In the Frank Nagler Mystery work-in-progress, NAGLER’S SECRET, a
woman with changing hair color and a hidden past has been flitting at the edges of the story. In this scene with reporter Jimmy Dawson, she begins her slide into the center of the mystery.
The multi-award-winning Frank Nagler Mysteries are: THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY, A GAME CALLED DEAD, THE WEIGHT OF LIVING, THE RED HAND and DRAGONY RISING. Available in paperback, ebook and audiobook.
A reviewer’s note: The author is an exceptional writer – inventive with words, fresh with his storyline, and in presenting a variety of characters to love and hate. I find myself bored easily with most of the new books erupting daily, but Michael Stephen Daigle knows what he is doing and is up to the task. His stories capture me, entertain and challenge me, and leave me wanting just one more of his books each time I finish one.
The Nagler Mysteries are available at Book & Puppet, Downtown Easton, Pa.
Jimmy Dawson slipped into the diner booth opposite Nancy Pollard.
It was the perfect spot, tiny, quiet, off the main road near a pigeon-filled wreck of a train depot, the kind of place the locals would fill on a weekend morning.
But this was Wednesday.
Waylon Jennings leaked from the kitchen, barely cutting the weighed silence. Nancy had taken the side of the booth facing the door.
The teen-age server with big hair and bigger earrings perched in a window seat spinning her phone aps with disinterest.
“How’d you know it was me?” Nancy asked. She’d changed her hair.
Her voice was gravel after rain, sandpaper rubbed smooth, a hint of a road not taken.
“I followed the links from my news site to your webpage,” Dawson said. “The internet seems to be a random place, but every piece of it leaves fingerprints.”
She brushed a red bang off her forehead. Her hair used to be blonde, although Dawson had seen a photo from twenty years ago when it was black. Hard to say what her natural color was. Or what her name was. Or exactly why he was tracking her, even though she had a history.
“You don’t know that.”
“Actually I do. I’d post an item I knew would attract your attention and sure enough, it would be on your webpage in less than a day. What I didn’t know is why you’d fall for such obvious tricks. Started a couple years ago. You just popped up, so I tagged you. Curiosity. You couldn’t resist. Anything about Frank Nagler got you clicking.”
“Why’d you start following me?”
“Because you got away with your father’s murder.”
Her face didn’t change. Her eyes didn’t retract and her shoulders didn’t flinch.
“So it’s true,” Dawson said.
Her lips barely formed a smile; the corners turned up and she showed the lower edge of her upper teeth. In any other situation, after any other question, Dawson thought it would have been seductive. It was, he decided, evil.
He leaned in.
“You wanna tell me about it?”
She leaned in as well and she rested her folded arms on the table.
Her face was inches from Dawson’s, her dark eyes burrowing into his; he knew he could not move back.
“No.” Her lips barely moved.
“I will find out.”
“I might already know.”
“Then why are you here? Post it on your little website.”
“Because there’s more.”
She leaned back.
“Aw, Dawson. There’s nothing to it or anything else you think you might know.”
“You’re wrong if you think you know what I know.”
“What is this, truth or dare? Come on, Dawson. You don’t scare me.”
“Is that a threat, Nancy? Really?”
“Do you want to follow that rabbit hole?”
“Been down worse.”
“What do you think I’m going to tell you?” Her head twitched.
Dawson felt the turn. He offered a half grin.
“You’re not going to tell me anything. You’re gonna confirm something.”
Nancy Pollard laughed, one loud guffaw, “Ha!” and leaned back smiling.
The teen-aged server looked up and then back at her phone.
An acid reply. “Confirm what?”
Her face collapsed, her eyes narrowed, their darkness burning.
“In exchange for what?”
“Keeping you out of jail.”
“You can’t do that.”
“Why, are you worried about it?”
She offered a scoffing laugh as she slipped out of the booth.
“You never find it.”
She was three strides away when Dawson said, “How do you know I haven’t found it already?”
He wondered if the wide crack in the floor tile caused her slight stumble.
Nancy flashed open her black Lexus SUV and spit gravel as she drove off.
Dawson pushed out of the booth and fished a twenty out of his pocket.
“You’re phone’s old,” the girl said. “But I got some good shots.”
Dawson exchanged the twenty for his phone.
Dragony: Amazon.com: Dragony Rising: A Frank Nagler Novel – Book 5: 9781944653231: Daigle, Michael Stephen: Books
Dragony Rising: A Frank Nagler Novel – Book 5 by Michael Stephen Daigle, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)