What if, in one moment, everything you knew about your life changed forever?
Jennifer and David Brookehouse have an ecstatically happy marriage and thriving careers. She, a noted photographer, and he, an anesthesiologist with University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. She performs in musical theater and he competes in bicycle races for charity.
Jenny could never have foreseen how her life would change when she sent her husband off to a race in Vermont. In a moment, his body and mind are shattered by a drunk driver. He nearly dies and spends weeks in a coma. When he awakes, he is a changed man. Just when things seem to be getting back to normal, David disappears without a trace.
Jenny must swim a sea of red tape just to get the police involved in a search with no clues and no witnesses. When no one believes he can be found and brought home alive, Jenny has faith and refuses to give up.
As her life begins to fly out of control, Jenny meets her childhood crush, British actor, Karsen Langford, at the musical theater where she volunteers. Their growing friendship will cause tongues to wag, and the press to link them romantically. Though innocent of any wrong-doing, Jenny will face judgment and scorn, all while desperately searching for the husband she loves.
Targeted Age Group:: 15-100
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Like most of my writing, the story happened in a dream first. My dreams are very lucid and linear. I will often find myself thinking, “This will make a great book,” as I’m dreaming. “Over the River, Through the Woods” is no exception.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I do a complete character background biography for all the main and secondary characters in my books. As a former journalist, I’ve spent most of my life people watching and I’m very sensitive to people’s quirks. These find their way into my characters.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Jenny and Moby rolled out of bed a few hours later. The first order of business was to contact the company Gallagher had written on the notepad page, Evergreen State Mounted Rescue. Well, first came coffee, and a full bowl for Moby. Then, with coffee in hand, she Googled the company and visited their website. They worked by donation alone and operated throughout the Pacific Northwest, on horseback, by air, and by water, offering full sonar searches. They did search, rescue and recovery. Jenny didn’t want to have to consider the third option.
She dialed the number and waited for someone to pick up. It was only 8:00 am so she was a little surprised when a someone answered.
“Evergreen State Mounted Rescue. Kate speaking.”
“Oh, hi,” Jenny said. “I need to report a missing person.”
“Okay, let me pull up my screen for that and then I’ll take down your information.” The woman on the other end sounded professional, but compassionate, “Go ahead.”
Jenny started at the beginning with the basics of describing David as she had for the fliers. Then she told the woman about the incident with the police and ended by mentioning the stolen car.
“Do you have a specific area you wanted searched?”
“Stanwood and Camano Island right off the top of my head,” Jenny replied. “After that, I’m not certain.”
“Have you gotten any tips at all?”
“Okay we’re going to put his information on our website and then coordinate a search for the wooded areas on Camano and around the Center in Stanwood. I’ll call you back with a search date.”
“How do I go about donating to your organization?”
“Use our Pay Pal account listed on our website.”
“I’ll do that.” Jenny assured Kate. “Thank you.”
Once Jenny hung up, she retrieved her ATM card and tried to make a donation. When the card was declined the third time, it hit her to check the balance of their checking account. There should be at least $7500 in the account, but she found it overdrawn by $89. She transferred $100 from their savings account to correct the overdraft, but no more. Someone had obviously drained the account and she wasn’t going to put any more money into that hole. Someone must’ve forced David to withdraw the amount. But, there were withdrawal limits, she knew. She called the credit union and put a hold on their accounts, then phoned the credit card companies and alerted them that David’s cards had been stolen.
After that, she looked for their checkbook and sure enough there was a check missing after the last one she’d written. The idea that someone had brought David here to steal money made ice water run through her veins. She shuddered, then raced upstairs to check her jewelry box and their personal safe. All three of her cocktail rings were missing, as were the floating heart diamond necklace David had given her for their first anniversary, and his Huskies gold signet ring from UW with the large amethyst. The safe door was barely closed and not locked. The inside was mostly untouched. Their stocks, bonds, CDs and the like were still in place, but the thousand cash was gone.
She grabbed the phone from the bedside table. Now we have a crime, she thought.
“Island County 911, please state the nature of your emergency,” a male voice said.
“This is Jennifer Brookehouse and I want to report a robbery.” She said, confident, but her heart was racing.
“Cash from our safe, several pieces of jewelry and about $7500 from our checking account.”
“When did the robbery take place?”
“I’m not sure,” she hesitated. “In the past two days maybe.”
“We’ll send a deputy to take your statement.”
Knowing that police would be turning their house inside out, Jenny found Moby’s travel kennel and put him in it in the guest room. He keened forlornly and it made her sad. The phone rang and it was Kate calling back to confirm that the search of Camano would take place on Wednesday afternoon. Jenny hit speed dial on her iPhone, reaching Agrafena and Larry at home. Both agreed they were coming along on the search. She told them about the robbery and the imminent arrival of the cops.
