I recently read today's March Madness book and I just completed part II. When I finished, I knew that I wanted this author on the March Madness campaign, because I wanted everyone to experience what I did.
All I can say is "Rah, oh, Rah!!! Mmm-mm-mm!!!" You'll have to read on and please do yourself justice by leaving Ms. Mary Finley a comment, to be entered for your chance to win her giveaway. She's giving away a copy of Thicker than Blood I & II!
You won't be disappointed. It's day 3 of March Madness and a Fabulous Friday!
Thicker Than Blood1 Book Blurb
Veteran police officer, Gerald Lamar Jr., is a man of strong moral conviction, who seems to have the perfect life: a gorgeous wife, two wonderful, intelligent, college age children and a seasoned career on the police force. His righteousness takes a hard blow and his American dream becomes a nightmare, however, when his brother, Ramon "Rah-Money" Lamar is brutally murdered. Gerald is forced to remove his rose colored glasses and gets sucker punched by a triple dose of betrayal.
Handsome playboy, Patrick "Tip" Collier, is known as a sharp dresser with a sharp tongue. He is the city's most notorious private investigator, and also who Gerald considers his worst enemy. Tip gets information dropped in his lap that puts him smack dab in the middle of the investigation of Rah-Money’s murder.
When these two men team up, no stone is left unturned, and Gerald discovers that throughout his entire life, he has trusted people who were one thing to his face and another behind his back. His immediate family has kept him completely in the dark. Investigation into this crime leads him into the light.
As a truck load of past deceits are uncovered, Gerald and Tip unveil the darkest Lamar family secret of all. In the end they're both faced with one crucial question: If blood is thicker than water, is true love thicker than blood?
Thicker Than Blood is a murder mystery novel that reveals how generations of lies and secret sin can cause a family devastating and irrevocable damage.
THICKER THAN BLOOD EXCERPT:
Eight months after being arrested for brutally killing his wife Natalie, King Jackson was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for second degree murder. Natalie’s sister, and brother-in-law, Camilla and Gerald Lamar, had gone back to their regular routine. Their two children, Trey and Celeste seemed to have adjusted well after their aunt’s funeral.
Gerald took a month off work after the burial and spent most of that time giving Camilla as much tender love and care as he could. He thanked God for the morning she woke up and announced, “I’m ready to get back to my rounds at Shady Grove.”
Lately Camilla had been coming in later and later from the hospital.
Gerald knew it was her way of dealing with the loss of Natalie, so he didn’t complain. The day after King was sentenced, Gerald got up from his evening nap to find his wife singing in the kitchen. She had prepared a dinner of all his favorite foods, and the dining room was sparkling with the best china they owned. After dinner when they made love, the tension that had become a familiar, but unwelcomed guest in their bedroom, was finally gone. He arrived at work an hour later, full of turkey and dressing and full of Camilla. The grin on his face was a telltale sign to his partner.
As soon as Gerald sat down in the squad car, Officer Kendall began roaring with laughter.
“What’s wrong with you, Carl? Tell me what’s so funny so I can laugh too, man.”
“Please, Gerald, the only time you smile that big is when Camilla whips it on you like a lion tamer.”
“Yeah, you wished you had it this good, don’t ya, partner?”
“Only if it could come without that noose called a wedding band, my brotha.”
Carl and Gerald had been riding together for twelve years. The police crew down at the precinct no longer recognized them as two separate people. They were simply referred to as G. C. Many of their comrades, in jest, said the letters stood for Gangster Cops. Gerald didn’t particularly care for that handle, jokingly or otherwise, but he had to admit he and Carl had a way of getting certain snitches to sing when all others failed. They never engaged in police brutality, but rather developed a reputation for trading favors with the street literate folk. Being on the graveyard shift, G. C. came into contact with just about all the filth the city had to offer. They knew they had to keep their game tight or be eaten alive.
“Hey, Carl, chief left me a note on my locker. Guess what?”
“What’s that, man?”
“That scum who killed Nat is requesting a visit from me.”
“Man, get out of here, for what?”
“I don’t know and I don’t give a damn. It was all I could do not to jump his punk ass in the courtroom and strangle him to death. Naw, he don’t wanna see me. He just don’t know it.”
Gerald and Carl both fall into silence. In fact it is an unusually quiet ride. Seems the night life has taken a holiday. Around 4 A.M. Chief Shirley Sinclair’s voice blasts through their radio, interrupting the appreciated silence.
“Lamar, Kendall, come in.” It is a rarity that the chief calls in a crime at that hour. Whenever she does, Gerald and Carl know serious shit has gone down.
“Yeah, chief, we hear you, what you doin’ out of bed?”
“No time to play, Kendall; Lamar, you listening?”
“Chief, go ahead. We’re all ears. What’s going on?” Gerald is uneasy because there’s something in Sinclair’s voice he’s never heard in the fifteen years they’ve worked together.
