ABOUT THE BOOK
Series: Dive Team Investigations, Book 1
Author: Lynn H. Blackburn
Genre: Romantic Suspense
After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she’d left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.
Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer–one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.
Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final heart-pounding page.
Lynn H. Blackburn is the author of Hidden Legacy (Love Inspired, June 2017) and Covert Justice, winner of the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children.
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A DAY WITH RYAN PARKER
Ryan Parker is someone that everyone would want to spend the day with. Not only is he a homicide investigator, but he volunteers as an underwater investigator! I happen to love crime shows on TV and for awhile, my major in college was crime investigation. I loved the classes I took about looking for clues, analyzing them, and bringing all the information together to solve the crimes. CSI used to be my favorite show – I know it’s not realistic and totally accurate, but I loved following Grissom and the team when they were on the hunt. One day shopping I happened to stumble across a CSI computer game, which of course I had to purchase and play right away. Water is another love of mine. I could spend all day in the water – just make me come out when my skin is all wrinkly and I need some nutrition. So as you can see, Ryan and I are kind of the perfect fit to spend a day together.
******Disclosure****** I should disclose this is fictional. None of these events really happened. Just me having some fun with my hometown and a really great character in a book!
Ryan just happens to be visiting Cooperstown, NY (my hometown), and there was a body of a baseball player found in Otsego lake just before Induction weekend. It’s our job to find out if foul play was involved, and figure out exactly what happened to this baseball player. First we visit the coroner’s office to take a look at the body. The prints are back and it turns out that it’s Chipper Jones, a player from the Atlanta Braves who is about to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He must have been in the water for awhile because his body was distorted and unrecognizable. I am saddened by this. I was a Braves fan growing up, and watched Chipper all the time. It’s up to us to get to the bottom of this!
Our first step is to visit the site that Chipper was found. Ryan tells me that we’ll need our diving gear, which makes me elated! After gathering the gear and heading to the site, we dive in. It’s May, and the lake is still a bit chilly. We need to be careful where we go, as Otsego Lake is known for its zebra mussel problem. Seeing things clearly is difficult as the seaweed sways all around us. I happen to notice a glimmer down deeper and head to take a look. Turns out it is a cell phone. I hand it to Ryan who congratulates me on finding something so quick. You see, I think I’m made for this! We spend another couple hours scouring the area but come up empty handed. Hopefully the cell phone records can provide some clues.
When we get back to the police barracks, we see Chipper’s wife there. Her protruding belly tells me she is due very soon, around the time of the Induction Ceremony. Ryan informs me it would be good for us to question her together. Ryan can ask all the questions, and I can play on the sympathy of losing her husband right before their child is to be born. I am just giddy to be able to be in the room during interrogation. We quickly surmise that Mrs. Jones had nothing to do with the death of her husband. Upon further questioning we do find out that one of the Braves players from Chipper’s era had a problem with the recent inductions. Tom Glavine, Greg Maddox and John Smoltz (all Braves pitchers from the 90’s) had been recently inducted, and now this year Chipper. Guess there’s bad blood looming in Braves Catcher Javier Lopez. For the record, he was one of my favorites back in the day and this shocks me. We thank Mrs. Jones for her time and get to work on the cell records. Wouldn’t you know there are tons of messages between Chipper and Javier. Some good, and some a little cryptic. Ryan calls a buddy of his who is good at reading in between the lines of messages like this. He says he’ll get back to us.
Later in the day I take Ryan to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Chipper had been visiting earlier in the week and we thought it’d be a good idea to talk to the employees about Chipper’s experience. Most of them mentioned he was fine, enjoying his time at the museum. One employee, however, had a different story. She (keeping her name anonymous out of respect for our source) told us how Chipper received a text message near the end of his trip that made him pretty agitated. At one point he threw his phone down, then apologized for his behavior. He picked up his phone, composed himself, and left. His wife mentioned being tired and was going back to the hotel to rest and Chipper hadn’t been seen since. We thanked this kind employee and went back to the office to talk about what we had collected so far.
Let me say this – Ryan is good at his job. He knows the right words to say to witnesses to get them to talk, he is very in tune with his surroundings and finds clues easily. When we get back to the office we get an in-depth transcript of the text messages between Chipper and Javier. Ryan goes through them line by line with me and asks me to give my input first. I decide to take a second look just in case – I don’t want to say something wrong! After telling him my suspicions, he confirms that he thinks I am right – Javier Lopez is a suspect and he immediately starts the paperwork to get a warrant for his arrest. Unfortunately the day is ending, and it’s time for Ryan to fly down to Georgia to find Mr. Lopez. Before leaving he hands me small box. Inside I find an honorary investigator badge. I am shocked and thrilled. I give Ryan a big hug and thank him for letting me shadow him for a day. This experience will last me a lifetime.
A few days later I receive a text message from Ryan. All our hard work paid off! Javier ended up confessing to the murder, but not for the reason we thought. You see, it wasn’t just the fact that Chipper was being inducted to the Hall of Fame. It was also because Chipper and his wife were having a child, and everything seemed to be going right for them. Javier’s life was turned upside down at the moment, and jealousy consumed him. When the media coverage of Chipper and his pregnant wife visiting Cooperstown emerged, Javier just couldn’t take it. I guess with people you just never know what will set them off!
*******Reminder******* The previous story was a work of fiction. Yes, Chipper Jones is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, but no, his body hasn’t shown up on Otsego Lake. This was just me pretending to spend a day with Ryan Parker. Do you want to spend a day with Ryan Parker? Then read Beneath the Surface. It’s a wonderfully written, suspenseful book that will have you turning pages faster than you ever have before!