“Steven Sangster. I can’t believe I’m investigating his death. Did you like his music, Detective Ferreira?”
“Call me Lani. Yeah, I had one of Steven Sangster’s albums as a girl. I loved trying to figure out the hidden meanings in the words. Did you like him, too?”
Vanessa could not repress a smile. “I was a big fan. I had all his old CDs — still do. But I thought the ‘hidden meanings’ thing was blown way out of proportion. I thought his songs were easy enough to understand. Still, I had a huge crush on him when I was 16. He was so handsome.”
Lani smiled back. “The blue eyes and the square chin, huh?”
So this is the famous Nalani Ferreira, Vanessa thought, looking at the slender detective with her peripheral vision while appearing to study the heiau. She was small for a cop, but athletic, with beautiful big brown eyes and cheekbones that told Vanessa of mixed Asian and Hawaiian extraction. She had tried to tame her thick, dark hair, but the humidity of Maui’s rain coast was bringing the curls even through the hair band.
“Is this where it happened?” said an unfamiliar voice. Vanessa and Lani turned and Vanessa’s shoe slipped again. Her knee buckled and she almost went down, but Lani’s small hand grabbed her arm, steadying her. Vanessa was impressed — Lani was stronger than she looked.
Steady again on the wet lava, she looked up to see a short, balding man letting the yellow police tape down behind him.
“Don’t the words ‘Do not cross’ mean anything to you?” Lani demanded, stepping toward the man.
“I’m Simon Sangster. He—the victim … I mean, he was my father,” the man stammered. He did not step back, but instead stepped closer, putting a foot up on the lava rock.
“I’m sorry for your loss, Mr. Sangster, but you still cannot step past the yellow tape.”
The man scowled, straightened his back and puffed out his little chest, which did not protrude nearly as much as his belly. “Now that my father is—I mean, this is now my property,” he said, but his voice did not match his posture.
“I’m not sure that’s quite true, but even so, this is a crime scene and you’ll have to step back past the yellow tape,” Lani retorted. She lifted the tape for him.
“It’s so that no one inadvertently compromises the investigation,” Vanessa offered, trying to make her tone conciliatory. “Please, step back.”
“In-investigation?” he said, seeming to deflate. “I thought it was an accident?”
“We’ll have to wait for the coroner’s final report to know that,” said Lani. She stepped off the heiau and took the younger Sangster by the arm, directing him into the path back down the hill.
Vanessa was just about to step onto the path when a koa tree exploded. Wood chips flew through the heavy air and the sound of a shotgun rolled up the slope.
Dead Man Lying
A Hawaiian Storm mystery featuring FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm
She knows when you’re lying …FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm is back on Maui to catch a killer.
With lush rain forests, black sand beaches, and a laid-back lifestyle, Maui offers the perfect retirement location for once-famous country singer Steven Sangster … until he ends up dead.
As the killer, or killers, strike again and again, Storm must untangle the lies spun by the singer’s associates, friends, family—and the singer himself—before the music dies.
Dead Man Lying is the third Hawaiian Storm mystery. It’s coming out in paperback and ebook formats this fall!
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Get the other Hawaiian Storm mysteries:
FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm searches for a kidnapped woman, but finds a taciturn geologist and a strident environmentalist, instead.
Palm Trees & Snowflakes
Snowflake is a new designer drug flying into Hawaii. Vanessa Storm has to find the source and choke it before the drifts kill more young people.