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Authors: Paula Boyd

Dead Man Falls

BOOK: Dead Man Falls
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Dead Man Falls

The Second Jolene Jackson Mystery


Paula Boyd












* * * * *








Diomo Books for Kindle on Mobipocket





Dead Man Falls

The Second Jolene Jackson Mystery

Original Copyright © 2000 by Diomo Books

Revised Edition Copyright © 2011 by Diomo Books



Original Cover Art by Layna Boyd, Copyright © 2001

Digital Publication December 2011





Kindle eBook Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.



All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written consent of the copyright owner except that brief excerpts may be quoted for reviews.



This book is a work of fiction. Names, locales or events are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.



Also available in trade paperback at most online retailers and PDF format from the publisher.


[email protected]








Table of Contents



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23













"Mr. Holt, isn’t it?"

He nodded then stepped inside as directed. "I heard about the letter. That’s why I wanted to come over."

"So you said on the phone."

As the door closed behind him, Holt peered into the dark interior of the room. "Yes, well, I have this friend--"

"Who also got a letter?"

"No, not yet." He shoved his glasses up on his nose and shifted from side to side. "But it still upset her. She doesn’t want to see him." "Ha! You think I do?"

"No." Holt pulled a handkerchief from his back pocket and wiped it across his forehead. "She’s worried he’ll find out about the kid."

"He probably will. He also won’t live to tell about it."

Holt dabbed his upper lip then refolded the cloth. "I have to do something to stop this."

"I’ve thought of nothing else myself."

"Then you’ll help me?"

Another bark of laughter. "Actually, you’ll be the one helping me."

Holt shrugged. "Just so we stop him from coming to town."

"That’s not possible. If I’d been able to find him, he’d already be dead and you wouldn’t be here."

"Dead?" Holt croaked. "’ve been trying to find him, kill him?"

"It’s not a difficult concept."

Holt slid a foot toward the door and rocked back on his heel. "You can’t be serious.’t just walk up and kill somebody."

"I can." The chuckle ended in a snort. "Unless he kills me first."

"Oh, God," he said, his hand groping for the doorknob. "I don’t want any part of this."

"Too late. I have it all planned. You’re going to be my messenger, a fatal fortune teller of sorts."

He spun and lunged for the door. "No, I’m not."

The thick end of a wooden bat cracked against Holt’s skull. He stumbled, fell against the door then slid down onto the cool tiled entryway.

"Yes, you will."












Chapter 1




I can’t be sure, of course, but I suspect that for most folks, their mother’s birthday is neither an earth-shaking event nor a life-altering one. Oh, if only it were so for me.

When the long summer days begin to shorten and the September chill sweeps across my home in Colorado, there are a few things of which I am pretty much certain: the aspens will turn gold, fresh snow will start to fall and Jolene Jackson will find herself back in Kickapoo, Texas--like it or not.

This last little inevitability occurs because my mother is certain she will die on the spot if I don’t show up for her annual birthday bash at the town’s social center, meaning the local Dairy Queen. She also prefers that I arrive cheerful and perky, but we all know that’s a long shot. I make a good effort, really I do, but a body can only take so much St. Johns wort without becoming comatose.

Now, I suspect that the correlation between a big to-do at a Dairy Queen some seven hundred miles south of my home and a personal crisis requiring herbal mood enhancers is not readily apparent, so let me explain.

There are several routine problems associated with my dear mother’s birthday extravaganza. To be sure, Lady Lucille’s whims and antics are enough to give me an annual case of dread as well as ulcers. However, the really big stomach-churner this year is the fact that September isn’t that far removed from July--or my last certifiably painful visit here. The tedious facts and fatalities don’t bear repeating, so I’ll stick to the more generic personal revelations of my unfortunate sojourn.

To begin with, I found out a whole bunch of things about my seventy-two-year-old mother that I really didn’t need to know. For one, she’s in the market for another boyfriend, the previous one being a dud even before he was murdered in the aforementioned July fiasco. For another, she carries a 9 mm Glock with a laser sight in her purse. Yes, really.

Both of these things make me a little nervous. Okay, the gun makes me really nervous--twitchy even. Being nearly killed will do that to a person. And no, my mother didn’t shoot me, although I had the feeling she thought about it a time or two. The almost-healed bullet hole in my arm--and the resulting steel pin holding the bone together--was the work of a now-deceased local crazy. But let’s not dwell on past unpleasantries when there are certainly new ones to be had.

I arrived at my mother’s house in Kickapoo, Texas, around nine p.m., which means I had managed to force myself up, up and away by eight--that would be morning time. As anyone who knows me will attest, I am of the opinion that eight a.m. is a time for sleeping. Ditto for nine. Ten is negotiable.

In spite of the disagreeable early morning departure time, I usually drive down rather than fly. Redwater Falls does have an airport--of sorts--and you can eventually get there from Denver, but it is neither easy nor cheap. Besides, driving my own car gives me the illusion that I have control over something. Once I enter the twilight zone, aka Kickapoo, Texas, even that is iffy.

After unloading my one duffel bag and chatting semi-amicably with my mother, I found myself collapsed on the couch in front of the television--just in time for the local news. Yippee.

My mother perched herself on the edge of a new grape-colored velvet chair, her gaze intent on the TV screen. The initial news bites that are supposed to keep you watching through the upcoming commercials were definitely doing their job. "This is the biggest thing that’s happened around here since the tornado of eighty-three," she said enthusiastically. Lucille shook her head and clucked her tongue. "I don’t much care for that new girl. She spends more time prissing for the camera than she does giving the news."

Please, no, not the "You'd have been good at that if" speech. I rubbed my road-weary eyes, tucked a stray wave of auburn hair behind my ear and pretended she hadn’t said a word. A yawn and stretch emphasized the point.

It is no secret that Lucille Jackson has always wanted to see her only child in the limelight--onstage, front and center in one way or another. Forty-three years of waiting--and nagging--about it have been hard on her. She’d initially hoped to be a stage mom on the beauty pageant and/or fashion model circuit. Unfortunately, my non-anorexic five-foot-four-inch body--not to mention my budding feminist attitude--put me at a decided disadvantage in both categories.

Once, in a weak teenage moment, I agreed to participate in the regional high school all-star Greenbelt Bowl--as a potential queen, not a fullback. Suffice it to say that my comment to the judges about moving the pageant proceedings to the feedlot down the road where we could have us a real meat show did not secure me a rhinestone crown--or an amused mother. She didn’t even attempt to get over it until I got that journalism scholarship to UT, which spawned a whole new set of maternal dreams. I blew those all to hell, too, of course, but she did have a few brief moments of almost-glory.

To this day Mother has held firm in her belief that I would have made a lovely television news anchor had I not squandered my potential and my journalism degree by running off to Denver, marrying an idiot (I’d give her that one) and starting that silly little card company. It may be silly to her, but it gives me a silly little income that allows me to drop everything and run to Texas on her every little whim or incarceration--whichever comes first.

Now, I do make a serious effort to try to please my mother--witness my current whereabouts--but living here is above and beyond the call of duty. Besides, I doubt any self-respecting Redwater station would have ever hired me anyway. I hadn’t been meek and mild in high school, and I was less so after finishing at the University of Texas in Austin. Geographically speaking, Redwater Falls is nowhere near Austin. Philosophically, we’re talking different galaxies. Redwater is, however, about ten minutes north of where I grew up in Kickapoo, and is the "big" town in these parts, meaning its population bloomed to about one hundred thousand thirty years ago and has stayed pretty much the same ever since.

BOOK: Dead Man Falls
9.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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