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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sepulcher Outrage -Kenneth Lloyd & John Mosqueda

The Sepulcher Outrage

Kenneth Lloyd & John Mosqueda

ISBN# 978-1-60585-728-2

Publisher Primetime

Genre mystery, thriller

Published date September 1, 2008

Where it can be purchased www.primetimepublisher.com or amazon.com

Website www.primetimepublisher.com

"Da Vinci had no code, but the discovery of these bones could mean the end of historic, orthodox Christianity."

Chapter 72

“MARNEE, WOULD YOU NOTIFY all the major news organizations and tell them we have a very important announcement to make tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.? If you need me, I’ll be in the board room talking with the rest of the gang.”

Dr. Benjamin Grodin rose slowly from his desk and began massaging his furrowed brow. He walked in a methodical, pigeon-toed shuffle back to the board room, staring down at the floor. O’Malley’s story was spellbinding—and dumbfounding. Grodin couldn’t help but loudly blurt, “This all feels like the closing scenes of a John Wayne movie.”

How is this all going to play out? What am I going to say?
He was giving himself time to think as he ambled down the hall. Everyone was all waiting. Then he got to the door and opened it, and the room, which had been pulsating with loud banter, immediately became as silent as a cemetery at midnight. All eyes were on him.

Grodin stood tall, suddenly felt assured now. This sort of thing happened to him often. One minute he’d be pondering a serious problem or issue, troubled by the weight of it all. But then when it came time to talk about it with colleagues, he found himself rising fully to the occasion. His mind would become lucid and his thoughts would flow freely and orderly.

Sometimes he had the distinct feeling that he was not alone. It was almost supernatural.

He made eye contact with everyone in the room and then began: “I’ve just gotten off the phone with a medical doctor from London, a Terence O’Malley, who’s had a close relationship in the past with our two colleagues from Oxford, Holmes and Jude.”
Then he smiled. “Of course, I use the term ‘colleagues’ lightly. Anyway, why don’t you all get a cup of coffee, juice or soft drink and make yourselves comfortable. This may take a while.”

The members of the team got up, and the loud banter started up again. Absorbed with what he had to tell them, Dr. Grodin hardly noticed the dramatic change in the room’s atmosphere. He felt grieved about the turn of events of the last few days, and was embarrassed that the people who worked for him had fallen victim to deception and fraud while under his watch.

This organization, after all, was the Institute for Jewish Antiquities—a group that played a necessary role in affirming Israel’s history and sense of identity. And he was its director—a post that he had never taken for granted. Nor could he ever.
It had the foreboding, distressing feel of a bad dream. He felt it could be the end of his career since he was the one who made the decision to seek the expertise of Holmes and Jude. Crafty as they were, he now thought they had surely devised a way to have become part of the team analyzing the objects. They had found a way to paint themselves into the picture, one brush stroke at a time. It had been too coincidental, and sadly, he had been much too gullible.

As for tomorrow’s press conference, he still didn’t know exactly what he was going to say. He was hoping that today’s briefing would help him construct a viable and worthy statement.

Dr. Grodin waited ten more minutes to speak. Finally he made his way to the front again. The board members, excavation team and invited guests became acutely attentive as he began speaking.

“Before I start, does it seem cold in here or is it just me?” asked Dr. Grodin, looking over at the thermostat on the wall. When no one else complained, he continued, but strangely adjusted the left rear pocket of his pants.

“My dear colleagues, I’m embarrassed to report some information to you that will shed some light on the events of the past few days and weeks.

“Dr. O’Malley called me from London, and we spoke on the phone for close to an hour. In the course of the conversation, he related that he had been close friends with Holmes and Jude while attending Cambridge University about 50 years ago.

“They were all involved in some mysterious secret society whose members vowed never to reveal their activities. Apparently they were very much into their own cultic rituals, dating back hundreds of years, as well as devising diabolically sadistic ways to ‘make people worthy’ of acceptance into their secret society.

“Out of this aberrant mentality, fostered by unfortunate, abusive childhoods, these two men developed a plot to procure some bones from a 2,000- year-old graveyard belonging to the Jude family cemetery.

