This is you

This is you.

Your touch, fingers like wind through my hair.

A curling smile, eyes as deep as hope

Offer a trail

Into a heart divided by love and desertion;

Does the coming hurt more than the leaving?

Is one uncertain and the other fulfilled?

I own what of this is mine

Knowing

That while this world darkens

What blazes is your soul.

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Leave a comment

Join us in Newton, N.J. Saturday, June 23

I’m thrilled to be among the authors at Tractor Supply, on Hampton House Road, Newton, NJ from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 23.

We are part of a vendors expo.

Thanks to author Eleanor Wagner for arranging this author’s event.

On hand will be, besides Eleanor and myself, are:  Barbara Battisto, Peter Lubrecht, DJ Murphy and Neil Szigethy.

Also, be in the lookout for some exciting news about Frank Nagler Mystery  No. 5, DRAGONY RISING.

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solar update: It works

Our rooftop solar system went live Nov.1, 2021.

This is an update.

Based on actual usage, our system was designed to generate 11,251 kilowatt hours of power a year, offsetting 92 percent of the power we once  bought directly from JCP&L.

That difference accounts for  night time, when there is no solar production, and cloudy days, when there is reduced solar production.

Solar is a substitute cost. We will be paying for a solar collector system for 25 years. But we would have been paying an electric utility for  the same amount of time. And more.

Because you are always going to use electric power.

The cost of our installation also included the removal of a tree that shaded our roof.

The tree was dying and growing in  manner that was threatening damage to both our roof and our  neighbors’ roof. We took it down a year early.

Is solar cost effective?

Yes.

The installer will show you estimated long term savings – Our estimate was $52,000 over 25 years.

It is easier to show on a daily and month basis based in JCP&L billing.

It is more fun to look at the electronic meter on the side of the house that shows production vs. usage: When the arrows are pointing to the street it means we are “selling” power back to the grid.

Today, the meter said we had generated 6,270 kilowatts of power since Nov. 1.

We have used 3,045 kWh.

That’s a difference of 3,675 kWh.

Based on the average daily use recorded by JCP&L on our latest electric  bill – 8 kWh per day — that’s 460 days worth of electric power usage.

According to the  JCP&L bill we have “banked 4,040 KwH of power, or 505 days worth.

The historic usage chart on the  bill highlights the change.

Last July we used 1,250 kWh of power. In August (with AC) we used 1,600 kWh, and in September, we used 1,750, kWh.

Our average electric bill was in the range of $325 a month.

Our payment to JCP&L for the past five months has been $3.25 a month.

Yes, solar production changes seasonally during the year based on the changing angle of the sun as it crosses the sky: It is a lower in December than it is in July.

Still on those shorter low angle sun days were generating between 20 and 30 kWh of power a day. In June with full sun, were  generating 70 kWh a day, or more than a week’s worth of power in a single day – or enough to power our entire 8-house dead end street for the day.

What this opened up is possibilities.

Electric heat used to be the most expensive form of home heating.

With new technologies and solar power, it becomes a real possibility as a way to  get rid of the oil burner and oil tank.

And, how about a homebased charging station for an electric vehicle tied to your roof-top solar system?

And it not just homes.  Look at a WAWA the next time you shop or drive by: The company has been installing  solar on its stores for the past few years.

Joe Manchin, Vlad Putin, the GOP and the oil companies be damned.

Change is personal, one roof at a time.

.

Posted in Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Leave a comment

Nagler 6: Introducing Annie

Work in Progress, Book Six in the Frank Nagler mystery series, so far titled NAGLER’S  SECRET, will have a new role for Annie, the young, silent girl whose mystery was central to the third book in the series, THE WEIGHT OF LIVING.

Here’s a peek:

Leonard’s fingers jittered on the table to the rumble of the jackhammers tearing holes in the street for new gas lines  just outside his window. He closed his eyes and absorbed the motion as the building vibrated to the concussive burr-rupp of steel on concrete; the sound made his back hurt.

