Monday, May 19, 2014

Interview & Giveaway - Baby Girl Doe: Chalice #5 by Lawrence Kelter


Baby Girl Doe: Chalice #5

by Lawrence Kelter 



Everyone deserves a well-earned vacation, don’t they? Guess again! 

Plans have been made and the bags are packed but Detective Stephanie Chalice is having about as much fun as Michael Vick at an ASPCA fundraiser. 

The new story finds Chalice and Lido on the East End of Long Island, vacationing with Max, their new arrival. Things go wrong from the very start. Their vacation rental burns to the ground, bodies pile up, and just to make things interesting Lido . . . Well, I’ll just leave it to you to find out. 

Chalice may be out of her jurisdiction but she's never out of questions or determination and soon connects two unsolved homicides. As always, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and her initial findings plunge her deeper and deeper into the most extraordinary investigation of her career. 



I zigzagged between the two opposing lanes of traffic as I gave pursuit. 

He was in a flat-out run, but I was not going to be beaten. Not now, not with Gus’ captor in sight. I reached down deep and found an extra gear, one that I didn’t know existed. I was running so fast, I felt as if I could take off. I was closing in on him: two yards behind . . . one .

I lunged and took him down by the ankles. As he attempted to kick free, I pounced upon him, fists flying. I hauled back and was ready to pummel him when I froze. “You? It’s you?” The face I was about to strike was one I had seen before, but looked nothing like the person I had seen on the ladder outside my bedroom window. This man was the one who told me there was absolutely nothing suspicious about the fire the day I first inspected the remains of Bill Alden’s cottage. Two bodies, burnt beyond recognition—now I understood who would use that specific MO. Dummy, you couldn’t make the connection? 

“You son of a bitch.” I heard the sound of others running toward me, but my fist was clenched. 

“Chalice, we’ve got him,” Ambler said. “Don’t!” 

There was no force on heaven or earth strong enough to keep me from striking him, this man who had turned my family’s world upside down and put my husband’s life at risk. I drove my fist into his jaw and heard it crack. I was ready to hit him again when someone grabbed my arm. I looked up and saw Gus. His cheek was swollen, and there was dried blood on his face. 

“Thanks, babe,” he said, “I’ll take it from here.”


Let's Learn a little about Lawrence Kelter

What is your writing environment? 

I like to get out and talk to people. You never know when you’ll pick up an idea that will send you into action. Once the juices begin to flow I need a quiet place to put my ideas to paper.


Who is your perfect hero and why? 

I don’t have a perfect hero. I’ve been at this writing business so long that I have a tendency to pick apart protagonists. I find flaws in even the most famous and notable. I strive to create the perfect hero but I’m not there yet. Maybe one day.


What authors have caught your interest lately and why? 

I guess that I was kind of stunned by the success of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, not because it wasn’t a strong book, but because it wasn’t a conventional mystery. I think that book was more about the voice than the story. In either case it was a mega-hit and I’m happy for Gillian’s success. The movie should be a blockbuster.

What type of book have you always wanted to write? 

I’ve always wanted to write an enduring novel, a modern day classic if you will, a book that will become a standard for generation of readers to come. I try to write entertaining thrillers. I hope readers find my work a blast to read: suspenseful and deep with pervading humor.


Top three things on your bucket list? 

End world hunger. Bring peace to the Middle East. Find the perfect pastrami sandwich.


How did you get the idea for this particular novel? 

Baby Girl Doe takes place on the East End of Long Island, a locale I’ve frequently visited. Getaways often prove a fertile setting for my imagination. I guess I look at the world differently than most. I’m on the beach and I envision a murder. I’m out at a club and I hear whispers of conspiracy, and so on and so on. Here’s a short teaser for Baby Girl Doe:  

Everyone deserves a well-earned vacation, don’t they?  

Guess again!  

Plans have been made and the bags are packed but Detective Stephanie Chalice is having about as much fun as Michael Vick at an ASPCA fundraiser.  

