The Stable Vices Affair
The Chandler Affairs Book 1
By G.W. Renshaw
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Veronica Chandler has worked hard to become a private investigator. At the age of eight she got a baton for Christmas—just like Mummy’s. At 12, she started working at her father’s restaurant so she’d have the money for the investigator’s course. At 16, she became an intern with the Calgary Police Service. And now, at 18, she's the youngest licensed PI in Alberta.
As her ex-boyfriend can attest, she has the skills. As a psychotic killer discovers, she has the will. Now she’s ready to take on the world: To find the lost and expose the faithless.
None of which prepare her for a house that can’t decide whether it’s empty, one or two perverse dwarfs with a bizarre hold over their victims, a kinky pony show, and a secret global organization. Every clue leads to more questions. Four lives depend on Veronica finding the answers.
And then there’s that pesky losing-your-soul thing.
There was sharp pain in my foot as the bat struck it, but my boot absorbed most of it. I wiggled harder. My coat got caught on something, and I strained to get away. Just as he grabbed both of my legs, and hauled me out into the street again, my hand grabbed something hard and cold.
There was no thought of consequences as I came out into the sunlight. Danielle’s gun was heavy in my frozen hands as I raised it to the looming shadow overhead.
At that range it would have been almost impossible to miss. As he screamed again I squeezed the trigger. A hole appeared in his chest. He looked surprised.
I managed to squeeze off another round as he began to crumple straight down. It reminded me of video of a building being demolished with explosives.
Two rounds. Centre of mass. Just like in the simulator. I would have shot him more times if I could have gotten my fingers to work faster. I wasn’t consciously trying for a double tap.
The sound of the shots was deafening. Afterwards, all I could hear was a high-pitched whine in my head. My ears were not impressed by all they’d been through in the past few minutes.
I couldn’t breathe. Maybe it was the cold.
Pain. Cold. Wetness. Silence. Blood.
For a blessedly long time I lay there staring at Danielle. Waiting for the monster to rise again from behind her.
Slowly, I started noticing other things. People on the sidewalks were running away, or standing with their mouths open. They were probably screaming, but I couldn’t hear anything but that whine.
The Prince and the Puppet Affair
The Chandler Affairs Book 2
Alyssa Blakeway is so submissive it’s a miracle she left her house, let alone asked Veronica to find out if her abusive husband is also cheating on her.
When Veronica finds out who Collin Blakeway is actually going to see, things go from bad to worse to deadly. They also challenge Veronica’s most deeply held beliefs as she discovers that demons and magic are real.
It’s no longer a matter of saving a marriage. Now she has to save the lives of Alyssa, her sister Kali, an unknown woman, and herself. All while avoiding being killed by her sister for acting stupidly.
If an arborist, a coven of Witches, the Vatican, the Freemasons, a Native Elder, and an old bicycle can’t save them, who can?
At that moment, something stabbed me between my shoulder blades.
Stab might be too strong a word, but if the mosquito was big enough that its proboscis had gone through my track suit and jabbed my back, it might be exactly the right word. It felt like I needed to reach the spot between my shoulder blades and pull it out before I passed out from blood loss. Damn, that hurt. How big was that sucker?
During that half second of distraction I tripped over a freaking lawn chair. It was one of those cheap ones with nylon webbing and thin aluminum tubing that makes a big racket when it falls over with almost 60 kilograms of startled private investigator tangled in it. That would have been bad enough, but the deck also had a built-in, recessed hot tub. I fell onto the cover.
Evidently, Collin didn't approve of rigid pool covers. They probably cost too much for his taste. Instead, he'd bought one of those cheap, floating bubble-wrap things with no structural integrity. Water leaped for joy, and made a big splash as it went everywhere. My top half was soaked, my feet were still tangled in the chair, and my head was underwater.
At least the water was warm.
I floundered for entirely too long, trying to do a reverse sit-up while my hands scrabbled to find the edge of the tub. I managed to grab it, and push myself out. By now, there was not much point in trying to be stealthy, so I kicked the chair free of my legs. Inside the house, a male voice was bellowing. This was not going as well as I'd hoped.
I sprinted up the path to the fence, cooling water trickling from my soaked top down the inside of my trousers. I pushed my way through the tree branches, and jumped for the top of the fence.
Despite the adrenaline fuelling my jump, I wasn't even close. I slid down the fence boards, and another branch caught me in the same spot on my back.
On my second jump I didn't even get that high. My clothing got caught on a branch, and I was knocked off balance. I fell backward, and rolled down the slope toward the garden.
It was a good thing that the glass cold frame broke my fall.
The Kalevala Affair
The Chandler Affairs Book 3
Being shot at and landing in protective custody certainly cramps a PI’s style, so when a group of collectors want Veronica to track down an historical artifact in England, she jumps at the chance. They’ll even handle recovery, so all she has to do is find the item. It’s a piece of cake.
There are a few details that were left out. Everybody is after this thing. Veronica has to dodge bullets meant for another PI, get chased all over Europe by Finnish terrorists, tries not to violate every national park in the world, and has to put up with an English investigator who insists on accompanying her.
