BLACK SHEEP–in progress

Ellen learns a crime almost ruined her family just before she was born twenty years ago. She joins forces with the investigating officer who has reopened the case–only to learn her family has secrets they don’t want revealed, and will do anything to keep buried.

I love history and mystery, and this novel, set in 1972, has plenty of both. Throw in a budding interracial romance and a spirited ten-year-old co-detective, and you have BLACK SHEEP.


The phone rang at the Dennys’ house at nine o’clock Saturday night.

Lisa scurried out of bed and grabbed the glass that sat on her bookshelf by the heating vent. She put her ear to one end and the other to the vent.

Her father answered the phone. “Harold Denny.”

Pause. Then, “Yes, Lloyd.”

Lisa held her breath. Ellen nailed it. Her dad was calling to get his lawyer’s okay to blow his nose.

Or maybe to do something more.

“Which fellow is that…Davenport? Oh, yes… sure, Lloyd. Name it.”

She had to breath. She did so through her mouth so her nose wouldn’t make whistling noises.

“What exactly are you wanting me to find out?” Her father snickered. “Anything, huh? Anything good or anything bad?”

Find out anything. Ellen’s dad wanted dirt on Officer Highway Dude.

If people did stuff like that on The Mod Squad, it was because they were trying to hide something about themselves. Ellen’s family was looking badder and badder all the time.

“I know…okay, Lloyd. I’ll do some checking and let you know what I find.”

Her father said a few more things that weren’t important, grown-up talk about stuff like the upcoming baseball season and whether or not Mission Forks would get the rain that had been forecast. Then he said, “Don’t worry about this, Lloyd. I sent the Patrol a letter and let them know to leave your family alone. Your official response to anything this fellow asks is ‘No comment.’ They can chase down Nolan somewhere else.”

The conversation ended soon after that. Lisa lifted the glass off the vent with both hands so there was no chance of her dropping it. Softly as if she were petting her old stuffed dog, she set it on the bookshelf, then climbed back into bed.

She couldn’t wait to tell Ellen.

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