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Posts Tagged ‘Boston’

Good Sunday morning! I hope the Easter Bunny is gracing your life with chocolates, ham, and good fellowship today. *Not listed in order of importance, obviously.*

I was driving along Route 135 in Massachusetts this past Friday, which is part of the Boston Marathon route, and it was one day out of a million that I didn’t mind being backed up in traffic. There were American flags on the telephone poles; there were tents set up in front of several of the lovely colonial homes; there were little signs every few hundred feet that read ‘Marathon Route’ making me realize I was driving on a road a bit more special than others; one of the buildings in quaint, downtown Hopkington had a massive bright banner on it that proclaimed ‘Welcome Runners’ and I couldn’t help but get swallowed up by the electric feeling that permeated the air. A lump formed in my throat as memories from a year ago–still so vivid and fresh–flashed through my mind, but my best recollection was the feeling of pride I had about how the city of Boston responded to those tragic events. I can’t wait to see how the city, the state, the world, responds this year, and I can promise you this–it’s going to be BIG and it’s going to be spectacular. To paraphrase Big Papi, “This is our bleeping city!” And tomorrow the world is going to see Boston bounce back better than ever.

BOSTON STRONG

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Happy Sunday morning! I hope everyone liked the extra hour of sleep last night. I sure needed it after enjoying yesterday morning at the Red Sox parade in downtown Boston. Listening to a million+ people sing God Bless America when the rolling rally stopped at the finish line of the Boston Marathon was something to behold.

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to finish reading a book, so I’m going to attach Chapter One of my upcoming book (the Prologue was posted last month). I promise I won’t make you all read the whole thing a week at a time, but for now, I hope you enjoy the start to The Stairwell

CHAPTER 1

Sunday, November 3rd

I wouldn’t necessarily say autumn sucks; I actually wouldn’t say that at all. It’s simply knowing what comes next that sometimes makes your hair hurt if you think about it too hard. Opting to not think about it too hard, I made a conscious effort to focus on the fabulous whipped caramel concoction sitting on the table in front of me. I’d taken the lid off the lovely creation, in order to inhale the wonderful smell and watch the steam come off the magic liquid I love.

I have a thing for coffee, specifically the deliciousness just mentioned. My morning routine involves visiting a wonderful coffee house on Boylston Street in my home city of Boston, and I’m better acquainted with some of the shop employees than some people are with their own family members. I’m way beyond the stage of having to place an order. When they see me come in, they immediately start in on my beverage; it’s that easy.

“Are you thinking about winter, Meg?”

Doobie, my neighbor and best friend, had accompanied me on my coffee run, and I looked at him with surprise.

“Doob, I swear you’re a mind reader more often than I’d like you to be. That’s exactly what I was trying to not think about. How did you know?”

He shrugged. “You’re staring outside with that glazed, faraway look, and your bottom lip is protruding like one of those aging celebrities who just had ‘em done.”

“I do not!” I protested. Planting my upper row of teeth firmly over my lower lip, I eyed Doob with curiosity. “You’re an expert on celebrity collagen implants now?”

Doob nodded. “Yes, I am,” he said with no shame. “I almost always have a television on, and I like the shows about all of those movie stars making spectacles of themselves. I’ve picked up my vast plastic surgery knowledge from their shenanigans. And it’s gross, but some of them have their work done right on television; it makes me queasy, but there’s some type of sick fascination with it, too. Someone is always getting poked or prodded or having something sucked or tucked. Fluffed or buffed. Brightened or lightened. Chiseled or drizzled. Waxed or shellacked—”

“I got it, Doob,” I said, putting my hand up.

But he persisted.  “I’m not kidding; it’s high pressure for these people, Meg. They gotta bring home the bacon, and it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. You think it’s easy.” He shook his head slowly.

Fortunately, I didn’t have anything in my mouth just then because I would have spit it out with laughter. “Doob! Like you know anything about a dog-eat-dog world. That’s classic.”

“True,” he quipped. “But if I had to get by on my looks…” He framed his face with his hands, “…I’d have me a nice ‘frigerator box and shopping cart with at least two bad wheels. So I see why they do what they do. I’m just grateful I’m not under that type of pressure.”

That was the understatement of the year. Doob was a trust fund baby and originally from Iowa. When Doob was a kid, his dad had developed some type of fertilizer or pesticide that he’d sold to a huge conglomerate and had made a fortune in the process. Doob’s parents love to travel and are usually off ziplining through jungles in various parts of the world, but Doob made a home in Boston after a kind-of-semester in college, and I was glad for it. He now spends his days computer hacking and feels no remorse about it whatsoever. His claim is that he’s done more good than harm with his questionable hobby, and I can’t argue the point. He’s been a tremendous help to me with many of my cases, but I often tell him to refrain from sharing the illegal help he’s given me. Denial is one of my shortcomings. Or talents. Whichever.

