Friday, September 18, 2015

Welcome to Catherine Dilts, Author of Stone Cold Case, on Her September Blog Tour!

Morgan rested her hands on her hips and forced herself to breathe. Think. Trevin may not be worried right now, but soon he would realize something was wrong..."Hello!"
The forest muffled her voice, soaking it up like the rocky earth absorbed the rain. Morgan thought a person had to be spectacularly stupid things to get lost in the wilderness, but apparently all it took was losing your footing... When she glimpsed blue through the brush, she dared hope it was a windbreaker worn by one of her classmates. Morgan abandoned the bank of the stream. She trotted across a patch of open ground, where a rock campfire ring corralled rusting tin cans...
Prospectors' shelters dotted the Colorado mountains in varied forms, from crude sod huts to finely constructed log cabins. This dugout was somewhere in between, and in better shape than the crumbling ruins Morgan had seen. From the front and both sides, it appeared to be a rough-hewn log cabin...
Flowers in neat mounds framed the doorway. Morgan stooped to squint at them. Rows of tiny elephant heads lined up along the stems. No one would believe her, if she survived the night to tell about them. Maybe fear was making her delusional. Morgan snapped a photo. The flash probably frightened off any woodland creatures in the increasingly dark forest. Either than, or it alerted potential predators...Morgan peeped inside. The shelter was too dark for her comfort, but most likely perfect for spiders and centipedes. She could dig a flashlight out of her pack once inside, but for now she used the flash on her cell phone camera...
A dog barked once. A human voice muttered something then seemed to quiet the dog. Morgan strained to see through the gloom...Morgan edged deeper inside the dugout, groping for her pack. Footsteps crunched toward the entrance...This had to be how Sasquatch sightings started... Morgan took another step backward. Her heel landed on something hard, twisting her ankle despite her firmly laced hiking boot...The footsteps stopped...
When she couldn't bear sitting motionless any longer, her body aching with tension, she rolled slowly to her hands and knees. Her right hand planted firmly on the object that had tripped her. A blanket neatly covered the mound. If she had to spend the night here, at least she had a way to keep warm. She pushed herself to her feet. As she tugged the blanket up, a cracked leather hiking boot tipped to one side. Morgan squinted in the dim light. An aspen branch seemed to extend from the bottom of a jeans leg to the boot.
That can't be right, Morgan thought. Why would someone put clothes on sticks?
Her mind stumbled through several explanations until the obvious answer slammed home. The rips and holes in the tattered jeans revealed bone.

Stone Cold Case:
A Rock Shop Mystery

By Catherine Dilts

 Virtual Tour
It's great to be hosting Catherine Dilts on her September Blog Tour! The link above, or the tour pic, will take you to her schedule, which has already been going on and there are three reviews scheduled today! I figure by the end of today, you'll be heading out to purchase this fun cozy...Ok, I recognize that cozy is not used these days...but there are still readers out there that don't yet know that they are now called "amateur sleuth mysteries." Stone Cold Case is the second in this series, but each easily stands alone of course! This was certainly a fun and entertaining tale!

Morgan Iverson is still pretending that she's not interested in solving mysteries as we begin the story...but she sure does use her time and thinking in this one, especially since she found the body! Of course, it could also be because Kurt Willard who owns the local newspaper, has also taken an interest... Expect more involvement between these two, I am sure, in later novels!

"The paper's archives go back to the
beginning of time," Kurt said. "It took
us all morning to locate the correct
decade, but we found a considerable
amount of information about the
Carlee Kruger case."
"I didn't mean to put you through all
this trouble," Morgan said.
"Are you kidding?" Kurt came around
the table. "Golden Spring's only
unsolved case post horse-and-buggy
era? You're not the only one who can
play amateur sleuth."
Morgan held up her hands. "Oh, no. I
learned my lesson back in January.
The only reason I got involved in that
case was because someone was out to
get me...
Morgan reached for a folder on the
table. "Ah, not yet." Kurt threw himself
in front of the table. "I want to get
everything organized before we start
assembling the clues."
"I have no interest in solving the case,"
Morgan said. "But Gerda needs answers."
Morgan Iverson was unexpectedly asked to manage the Rock of Ages Shop, when her brother and his wife mysteriously too off! Morgan knew nothing about fossils and gems, and she was on a geological class tour when she found the body! Their store had a little bit of everything, including unopened geodes which a lot of students and artists loved to purchase to see what was inside...

but their most valuable piece was a seventy-year-old
 Triceratops Horn!

In this book, Morgan's brother calls and asks for $3000 from Morgan to come home... My guess is that this might lead to the next book since the money requested was more than he would need for plane tickets! What had he gotten himself into?! 

However, Morgan has already sold her home and has made the Shop her location for the future! What will her brother do when she won't let them take the shop back?! Should be fun to watch!

Everybody in town quickly began to wonder if the body was of Carlee Kruger who had vanished from town 15 years ago! Gerda, her mother, owner of the local auto mechanic shop has withdrawn from the world and has become an alcoholic who is really not pleasant to be around. Especially since she had her other daughter also leave town soon after Carlee was missing and they hadn't seen each other since...