Then she sat on the bench in the foyer and waited for the police to arrive. And waited. After more than half an hour, she heard tires on the driveway. Glad she hadn’t been bleeding from the eyeballs and waiting for rescue, she opened the front door. She was too impatient to wait for the knock.
Gallagher’s tall, portly frame unfolded out of the patrol car. His face was grim as he strode toward her on the front walk.
“Ma’am,” he said by way of greeting.
“Tell me about what’s missing and how you think it came to be missing.”
“Jewelry and cash. Both from here in the house and from our checking account,” she told him. “And I think someone forced David to come here and take the stuff for drugs.”
Gallagher heaved a sigh. “Again with your theory that he’s been kidnapped.”
“Again with your refusal to consider anything but that he may have run away,” she countered.
“You have to admit, even to yourself, that Dr. Brookehouse could’ve easily gotten in when you weren’t home and taken the items himself without any form of duress.”
“And the moon could be made of stinky cheese,” she retorted.
Gallagher stood, hands on hips, saying, “Alright, lemme predict something for you. When CSI comes here—and they will—they’re going to find a hell of a lot of your fingerprints and Dr. Brookehouse’s fingerprints. And a whole hell of a lot of nothing else.”
Jenny glared at him, then crossed her arms beneath her breasts. “Say that’s the case, that doesn’t mean someone wasn’t standing there holding a gun on him the whole time. A gun won’t leave fingerprints, but it’s still a crime to hold it on someone. That’s threatening grievous bodily harm or something, right?”
Gallagher clicked the mic to his radio attached to the right shoulder of his brown uniform. “Base, we’re gonna need CSI at my 20. 10-23.”
“Roger that,” came a man’s voice through the radio on Gallagher’s hip.
“No. No, in fact I’m not. You people are taking this way less seriously than I expected.”
“We people take every crime seriously. It’s just years of experience here telling me that Dr. Brookehouse walked away on his own. I see it every day. Sometimes there isn’t even a reason. Maybe the grass is greener in Montana or Miami or even Bolivia. Maybe he didn’t like how you cooked his eggs in the morning. Maybe the coffee was too weak. Who knows. All I know in my gut is that this is a case of willful disappearance.”
“Honestly, and with all due respect, I don’t care what your gut says.” Jenny rebutted. “What about the missing jewelry and money?”
“This is a community property state, Mrs. Brookehouse. Do I have to spell it out for you?”
“Yes, you do have to spell it out for me.”
“If all we find are his prints and your prints? Then he simply took something that already belonged to him for his personal use. Ergo, no crime.”
He stared at her as she gaped back at him.
“Water is wet. It’s not going to suddenly be dry because your gut says it is. Nothing is going to change the fact that my husband wouldn’t simply walk away. It’s not like him. It’s not in his character. He’s never given up on anything in his life. He’s a fighter, Deputy. A fighter. And I know in my heart he’s out there somewhere right now fighting to come home to me.”
They stared in silence at one another for several moments.
Then Jenny offered, “Besides, have you heard of this handy invention called gloves? My husband uses them every day in his job.”
“Okay, okay,” Gallagher relented. “When do you think this alleged break-in happened?”
“I’m not sure, but I do know that my cat, Moby, was very agitated last night when I got in.”
“Excuse me, your cat?” Gallagher guffawed. “Jesus, Mrs. Brookehouse. Your cat?”
“Don’t blaspheme around me,” Jenny snapped. “Keep a civil tongue in your head.”
“Sorry,” he allowed.
“So, yes, my cat. He’s very sensitive to things and if someone strange had been in the house it could account for his agitation.”
Gallagher hung his head in disgust. “Your cat says there was a break-in. What is he? Cat Lassie?”
“Cat Lassie. Very clever.” She retorted. “Of course he doesn’t say anything. He’s a cat. But just like with dogs, companion animal cats are territorial of their living spaces. He’s normally a laid back cat. But he was very agitated last night. In a way that, looking back on it now, was completely out of character for him.”
Gallagher took out his notepad, writing as he said, “Cat agitated at possible intruders. The Captain is gonna love this one.”
“Please try for five seconds to take me seriously,” Jenny told him.
About the Author:
Jacqueline L. Landry was born in Houston, Texas and grew up along the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast. She showed a talent from a young age for writing, drawing and music. Early literary influences included Frank Herbert, Colleen McCullough, Jack Kerouac, and Robert Heinlein.
She attended Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, and the University of Houston, earning a degree in Criminal Justice with minors in Pathophysiology and Psychology. She is a trained death investigator. She has also had a number of jobs that include medical records clerk, graphic artist, web developer and a short stint in the U.S. Navy.
She’s spent the past twenty-seven years as a freelance writer and journalist. She started her career as a newspaper and magazine features reporter, specializing in the arts and entertainment. She also worked as a foreign correspondent for Reuters Wire Service while living on Guam, covering the arts and politics.
Over the River, Through the Woods is her debut novel.
Today, she lives in the beautiful, rainy Pacific Northwest with three very spoiled cats named after Star Trek characters.
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