This Excerpt is from my new book Tidalwave (prequel to the Tracy Gayle mystery series)
I had an interesting phone call today.
“It was the great rock and roller Danny Tide,” I said with more enthusiasm than a professional private investigator should have.
My companion, cop, friend, and kind–of boyfriend didn’t seem to notice.
“Danny’s the leader of the classic rock band Tidalwave. You’ve heard of them, haven’t you?” I asked. I got no response from him. “Are you listening to me, Johnson?” I said, rapping my fist on the table.
The music was practically blaring, and lo and behold, a Tidalwave song began playing on the jukebox. I smiled. That got his attention.
He lifted his beer mug and took a sip. “I was at the scene of their tour bus fire the other day,” he announced, and then set his mug back down on the table. “It was quite a show. The outside of the bus looks like it’s been torched, but there’s only minimal damage inside. Lucky for them.”
“Was anyone hurt?”
He shook his head. “That’s another interesting point.”
“Has a cause of the fire been determined?” I rushed on.
He shook his head.
“Can you give me your take on it, Johnson—as a friend?” I winked at him. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
There was a long pause, and then he sighed. “You know I shouldn’t be doing this,” he said. “Okay, off the record, I’d give it a ninety percent chance that the fire was arson.”
I was bubbling over inside. Not that I wanted Danny or any of the others in danger. “What’s the other ten percent?”
He slapped the table top with both hands. “We haven’t found anything substantial, yet. Why would anyone attack a bus? Why set fire to it but make sure no one’s on it? It doesn’t make sense.” Johnson paused, then said, “What did Tide want with you?”
I smiled, then inhaled and exhaled deeply. I didn’t think Johnson was going to like this. “He wants me to join the tour. Do some discreet investigating.”
“Mm,” he murmured. “I sense there’s more coming. Let it out, Gayle.”
So I blurted it out. “He also asked me to be his chief of security.”
Before Johnson could say anything, I held up my hand. “Yeah, I did point out our height differences. I’m five–seven, and he’s six–two. I can’t very likely do a body block, if need be. That’s not the point, though. Tide feels I would blend in better than if he hired a PI who looks like a prize fighter.”
Johnson picked up his beer mug and drained it, then nodded. “Knowing you, you’ll take the job, and I can’t say I blame you. I’m eager to know the whole story, too. Just be super careful, and not only because of the bad guys. Tide’s a good–looking guy, very charming, and too darn nice. I like him, but at the same time, I don’t like him.”
I laughed. If I was reading this right, Doug Johnson was jealous.
The next morning, Johnson and I were on the Interstate, heading to Baltimore. Danny had emailed me the band’s itinerary. Johnson and I had sixth–row seats at that evening’s show as guests of the band. I was so excited.
“Did you come up with anything interesting from the list I gave you earlier?” Johnson asked, glancing at me.
A few hours earlier, when he had picked me up at my house, he had furnished me with a list of names of people who were at the tour bus fire. I had plenty to work with now. I had emailed half the names to my secretary, Lois.
“Mm,” I murmured, not looking up from my iPad. “I can say that Danny pays his employees well.” I looked up. “In that respect, it wouldn’t make sense for any of his people to torch the bus and cripple the tour.”
He agreed and grunted his assent. “Stranger things have happened nonetheless. Can you imagine how much it must cost to cancel even one show?”
“A lot, and it would be coming out of their own pockets.” I lowered my head again and buried myself in research.
We reached our destination around three that afternoon.
“Let’s find the band’s hotel,” I suggested. “We have time to get settled in and meet the guys.”
I would be staying with the band. Johnson would be heading home after the show.
“Will do. Give me the address, and I’ll put it into the GPS.”
I reeled it off. Johnson pulled the car over to the side of the road and got things set up with the navigation system.
I flipped open my phone and punched in Danny’s cell number. His girlfriend, Laura, answered. “We’re here,” I said. “And on the way to the hotel.”