As for me, I’m a private investigator. My partner, Norman Switzer, and I have been in business for a while now. Our firm has been growing at a nice, steady pace. Norman brings the knowledge, experience, and the instincts of a cop with over twenty years on the force, and I have…well, I have some guts and just enough tenacity to get me into heap-loads of shit at times. It works for us. Norman won’t readily admit that, but please, just take my word for it.

Our little business presently has two open cases. One is the unsolved murder of my fiancé from a few years back; the other is to find and bring to justice a psychopath named Melanie who changed my life last March. She kidnapped me during a nor’easter and murdered a friend of mine that same night. She would have also killed me if I hadn’t escaped, and I’ve been living with the overwhelming guilt ever since.

Melanie sent me a postcard back in July, and it was postmarked Portugal. She’s on a mission to kill her biological father who’s currently living with my uncle; they’re roommates with a group of old guys who live in a three-story over in Southie that I’ve dubbed the geriatric frat house. Their setup is a hoot, but Melanie’s wishes to bump off her father and me are far from funny. I’ve vowed to keep every hair on their gray heads safe as long as there is a breath left in me. Melanie is never far from my thoughts, and I’m confident I’ll see her again someday.

Truth be told, I actually see her all the time. I see her at the supermarket, in line for a movie, at a baseball game, at the mall, at church, literally everywhere. I’m not confessing to being crazy, mind you. I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m not actually seeing her. But somewhere deep in me, I don’t completely forget her. I can’t. Even on my best day, there’s a simmering at the core of me that is always on the lookout for Melanie. It’s like she’s attached herself to a sliver of my soul.

But for now, Doob and I are at the coffee shop for a reason that has nothing to do with Melanie. Yesterday I received a call from an old friend from high school, Jeff Geiger. He’d discovered a dead body at his new vacation home and wanted to discuss how and why it got there. It was good to hear from him, and I told him I’d gladly meet him to see if I could help.

“So how much did this dude win again?” Doob asked with a mouthful of doughnut.

“Somewhere around six million dollars,” I responded, and Doob whistled lightly.

At age thirty-one, Jeff and two other lucky people hit the Massachusetts lottery. He’d been smart with the money and hadn’t gone crazy like a lot of winners do. After he’d won, Jeff hadn’t even told anyone about his windfall for two months, and he was still working at the security firm he opened before he won the lottery. I don’t know if I’d have that type of discipline if six million dropped in my lap, so good for him.

While speaking with him yesterday, I learned the first big purchase Jeff made was to gift his parents a home in Aruba; the second was a fancy sports car; the third was his vacation home in Jamestown where the dead body happened to be when he strolled in two days ago. He sounded pretty freaked out about it, and I wondered if he’d end up selling the place.

The door to the coffee shop opened, and Jeff and I exchanged waves as he walked toward the counter and studied the menu, which was really just a huge, long blackboard with all sorts of colored chalk listing out the delicious coffees. He approached our table a few minutes later, toting the largest coffee known to man, along with a massive cinnamon roll. Doob didn’t even wait for an introduction; rather he jumped out of his chair and bee-lined for the counter. He’d homed in on the cinnamon roll the minute it entered the periphery of his nasal air, and he’d opted to go buy one for himself, rather than rip it from Jeff’s unsuspecting clutches. I hoped Doob would have the good sense to come back with two.

Jeff and I exchanged pleasantries as I got up to give him a hug, and he jerked his head in Doob’s direction.

“The computer dude?”

I smiled. “The computer dude, yes. Sorry I didn’t introduce you, but he clearly smelled your roll and lost all sense of manners. He’s like a puppy that way. Hopefully he won’t relieve himself on the floor before we leave.”

Jeff laughed. “Food first, I get it. You look great, Meagan. How are things?”

“Thanks. You do, too. I’ve been good. Work and my social life keep me busy, and my parents are both still crazy in a good way, so I can’t complain. And what about you, Mr. Lottery Winner? I’ve got to imagine your life has changed quite a bit since hitting the big bucks.”

Jeff nodded as he took a sip of his coffee. “That’s an understatement. The money is awesome, but a lot of freaks have come out of the woodwork. I get a couple of marriage proposals a week through the mail, and a whole bunch of long lost friends have managed to track me down. It’s bizarre.”

I rolled my eyes in mock sympathy. “Poor baby.”

Jeff gave me an exaggerated sigh. “I know. The tortured millionaire; it’s a burden.”

