Ancestral Whispers by Jo Hiestand – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jo A Hiestand will be awarding a $30 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Each year the residents of Nether Haddon celebrate the village’s founding in the time-honored way with games, music, and performances by their sword dancers. But something new is added to the fancy footwork this year: a team member dies … murdered. Fear, jealousy and suspicion quickly engulf the group, emotions as tightly interlocked as the five swords used in the dance: a series of turns, jumps and clogging steps intricate as Celtic knots. Was the victim the intended target, or should it have been someone else? In the course of the CID investigation, a mysterious 17th century puzzle is discovered. Does it hold a clue to the murder? Detective Brenna Taylor and her colleagues have more than enough to worry about. But unbeknownst to her, career criminal King Roper has escaped from prison where he was serving time for murder. Now free and eager to settle the score for his capture, Roper tracks down Brenna’s whereabouts, ready for revenge…

Enjoy an Exclusive Excerpt

Dr. Robert Paladin had never operated on so notorious a criminal as King Roper. He’d been with Leeds General Hospital his entire career, since leaving his residency at Manchester Royal Infirmary twenty years prior. Yet that Monday morning, for the first time in his twenty-four years as a surgeon, he found it necessary to remind himself that he’d taken an oath all those years ago, an oath to assist everyone who needed medical attention, regardless of the patient’s social status. Still, the fact that he was about to operate on a known murderer made Paladin uneasy. He nudged the edge of Roper’s file folder, squaring up the bottom with the edge of his desk. The handwritten sticky note on the file cover stated the man’s condition in layman’s terms:

He picked up the folder, angling it in the sunlight. Surprised at the thickness of the file, he leafed idly through the papers. Typewritten pages gave way to computer printouts. Officials’ names varied, police departments and prisons changed, but the constant of King Roper’s career remained unvarying. Unless severity in his crimes constituted a shift. Paladin glanced at the top page. Smuggling, trafficking, kidnapping, murder. An assault on at least three in law enforcement.

Paladin lowered the folder slowly to his desktop. This was not going to be easy, surgery on the arm of someone so vile, so repulsive to his own morals. He gazed at the window, not really seeing it, but instead picturing what Roper might look like, what his personality might be. The face never did come into sharp focus, but no matter the presumed height, weight, or body type, Roper’s image always ended up with dark hair and eyes. Perhaps it was a throwback to good versus evil, light versus dark. He most likely was muscular, Paladin thought, and perhaps his body carried physical remnants of fights he’d had. Perhaps he was unscathed, his fingernails manicured and his face clean-shaven, signs that his underlings did the actual dirty work. Or perhaps he stuck his manicured hand into it every so often, the taste for blood or the thrill of wielding the knife too strong to cede. Whatever Roper turned out to be, both visions repulsed Paladin, and he found himself stiffening. Am I patching him up so he can continue inf
licting harm, perhaps murdering again? Is that why I’m a surgeon?

The minutes slipped away as the sunlight slowly slid across his desk. His Hippocratic oath guaranteed he’d do his best during Roper’s operation. But his family and faceless, nameless others whispered to him, silently asking for a surgical accident. Things routinely go wrong on the table; could he rid the world of this monster? Would it honestly matter to Society if he did? He glanced at the brass-cased clock on his desk. 0610 hours. Surgery on King Roper wasn’t until 1100. He had five hours to struggle with his conscience.

About the Author: A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British. Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times and lived there during her professional folksinging stint.

Jo’s insistence for accuracy–from police methods and location layout to the general “feel” of the area–has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research. These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the details filling both her Peak District mysteries and the McLaren mystery series.

In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English. She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.

Her McLaren mystery, BLACK MOON, received the ‘N.N. Light Best Mystery Book’ award for 2019.

Jo lives with her cat, Tennyson, and way too many kilts in the St. Louis-area.

Website | BookBub | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube

Buy the book at Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Diana Hardt says

    I liked the excerpt. It sounds like a really intriguing book. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thank you, LASR, for hosting this leg of my book tour.

  4. Bernard Wallace says

    How did you come up with the title of the book?

    • Hi, Bernard. It comes from the 17th century puzzle the CID team finds. They think the puzzle’s from an ancestor of the victim, and they think it is the crucial clue to discovering the identity of the killer. So, the old family puzzle is whispering to the team from the past.

  5. I like the excerpt, sounds great.

  6. Victoria Alexander says

    Happy Friday, thanks for sharing!

  7. I’ll log off and bid everyone good night. Thanks fo LASR for hosting my book today, and thank you to everyone who left a comment. Good luck on the raffle drawing!

  8. I’ve enjoyed the tour.

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