In the Spotlight: Joslyn Chase
Joslyn Chase is a prize-winning author of mysteries and thrillers. Any day where she can send readers to the edge of their seats, chewing their fingernails to the nub and prickling with suspense, is a good day in her book.You can sign up for Joslyn’s email list to receive exclusive bonuses and stay up-to-date on the latest releases, here: Join Joslyn’s growing group of readers
Nocturne in Ashes
THE SUMMER HE turned thirteen, he took his first life. His first human life.
He’d killed scores of animals. His mother had taught him that.
“We’re living off the fat of the land and sometimes that calls for killing,” He watched her work over their latest kill, her long hair tangled and dangling, her arms bloodied to the elbow in the belly of the deer.
He’d learned to heed that call.
He gathered what he needed, sharpened the blade, laid everything ready to hand, the small pile of sticks and stones, the strip of cotton fabric. A three-quarter moon peered down through the trees, smoothing a layer of silver over the crisped and browning leaves and waving grasses, gilding the rippled lake. The last of the summer warmth came now in brief snatches, like the kiss of a capricious child. Autumn approached, and with it the familiar melancholy, the stirring ache of loss, after so many years, still sharp.
He felt the mantle heavy upon him, mourned the lonely course he was compelled to follow. So few understood his work. No one alive could appreciate his sacrifice. Was it necessary, what he did? Must he continue?
As he had that first time, in his thirteenth year, he asked the questions. As every time since, he has asked the questions. So many times. And every time, her voice comes back to him in a whisper. Yes.
And so he plods on. He has seen the fruit of his works, his gift to the world. And yet the hunger, the need grows stronger. Always, more is required.
The killer let his gaze and his thoughts wander to the clump of bushes to his right. No sound or movement drew his attention, but he strained his eyes through the blackness and wondered if the slight shape he discerned was real or a product of his hyped-up imagination. He remained still, regulating his breathing and the beat of his heart.
The scrape of metal against metal reached his ears, raising him from his seat against the smooth bark of an aspen. He watched through the low branches, his eyes focusing across the small clearing. The sound was repeated, made by the door of an RV scraping across the ill-fitting steps which extended from it. A figure emerged and lurched down the steps, weaving and muttering as he staggered between the tall birch and pines. Into the silence of the night came the splash of an over-burdened bladder being released, and it was under cover of this noise that the killer moved.
The man in the trees zipped up and dug into the pocket of his grungy, low-slung jeans. He came up with a twist of paper, lighting it, puffing on it while he gazed up at the distant moon. Spread over his bare chest and biceps, a parade of inked figures swayed slightly with the gentle movements of hand to mouth. Cricket song resumed. The night’s gentle pulse beat out.
The killer waited, letting the man finish his smoke. He listened as the man sang and repeated an unfamiliar phrase. He sang, revised, and tried again. The man was a songwriter, a guitarist and talented musician. Two nights ago, the killer sat in the twentieth row, enjoying the man and his band in concert. A Tuesday night, in a half-filled auditorium. Rolling Stone had featured an interview with the man in one of last year’s issues, but the great band’s comeback tour was falling short of expectation.
The man flicked the butt onto the urine-dampened earth and blew one last lungful into the velvet air. The killer nodded, gripping the knife, and stepped forward.
The man stopped singing.
RILEY STOOD NAKED on the dressing room floor. She fingered the smooth black silkiness of the gown she would wear to cover herself on stage, knowing the very essence of herself would remain exposed, uncoverable by any length of silk. It was what she always felt before a performance and the knowledge exhilarated and terrified her.
She slipped a robe over lace-trimmed undergarments, knotting the cord at her waist, and walked to the battered upright, sitting down on the bench, touching naked fingers to naked keys. In Beethoven, there was no room to hide. Perhaps with Rachmaninoff and Debussy there can be some small degree of dissembling, but the spare lines of the Classical masters demanded the utmost precision and she had always been known for accuracy. Execution, interpretation, emotion—all are exposed under the stage gels at the piano.