Photo by Dave Norton

The book store had quieted after the raucous lunch crowd cleared Barry’s counter and dragged their loud chatter to the street. Leonard had come to know the regulars as they greeted him on their way in or out, not just by voice, but by  their height as measured by how far above his seat  their voice seemed, by their footfall or the size of their hand on his shoulder as they greeted him.

He had never seen any of their faces, but would be able to pick them from a crowd if he had to, his blind boy’s survival skill.

He smiled as he honed in on cook  Tony’s mangled version  of “My Girl,” now competing with a syrupy Musak version of  “Uptown Girl” that leaked from the ceiling speakers.

That’s how calm life in Ironton had been for the past eight or nine months, Leonard thought. No terrorists blowing up buildings, or taking rifle shots at the local cops. No fascists trying to rewrite the city charter or rig elections.

Time, he thought, to  concentrate on the  anarchy of Tony’s vocal selections.

“Tony, my friend,” Leonard called out, “If you are going to sing the classics, please at least learn the words.”

“Everyone’s a critic. Ya want lunch there, Len?”

“Thank you. The usual, chicken salad on wheat, lettuce and tomato.”

“Want I should toss on some hot peppers, ya know, get you outta your comfort zone?”

“I’m comfortable where I am,” Leonard replied.

Tony returned to singing offkey, filling in the gaps with the clatter of a dish or two.

“Annie,  could you deliver this to Mr. Consistency? Thanks, kid.” Tony yelled to Leonard. “Comin’ you’re way. Thrill a  minute.”

Annie crossed the wooden floor with practiced stealth, her feet sliding rather than stepping  and her arrival at Leonard’s side with a kiss to his forehead mildly startled him. 

“Brought you an iced tea,” she said.

He smiled and said thanks as he inhaled her aroma, a mix of strawberry shampoo and cooking grease.

“Busy today,” he said, listening as two chairs were shifted. He imagined Annie draped across one chair with her feet resting  on the arm of another.   “Feet on the floor.”

“Ah,” Annie said as the chairs shifted. “Spooky how you know that. I know, I know, blind and all that. You need to teach me how.”

“I’d say you already know how. You get around rather quietly.”

“Speaking of feet,” she said in between sips of her soda, “Mine are killing me. It was super busy.  If this keeps up, I’ll be able to afford my own place by Christmas.”

She laughed and Leonard listened as her voice chimed off the ceiling  and the thick window glass. “And how will you get around town, Miss Fourteen-year old?”

“I’m only moving next door.  Isn’t that why you remodeled the top floor of that warehouse into a fabulous loft, so me, your fabulous daughter, can lead  my fabulous life in style?”

“I just rented it  to a law office,” Leonard laughed. “Maybe they can rent you a couch.”
          “You’d do that to moi? I wonder if Uncle Frank and Lauren have a spare room.”

The door behind Leonard rattled open.

“Hey, Uncle Frank. Leonard’s kicking me out. Can I crash at your place?”

Detective Frank  Nagler closed the door and leaned against the frame with a dramatic sigh.

“That’s twice this month, aw, Leonard. Well, okay, Annie, but you’ll have to do chores, I mean Lauren and I are rather busy.” He yelled to Tony. “Got any coffee that was brewed today?”

“Wise guy,” Tony yelled back.

Nagler thumped into a seat at the table and cradled his head in his hands, wiped his hair back and grabbed Leonard’s hand while Annie reached for his other one.

“I already do chores,”  she leaned in to Nagler and whispered. “Slave wages.” She rolled her eyes.

Tony arrived with a pot of coffee and a cup, which he filled.

Nagler inhaled half the cup and nodded thanks.

“You sound exhausted, Frank,” Leonard said.

“Sound?” Annie said, “You should see him. No offence, but you need a shower.”

“Yeah. Was on that search of the Dickerson reservation. Looking for a kid. Eighteen hours.”

“Did you find him?” Leonard asked.

Nagler shook his head.  “Adding  more searchers. He was ten, eleven, a foster kid.”

Annie flipped over her phone and began to type.

“Yeah, a couple guys mentioned that at breakfast.” She scrolled through the search results, then shrieked.  She pointed the phone toward Nagler. “I know him, well, knew him. Oscar. He was no foster kid. He was at that same place Leonard and  Calista got me out of.  He probably escaped.”