Doob reentered the picture at just that moment and plopped a heavenly smelling cinnamon roll on a paper plate in front of me. I love my neighbor. Then he held out his hand to Jeff.

“I’m Doobie, nice to meet you.” Doob was a bit awkward in most social situations but had clearly realized he’d been a little bit rude when Jeff had walked in. It was cute watching him try to make up for it by being all formal.

“Likewise,” Jeff said and shook his hand. “I’ve heard from Meagan you’re her right-hand man when it comes to private investigating.”

Doob bobbed his head from side-to-side but couldn’t respond because of a mouthful of pastry he’d instantly shoved in his mouth after releasing Jeff’s hand. Normally that wouldn’t stop him from talking, so I knew he was definitely trying to make a good impression. I also knew his good table manners might be very short-lived, so I jumped in before he could projectile something out of his mouth and across the table.

“Doob is invaluable to me, and he’s cheap labor to boot. So tell us, Jeff, what the heck happened the other day?”

Jeff blew out a big puff of air. “Just the usual dead body at the vacation home type-of-thing,” he said, trying to sound casual but not quite pulling it off.

“I understand this might be hard to talk about, but if you two are all set with eats, I’d like to hear the story from the beginning. But take your time; we’ve got all day.”

“And thank God we do, because she’ll interrupt you every five seconds,” Doob said as he swallowed another ridiculous-sized mouthful of cinnamon roll.

I balled up and threw a napkin at him while Jeff started his story.

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Good Sunday morning! I hope this finds you well.

This week’s recommendation is Touch and Go by Lisa Gardner. I’ve read, or listened to, several of her books in the past year, and she’s a great writer. In this book, a family of three is abducted from their luxurious Boston townhouse—no small feat—and it’s up to local PD, along with police up in New Hampshire, and experts at the FBI to find them. The trio is an extremely wealthy family from a ritzy part of the city, and initially the suspect list appears to be quite long. But when no ransom demand comes in, the authorities are left scratching their heads as they try to beat the clock against a set of kidnappers who aren’t following the usual script.

Touch and Go is a fast-paced read with a lot of complicated moments between family members whose seemingly pampered lives have become quite complex. There are several surprises at every turn, but none so much as the ending. So give Touch and Go a “go” and enjoy. ‘Til next week, happy reading! 🙂

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Happy summer Sunday to you! We’ve been sweltering here in Massachusetts for a couple of weeks now, but I’ll be missing it come January. Today I’m opting out of the book recommendation because I’ve got something more important to discuss. And I hope you’ll indulge me because frankly, it’s important to all of us.

In general, I’m not a person who gets on my soapbox. In fact, I tend to roll my eyes at people who always seem to be on their soapbox. You know the type. Blah, blah, blather, blather. I have strong opinions about most things, but I don’t like debates, and I don’t have a burning internal desire to make people agree with me if they have a differing viewpoint. Life is short, and I’d prefer to be a lover, not a fighter.

That said, there are times when a person has to speak up because it’s appropriate and because it’s the right thing to do. And in this instance, I do have an internal burning desire to say SHAME ON YOU, ROLLING STONE. My jaw hit the floor when I saw that cover on the news the other night, and my heart rate still accelerates every time I think of that terrorist being glamorized.

I had the pleasure of having dinner with three lovely ladies a few evenings ago, and all three of them have husbands who served in the military, and one has a son who did as well. Watching those strong women during our meal, I tried to imagine their past sleepless nights, when they wondered if their loved ones were safe. When they wondered if they’d be raising children alone and when they wondered how they’d get by if their husband or son was killed. Those women and their family members, along with immeasurable numbers of others, love this country. We sleep safe in our beds because of the people who are willing to die for our freedom. There’s not enough room on the internet to write about the debt of gratitude we owe our soldiers and their families; they are the people who make picnics and Patriots Day and marathons and baseball games possible.

They are the people who also fight for free speech and freedom of the press, despite the fact that it was used in its most appalling form this past week. To see a time-honored, well-reputed magazine make the decision to put an un-American monster on their cover is something I can’t quite process. He’s not a boy. He’s not a rock star. He’s a terrorist. He’s not a person who deserves a chance or deserves publicity or deserves anyone to feel anything but disgust for him. He plotted to hurt, maim, and kill Americans on a special day in an amazing city, and he and his brother did just that.

Like many of you, I’ll never forget the sick and helpless feeling I had when I heard about the Boston bombings. And every single day I’m aware of the heart and spirit of Boston as it has tried to heal and get back on its feet. So Rolling Stone, you may have knocked us back a step or two with your senseless and insensitive decision, but we’ll never stay down and we’ll be back better than ever. Boston Strong. Always. God Bless America.

