...Author, Creative Director, Award-Winning Art Director/Designer and Print Communications Specialist, as well as a
Skilled Yacht Craftsman, Experienced Bluewater Skipper, Champion Offshore Racing Sailor, and a Serious Player of the Links.
Whether you're a high-end private club member, born with blue blood in your veins and a silver spoon in your mouth; a municipal course hacker, who plays late afternoon golf for the discounted twilight rate; or never played the game at all, and couldn't tell the difference between a gap wedge, a 7 iron or a fairway metal; murder still means unexpected, violent death. So this tale will surely keep you on the edge of your seat, no matter into which group you fall.
And, murder is only the beginning at this exclusive club, which sits along the captivating shores of Long Island Sound in a charming, yet extremely affluent, small coastal village in Connecticut. There's golf, of course, and sex, a romance or two, more murder, dirty little secrets and some big ones too. The pages will turn quickly and fly by effortlessly, right from the start.
Be my guest for a thrilling ride through the darkness and doom at The Country Club. Where golf is hard and death comes easy.
Here it is, hot off the press. Well, okay, maybe not hot off the press, but just about ready to go on the press. I'm presently searching for a worthy publisher to partner with, so let's talk if you happen to be one. Either way, I'm shooting to have the initial print run done in the very near future. And, I'm taking names.
Be one of the first to buy the hard copy and I'll write you a personalized message, along with my heartfelt thanks in a signed edition. And, since you made the extra effort, I'll take 50% off the cover price for the first 25 responses.
Just fill in the form below and hit 'submit.' You'll be under no obligation to purchase it once it's available.
In the meantime, here are a few excerpts to help get you interested:
Excerpts from My New Book:
The Country Club
Golf is Hard. Death is Easy.
From the Jacket Cover: Portsouth's Chief of Detectives, Madison Brady and her newly-hired and highly-experienced, big city detective, John Masters, have more than a few problems on their hands. First, there is a gruesome execution-style murder at the Greenledge Country Club, and then another, just a mile down the road, though no one is quite sure about the latter. As they get deeper into the investigation, Brady and Masters uncover a secret sex club, mob connections, vengeful club members and the denial of a growing attraction to each other.
Meanwhile, Scott Richter, the biggest commercial real estate developer in the state, is focused on the one prize he wants more than anything; full membership in one of the most exclusive clubs in the country, which features one of the most renowned golf courses in the world. Yet even with his newfound fortune, his chances to be accepted into this elite, private society are slim and none. And that doesn't sit so well for Richter, who doesn't accept rejection as well as most....
EXCERPT #1 (End of Chapter1):
....After 16 holes so far, and now in dwindling daylight, Evan had a score of 57 totaled up on his card, with only two holes left to finish. This par 3, 17th, and the final hole, the par 5, 18th. If he could just par them both, it would be his lowest score in years, a 7 under par, 65. That would even outshine his two 67s in back-to-back weeks during a string of good rounds he had last year.
Reassessing his chances after that fantastic tee shot, with his ball lying only a few inches away from making a 2, things were looking mighty promising. Hell, even if he made a bogey on the final hole now, he’d still end up with a 65. What a day! He said quietly to himself, “I really wish there was someone out here to see this.”
All Evan McCord had to do was tap it in for birdie and play a decent 18th hole. Should be no problem.
But this is golf. Anything can happen.
And it did.
Evan McCord never felt a thing as the bullet entered just above his right eye, through his frontal lobe, catching parts of his temporal, then occipital lobes, before exiting the back of his skull.
His body went down hard and fast. He was likely dead before he hit the hard, gray pavement of the cart path beneath him. He had just slid his brand new PXG hybrid back into his fancy, oversized staff bag, distinctively embroidered with his name and custom logo. It was strapped to his own personal, specially-designed EZ-GO electric cart. Evan always had the newest and best of everything. His golf gear, clothes, toys, women, yes everything.
The second bullet grazed his neck. But it didn’t matter. The first one did the trick. Even so, three more were spent, piercing his dead body.
For good measure.
Just to be sure.
Mr. McCord’s amazing round of golf was over. The clubhouse bar stories were not going to be about multiple birdies, super golf shots and low scores. Instead, the mystery surrounding the end of his life would be the topic of discussion for days, weeks, months, and probably even years to come.
