Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ice on the Bay by Dale E. Lehman and Kathleen Lehman - Book Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

The forecast: Record cold. The crimes: Colder still.

A saintly young veterinary technician disappears on Christmas Eve, leaving behind only a broken window and smears of blood on his clinic's back steps. Two years later, his disappearance remains a mystery. A home in an exclusive area burns to the ground, mirroring fires ignited the previous year by an arsonist who now sits in prison. Is the new fire a copycat, or has the wrong man been convicted? A criminal with a long list of enemies is shot dead, and not even his friends are sorry. While temperatures plummet, cold cases collide with new crimes, and somewhere a killer with blood as icy as the waters of the Chesapeake Bay watches and waits.


Hannah took two pairs of latex gloves from her pocket and handed one pair to Harold. They pulled them on, careful not to rip them, then Harold eased up the short flight of wooden steps leading to the door, his footfalls quieter than a rabbit's. He gently rotated the knob. Of course it was locked, but it never hurt to check. No sense smashing things if the owner had invited them in. Leaning to the left, he felt around the nearest window, examined it in detail, and gingerly tried to push up the lower sash. Again, no luck. Again, none expected.

Hannah tiptoed up the steps while he worked and stood close behind him. "Hammer," she whispered, pulling the tool from her coat pocket and handing it to him like a nurse handing a scalpel to a surgeon.

He took the hammer and with a swift stroke smashed the pane, then cleaned the jagged shards from the sash with the head. Falling splinters chattered as they struck the floor inside. Once satisfied the opening was clean, he helped Hannah through the window. She moved so quietly she might have vanished, but in his mind Harold could see her go to the door, disarm the alarm with the code they had been given, and unlock the deadbolt. The door whispered open.

He slipped inside and eased the door shut, then took her face in his hands and kissed her on the forehead. She beamed, a dog basking in her master's approval.

The very next instant, the job went horribly wrong


Tell us about your book, what inspired it?

"Ice on the Bay" is the third book in my Howard County Mystery series, set (oddly enough) in Howard County, Maryland, although I actually live in eastern Baltimore County. A couple of years ago we had an unusually cold winter. In my 20 or so years in the area, I had never known it to be so cold here for so long. Not that it bothers me; I'm a Midwesterner. But one day while driving to work I was crossing the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which arches over the Patapsco River, the tributary of the Chesapeake that flows out from Baltimore's harbor, and below me I saw ice covering the water from shore to shore as far as the eye could see. I immediately thought, "Ice on the bay! What a great title for a mystery!" So then of course I had to figure out a story to go with it. Obviously it had to have themes of cold and warmth running through it. It strikes me that this is exactly backwards: surely the story should come before the title? But that's happened to me twice now. My second book in the series, "True Death," also started with the title. 

What was the hardest part to write in this book?

For me it was the Catholic content, because I'm a Baha'i, not a Catholic. The second of my detective trio, Detective Sergeant Corina Montufar, begins the series as a non-practicing Catholic, but as the books progress she is slowly reclaiming her faith. Fortunately my wife Kathleen is both my editor and a Catholic, so I handed certain sections of the book to her. She did an amazing job developing this aspect of Corina's character, so much so that I decided she deserved a byline. Aside from that, certain elements of the plot were tricky. In this novel, I have three seemingly unrelated crimes running side-by-side. Marshalling them all into a coherent order and connecting all the dots took some doing.

Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.

We had a heck of a time with the cover. I originally wanted a photo of the Chesapeake with ice on it. I figured a lot of photographers would have captured that winter. But a search of photo libraries proved disappointing. Kathleen ultimately designed it, using a black and white photo of the Patapsco with Baltimore in the background. She found a font that looked rather like letters made of ice and positioned them to suggest ice breaking up and floating away. The whole thing is supposed to feel cold and impersonal. And if certain other elements feel a bit wrong or off-kilter, that's intentional, too.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I've been a software developer for nearly 40 years and am badly in need of a retirement plan. I hope writing will be it. I'm not entirely joking. I've been writing for as long as I can remember and have a lot of fun telling stories. Many days lately I wish I could do it full time, but unfortunately my creditors insist on a steady paycheck. Oh, well. Maybe eventually. I currently have a science fiction/humor novel searching for an agent. I'm also at work on HCM #4 (no title yet this time) and a really fun crime/humor novel.

Do you listen to music when you're writing?

Not generally. I tend to prefer relative quite when writing. However, when there is too much noise in my environment, I sometimes plug in the earbuds and listen to classical instrumental music. I can't write with someone else's words in my ears.

Favorite place to read?

Propped up in bed or stretched out on the sofa. Reading should be done in comfort if at all possible. And with a real book in hand. I don't own an e-reader, although lately I've been reading some books by indie authors on my computer in order to review them on my blog. It's far more economical to pick up a bunch of books that way.

Anything else you might want to add?

First, thank you for having me and my thanks to your readers for reading this. I enjoy hearing from readers and would love to listen to your feedback, answer your questions, or make funny faces for your amusement. (My children and grandchildren always enjoyed that last part, anyway.) I hope you enjoy "Ice on the Bay," and look forward to bringing you many more books.


About the Author

Dale E. Lehman is a veteran software developer, amateur astronomer, and bonsai artist in training. He is the author of the Howard County Mysteries series (The Fibonacci Murders, True Death, and Ice on the Bay ). His writing has also appeared in Sky & Telescope and a couple of software development journals. With his wife Kathleen he owns and operates One Voice Press and Serpent Cliff. They have five children, five grandchildren, and two feisty cats.

Author Links:
Author website and blog: https://www.DaleELehman.com

Book Links: 

Dale E. Lehman will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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