“They then set about concocting a scheme, a hoax. The origins of this fraud date back almost half a century. Their plan was to deposit phony artifacts and ecofacts under the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, during the extensive excavations and renovations undertaken in 1960.

“O’Malley was never a part of the hoax, but he was given the details in the fall of 1960 when the Cambridge pair returned to England to complete their undergraduate education.

“Apparently, Holmes and Jude, around January of 1960, answered an ad in the paper that sought archeologists who were interested in being part of the excavations. They were hired as foremen on the project that next summer.

“It was during this time, as they worked here in Jerusalem—at the very site where our team has labored—that they planted and buried the various items that we’ve uncovered and now have in our possession. This was an elaborately conceived and executed hoax.

“I’m so very sorry for having subjected you to this terrible waste of your valuable time. The obvious question at this point is: Where do we go from here? So let me open up the meeting to discussion or questions. This will give you a chance to provide input, and will help me formulate my statements for the press tomorrow.”
Father Zacardi spoke first. “In light of these new findings, it would seem at first glance that we no longer need to continue with the project. However, it is my recommendation as Director of the Technical Bureau to continue the present project as originally conceived by Dr. Grodin.

“Simply because a hoax was discovered does not mean that the project should cease. We may find additional evidences of fraud. We may also discover authentic finds—or nothing of value. Dr Grodin identified at least one tunnel that has yet to be explored. It’s much too early to make a definitive assessment.
“What if more objects are uncovered? I would think they’d have to be analyzed with the same care and professionalism that the team has applied to the project so far. So if the Institute is willing, I will submit my proposal to the Bureau’s Board. I see no reason why they would renege on our contract with the Institute. If the Board agrees, we could resume ‘business as usual’ in two days.”

Dr. Grodin asked, “Does anyone have any objection to continuing the project at the Church as previously planned?”

He waited a few seconds. There were no objections. “Are there any other questions or comments?”

Matt responded, “Are there any plans to pursue the two men who’ve caused this ruckus and have them prosecuted for their crimes?”

“That decision will be up to some agency of law,” his father replied. “Obviously, it would not be in our best interests as archeologists to try to find this pair and bring them to justice.”

Then he said, “We’d also have to consider the expense of a search. The Institute has already invested a tremendous amount of resources in the project, and I’m not really interested in spending more, but…”
He paused momentarily, massaging his forehead briskly. He looked as if he wanted to sit for a moment, but then he went on:

“I’m hoping the authorities will want to pursue the matter. Some may argue that there was no real harm done, but I would vehemently disagree. For one thing, their hoax probably precipitated the attempt on my life.

“There may be much more to that story that has not yet come to light. Therefore, I’m hoping that the Jerusalem Police Department and the Israeli government will conduct a world-wide search for these two and have them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law…” Then: “Are you sure no one else is cold?” He adjusted his pants again and glanced nervously, taking one step forward, and then stumbling momentarily as if groping for a chair, looking totally disoriented. Matt had never seen that blank expression on his father’s face. It was as if he was utterly lost and didn’t have the slightest idea what to do.

Suddenly the people in the room let out a gasp of horror as their leader toppled straight down to the floor like a stone-cold statue. He landed directly on his face with a bone-breaking crack. The sound was loud and surreal. The beloved archeologist had made no attempt whatsoever to brace his fall. Someone screamed, “Call the paramedics!!”


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Going Down South

Bonnie J. Glover

ISBN# 978-0-345-48091-0
Publisher One World/Ballantine Books
Genre General Fiction
Copyright 2008
Published date July 29, 2008
Where it can be purchased Random House, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Tower.com, etc. Available at all major outlets.
Website BonnieGlover.com

“Long live Olivia Jean, Daisy, and Birdie! These three daughters, mothers, and women are smart, feisty, and funny. Their stories will break your heart in the very best way. I absolutely loved Going Down South!”
—Carleen Brice, author of Orange Mint and Honey

Part One

Olivia Jean

Her father, Turk, went down first, holding his work boots by the strings with his overnight kit tucked under one arm. He walked on his toes, taking the seventh step down with a side maneuver because he knew it creaked. He had learned his lesson the hard way from her mother, Daisy, waiting at the top of the stairs one night about five years ago. His foot strayed and pressed ahead when he should have gone to the left or the right. He might have made it past her if it hadnt been for that step. She had dozed off, and there were ways to get around Daisy when she was asleep. But he was in no state to remember all of the things he should have remembered. And besides, Daisy was sitting with her legs flung across the top of the landing just so she could catch him. Clutched in her right hand was a broom leaning forward at a cockeyed slant, straw bottom down and ready to do damage.

