Beach Kill (A Singer Brown Mystery Book 2)

Beach Kill (A Singer Brown Mystery Book 2)

by Phyllis Smallman


Publisher Phyllis Smallman

Published in Mystery & Thrillers/Mystery, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


After her life on the streets Singer Brown figures only a dance with an orangutan could still shock her. The music is playing and the waltz begins when the body of a teenage girl is discovered on Ghost Island. Singer identifies the remains, attacked first by man and then by nature, from a blue butterfly tattoo. Suspicion, toxic and dangerous, begins to poison the small community of Kilborn, corrupting relationships and leaving no one without fear or guilt.

Sample Chapter

Glenphiddie Island, Canada, 1995

In May, at the forty-eighth latitude on the eastern rim of the Pacific, at the very edge of a continent and straddling the border of two countries, morning comes early. By four-thirty the sky begins to brighten. The light can be blocked out but not the cacophony of birds greeting the dawn. Better than any alarm, they set the small world of Glenphiddie Island stirring long before anyone plans on rising.

While the inhabitants of the town of Kilborn snuffled and moaned, burrowing down beneath the covers to steal a few more minutes of sleep, a dinghy pulled away from a thirty-foot sloop anchored at the mouth of Kilborn Harbor. The yawning sailor steered toward Ghost Island while his trembling whippet stood with her front paws on the edge of the rubber vessel and whined in anticipation. Before the boat settled on the rocky beach, the dog leapt into the rolling surf and dashed on shore to relieve herself. She was still squatting when the wind changed. Her head went up and her ears went back. Keening with fear, and before she finished emptying her bladder, she was running away from the stench of death.

“Ginger, Ginger!” the man yelled. He turned off the engine and lifted it out of the water. He stepped out of the boat. Holding on to the encircling rope, he pulled the small craft up above the lapping waters. “Ginger,” he called once more, with little hope that the excitable beast would return. He waited. Ten minutes passed and Ginger still hadn’t come back. “Stupid dog.” He sighed and began to walk carefully over the moss-covered rocks. It was his wife’s dog but of course she was tucked up tight in bed. “You go, Howie,” she always said, as if early morning dog walking was one more thing she deemed a man’s work.

“Stupid bitch.” He’d be hard put to say whether it was his wife or the dog he was referring to. They were equally annoying.

He’d only climbed six feet toward the crest of the island when a rock rolled beneath his rubber boot, twisting him sideways. His gaze was caught by a flash of color below him. He froze in shock while his rebellious eyes took in what he didn’t want to see. And then his brain tried to make sense of it. When it did, he spun away from the horror and vomited.

Chapter 2

Singer Brown woke at first light with the rest of the island and listened to the raucous birds. Beside her Louis Wilmot yawned and stretched before he rolled over to cuddle up against her back, nuzzling his face against her bare shoulder. His hand cupped her belly and his breath felt hot against her skin. A strange feeling of joy and security came over her. He was here with her, in this small cocoon of safety. No matter how long it lasted it was hers, one last chance to get it right, and she would hold on to it with her whole being. She reached out to cover his hand with her own. It had been a long time since she felt part of a couple.

A couple. The word brought back the intimate exchange she’d witnessed the day before. On the edge of sleep, she murmured, “What’s Ghost Island?”

Wilmot kissed her shoulder, his whiskers harsh against her skin. “That small island at the mouth of Kilborn Harbor.” He pulled her closer.

“Why do they call it Ghost Island?”

He yawned. “Because the winds out there do strange things to fog, dividing it, spinning it. Like gossamer ladies dancing across the water—ghosts dancing.”

“That’s beautiful.” He never failed to surprise her. “Poetic even.” Seeing gossamer ladies swirling across the water, she fell back into sleep.

The phone rang. Wilmot cursed softly and rolled over to pick it up before it could ring again and wake Singer. “Wilmot.” He tucked the receiver under his chin, and rolled back to snuggle against her warmth.

“It’s Duncan. We’ve got a body.”

A jab of annoyance. Boating accidents were only one of the many forms of human stupidity the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the policing unit for the Gulf islands, dealt with during tourist season. Sure that some drunken fool had fallen overboard in the harbor, he said, “I start the midnight shift tonight and you know Fridays are always hell. Can’t you handle it?”

“Sure, but I hate to have all the fun. It’s a dead woman.”


“So-o-o, her head was battered in. It’s unlikely to be natural causes.”

He grabbed the phone off his shoulder and swung his feet out of bed. “Where?”

He was reaching for the trousers he’d thrown on the chair the night before when Duncan answered, “Ghost Island.”

Wilmot turned back to face the bed.

After a long silence, Duncan asked, “Are you still there?”

“I’m here.” He took a deep breath and asked, “How do I get out there?”

“The search and rescue launch is at the dock waiting for you.”

He dropped the receiver back in its cradle. “Singer.”

She turned over, nestled into his pillow, and mumbled something indistinct.

He zipped his trousers and reached for a clean shirt. “I’ve been called out.”

Her eyelids fluttered but she didn’t answer.


He shrugged the shirt up onto his shoulders and then crossed to her side of the bed and leaned over her. Her wild hair spilled darkly across the pillow. Even in sleep her face was compelling. High cheekbones, a long thin scar on the right one that she would never explain, full lips that mocked the world and eyes that went from hazel to rich caramel. It was a face he never got tired of examining, and she often caught him staring. With her hand going up to her face, she’d ask, “What is it?”

“Nothing,” he’d answer, when in truth it was everything. This woman took him out of his comfort zone, throwing him off balance while making him feel alive in a way he’d never experienced before. Louis Wilmot was no fool. He knew it couldn’t last. Singer was a woman who was planning on leaving the moment she said hello. She’d warned him at the very beginning of their affair that she was only on the island until she could prove her residency and sell her house.

He shook her shoulder gently. “Why did you ask about Ghost Island?”

Her eyes stayed closed and her breath whispered softly between half opened lips. He reached out his finger and removed a strand of curls from the corner of her mouth, then he leaned over and kissed her forehead. There was time enough later to find out why she was asking about Ghost Island.


Excerpted from "Beach Kill (A Singer Brown Mystery Book 2)" by Phyllis Smallman. Copyright © 2016 by Phyllis Smallman. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Phyllis Smallman

Phyllis Smallman

Phyllis Smallman's first novel, MARGARITA NIGHTS, won the inaugural Unhanged Arthur award from the Crime Writers of Canada after being shortlisted for the Debut Dagger in the U.K. and the Malice Domestic in the U.S.. Her writing has appeared in both Spinetingler Magazine and Omni Mystery Magazine. The Florida Writer's Association awarded CHAMPAGNE FOR BUZZARDS a silver medal for the best mystery and her fifth book, HIGHBALL EXIT, won an IPPY award in 2013. LONG GONE MAN won the Independent Publisher's IPPY Gold Award as best Emystery/thriller in 2014. The Sherri Travis mystery series was one of six chosen by Good Morning America for a summer read. Before turning to a life of crime, Smallman was a potter. She divides her time between a beach in Florida and an island in the Salish Sea. Visit her website at

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