Category: Mystery Books Series

The Bailey Crane Mystery Series

  The Bailey Crane Mysteries 1-6

Meet Bailey Crane, a sleuth who wears his emotions in easy view of whomever he comes in contact. His musing is part of his charm and wit. He muses about old love affairs, friendships, anger, con artists, people of unusual character and wisdom. The case he’s working at the time does not suffer with his musing but gives more than flesh and bone dimensions to the characters. Below, mystery lovers may enjoy a 6-book series featuring a protagonist whose DNA is not only in solving crimes but in matters of the heart and soul. Bailey and the characters come alive within the pages.

Five of the six ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ are inspired by real crimes. Book 3 stands on only the author’s fictional narrative and character dialogue and development. The first book in the series is special because the young actress brutally murdered many years ago was a friend of the author and his wife. It is a case still unsolved to this day – a ‘cold case’ for the Phoenix Police Department.

These books are ‘stand alone’ reads but do have some obvious connectors – aging and life changes of the central character and his partners in crime solving. Here are the books in order, with a quick preview, and BUY sites.

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An Arizona Tragedy (1)

Editorial Reviews

Review

5.0 out of 5 starsA Thoroughly Enjoyable Must-Read!

By SUSAN H. MCINTYRE

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I was glued to this story all the way to the end.. I want to avoid any spoilers, so I won’t reveal the plot. the description, however, does not begin to show how well-written this mystery novel is. The plot has twists and turns, with a few red herrings that kept me from predicting the end. I loved that! In addition, the main character, Bailey Crane, is well-developed. I feel as if I know this guy. He philosophizes, loves, has friends, and yet stays on track of the case. This book was a delight, and I plan to read more by this author!

From the Author

From the Author

Many years ago, a lovely actress friend of mine was brutally murdered in the desert northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. She was a young mother of two children, a legal secretary for two of my attorney buddies, and she was responsible for my acting avocation — we had the same great agent in Scottsdale, Bobby Ball.

My friend’s murder has never been solved, and this fictional novel was inspired by her death. The book was originally published years ago under the title, “Probable Cause,” by a small publisher. I’ve dusted it off, edited it, rewrote some sections, and it is now, “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery.” It is my way of remembering her. She had her life in front of her with all the dreams most of our young generation had at the time, but her biggest dream was to have someone to love and a home for her family. 

You are never far from our thoughts, dear lady. 

BUY SITES:
Amazon US:  https://goo.gl/NQrJqF
Amazon UK:  https://goo.gl/Rxb528
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Satan’s Song (2)

A young lady in Phoenix, Arizona is decapitated while riding her bike in a municipal park…(inspired by a true Phoenix crime). The Phoenix PD has the case but the girl’s mother comes to Bailey Crane and asks for his personal help in finding the maniacal killer. Another young lady is murdered in San Diego, yet another in Texas, and Bailey finds common connections. The final disposition of the case will come in a small ski community in Colorado. Bailey finds his killer and also a new beginning for his life. 

NOTE: This crime was unsolved for many years. Within the past few years, the Phoenix PD found their killer.

BUY SITES:

Amazon US: https://goo.gl/2dQcte

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/NvBD72

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The Brutus Gate (3)

A warehouse fire nearly consumes Bailey Crane in this fiery opening, but our intrepid sleuth lives to add more battle scars to his job description. One of the thugs arrested at the warehouse is heard to mutter a cryptic phrase, “Beware the Brutus Gate.” Bailey and his buddies in blue have a hearty laugh at the pithy utterance and try to figure out what it means.

This is a proverbial roller coaster ride for Bailey, the department, and the Fibbies as they anticipate drug shipments coming in from Mexico. In this large caper there’s a bunch of crimes taking place – drugs, murder, rape, political corruption. Bailey has all he can handle plus another ‘turning point’ in his life. 