For twenty-three months she had rehearsed and prepared, pouring herself into the work. She was ready. Certainly, she was ready.
There was a knock at the door and Helen entered, a sheaf of printed programs in one hand and a spray of roses in the other.
“They’re lovely, aren’t they?” she said.
“Which? The flowers or the programs?” Riley asked, inspecting the thick, ivory-colored cards that spelled out the evening’s fare. This concrete evidence that she was about to go under the spotlight kicked off a rush of epinephrine, bringing the heady mixture of anticipation and dread. Why do I put myself through this? flashed through her mind, followed by the thought, what else is there? Her very soul was made of music. Sharing it was all she knew.
Helen placed the flowers on a corner table, pushing and pulling at the blooms, arranging them to her satisfaction. She was a tiny woman, plump in a way that rounded her features and made her look like a wise, old child. She came to Riley at the piano, dropping beside her on the bench, and squeezed an arm around her.
“You’re gonna do great, kid. Jim would be so proud.”
Riley nodded. She had no doubts on that score.
Helen patted her leg and switched to business. “Miller Cantwell is in the crowd tonight and I think a rep from Universal. Also Frank Coston and Gabrielle Wilson, so keep your smile pasted on whatever you do. Now get dressed and warm up your fingers. It’s time to knock ‘em dead.”
She waved and left the room, and in that interval before the door shut behind her, Riley heard the bustle of backstage, the faint chatter of the hall filling with people. Her hands were like ice against her skin as she pulled the silk gown over her hips and drew up the zipper on the low-cut back. She took the pins from her long, auburn hair and let it fall loose, filling in the space left bare by the fabric. Running scales at the piano, she numbed out, shook herself, and numbed out again. She tried to remember the initial notes of Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu which opened the program, but came up blank. A jolt of panic speared through her chest and she felt the urge to pull out the sheet music, study, cram, but she knew from experience that the notations would only turn to blurred Chinese characters before her face. Heaven help me, what have I done?
She closed her eyes, exhaling into her hands to warm them, and brought her breathing into a slow, steady rhythm. Her grandfather, Zach Riley, for whom she was named, had been a jazz pianist doing USO shows during WWII. She fastened her thoughts on him playing doggedly through raids and bombings. She thought of the orchestra members on The Titanic who went down with the ship as they played through, lending courage to others. This was the heritage she claimed. She could do this.
She had to do this.
Applause flooded over her as she stood center stage and bowed her acknowledgment to a houseful of half-seen faces. Turning toward the piano, she took the first steps on what was always the longest walk, the distance stretching out and holding all the possibilities of triumph and disaster.
Her back was straight, chin lifted, as she seated herself, arranged her skirts, flexed her fingers, and began.
She struck the first chord, letting it resonate, floating up, drawing the expectant audience, and then the Chopin flowed out, her hands agile and dancing on the keyboard. Her heart pounded, pumping out adrenalin, speeding the tempo, and she pulled back just slightly, a gentle tap on the brake as her fingers raced. The music enveloped her like a flurry of golden butterflies, filling her with a rush of pure excitement. She executed a perfect, rippling chromatic scale, spanning the keyboard and building to a series of crashing chords.
A slight stumble as she crescendoed down the piano, one finger sliding off the slick surface of a polished key. None but the most distinguishing of ears would catch it, but it threw her concentration and she struggled to maintain the rhythm and balance of the piece as she transitioned into the central melody.
Drawing strength from the gentle, lyrical notes, Riley regained her equilibrium, preparing to face the second round of chromatics and thundering chords. She felt a blip of panic as she approached the section, fighting to control the impulse to flee that always hit her when she lost focus. She clenched her jaw, then released it, zeroing her attention on the keyboard choreography.
Her hands flowed up the keys like a wave on the beach and moved back down again, hitting the chords with determination. She navigated the passage without mishap, returning to the tranquility of the melodic line. As the last gentle notes faded, applause surrounded her, and she felt her face grow pink with pleasure and relief. A good opening.
