Friday, January 16, 2015

Sanctuary by Aaron Paul Lazar Spotlights Native American Family in Unique Mystery!

With a sigh, I hiked up my flannel nightgown, slid into my UGG boots, and shrugged into my coat. “Come on, then. Let’s go.” I snapped on his leash. The wind-driven rain pelted my face, and Dak pulled me hard into the night. He didn’t head for his usual spot, but veered around the corner toward the lake. “Where are we going, pup?” Quinn still hadn’t put our bass boat away for the season, and I heard it rocking on the waves by the dock. The wind was stronger here, and I pulled up my hood. Dak, named for our beloved Adirondack Mountains, had a mind of his own. He dragged me toward the front door of our house. Just enough light was cast by the lamp in the living room for me to see the steps and not fall on my face. What I didn’t expect was to see someone huddled against the door.
I nearly screamed, but when Dak approached the figure, throat rumbling ominously, his growl quickly turned to puppy love. He began to lap the hand of our unexpected guest, his tail wagging madly. The girl moaned, looking up at me with panicked eyes. I crouched beside her, wondering if she’d partied too hard and gotten lost on the lake shore. In the dark, all the houses looked the same. “Hey. Are you okay?” She pulled into herself, as if hiding from me. “I won’t hurt you.” It was then I noticed the blood on her face, and the bruises on her wrists. “Come on. I’m taking you inside.” She let me 
help her up. The poor thing could barely walk. Slowly, with Dak wiggling between our legs, we made our way indoors.
I plopped her onto the couch, pulled back her hood, and peeled off her jacket. It was soaked through. The girl reminded me of my husband, or at least his Seneca Indian half. Thick black hair hung loose around her face, dripping wet. Dark eyes pleaded with me, but no words came from her lips. Blood and scratches streaked her coppery skin. A large purplish lump rose on her forehead. “Are you okay, honey?”
She shivered and pulled her feet under her. No shoes. No purse. Ragged jean bottoms. 
What happened to her?

The girl moaned and turned. Her hair slid aside
 to reveal her bruised face. Quinn dropped to
 his knees and took her hand.
“Oh my God. Kitty?”
 I looked at him as if he were nuts.
 “You know her?” Concern settled in his eyes
 and he looked her over, taking in her injuries.
 “Know her? This is my little cousin, Catori.
We call her Cat. Or Kitty.
She’s from the rez.”
I looked back and forth between them.
 He’d mentioned a few relatives when we
first were married, but he’d never contacted
 them. He’d left the reservation under
 a dark cloud. Although he never told me
 the details, I knew he didn’t want to go back.
A Tall Pines Mystery

By Aaron Paul Lazar

This Favorite author of mine is putting out so many novels, I'm unable to keep up!  I decided to take a small break and catch up...

Only that didn't work, I hadn't read this series before and the other book I'd received was a free-standing novel... Outstanding, of course but all new characters for me to learn about!
This picture is of one of the farms across the
 world use to grown the plants from which the oils
 are extracted.
“Don’t forget the oils. Bring all of them.”
 “Of course.” I rolled my eyes as if he’d
 said not to forget the cell phone.
My Young Living Essential Oils had
become an integral part of our lives.
 We’d need them to help Kitty heal.
 I muttered under my breath,
“Do you think I’m an idiot? I wouldn’t go
 anywhere without them. Geez.”
Quinn helped me maneuver
 Kitty back inside to keep her dry—or drier—
then dashed outside with my father’s .45
 steadied in one big, capable hand.
 I watched his turquoise eyes grow dark,
 his back firm, and his mouth settle
 in a resolute line. A part of me shivered
 with pride. And desire. Or maybe both.


This novel, I discovered, highlights a new find for the author-- the novel uses Young Living Essential Oils by a number of the characters in responding to a variety of health issues. One small comment for me was that each time they were mentioned the entire title of the oils was often used and at first seemed redundant until I realized that this was sure to have been required in gaining approval to use the oils as part of the story. But the reader soon gets used to it, and it definitely helps readers, in case they are interested like I was, to learn what was to be used for various issues... 