Nagler glanced at Leonard, whose blank face  said he was hiding information.

He turned to Annie.

“Why would he escape? I thought that place was a protective home.”

The girl stared at the table for a moment then flicked her eyes toward Leonard.

“Don’t look at him,” Nagler said.

“It was a bad place,” she began, “Run by…”

Leonard interrupted her. “I’m sorry we didn’t tell you all of it, Frank. You were occupied subduing the Dragony. We had meant to tell you all, but …” He shrugged.

“That was nine months ago,” Frank said. “Any time since…”

“I didn’t want them to tell you,” Annie said. “I didn’t want to make you sad again.”

“And you didn’t want to live through it again, right?” Nagler asked. What didn’t they tell me? He cupped one of her hands in his. “I know. But you all, including Calista, have to fill me in  on the whole thing. Especially since we now have a missing kid.”

Annie offered a crooked grin, trying to lighten the mood. “Is this how you treat criminals, Uncle Frank?”

“You’re not  a criminal, Annie. But you might be in danger. Tell me what you know about Oscar.”

The Frank Nagler Mysteries are: THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY; A GAME CALLED DEAD; THE WEIGHT OF LIVING; THE RED HAND.

Coming this call: DRAGONY RISING.

Catch up with the award-winning Frank Nagler Mysteries at:

Amazon.com: Michael Stephen Daigle: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/ (Search by book title)_

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Last Thing You’re Never Supposed to do on the Internet: Part 2

A quick story with a little mystery.

Part 2: Jack finds out who sent him photos of the green door and what’s behind it.

The dream at 2 a.m.

It was May, senior year. The trees had just filled out and street lights glowed through leaves with a soft green patina. Graduation  was a month off, Alice Cooper pounding in  his head – “School’s  out for summer… School’s out completely…”  There he was beer buzzed, running down streets with dark houses, angry, jumping at tree trunks, stopping in an open field yelling, “How could you?!” Running, trying to outdistance the loneliness, the rejection; running through what? Tall red grass? Something sticky and wet, which made no sense. Then just before he woke up in a sweat, her face, Jenny Nelson’s, and in the fuzzy background  a growling voice, “Hey loser, get out of here. Who invited you, anyway?”

Jack Digger started at the ceiling, eyes wide, mouth open. Running through tall, red grass? Some shrink would love to analyze that image.

Where did he end up that night? That wasn’t his crowd, the football crowd. Team jackets, a couple new sports cars, talk of scholarships. Jenny had just invited him to the party to be nice, he supposed. They had been friends for years, sharing classes, bus rides on school band trips. She had seemed different, a member of  that crowd,  but somehow apart. And suddenly she wasn’t. What had she said at that party? Maybe she was just a little high. Whatever it was, it ripped through him and he called her something nasty and on the way out kicked over a beer keg, which got him  chased by half the guys, but they were too loaded to run for long.

“Oh, man. Triggered by Todd saying her name,” he said to the ceiling. “Aren’t you supposed to forget that stuff after thirty years?”

He sat up and ran his fingers through his hair. No falling back to sleep after that.

He opened his computer and searched for Jennifer Nelson, Greenside, N.Y.

Sure enough, she was dead. A week ago.

“Murdered.” Someone hated her.

Jack searched for a news story about the murder and found several, including one in the New York Times filled with background information.

 “Some people just want to be a big deal.”

He hopped out of bed and wandered to the kitchen trying to walk and read the computer screen at the same time. He kept reading while he filled the Keurig with water and brewed a cup of Ethiopian.

“Oh, look at that … did go to old MIT, degree in something about biomechanical DNA analysis, use of water by plants… Really? Couldn’t find anything more pretentious? ...  Reading: “Break though study, patent applied for… who’s this guy? “(Jennifer) was  leading the grain industry to a new tomorrow, one diametrically opposed to its past… and preparing it  for the hard choices that will need to be made in a world facing climate change…”

Saving the world, were you? Couldn’t even save yourself.

