Rivers and Creaks
Rivers and Creaks: A Redwoods Country Mystery
by Marc Jedel
About Rivers and Creaks
Rivers and Creaks: A Redwoods Country Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
BGM Press (November 30, 2023)
Print length : 227 pages
Digital ASIN : B0CNBGWSCK
A grumpy innkeeper. A dead guest. Can he solve the locked-room mystery before his business crumbles into chaos?
In the heart of Redwoods Country, where even the towering trees whisper secrets, there’s an innkeeper who’s anything but welcoming. Meet Andy Shirley—a man who’s made grumpiness an art form, detesting both guests and life’s little inconveniences. Now a dead guest and a killer on the loose threaten not only Andy’s solitude but his livelihood.
His cherished wife’s memory keeps him tethered to the small-town bed and breakfast they dreamt of running together. When a guest is found dead in a locked room, can this retired copy editor use his meticulous attention to detail to uncover the truth and save his business?
Fearing this shocking event will deter future guests and buyers, Andy’s frustration intensifies as the sheriff shifts his focus to a higher profile case. Yet, amidst this turmoil, Andy’s even more shocked when the most unexpected event happens as he hunts for clues . . . he strikes up an unlikely friendship.
Rivers and Creaks launches the humorous Redwoods Country cozy mystery series. If you like cranky but lovable characters, classic closed-door conundrums, and light-hearted fun, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s laugh-out-loud tale. Imagine “Grumpy Old Men” merged with “Schitt’s Creek.”
Enjoy an Excerpt
I daydreamed of becoming a recluse, living a solitary life without bothersome people.
Calling myself a recluse was better than hermit, which implied living off the land, unwashed, in a cave, with a beard down to my knees. Beards made my face itch. Also, the term hermit came with connotations of being a sociopath, and I didn’t fit into that particular category. At least I didn’t think so.
My careful use of this terminology came thanks to the therapist I had visited after Catherine’s death. In response to her question of how I envisioned my life going forward, I’d replied, “Hermit.” Instead of laughing, she had defined both terms, providing me with the only useful tidbit I ever got from her. It was easy for her to tell me I needed to process Catherine’s tragic death and find a more productive way to move on with my life. What if I didn’t want to?
Providing a last minute reprieve from sharing some bad news with the guests, a white pickup pulled into the driveway. Finally, something was going right today—the new plumber had arrived.
As fast as my aching knee allowed, I hurried from the garage up the driveway to where the truck had parked. Reminding myself to be friendly, I made the effort to plaster a smile on my lips as I approached the truck from behind.
Stepping out of the truck, Charlie’s heavy work boots became visible first. From the back, I could see dark blue uniform pants and a matching long-sleeve uniform shirt cinched with a black belt. The dark blue ballcap had braids of long blonde hair pulled through the hole in back.
“You’re a girl,” I exclaimed as the visual reality connected with known human features.
“Woman,” snapped Charlie, turning to me with her blue eyes flashing in annoyance. “You Andy?”
I nodded and stupidly sputtered, “But your name is Charlie.”
“So?” Her expression twisted into a frown. Despite the unflattering outfit, she looked reasonably attractive—if that were the sort of thing I cared to notice these days, especially in a girl—woman—who didn’t seem to have hit thirty yet.
“But . . .” Then I closed my mouth, realizing I didn’t care as long as she could do the job and not cost me an arm and a leg.
She glared at me before adding, “Surely with your last name, you can’t have a serious complaint about someone else’s name?”
“Like I’ve never heard that before,” I grumbled along with a roll of my eyes. As a kid, I saw the movie Airplane! in the theaters, along with practically everyone else at my school. With a last name of Shirley, I immediately became the target of juvenile humor for the rest of my school years. And beyond.
I took a breath, realizing if this escalated, I’d never get my shower repaired. “Look, I’m sorry. I was just surprised. I don’t care who you are as long as you can fix my shower.”
About Marc Jedel
Marc Jedel writes humorous murder mysteries. He credits his years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley for honing his writing skills and sense of humor. While his high-tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, these were just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral.
For most of Marc’s life, he’s been inventing stories. It’s a skill that’s served him well as both an author and marketer. The publication of Marc’s first novel, Uncle and Ants, gave him permission to claim “author” as his job. This leads to much more interesting conversations with people than answering, “marketing.”
Like his character, Andy, from the Redwoods Country Mystery series, Marc continues to grow older and would prefer not to run a bed-and-breakfast inn when he retires. Like his character, Marty from the Silicon Valley Mystery series, Marc now lives in Silicon Valley, works in high-tech, and enjoys bad puns. Like his characters Jonas and Elizabeth from the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, he grew up in the South and spent plenty of time in and around Arkansas. Like all his protagonists, Marc too has a dog, although his is neurotic, sweet, and small, with little appreciation for Marc’s humor.
Q&A With the Author
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Meeting new characters, even if only in my own head, is quite enjoyable. It’s fun to figure out quirks and a backstory that animate a character to the point where they feel real. A less enjoyable situation that coincided with the writing of this book was that I wrote much of this in the middle of my own house remodel. Perhaps it isn’t a coincidence that Rivers and Creaks finds our protagonist encountering plumbing and electrical issues with his bed and breakfast in the midst of solving a murder.
You might ask what was the reasoning behind repainting the downstairs walls of my house. Why, it’s because the shower handle in our upstairs bathroom needed to be replaced. And, no, we didn’t have any leaks. In high tech product development, we had a term for this issue: scope creep. At least both the remodel and the novel turned out well.
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
I’ve begun writing book 6 in the Silicon Valley Mystery series. It will be called Pride and Principal. Marty, the bumbling software engineer, and part-time amateur sleuth, is just too fun a character to write for me to leave alone for too long. It’s been quite gratifying to see how popular that series has become, with the first book, Uncle and Ants, garnering over 2,200 Amazon ratings to date.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?
Beyond book 6 in the Silicon Valley series, there will definitely be more novels in the Redwoods Country Mystery series. I have an idea for book 2 and know how the body is discovered, but haven’t figured out whodunnit or why. I’m not sure yet if I’ll continue writing more novels in my Ozarks Lake Mystery series or the Silicon Valley Mystery series so it will depend on both reader feedback (please send emails!) and what ideas come to mind. I have written a sci-fi/thriller under a different pen name and would like to write a heist novel set in space, just because it sounds cool. Beyond those, I’m sure I’ll come up with some new and entertaining characters and plot ideas that spark my imagination.
How long have you been writing?
In one sense, my entire professional career in marketing has been about writing fiction. On the job, we just called it advertising, emails, and marketing collateral. After wanting to write a book for many years, I finally buckled down to actually trying it. Lots of work, walks with my wife and dog, and drafts led to my first novel, Uncle and Ants, getting published in 2018. Once that happened, I could start telling people I was an author, which leads to much more interesting conversations than answering “marketing.”
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?
My novel, Rivers and Creaks, is on sale for only $0.99 during this tour. It’s available at: https://mybook.to/RiversandCreaks. You can find all my cozy mysteries at: https://www.amazon.com/Marc-Jedel/e/B07H7MVKJL. All of my books are free for Kindle Unlimited members. The first three books in the Silicon Valley Mystery series are out on audiobook from Tantor Audio, available everywhere audiobooks are sold.
I love hearing from readers as that motivates me to keep going on the next blank page.
- Website and mailing list: www.marcjedel.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/MarcJedel.Author
- BookBub: www.bookbub.com/profile/marc-jedel?follow=true
- Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/18403497.Marc_Jedel
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mjedel/
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