What the Monkey Saw
by Lynn Chandler Willis
January 30 - February 24, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
When F.B.I. agent Emily Gayle’s partner is brutally murdered, Emily forsakes her career at the bureau and returns home to the North Carolina mountains to care for her disabled father. Guilt ridden over leaving her partner alone to die, Emily takes a job as an end-of-life caregiver.
Deep in Appalachia, Jude Courtland is desperate for a fast buck to pay for his grandmother’s chemotherapy. Together with his brother Crispin and cousin, Devo, the trio takes to hijacking insulin delivery vans and selling the stolen drugs on the black market. When Emily is assigned to cancer patient Hazel Courtland, the line separating right and wrong begins to blur.
As the hijackings escalate and turn violent, Emily’s intuition hones in on startling evidence she can no longer ignore.
Struggling with the truth, Emily is torn between her conscience and her loyalty to a dying woman. With her own life in jeopardy, Emily’s forced to take a side. Right or wrong, the consequences are deadly.
Praise for What the Monkey Saw:
"A stunning portrait of small town southern crime where characters walk a moral tightrope and risk everything to do what they believe is right. Emily Gayle, who watches people die for a living, is caught up in a drug theft ring and if she's not careful, death will come for her. With breakneck pacing, you'll want to devour What the Monkey Saw in one sitting, but don't—this is one you'll want to savor. Highly recommended series debut for fans of S.A Cosby, Joe Landsdale, and James Lee Burke."
"This tale, ripe and deep with the Appalachian experience, makes us feel sorry for the bad guys and better understand how some people make ends meet to get by. The struggle of living is real. The crime is ugly in some ways and needed in others. Combine all this with Emily Gayle's deep-seeded struggle to overcome her trauma and reluctance to use her investigative prowess and you have a solid, multi-layered, intriguing mystery that still warms your heart, even amidst the hardness of Appalachian living."
C. Hope Clark, award-winning author of The Edisto Island Mysteries, The Carolina Slade Mysteries, and The Craven County Mysteries
"As in the best crime fiction, Lynn Chandler Willis's What the Monkey Saw is about far more than the crimes committed, in this case the hijacking of insulin deliveries in Appalachia. Through the plot of a heist novel, Willis demonstrates how some people respond to the twin pressures of poverty and illness by breaking the law, and she accomplishes this without either glamorizing the crimes or condescending to her characters. Ultimately, What the Monkey Saw stands out as an exploration of death and dying, and how we react to both: the avoidance, the denial of loss, and the acceptance and grief that wash over us like mountain rain, either drowning us or bringing the promise of brighter days just over the next ridge."
Christopher Swann, 2022 Georgia Author of the Year (Detective/Mystery), Author of Never Go Home, A Fire in the Night, and Never Turn Back
"From the very first pages you'll sense that this is something truly special not only a suspenseful story, but one that represents the triumph of the human spirit to survive hardship and confront the inevitable end. A must read!"
Lawrence Kelter, International bestselling author of the Stephanie Chalice Mystery Series
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: January 2023
Number of Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-1-68512-220-1 (ASIN: B0BMCSK8KG)
Series: The Death Doula Series, Book 1
Book Links: Amazon
Read an excerpt:
I loved the main character, Emily Gayle. She’s haunted by the circumstances of her fiancé’s death and conflicted over leaving her former career, but she feels like what she’s doing now is truly of more service than anything she’s ever done. Much of the story is told from her first-person viewpoint.
Jude Courtland is also carrying many burdens. He is desperate to save his beloved grandmother but, at the same time, aches to be free of his responsibilities. He’s weary from the toll that being a caretaker extracts and feels guilty for his desire for release. He’s also keeping his brother in line, while Crispin seems oblivious to Hazel’s and Jude’s needs. Crispin loves animals, and when he discovers a small capuchin monkey inside one of the stolen vans, he takes it home as a pet, but not until after coming to blows with Jude over that decision. In his early 30s, Crispin is a little boy in a big man’s body.
The story is told in alternating points of view, Emily’s and Jude’s, and this works well as the two separate storylines wind their way toward each other. They came together in a tense collision and kept me on the absolute edge of my seat all the way to its shocking resolution.
I recommend WHAT THE MONKEY SAW to readers who enjoy strong and thrilling crime stories, unusual premises, Appalachian settings, or tales told from the “villain’s” perspective.
Lynn Chandler Willis is a best-selling, multi-award-winning author who has worked in the corporate world, the television news industry, and had a thirteen-year run as the owner and publisher of a small-town newspaper. She lives in the heart of North Carolina on a mini-farm surrounded by chickens, turkeys, ducks, nine grandkids, a sassy little calico named Jingles, and Finn, a brown border collie known to be the best dog in the world. Seriously.
Catch Up With Lynn Chandler Willis:
BookBub - @lynn361
Instagram - @lynnchandlerwillis_author
Twitter - @LynnCWillis
Facebook - @lynnchandlerwillis.author
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