Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ann Mullen's What You See - A Country Cozy Mystery is what I call it! Cool!

      "Once in a while you come across something that really catches your eye. But beware, what you see is not always what you get, and what you get is not always what you want. My mother taught me that when I was a kid. Bless her heart, to this day she has a saying that applies to everything under the stars. As a matter-of-fact, she comes up with some stuff that just baffles my mind. It makes you wonder if parents sit around all day and think up stuff just to confuse you. Don’t they have other things to do? 

"I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning. My name’s Jessica Watson. My friends call me Jesse. My childhood was like any normal childhood, with the exception of being fortunate enough to have the same two parents. Nowadays, not many kids grow up with a mom and a dad, especially ones that are happy and create a good home life. I’m not saying everything was perfect, but it was about as good as it gets. I have an older brother, Jack, and a younger sister, Claire. Jack’s a lawyer and Claire’s married, with two kids, a house, and a new Mercedes. That says it all. They grew up and met all the expectations of our parents, while I just grew up. I think I did, however, sometimes I wonder. I’m thirty-one years old and have never been married. I’ve done my share of dating, but my luck with men is like my luck with jobs— pitiful. The right job hasn’t come along and Mr. Right hasn’t shown himself. I haven’t given up; I’ve just quit looking. 

"Like my brother and sister, I was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia. We call it Tidewater because it’s part of several cities located on a small peninsula on the east coast that boast of great fishing and hunting. You either made a living doing one or the other, or you worked in the shipyard where boats are overhauled. I don’t think any of those challenging careers alone was the lifeline of our city. We also have Langley Air Force Base, Fort Eustis, Fort Monroe, Camp Peary, and the Norfolk Naval Base, where my dad, Mack was last stationed until he retired a year ago. Upon his retirement, he decided it was time to leave what was now an overgrown city, and move to a quiet place a little less populated. My mom, Minnie, was ready to do anything he wanted. Somewhere along the way, Mom and Dad finally found the place they wanted to live. 

What You See
By Ann Mullen
 Favorite Virginia Author by Cooperative Living Magazine

Sit back and enjoy an old-fashioned, light-hearted fun mystery...It reminded me of my background and my present living in a log cabin in the middle of 13 acres of trees...The setting is pure country and the characters know exactly where they're living...and loving it... I should know... As soon as I retired from a university city with major facilites covering most of the town itself, I was ready for quiet, peace and contentment with just a few coons, 'possums, and deer to cause some strange night sounds. 

This book is also about family--the kind of characters that may not be blood related, but become family just because that is who they are. Sometimes those individuals just may become closer to you than your actual family members... And there doesn't have to be a lot of them--unless of course, one of your new family members have to be native american and when you get together with his family, its the whole tribe...Love it!

Jesse Watson has been out on her own for quite awhile, still unmarried, but she'd like to be. You know, that does make a difference, 'cause some people just never feel the need...

Of course, no matter how you may feel about marriage, those around you will nearly always think that you really want to be married, and are working just until that happens.

Jesse was like that at the beginning of the story, but by the time she got into her new profession... well, you can find that out yourself...

Jesse's father had retired and her parents had already picked out where they wanted to live now, sending Jesse into memories of the place where she grew up, their house...
But when they asked her to go see it one weekend, after wading through the bugs, she loved their new home!

With the troubles she'd been having with her roommate and a job she didn't like, it didn't take much thinking--she decided to relocate with them and find a job somewhere in Stanardsville...

And wouldn't you know it, her parents had already invited an eligible man to dinner! LOL...

Actually, he was a local police officer and lived nearby, so it wasn't exactly that they were out to immediately begin to match make...

Thing was, though, Cole was gorgeous! And she was quite content to drool all over him...

Once settled in, she checked the local want ads. The town was not very big and she wasn't finding anything until she spotted an ad for an office assistant...she could do that!

