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Friday 3 July 2015

☀ The Widow's Son: Rare Book Mystery [3] - Thomas Shawver

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for The Widow’s Son  a mystery by  available from Alibi, 206 pages).  
This is the third book in the Rare Book Mystery series.

In this article you can read the book's synopsis, a teaser excerpt, learn about the whole series and then read an Interview with the author.   From 7 July, once the book is published, you will also be able to read an excerpt on Amazon.

Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | Author Q&A | About the Author | Tour Stops


Sure to please fans of Lawrence Block, John Dunning, and Christopher Fowler, the new Rare Book Mystery plunges readers into a centuries-old struggle of blood, faith, family, and revenge.

In 1844, Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, died at the hands of an angry mob who stormed his jail cell in Carthage, Illinois. Shortly after, a radical faction of Smith’s followers swore to avenge Smith’s death by killing not only the four men deemed most responsible, but to teach their heirs to eliminate future generations of the prophet’s murderers as well.

One hundred and seventy years later, rare book dealer Michael Bevan is offered a valuable first-edition Book of Mormon that bears a strange inscription hinting at blood atonement. Within days of handing the book over for authentication, the volume disappears and two people lie dead. Michael soon learns that his friend Natalie Phelan, whose only crime is her genealogy, is the likely next victim. One of her would-be murderers has fallen in love with her, another is physically incapable of carrying out the act, but other avenging angels remain on the loose.

When Natalie is kidnapped, Michael must venture into a clandestine camp of vengeful men hell-bent on ritual sacrifice. To save her life, the book dealer needs all his worldly courage, brawn, and wits. But to defeat fanatics driven by an unholy vision, a little divine intervention couldn’t hurt.

Teaser: Excerpt

Eulalia Darp lived in a three-story Victorian “painted lady” halfway up the western side of the hill, where a border of Japanese maples separated it from a row of fraternities.

Dusky greens and muted chartreuse created a daring but tasteful charm to the outside appearance of the house. Carved wooden images of red and yellow fruits highlighted details on shutters and pillars. Every third window featured stained glass. The paint was fresh and applied with meticulous attention to detail. Beneath the steep-pitched roof were multiple dormers, detailed bracket work, and delicately carved gingerbread bordering. Stenciled squirrels, rabbits, and other critters scampered after acorns among the corbels and ribboned roofline.

A golden retriever ran alongside my Jeep when I pulled onto the long gravel driveway. Getting out, I rubbed the dog’s ears and shook its proffered paw. It followed me onto the wraparound front porch, settling on its hindquarters when I rang the doorbell.

A few seconds later I heard heavy footsteps, and a deep voice announced, “I’m comin’. Hold your horses.”

The heavy oak door opened to reveal a sturdily built Native American whose head was the size, color, and shape of a bronze bowling ball, with about the same amount of hair. He wore a plain apron over a pair of jeans and faded paisley shirt with the sleeves rolled up, displaying Popeye-sized forearms.

Upon seeing him, the dog wagged its tail happily and received a biscuit in return.

“Now git back, Daisy,” he ordered. “Go on back home.”

Hearing our voices, a youth who had been throwing a Frisbee on the fraternity lawn next door ran up to the porch.

After securing a leash on the dog, he said, “Hey, Norm, Mom Morsley wants to see you about cleaning the chapter room at the house. We had a party last night and . . .”

“And a few of you young bucks got drunk and smashed up things. Don’t you worry, son; tell your housemother I’ll be over shortly.”

As the kid and the dog sauntered back to the fraternity, the man turned to me.

“You the book fella?”


“You don’ look like one.”

“I suppose I don’t.”

“Football or hoops? I know you didn’t play for the Jayhawks. I remember who all them fellas was when I coached at Haskell Indian Nations.”

“I was a linebacker for Iowa. Name’s Mike Bevan.” “I’m Norman Tate,” he said as he extended a heavily calloused hand. “Stormin’ Norman to the boys over there.” He nodded in the direction of the Sigma Chi house before adding—I couldn’t tell whether with nostalgia or regret—“I was their janitor for thirty years. Coaching didn’t work out.” He looked back at me. “A Hawkeye, you say? You know Podolak?”

“Met him once at a reunion, but he played long before me. Is Mrs. Darp in?”

“It’s Miss Darp,” he corrected, adding a wink. “She’s a bachelor lady.”

Tapping a foot impatiently, I mentioned having an appointment to see her.

“I know you do. I’m jus’ wastin’ time while she gets settled.” He looked over his shoulder for half a minute, then back to me. “All right, you can come on in now. And let’s not take too long with her, if you follow what I’m sayin’.”

He led me through a high-ceilinged library stuffed with leather-bound books arrayed on ten-foot shelves and heavy library tables. Half a dozen original Hudson River School landscapes in unpretentious frames completed my impression of the owner’s quiet, reflective taste. A marble mantel over the fireplace boasted the works of Mark Twain, Washington Irving, Willa Cather, and Stephen Crane. The row stretched for several feet and was bound in place by Art Deco bookends featuring a pair of dancing harlequins.

Tate opened a sliding door and ushered me into a second, smaller room where three vintage kerosene oil lamps hanging from the high ceiling cast the space in an otherworldly glow. It took a few moments for my eyes to adjust to the semidarkness, but when they did I had to check myself from doing a double take.