There were some individuals at the club who weren’t all that upset about the whole incident.
Evan did get his wish, though. There was someone out there to see his masterful shot on the 17th. Unfortunately, that same someone took five shots of their own.
EXCERPT #2 (End of Chapter 5):
....Damn!, he thought. Will I ever get to the fireworks? He knew he had to stop, especially since he recognized the man as a new member of the club. In fact, he saw him on the course earlier that evening, a little before he finished up his work.
He pulled over behind the man’s car. As his truck came to a halt in the near-darkness, the man started to walk towards him. He had a thankful look on his face. He came to Julio’s window and leaned down.
“Thanks for stopping. Oh, I recognize you. Don’t you work on the crew at Greenledge?”
“Yes, sir.” Julio answered.
“Great. Hopefully you can help. I just hit a small deer and it’s in pretty bad shape over here on the other side of my car. I’m not sure what to do. It’s probably gonna have to be euthanized.”
“I’m not sure how I can help, I don’t have a gun and even if I did, I don’t think I could do it,” Julio replied.
“Maybe just call the police for me. I accidentally left my cellphone in my locker, which I didn’t realize until I went to call them myself. But, first just take a look and tell me what you think. I’m not sure if I should just leave it to suffer, or what.”
“I’m kind of in a rush, but okay.” Julio said. He figured it would only take a few seconds and he’d be on his way. Besides, helping a member out might pay off down the line. You never know. He stepped out of the pick-up and walked around the front of the man’s car to take a look. It was well past dusk. Virtually dark.
“Where is it, I don’t see it. I thought...”
Those were Julio Marqueses’ last words. Ever. He definitely wasn’t getting to the fireworks before the grand finale started, as his own finale took place with a 9mm round to the back of the head.
Ironically, the bullet entered his occipital lobe, went through his temporal and frontal lobes, exiting just above his right eye.
...On my drive to headquarters I was thinking about the two state police detectives we were going to be collaborating with, detectives Hill and Sherwood. How were we going to deal with this situation without things getting uncomfortable between the two agencies? If I’m being honest, I was thinking more about Heather Hill than Marv Sherwood. She definitely caught my eye. Though she is quite physically attractive, with her thick dirty blond locks, crystal blue eyes, white perfect teeth and trim figure, her sharp wit and no nonsense attitude made her even more interesting to me. She’s no youngster, but you’d never know it to look at her. I’m guessing she’s in her early to mid 40s. She looks maybe 35, max.
I think Maddie noticed that I noticed. She didn’t say anything, but she treated me differently than normal. Maybe a touch more flirtatious than I was used to from her. Like maybe she felt as if she needed to up her game.
Maddie and I have a unique relationship, which is still developing. She’s my boss, but has never played that card, other than when she needs a report or something from me. We aren’t necessarily partners, per se, but when I have a partner on a case, so far at least, it has mostly been her. We have two other detectives on the force, but neither has had the wonderful pleasure of working closely with me more than once or twice in over a year and a half. Poor guys. I work independently on small stuff, when it doesn’t require a team. Simple stuff usually. Anything more involved, Maddie tends to partner up with me. It’s up to her who she partners with. She’s Queen detective. She can pick whomever she wants to be her partner on a case. And she pretty much always picks me. Don’t need to be a detective to add that up.
I suppose you could speculate that she just likes my experience and wants to learn from me. It’s definitely more than that. We kid with each other a lot. I tease her to no end and I can see she likes it. There’s a certain big brother, little sister vibe going on, yet sometimes, it seems like more.
I invited her out on my sailboat for a nice afternoon along with a guy she was seeing for a short time. It was one day over the Memorial Day weekend a month or so back. I had a date as well. She was some little spinner I’d met the night before at Chadwix Bar and Grill down the street from the marina.
In fact, her name was Marina.
Maddie had asked me beforehand if I would be bringing someone on the sail. I told her I would, but by the day before, I still had no date. I didn’t want to look like a loser, so after work that Friday, I stopped in at the bar, had a couple Stoli rocks, and went fishing.