BUY SITES:

Amazon US: https://goo.gl/psF7CD

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/c7wqrD

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Murder in Pueblo del Mar (4)

5.0 out of 5 stars Murder in Pueblo del Mar by Billy Ray Chitwood
Recently finished “Murder in Pueblo del Mar” and found it very entertaining! It’s one of those “hard to put down” kind of mysteries! Will be looking for more books by Billy Ray Chitwood!
Review Published 15 days ago on amazon.com by Mary A. Smith
5.0 out of 5 starsAnother Mexico Murder Story

By Mike D. Landfair on August 18, 2014

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I liked the story, and the introspection. The dropping of “I” as the subject in his sentences, while annoying, wasn’t enough to reduce the novel to four stars.

From the Author

“Murder In Pueblo Del Mar – A Bailey Crane Mystery” is Book 4 of 6 in the ‘Bailey Crane Series.’

Some years ago a mother was savagely murdered while on holiday in Mexico. The case had many interesting elements, from cock fights and sex tapes to transsexual lover. This true event inspired me to write book 4 of The Bailey Crane mysteries. This author also had a dear friend whose wife was fighting her battles with alcoholism and there was an inherent need to combine this element in the story. It is my feeling that including issues with which many people can identify, along with the criminal case under study can only bring heightened awareness and some measure of compatibility with the plot line. It is also true that my father-in-law did in fact live around the ‘bend of the caliche road’, and my wife and I were frequent visitors.

The friends are now gone and sorely missed…friends in the book: father-in-law and my wife’s step-mother in truth.

BUY SITES:

Amazon US: https://goo.gl/bNfefn

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/KzKS5L

*****

A Soul Defiled (5)Editorial Reviews

From the Author

“A Soul Defiled – A Bailey Crane Mystery” is Book 5 of six books in the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’.

This short ‘Bailey Crane’ book will be the fifth in the series and likely one of my personal favorites. Why? Don’t really know, except the environment for writing the book was so very pleasant — stopping occasionally during the laptop pecks and looking out across that beautiful sea was so exhilirating. In fact, watching from my deck, a hawker walking on the beach peddling his serapes gave me the very first glimpse into this ‘Bailey Crane’ novel. Unfortunately, the poor hawker in the book was to have a very short appearance in the prologue of “A Soul Defiled.” 

Note: Each ‘Bailey Crane’ Book can be read independently of the other. 

From the Back Cover

Bailey Crane and wife, Wendy, are just settling into their new condo unit on the Sea of Cortez when a call from an old friend begins a dangerous ride through another mystery maze. They’re all here, the scammers, contract killers, good guys, bad guys. Bailey has come to the sea for some retirement fun and sun. Instead, he gets kidnapped twice, battered and bruised twice, meets a man of intrigue, and, finally finds that friendship and life can come to surprising ends. 

With compelling characters and a beautiful backdrop of sea and desert elegance, this is a tale with surprising climactic moments, not to be missed.

BUY SITES:

Amazon US: https://goo.gl/ojyTgk

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/P0cwuT

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A Common Evil (6)

Editorial Reviews

Review

5.0 out of 5 stars – Sin and sand

By CA reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

A COMMON EVIL is the 6th and final novel in his Bailey Crane mystery series and takes us to a seaside resort along Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Bailey is a retired Arizona cop who, with his wife Wendy, has settled into the condo resort in Mexico and is now the homeowner’s association head honcho. But along with sun and luxe, the Cranes also find danger and duplicity.

The cornerstone of the story is a scenario in which the largest cartel in Mexico, with a jefe who is not too objectionable, promises to clean up the violence and strike a deal with the Mexican government. Part of the clean-up action (read: getting rid of his rivals in order to run a drug monopoly with Mexico City’s approval) spills over onto Bailey’s turf. There’s a shootout on the resort property, Wendy is kidnapped because of a letter Bailey wrote protesting the dubious dealings of an American in with the cartels, and Bailey’s survival instincts surge to the fore, although not always with the results he intends.

This isn’t the usual whodunit but a look at Mexico’s drug war through an expatriate’s eye. The charm of the novel–and the series–is driven by Bailey’s unmissable musings on life and love. His voice is a gutsier, spicier, and more raw version of Alexander McCall Smith’s point of view in the latter’s Isabel Dalhousie series but his subject matter is both more intense and immediate. Recommended.