That’s because a doppelganger of Gertrude Stein sat with perfect posture on a chintz-covered couch before the fireplace. The couch looked as though only one person ever sat on it, and always in the same spot, exactly where she was now. On a nearby side table was a teacup and saucer with thin biscuits, the day’s New York Times, a notebook and pencil, and a neat stack of files.

It was immediately apparent that the fine sense of taste that had gone into Eulalia Darp’s house and collectibles did not extend to her person or attire; or maybe she preferred to focus on her possessions rather than any personal adornment.

Her hair was silver gray, trimmed in a severely short modern style that contradicted the rest of her appearance. She wore a shapeless green jumper, undoubtedly intended to disguise her large torso, which only made her resemble a slightly overripe pear. Large, round glasses that were in vogue in the 1950s dominated the small nose on her broad pink face. They couldn’t hide, however, the intelligent brown eyes that returned my gaze with a somewhat amused expression.

Like the room, she showed wear, but her calm and self-possessed carriage reflected durability. Had she been a book, I would have described her as “tightly bound in a thick, single volume; a little worn, but in fine condition.”

The Widow’s Son
Available 7 July 2015!

UK: purchase from purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK purchase from Google Books find on Goodreads
US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo purchase from iTunes US

Rare Book Mystery

The Rare Book Mystery series features a most unlikely hero—antiquarian bookseller, Michael Bevan, from the surprisingly lethal world of rare and antique books.

The Dirty Book Murder [1]

Book merchant Michael Bevan arrives at the Kansas City auction house hoping to uncover some hidden literary gold. Though the auction ad had mentioned erotica, Michael is amazed to find lovely Japanese Shunga scrolls and a first edition of a novel by French author Colette with an inscription by Ernest Hemingway. This one item alone could fetch a small fortune in the right market.

As Michael and fellow dealer Gareth Hughes are warming up for battle, a stranger comes out of nowhere and outbids them—to the tune of sixty grand. But Gareth is unwilling to leave the auction house empty-handed, so he steals two volumes, including the Colette novel. When Gareth is found dead the next day, Michael quickly becomes the prime suspect: Not only had the pair been tossed out of a bar mid-fistfight the night before, but there is evidence from Michael’s shop at the crime scene.

Now the attorney-turned-bookman must find out who wanted the Colette so badly that they would kill for it—and frame Michael. Desperate to stay out of police custody, Michael follows the murderer’s trail into the wealthiest echelons of the city, where power and influence meet corruption—and mystery and eroticism are perverted by pure evil. Unfortunately for Michael, one dead book dealer is only the opening chapter in a terrifying tale of high culture and lowlifes. [13 May 2013, 218 pages]

Left Turn at Paradise [2]

Michael Bevan is barely scraping by with his used bookstore and rare book collection when he discovers a timeworn journal that may change everything. Dating back to 1768, the tattered diary appears to be a chronicle kept during the first of legendary seafarer Captain James Cook’s three epic voyages through the Pacific islands. If it’s as valuable as Mike thinks it is, its sale may just bring enough to keep his faltering used bookstore afloat for another year.

Then he meets a pair of London dealers with startling news: Adrian Hart and Penelope Wilkes claim to possess the journal of Cook’s second voyage. Is it possible a third diary exists? One which might detail Cook’s explosive final voyage—and his death at the hands of native Hawaiians? Together, all three would be the holy grail of Pacific exploration. But before Mike can act, the two journals are stolen.

Chasing them down will sweep Michael, Adrian, and Penelope across the globe—past a dead body or two—and into a very sinister slice of paradise. High in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, in a remote and secretive Maori compound, a secret rests in the hands in of a man daring enough to rewrite history . . . and desperate enough to kill.[26 August 2014, 245 pages]

About the Author

Thomas Shawver is a former marine officer, lawyer, and journalist with American City Business Journals.

An avid rugby player and international traveler, Shawver owned Bloomsday Books, an antiquarian bookstore in Kansas City.

Follow Thomas Shawver:

Visit the author's website Visit the author on Facebook Visit the author on GoodReads

Follow The Widow’s Son's tour at:

June 30th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading
July 2nd: Book Review @ Michelle Dragalin’s Journey
July 3rd: Book Excerpt and Author Interview @ BooksChatter
July 5th: Book Review @ Mallory Heart Reviews
July 7th: Book Review @ Journey of a Bookseller
July 9th: Author Interview @ Cheryl M’s Book Blog
July 12th: Book Excerpt @ Book About
July 14th: Book Review and Author Interview @ The Book Breeze
July 16th: Book Review @ Reading Reality
July 16th: Book Excerpt @ Nat’s Book Nook
July 18th: Book Excerpt, Book Review and Author Interview @ Nancy Famolari’s Place
July 19th: Book Review @ Books, Books and More Books
July 20th: Book Excerpt @ Mum’s Writings
July 23rd: Book Review @ Joyfully Retired
July 25th: Book Review @ Debb’s Reads
July 25th: Book Excerpt @ Books and Tales
July 27th: Book Review @ Storey Book Reviews
July 28th: Book Excerpt and Author Interview @ The Bouncing Tigger
July 28th: Book Excerpt @ Literary Musing
July 30th: Book Review and Author Interview @ Aurelia (Lit)

1 comment:

Ben said...

Thank you for introducing me to this series, I will have to read it now!