I did a walk through the joint and spotted Marina for the first time with a group of about 12 ladies all having some sort of celebratory get-together. She looked very interesting. Checked out her left ring finger. Empty. I made sure she saw me before I headed back up to my seat at the bar. Even though they had waitress service at the group of tables that had been pushed together for the gang of girls, Marina kept coming up to the bar, right next to me, to order drinks. Either their server was not able to handle all their needs quickly enough, or Marina had other ulterior motives. I decided it was the latter and said hello after her third trip up to the bar next to me.
I had a little buzz on already, so it was easy for me to say, “Hi. I’m John. John Masters. We have to stop meeting like this.”
She looked confused. I had to explain the joke.
As the conversation went on during the evening, I was making puns, talking about my marina and her name, Marina. It was kind of loud by the bar and maybe she couldn’t hear my jokes enough to get what I was saying, but she giggled just the same.
Anyway, one thing led to another and Marina came sailing the next day with me and Maddie and ....whatever his name was.
It was Marina’s 2nd time on the boat in less than 12 hours.
I may be over 50, but I still got it.
We all had a great day on the Sound. A beautiful late spring afternoon, with temps in the mid-80s, but still cool on the water. So, no bikinis, sadly.
The wind was perfect for this crew of non-sailors. Enough to move the boat at a good clip without anyone feeling sea sick or worried we were going to tip over. 10-15 knots of consistent breeze from the southwest. I didn’t have to work too hard. I was pretty much able to sail the boat by myself while the three of them relaxed and enjoyed the day. The four of us had a really nice time together.
Well, at least two of us did.
Yes, me and Maddie had a great time. Marina and What’s-his-name, maybe not as much.
It wasn’t that they didn’t enjoy themselves, but Maddie and I had a certain rapport between us that the others didn’t really appreciate. We knew each other, worked with each other and had already developed a comfort level with each other long before this group got together on the boat. I think the others felt left out at times. It wasn’t that we tried to leave them out, but it just seemed as if Maddie and I were more interested in entertaining each other than we were with our respective dates. We made many private little jokes that only we understood. There was laughing and fun between us all, yet there was an underlying something going on which I think everyone sensed....
At 44 years old, Scott Richter had finally made it. At six feet four inches tall and 235 lbs., he was a big presence of a man, not only in physical stature, but around the state, as well. From the outside, looking in, he had accumulated great wealth through diligence and determination. He was generally respected in the community and well-known throughout the area for his commercial real estate empire. It was time to enjoy the fruits of his labors and to reward himself for all the sacrifices he had made to get there.
On the inside, there was more to it than that.
He bought a breathtaking 8-acre estate with a 12,000 square foot home on the water in Portsouth, one of the richest towns in Connecticut. It was just a couple miles away from where he was once employed, so many years back, as a maintenance worker at Greenledge Country Club. Now, he was hoping to become a member of that prestigious club.
This is where the story he was writing for himself didn’t go as he planned.
He applied for membership at Greenledge. With all his connections, there were many existing members who could recommend and sponsor him on the application. And, he certainly had no problem covering the hefty initiation fee or yearly dues. He was a fairly respectable golfer and liked to play for cash. It was no secret that many of the members liked to compete in big money matches. So, Richter should fit right in. But, it wasn’t that simple.
Scott Richter may have money now, but he didn’t have a college degree. Or, any type of pedigree for that matter. He barely graduated high school. His father was a nobody. There was no blue bloodline in his background. And, it had also been quietly rumored that he had some questionable connections to certain undesirable types and family businesses in Brooklyn and Northern New Jersey. Consequently, becoming a full-fledged member of the highfalutin Greenledge CC wasn’t something Richter was likely going to attain, no matter what sacrifices he had to make.
And that, really pissed him off.
Richter was shrewd. He didn’t get to where he is by always being the nice guy he appeared to be. Sometimes, things needed to be taken care of in ways that would not be perceived by those around him as upstanding business practices. So he kept those things quiet. Sometimes, you gotta do, what you gotta do. But the world doesn’t have to know about it, right? Image is everything.
