|R. P. Dahlke|
I love to read and I love my hometown, Modesto. When I can combine both loves by reading about Modesto, I am happily entertained. R.P. (Rebecca Phillips) Dahlke is the author of the Dead Red Mysteries series based in Modesto. Her atypical sleuth is Lalla Bains, a former fashion model, who stumbles upon murders while trying to run a crop dusting business in the San Joaquin valley.
Rebecca grew up near Modesto on an 80 acre almond ranch and attended Ceres High School. Her memories bring authenticity to the books’ descriptions of Stanislaus County. Her experience in running a crop dusting business adds a spice of truth to the troubles Lalla faces in trying to make a profit. Three books are published in the series; Dead Red Cadillac, Dead Red Heart and Dead Red Oleander. Fans are awaiting a fourth book, Dead Red Alibi due in March of 2014.
I read Dead Red Cadillac in one night. With Modestans love of cars, (remember American Graffiti) the title alone should garner interest. The variety of characters and the suspense of “who done it” kept me eagerly reading until the last page. This weekend, I’ll be reading Dead Red Heart. I will try to read slower to savor the story.
Excerpt from Dead Red Cadillac used by permission of R.P. Dahlke
Twice-divorced New York model Lalla Bains now runs her dad’s crop-dusting business in Modesto, California, where she’s hoping to dodge the inevitable fortieth birthday party. But when her trophy red vintage Caddy is found tail fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask why a widowed piano teacher, who couldn’t possibly see beyond the hood ornament, was found strapped in the driver’s seat.
Reeling from the interrogation with local homicide, Lalla is determined to extricate herself as a suspect in this strange murder case. Unfortunately, drug-running pilots, a cross-dressing convict, a crazy Chihuahua, and the dead woman’s hunky nephew throw enough roadblocks to keep Lalla neck-deep in an investigation that links her family to a twenty-year-old murder only she can solve.
“Can you hear me, Miss Bains?”
“Yeah, I can hear you.” I was lying on the ground, my shoulder hurt like hell, and when I tried to get up, my leg buckled under from the pain. I looked up at my Ag-Cat, its fat nose cone planted deep into a row of tomatoes like some giant burrowing beast.
I groaned at the conflicting emotions—I didn’t make it as far as that restricted airstrip I was hoping to land on, I’m alive, but when my dad sees this he’s going to kill me.