Hello! You will find this month’s regular blog posts to be slightly different from those I’ve written before. It’s all to remind you of some of the things you found in my first mystery, Cobwebs – A Suspense Novel. That’s because the SECOND mystery of the series will be out this fall!
In the second novel, once again, the main character is Jamie Aldrich. She’s a widowed, forty-something science teacher who lives in a historic New Mexico town that happens to be named Las Vegas (no kidding – it’s on the Santa Fe Trail). No neon lights or casinos here, just small town New Mexico, and the home of Highlands University.
So, as a way of jogging your memory about the characters and the history behind the first book, Cobwebs, this month I’ll be featuring posts three times per week about something from Cobwebs: A Suspense Novel.
Today, I am focusing on Jamie. Both of the books feature Jamie as the main character, and the books are written in her viewpoint. This gives all of us readers insight into her thoughts. We hear her mental reactions and experience events and details in a way that only a first person narrative can do.
Readers meet Jamie on the very first page, where she says, “I had a bad feeling about this sudden trip to my great-aunt’s home in Oklahoma. And the weather was not giving me any reason to change my expectations. Instead, my imagination went into high gear.
“Bits of my dark memory rushed back from where I had buried them: blackness; the scent of earth and damp and mildew; the feel of coarse string as I touched … something. The memory produced a shiver that moved through the nerves of my body from my toes to my ears in two seconds flat.”
So, Jamie is not looking forward to this trip back to Oklahoma, and especially since a good old Oklahoma thunderstorm is rolling into town. She has come because her elderly great aunt Elizabeth, who is ill, asked her to come. Elusive memories of her last visit to Oklahoma, the summer of her twelfth year, have plagued her ever since. She is claustrophobic (fears tight places) and has arachnophobia (fear of spiders.) Yet, as a high school science teacher, she keeps those fears secret.
Jamie’s husband died of cancer the previous year. His loss was great, and made more difficult because the sheriff in her home town got it into his head that Ben Aldrich, Jamie’s husband, had died before the cancer killed him, from assisted suicide. She wonders if she will ever get over his death.
Here’s what Jamie says: “A dreadful image flashed in my head: Ben, in bed at home on his last day on this earth. His hair was gone, his cheeks sunken, his eyes burning with pain. I’d stroked his head, remembering his thick, curly dark hair, and then traced my finger down his cheeks, hoping to fill in those pale hollows with my touch and make them ruddy red, the way they often were when we came home after a long hike in the Sangre de Cristo foothills on a winter day.”
So, Jamie comes to Pawhuska, where danger lurks as he tries to piece together the secrets of her aunt’s life, and almost dies in the process.
Check back Wednesday for insights into Jamie and the fear known as Claustrophobia.