She sat at the bench, breathing in, breathing out, nodding her thanks to the audience. Lifting her hands to the keyboard, ignoring their palsied tremble, she straightened her spine and began the Tchaikovsky Barcarolle. She watched her fingers, almost with wonder, as they produced the tones of heart-rending sadness, feeling the music pulse within her, building through the impassioned midsection before coming back to the opening theme.
The gondola rocked, moonlight rippled, the midway storm raged and she conquered it. Riley was inside the music, constructing the image, living it, swaying and bobbing on the Venetian waters of the picture she played. As the last melancholy notes drifted and diminished, applause burst over Riley and it felt like sunshine.
This was her first concert in over two years and she had designed a short program, without intermission. She floated through the Bach Prelude and Fugue, the Haydn Sonata, and the Scarlatti. Only the Gershwin Preludes now and then the Beethoven.
She tried to push the thought from her mind. It was always at this point, when it seemed she was home free with a near flawless performance, that she tensed up and mistakes loomed like rocks on the shoreline. She focused, instead, on Jim, as she always had. He was her fortress, her rock, her support. He was her family, the father of her child. He was her anchor.
He was gone.
Jim was dead and Tanner, their son, gone with him. But she had practiced through this, prepared for it, playing through the pieces while holding this thought, this harsh fact, in her head. She’d learned to draw strength from it, to make her work a sort of tribute, to hold them with her in the music. But tonight, it wasn’t working.
The fall was coming. She felt its approach as the tension in her neck and arms increased. Her mind fumbled, small tremors at first and then increasing in intensity like the buildup to an earthquake. The flight impulse threatened again, and she wrestled it, fighting to keep herself at the piano even while her mind was already fleeing out the door, down the staircase, into the night.
She was furious with herself, felt hot tears on her face and ignored them. She skittered along to the end of the last Gershwin piece, hardly hearing or acknowledging the applause as it rose and petered out.
It was time to finish the program.
Her stomach roiled and the silence stretched and grew, punctuated with short coughs and the rustling of paper. Riley took a deep breath and positioned her shaking hands for the opening chords. They hung there, frozen above the keys for an agonizing eternity.
The blood rushed in her ears and a moan tore from her throat as she jumped up, tipping the piano bench. The swirl of her skirt caught in the adjuster knob and she heard it tear as she ripped free and fled the burning spotlight. The bench fell with an echoing thud, punctuated by the staccato clattering of her heels as she ran from the stage, leaving the shreds of her comeback performance drifting like the tatters of her silk dress.
“I’M NOT A groupie, I’m his wife.”
Detective Nate Quentin eyed the woman who claimed she was married to Coby Waters, bygone rock star and notorious bachelor. He pressed his palm against the air as if activating a giant pause button.
“Phoebe?” He tossed his voice to the fingerprint tech but his gaze never left the witness. “What do you know, Feebs?”
“Married, huh?” The small black woman looked up from where she crouched, rolled her eyes, and considered. “No. I didn’t hear anything about a wedding.”
Nate folded his hands on the table in front of him, waiting for a response. The woman seated across the scarred board that doubled as eating surface and spare bed in the spacious RV sent a searing look in Phoebe’s direction. The bones in her shoulders rose like hackles under the spaghetti-string tank top and a flush spread from her breast up and over her cheekbones. She seemed to be gearing up for an explosion but then the huff went out of her. She shrugged.
“Three and a half weeks ago, in Vegas. We kept it quiet.” She paused, the pink-tinted cheeks turning sepia. “We didn’t even make it to one month.”
Nate leaned back against the bench seat, glancing at his partner, Rick Jimenez, who hovered over the kitchen sink with a notepad, taking down the details.
“I’m sorry,” Nate said, holding her gaze. “I am. Will you tell us what happened?”
“I already told. Twice. It’s not a moment I want to live over again.”