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5.0 out of 5 starsChitwood adds wonderful finale to Bailey Crane Mystery Series

By Timothy M. Tays 

Format: Paperback

Billy Ray Chitwood channels his alter ego, Bailey Crane, for another suspenseful tale. In this final book in the Bailey Crane Mystery Series, Bailey wants nothing more than to enjoy a relaxing retirement in his penthouse in a Mexican beach resort with his beloved wife, Wendy. But once again, trouble finds him–and by association, Wendy–this time in the form of a vicious Mexican drug cartel and the nefarious characters who populate it. Bailey is sucked into violence when the cartel blames him for a government crackdown. When Wendy is targeted as a way to punish Bailey, he must suspend his gentle southern ways and become as vicious as the cartel thugs to save her. What follows is intrigue and moral dilemmas as Bailey fights forces too large for him to defeat.
With a final unexpected twist at the end, this is a gritty tale of evil that will always exists as long as people give in to their darker side–which, of course, they will. Somehow Bailey survives and still finds love and hope among the systemic evil and moral compromises. A must-read mystery novel!
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5.0 out of 5 starsA Common Evil is basic in all of us
By eden
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

A Common Evil addresses something basic in all of us–the need to preserve the things we love, whether they are people, a place to live, or a certain way of life.

This is the sixth and final book in the Bailey Crane Mystery Series, which started with An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery (Bailey Crane Mystery Series Book 1), and it more than stands on its own as an engaging story.

The setting is the Sea of Cortez, also known by other names–Gulf of California or Gulf of Mexico, a large inlet along the northwestern coast of Mexico. Already, the story attracted me due to its location – exotic, hot, sand, beach, and home to Corona beer.

Bailey Crane, a retired detective is minding his own business, living in a luxury beach resort with his wife, Wendy, when he is drawn into the shifty underworld. The start of the book pulls you in immediately with raucous gunfire. It offers a look of what it’s like to live among drug cartels that are at odds with one another. The paradox of paradise is that life is expendable when profit and greed motivate those in power.

Against the backdrop of the fascinating world of living in Mexico as an American, Mr. Chitwood treats us to moments of self-reflection with strong hints of his Southern upbringing. These moments were for me, some of the most satisfying passages in the book. They offered a deeper look into the inner workings of his protagonist.

Bailey Crane is not afraid to be brutish to protect what he wants. While he may wrestle with inner demons, he can steep himself firmly in the task at hand and reflect on his own morality later. In other words, he gets the job done.

Through his two main characters, the author offers us a glimpse of a couple who have been through a lot. Bailey Crane and Wendy have a very strong relationship, one with a love that runs deep and is deeply personal. Within that love, words are not always required to express how they feel for each other. At times, the book reads as an ode from Bailey to Wendy, and I found this particularly endearing.

As with all good mystery/thrillers, there are twists and turns and a surprise ending that made for a wonderful read. For lovers of the mystery genre, whether you slant toward action, cozy, or literary–A Common Evil will not disappoint.

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5.0 out of 5 stars
Fun and Games South of the Border
By Diogenes 
Format: Kindle Edition
‘A Common Evil’ is the sixth book in Billy Ray Chitwood’s mystery series. It is also the first of the series I have read – but I WILL be back for more.
Chitwood’s detective, Bailey Crane, has moved to Mexico with his wife, Wendy, hoping for a quiet retirement by the Sea of Cortez. But fate intervenes and Crane finds himself caught up in a shootout with members of a Mexican drugs cartel. So much for a quiet life. From then on, things go from bad to worse for the ex-detective…

One of the things I enjoy about Chitwood’s books – apart from the absorbing passages of reflection on life and purpose – is that his characters possess a moral ambivalence. Tales about two-dimensional ‘good’ and ‘bad’ guys bore me to tears. Not only does this approach strike me as lazy writing, but it also patronises the reader. Chitwood’s protagonists, on the other hand, face tough choices and the decisions they make are not always good ones.
Not just a crime/adventure tale, this novel is a treatise on what it means to grow old, to have secrets and to recognize the things that bind us and the things that fulfill us.

‘A Common Evil’ is a quick read, but a satisfying one. Now I need to go back and start the series at book one to see what I’ve missed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars… I read mysteries for the sleuth more than the sleuthing and that’s why I enjoyed A Common Evil so much
ByAmazon Customeron July 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read mysteries for the sleuth more than the sleuthing and that’s why I enjoyed A Common Evil so much. Bailey Crane is a bible-belt gumshoe living la vida loca on the Sea of Cortez. It’s a retirement fantasy life that he and his wife – also an ex-cop – have cultivated as a reward for years of catching bad guys. But when a drug cartel muscles into his beach and barbecue lifestyle, the dream of a peaceful march into old age evaporates and Bailey is thrust back into the world of cops and robbers he and his wife had left behind. A fun, suspenseful mystery filled with the musings of a protagonist with plenty of regrets, A Common Evil makes for terrific beach reading (that’s where I read my copy).

Buy Sites:

Amazon US: https://goo.gl/57ExVZ

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One final word from me, the author…
It is my fault alone that these most readable mysteries have languished on the blogosphere shelfs for too long without better marketing – make that, little or no marketing! These books deserve more than what I’ve given them in terms of book marketing. So, you know what’s coming…please do yourself a favor and read one, several, or, all of these books. It’s my belief you will have satisfying reads.
Of the sixteen books I’ve written, these were my first six, and I’m sad that they are not getting the attention I believe they deserve. Five of the six are inspired by true criminal cases.
So, give Bailey Crane a chance to win you over! It is not lost on me that there are those ’31 flavors’ out there and these might not be your reading choices. 
These six books are good…hope you give them a read! 
-Billy Ray Chitwood – Author – July 30, 2018
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A Common Evil – A Bailey Crane Mystery #6

A Common Evil – A Bailey Crane Mystery 

(From the 6-book Series: Bailey Crane Mysteries)

A Common Evil is the last book in ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery’ Series, and, joining An Arizona Tragedy as bookends to the six, these two might be the most outrageously good reads of the series. Believe me, that is not to say the other books cannot stand proud among an unbelievable lineup of thrillers. All books in this series are inspired by true events except for book 3, The Brutus Gate – itself, with the thrills and subject matter, will keep the mystery buffs reading into the night.

 A Common Evil was inspired and written from some of my own experiences while president of the board of directors at a lovely resort on the Sea of Cortez. Of course, there are fictional elements in the story, but plenty of the narrative lends its words to actual events. The characters are built from real bone and flesh people. There was indeed a shootout at the resort in a pre-dawn raid by law enforcement officials and a cartel group renting one of the villas on the property. The snap-snap of gunfire was real. The dead bodies on the blood- soaked ground were real.

That shootout starts the book, and some believe it might have happened because of a letter I wrote to the Governor of Sonora about some culpable folks at the resort and after one of our administrative personnel was kidnapped for several days, beaten, found, hospitalized for a time and released back to the resort.

To experience the dazzling beauty of that resort, to enjoy the cobalt waters of the Sea of Cortez, to gather sea shells along the beach, and, as an ex-pat, witness some elements of a country I’ve loved for many years, made me heart-sick to leave and return to the United States. It was at the loving insistence of family that prompted us to leave that beautiful sea resort.

A Common Evil is particularly close to my heart. There is a haunting nostalgia for me connected with old Mexico. The people, beaten down by their history of cartels and mordida, are thankful for the American home owners in Mexico, are helpful in so many ways and their lined and toil-ridden faces show their story as plainly as any history text could lay out. I think the narrative of this book will bear that out.

Bailey’s wife Wendy is kidnapped! Bailey is fraught with agony and anger! Bailey acts, and it doesn’t seem to be the same Bailey…but, then, his wife is missing.

A Common Evil will keep you riveted with mystery and suspense. The ending is alone worth a read. Don’t miss this one!

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 29, 2018

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Murder in Pueblo del Mar

[This is my ‘Oops!’ – I scheduled this to go out last week. WordPress or I goofed: believe I’m safe in guessing it was ‘I’ who made the ‘goof’! A Mystery series with six books NEEDS to have six books, I always say! SO, here’s that fourth book that should have followed “The Brutus Gate” Book 3 last week…SORRY!}

“Murder in Pueblo del Mar”

Book 4 – ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series

Inspired by a vicious homicide in Mexico of a Phoenix, Arizona wife and mother, this fourth book in the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ 1-6 has all the characteristics the author gives to Bailey Crane, that is, Bailey’s criminal cases seem always to bring his penchant for musings and mind-wanderings of a special nature – a stranger that he finds exotic in a most unusual way, an event that brings thoughts of a yesterday, some moments that bring a nascent sadness. Love him, hate him, that’s Bailey Crane, wearing his heart like epaulets, sharing his thoughts while he stays true to the chase for the bad guys.

A Poenix wife and mother is slashed to death in a rental villa while on holiday in a small Mexican fishing village on the Sea of Cortez. Bailey Crane and Wendy are visiting long-time friends just around the bend of the old caliche road. These special friends of Bailey and Wendy figure prominently in this brutal murder case. There are the time-consuming battles between the United States and Mexico over jurisdiction, but that in-fighting does not stop the action on both sides of the border.

There is a ‘transsexual element’ in the authenic criminal case and it is also a riveting part of this fictional rendering. There are some sexual parts in the story but they are handled without livid details.

The heart of the case is of course this sensationally gruesome murder, but what makes it more compelling is the author’s connections with some of the characters in this story and the heartache he came to know from his close relationship… In the book, the author refers to close friends living just around the bend of the road from where the wife and mother was murdered. In truth, the couple were his father-in-law and his wife. They are now both gone, the wife no doubt from her vodka consumption, and the father-in-law from illness. The author would live for several years not far from that murder scene on the Sea of Cortez.

Hope you can read Murder in Pueblo del Mar,and, please, let me know what you think. YOU CAN FIND THIS BOOK AND OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES AT MY WEBSITE – https://billyraychitwood.com 

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 21, 2018

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The Brutus Gate

The Brutus Gate

Okay, I’m a little ‘cute’ with the title, but they were the first words to pop into my mind. When the thug at the beginning of this ‘Bailey Crane’ romp was heard to utter these words, I knew it was to become my title for better or worse. Speaking of the beginning, that’s when the warehouse fire nearly consumes our Southern ‘muser’ and crime fighter supreme…take my word for it, it’s a beginning you will likely read again and again…he says hopefully.

The Brutus Gate is the third installment in ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ 1-6. The book has just about everything a ‘Crime Fiction’ devotee would want in a book PLUS some romantic moments. You heard right. There’s a big drug shipment due to arrive in the US from Mexico. The Phoenix Police Department’s aces, Bailey Crane, his most capable partner, Wendy, and the FBI are charged with stopping it.

What this great team of crimebusters encounter is political corruption, murder, rape, aforementioned drugs…and, they have to travel to Rome and go through the Brutus Gate…okay, I’m now being a little ‘too cute’. No Rome! No Brutus Gate! The attempt at comedy comes from being too serious all my life.

So, we have all these elements coming together in this fictional masterpiece (Stop it! Already!) – Okay, ‘in this very good novel’. With all the action taking place, you would think Bailey wouldn’t have time for musing and mumbling to himself and his alter ego. Think again! That’s his way of tapping into our subconscious and thinking about our yesterdays and tomorrows. Bailey is cursed with a mind that stores all of his mistakes, all his loves, and all the teenage pimples he had to a minor degree as a high schooler. However, I’ve got to say, I’ve known this guy for some time now, and I really like him – even when he sometimes has to remember he has a crime to solve.

My guess is most of you will find some ‘Baa-relief’ in Bailey, unless there are only two of you reading the book. Then, of course, that statement falls under the label of ‘nonsense’. Well, authors are only worth what their characters tend to put them through and Bailey Crane is an expert at playing with the mind.

The Brutus Gate after all my auditions for humor is a good book, if not in the range of thriller, it’s darn close!

Just saying!

Read it! Let me know what you think!

The next book up in the Series is Murder in Pueblo del Sol, a mystery inspired by an awful murder in Mexico of an American wife and mother. Actually, five of the six ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ are inspired by actual events.

Sure hope you read them all!

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 18, 2018

https://billyraychitwood.com

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A Soul Defiled – A Bailey Crane Mystery #5

A Soul Defiled – A Bailey Crane Mystery #5 

I wrote this installment of the ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ while living on the beautiful Sea of Cortez in Sonora State, Mexico in a most lovely resort Called ‘Bella Sirena’. Also, for a period of time, I was President of the Homeowners Association and needed to know the workings of the Mexican system of government and the peso. A Soul Defiled is not total reality but it does give an accurate sense of money transfers and some rather scary aspects of the well-publicized criminal activities.

The characters are my stereotypes, many of whom were built by my imagination and some from the good people who were responsible for care of resort owners’ condos and villas. There is one character in particular for whom I developed a love/hate relationship. You will be able to determine this person’s raison d’être and his Achilles Heel. It’s rather amazing how an author can create a character with all the ‘warts’ of criminality and a ‘distant heart’ that can feel and come to understand his life for what it is. It’s not my intention to be vague here, but I want you to ‘flesh out’ this character with me in the book! I just simply like this character despite what he represents.

A Soul Defiled stays true to Bailey Crane’s character, his rash observations and musings. In this episode he gets kidnapped twice, roughed up, and, in the end, finds himself as always questioning his judgements. Wendy is there with him, his loyal ‘sounding board’ and support system of love and provision.

The current ‘President of the Board’ of ‘Mar y Sol’ is a good friend of Bailey and Wendy. The ‘Treasurer of the Board’ has just been murdered, and the President of the Board enlists the help of Bailey – now a new resident at the resort. It is suspected that there is some sort of criminal operation at the resort.

This relatively short novel provides all the ingredients of a good read – business malfeasance, kidnapping, murder, and love.

Hope you put A Soul Defiled on your ‘Reading List’. It is a book you can easily enjoy at the beach, at the pool, and/or in the evening at your favorite reading spot.

Let me know what you think!

As always, My best wishes.

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 21, 2018

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Satan’s Song

Wherein Be Evil

Is the wolf’s wistful wail to the moon a siren of evil?

A stretch, no doubt, but Hollywood has made a lot of money with Lon Chaney and the Wolf-man…a full moon and a man turning into a werewolf.

Satan’s Song A Bailey Crane Mystery regrettably has no connection with Hollywood where millionaires are made overnight when their books are tailored into screenplays. Of course, I easily salivate with thoughts of that enticing proposition and welcome that ‘producer’s request’ to do just that with any of my books.

Well, that thought remains on a fading ‘wish list’!

Satan’s Song has the ‘evil’ and it has also inspiration from a true Arizona decapitation homicide. Like the first book in the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’, An Arizona Tragedy, this title was also a ‘Cold Case’ for many years. Recently, Phoenix Police Department found their killer.

In my novel, the details of that long-ago murder of a young blond lady is fictionalized and turns into a case of serial murders. The suspense and surprise of Satan’s Song deals with the motive and psychotic mind of the killer. The murder spree of the killer includes young ladies in the states of Texas, Ohio, and California, plus a male victim in Pennsylvania.

Bailey Crane’s life undergoes changes as my hero’s personal life becomes complicated and must deal with some emotionally painful realities.

There is a strong ‘women presence’ particularly in this book, and, in truth, all six books of the Bailey Crane mystery series. Please, partake and enjoy!

Hope all your reads are enjoyable.

Billy Ray Chitwood – June 14, 2018

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AN ARIZONA TRAGEDY – A Bailey Crane Mystery – Book #1

Her lowlife killer is still out there after all the years!,

Her?

A friend of mine back in the day! A friend of my wife! When not acting and/or modeling she was a legal secretary to my good attorney buddies.

A lovely actress/model, age twenty-six, divorced, a mother of two children, a daughter and a son! Cheerful, vibrant, high on life with all her dreams of marriage and family ahead of Hollywood on her ‘To Do’ list.

She lived in an apartment across from an elementary school where her car would be found on the side of a road, one car door open, and her open purse on the front seat. It was to be a hot sunny Phoenix Monday morning in August nearly a half-century ago. Cathy (the name I’ve given her in my novel), went missing for six weeks.

Cathy was found under a Palo Verde tree by a wash in the open desert near what is now the Mayo Clinic, her ragged dress faded and in tatters,  her body ravaged by denizens of the hostile desert.

In doing my research for the book, scouring the newspaper microfiche of the brutal murder, it was difficult to imagine what this dear young lady had to endure on that last night of her life so many years ago. Through some tears and memories I wrote “An Arizona Tragedy,” the first book in my six-book ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’. In writing this fictional account of Cathy’s homicide years later, I had some difficulty justifying my effort…she was my friend, my wife’s friend – was I being selfishly commercial in my endeavor to spin a fictional playback of her gruesome murder?

Well, I wrote the book, finally justifying the work as a ‘tribute’ to her memory, plus, just maybe, awakening someone’s mind regarding that crime to remember something that would help solve this now ‘cold case’. I gave it the title of “Probable Cause” and sent it out into the ‘wind swirls’ of publishing and got a ‘hit’! A small press ran with the book but years later changed the direction of it’s publishing goals to Sci-Fi, paranormal, and unique ‘fad-type’ books.

Well, you know the story, I did some re-writing, re-titled, and self-published this book and the series, plus the other ten books I’ve written…and, by the way, you might have heard about my glowing successes in marketing my own books! (It’s perfectly okay to have your giggles – I even giggle myself at my ‘under-achieving’ self-promoting!)

So, if there is interest in reading “An Arizona Tragedy,” you should know I did wrap my fiction around  most, if not all, of the forensics attached to the case. Six weeks in an Arizona desert in the summer where temps can reach 120+ degrees fahrenhite did not leave the investigators much to go on. Cathy’s car as well left very little of evidentiary value.

There’s something a good Texas friend wrote in an Amazon review regarding the new edition of my “Mama’s Madness” novel, another work fashioned in fiction from a true crime. He wrote: “The writing in this story is so good the reader feels like a transportation into the scenes has taken place. The descriptions of people, places, and events are jaw-droppingly beautiful. Mr. Chitwood has been blessed with a golden pen (or keyboard). He can show the reader all the sights, sounds, and smells of each scene through a tapestry that only can be woven by a perfectionist literary genius. I think that pretty much describes Billy Ray Chitwood. He has honed his writing art, and there is no more exquisite example of the resulting output than this book. I would recommend Mama’s madness to anyone who enjoys a deeply disturbing story told effectively and with great taste.”

I’ve gotten some really good reviews along with ‘the other kind’ but this one just overwhelmed me… That first night after reading that review, I got out of bed every ten minutes to re-read it. Whatever he was ‘high on’, he passes it right along to me. I’m likely to change my will for that Texas ‘feller’.  Well, yeah, I’m going off the deep-end here, but that review is about as good as an author can get, and I’m thanking that man in an open forum. I’ve never kissed a man before and won’t think about it now, but I’ll sure polish his shoes and walk his dogs… Just saying!

That leaves us with “An Arizona Tragedy.” That’s the first book of my sixteen that was published, and I believe it’s well-written. Why don’t you all get a copy, read it, and let me know what you think. I’m betting you like the writing and my alter-ego ‘punching bag’, Bailey Crane. AND, you can write an Amazon review and try to outdo that Texas feller, but I’m not even considering giving odds on that.

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 11, 2018

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