Before I put it on MY blog, I want to mention a couple of things.
We still have Father Will, the good-looking priest. (I wouldn't know, I just see him from the ankles up, from my pillow, or from his lap, and he's ok.) but, this book reveals more of good ol' Father Jack, the cussingest priest you'll ever meet who's trying not so hard to mend his ways.
Anyway, this HIGH FEATHER book is not only leaner, it's meaner and shorter than the first one. I won't go into why that is, just that a good story started up and revved itself all the way to the end. Mom Julie is happy with it, except for one thing:
Nobody we get to know really well or anything, but still--
That sets the entire parish condo community on its ear. Not only because of it being the first death under mysterious circumstances at Temptation Arms, but a sweet, little old lady is implicated!! My friend Patsy, mom to the late mancat Vinny Blackwhisker!! You might remember him from posts a little over a year ago. Can you imagine?
Anyway, here's the excerpt from when she finds the former headmaster of the parish school dead outside her door and runs to get Father Jack. He's in the middle of a celebration in the Arms' atrium and is alarmed when he sees her trying to get his attention, agitated and very upset:
(The following is copyrighted material from the book HIGH FEATHER by J.R. MACKENZIE)
Jack took Patsy’s elbow and steered her into the hall.
“What is it?”
With head shaking, the elderly woman gestured for Jack to follow. There was no one around, everyone still inside enjoying the last few minutes of the night’s festivities.
Having the priest now by her side did nothing to calm Patsy. She looked up at him and said, “I just killed someone!”
With calming hand on her shoulder and heart in his mouth, he said, “Patsy, that’s impossible. Tell me what happened.”
As they made their way toward her apartment, she went back to the very beginning of the evening. “Well, after everyone arrived, I closed up the cloakroom and I had my dinner. Then, I got up to use the bathroom at my place since it’s right here on the first floor—“
They rushed past closed doors, windows looking out onto the courtyard and darkened benches.
The priest was trying to catch his breath. “Patsy, slow down!”
About halfway to their destination, Jack could see a shock of hair partially hidden and the sole of a shoe facing him. He reached for her hand. It was like ice.
As they approached the alcove, it was clear a man was lying in the darkness. His body was contorted, neck twisted. Jack was no expert, but he had seen the departed too many times not to know when he was facing death.
“My Fred!” Patsy sobbed at his side.
It was hard to see who it was. As he knelt down and reached for the man’s wrist, still warm, he stared into the face of the former headmaster of the parish school, their honored guest for the evening, their new friend; but certainly not Fred, as Patsy claimed. Jack paled and, dropping the man’s hand, arose and stood back.
“My Fred!” she repeated. “It’s all his fault!”
Confused, the priest shook his head. He had no words. The poor woman was obviously in shock, standing behind the priest, as if he were a shield to protect her from some unknown evil lying before them. She was whimpering words unintelligible.
“Patsy,” he began, moving so he could put his arm around her shoulders,“Your Fred has been dead a long time, now. He had nothing to do with this, and neither did you."
Jack himself bringing up her late husband’s name only increased the anguish and brought on more tears. “You don’t understand!”
“Patsy, dear, you are confused and in shock.” He patted her head as the woman pressed her face into his jacket like a child. He could feel the rhythm of her jerking motions against his pocket. He pulled out a handkerchief and a half-eaten bar of chocolate.
As he glanced down the hall where they had just come, he saw a couple of people step out of the atrium. They looked curiously in his direction, moving to stand over by the coatroom.
The only thing the priest wanted to do right now was get her out of sight.
“Patsy, Patsy.. it’s all right. Let’s get you inside.”
He reached over to her condo door which was open, and entered. She was still clinging to him.
“Go over, sit the hell down.” He felt like he was being choked by a vine that wouldn’t let go. “I’ll take care of this—“
“I’m so sorry. So sorry.”
“Patsy, it’s not your fault.” He added, under his breath, “Nor his.”
Jack deposited her on the couch, gave her a glass of water which she left sitting on the coffee table, then returned to the hall.
He pulled out his cell phone and punched in the emergency number. “Yes, I need an ambulance right away.” He gave the address and exactly where they could come in with the least commotion. “And, please, no sirens approaching the school!”
The next call Jack made was to his best friend on the force, Detective Lieutenant Ed Bryson. He had his private number and made quick work of filling him in.
“Yeah, Ed, a fine kettle of fish. Patsy claims her husband who’s already dead just murdered our newest resident.”
About the feathers:
At the same time the police, Will and Jack are attempting to solve the mystery, Will is trying to put together a celebrity auction to raise money. An independent theater and film star, known for her red feather boa reaches out to Patsy and helps clear her name. I know EXACTLY what happened all along, and I find a way to help the feathered thespian and Patsy connect. I CAN'T SAY ANYTHING MORE!
One more thing:
It's only going to be published on Kindle, available for the sum of what you might put in the poor box. Meanwhile, there'll be snippets of the book here for your reading pleasure :)
Mom Julie gives me extra treats (chick-hen, skipjack tuna or nip) in exchange for the free publicity on MY BLOG!!