           “What’d they say about her death? She had moved back to Greenside three years ago…Look at all the things people do when  you’re not looking?” Reading: “She started  a company to grow organic vegetables using experimental farming techniques. … In the shuttered Greenside Frozen Foods Company complex. She was found stabbed to death in the refrigerated warehouse … workers returning to work on Monday found her in the produce section, behind some pallets, under a tarp, police said. She hadn’t been seen in the office for a week; her secretary said something about a conference in Colorado. The medical examiner said the cold would make a precise determination of her day and time of her death challenging, but he offered an estimate.”

          That’s what I thought.

Jack sipped his coffee and scrolled through the few other stories about her death. One had a photo.

“Oh, that’s her husband, no, ex-husband, Mark Maguire, that jerk quarterback. He threw me out of that party. They’ll think he did it.  Cops always like spouses as suspects, ex-spouses even more. Wonder what the divorce settlement was like? Maybe she only gave him a cut of the arugula.”


         That was some complex, even half empty, he recalled. Some company. Green packaging, had a big green vegetable as a mascot. The company cars were green. The doors are still green.

He let that idea settle before he closed down the search engine. It felt satisfying. No, felt complete.

His mailbox  held more than twenty new messages.

“I’m sorry, Jenny. Business calls. Rest in peace, Blondie.”

With his finger poised on his mouse to open the mailbox, Jack waited for a flicker of sorrow to emerge.  All he heard was Todd’s dismissive voice: “You can really be a jerk sometimes.”

Jack smiled. “I know. Ain’t it great?”

He opened the mailbox and recognized a familiar name.

He downloaded the file and saw a photo of bloody knife.

With glee: “Perfect.”

His phone rang and Jack saw it was Todd.

“Todd, it’s four a.m.”

“I know. When was the last time you were in Greenside?”

“Why would you ask that?”

“It was a two weeks ago, class reunion. Your first in  decades. You called me about a weak computer link because you were in some fleabag motel with bad wifi. Remember what you told me, gonna make them finally pay attention to you.  How’d that go?  Not like you planned, huh? Did she call you a loser again?”

“You don’t know that, Todd.”

“Jack, I do. I set up your system. I can track you anywhere, and I know you sent the green door photos and the one of the bloody knife to yourself. How many more are there, Jack? What are they, trophies? Christ, Jack. Did you take one of her dead body?”

“Todd…”

“You do know the absolute last thing you’re never supposed to do on the Internet is post evidence of your own crime. I’m hanging  up. I have a call to make.”

“Todd, don’t hang up. I can pay you.” The ice hardened in Jack’s voice, words like gravel. “Don’t make … don’t make that call, Todd.”

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Hackettstown Public Library, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Last Thing You’re Never Supposed to do on the Internet: Part One

A few weeks ago, someone using a computer in the Caribbean resort island Sint Martin, dug out a post from my website archive about the fight between the  Phillipsburg, N.J. town council and the town library.

That prompted the thought about how sneaky (and/or) potentially corrupt the Internet can be.

And that thought prompted this exercise in quick fiction.

PART ONE

After struggling for years to develop an Internet niche as an investigator,  Jack Digger hatched a block-buster blog that in a non-threatening, technologically simple manner advised the millions  befuddled by basic computer commands how not to get scammed.

So he  knew better than to open that email file.

He called the blog, “The first thing you’re never supposed to do on the Internet.”

That had become the phrase he repeated to his subscribers  after they told him they had opened a suspicious file from an unknown sender and had to pay their way out of it, either in actual cash  or for new software.

After a session with a client, he would ask himself  this question: What are you hiding?  You only pay when you get caught, and you only get caught when  you’re fishing in the deep end without a clue.

Subscribers received his list of ten things never to do on the Internet. He advised them to print it out and tape it on the wall directly above  their desk as a daily reminder. He actually thought they should tape it to their forehead so it would be the first thing they saw each morning, but he didn’t tell them that.

The address of this particular message seemed familiar, even if it did contain  seventeen characters and a clearly random made-up name.

As had become his practice, he copied the address without opening the actual message and stored it in a separate file of offending  internet codes.

“Look at that.”