Laura sounded pleased. “That’s great. Danny and I will meet you downstairs in the lobby.”
I disconnected the call and closed my phone. Five minutes later, we were in front of Harborview Manor. It was beautiful and, I was sure, state of the art and pretty expensive.
Johnson whistled. ”I had no idea rock musicians stayed in such luxury hotels. Maybe I should consider a change of profession. What do you think?”
“I think you’re a good cop, and you should stay a cop, because society needs good cops, even if it means being poor.”
He sighed. “I was afraid you’d say that.” He swung open his car door.
I opened mine too, got out, and we went into the hotel.
The lobby was spacious. Danny was easy to spot. He was tall, muscular, with shoulder–length blond hair. Beside him stood a pretty brunette woman. Laura Wells. Johnson and I went over to meet them.
“Why don’t we sit down?” Laura suggested. She gestured to some sofas in a far corner of the lobby.
We all went over and sat down, Johnson and I across from Danny and Laura.
“Who would want to do such a thing to Tidalwave?” Laura asked.
I could tell she was crazy about Danny—the glances they exchanged, the touches. I kept glancing at Johnson to see if he saw it too, but his expression remained blank.
Johnson had his cue. “Ms. Wells, we still haven’t determined that the bus fire was arson.”
I shot Johnson a wary look, but before I could say anything, Danny spoke up. “But it seems most likely that it was, right?”
“But who set it, and why?” Danny probed.
“Could it have been a crazed fan?” Laura offered.
Finally, I had my chance to speak. I shook my head. “In most cases, a crazed fan would directly attack one of the band members. Probably Danny,” I added.
Laura cringed. Danny wrapped his arm around her. She moved into him.
“The fire’s intent seemed more to make some sort of statement than to cause any bodily harm—to scare the band, slow them down.”
“Do you think it was one of us?” Danny prodded. “But that wouldn’t make sense, would it?”
I agreed with him. “No, it wouldn’t. Most likely, the perpetrator isn’t inside the band. Someone in your business, maybe someone you know.”
They still weren’t grasping what I was trying to say.
“Danny, is there a chance that somewhere along the line, you may have stepped on someone’s toes?”
Laura gasped, but Danny wasn’t perturbed. He shrugged. “Probably lots of times, but I couldn’t name anything specific.”
“What about former Tidalwave band members? Is this group the same one you started out with?”
Danny chuckled. “We’ve had changes.” He shifted uncomfortably. “Our original drummer died. I doubt he’s back to haunt us,” he joked. Nobody laughed. “Our first bass player has AIDS, so he pretty much retired.”
Laura squeezed his arm.
“Laura?” I prompted. “Please, you’re welcome to give us your input.”
Laura looked at Danny for approval. “They had a second bass player for a while. Greg something. He was very good, but for some reason, he left the band.”
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND HER WORK…
JUST PUBLISHED: the prequel to the Tracy Gayle mystery series
by Trish Hubschman
Available in e-book and print from Amazon and Smashwords.
Details, cover image, link to a free text sample, and purchasing links: https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/
Tidalwave’s tour bus bursts into flames while the band is relaxing on the beach. The band’s leader, Danny Tide, hires private detective Tracy Gayle to do some discreet investigation into the matter. She’s joining the band on tour as security chief. The arsonist is discovered, but much deeper, more dangerous things come to light as well: an assault, an attempted murder, and then two murders. Tracy is faced with far more than she bargained for, and her stint with the band goes further than just that summer tour. She is fully determined to protect America’s favorite rock and roll heartthrob, and they become the best of friends along the way.
About the Author
Trish Hubschman and her husband, Kevin, along with their dog, Henry, recently moved to Northern Pennsylvania. They formerly lived on Long Island, New York. Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is the author of the popular Tracy Gayle mystery series, Stiff Competition and Ratings Game. Tidalwave is the eagerly awaited prequel to the series. For more information about Trish’s three books, please visit her website, linked to above.