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Good Sunday morning ~ it’s nice to see the sun shining after the long week in Boston. I’ve lived in Massachusetts for almost six years and have never been more proud of my east coast brothers and sisters as I have been these past six days. It goes without saying that Boston is a great sports city, and there’s a wonderful mixture of history and culture, education and tourism. But when Boston was attacked, it responded with passion, resolve, and conviction, and no touchdown pass will ever rival that. No offense to Tom Brady, of course.

One thing that really struck me these past few days is that it so often takes a tragedy to bring out the best in people. I can’t tell you how many times I teared up this week, seeing the pictures and video of regular people running towards the carnage to help anyone they could find. The stories are endless, and they’ll resonate through this city for decades. And I would bet my bottom dollar that participation and volunteerism in next year’s marathon will shatter any previous records.

So what I’d ask you to do TODAY–not tomorrow–is be Boston. Boston really got to shine this week because of the horror that came down on it. But you don’t need to wait for a horrible moment to present itself so that you can show your best self. Go be proactive today and make a difference in someone’s life. Whether it’s a kind gesture to a stranger, a long overdue email or phone call to a friend, a favor that you’ve been meaning to repay, or a household chore that would make your spouse happy. Go show your stuff and go be Boston. You and the world will be better off for it.

P.S. Big Papi of the Boston Red Sox said it very nicely yesterday during an amazing pre-game ceremony that honored the heroes and sleep-deprived officials who worked tirelessly to find the terrorists. “This is our (bleeping) city, and nobody’s going to dictate our freedom.” The FCC gave him a pass on the expletive, given the circumstances. It’s worth your time to watch it if you don’t mind the F word. Go Papi and stay strong Boston!

http://randyreport.blogspot.com/2013/04/big-papi-speech-for-boston-this-is-our.html

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Good Sunday morning! It’s a brisk one today in the Boston area, and it would be a great day to cuddle up with a good book. Just sayin’…

This week’s read was The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva (no relation), and it was GREAT. Main character, art-restorer, and butt-kicker Gabriel Allon, who’s supposedly retired from the “Office”, finds himself on a hunt for a missing Rembrandt, lost now for several decades. That quickly leads to his “un-retirement”, as the search for the painting leads him down a path to wartime crimes of the past and eventually to a billionaire global hotshot, who’s supplying the Iranians with components to make nuclear weapons. Allon’s escapades easily bounce from Europe, to the Middle East, to the United States, and the pace is non-stop. I kept waiting for a lull in the story, or section where I might get bored–that literally never happened. It’s just go-go-go until the very end.

This isn’t one of those “you’ll probably like it” books–it’s one of those “definitely read it, you won’t be disappointed” type of books. So give it a go, and let me know what you think. ‘Til next week, happy reading! 🙂

P.S. There’s still time to register for a free copy of my book on goodreads.com. Type in Two Out of Three and sign up for the giveaway. Thank you.

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Good Sunday morning everyone! I hope this finds you safe, happy, and ready to face the day.

To begin, I recommended Split Second last Sunday and, as I indicated then, I hadn’t finished it. I did finish it early this week, and it had a little sci-fi section that I didn’t see coming, which got a bit weird for my taste. It was still a good read, and I really liked the Ted-Bundy’s-daughter-as-the-bad-guy/girl factor. But I’m not that into sci-fi/voodoo/magic stuff, so for that part of the book, I definitely scratched my head a bit.

This week, I finished Janet Evanovich’s Notorious Nineteen. It was all things Evanovich—silly, zany, wacky, a little unrealistic, but funny in her typical form. In this caper, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum and her voluptuous sidekick Lula are (primarily) looking for a perp who mysteriously disappears from a hospital after recently stealing millions of dollars, and—as is typical—there are a lot of side stories along the way. There’s a Yeti, a horrible pink bridesmaid’s dress, a little person, a firebomb in an apartment, several torched cars, tons of fast food, Grandma Mazur dressing like a hooker, and some Morelli and Ranger scenes to keep it interesting for the ladies.

If you enjoy standard Evanovich, then this is a good one. It’s a super-fast read and with overall  general silliness. For those of you who are into more thought-provoking, political espionage thrillers, this probably isn’t for you. For next week, I’m almost done with Broken Arrow by Tana French, and there’s nothing silly about this one. It’s a dark mystery that’s very cerebral, a bit melancholy, and quite good. But I’m getting ahead of myself…I’ll finish that one and let you know next week. ‘Til then, happy reading! 🙂

P.S. On a complete self-promotion note, you can signup for a free copy of my book, Two Out of Three, on goodreads.com, under the Giveaway section. Have a great day!

 

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