Nate leaned forward. “Mrs. Waters, those other times you told it, that’s for the record, well and good. But we,” he gestured at Rick and back to himself, “we are the ones who are going to find the guy who did this. You need to be real clear on that and tell us everything.”
“Okay, yeah. I get it.” She fumbled through a shoulder-bag on the bench beside her, pulled out a pack of menthols and lit up. Nate watched her eyes turn inward as she accessed the part of her brain that housed the terrible memory. She took a long drag.
“We got drunk, you know. We were sleeping it off.” Puff and pause. “I woke up feeling like—” She shuddered and blew out a cloud, waving it away. “I brushed my teeth, got in the shower. Pretty soon, Coby comes hammerin’ on the door.”
“What time was this?” Rick interrupted.
She stared at him. “How do I know? It was the middle of the night. I got no reason to look at a clock that time of day. I had the door locked, you know, and I tell him to find a bush.” She hugged herself, blowing out another mouthful of smoke. “I sent him to his death.”
Nate shook his head. “Don’t shoulder that weight, Mrs. Waters. It’s not your fault.”
She gave him a bleak look and crushed out the cigarette, wrapping her arms tighter. “I put my wet hair up in a towel and went back to bed. Never saw Coby again until—” Her hands clenched down on her own flesh, talon-like. “I woke up in broad daylight and came out here to the kitchen to put on the coffee. I looked at the clock,” she threw Rick a glare, “and it was eleven forty-seven a.m.”
Rick’s gaze was impassive. “When did you go looking for your husband?”
“After two cups of coffee and three slices of toast. With jam. Let’s make it a quarter past noon. I began to wonder what he was up to, so I went looking. Started off in the wrong direction, walked down caravan way.” She flung her arm eastward to indicate the sprawl of buses, trucks, and vans that hosted the remainder of the band’s entourage.
“I asked around. No one’d seen Coby. I got to talking with some of the girls, never dreaming anything was wrong, and then that chihuahua started sounding off. We thought he might have got himself hurt. You know, stuck in a trap, sprayed by a raccoon, something like that. But he’d found Coby and raised the alarm.”
She fell silent. Her eyes raked the tabletop as if searching for something to cover the awful scene inside her mind.
“He was cut bad, right across the neck, and it seemed every last drop of blood in him must have found its way out. The ground was soaked with it. Damn dog was standing in it, yapping his head off. Danny led me away, then, and I didn’t see no more.”
Nate let a respectful silence pass and then asked, “Why is your trailer separated from the others?”
Her washed-out blue eyes met his with reproach. “It’s not a trailer. It’s a motorhome. Coby’d kick your butt.” She caught her breath and swallowed hard. “He liked to be apart from the crowd. It’s a status thing, you know. Heaven knows he got precious little respect any more from the band, but he took what he could get.”
“Downed Illusion used to be a pretty big deal and I understand this tour was meant as a comeback. Can you think of any reason someone might have for harming your husband? Were there any disputes among band members, for instance?”
She stared. “You think someone here could have done this?” Her mouth fell open a little as she considered, then snapped shut with her emphatic head shake. “No way. Their arguments were small-time stuff. A punch in the face, maybe. Never this.”
Nate’s cell phone buzzed with his ex-wife’s ringtone. “Thank you, Mrs. Waters. That’s all for now.” He walked down the rickety metal steps and pressed TALK.
“What’s up, Marilyn? I’m at a crime scene so make it quick.”
“Quick as I can, but it does involve our daughter’s welfare. Forgive me if I take up too much of your time.”
“Come on, that’s not what I meant.”
“Yeah, I know. Sorry. I’ve got a lot on my plate, too. Can you take Sammi next weekend? I want to head out of town for a few days. I need a break.”
“Oh? Who’s going with you? You don’t like traveling alone.”
There was a pause. “Brad is taking me to Vancouver.”
“Geez, Marilyn. That guy? He gives me a bad vibe and I don’t want him around Sammi.”
“Sammi will be with you, I’m hoping.”
“For the weekend, sure, but what then?”
