Walt’s Last Message
© 2020 Iris G. Leigh
Aiden’s stuck on Cape Cod for the summer. Laid off from her job in Boston she’s moved home to the resort town of Chatham. Sleeping in her childhood bedroom, she misses her Boston apartment, roommates, and boyfriend, Walt. Aiden’s sure he’s the one and arranges the perfect seaside weekend to reconnect. She loves him and believes he feels the same way. So why did he break up with her on Sunday morning? As Aiden goes out for a run, she returns and finds Walt dead, stabbed in their motel room.
What starts out as a romantic encounter ends with Aiden accused of murder. Desperate to clear her name, she hires Liza, a veteran sleuth from Chatham. Liza lives with her boyfriend and two cats. She’s known as a fixer and believes in Aiden’s innocence. Liza will do anything to clear her name. Aiden also enlists the help of her childhood friend, Larry. He’s broken up with his latest boyfriend, and like Aiden, is dead ended in his parent’s house.
As Liza, Aiden, and Larry attempt to unravel the mystery of who Walt was, they encounter a web of corporate espionage, stolen medical formulas, Russian spies, and an encrypted flash drive. Aiden doesn’t know whom to trust and follows a trial leading to suspicious roommates, Walt’s corrupt aunt, and a trustworthy palm reader. As Aiden gets closer to the truth, the criminals get more dangerous. They kidnap her parents and attempt to use them as leverage to retrieve the stolen data.
Through a series of blackmails and plot twists, Aiden is driven to find Walt’s killer and return the stolen documents to the right people. With the help of Liza and Larry, she follows clues to clear her name and find justice for Walt. The killers are not done. They have scores to settle. Walt’s Last Message does not tie up loose ends. Lives are messy and unpredictable, as is Walt’s story.
© 2020 Iris G Leigh
One winter night, four friends plan an idyllic beach vacation on Cape Cod. Carly, David, and five-year-old Emmy can’t wait for a holiday with Peter, Victoria, and their children. At first everything is perfect. However, when Victoria’s cousins arrive unexpectedly, Carly senses there’s another agenda to their visit. By the end of the week, she and David’s world has collapsed. Emmy is missing and the police accuse them of hurting her.
Their loss taxes the limits of their marriage. David’s guilt about putting Emmy down at a crowded concert, leads to recriminations and doubts. Carly and David had hoped this trip would help them heal from the recent loss of their baby from SIDS.
The traumatized couple hire Liza, a no-nonsense private investigator, who specializes in locating kidnapped children. Liza’s background evading her abusive husband, is invaluable. She knows where people hide, and how to find them.
Their quest starts with a group of scheming suburban moms, and follows the dark underworld of desperate parents, ruthless kidnappers, and a money trail from Massachusetts to New Jersey. This foursome may have kidnapped before, and Liza intends to find out.
When Carly joins a support group, she learns about a similar kidnapping and a not-so-legal adoption in New Jersey. Liza sets up a sting with her son and daughter-in-law posing as prospective parents. The agency needs another child and demands Victoria and Peter produce a toddler. Although Victoria appears to be an unwitting victim of her husband’s greed, she is just as culpable.
After Liza, David, and Carly intercept another abduction in New Hampshire, the plot twists with double crosses and revenge. No one is to be trusted and the criminals begin to turn on each other. The answer to Where’s Emmy becomes the culmination of their quest.
© 2017 Iris G. Leigh
Liza Black and her kitty Licorice are hiding from her abusive, and possibly homicidal husband, Barry. Lucky for Liza, Licorice can keep a secret. She used to be Franny Kasner, a dark-haired, overweight, and insecure suburbanite from New Jersey.
Initially, Franny is so timid, even salespeople ignore her. Transforming from a mousy dark-haired woman to a curvy blonde, she begins her journey. There’s no handbook to teach this suburbanite from New Jersey how to disappear successfully. On her quest for safety and the perfect bagel, she meets Jeff. Deliciously handsome, Liza finds an ally, and perhaps romance, with this former New York fashion designer.
Unfortunately, Liza keeps encountering people from her hometown, making her safety precarious. She fears one small mistake will lead her husband right to her. Her instincts are correct because Barry is hunting her down. He owes money to some extremely dangerous men and he plans to solve his problems by killing her and collecting the life insurance.
As she moves to Chatham, MA, Liza agrees to house and cat sit. She and Licorice settle into a cozy cottage and add Zeus, a macho cat, to their lives. Liza’s quick wit helps her cope with unanticipated visitors and events. Her feline companions are good at keeping confidences, if she bribes them with lox and cream cheese.
Liza finds work in a popular clothing store and observes the changes spring and summer bring to Chatham. She resents the endless traffic, privileged vacationers, and intimidating boss. As Liza sheds pounds and develops friendships, she learns to stand up for herself.
The action culminates when Barry drives their son to Cape Cod for the summer. Barry, expecting a fun beach weekend, stumbles upon Liza and manages to kidnap Licorice. She’ll do anything to get her kitty back and he knows it. Liza arranges for a rendezvous at a friend’s restaurant. Barry has no idea of her new-found resiliency and thinks he’s got everything all worked out. He’s going to murder her and her stupid cat. The plot twists and there is a surprise ending with Barry and Liza in a final showdown of this thriller.