A few years back, when Richter was gaining fame within the Southern Connecticut area, one of his business associates in commercial real estate development—among other things—introduced him to Anthony “Tony” Gallacci, the Republican candidate running for Mayor of Bridgehaven. They connected. Richter put his support behind Gallacci and helped get him get elected. Over time, the two worked closely on many projects together. Some of those projects worked out pretty well for Bridgehaven. Some of those projects worked out very well for Gallacci. And, all of those projects worked out extremely well for Richter.
Gallacci was able to push through the approval of the largest commercial development project ever executed in the city, the 1.5 million square foot, Richter Business Campus, in downtown Bridgehaven. It was 50% bigger in area than the previous largest property in the city. The one on which, years earlier, Richter’s company had established itself as the top electrical contractor in the state. Many city officials were opposed to the project in general, or the tax and incentives deal which was ultimately cut with Richter, or simply the image of working with him on this. His name had begun to show up alongside other not-so-upstanding business names in recent years and city officials were concerned. Image is everything.
The commercial property taxes generated from the office park were a huge boon to the city, though they should have been even more so, considering the size of the project. But, Richter needed some incentives too. There were other cities who were interested in the project and were offering large tax break incentives as well. So Bridgehaven bent over backwards. Even though so many were opposed to the size of the buildings, Mayor Gallacci pushed hard. In return, he got some nice gifts from Richter for his hard work, but only he and Richter knew about those. Oh, and Nick Paulino, their mutual business associate and original matchmaker. He knew too. They also all knew that Richter was never entertaining the idea of developing the project in any other city. But, image is everything.
Over the years, Tony and Nicky, and now Scott Richter, did some interesting projects together, in one form or another. A few, actually, were somewhat above board. It turned into a long, complex relationship in the end.
And there was an end. There's always an end.
...I could see he was avoiding something, or trying to stay away from specifics, so I pressed.
“What do you know about their sex life?” I asked, straight out.
There was that subtle reaction again, only this time, less subtle.
“Well, uh, what do you mean? What would I know? How would I know that? I’m not sure how to answer that.” He was fumbling. Seemed defensive.
“I mean, has he ever spoken of it to you or anyone you know of? Does it even exist with her or does he get it elsewhere? You did say she traveled a lot, right? I just thought that since he spends so much time over here at the club, you might have been around him enough to hear things. That’s all.”
Now I realize talking about sex can make some people uncomfortable, but this guy was squirming in his seat at this point. I wasn’t asking about his sex life, just some dead guy’s. Maddie was seeing it too. So I took a different tack.
“Have you ever been over to his house next door?” I asked.
“Why, no. Why do you ask?” He replied.
I could see his mind was running fast, almost as if he was trying to anticipate the next thing out of my mouth and wanted to be ready for it. Before I could get my next words out, he jumped back in and said, “Well, come to think of it, I have been over there once or twice, but only to drop off deliveries that came for him at the club. I don’t remember ever being further inside the house than the front foyer.”
“What type of deliveries?” I asked.
“UPS, FedEx, not sure exactly. It wasn’t recently.” Then he thought for a moment and continued, “Wait a minute, I forgot, I have been in Evan’s house recently. I forgot, he asked me to watch his house last time he was away. He had been expecting deliveries and didn’t want them sitting outside at the front gate of his driveway. Normally he has some house staff there, or grounds maintenance guys who bring packages inside for him, but for some reason, he asked me to cover that week.”
I’m thinking to myself that something like that doesn’t just get forgotten when asked if you were ever inside. It seemed like something he said after careful consideration in his head. And my question was, why? However, I did not ask him that. I just let it go by as if it was perfectly normal for him to all of a sudden remember this. I knew I’d dig further into it when the time was right.
I did ask him if he had a key that allowed him to leave the packages inside. He said McCord left him one to get through the front gate and another to get inside the front mudroom, where he left the packages. This was a far cry from his original response as to whether or not he had ever been over to Evan’s house, which was initially a resounding, “No.”
He’s hiding something.
So, there's a tiny little taste to whet your appetite. (As an aside, technically, you can whet your appetite or wet your whistle, but you can't whet your whistle or wet your appetite. Jus' sayin'.) I certainly don't want to give away the good parts, but hope the style and flavor show through. If you'd like to read the whole story, fill out the form below and you'll be one of the first to have a chance. No pressure. No obligation to buy.