No wonder it  seemed familiar: He had already copied the same address into the file.

He searched his  “deleted” folder and there it was — twice, once from two days before and again four days before that. Someone thinks they’re important.

Intrigued, he did  the first thing you’re never supposed to do on the Internet and opened the file.

His computer screen did  not explode with threatening messages.

The file contained a code for a photograph.

So he did the second thing you’re never supposed to do on the Internet and opened the photo file.

It displayed a scratched-up green metal door framed by red bricks.

Every place he lived had brick buildings and he was sure that more than  one of them had green doors.

More deeply intrigued, and again  breaking his own rules,  he did the third thing you’re never supposed to do on the Internet and downloaded the file to his computer desktop.

The door  in the photo didn’t seem to be as much scratched as attacked.

What had appeared in the miniature version as scrapes, in the enlargement were punctures, holes with torn edges, like knife wounds. Really big knife wounds. Somebody was angry.

He scrolled the  photo up and down and side to side, even tipping his head at an angle as if that that would clarify the image. He laughed. “Dumb.”

He punched “Todd” on his phone and waited for an answer.

Todd Fleming was a high school friend and tech whiz who had set up his website.

“What did you open on your computer this time?” Todd asked, his voice both smarmy and disinterested. In Todd’s view the codes were never wrong, just the  humans who tried to manipulate them; everyone but himself, of course. “And who do you need to pay a thousand bucks to so they’ll release your computer?”

“No one, this time,” Jack said.

 Todd had extracted him from a couple ransomware attacks, so the question was legitimate.

“It’s this photo of a green door in a brick building I was sent. The door seems to  have  been attacked. It’s full of holes, and there seems to be lettering and maybe a number.”

“And you want to read the markings. This door is meaningful, how?”

Jack fluffed out a dismissive breath. “Someone sent the photo three times in a week like I’m supposed to know where it is.”

“Well, means something  to them. I’ll dig around and see who sent it. Meanwhile, play with the contrast settings, the clarity, blow out the color and light factors to the extremes, both high and low, and maybe with the right combination of all that, you’ll learn what’s written on door number one. If that doesn’t work, for a few grand, I can sell you some software I developed for the government. You can determine what year the door was painted and whether the painter was right or left handed.

“Really?” Jack asked with rising concern.

“No, idiot. All it really does is syphon money from a bank account. Just like your website.”

Jack snapped back. “Hey, watch it. You’re well paid for maintaining that syphon.” Stunned and irritated: “Yeah, okay, never mind, but thanks. You don’t have to search for the sender. Not a big deal.”

“Hey, Jack, did you hear about Jenny Nelson?”

The name stuck in his ear. Jenny Nelson. Blonde, cheerleader, smart, probably went to MIT. Jack’s first high school crush. Didn’t end well.

He might have been interested,  but the brief exchange with Todd soured his mood, and he became defensive.

“Don’t tell me. Blondie got picked to fly to Mars?”

“She’s dead, man. Just thought you’d like to know. You can be a real jerk at times, Jack. Forget about it. Gotta go.” He hung up.

 Aw, Todd, Jack thought. “I’m sorry, okay?” he said to the empty room.

I’ll be sorry later, he thought. Time to go to work.

He opened his website and saw a  dozen customers lined up with questions.

He laughed at question number one: “Should I open a photo file from an unknown sender?”

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Join us at the Flemington Summer Book Fest, May 27-30

Another week, another way to celebrate great writers.

Also, it’s a another chance for readers to meet Ironton, New Jersey Detective Frank Nagler.

This week is the fabulous Flemington Summer Book Fest.

The Flemington Summer Book Fest runs  from Friday, May 27 to Monday, May 30. A wide-ranging event  at 24 Central Avenue.

I will  be part of the Local Writers Showcase  from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, May 29.

Info at: Flemington Summer Book Fest

I’ll be joining many New Jersey authors and artists, food vendors, musicians, crafters and organizations at this long running event.

I’ll have for signing and purchase the award winning Frank Nagler Mysteries.

Kirkus Reviews called Nagler, “One of  modern fiction’s expertly drawn detectives.”

