Available on Amazon
One man's voice calls from the inner darkness of the mountain to
who love him, those who fear him, and those
who hate him.
Caroline Laughery agrees to meet her ex-husband at Odessa, a silver mining ghost town. She waits for him, but he never arrives.
Charles Laughery, a wealthy, powerful member of an international
business cartel, awakes to find himself trapped, in total darkness, inside an abandoned mine. He fights to rise above his terror and to assess his horrific situation when he discovers a knapsack with
food, water and a flashlight.
Charles attempts to keep himself sane by enumerating
those who might be responsible for his abduction. He wonders if his second wife,
Brenda, unhappy about their high-profile divorce proceedings, is capable of kidnapping
and murder. He's aware that his partners are angry about his plan to sell his controlling
interest in the company—but not to any of them. He remembers the fierce
argument he had a few weeks earlier with his assistant, Adam. He goes over a
list of enemies from his corporate takeovers in the eighties.
The mystery unfolds when Caroline receives help to search
for Charles from Josh Logan, a private detective, and a young couple traveling through the high desert. The subsequent investigation into his abduction takes them to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Durango, Colorado,
culminating at the Anasazi Indian cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde.
The sun sank behind
the black, jagged tops of the far mountains across the desert floor. The red-orange sky faded to melon and finally, the palest
rose. Darkness descended. The silence was complete. She waited.
* * * *
He held his hand in front of his
eyes. He could not see it. The sweat of fearbeaded his face and drenched his clothes. He was trapped in a world of darkness,
without a glimmer of light.
Charles opened his eyes and stared into blackness.
He swallowed the bile rising in his throat as he fought to control the panic threatening to overwhelm him. Where was he? He
maneuvered himself into a sitting position. Every bone in his body ached, and he could feel a large lump on his forehead.
Somewhere behind him he sensed a wall. Pushing with his hands, he slid backwards an inch at a time. When he reached the dirt
wall, he leaned against it and waited for the pain in his head to subside and his mind to clear.
last thing he remembered was climbing into the passenger side of his Maserati.
Lord, he thought. What happened to Stephen? Is he here, too?
he called out. "Anyone there?" Hearing his own voice only deepened the silence.
himself, he focused his mind on Caroline, visualizing her lovely face. Was she waiting for him at Odessa?
and nausea overcame him. Small rocks were scattered around, and he began clearing a space to lie down again. Reaching farther
out, his hand touched something soft. He jerked back.
out again. It felt like canvas. A bag? He pulled it toward him.
from suspense and hope, he explored the outside until his hand found an opening. He reached inside.
my god!" He wrapped trembling fingers around the flashlight. A beam of light illuminated the inside of the knapsack.
he had refused to shed his entire life began to run down his cheeks.
* * * *
She lifted long, dark hair, streaked
with silver strands, off her neck and anchored it high on her head. It was late evening, but the air was still hot and dry.
Dipping a cloth into the porcelain washbowl, she patted cool water on her face and neck. Deep brown eyes stared back at her
from the mirror attached to the dresser.
and no Charles. Had he changed his mind? Why wasn’t he answering his cell
This was not
like her ex-husband. He was always prompt. Since their divorce ten years ago, she'd missed that quality in the men she dated.
On the other
hand, there had always been a part of Charles’s life that he kept secret, even from her. Periodically he would go off
on some mysterious venture, unconcerned if it inconvenienced anyone else. Had that happened again?
How long should I wait? she wondered. She looked around the bedroom. Like the rest of the house, it was spotlessly
clean. Soft, lace-trimmed sheets were on the bed. An elegant crystal hurricane lamp sat on the antique dresser.
the room looked very much the same as it had a hundred years ago, although the lace curtains at the French doors were obviously
new. She opened the doors and stepped onto the front porch.
the sandy street, she looked out over the unobstructed view of the valley. The small, stucco house sat at the far end of an
old mining town, halfway up the barren, craggy mountain. The desert floor below stretched for miles before reaching the mountains
to the north. A single asphalt road ran east and west through the center of the valley.
What am I doing here? Why did I ever agree to come to this isolated, abandoned town?
But, of course,
she knew why. Charles had promised a unique surprise if she met him, and she was curious about her ex-husband’s life
these days. She hoped this unusual get-together would answer some of her questions.
As the sun
sank lower in the sky, Caroline looked toward the mountain behind her. Dilapidated buildings lined a sand-packed street. In
the 1800s, there had been stores, a barbershop, jail, smithy, schoolhouse and several saloons in the booming mining town of
Odessa. Charles had left a detailed history of the town for her to read.
She had been
fascinated by the historical document, especially in regard to the family that once lived in the house where she was staying.