In his latest thriller, “Baby Girl Doe,” the fifth book in the international best-selling Stephanie Chalice Thriller Series, author Lawrence Kelter tackles murder, arson, abduction, and government secrets held as closely to the vest as those related to the existence of UFOs at Area 51 in Roswell, New Mexico.
The new story finds Chalice and her eye candy husband, Lido on the East End of Long Island, vacationing with Max, their new arrival. Things go wrong from the very start. Their vacation rental burns to the ground, bodies pile up, and just to make things interesting, Lido . . . All I’ll say is that you’ll never believe it.
Chalice may be out of her jurisdiction but she's never out of questions or determination and soon connects two unsolved homicides. As always, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and her initial findings plunge her deeper and deeper into the most extraordinary investigation of her career.
Baby Girl Doe is averaging 4.7 stars on Amazon. 

What is your favorite scene in your new release? 

Baby Girl Doe is full of intrigue but there is a heated and very humorous exchange between Chalice and Ma, which I just love. The chemistry between these two is very special. Rather than trying to explain, here’s an excerpt:

Chapter Fourteen 

“Ma? What are you doing here?”

“I missed you,” she said pretending to mist up. She stepped away from the kitchen counter and threw her arms around me.

I gave her a big smooch on the cheek. “You missed us so much? We’ve only been gone a few days.”

“It’s not the time, pudd‘n’head, it’s the distance.”

“You could’ve called if you missed us so much. You know, reach out and touch someone?”

She shrugged. “I wanted to give you your privacy.”

So you unexpectedly show up at our front door? My mother has a strange understanding of the word ‘privacy.’

“Well it’s a lovely surprise.” I looked around. “Hey, where are my two men?”

“I sent them to the store for groceries. Tomorrow’s Gus’ birthday, you know.”

“Of course I know. I’m planning on giving Max a heavy dose of baby Benadryl and sexing up Gus until his brain explodes.”

Ma looked disappointed. “Don’t you think he’d rather have a nice home-cooked meal?”

I can’t believe this woman. “No! I figured we’d drink a bottle of wine and then I’d drag him to bed and practice world-class gymnastics.”

“Stephanie,” she blushed, “You’re embarrassing your mother.” She pointed at the stovetop. “Look, I’m making fresh sauce.”

I fanned the aroma toward my face. “It smells terrific, but do you really think Gus would rather eat spaghetti and meatballs than make love to his wife?”

“I don’t know,” she said with a sly wink. “My sauce is pretty damn good.” She hugged me again. “Forget about it . . . fill your bellies. I’ll turn in early, and you can still screw your brains out.”

“Are you kidding? With you in the next room?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll take the Benadryl too.” We laughed as we walked to the kitchen table. Ma had brought a liter bottle of wine and had already poured a glass for herself. She poured one for me. “Salute,” she said with the Italian twist at the end of the word. We clinked glasses. “Here’s to vacations and pain-in-the-ass mothers,” she said with a wink.

It was a bargain-priced bottle of wine, but it was pretty tasty nonetheless. My stomach was empty, and I felt the alcohol hit me right away. “I can’t believe this. How did you get here?”

“I caught a ride with Ginny Menucci’s daughter, Dina.”

I almost choked on the wine. “You rode out here with Dina Menucci? You’re kidding, right?”


“Did you pick up any sailors on the ride out?”

She made that hand gesture that only Italians make, with all five fingertips touching. “Stephanie, what the hell are you talking about?”

I smirked.

“Why? What’s with that look on your face? What’s wrong with the Menuccis?”

“There’s nothing wrong with the Menuccis, but you know how Dina earns a living, don’t you?”

“She works evenings selling restaurant supplies. Are you crazy or something?”

“Ma, listen to yourself. Who sells restaurant supplies at night? She’s a call girl. My God, how gullible can a person be?”

Madonna mia, sweet little Dina? Are you sure? She said Vesuvius is her biggest customer.”

“Vesuvius, the Italian restaurant on 49th Street?”

Ma nodded.

“Yeah, I’m sure there’s an eruption there every time she walks through the door.”

“How can that be? You know Mickey V, the owner; he’s a family man.”

“First of all he’s not Italian, even though he professes to be. He’s Greek. That’s why he never uses his full last name.”

“For real?”

“Yes for real. His last name is Vloganitis, or Vaginitis, or something you’d need antibiotics to clear up, and he’s the biggest sleazeball on two feet. Believe me when Dina visits him in the restaurant, his soufflé isn’t the only thing that rises.”