All the books are available in paperback and e-book formats.

THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY is available in an audiobook read  by Lee Alan.

And A GAME CALLED DEAD, and THE RED HAND are available in audiobooks, read by Dane Petersen.

Amazon.com: Michael Stephen Daigle: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

Online Bookstore: Books, NOOK ebooks, Music, Movies & Toys | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com) (Search for individual titles).

Next up:

June 11:

Warren County Park Fest.  11 a.m. to  5 p.m. at Breadlock Park, 2627 Route 57, Stewartsville.

Event webpage: http://www.warrencountyparkfest.org

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three upcoming festivals

Festival season is off and running this week.

I’ll be joining many New Jersey authors and artists, food vendors, musicians, crafters and organizations at the upcoming events. I’ll have for signing and purchase the award winning Frank Nagler Mysteries.

Amazon.com: Michael Stephen Daigle: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

Online Bookstore: Books, NOOK ebooks, Music, Movies & Toys | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com) (Search for individual titles).

The events:

Saturday, May 21:

Randolph Arts in  the Park, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Saturday, May 21 at Veterans Community Park,. 100 Calais Road.

Info at: Township of Randolph: Parks & Recreation: Special Events (randolphnj.org)

Sunday, May 29

The Flemington Summer Book Fest runs  from Friday, May 27 to Monday, May 30. A wide-ranging event  at 24 Central Avenue.

I will  be part of the Local Writers Showcase  from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m ., Sunday, May 29.

Info at: Flemington Summer Book Fest

June 11:

Warren County Park Fest.  11 a.m. to  5 p.m. at Breadlock Park, 2627 Route 57, Stewartsville.

Event webpage: http://www.warrencountyparkfest.org

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE STORY OF DEV. The end.

“This is the sun. Think of me. We are together in  the sun.”

This is the end of  the story of Theo, Dev and the Cherry Street School, called  THE STORY OF DEV.

They came for Bobby Danforth and his friends during the school day, Sergeant Ellingwood and three officers.

Jacob pulled Theo out of the  crowd of silent students huddled along  the sidewalk to the side wall and said he had been told by his parents that the authorities were going  to make a display of Bobby’s detainment.

“There was a big discussion at city hall about this,” Jacob said. “The family has allies, but the police chief said he would resign if nothing  was done this time, as did Sgt. Ellingwood and Mr. Younger. The family promised they would handle it, but the chief took them into the back room alone and played them part of Dev’s tape.”

“Howdja  know that?”

“My father’s on the town council, so he was there.”

“Wow.”

Jacob blinked away tears and took a deep breath.

“There were twenty-two.” He took several halting breaths, eyes wide staring at the ground.  “Twenty-two kids, Theo. Beatings, thefts, threats, and sexual assaults.” His voice gained weight.  “Including me.”

“I thought there was something, but…”

“It was a year ago.”

“You don’t have to tell me, Jacob.”

“But I do. I’ve already told my therapist, my parents, the police, and I thought I should tell you because you made me stronger.”

“No…I just,”

“The three of them. They cornered me behind the library and put their hands in my pants and made me kneel in front of Bobby…”

Jacob turned to face the school wall, his head in his arms, shoulders shaking,   and wailed.

All Theo could do was put a hand on his friend’s shoulder and say, “I’m so sorry.”

****

The bricks were wet and cold. The sun had yet to poke above a tree line still shrouded in the mist of a morning shower.

In a while, Theo thought. One shot, the only shot. From the front, over the fire escape, across the rear door with no footholds, along the playground side, hanging in mid-air, then the last turn to the front door, a quick jump to the ground.

Done.

The wall crawl.

Of course, no one would be there to see it, not even Jacob, whose mother grounded him after learning about the betting scheme.

He pulled Dev’s  letter from his pocket. He had been carrying for weeks.

“I think you knew I was leaving,” she wrote. “If I saw you, I maybe would have stayed or just made this harder. I’ll hitch  a ride on a truck making a produce run to Buffalo, where I’ll take a bus to New Mexico.  I have an open invitation  to stay at the home of my mother’s brother, a tribal leader. We are the people of the sun, T. There was too much darkness. I needed to get back to the sun, back to my home. You are in the light I see each morning  when I look to the east. I will always see you. T.”

