The Mystery at Mount Forest Island by Pat Camalliere is a Book Heaven Wednesday pick #mystery #books
Title: The Mystery at Mount Forest Island
Author: Pat Camalliere
Genre: Historical Mystery, Amateur Sleuth, Paranormal
Publisher: Amika Press
Jessica Fletcher meets the Sopranos in this third book in the Cora Tozzi historical mystery series.
Based on a real place with some historical persons and events. Crime, deceit, love and the value of friendship set in the forests of Lemont, Illinois, in suburban Chicago. A woman whose family’s involvement in the Chicago Mob devastates lives throughout generations.
When an automobile accident leaves Valerie Pawlik totally blind, she masters the daily activities of a dark world, but because of painful mysteries from her childhood, she lacks the confidence to lead the independent life she desperately longs for with her young daughter. With the help of Cora and Cisco Tozzi, Frannie Berkowitz, and Billy Nokoy, Valerie sets out to search for the mother who deserted her and for the killer of her beloved uncle. But Billy is experiencing electrifying occult moments of his own. Their quest takes them into a dangerous world of the Chicago Mob, secrets and paranormal phenomenon, culminating when a stalker threatens their lives in the Palos Forest Preserves.
People who knew Valerie Pawlik might have said she was a loner, but she had never felt as lonely as she did now.
Seated in an armchair, she ran her fingers over the soft surface. If she remembered correctly, it was bright turquoise or maybe soft orange or gray, the Library’s color scheme. Sunlight from a nearby window warmed her. Surrounding sounds seemed loud to her now: a page being flipped, a scratching pencil, a clearing throat. Someone walked nearby, probably looking over the selections on the fiction shelves behind her. An overweight adult woman, she speculated, from the heavy breathing and spaced footsteps. The woman had probably stared at Corky when she passed by, not expecting to see a dog here. Valerie placed a hand on the sleek fur.
Alone and lonely were not the same thing: she knew that now!
She couldn’t go home—it was Sally’s home really—before she thought through what Father McGrath had proposed…Better to be alone in a public place than in that stifling atmosphere... She patted the pocket that contained her cell phone. After she made her decision, she’d call a cab.
She had the basics down now: how to dress, feed herself, and move confidently with her guide dog or a cane. Father McGrath was helping her prepare for the rest of her life. She couldn’t leach off Sally and Grace forever, didn’t want to, even if she had felt welcome there. She was too independent—well, her personality was independent, even if her situation wasn’t. But above all she had to consider Molly.
Father McGrath suggested she get help from Cora of all people! Cora, who had ordered Valerie out of her home and told her not to return. The argument that followed provoked Valerie to seek revenge, and then there was the accident. How could she go to Cora now with her hand out, especially about such a private matter?
Father’s words played over and over: “None of this is going to be easy. Think of it as practice for a life that won’t be easy. Cora has the skills and experience you need to solve the mysteries that threaten your future. She’s also a caring and forgiving sort. Settle the argument; rekindle your friendship.”
“But we were never friends,” Valerie had said. “We were oil and water from the start.”
He had replied, “That doesn’t change the advice. You were the antagonist in the relationship, remember? That’s another thing you need to deal with. Cora’s the right person, and I advise you to have at it.”
Father McGrath was her only friend at the moment. She had always thought friends unnecessary, but he had pointed out more than once that her situation was different now. With the absence of dependable family, she needed friends. He wouldn’t always be there.
Thinking about it now, her hands shook and she gripped her knees in panic. Corky stood and put her head in Valerie’s lap, nudging, sensing her mistress’s distress.
Valerie stroked the silky head and gradually calmed.
Where was the proud, confident person she used to be? She must reawaken that person. She had to—her future depended on it. She’d try Cora and if that didn’t work, well, then she had to try something else.
She could do this! What else could she do?
Pat Camalliere is the author of the popular, five-star-rated Cora Tozzi Historical Mystery Series. She lives with her husband in Lemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She serves on the boards of the Lemont Historical Society and Lemont Public Library District and is a member of the Chicago Writers Association, Sisters in Crime, and Society of Midland Authors. She speaks locally on a variety of topics and writes a blog that features unique history stories. Visit her at www.patcamallierebooks.com.
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