Mac’s girlfriend, Kate Bell, thinks she’s seen a ghost. Wes Harrison, Kate’s former boyfriend, supposedly perished twelve years ago in a boating accident. But now she swears a man she spotted in a crowded theater lobby is Wes. Mac has his doubts–it was only a fleeting glimpse. But to calm her shattered nerves, he starts making inquiries.
A clue leads him from his home in St. George, Florida, to a Texas orphanage. There he uncovers startling information that turns both his and Kate’s world upside-down. Diamond smuggling, sex, deceit, and murder are just part of the twisted tale that emerges from Kate’s earlier life. Using wit, grit, and the ingrained military training of a former Marine, Mac starts to fit the pieces of this scrambled puzzle together.
Further clues point to the Palmetto Royale Casino and Resort near St. George. He and Kate discover that the casino is a front for big drug deals. When they barely escape a murder attempt, Mac knows he’s on the right track.
But he better play his cards right–because losing this high-stakes game could cost him his life.
Praise for Deadly Ruse:
E. Michael Helms wrote a wonderfully paced mystery that is filled with all the deceitful things a reader can find good when reading a book. This is a story that will keep your attention and hold you on the edge of your seat. – Night Owl Reviews
Deadly Ruse is set in the Florida Panhandle and briefly in Texas and Atlanta, Georgia, and Helms has a fine knack for blending real locales into his fiction. – Si Dunn Books, Books, & More (New) Books
From Chapter 1:
I’d never been a big believer in coincidence until the night Kate Bell and I strolled out of O’Malley’s Theater after watching Dead Man Walking.
O’Malley’s shows classics and other oldies from yesteryear; and instead of row after row of conventional seating, tables and chairs occupy most of the auditorium where couples or small groups can enjoy dinner while viewing the night’s offering of cinematic magic.
Not that I considered 1995’s Dead Man Walking a true oldie, but to the teens and twenty-something’s in the audience I suppose the flick qualified. After all, I’d served with several old salt Vietnam vets during my career with the Marines, and to me the Vietnam War was ancient history, much like World War II and Korea had been to them. It’s all relative.
I’m not much of a Sean Penn fan, although I think he’s a fine actor. I guess it’s his politics that rub me the wrong way. But Kate’s a big fan, and any excuse to spend time with her is good enough for me. We enjoyed grilled grouper sandwiches with the trimmings and a pitcher of beer while I suffered through the movie.
When R. Lee Ermey, a career Marine himself who played the rape/murder victim’s father, tossed do-gooder Sister Helen out of his house I almost cheered, while the scene brought Kate to tears. Ugh. And when they finally strapped Matthew Poncelet’s no-good lying ass into Gruesome Gertie and fried the bastard, I did let slip a rather loud “Oorah!” From the look she gave me, I thought Kate was going to slap the taste out of my mouth.
“You just don’t get it, Mac,” she said, still dabbing at her eyes with a napkin as we left the theater and stepped into the cool, early spring night air.
“Sure I get it,” I countered as we strolled down the sidewalk toward my Silverado. “He raped that girl and murdered her and her boyfriend. Then they fried his butt. What’s not to get?”
Kate reached over and pinched my arm. “You’re about as sentimental as Godzilla. I don’t know why you even—
“Dang,” she said, interrupting herself, “I forgot my purse.”
Kate turned and rushed back into O’Malley’s, leaving me several steps behind. Just as I stepped under the marquee I sidestepped a tall, dark-haired man and bumped head-on into an attractive redhead clutching his arm. She was wearing a tight black pantsuit that did nothing to hide a knockout figure.
“Sorry,” I muttered, standing aside as they hurried down the sidewalk. I forced my eyes back into their sockets and hurried through the door after Kate. She had stopped dead in her tracks between the concession stand and the doorway leading into the auditorium and was shaking like she’d been pole axed. I double-timed to her side, hoping she wasn’t having a heretofore unmentioned epileptic fit or some similar medical malfunction.
“What’s the matter?” I said, quickly wrapping an arm around Kate to steady her. She’d turned as pale as the mound of popcorn in the theater’s popper.
“That man,” she said, just as her legs buckled. I caught her with my other arm and pulled her close. She trembled against my chest, her ragged breath coming in rushes. “That was . . .” and just like that she fainted.
About the Author:
E. Michael Helms is a USMC combat veteran. His memoir of the Vietnam War, The Proud Bastards, has been called “As powerful and compelling a battlefield memoir as any ever written . . . a modern military classic,” and has been in print for over 20 years.
His work has also appeared in the books: Semper Fi: Stories of U.S. Marines from Boot Camp to Battle (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2003); Soldier’s Heart: Survivors’ Views of Combat Trauma (The Sidran Press, 1995); and Two Score and Ten: The Third Marine Division History (Turner Publishing, 1992).
Book One of his two-part saga of the Civil War, Of Blood and Brothers, was released in September 2013, with Book Two following in March 2014. The first of his Mac McClellan Mysteries, Deadly Catch, was published in November 2013. Deadly Ruse, the second in the series, launched November 2014. The Private War of Corporal Henson, a semi-autobiographical fictional sequel to his memoir, The Proud Bastards, was published in August 2014.
Helms lives with his wife in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Upstate region of South Carolina, where they enjoy canoeing, hiking and bird watching.
See his interview feature in the November issue of “The Big Thrill,” the International Thriller Writers e-magazine here.
Connect With The Author:
Giveaway:This giveaway will run 11/25/14 – 12/23/14.
Two $25 Amazon Gift Cards (Open Worldwide)
Three Autographed Print Copies of the first Mac McClellan Mystery Deadly Catch (Open to Residents of the USA & Canada)