“So Mickey is Greek?”

I nodded with conviction. “Mickey is short for Mikolas. He got into a jam over unpaid traffic tickets several months back and asked me to help him out. That’s why I know his real name.”

“Were you able to help him?”

“I made a call over to my friend Tay at the DA’s office. She pulled some strings. They let him pay the fines, and he was able to avoid criminal charges.”

“And he’s Greek.”

“Like baklava, Mama.”

“Oh my? Does that mean . . .”

“That’s right, Ma, Dina’s probably multi-portal.”

She cringed. “Stephanie, that’s disgusting.”

“You brought it up. Do you prefer I use the term backdoor specialist?”

Madonna, too much information.” Ma pretended to retch.

“Ma, you’re such a prude. You’ve never heard of ass play?”

“What play?”

“Ass play.”

“Isn’t that the group that sings about clocks?”

“Oh my God.” What am I going to do with this woman? “No, Ma, that’s Coldplay.”

“Stephanie, I’m confused.”

Evidently. “Ma, ass play . . . anal sex. Stop being such a Girl Scout.”

She shrugged. “You mean like for a gay man.”

“It’s not just for gay men, Ma. Straight couples do it too.”

“But why?” Ma was completely out of her comfort zone. Fine droplets of sweat broke out across her lip.

How can I put this delicately? “Sometimes a man prefers to squeeze his car into the garage instead of just leaving it to hang out in the nice wide driveway.”

“You’re losing me. What does this have to do with cars?”

Sometimes there’s just no beating around the bush. Yikes. I can’t believe I just said that. “Because, Ma, after a woman shoots two or three linebackers out of her vagina, it isn’t exactly a snug fit anymore.”

Ma smiled with revelation. “Ah. So you’re talking about a man’s pleasure.”


“What about the woman?”

I flashed my palm like a stop sign. “I’m not going there, Ma.” I wasn’t saying I don’t go there, but I wasn’t going there with my mother.

“I still don’t believe it. Dina told me flat out that she sells macaroni.”

I giggled. “A hooker whose cover story is that she sells macaroni? Does that make her a pasta-tute?”

Ma was aghast. “This is too much.” She looked pensive for a moment. “Come to think of it, she does drive a big fancy convertible.”

“Believe me, the top’s not the only thing in that car that goes down.”

Ma put her hand to her forehead. “I must be losing my mind. She talked three hours straight about how difficult it is for women to get ahead in a man’s world.”

“I don’t think getting head is an issue for her or any of her dates.”

“I said, ‘ahead ahead,’ not getting head. She’s a very bright girl.”

“I’m pretty sure she’s a lot faster on the intake than the uptake.”

“Stephanie, are you drunk already? Is the wine getting to you?”

I closed my eyes and sank back in my chair. “Sorry, Ma, just unwinding. It’s been a busy morning.”

“What kind of busy morning? Isn’t the idea of a vacation to relax?”


“I nothing. Gus told me what you were doing. Stephanie, are you a glutton for punishment? Can’t you just leave well enough alone for once? You’re on vacation for God’s sake.”

“Just satisfying my curiosity is all.”

“God love you. You’re just like your father . . . but while you’re on vacation with your husband and your son? Give it a rest, Stephanie. Don’t you know when to stop?”

“Trust me, I’d like to stop, but I can’t. In the few days we’ve been out here, I’ve heard about a young woman who went missing and the young woman who used to live in this house has disappeared too. Oh, and our vacation rental burned to the ground with the owner presumably inside.”

“I told you to go to the Finger Lakes but does anyone listen to me? No. You had to go to someplace dark and disturbing like Montauk, didn’t you?”

“Ma,” I said impatiently, “Dark and disturbing? It’s Montauk, not Casablanca. We came here to have a good time and we are. I just have trouble sleeping at night knowing that bodies are piling up and women have gone missing.”

Ma waved her hand dismissively. “Oh, come on, Stephanie. Admit it. You can’t help yourself—you seek out all these crazies and it makes you happier than a pig in shit.” She glanced toward heaven and then shook her head in exasperation. “It’s inappropriate. Do you want Max to grow up thinking this kind of thing is normal?”

