What is “A Moving Screen?’ It’s a mystery novel that is filled with suspense from the first page to the last. But why the title? Why is it called “A Moving Screen?” I am a woman who enjoys sports. I particularly enjoy basketball and fellow basketball fans are familiar with basketball terms. For those of you who are not,  a ‘screen’ is defined as the legal action of a player who, without causing undue contact, delays or prevents an opponent from reaching a desired position. This does not mean that the player can cause a collision with the opponent, or push, or grab, or hold on to the player. When this happens it’s called a foul. And the referee calls the foul “a moving screen.” And sometimes a foul can make the difference in the outcome of the game. If you’ve ever watched a basketball game you’ve witnessed a player setting a screen. They plant their feet and cross their hands in front of them and make every attempt not to move, but at the same time block the opponent so that they cannot score. They’re the neatest maneuvers to watch because some players are more skilled at setting screens than others. Let’s put it in layman’s terms: A player uses a screen to stop opponent A from moving to point B in order to score or assist in scoring. Now back to my title. In my novel “A Moving Screen” two detectives want to stop a killer from killing again. So they set a screen or a trap. Below is a short excerpt from page  one:

A hot date with death was imminent for Meredith Payne. Literally. Not because she woke up with a premonition that this would be her last day on earth or because the skull and bones card was drawn by a psychic and placed in front of her. Meredith’s appointment with death was being arranged by another person in the room, a dark figure whose facial features she could not see. As he spread gasoline on the floor of the tiny room they were in, he worked with the intensity of a floor finisher applying a final coat of polyurethane to wooden parquet. He sloshed the toxic accelerant against the walls as though he were an artist throwing paint on a canvas. Silent and deliberate all the while, as if planning to ignite a room with human kindling was kosher.

Nude and spread-eagled on a wooden table with splinters in her back, no amount of strain could produce movement from Meredith’s arms or feet, giving her no option for escape. Nor was mental respite a viable alternative. Alert and aware, with a limited vista in which her shadowy companion moved in and out, seemingly unaware of her presence, she felt all of her body’s silent distress signals. To make matters worse she had no idea who this ghoul was or how she had come to be in this place.

Before waking up in her present immobilized state, the last thing Meredith remembered was dressing for an evening out. She had been so excited to wear the new black dress she’d found in a boutique for 75 percent off the retail price of $450. It made her look thin and she felt beautiful. In her cache of free eye shadows that had been gifted with the purchase of a cosmetic product, she’d found a shade of lavender eye shadow that matched one of the alternating rows of sequins at the bottom half of the dress. A deep plum lipstick highlighted her pouty lips to give her face a lovely coordinating glow. The six-inch black pumps provided the perfect finishing touch, adding just enough height to make her interesting. She pivoted in front of the floor-length mirror, grabbed her snakeskin purse, and left her house for a night of fun at the church.

Now, having no fun at all, she lay in this small, dusty, dim, godforsaken room where the only light came from a row of seven candles on a mantel straight ahead. She’d counted them three times. She’d numbered the large fern leaves on the faded pattern of the wallpaper on the wall above the mantel—twenty-one. She spied water stains on the ceiling, and the ornate crown molding that had not suffered the wear and tear of the chipped, elongated shelf held in place by cracked, mortared bricks. She imagined that people who had once lived in this house made plans for the future, and sat around this table enjoying their meals without a clue that Meredith would end up as its centerpiece. The main course. It was certainly nothing Meredith had dreamed for her future. The smell of gasoline reached her nostrils. She tried to cry out, but her lips would not open, her tongue would not move. Only a low, hoarse, unrecognizable grunt came through. She screamed inside.


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