Excerpt from The Crowning Circle by J.R. Lankford, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Crowning Circle

A Mystery Thriller

By J.R. Lankford

The Crowning Circle
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Paperback: Feb 2001,
    385 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Except Randy Wilkins, a sweet-faced kid from the east side who was practically an orphan. Shirley had a big heart. She'd soon love him, too. If this went well, Skeet for the first time would get his life completely straight. In one stroke, he'd have a wife and a son.

Skeet took a deep breath, felt for the ring box, and opened his mouth to speak. To his surprise, he couldn't remember the words he'd planned to say. He'd have to wing it.

"Shirley?" he said.

She leaned forward, smiling, her forearms on the table. "Yes?"

Skeet wanted to talk about Randy first: show his picture, ask her to meet him, say he wanted to adopt him. "Do you remember about a year ago when I gave a talk at the Youth Center on the east side?"

She frowned, as if trying to recollect. "I think so."

"There was an eight year old boy there, an amazing boy. Bright, cute as a button. Asked so many questions I could hardly keep up. Turned out he'd somehow got it in his head to be a bio-ecologist."

"You're kidding."

"No. A bio-ecologist. Only eight years old. All by himself there, or at least he was at first."

"What happened?"

"His sister came. She was strung out. Crack, probably. Fell all over a row of chairs, hurt herself and started howling. The kid took care of her like he was the grownup. Calmed her down. You should have seen it."

"What a shame. Where were their parents?"

Suddenly, Skeet heard, "Doc, there you are. Sorry to bother you, Doc."

Skeet looked up and saw Michaels, the Homicide Lieutenant's deputy, crossing to their table, his big American grin out of keeping with the foreignness of Mai's. Michaels was an intellectual who tried to cover it up with pretended nonchalance and attempts at rough talk. Skeet bitterly regretted he'd ever let the Department know he ate here.

"Well, Michaels," Skeet said, annoyed but feeling uneasy, "I can't say I'm glad to see you. Pretty unglad, in fact."

"Sorry, Doc," Michaels said and nodded to Shirley. He sat in a chair and leaned over the floating flowers to talk privately to Skeet. "The Lieutenant wants you. We've got a murder. He thinks the husband did it, but the suspect's being slippery. A foreigner, you know. English. Anyway, the chief needs you to help trip the guy up."

Skeet put his napkin on the table, something vaguely tugging at his mind, speeding up his pulse. He'd felt this way off and on for a week and had shrugged it off as pre-proposal nerves.

"Husband, huh? Did he shoot her?"

"No, but here's a hint." Michaels' voice became comically gruff. "Roses are red, violets are dark; mess with me, honey, and I'll ram a pitchfork through your heart."

"That's how he did it?"

"Greeting cards," said Michaels, as if he were revealing Einstein's theory. "The guy designs greeting cards and puts a pitchfork through his wife. Can you beat that?"

Skeet could beat that. From any week he'd spent in Nam. "Give me a minute, Michaels. Wait out front, okay?"

"Okay." Michaels slapped him on the back and beamed at Shirley. "The Department can't do without Doc Skeet, here. Not even long enough for him to eat."

Shirley gave a passably civil smile.

Michaels stood and pushed the chair in, obviously satisfied with himself for being clever. He nodded to Shirley again and walked out.

Skeet watched for a second, wondering why he felt so strange. Chatsford had few murders, relatively speaking, and Skeet was always consulted when they occurred. Nothing unusual about that. He was even brought in on suspicious accidents and suicides, now that he'd solved Chatford's last three murders. The Department saw he made the Clarion's front page for it. He could have done without that, and being hunted down at lunch. Still there was nothing strange about Michaels' request. Skeet dismissed his unease and took Shirley's hand, disappointed. Reluctantly, he decided to save his proposal for tomorrow. They could return to Mai's and he'd make sure they weren't disturbed.

Copyright © J. R. Lankford February 2, 2001, Xlibris Corporation used by permission. All rights reserved. For permission to reproduce this excerpt, please visit www.NovelDoc.com/Lankford.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.