Forty minutes after I left the house, I reached Greenbriar Road...a Quick Stop gas station mini-mart, and next to it was 212— a McDonald’s. This led me to believe I was going in the right direction. After passing several business establishments, I came to a two-story, brick building with the number 200 on the front. The parking lot was big enough to hold six or seven cars, but there was only one there, and it looked pretty rough. The car was a faded green Mercury sedan that had to be at least twenty years old. I hoped this wasn’t any indication of the boss’ clientele, or worse, belong to the boss. I guess I’m just the pot calling the kettle black. Even so, I was out to make a living. On the left side of the building was a driveway. It was still raining. I scanned the inside of the van hoping to find an umbrella, but no such luck. Contemplating how I was going to get inside the building without getting soaked, I sat there and looked around. Maybe I should take some time and look this place over..
..."I felt like a waif going to dine at the Captain’s table on a luxury liner. I thought about turning around and heading to the nearest clothing store, when the door on the left opened and a man appeared. He was not just an ordinary man, either. Now I understood where the name Blackhawk originated. This man was obviously of Native American descent. He was huge— six-three possibly, and at least two hundred and ten pounds. Are all the men around here that big? He had long, shiny black hair, pulled back in a ponytail that went down the middle of his back. His skin was dark, and under his reading glasses, a pair of brown eyes focused on me. He was dressed in a well-tailored, black suit with a gray and red-striped tie. I thought the ponytail and suit were a strange combination. I guessed him to be about forty, or forty-five years old. 
“Hello, may I help you?” his husky voice greeted me. 
I held out my hand to him and said, “Hello, my name’s Jesse Watson. I’m here to see about the job you had advertised in the paper. I hope I’m not too late. I just moved here a few days ago, and I didn’t know how long the ad had been running. I’d like to apologize for the way I’m dressed, but I still haven’t finished unpacking.” I lied and continued to ramble. “This is the type of work I usually do. I don’t mean work for a private eye... but the office part of it.” I was falling all over myself. Later, I would realize my reason for acting like this was because he was such a big man, and the fact that he was Indian intimidated me. I don’t think I’ve known but one Indian, and I didn’t know her that well. He didn’t scare me— I just felt tiny and limp. Perhaps it had something to do with the lie I’d just told. 
"He reached out his hand and took mine in his, shaking it firmly, but not hard. Looking me directly in the eyes, he stated matter-of-factly, “Take a deep breath, Miss Watson. The job’s still open. My name’s Billy Blackhawk and I own this agency. I’ve talked to a few people so far, but I haven’t found the right person yet.”

And the rest, as they say, is history...She was not only hired, but soon began to learn about being a PI, going out on stakeouts, learning the use of the "spy" equipment, etc. Then a woman named Helen Carrollton was murdered... Well, actually, it was still be considering a disappearance and Blackhawk Investigations had been asked to try to find her, since the police had not yet learned anything.

I told you Cole was a cop, right? Well, naturally this caused a problem for Jesse since she was very interested in him, but she was also loving her new job. She was learning more and more and, sometimes, Blackhawk had to hold her back since she was so obsessed about finding Helen... Actually, the case turns out to be much bigger than anybody thought! Jesse was on to a young man and wouldn't let anybody forget that she picked him for being guilty...LOL

And while all that if going on, Claire, Jesse sister announces she thinks her husband is having an affair and spends quite a bit of time in and out of their new home. Then, sadly, Jesse's father dies of a heart attack and Minnie is left alone. It was Billy Blackhawk that helped her through, along with the rest of the family...lots of heartwarming happenings for you to enjoy sharing with this newly formed--and changed--family.

The mystery solution may surprise readers. I had begun to think about the possibility but there were other possibilities and quite a bit of cover up going on... But, somehow, Jesse seemed to be in the middle of so much that she kept getting hurt! And Cole and Billy seemed jealous of each other's relationship to Jesse... What kind of feelings had Billy developed for his subordinate, or should I say, new partner...

Here's my three favorite characters:

Learn about these three and the other main characters at http://www.aftonridge.com/characters.htm

Enjoy this one!


Ann Mullen
Birthplace: Wilson, NC. Lived in Newport News, VA for 40 years, and then moved to Stanardsville, VA in 1999. Married with two adult children and one grandchild. To date, I have published eight books: WHAT YOU SEE, SOUTH RIVER INCIDENT, A CRYING SHAME, MIDDLE RIVER MURDERS, GREENE COUNTY KILLER, DEATH ON THE BELLA CONSTANCE, ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, and LUNCH BREAK SHORTS. In 2006, I was selected Favorite Virginia Author in a reader poll by Cooperative Living Magazine. Four of my books have been nominated for the Library of Virginia Literary Award. The books in my Jesse Watson mystery series are set in Greene County, Virginia, and feature heroine, Jesse Watson and her P.I. partner, Billy Blackhawk. Mystery/fiction with a little romance and humor. To contact me, email: aftonridge@aol.com 434-985-1957 Visit my web site www.aftonridge.com

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