In 1876, a young woman named Jessica had married the owner of the General Store and managed to raise five children in the
small house. From the moment Caroline arrived, she had sensed a loving presence.
she slept peacefully in the bed where Jessica's children had been born. She used the old dresser for her clothes and had stared
into the wavy mirror, tracing the fine lines that had begun to appear now that she was in her fifties. Had Jessica done the
same as the desert stole her youth?
The sun had
almost disappeared below the horizon. Caroline walked back to the house, choosing the second set of doors leading from the
porch into the parlor. In this room, the original Victorian-style furniture was well preserved. Blue cotton drapes hung at
the windows and a threadbare Oriental rug covered the middle of the hardwood floor.
through the room to a hallway that led past a small bathroom to the kitchen. A week's supply of food stocked the kitchen shelves
and the propane refrigerator. She lit the kerosene lamp on the table and made herself a ham sandwich. Arranging cheese, crackers
and fruit on a plate and pouring a glass of wine, she carried everything out to the front porch.
a wooden rocker, she ate her supper, watching stars appear one by one, until the sky was full. There was a familiarity about
the place that filled her with a quiet peace. If only Charles were here. She closed her eyes and pictured the face of the
man she had once loved so deeply.
she turned toward the mountain.
Several Reviews (more on Amazon)
Laura L. Mays Hoopes
Desert Soliloquy is a wonderful read. I began it one evening, thinking I'd read a bit each night until
I finished the book. I couldn't stop; read the whole thing until the wee hours of the morning.
The characters are fresh,
their passions are up with today's news, but they haven't let go of their need for human warmth. Libby Grandy lets them get
into some desperate situations, and you can't see the ending easily from the middle at all. When you read a novel by Grandy,
you feel you know the people in it and want to hear more of their lives.
She's a master storyteller and infuses her
characters with that human mixture of joie de vivre and mischief that makes the whole book seethe with conflicting desires
and plans. Highly recommended!
Desert Soliloquy was great fun to read: a mystery and adventure with romance and character development!
The novel balances all these elements in a perfectly satisfying way. What more could you want? The setting is the empty desert,
with jaunts to LA, to a ranch in Colorado, and to ancient ruins. I especially enjoyed the nice touches you don't usually get
in a mystery--scents of food, a feel of bygone times in the ghost town, and romantic leads who don't necessarily fit the "hot
and nubile" stereotype.
In fact, the best part of this book is that it doesn't conform to stereotypical writing. Grandy
does not throw hyperactive thrills or soppy romance at the reader. Instead, she tells a riveting story with pauses to let
us know the characters and catch our breath.
Oh how I wish she had
another book out! This book is well plotted, well written, the characters are engaging & she brings the desert & the
old mining town to life realistically. I'll be watching for her other books she is a great writer!
S. Kay Murphy
I didn't know much about the premise
of this novel before I began reading, and for some reason I had in my mind that it would fit the form of the standard "ex-love
vs. new love" scenario. Boy, was I wrong. This well-written little novel is packed with mystery, intrigue, romance, betrayal
and so much more, and all the elements are nicely balanced; Grandy is never heavy-handed, as some mystery and romance novelists
tend to be. I love the subtlety of this book; the plot lines flow out evenly, twining around themselves like the movements
in a good symphony. And with each new revelation in the plot, the pages turn faster and faster. On several nights consecutively,
I stayed up far past my bedtime reading it.
A brief note on the character of Caroline: I liked her. I could never BE
her. When she discovers that her unfaithful ex-husband may be trapped in a cave, she feels compelled to push forward a search
for him. I'd've left the guy there. But Caroline's personality--consistent throughout the novel--is one of gentle strength
and thoroughly considered options. As such, I view her character as a true heroine.
I enjoyed this offering from Libby
Grandy very much and look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
It's really hard to believe that this is Libby Grandy's first novel. The pace is perfect, the writing self-assured,
and the characterizations dead on. The major characters, in fact, are so distinct and multi-layered while being likable that
they would be enough by themselves to keep the pages turning. (Who can help liking the young woman who reacts with a spontaneous
clap at the sight of a beautiful sunrise?) The mystery has good suspense, and so do the romantic elements, not really resolved
until the final pages where the reader is likely to be surprised. But the setting, or settings, really tie it all together.
Even if you have never visited the high desert of California, you will feel as though you have and it is a visit you will
This book was definitely a page-turner.
It was hard to put the book down once you got to know the characters. You wanted to know what they were going to do next in
each of the different dramatic situations. I liked the way the author developed her characters in the story. It was put at
a good pace. Once you got to know all of them, you liked them, and were rooting for them. I remember being upset one day that
my Kindle needed re-charging when I was right at a part where something big was about to happen! I was so upset. Don't let
this happen to you! It's a great story, and a book you will want to refer to your friends.