Book 4 - A Merculian mystery
Merculian. A planet of sensuous fun-loving hermaphrodites. A planet where major crime consists of the 3 Ds–drugs, drunk, and disorderly.
Marlo Dasha Bogardini, a senior investigator with the Cap City regulators, is shocked when he is called backstage on the final day of a high-profile dance competition. The mangled body of a young dancer has been wedged beneath the set. As he investigates, the trail leads directly to Merculian’s greatest dancer!
Soon Marlo’s life and the investigation spin out of control and an unrelenting campaign to discredit him costs him his job. He forges ahead anyway, only to discover that the murder may be connected to a sinister criminal consortium. With two unlikely allies by his side, he uncovers a tangled web of violent crime. Marlo puts it all together but before he can reveal the devastating truth, he's forced to fight for his life!
Something was definitely wrong. Something more than technical difficulties. Even Marlo, humble amateur chorister that he was, unschooled in the ways of the dance world, knew if it were something simple they would have been told by now.
“Hey,” said his neighbor, “what’s going on?”
Marlo noticed one of the security team coming up the aisle, heading for his seat. A Terran female.
“Chai Dasha Bogardini?”
“Would you come with me, please?”
Marlo bit down hard on his lip to keep the questions at bay and heaved himself out of his seat.
His neighbor reached for him with questions, but Marlo pulled away and followed the guard at a steady trot down the aisle.
“I don’t know, sir…er…Com. They just need a regulator, an Investigator, I mean. I noticed you when you came in today and recognized you from an incident in the capital a few weeks ago.”READ MORE
“Fabulous,” muttered Marlo. He was getting short of breath but he followed the tall security guard through a door near the stage. As the door closed, the noise from the restless audience faded. At once the warm rusts, gilt colors and plush floor coverings from the front of house gave way to grey paint and hard floors. From somewhere nearby came the sound of sobbing cutting through a low murmur of voices. Marlo began to run.
“Right through here,” the guard said, motioning to her left.
Marlo almost collided with the woman as he skidded around the corner. And directly onto the huge stage. Harsh working lights illumined the space, the complicated set a series of steps and long planks at different levels casting sharp shadows on the floor like some menacing alien structure. Several security guards and a few stagehands stood around.
A small crumpled body lay half crushed beneath the towering set of discs and planks, his face turned away from Marlo.
The scene blurred around him.
Marlo's Dance introduces a new character and a new form. It os the first cross-genre sf/police procedural in the series! Here's what a retired homicide cop had to say about it:
''When a dancer is found dead, Marlo Dasha Bogardini, a Merculian investigator with the Cap City regulators, is called in and the real games begin! Caro Soles has done it again with this clever murder mystery, filled with twists, turns, sexual overtones, and witty undertones. Whether you’re a sci-fi enthusiast, a crime-fiction aficionado, or just love a great story, Marlo’s Dance will not disappoint.
-- Desmond P. Ryan, Retired Metro Homicide officer and award-winning author of The Mike O'Shea Crime Fiction Series