“You’re being ridiculous. Brad is a nice guy. The first guy I’ve really liked since I liked you. And does this mean you’ll take Sammi?”
Nate sighed. “I would love to have Sammi spend next weekend with me.”
“Wonderful! I’ll let you go. Bye.”
Rick joined him and they sat at a picnic table in the twilight. Lunch and dinner time had come and gone, hours ago and unheeded, and they fell like wolves upon the coffee and sandwiches being passed around.
“Are you thinking it’s the same guy they’re after in Seattle? We got a serial case?”
Nate chased down a bite with a swig of coffee, wiped his mouth with a paper napkin, and nodded. “That’s what I’m thinking. We need to get up to speed on those files. Looks like we’ve joined the team. Congratulations. First case out and you drew the short straw.”
“Hey, I’m happy with it. Go big or go home, right?”
“Sure, but if you foul this up, you’ll never be able to wash the stink out of your career. It doesn’t even have to be you that falls short. We don’t put this guy down, and fast, we’re all gonna catch hell, but first case makes or breaks.”
“Okay, pressure’s on. Let me tell you what I got from the Specials. Hansen found a place in the trees where the guy must have waited. Except, get this, there are two spots. So, did he switch from one to the other, or were there two guys? Hansen’s still working it out.”
“We’ll check the other cases, but I don’t remember hearing anything about a second suspect.”
“Also, there was a scattering of sticks and stones which might have been arranged like the cairn-type structures found at the other sites. It may have been knocked apart in the struggle, disturbed by animals, who knows? The makings were there, but unorganized.”
Nate drummed his fingers on the table to accompany his thought process. “Okay,” he said. “Continue.”
Rick checked his notes. “Stevens went into the lake, turned up a plastic raincoat weighted with rocks. Shows traces of blood, no fingerprints. Guy wore gloves and probably galoshes. Heck, he’d have to be completely encased to escape that bloodbath. If he likes the water, there’s plenty of holes around here where he could’ve dumped the gear and weapon, but nothing else has turned up.”
Nate watched a couple of grid-searchers sign their findings into the evidence log. Karen Boggs glanced up, caught his eye, and walked over. She carried something carefully in her gloved hands. Nate hoped it was something good.
“Hi, boss,” she said. “This was outside the perimeter, about a mile from camp, but I snagged it anyway. Figured it wouldn’t hurt. Wanna take a look?”
Nate cleared a spot on the table and she opened the large paper bag and used it like a tablecloth, placing the item in question gently on top. It was a dark blue zip-front jacket, sized for a man. One hundred percent polyester, with a tiny red figure playing polo stitched to the left breast. Nate lifted the cuff of the right sleeve, angled it so Rick could see the smears of blood. In the pocket, he found a wrinkled score card with Mountain Vista Golf Course printed at the top and an eighteen-hole score of 93 penciled in at the bottom.
“Not bad.” Nate liked to golf but hadn’t had time for a round in over three years.
“If you say so.” Rick was not a golfer.
“Relevant to our crime?”
“Hmm. Found a mile away, in a direction traveled only by foot. The blood on the sleeve seems too small an amount and in the wrong place if our guy was wearing gloves and a raincoat.” Rick tilted his head back and forth. “Ehhh…I’m leaning toward no.”
Nate ran a gloved finger down the length of the jacket. “On the other hand, it looks recently dumped and blood is blood. My experience, and my gut, tell me it’s important.”
“Yeah? Okay,” Rick said doubtfully. “Where’s Mountain Vista?”
“Hell if I know, but be ready to head out there tomorrow morning.”
TOPPER WORKED IN the dark. Ordinarily, he wouldn’t go near the crater of an active volcano at night. Such an expedition, even in full daylight with a helicopter waiting, is fraught with risk. But there was nothing ordinary about these unfolding events and Topper’s amazement outweighed his fears. He was riding the edge of this thing. Like David had.
Early in the summer, Mt. Rainier had woken like a fussy baby after a long nap, gassy and petulant. She’d spit up and burped, raged and bawled, and then fallen back into an uneasy sleep. For two months she’d snored away, uttering only an occasional harmless grumble, and Seattle let out its tense-held breath and went about its business.
Topper’s business was volcanoes and his harvest of data suggested that Seattle’s nonchalance was unwarranted. Geoscientists primarily monitor three predictive factors for volcanic eruption—thrust faults, earthquakes, and tiltmeter readings. When the three factors register critical levels, a warning is issued to the public and safety measures activated.
Last February, Mount Mayon in the Philippines had drawn the gaze of the world. Her thrust fault measurements and tiltmeter readings took drastic turns, but seismic activity remained low and stable. Two out of three tipped the scales, officials issued alerts, and media hyped the story. Cities and communities were evacuated. Citizens put their lives and livelihoods on hold, perched in temporary housing, and watched the mountain puff serene on the placid landscape. Ten days and millions of pesos later, they returned to their homes and commenced recovery efforts from the damage not caused by the volcano.
Such occurrences are the land mines of leadership, and the political and economic fallout is harsh. Scientists may be willing to lay it on the line, but the political figures who hold the reins are more skittish, put in a position where they must weigh the potential for lost lives against the potential for lost dollars. And where the bottom line is lost votes.
At Rainier’s first sign of unrest, scientists had deployed an army of “spiders” and other devices able to monitor the mountain’s activities remotely and their readings were followed with great concern. But as the weeks passed, public interest waned and only the scientists remained keenly aware of the volcano’s activity while Rainier wrapped herself in a blanket of cloud and went back to sleep.
Topper clambered nearer the crater, his snowshoes making a rhythmic shushing sound. The light from his headlamp opened a little vista in the dark, pushing back the shadows which pressed in from all directions. Mt. Rainier appeared to be pulling a Mayon move, but he believed the end of this story would be far more dramatic than the instance in the Philippines.
The west flank of Rainier was primed to blow. For centuries, sulphuric acid had been mixing with rain and snow, seeping through the rock, altering it into a clay-like substance, unstable and susceptible to landslides. The Osceola mudslide, 5600 years ago, had blown away the east side of the mountain, displacing the altered rock and making the west side the weak spot in the next major eruption.
He collected samples of ash and snow, pressing the tube from a solution-filled gas sampling bottle into the vent, taking care to avoid a steam burn. He should have waited until daylight, but he was determined to make his case. His gut told him that Mt. Rainier was poised to erupt and time was short.
He imagined he felt the hair at the back of his neck singe and crackle. He started down the mountain, headed for the panel of tiltmeters and beyond that, the four-mile hike to the snowcat. At the tiltmeters, he paused to log in the readings. The figures were astonishing and he made a note to check the calibration. He stowed the samples and the logbook in his backpack and climbed into the tracked vehicle, maneuvering it forward over the rough terrain, navigable in the dark only because he knew these trails so well.
He worked his way down the mountain until he reached the ranger station, where he parked the snowcat and transferred himself and his collections to his Jeep Wrangler. He started down the road into the lower range of the mountain. As he came into cell phone tower range, his mobile blipped. He pulled it out of his pocket and squinted one eye at the screen, keeping the other eye on the road which became smoother as he neared civilization. Four text messages and three missed calls.
He stopped the Jeep and scrolled through the texts. All were from Candace.
Call me, it’s important.
Urgent you call now.
Call now or die.
His heartbeat surged as his phone blipped again.
If you value your paycheck, pick up the phone.
Candace was his USGS supervisor at the Seismology lab at The University of Washington, Seattle campus. She was calling from the lab and with this degree of urgency, he bet they’d hit the Trifecta. Thrust faults, check. Tiltmeters, check. If Rainier’s seismic activity was on the rise, that could bring attention in all the right places.
Before he could punch the speed dial, Candace’s jazzy ringtone blared in the Jeep’s interior. He pressed answer and heard the excitement in her voice.
“Get down here now. You gotta see this.”