Marcella, who narrates the story, has been married to Quinn “Black Eagle” Hollister for eight years and they are still very much in love. However, Marcella is quite surprised when she learns many new things about his early life that he'd never talked about... Now he had no choice for his cousin, Kitty, had shown up at their door--hurt, cold and hungry, and running for her life!

And not talking...

Quinn explained that she could not talk but also mentioned the possibility that it was not a physical limitation. Marcella found that she began to feel very loving and close to her. Even though she was in her early 20s, Marcella quickly enjoyed mothering her in any way possible, including spending time to rub various oils into her skin for healing purposes.

Of course, Marcella had a loved one in her past which bothered Quinn as much; however, during this story, much happened that smoothed out that relationship...

Because they needed help from the Seneca Indians that were now chasing Kitty and breaking into whatever homes needed in order to find her! The first relocation was from their home to the Tall Pines cabin, which was soon discovered--they found later that Kitty's clothes had been rigged as a point for location...

And that's when the action and gun fights really begin! Relatives, new friends and old neighbors all joined together to help. Even one of the local cops, was involved up to the point she could be without giving up too many secrets... And there were many. They could guess who was involved, but they still had no idea what and how much Kitty had seen in order to be in such danger...

So while they were driving to one place after another, Quinn starting telling Marcella about his leaving the reservation, and why...

Usually calm as a lake turtle, his reaction stunned me. I rummaged in my bag and brought out my case of essential oils. I wanted to say, what do you know about this, mister? Instead, I offered him my bottle of Young Living Tranquil oil blend. “Here. Try some of this.” I handed him the slim lavender roll-on bottle of the Young Living Tranquil blend. Without skipping a beat, he uncapped it and rolled the oil on his neck and wrists. The van filled with the scent of lavender and cedarwood. I rolled some onto my own wrists, inhaled deeply, and felt the tight muscles in my chest start to relax. 
We didn’t speak for a few minutes. Finally, he started talking in a quiet voice. “I never told you the whole truth about why I left the reservation. I didn’t tell you, because I couldn’t face the truth myself.”
“What truth, hon? What are you talking about?” He sighed deeply. “Give me another hit of that oil, and I’ll tell you how I killed my mother.”

If I’d been driving, I would have pulled over and screeched to a halt. But Quinn just kept going. Sixty-nine miles an hour. Eyes on the road. Long-fingered, slim hands on the wheel.
“What the heck are you talking about? You didn’t kill your mother, she died of heart failure.” I waited for a minute, but he didn’t speak. “Didn’t she?”
“It was my fault.” “How could you make your mother have a heart attack?”
 “It’s a long story.” I touched his arm and he glanced at me with pain-filled eyes. “We have a four-hour drive ahead of us, Quinn. Why don’t you just start at the beginning?” 
He loosed another long, shuddering sigh. “Okay.” Reaching for his sunglasses, he steadied them on his face and readjusted his grip on the wheel. “She’d never complained about chest pains. Until I got interested in Birdie.” 
Birdie again. I braced myself. “Go on.”
“When I told her I was going on a date with Birdie, she flipped out. From the very first time, she’d grab her heart and say she was going to have a heart attack if I dated that girl.”
“Why? What was wrong with Birdie?” He shrugged. “Nothing I could see. Except she was from the wrong clan.” 
“What?”“We were in the bear clan, and she was in the deer clan. My mother had a thing against the deer clan. It was something about her mother’s father and a murder long ago. She’d never tell me the details, but her hatred of that clan seemed ferocious. She would hardly speak to them.”

For me, and I am sure for many of Lazar's fans, we love the family environment Aaron creates for us to enter into. He hooks us in, gets us emotionally involved with the lives of those characters who have become so real to us... and then puts them into dangerous situations, with secrets and mysteries surrounding them.  We are caught in this familial environment where we hold our breaths as danger comes close, panic when something new occurs, and then glory in the moments when all is again right in their world. This time, a very surprising ending was so heartwarming that you just may do as I did--share tears of joy along with the characters! Not every author so effectively folds his stories so meticulously, weaving natural emotions into a beautiful natural setting, and calling each of his readers to come home and find out what has been happening in his part of God's world... 