That night in March, Olivia Jean had just passed her tenth birthday and should have been asleep when he touched lucky stair number seven and it whined loud enough to wake her mother. Daisy grunted, choking on a snore, and was on her feet lightning quick without even rubbing her eyes or wiping the thin line of drool at the corner of her mouth. She gripped the broom in both hands, turned it upside down, and swung it at Turks copper-skinned head. He leaned away in time but she started at him again. Her robe fell open, and Olivia Jean saw long, thick legs under a nightgown that stopped near her coochie, and then one of her titties fell out as she lifted her arm and aimed again. Olivia Jean was crouched at the keyhole of her bedroom door, jaw wide, the scene surprising her so much that she banged her head against the doorknob as she tried to get a better view.

Daisy kept swinging as if she were trying to get at a spider in the corner or a big, fat cockroach that always appeared out of nowhere when company came to visit. There was rage in her swinging, rage reserved for bugs, bad impressions, and drunken husbands. Then her other titty bounced free, and Turk fell back, clutching the railing. It seemed as though he was as surprised as Olivia Jean was. In all her days Olivia Jean had never seen Daisys girl parts, and seeing them then, when her mother was in the middle of trying to kill her daddy, was enough to freeze Olivia Jean right where she wason her knees, peeking into the dim hallway when she should have been curled up asleep with her Raggedy Ann tucked under her arm.

That was when Olivia Jean took a deep breath, stood up, opened the door, and ran out of her bedroom. Turk wasnt grabbing the broom or telling Daisy to stop or trying to move away or anything. He had leaned back, dropped his arms, and let Daisy continue to hit him with the broom across his shoulders, moving him backward as if she were going to push him down the stairs. Olivia Jean knew someone was going to call the police if they didnt stop. At four in the morning people should be in bed, going to bed, or at least thinking about going to bed, not on a rampage like Daisy was, beating Turk with the straw end of a broom while she danced around the hallway half-naked.

So when Daisy raised her broomstick higher, above her shoulders, aiming for the top of his head, Olivia Jean jumped in front of her father. No one moved. The only sound had been the swish of the broom as it waved through the air and its connection with Turks bodya muffled whack, whack, whackand, too, the sound of Daisys heavy breathing from all the work she was doing beating Turk.

Now things were still except for Daisys heaving shoulders and breasts. Olivia Jean felt her heart pounding so hard that she thought it might thud out of her chest.

Then Daisy smiledone of those low-down smiles she used when she punished Olivia Jeanaimed the broom, and almost hit her daughter; the straw brushed the air, tickling the end of Olivia Jeans nose. Olivia Jean had felt the panic rising in the pit of her stomach as the broom swept toward her. Daisy laughed when Olivia Jean flinched. Daisys breathing was hard, and Olivia Jean smelled the last cigarette Daisy had smoked and the Ponds face cream her mother rubbed into her elbows every night. She dropped the broom as Olivia Jean tried to shield Turk, her arms thrown out so that she covered a fraction of his belly. Daisy was giving him the evil eye the whole time, but he was busy ducking behind Olivia Jean as though Daisy were still hitting him, his hands in the air trying to block the broom she was no longer swinging at him. He didnt know Daisy had stopped. All of his moving almost made Olivia Jean fall off the landing; his daughter had to plant herself in front of him, solidly, and not move. Olivia Jean was close enough to smell his body, which reeked of underarm musk and day-old pee. She wrinkled her nose and tried not breathing for seconds at a time.