At the bottom of the page she had drawn a spiral with radiating spikes.

“This is the sun. Think of me. We are together in  the sun.”

He leaned his head back against the cold stone wall and for the first time since he read that letter, he smiled. Dev’s warmth filled him.

He pushed away from the wall and crawled up the side of the fire escape. At the top, he looped his left arm around the frame and leaned out as far as he could. He pulled a nail  from his back pocket and scratched away at a brick until he had carved, “Dev. Sun girl.”

He crawled down and walked to the front of the school.

One last wall crawl. For Jacob. For Dev.

He glanced up at the three-story building. It no longer seemed so large and foreboding, and he no longer felt small. He jumped to the top of the cement foundation and slipped his fingers between the bricks. “Got this.”

As he maneuvered around the corners, he replayed the  report he gave Mrs. Adams’ class on the Louisiana Purchase.

“Before I begin, I want to thank my friend Jacob Sheridan for his help with the historic research of all of your names. His family name was Swartz, and was changed to avoid harassment. Many of your family names changed, too. The handout explains what we found. We all were someone else, and there’s no reason to hide from it. My name is Theophile. You know me as Theo because I was ashamed to use my real name. You can call me ‘T-ao.’ My family is from Louisiana. We are French and my last name is pronounced ‘Du-boi.’ This report is about the girl who gave me the courage to use my real name. Her name is Andrea Duarte. This is the story of Dev.”

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Love me some Frank Nagler’

Some new top reviews for the Frank Nagler Mysteries.

Thanks to all the readers for taking the time to drop a review.

5 stars Love Me Some Frank Nagler!

Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2020.

The third book in the series won’t disappoint. Frank Nagler has a serious challenge – he’s the one with the target on his back. He’s not sure why, but “A Game Called Dead” is using the internet to play this game with the seasoned detective in Ironton, N.J. The cruel opening murder scene is only the tip of the iceberg! Well developed and as always, the author keeps you on the edge of the seat!

A GAME CALLED DEAD. Frank Nagler must track down an Internet terrorist whose past intertwines with his own. Paperback and ebook and audiobook. A Runner-Up in the Shelf Unbound 2016 Best Indie Book contest.

4 stars

 A good and entertaining story

Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2022

A well crafted and convoluted story-line with a use of metaphors not often seen in writing today. This is a different type of mystery where the reader feels as though they are unraveling the mystery along with detective Nagler.

THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY. Paperback, ebook, and audiobook

 5 stars Page Turner

Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2022

I enjoyed this story. This story kept me on the edge of my seat. I kept turning the page to see what was going to happen next.

THE WEIGHT OF LIVING: The discovery of  young girl wearing summer clothes on a bitter March night leads Frank Nagler  into a search through a dark history that has surprising connections to his group of friends. Paperback and ebook.

First Place for Mysteries  in the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Award contest;  Notable 100 Book, Shelf Unbound 2018 Indie Book Awards; Named a Distinguished Favorite, 2018  Independent Press Awards; Distinguished Favorite in the 2018 Big NYC Book Contest; Finalist in the 2019 Book Excellence Awards.

Named A Gold Star Award winner in the 2020 Elite Choice Book Awards

5 stars Great storyline

Reviewed in the United States on May 5, 2020.

We all are ordinary person until we do something really great. This book contains a story of an ordinary guy who became a great detective. That’s the reason I’m giving 5 stars.

THE RED HAND: Frank Nagler’s beginning, a struggle in a terrorized city with a serial killer and a personal battle as his wife fight for her life. Paperback, ebook audiobook. Distinguished Favorite in the 2019 Big NYC Book Contest; Second Place winner for mysteries in the 2019 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards;  Notable 100 Book in the 2019 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Awards;  Distinguished Favorite  in the 2020 Independent Press Awards; Nominee in the 2020 TopShelf Book Awards

COMING THIS FALL: Dragony Rising, a new Frank Nagler Mystery.

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment