NEW NEW *** Sixes and Eights *** NEW NEW

11 Aug

Congratulations to Jamel DuBois on his new release at GSP.



 Jamel DuBois was born in a grassy ditch somewhere along an Arkansas back road, and the adventure could only get better. He left home at age seventeen, crossed the country by rail and tore up his return ticket. He joined the Navy, and found that oceans are gateways not barriers. He became a magazine editor, then a world traveler and a big-game hunter. He dispatched a wild boar in hand-to-hand combat, and faced down a Cape buffalo in a horn-to-belt buckle encounter. He has set foot in six dozen countries on six continents, wrote numerous articles for many of the guns and hunting magazines, and writes killer novels authentically set in South Africa.

Learn more about Jamel at his Website.

His book we are highlighting today is Sixes and Eights.



Thou shalt not kill. Neither shalt thou steal. These rules to live by are violated in some degree in all the stories in this collection: “Bring Me the Head of Kathleen Sullivan” relates the murder of a prominent Texas citizen. “Dominoes,” delicately positioned and when pressed into movement to nudge into the next one and that one into the next, results in a jumbled heap. In “Sad Songs,” the narrator is a songwriter-guitar player marked by hard work and hard times; and betrayal and lost love. “The Taking of Kaitlyn Peck” is the case of a young girl abducted on the way from school to her upscale neighborhood home. “Storm Clouds and Blue Skies,” one or the other, not both, mark the futures of these gypsy pilots. “Out of Focus.” Click, click, goes the mind of a killer, detailing revenge for a long endured and lying slur. “A Day At the Zoo,” certainly is no picnic, except for the man killers of a wildlife park in Africa.


 Bring Me the Head of Kathleen Sullivan

Peggy Vasquez, saddened and overcome at her mother’s recent and brutal demise, lost conscious connection to the ongoing eulogy being presented at the graveside. Friends and dignitaries, in seemingly unending succession, stepped to the speaker’s stand, which many required for physical support of their grief and disbelief. The respectful attendees to the funeral service offered condolences to the remaining family of Kathleen Sullivan, and praised Kathleen’s good works and the woman herself whose name had gained national prominence.

Peggy was the only of Kathleen’s six children residing in McAllen where Kathleen also lived—lived until last week. Peggy’s siblings, one sister and four brothers, had scattered around the country over the years as dictated by jobs and careers and marriages. Peggy was the second child. Her older sister lived in Oklahoma; two brothers were in Denver, one in Florida and one in Oregon. The family was close, just not close together. Peggy never considered leaving McAllen for any reason, because her mother lived there, and had lived alone and independently since the earlier death of Peggy’s father.

Peggy married locally, to Manuel Vasquez, and never really considered, as her siblings did, hers a mixed marriage. North Americans and Mexicans interacted freely in the Texas border and near-border towns. Peggy knew Manny when he was a young boy working at the Sullivan ranch years before. She and Manny grew up together, attending the same school, the same church, and the same social functions. Kathleen never objected to Peggy loving Manny, and their lightly tanned offspring, a girl and two boys, were Kathleen’s grandmotherly pride and joy. Kathleen often had said so.

Now the family was gathered again, the first time all had been together since their father’s funeral eight years before. There were more Sullivans now, additional grandchildren having been born who Grandfather Sean Sullivan never had the chance to know. Kathleen visited her sons and daughters-in-law at all the recent births, representing herself and her longtime lover, husband and family patriarch, Sean. Only Kathleen’s oldest child, Darina, ushered in no grandchildren, having failed to live up to the productive name Kathleen had wished on her. Darina, the account executive, and her husband, the airline pilot, were at the funeral along with all the Sullivan boys and their wives and children. Darina sought out Peggy following the end of the service.

Peggy wore a short black dress, black hose and black low heel shoes. The hose and heels came from her existing wardrobe; the dress was purchased for the occasion, a one-time wearing. Peggy would put it away, but not ever discard it. It was part of her mother-memories. The veil covering Peggy’s freckled face throughout the ceremony was thrown back over her head, revealing a shock of coppery hair. Tears concealed by the veil in place had run dry. She embraced her older sister.

“Peggy, how could you have let this happen?”

“Me, Darina? You blame me for this? Mother was murdered, in her own home, and it was sickening. I found her because she didn’t answer my calls and I went to her condo. How in God’s name can you hold me responsible?”

“I’m sorry Peggy. Of course I didn’t mean it the way it must have sounded. It’s just been so terrible. I just can’t imagine someone doing something so horrible to Mom. And I can only imagine what you have gone through here alone. And as painful as I know it will be, I have to know what happened, when you feel like talking about it.”

“I think I can tell you now. I know the boys will ask the same things, but I don’t know if I can face you all at once. I don’t know if you all really want the truth.”

“Oh, my dear little sister, I do want to know. I have to know, and I want you to know how much I love you too. Tell me about how Mom was days ago, weeks ago; how she was and what she did. I am so sorry I live so far away. I’m so grateful Mom had you here to care for her. All of us always loved you for remaining with Mom while we all moved away. By rights, as the oldest, it should have been me who stayed here. I should have been the one taking care of her.”

“And you think if you had been here Mom would still be alive. Your implication is somehow I failed her and you and all the rest. Is that what you’re saying?”

“No, no, no! Peggy. I don’t mean such an implication at all. If anything, I wish I could have saved you from being the one who found her. What you must have gone through . . . I simply cannot even comprehend.”




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