"Ah, the wild west, where the men are tough, the women are trouble, and the emeralds are cursed."
THE JULIET is a novel that braids the history of a cursed emerald called The Juliet with the story of an ailing, retired cowboy actor who comes to Death Valley to search for her. Rigg Dexon, best known for his role as Holt Breck in the classic but controversial seventies Western, Gallows River, holes up for months in a shack known as the Mystery House, until he is driven out of seclusion by the record breaking wildflower bloom of March 2005 that draws swarms of tourists to the desert. After an intense encounter with an ardent fan named Willie Judy at a local bar, Rigg impulsively signs over the deed for the Mystery House to her in a gesture straight out of one of his corny films. But Willie, a rootless, unlucky young woman from a family of short-lived dreamers, takes it as a sign: Dexon wants her to find the Juliet, now that he’s too frail to continue his search. What Willie doesn’t know is that Dexon is giving away everything that’s precious to him, following the advice of Holt Breck: leave like you ain’t coming back. When Dexon’s gift turns out to be the scene of a crime that implicates Willie in drug trafficking, she tries to cover it up, only to be drawn into the chaotic wake of The Juliet...
THE MEAN BONE IN HER BODY
Jeaneane Lewis is a disturbed graduate student in a crime writing program who makes a grisly discovery: in the heart of the college/prison town of New Royal, Ohio, a military widow and her two small children lay dead in a frigid garden pond, watched over by a shivering, ex-cadaver dog named Daddy. The murders go unsolved, but Lewis manages to publish a vivid account of her experience before she falls prey to years of writer’s block and drug addiction that make her a terrible student but an acceptable assistant to the most unpopular professor in the program, Elizabeth Murgatroyd. Just before Lewis is kicked out of NRU, Murgatroyd's one-night stand with a stranger yields a shocking revelation--not only is he the killer, but Lewis' story is a complete fabrication. Though shaken by the encounter, Murgatroyd means to keep the killer's secret until she can write an article of her own. With the help of an ex-con named Crocus, the Professor takes a closer look at the murders that have come to define New Royal, though first she must explore the twists and turns of Lewis' grim past.
Sometimes the difference between trash and treasure is a matter of life and death
Welcome back to New Royal, Ohio, where the last descendent of its founding family, ninety-seven-year-old Viola Horup, has been bludgeoned to death in her mansion on an icy December night, leaving behind boxes of treasure and garbage. Detective Steve Rasmussen isn't a stupid man, but he likes simple solutions, meaning he's destined to butt heads with Crocus Rowe, a punk ex-con alumna of the University's Crime Writing Program, who doesn't believe that Viola's murder is just a "robbery-gone-wrong." Crocus' theory is proven correct in the most gruesome way possible when she discovers the broken body of an estate agent in Viola's cellar. Against the backdrop of a community obsessed with a mysterious game involving the sudden appearance of words and phrases scattered all over town, Crocus seeks answers in the dark history of New Royal where all roads lead to Crybaby Lane.