Of course, the artifact turns out to be more dangerous than she was led to believe. Veronica has to trust somebody who tried to remove her head, decide the fate of the world, and survive an angry volcano. At least she’s getting paid for it. If she can collect.
On the way back to our hotel we were walking beside a park when Lana shoved me forward. As I stumbled I saw a big man rushing toward us from the direction of the trees. He was holding an impressive-looking knife in a way that told me he wasn’t an amateur with it. He was wearing a ski mask.
Seriously? A ski mask? How cliché.
Lana had backed away and was starting her capoeira dance. Since I was on the ground he ignored me for the moment it took him to try to figure out how to attack Lana. That gave me a chance to spin around and drive my foot into the side of his knee. He shifted his attention back to me just in time, slashing the knife downward toward my leg. I felt it catch on my jeans, then my foot connected.
His knee buckled with a nasty sound and he grunted. The knife stayed in his hand as he fell. His noise-making didn’t last long as Lana launched herself into the air almost simultaneously and nailed him on his temple with her heel. Her dress billowed out gracefully, and it would have looked spectacular in slow-motion. I don’t think he appreciated the sight before he became extremely unconscious.
Lana looked completely unruffled as she held out her hand to help me up. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah.” That’s when I noticed some blood on my leg. His knife had been sharp enough that the cut wasn’t hurting yet. Through the slice in the fabric it didn’t seem too bad.
She checked his neck for a pulse. “He’s still alive.”
I kicked his knife further from his hand. “That’s a relief. I don’t envy him how he’ll feel when he wakes up.”
Lana peeled back his mask. “How interesting.”
It was our book worm from the Helsinki airport.
“What do we do now?” Lana said.
“I’m not sure. What’s the emergency number in Finland?”
“Try 1-1-2. That’s the European Union emergency number.”
I’d just gotten my phone out when a police car coasted to a stop beside us. A young constable got out with a wary eye on us.
“I’m sorry, we don’t understand,” Lana said.
He switched to English. “What happened?”
“This man attacked us with a knife. We defended ourselves.”
The True Love Affair
The Chandler Affairs Book 4
Veronica has just gotten home after solving a minor case in Mexico involving kidnapping, betrayal, bank fraud, and a Colombian drug cartel when an old acquaintance show up to hire her. Somebody has been committing impossible murders all over the world, and Veronica is the only person qualified to stop the killer before the body count soars.
The problems start with her client. Can she trust a demon prince not to send her back to therapy or worse for another year? What, if any, is his hidden agenda? Is anything at all as it seems?
Veronica thought she had a handle on magic and demons, but as soon as she starts investigating it’s obvious that all the rules have changed. She’s playing in the big leagues now, and she’s going to have to move heaven and hell to keep humanity alive. Starting with herself.
Now, if she can only survive dinner with her family, a blind date, a small immigration problem, and working with the federal cabinet, it’s possible that all will be well.
Or at least as well as it can be when you have to deal with insane immortals and a talking cat.
There was almost no light in my room, but by the red glow of the numbers on my alarm clock I could see vague shadows in front of me at the foot of the bed. They looked suspiciously like a pair of feet that were blocking my way to the door. My eyes followed the shadows up the dark mass to a quiet blue flame hovering in midair. It moved, becoming brighter for a moment. There was a sound of someone exhaling, and the pungent burning smell became more intense and caught in my throat. The smell wasn’t tobacco.
It was brimstone.
I scurried backward, crab-walking with my butt almost on the floor, until my head hit the night table. The lamp on top teetered and fell to the carpet. I felt the lamp shade brush by my hair as it narrowly missed my head. The crunch of a breaking light bulb was close and immediate.
Adrenaline poured through my system again. I chose to interpret it as anger rather than fear. A male voice with a distinctive lisp familiar to a previous generation of movie-goers spoke in the darkness.
“Nice reflexes, doll, but you should put something on. You look cold.”
I knew that voice. It was far too late for modesty, so I stood up, pushed past the figure, and put on the robe that was hanging on the door. I tied the belt by touch, viciously yanking the ends as I did so. I would have a hell of a time getting it undone later, but that was the least of my worries.
I found the wall switch without much trouble and flicked it upward with a satisfying snap. The result was painfully bright, and I couldn’t help blinking several times. It didn’t make any difference to what I saw, which was exactly what I was hoping I wouldn't.
Humphrey Bogart, circa 1941, stood in my bedroom, dressed in a well-tailored, three-piece, pin-stripe suit. He’d tossed his fedora over the post at the bottom of my bed.
I really liked normal cases. None of them involved Sam Spade showing up in my bedroom at oh dark seventeen. Especially considering what the bastard had done to me the last time we’d met.
He waved the sulphurous cigarette at me in greeting, and took another puff. How do you even smoke sulphur? The stench tickled my throat, and I made a great effort not to cough. I'd be damned before I'd let him make me cough.
“Put that out. You’ll stink up the whole apartment.”
“Whatever you say, toots.” The cigarette vanished as if it had never existed. The smell did not go with it.
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved and want to read again. The best of the best and not given lightly
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story that I enjoyed and connected with and will gladly recommend to readers
3 Spoons - A good story, not much that stood out but I was engaged enough to spend the time to read it through
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me