If you haven't read Aaron Paul Lazar, you are missing a world of love and family, working, eating, loving and, sometimes, fighting together...with always a mystery of some kind to be solved... I've loved every single story I've read from Lazar and always look forward to his next one, knowing it will be a unique, new story, but, still, with the comfort of being with someone you've missed, even though you'd never met them until Aaron has shared them with us...

This move into Native American characters, as well as the use of natural oils to help our lives in many unique ways was an excitingly different tale that I really enjoyed. Do check it out!


Aaron Paul Lazar wasn't always a mystery writer. It wasn't until eight members of his family and friends died within five years that the urge to write became overwhelming. "When my father died, I lost it. I needed an outlet, and writing provided the kind of solace I couldn't find elsewhere."

Lazar created the Gus LeGarde mystery series, with the founding novel, DOUBLE FORTÉ (2004), a chilling winter mystery set in the Genesee Valley of upstate New York. Like Lazar's father, protagonist Gus LeGarde is a classical music professor. Gus, a grandfather, gardener, chef, and nature lover, plays Chopin etudes to feed his soul and thinks of himself as a "Renaissance man caught in the 21st century." This book has since be rereleased in 2012 as an "author's preferred edition," via Twilight Times Books.

The creation of the series lent Lazar the comfort he sought, yet in the process, a new passion was unleashed. Obsessed with his parallel universe, he now lives, breathes, and dreams about his characters, and has written ten LeGarde mysteries in eight years. (UPSTAGED - 2005; TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON - 2007 Twilight Times Books; MAZURKA - 2009 Twilight Times Books, FIRESONG - 2011, DON'T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU - 2013, VIRTUOSO - 2014, with more to come.) The author has just completed his twenty-first novel.

One day while rototilling his gardens, Lazar unearthed a green cat's eye marble, which prompted the new paranormal mystery series featuring Sam Moore, retired country doctor and passionate gardener. The green marble, a powerful talisman, connects all three of the books in the series, whisking Sam back in time to uncover his brother's dreadful fate fifty years earlier. (HEALEY'S CAVE, 2010; TERROR COMES KNOCKING, 2011; FOR KEEPS, 2012) Lazar intends to continue both series.

Lazar's books feature breathless chase scenes, nasty villains, and taut suspense, but are also intensely human stories, replete with kids, dogs, horses, food, romance, and humor. The author calls them, "country mysteries," although reviewers have dubbed them "literary mysteries."

"It seems as though every image ever impressed upon my brain finds its way into my work. Whether it's the light dancing through stained-glass windows in a Parisian chapel, curly slate-green lichen covering a boulder at the edge of a pond in Maine, or hoarfrost dangling from a cherry tree branch in mid-winter, these images burrow into my memory cells. In time they bubble back, persistently itching, until they are poured out on the page."

In 2009, Kodak gave him up for grabs, and during the year off before he landed in his coveted new job with KB America, he had time to explore and reconnect with his environment. Little did he know that several trips to the Adirondack Mountains would reawaken his passion for that part of the country. Two new books were written in that time frame, starting yet another mystery series, Tall Pines Mysteries. The first two combooks in the series, FOR THE BIRDS - 2011 and ESSENTIALLY YOURS - 2012 have been winning literary awards. Keep an eye out for SANCTUARY (2014), and MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (2015), coming via Twilight Times Books.

In between all the novels, Lazar found time to issue three writing guides based on his many years of writing advice blogs, entitled WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1-3. These are available in eBook and audio book.

In his twenty-first book, Lazar has jumped genre. THE SEACREST - OCT 2013 -, a love story, is poised to capture hearts across the globe.

The author lives on a ridge overlooking the Genesee Valley in upstate New York with his wife, mother-in-law, two dogs, and cat. He finds grandfathering one of the most precious and important times of life, and spends as much time as possible with Julian, Gordon, and Isabella.

Lazar maintains several websites and blogs, was the Gather Saturday Writing Essential host for three years, writes his monthly "Seedlings" columns for the Voice in the Dark literary journal and the Future Mystery Anthology Magazine. He has been published in Absolute Write as well as The Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine.

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