“Gerald.” Sinclair rarely calls her officers by their first names.
“You’re making me nervous, Shirley, please spit it out.”
“You need to get to your brother’s shop on Payton, ASAP.”
“Lamar, now, you need to get here now!”
Three minutes later, Gerald and Carl pull up into the parking lot of Ramon’s Repair and Detail Shop. Black and whites are all over the place, sirens glaring. FBI, CSI, ambulances and the medical examiners are already on the premises. Carl brings the car to a screeching halt and Gerald jumps out, sprinting towards the front door.
“Lamar, stop him, chief,” yells Carl.
Sinclair turns around just in time to see Gerald heading her way. She orders a couple of her crew to hold him back from the entrance.
"No, tell them to let me go, Sinclair. I gotta go see about Ramon.”
Sinclair puts both of her hands on Gerald’s face to focus him.
“I, I only got one brother,” Gerald pleads. “Come on!”
“Gerald, when we got here, he was already gone. I’m so sorry. We couldn’t do anything for him.”
Carl comes up from behind and puts his arms around his partner. “He’ll be all right, boss. I’ll go in with him.”
Sinclair nods, signaling the officers blocking the way to let them through. Carl holds a tight grip on Gerald’s shoulder as they move forward.
There are a number of people swarming about Ramon’s detail shop. Most are in his office. To Gerald the room looks like it normally does. Then he turns to his left where the sofa is stationed and everyone and everything else vanishes.
“Oh, damn . . .” He sobs as he approaches his brother’s corpse.
“Aw damn you, Rah, what did you do man, what?” Gerald sits down, lifts Ramon’s head and lays it in his lap. All activity in the room halts momentarily. Heads bow all over the shop. Gerald sees two gunshots to the chest were the demise of his brother. He begins to rock from side to side. “Rah, you got to get up, man. Tomorrow’s Saturday, remember?
We got a bet to settle on the greens.” More sobs.
“Rah, come on, man. You’ve pulled some fast ones on me before, little brother, but this shit ain’t funny. Joke’s over. Get up, man. Stop wasting these folks time!”
Carl starts to move closer, but Sinclair puts her hand up. “He’s got to do this alone.”
“Aw, please get up.” Gerald presses his hand against his brother’s. “I am your blood brother. I will never leave you . . . nor forsake you. I will . . . never leave . . . you nor forsake you.” The dam breaks. With tears streaming, he kisses Ramon’s hand, leaving his lips crimson.
Carl’s heart can’t stand the scene anymore. He motions for Chief Sinclair to come outside with him. “Boss, I need to call Camilla. I’m sure she can get him to let the crew finish their work.” Sinclair hands him her cell phone. He dials Gerald’s home number and doesn’t get an answer so he tries Camilla’s cell.
“Camilla, don’t panic, okay?”
“Oh, God, Carlton, please don’t tell me that. I hate these phone calls.
“There’s nothing wrong with Gerald, not physically anyway, sweetie, but something tragic has happened.”
Carl hesitates. “We need you . . . you need to come to Ramon’s shop on Payton as soon as possible. I really don’t want to tell you all of it over the phone.”
“Stop it. Tell me what’s going on. Where is my husband?” Camilla pulls into the parking lot of the Clear View Shopping Center, no more than three blocks away from Ramon’s shop, puts the SUV in park and leans against the headrest. “Okay, I’m trying to remain calm, now please tell me what is happening.”
Carl lets out a long sigh. “Ramon was murdered tonight in his shop. It looks like an attempted robbery. Gerald is wigging out, sweet-heart, your husband needs you.”
Camilla pauses for a few seconds then begins hyperventilating. “What did you just say? Please don’t tell me that!” She gets out of her SUV, starts pacing back and forth, screaming into her cell phone.
Carl realizes he’s made a huge mistake. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have told you like that. Where are you? Please tell me where you are. I’ll come pick you up.”
Suddenly, she stops screaming. The line is silent for a few seconds. “I’ll be there soon.”
This time her voice is so low he can barely hear her.
Camilla does not remember driving down Payton Avenue or getting out of her SUV and walking towards the shop. When she comes to herself and looks around there seems to be a million people in the room, but nobody’s saying a word except Gerald. She turns her eyes in the direction of his voice, and collapses to the floor. As Carl gently picks her up and carries her to their squad car, Camilla hears her husband ask a question she’ll never forget.
“Why didn’t you have your vest on, baby brother? Rah, I told you not to be up in here all hours of the night without your vest, acting like you some black superman. That’s why I bought it for you, man, where the hell is your vest?”
Mary Ann Finley is the founder and CEO of Mayrann Speaks Productions LLC. She’s the author of Corn Rowing Mama’s Hair on a Sunday, Somebody Say Grace and Thicker Than Blood (vol.1). She is the publisher of McCurtain Press and lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia area.
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