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S. E. Schenkel
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A couple disappears while recording folklore from various desert clans. When Acey Tapp and Megan Bork investigate, they step onto a stage set decades earlier, and butt heads with trouble as they explore a land hiding its past under vast expanses of sand and along miles of mountain tunnels.
Two groups clash as Acey and Megan unearth clues. One is a team of experts working to transform the Sahara. The other group is a covert society of old clansmen living out their final days as the keepers of a horrific secret.
She turned, looked me in the eyes. "Weâ€™re not going to find them, are we?â€
"We wonâ€™t find your friends or the next town if our vehicle keeps overheating.â€ I wiped sweat from her nose. We were seated in the shade of a dead tree, my legs hugging her in the manner of kids on a toboggan enjoying a Michigan winter. Only our backsides pressed hot sand, and we were as far from childhood as we were from home.
Damn Sahara... I drew a line in the sand and wished this hellish desert was just a place on a map, not our present reality. I said, "Would have helped if Peter or Christie had told us why they wanted the pouch checked out. Offered a little more info.â€
"Do you think they knew what it was made of?â€ asked Megan.
"They knew enough to decide theyâ€™d better send it to you.â€
"By the way, how do you spell Peter and Christieâ€™s last name?â€
"D-D-A. Rhymes with Ma; first D is silent.â€
"Then why the two Dâ€™s?â€ I asked.
"This from the man whose last name, Tapp, is spelled with two Ps?â€ said Megan.
"Okay...â€ I smiled, shifted my weight. Something rubbed my butt; I shot up and stepped back.
"Whatâ€™s wrong?â€ Megan asked, joining me in the full heat of the brutal sun.
"I donâ€™t know, just felt something under me. Probably a stone.â€ Trying to ignore the sweat trickling down every inch of my anatomy, I tore a piece of bark from the tree and stirred the sand. A cracked skull appeared. We cleared more sand and watched a black beetle crawl out of the nose cavity and wobble off. The skull was the size of a small melon. A childâ€™s. It had a tiny set of teeth and huge eye sockets. "How long do you think itâ€™s been here?â€ I asked.
"Could be a few years or maybe a thousand.â€
"Not buried very deep.â€
"Things get buried and unburied quickly in a desert.â€
Mysteries have always captivated me. Any kind. Mysteries of faith, creation, people. The mystery of an empty house, trap door. A neighborâ€™s weirdness. But I didnâ€™t start writing mysteries until two events collided: a power outage and working under the dictatorship of the manager of a grocery store. The outage and its subsequent boredom handed me pen and paper, and my boss supplied the drive to write a story titled - "Murder in the Meat Departmentâ€. From that day until now, writing has been right up there with oxygen and chocolate.
Numerically, Iâ€™m grandmother to eight, stepmother to four, and sibling to five. I was a member of a missionary group (aka nun) for seventeen years, worked for ten of those years in Africa, have been married for over thirty years. And if you canâ€™t figure out my age from that, you and I have equally appalling math skills.
As for my personality, what I feel, think, value... Youâ€™ll find clues to that in my mysteries.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 316
Paper Weight (lb): 13.2
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