I’d hit on him.
“Yes, but you can go in.” He squinted at me. “You look a little, what? Frazzled?”
“Yeah, that’s what happens when you have to wrestle a gun away from a crazed man first thing on a Monday morning.”
I told him what had happened. I’d never seem him so amazed before. “Okay. You have a right to look frazzled.”
I laughed, knocked softly on Geri’s door and entered.
Her blue eyes watched me walk in and sit down in a visitor’s chair. “What’s wrong?”
“Damn. I didn’t realize my face gave so much away.”
“It must have been really bad. I’ve hardly ever seen you like this before. Someone point a gun at you?” She tapped her pen on the desk.
I laughed. “Almost. A guy named Simon Langford stomped in front of me into Jack’s office waving one around.”
Geri’s eyes got huge. “Who? Simon Langford? He just hired me to represent him in his divorce.”
“Figures,” I muttered.
I loved. this. Paula Mitchell is a great lead character, perfectly imperfect. Book 3 in the series had a great plot, filled with twists and turns and a storyline that held onto you and wouldn’t let you go. wonderfully descriptive and well written, I can’t believe this is the first book by this author that I’ve read, it definitely will be be my last. I have downloaded books 1 & 2 of the series while I wait for book 4 to come out!
I definitely recommend this book. If you’ve read the first two, you definitely need to read this one. And if you haven’t read Jan Christensen’s Paula Mitchell books, I suggest you start! This was a fun, interesting, don’t want to put down book.
really like the Paula Mitchell, P.I. series! This is book 3 & each one is better than the last. I was absolutely amazed at all the twists & turns, & believe me there were many. Paula is gutsy, funny, & very determined. She is who I would like investigating if I was ever accused of murder. She is also one of those rare female characters that realizes & acknowledges the needs of her partner. She is strong, but knows when to ask for or accept help. I am looking forward to book 4.
This is such a good thriller! Fast paced, suspenseful, with a great description of characters and situations.
The plot gets better and better, and it’s full of twists and turns.
What starts as a normal investigation for Paula Mitchell, gets more and more bizarre. A case of divorce escalates into child abuse, then with murder. Things that happened in the past, pranks, abuse and love affairs find their way into the present and complicate the situation even more.
Paula has the most outrageous and far fetched theories as to what may have happened and who the killer is, and this is what defines her character and makes the book so good.
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