Nocturne In Ashes Media Kit
Slammed by disaster, playing for her life!
With the death of her husband and son, concert pianist Riley Forte’s life and career shattered. Her comeback performance bombs, her sponsor pulls out, and she faces the tattered ruins of a once-happy life.
When Mt. Rainier erupts, isolating her in a small community stalked by a serial killer, it seems like the end of everything, but it brings a new chance for Riley.
If she can evade the clutches of a determined killer.
In a riveting action story filled with breathtaking suspense, Riley fights to hang on to the one thing she has left—her life, and the one thing she needs to turn it around—redemption.
“Just when I thought I had the killer in a cage, a bombshell reveal, chapters later, knocked me out of the park. This book is a force to be reckoned with and a must for the avid reader.” ~ Terry A. Benedict-Devine (reader, Amazon.com)
Fans of Jeffery Deaver, Lisa Gardner, and Peter Robinson will be captivated by this page-turner.
If you like a gripping, suspenseful tale, grab your copy of Nocturne in Ashes and prepare to burn the midnight oil!
Mt. Rainier erupts, isolating crushed down-and-outer, Riley Forte, with a serial killer. Riley must fight to hang on to the one thing she has left—her life, and the one thing she needs to turn it around—redemption.
Fans of Jeffery Deaver, Lisa Gardner, and Peter Robinson will be captivated by this page-turner.
If you like a gripping, suspenseful tale, grab your copy and prepare to burn the midnight oil.
“I couldn’t put this book down, reading late into the night and every chance I could sneak away from other things that people call important.”
~ Monica Dannenberger (reader, Amazon.com)
“A fast-paced, action thriller with a ton of suspense, distinct and memorable characters, and a unique setting.”
~ ReadnGrow (Amazon.com)
“Joslyn Chase skillfully connects subplots, then injects a few surprises, then connects things again in an interesting cycle; weave, disassemble, weave, repeat.”
~ Ron Keeler, Read 4 Fun
“Joslyn Chase paints intriguing pictures with vivid, colorful descriptions and effortlessly weaves several subplots into one very entertaining story. You feel like you have a front row seat from which to watch as everything unfolds.”
~ Gabi Rosetti (reader, Amazon.com)
“There was a twist in the plotline that I didn’t see coming. It blindsided me.”
~ Read With Me (Amazon.com)
I live a half mile from The Puget Sound, so researching this book was sometimes utterly terrifying. Scientists agree that it’s not a matter of if Mt. Rainier will blow, but when. And truly, her western flank is primed to go.
Add to that, Seattle’s propensity for hatching serial killers and this story just flowed out of me, like lava from a live volcano. Nocturne In Ashes is filled with peril and excitement, and with characters whose challenges, needs, and desires will resonate with readers.
I also packed in a lot of music, and I think readers will find plenty to interest them throughout this fast-paced story. Toni Morrison said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” That’s what I’ve done with Nocturne.
One more thing…when you read Nocturne In Ashes, you’ll see that it took the sheriff’s deputies three days to reach the murder scene. When you read the paraquel, Steadman’s Blind, you’ll know why. It’s a wild ride you won’t want to miss!
Nocturne In Ashes is available just about everywhere books are sold. Here’s the universal link for several major bookstores:
Here’s a link to the book trailer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPm4GW93wI8
Here’s a link to download or listen to an audio sample of the Prologue and first five chapters of Nocturne In Ashes: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/n2iiyuvqhp
Q – So, what makes the Riley Forte books so special?
A – Without a doubt, it’s Riley Forte. She’s a special sort of protagonist—wounded and flawed, yet gifted with a full mixture of talent, intelligence, unique abilities, and the human desire to connect, to make a difference, to matter to someone.
My hope for the series is to give Riley opportunities to make a difference as she passes through puzzles and challenges. I also want to create a lot of suspense and thrills for my readers. In short, I want to provide a series of satisfying reading experiences full of mystery, suspense, and action with a hint of romance.
