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Who’s trying to kill Charlie Magee?

If the gunfire as he runs into Baltimore PI Anne Carter’s office that February night is any example, somebody is trying to kill him. But his tale is hinky, and neither the police department nor the fire department believes the paramedic’s story. Should Annie? Her other client, Vivian Rowlandson, has misplaced her husband. She says she fears he’s having a blackout, but nobody else ever knew him to have one. Are both of her clients playing Fool the Detective?

“Sure to please Larew’s fans and attract new ones, Aftermath is a welcome addition to the female detective mystery/thriller genre steeped in exotic locales, alluring hints of romance, bullets flying, people disappearing, and just enough humor to wrap it all together for the perfect read.” – Chanticleer Reviews

“A gumshoe with the drollery to make her intriguing and the gumption to get the job done.” Kirkus Reviews


Baltimore, Maryland
February 1980

“Mother! Jack wants to get married!”

Elizabeth’s message on the answering machine sounded increasingly anguished after the tenth repeat. Didn’t she know I was out of town? Did I want to deal with that when I was dead on my feet, after the drive down from Philadelphia? I did not. Wasn’t it enough that I had spent the last twelve hours being very polite to a suspicious Philadelphia cop? Being polite to a foreign cop is bad enough to cause permanent colic; I do not have to practice marriage counseling at midnight as well. I fast-forwarded over Elizabeth and heard Jack’s voice.

“Pay no attention to her, Annie. We’ll work it out. You may hear from a buddy of mine from Viet Nam named . . .”

The doorbell shrilled over Jack’s exasperated voice.

“. . . Charlie Magee. He thinks somebody’s . . .”

The doorbell shrilled again insistently.

“. . . trying to kill him. I told him you’d give him a price.” He laughed. “Didn’t say what kind.”

There were more messages on the machine. I’d been out of town for a week, and the number of people who wanted to sell me something or consult me about something was exceeded only by the number of frantic calls from my daughter begging me to call back and defend her from the awful fate of having to marry a man she loved and had been living with for two years. What’s a mother to do? Try ignoring the doorbell, for one thing. Maybe if I turned off the light and crept up the stairs whoever it was would go away. I turned off the light, and the bell shrilled again. I was halfway up the steps when I heard a car backfire. Whoever it was quit ringing the bell and began to pound on the door. I shrugged. Whatever made me think that I could just come home and go to bed like a normal person? I slipped the 9 mm automatic out of its holster and went back down the steps of my Charles Village row house cautiously. I looked at the silhouette outlined in sodium vapor light on the glass in the top half of the door. It appeared to be a man, tall and slender. The man heard the car return before I did and flattened himself against the area wall. A neat hole appeared in the glass just where his shoulders had been and not a whole hell of a distance from where my head currently was.