Olivia Jean moved away once the broom rested at Daisys side. But she stayed near, trying not to glance at her mothers face, since it was frightening when the older woman tightened her lips, raised her eyebrows, and sucked in her cheeks. Olivia Jean was scared of what would come next, but she wasnt going to let Turk stand up to Daisy all by himself. He was her daddy, and even if Daisy did turn the broom on her, Olivia Jean was determined to take the beating. At ten years old, she loved Turk Stone with every ounce of heart she had in her thin body. And hated her mother with equal passion.

Daisy moved in close to Turk. She pointed a long finger at his chest. He had stopped twitching, but the eye he was able to keep open was streaked with red and the other was half-closed. He fell back against the wall.

Damn, girl, stop slingin them things around. I cant think straight watchin em titties jumpin at me all over the place. Close your robe, Turk said.

Turk, I aint playing with you, coming up in this house all hours of the night. You better stop this tomcatting around or Ima stop you. Her voice never rose. It whispered slick across the hallway. The righteousness of it made Olivia Jean tremble. Daisy turned with the broom and swished back into the apartment. The girl heard the dead bolt turn with a sharp click, and then Turk and Olivia Jean were alone in the hallway.

Dont worry, baby, he said as he sank to the floor on the second step. Olivia Jean sat down by him. He laid his head on her lap. Again she held her breath, because he smelled. As soon as he fell asleep, so that his head became heavy on her lap and his mouth opened with one long inhale that became a gasp for air, he woke himself up. She aint gonna stay mad. She let us in by day. Olivia Jean counted to 3,563 before the door opened.

Now Daisy was in flannel pajamas buttoned up to the top.

Next time, dont get in the middle of grown-folk business. Daisy didnt meet Olivia Jeans gaze. She held a half-smoked cigarette in one hand along with her favorite ashtray, the one she swore was good crystal given to them by a Mr. Shorty Long when she and Turk married. This was the same ashtray she would sometimes throw at him when he came home from work too late.

This ashtray, Daisy would say after each bout of throwing it at Turk, is a testament to good, quality workmanship. The kind you dont get these days. There were dents in the wall and chipped linoleum on the floor from where Mr. Shorty Longs present had landed, but never even a hairline fracture in the crystal itself. Olivia Jean didnt know if it was a testament to good workmanship or just plain dumb luck that nothing had happened to it. She did know enough to stay out of the way when Daisy aimed at Turk, since Daisy didnt have a good aim.

Holding the ashtray in one hand and the cigarette in the other, she twisted a thumb in Olivia Jeans direction, her signal for Olivia Jean to hit the road, go to bed. It wasnt easy moving Turks head from her lap. Daisy didnt help, but Olivia Jean didnt expect help from her.

When the girl crept out of bed the next morning and peeped in the stairwell, Turk was still there, a blanket thrown over him, now using Daisy for a pillow. Olivia went back into her bedroom, slammed the door, and got ready for school.

That night in late August as they slipped out of their apartment and down the stairs, Daisy made Turk carry his shoes so his footsteps were barely heard, but there were other noises coming from his body. Because he was so big and uncoordinated, when he walked down the stairs his shoulders bumped against the wall, and his breathing was loud, like a fish gasping for air.

Olivia followed him with her traveling bag, but not too close. She owned one suitcase, a pink one with a poodle on the front that had real hair and two glued-on pink barrettes. The suitcase kept bumping her legs as she walked down the narrow flight of stairs.

Daisy shored up the rear, and every few steps she told the other two to hush up as though Turk, a grown man, and Olivia Jean, a teenager, were children on a field trip. Daisy was dressed especially for sneaking out of their apartment; she wore a tan A-line dress cinched at the waist with a wide belt, a camel- colored scarf over her head, and big rhinestone-studded sunglasses. In the middle of the night. Olivia Jean wanted to ask about the sunglasses, but she already knew what her mother would say: Olivia Jean, the first thing people notice about you is your clothes. Youve got to learn how to make a good impression.


Excerpted from Going Down South by Bonnie J. Glover
Copyright © 2008 by Bonnie Glover. Excerpted by permission of One World/Ballantine,
a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt
may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

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