KILLING TIME by Suzanne Trauth
The Sixth Dodie O'Dell Mystery
Vampires have descended upon Etonville! OK, one vampire. OK, it's a newcomer playing Dracula in the Etonville Little Theater's latest production. But this suave yet spooky actor has the town atwitter, apprehensive about vampires even if they are getting a bit tired of the Windjammer's garlic infused specials. As if a vampire wasn't enough, the Grim Reaper shows up. Seeing the Grim Reaper at the town's Halloween party is one thing, but when some teens find him dead in the cemetery, it's another. To ease Lola's mind and protect the production, Dodie agrees to do a little snooping into the leading player's background. But will digging into Dracula's past prevent Dodie from having a future?
KILLING TIME is about identity: keeping it, changing it, and losing it. Are you willing to give up the intrinsic parts of who you are? What part must you keep, no matter the cost? There is no doubt that Dodie loves Bill and is happy to be engaged. But, is she delaying the wedding plans out of a fear of losing herself? Her life will obviously change, but how much of a change is she willing to make? And Dodie isn't the only character facing these concerns.
I love the Dodie O'Dell Mystery series and this sixth entry is a great addition. The wacky citizens of Etonville never fail to make me laugh and the trials and tribulations of the Etonville Little Theater bring back happy memories of my time in the theatre.
KILLING TIME looks at identity while providing a complex mystery. Deep characterizations combined with fun and laughs make this a book you won't want to miss.
Killing Time (A Dodie O'Dell Mystery) by Suzanne Trauth
About Killing Time
Cozy Mystery 6th in Series
Publisher: Lyrical Press (June 2, 2020)
Number of Pages: 215 Digital
With Halloween just around the corner, Dodie O’Dell is making preparations to transform the Windjammer Restaurant on the Jersey Shore into a haunted house, while the Etonville Little Theater is staging Dracula. But casting the titular Transylvanian is proving challenging. The amateur actors in the company are not shy about chewing the scenery, but who among them can convincingly sink their fangs into a victim's neck? When a mysterious newcomer with a transfixing Eastern European accent lands the part, rumors that he might be an actual vampire start to take flight—not unlike the bat who's recently been spotted in the town park.
But everyone’s blood really runs cold when a stranger is found in the cemetery with a real stake in his heart. Dodie decides to put her Halloween theme menu on the back burner and stick her neck out to bring the killer into the light of day. She'd better keep her wits about her, though—or Dodie may be the next one to go down for the Count . . .
“It sure looks haunted,” Edna murmured to no one in particular, to the cast of Dracula in general. They were grouped around her on the sidewalk that ran past the old Hanratty place that Carlos and Bella had rented. I’d never been inside though once I’d driven by it when I first moved to Etonville on my way out of town. The house stood on half an acre of scruffy lawn with patches of dried dirt, surrounded by a few straggly trees—minus leaves at this time of the year—and no neighbors. The nearest houses were on a side street some distance away. The three-story building looked as if it might collapse at any moment, its outer walls covered with weathered, gray shakes, the steps to the front door supported by concrete building blocks. There was no handrail. Light leaked out of windows on the first floor. Curtains covering small, circular panes on the third story—an attic room?—quivered. Was someone up there watching us? I shivered. A turret rose upward from the right side of the structure, giving the house a smidge of outdated dignity. A drain pipe dangled loosely from the gutter.
“Let’s go.” Penny corralled actors and nudged everyone forward to the front door. There were six company members, Renfield saying he’d be along later, plus Penny, Lola, Pauli, and me. Strength in numbers.
We crept across the porch cautiously, aware of the creaking beneath us as the flooring shifted with each individual’s footsteps. Penny put out a hand to knock on the door. Before she could hit knuckles to wood, it flew open. “Welcome everyone!” Bella stood in the doorway, a silhouette backlit by muted foyer lighting.
Behind her Carlos stood silently, observing the group huddled in his entryway, like deer caught in headlights.
Lola took the lead, moving graciously into the house. “Thank you. So nice of you to invite us to your home.”
I’m not sure what the members of the Etonville Little Theatre were expecting. Given the exterior and location of the Hanratty homestead, I anticipated something out of a late-night classic horror film.
About Suzanne Trauth
Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former theatre professor at a university. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Dramatists Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey.
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