While the local police tell her to stay out of this, of course, Kurt tries to convince Morgan to start checking on everything and Morgan finally convinced herself that Gerda really needs to know...

Morgan was still learning about everything her new job entailed, but she had part-time help, Cindy, who had been helping her, as well as Del, who had worked there so long, he had now moved into the main building. Both of these characters are great to get to know, and Del, especially, has a background that keeps Morgan in suspense, wanting to know more.

"The donkeys," Morgan said. "Something's wrong. Morgan grabbed her jacket off a peg. She threw open the kitchen door, panicked by the insistent braying of the donkey.
"Bring your cell phone," Del said, "in case we need to call the vet."
Adelaide, a donkey of advanced years, was with foal for the first time in her life. Morgan and Del raced toward the barn, following the hoarse, raucous braying.
"Over there."
Del aimed his flashlight. Morgan followed with her own shaky beam. A man and a dog loped across the pasture, followed closely by Houdini. The female donkey waddled several yards behind him. Del pulled his handgun out of the holster strapped under his left arm. Morgan placed a hand on his arm. "You might hit Houdini."
"He's too far away." Del replaced his gun in the holster. "Did you get a good look?"
...:"Even from the distance," Morgan said, "I'm sure it was Big Foot. Ratty Clothes. Wild hair. Wolf dog."
The donkeys abandoned the chase at the rear pasture fence...walked purposefully toward Morgan and Del. "Yet again," Morgan said, "I wish those two could talk."

There are a number of different things that are happening in the story--are any or all of them related to the dead body that was found? First, there is a mountain man that was at the site where Morgan found the body. Now he was showing up at Morgan's home site. Fortunately, their two donkeys were both just like watch dogs, and also magicians, since both had learned how to get out! Houdini had even gotten into the habit of breaking out and heading for their neighbor's farm. Could it have anything to do with whoever was cutting the locks on their fences and then riding right into their land, and digging...maybe, prospectors?
"Ammolite is an organic gem."
"I thought all rocks were
"People call everything organic
nowadays," Del said. "They
throw the word around to make
things sound healthy. I mean
organic in the sense that it was
alive once. Rocks are minerals,
but ammonites are fossils.
Shells, specifically. And when
just the right minerals happen
along during the fossilization
process, it turns into this."
He picked up a dazzling blue,
green, and gold gem.
..."So there are only three
gemstones produced by living
organisms. This stuff, pearls,
and amber. Wow."
"If there's ammolite in the hills
around here, all heck will break
loose..."very rare."
For also at the grave site, Morgan had picked up pieces of what looked to be gems, though she didn't know what they were... When new people started dropping into the Rock of Ages, asking about what Morgan might have new, she quickly knew that word was out... Even though small particles had only been found, Del had identified it--Ammonite! He quickly urged Morgan not to tell anybody--at least until they could investigate and file a claim! Otherwise, there would be a rush of new prospectors coming into town, and it seemed that some people were already aware of it!

There's More Than Gold in Them Thar Hills!

So did that explain why various individuals from town were coming to check out what Morgan knew? They realized that the ammolite found at the burial site had clearly been brought there, just as the elephant ear plants had been. But was there ammonite in "them thear hills?!"

But then seeming accidents started to happen...first Carlee's mother, Gerda's brakes failed...and soon so did Morgan's... It had already been proven that both cars had been tampered with...

There is enough complexity to the story that readers will have many potential answers to how and who had killed Carlee--her family, of course, had to be considered. But Carlee's former fiance' was also still in town, now married. Or was it the mountain man who had perhaps killed her accidentally and had then kept her body in the hills? Actually if you're a careful reader, you will know who the mountain man is almost right from the start...I did!

Only one thing could bring this mystery out in the open... The church had planned a memorial service for Carlee, and had searched out Gerda's other daughter and talked her into coming home. 

And her daughter looked just like Carlee when she had disappeared...

If you enjoy playing amateur sleuth, I highly recommend you consider Stone Cold Case. It is intriguing enough to hold your attention, yet, light enough to not get too deep into dangerous least it was until the climactic ending! Enjoy!


About Catherine Dilts

To Catherine Dilts, rock shops are like geodes – both contain amazing treasures hidden inside their plain-as-dirt exteriors. Catherine caught mountain fever after a childhood vacation in Rocky Mountain National Park. Determined to give up her flat–lander ways, she moved from Oklahoma to Colorado. Her husband, a Colorado native, proposed to her as they hiked Barr Trail on Pikes Peak. Catherine works as an environmental scientist, and plays at heirloom vegetable gardening, camping, and fishing. Her short stories appear in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. In her spare time, she attempts to lure wild donkeys to her property in the mountains.

Find Catherine and Stone Cold Case online:

Kirkus review for Stone Cold Case

Stone Cold Case - A Rock Shop Mystery
ISBN # 9781432830991
Release date September 16, 2015 by Five Star - Cengage

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