- N. N. Light
Death by Pins and Needles by Susie Black is a Cozy Mystery Event pick #cozymystery #giveaway
Title: Death by Pins and Needles
Author: Susie Black
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Set in the heart of the competitive Los Angeles Apparel Industry, Death by Pins and Needles is the story of one ruthless woman who didn’t care who she had to step on to get to the top. Lissa Charney is the showroom manager of a ladies’ swimwear line in the California Apparel Mart. Since Lissa didn’t think any of the rules applied to her, she had no problem breaking them all. From job stealing to dumping a boyfriend when he needed her the most, selfish and self-centered Lissa’s list of enemies rivaled those of Al Capone. So, when Lissa is murdered, no one on the swimwear aisle was particularly surprised…the only surprise was what had taken so long.
Who wanted Lissa Charney dead? The list was as long as your arm….but which one actually killed her? The last thing Mermaid Swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik expected to find when she opened the closet door was nasty competitor Lissa Charney’s battered corpse nailed to the wall. When Holly’s colleague is wrongly arrested for Lissa’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth sticks her nose everywhere it doesn’t belong to sniff out the real killer.
I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Annette! Help me! He’s gonna kill me! He’s killed two people already. You already have their blood on your hands. Stop him before he makes it three.” Dead air. No help from the peanut gallery.
I knuckled my left hand free and dug my fingernails into the soft roll of fat around Roddy’s thick middle. He flicked my hand away with the barrel of the gun as though I was a pesky gnat. I twisted my torso around to face him. I reared back and punched him in his bloody nose as hard as I could with my left hand. He screamed like a girl and dropped me. I hit the ground with a thud and landed on my keyster. I sprang up fast as a jack in the box on crack and a mind-bending pain radiated around my midsection. I fought it off and ran for the back door with the speed of an Olympic sprinter. The sound of the gunshot reverberated around the room as deafening as a thunderclap. A searing, white lightning stab of pain in the right shoulder stopped me in my tracks. I fell and hit the side of my head hard on the cement floor with a jaw-rattling crash. And then the world went black.
I came to with a splitting headache, trussed up the same as a rodeo calf, and tied to one of the cutting tables with a gag in my mouth. Was I out long? Maybe a few minutes; but long enough for Roddy to wrap me tight as a mummy. Remarkably, I appeared still alone, but not for long. Curious to be lashed to a cutting table and not in his truck on my way to certain death by now? Maybe he stopped to get a sample crate to stuff my body into? That must be the reason. I inhaled a deep breath through my nose and a piercing pain encircled my ribcage as the oxygen filled my lungs. My head pounded with the strength of a jackhammer while I tried to wriggle out of my bonds. The wounded shoulder ballooned to the size of a small boulder and stars flashed in front of my eyes from the pain. Roddy wrapped me from my shoulders to my shins and used strips of swimwear fabric to lash me to the cutting table. But swimwear fabric is made of spandex and nylon. It stretches if it's pulled and easily manipulated. All I needed were two free hands.
A pair of cutting shears lay tantalizingly close, but out of reach. An experienced boater same as me, Roddy used a reliable bowline knot to lash me to the cutting table. Fortunately, I honed the skills of a master knotter. To live on a houseboat safely and securely, it was a necessity. Roddy’s bowline knot was virtually impossible for an amateur to undo, but an easy one to untie, even one-handed if you knew the trick. Unfortunately, a complication arose that the nautical knotting instruction book failed to cover. The blood oozing from my wound traveled the length of my arm to my hand. My blood-sticky fingers slicked slippery as an oil patch, preventing a good enough grip on the shiny fabric to work the knot out. I stretched my fingers as far as they’d go and wiped them dry on my jeans, and worked fast before more blood leaked onto my hand.
My head hurt too much to lift high enough to see my progress as I worked the knots. I depended on a sense of touch and memorization of the way the knots formed to untie them. I twisted my wrists inward as far as they turned and worked the knots with my index fingers and thumbs to loosen them from the centers outward. The left hand popped free in thirty seconds. I untied the right hand with my left. I sat up and ignored the pain and the stars flashing behind my eyes. I used the cutting shears to slit the ties binding my torso.
I craned my neck in an arc to get an updated lie of the land. Loud voices came from the direction of Annette’s office. Roddy and Annette. Arguing. Preoccupied and not concerned with me. Good news, but for how long? With some luck, a few minutes tops.
I pulled the gag out of my mouth, and as I slid off the cutting table, I nicked my wound on the sharp corner. The stars flashed again behind my eyes. Drenched in the red stuff and in agony from the pain, the throbbing wound oozed, making me woozy from the loss of blood. I shuddered, remembering Snip’s lecture on the impact on the body if it loses too much blood. I needed to staunch the bleeding and fast. I cut three-wide pieces of fabric and wrapped them tightly for maximum pressure and stretched them around the wound. I used the strips Roddy bound me to the table with to secure the bandages. Not exactly the primo first aid, but it would do for the time being. After a few minutes, the throbbing subsided noticeably. I moved without seeing stars, but taking a deep breath? Still out of the question.
Anyone with a brain runs out of the building and ditches this deadly popsicle stand. But a Mensa, I’m not. I grabbed one of the anvils by the handle off the cutting table and crept across the room. I hid behind a metal set of shelves filled with sewing supplies outside of Annette’s office. I leaned around the shelves and peered into her open door.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
Death by Pins and Needles is a must-read because it is not only a zany whodunit with enough twists, turns, and misdirection to throw off even the savviest mystery reader, it gives the audience an insiders view of the apparel industry and just how the latest and greatest styles get from the designer’s imagination to the rack at your favorite store.
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Named Best US Author of the Year by N. N. Lights Book Heaven, award-winning cozy mystery author Susie Black was born in the Big Apple but now calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries.
She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.
Looking for more? Contact Susie at:
Social Media Links:
Facebook: Susie Black, author of The Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series | Facebook
Instagram: Susie Black (@hollyswimsuit) • Instagram photos and videos