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The Killer Chorus by Jack Conlan is a Stress Busting Festival pick #mystery #crimefiction #Nashville #giveaway

Title: The Killer Chorus


Author: Jack Conlan


Genre: Mystery/Crime Fiction


Book Blurb:

When a country music legend is brutally killed, Detective Jed Hatcher is tasked with solving the case. But as he delves deeper into the investigation, he must also battle his own personal demons. With pressure mounting and his career on the line, Hatcher must race against time to catch the killer before it's too late.Set against the backdrop of Nashville, a city filled with bright lights and dark secrets, The Killer Chorus follows Hatcher's relentless pursuit of the truth. But as he gets closer to the killer, he realizes the price he may have to pay for justice. Will Hatcher be able to solve the case and save his career, or will his own secrets destroy him?For fans of fast-paced thrillers and gritty mysteries, The Killer Chorus is a must-read.






Henrietta “Bird” Tompkins concentrated on what her last thought should be before she was murdered. The time that Loretta Lynn gave her a Grammy Award was a good thought, she grimly determined. A sufficiently happy thought that would have to do for when the final curtain descended. Because she was going to die tonight. The men in her house were determined to make sure of that.


She was called Bird because of old Charlie Harris. She could see him now in her mind’s eye: he was a pot-bellied grift of a man with his gray hair slicked into a razor-sharp part over his left eye and two bushy, mutton-chop sideburns shaved into fine points that seemed to cut into his cheeks. He had been the owner, proprietor and bartender of The Starlight Lounge in Jackson, Tennessee and he had been the first person to see Ronnie and Leanne’s oldest girl, just this side of seventeen, unleash her powerful voice on the public. He had watched the crowd be transported. “They flew to some other place, girl,” old Charlie had said. His characteristic leering had been placed momentarily to the side in respect for the damn-near holy thing he still could not believe he had observed. “You’re like a goddam bird up there.” And that was that. It had certainly sounded better than Henrietta, Bird had to admit.


Ezra was on the floor next to her and was struggling mightily against the plastic zip ties that were around their hands and feet. Stop it, she wanted to tell him, it’s over. While she had never been more terrified in her entire life, the fact that the situation was both wholly beyond her control and grinding to an inexorable conclusion gave her an odd sort of comfort. She had known it when they walked in. Like the old country song, she had known what the cards were by the way they held their eyes.


They were talking in the other room, the men who would murder her. Not softly but not loud enough where she could hear what they said. Goddamn them, Bird thought. She pushed it from her mind to try to focus on happy thoughts. The green rolling hill of wild grasses dotted by big purple irises that grew in front of a storybook red barn near where she had played in the creek as a girl. The sound of the first chord – full and glorious – wafting over the hushed crowd on the sweltering July night when she first played the Ryman Auditorium. Her lover’s beautiful face. Miss Loretta smiling brightly at her as she walked towards the stage amid thundering applause.


Then everything went black.

Chapter One


Jed Hatcher’s phone buzzed mercilessly on his nightstand. It had not woken him. The dead seven year old who regularly returned to his dreams had done that job already. Jed, though fully awake, had not stirred when the phone buzzed. Maybe it would cease, and then he could try to drift back off and get the sleep he knew he needed. It continued to buzz.


It was early morning on a Wednesday in February and the gloom streaming through his bedroom window told him that it would not be a sunny day. The hope that the phone would stop buzzing was, like most hope, pretty stupid. For starters, the number of people who had Jed Hatcher’s cell phone number was, as his Uncle Ray put it, as tight as a minister’s asshole. Of that select group, Jed knew none of them would call at what he professionally pegged as approximately quarter past five in the morning. That could only mean one thing.


“Yeah,” Jed said gruffly into the phone. In the half second it took before the caller responded, Jed mentally remarked on how his voice sounded as gravelly as a back road. Too many goddam cigarettes.


“Jed, it’s Lieutenant Richards.” Trent Richards was the lieutenant over the Homicide Unit of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and was Jed Hatcher’s boss. “We need you out here at a scene.”


“Okay,” Jed responded, throwing his legs over the edge of his bed and sitting up for the first time.


“Do you know who Bird Tompkins is?” Richards asked.


“Doesn’t everybody?” A sinking feeling developing in the pit of Jed’s stomach.


“She’s been murdered. Along with Ezra Conrad.”


“Holy shit.”


“Yeah,” Richards said, pausing to let the seriousness of the statement sink in, “so we need you over here.”


“Text me the address,” Jed commanded, “I’m on my way.”


“Jed…” Richards said, holding Hatcher from disconnecting the call, “look you’re my best detective – well you and Pierce – but are you…well…are you going to be fit to come out here? I know you’re supposed to be off today. The Chief is probably going to come out here and, well…”


“I’m on my way, Loot,” Jed replied quickly, using the slang term for his commanding officer. He ended the call quickly, as if that action would change the fact that his commander had just asked if he was sober enough to handle a homicide scene.


Christ, he thought.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):





What’s your favorite way to combat stress?


I love to walk at a nature preserve near my house. If I’m feeling less active, I sit on my back porch with my dogs and a cold beer and listen to yacht rock.


Why is your featured book a stress busting read?


I think that escaping into someone else’s problems and challenges can be a relief from our own. Following a detective solving a crime also allows us to play detective ourselves. I’m a reader who likes to try to solve the mystery before the reveal and I think many mystery readers do the same. I hope that reading The Killer Chorus will allow the reader to try to play detective and give them a break from whatever is stressing them out in real life.


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $20 Amazon gift card.



Open internationally.


Runs May 1 – 31, 2024


Drawing will be held on June 3, 2024. 


Author Biography:


Jack Conlan is a licensed attorney who has been both a prosecutor and a defense attorney in the criminal courts of Tennessee for over twenty years. He bases the characters in his novels on the cops, suspects, lawyers, witnesses, and judges he met in courtrooms during his career. He lives in Nashville with his family and several rescue dogs.


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I read and do yoga to combat my stress.



I combat stress by meditation and relaxation. Thanks for sharing. Commenting under Michael Law.


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Thank you, Jack, for sharing your book in our Stress Busting Book Festival!

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