Ma had a point; a good one. Neither Gus nor I would oppose Max if he chose a career in law enforcement, but he would have to understand that there were other alternatives and that not everyone was a paranoid, law-enforcement nut case like his mother. “Okay. You’re right. I’ll dial it back.”

“So I’m right?” she said with a gloating smile.

Aren’t you always? I picked up my cell phone.

“Who are you calling?” Ma asked.

“Gus. I’ll ask him to pick up a gallon of adult Benadryl and maybe some Sominex too.”

Ma snickered.

I had so much aggression built up inside me. If I couldn’t pursue bad guys, I’d have to channel all of my energy into a more enjoyable pursuit. God knows, putting all of my police instincts on hold was going to take a Herculean effort, and I was counting on Gus to tire me out so exhaustively that I just wouldn’t care.


What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available? 

I’ve started a new series featuring a female FBI agent, and ex-Marine named Chloe Mather. Mather is a very unique type of hero, one with complex attributes and emotional qualities. Her first Story will be called Secrets of the Kill and will be available late summer 2014. Here’s a little bit about Secrets of the Kill: 

Two governments with one objective, stop the spread of terrorism at any cost. America and Israel, lifelong allies in an age-old war.  

To win this battle they will have to sell their souls. 

A mutilated body has been found, a body not meant to be discovered. But now that it has, Pandora’s box is open and secrets never to be learned are spilling out. 

An Israeli woman living in New York has been murdered. She has been raped and butchered, an outrage that ignites a fuse that burns all the way back to Tel Aviv. 

Enter FBI Agent Chloe Mather, a hard-charging ex-Marine with no sympathy for the kind of maggot who could commit such a violent atrocity. 

What begins as a challenging homicide becomes more, much more and Mather is pulled into an investigation, which involves the mob, Israeli intelligence, and a radical terrorist faction. 

They say that blood is thicker than water but is it thicker than the bonds of patriotism? Mather will ponder this question and many others as she fights to bring an innocent woman’s murderer to justice, and prevent a geopolitical atrocity from taking place on American shores.


What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

I’m big on the out of doors. I like to play tennis, bike ride, walk, chill on the beach, and things like that. I’ve grown to hate New York winters. I get a lot of writing done because I’m shut in and away from the cold, but I hate having to turn my back on Mother Nature.

What would you consider a perfect date? 

I’ve already been on one of those, when I met my wife. I guess you just know when you’ve met “the one.”

What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know? 

NY Times best-selling novelist Nelson DeMille actually picked up a pencil and edited portions of my first manuscript. Way before he said, “Lawrence Kelter is an exciting new novelist, who reminds me of an early Robert Ludlum,” he said, “Kid your work needs editing, but that’s a hell of a lot better than not having talent. Keep it up.” I’ll always be indebted to that man. I was also part of a small writer’s workshop led by Ann Loring. Some of you may remember Ann for her role as Tammy Forrest in the soap opera Love of Life. Ann really helped me to develop my sense of drama. The knowledge she imparted to me was priceless.


AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

A resident New Yorker, Kelter often uses Manhattan and Long Island as backdrops for his stories. He is the author of the Stephanie Chalice Mystery Series and other works of fiction. 

Early in his writing career, he received support from best-selling novelist, Nelson DeMille, who reviewed his work and actually put pencil to paper to assist in the editing of the first novel. When completed, DeMille said, “Lawrence Kelter is an exciting new novelist, who reminds me of an early Robert Ludlum.” 

His novels are quickly paced and feature a twist ending. 

Buy Links:   Barnes & Noble    Amazon

 Lawrence will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour and 5 runners up with receive an autographed print copy of the book (US and Canada only).
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning!
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  1. Great interview, I enjoyed learning more about you.

  2. Loved the excerpt = thanks for sharing!

  3. Great excerpt, would love to read this book. Entering under the name of Virginia

  4. Great interview! I like your bucket list, too. :)

    falcondraco at Hotmail dot com

  5. That was really nice what you said about your wife.

  6. Enjoyed both the excerpt and interview. Thanks for sharing.

    ilookfamous at yahoo dot com

  7. i liked the blurbs/excerpts and the interview