Overall, the Riley Forte series is designed to keep you turning the pages – and I’m working to make sure there’s never a dull moment.
Q – Why should readers give these books a try?
A – Because, not only are the books fun to read and full of thrills, but they will open a whole new dimension that most readers don’t even know exists. Riley is all about music and, at heart, she is a teacher, and nothing thrills her more than opening up the fascinating vista of music that stretches far beyond what most people ever see, hear, or know about.
Readers who enjoy suspense, mystery, and music, and revel in plot twists and puzzles are sure to love the Riley Forte books.
Q – Is there any special significance to the title, Nocturne In Ashes?
A – Absolutely! A Nocturne is a “night song,” a type of musical composition pioneered by Frederic Chopin’s teacher and mentor, John Field, and popularized by the better-known Chopin. There’s more than one symbolic reason for using a night song in my title, and since the series protagonist, Riley Forte, is a concert pianist, I’d like to use a type of composition in each title to create a bond between them.
As for ashes—again, there are a number of symbolic meanings, as well as the visible and tangible ash put out into the sky by Mt. Rainier’s eruption.
Q – How can readers learn more about Joslyn Chase?
A – Let me count the ways…
Go to my website joslynchase.com
Visit my Author Page at Goodreads or Amazon
Check out the interview I did with Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/interview/JoslynChase
Or connect with me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/StoryChase/
Joslyn Chase is a prize-winning author of mysteries and thrillers. Any day where she can send readers to the edge of their seats, chewing their fingernails to the nub and prickling with suspense, is a good day in her book.
Joslyn’s love for travel has led her to ride camels through the Nubian desert, fend off monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar, and hike the Bavarian Alps. But she still believes that sometimes the best adventures come in getting the words on the page and in the thrill of reading a great story.
Joslyn is a classical pianist, music teacher, and storyteller who loves American History and holds a degree in American Studies. She is a regular contributor on The Write Practice blog, and also writes a blog of her own on the power of story, which you can find at joslynchase.com, along with updates and new releases.
She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter, but has previously resided in Spain and Germany as well as several locations in the United States.
You can sign up for Joslyn’s email list to receive exclusive bonuses and stay up-to-date on the latest releases, here: Join Joslyn’s growing group of readers
Connect with Joslyn on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StoryChase/
and visit the Joslyn Chase YouTube channel to see trailers for many of her books.
Previous Authors in the Spotlight:
March 2020 – The Light and the Darkness – Lyn Blair https://lkblair.com
February 2020 – The Seafood Capital of the World – exerpt – Jonathan Byrd https;// byrdmouse.com
January 2020 – Lost Hope – exerpt – Edmund Stone https://edmundstoneauthor.com,
December 2019 – Wylde – Chapter 1 – S.E. Laughter S.E. http://selaughter.com/
November 2019 — My Best Mistake – Chapter 5 — Carole Wolfe https://www.carolewolfe.com/
October 2019 — The Babysitter — Justin Boote firstname.lastname@example.org
September 2019 — What the World Needs Now — David Rae Davidrae-stories.com
August 2019 — Flickerings –Evie Haskell . http://www.echaskell.com
July 2019 –The Love Birds Saga I–Margherita Crystal Lotus: https://thecrystallotus.com
June 2019–Where There’s a Will-Chapter 1–Pat Leo email@example.com
April 2019 — Love is Messy (Finding You Again – Book 1)–Callie Sutcliffe https://calliesutcliffe.com
March 2019 — The Dieppe Raid — Des Dixon firstname.lastname@example.org
February 2019 — I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead–Jodi Elderton http://jodielderton.com
January 2019 — The Raven Watched–Karin Weiss https://kweisssite.wordpress.com%20%20
December 2018 — Blessed Mother, Blue Sky–Terry Chase http://www.drterrychase.com
November, 2018 — Heidi–Izzy Richards https://izzyrichardsblog.wordpress.com
October, 2018 — Darkness in the Amazon–Stephanie Colbert https://www.stephaniecolbert.co/