Guest Blogger: Jeanne C. Davis, Author of Sheetrock Angel
At thirty-five, Audrey James figures she has missed the boat to schizophrenia where her mother now dwells. But questions are surfacing: What happened to the guy who taped her drywall? Was one of her friends involved?
Having grown up with a mother who often conversed with people who weren’t actually there, Audrey does her best to deny that it could be happening to her. Is she seeing what everyone else is? Are the current men in her life—the drywall taper, her ex-husband and his best friend—who they represent themselves to be?
Audrey ponders all of these notions when she is presented with murder, kidnapping and a situation where any or all of her closest friends and colleagues could be involved. How can you know whom to trust when you can’t trust yourself? When she begins to see that guilt and innocence are not always sharply delineated, she must finally make a conscious decision to trust. That decision allows her to be at peace with the result of both the mystery and her question of her own mental competence.
A Voyage of Self-discovery by Jeanne C. Davis
She’s divorcing her actor husband, she’s had a fling with her drywall taper, and she may be in love with her best male friend… or he may be a murderer.
Audrey James has a lot on her plate as she tries to begin a new life after her final separation from her husband. Luckily she has a best friend, Catherine, to help her out… though she also could be a murderer. It doesn’t help that mental illness runs in the family, a long feared legacy. Having grown up with a mother who often conversed with people who weren’t actually there, Audrey had hoped that she had missed the boat to schizophrenia, but when she is presented with murder, kidnapping and a situation where any or all of her closest friends and colleagues could be involved, she has to question her capabilities. How can you know whom to trust when you can’t trust yourself?
That nice young drywall taper helped her out without asking for anything in exchange which had the effect of her wanting to give him something. When she did, he was murdered, though, no one else believes that.
The three men in her life are as diverse as her interests in remodeling and collecting tiny statues of Buddha, yet each one has a place in her heart even as she can’t fully trust any of them. Her husband couldn’t be faithful to her, but he contends that he loves her. His best friend, who has become over the years her dear friend, seems to be the nicest man in the world, but there’s something that he is hiding. Her newest acquaintance waltzed into her life claiming only to want to help tape her drywall as part of his twelve-step program which includes atonement. But what does he really want from her?
Her voyage of self-discovery coincides with her wade through the lies and half-truths woven for self-protection or in self-interest by her friends and acquaintances. When she begins to see that guilt and innocence are not always sharply delineated, she must finally make a conscious decision to trust. That decision allows her to be at peace with the result of both the mystery and her question of her own mental competence.
Read an excerpt!
It led her back to considering what he was. If he wasn’t infallible, that let out angels, or so she supposed, not having given the fallibility of angels a great deal of thought. If he were some astral projection from another solar system or universe-–they say even that massive state isn’t singular-–then his information should be accurate. He would have access to the future, having had to manipulate time to get here. That left the most likely explanation: he was an invention of her recently malleable mind. Why now? She had never considered herself capable of traveling to the true extremes, glimpsing them perhaps, but she hadn’t felt that she had been injured enough by life or chemistry to truly approach the abyss. She had hoped that, having seen her mother do it, she somehow had been inoculated. That notion was in constant battle with the more primal fear of a hereditary tendency.
Audrey jogged along the bike path as the sun continued its ascent. She needed something to clear her head and, since sleep had become elusive, running had to substitute. In her travels, she had found that exercise mitigated the effects of jetlag, had invigorated rather than enervated her when sleep was scarce. As she breathed in the salt mist, she could almost feel her mind clearing. The familiarity of movement warmed her, reminded her of jogging along some eastern seaboard or European coast. As she passed early morning moms with strollers, her step lightened. Focused runners passed her, heads down in concentration, bodies slightly forward for momentum. She could feel herself relaxing. The world continued and that amazed her, continued to spin on its axis while individuals like Frances careened out of control. But what about the kidnapper. He was certainly out of control. What information was so important that a life had to be taken, that another hung in the balance? Or was this his daily bread? Was mayhem as much a routine for him as her deposition reading was for her? She imagined some shadowy figure pondering his Day Runner and worrying that he might not be able to fit in an extortion between Thursday’s murder at noon and the five o’clock kidnapping. Yes, running lightened her spirit. She was beginning to feel almost human.
The vision was at a distance, yet so intimate to her that her breath caught. She thought of turning around but the figure drew her like a magnet, like an electromagnet with the power to transform her coppery glow of ephemeral contentment into the dusty verdigris of renewed doubt. A transient stood on a jungle gym in a children’s play area and spoke in angry tones to the wind. The wind evidently answered, since the transient’s side of the conversation acknowledged the other party. Her childhood eagerness to see what her mother had seen surfaced and melded with the present. To whom was he speaking? Was it his own personal Fred? She tried to force the scene through her intellect. What a travesty our mental health system has become. This man needs help. His clothes and emaciated body speak of chronic neglect. His personal hygiene hasn’t crossed his ravaged mind in days. Someone should help him. As she moved closer, a tightness which had begun in her throat now seemed to reach around and constrict her chest like a boa squeezing the life out of its prey. The vision was leaking into her soul. His tapes had taken control of his reality. He needed no private moment to indulge in his fantasy. The tapes had sucked him into theirs.
She pulled a twenty from her running pouch and flung it at the man. He looked at it, seemed fascinated by the arc of its flight but not even a glimmer of recognition of its value lit those eyes, which were sunk in bony sockets. When the bill landed, it no longer held his interest. He returned to his oratory and she, to her fears.
Read the reviews!
"Wow, this book took me by surprise and truly captivated me! I didn't want to put it down."
"You find yourself captured and turning page after page. How will all these ends wrap up? Will everything be settled? Great character development also helps this book achieve a top rating. This is a must read for any mystery novel fan."
--A Moment with Mystee
Jeanne C. Davis grew up in southern California then travelled the world as a Pan Am purser until she landed a job writing for the television series, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She wrote, produced and directed the independent feature, The Uniform Motion of Folly. She is currently at work on her second novel which explores her life with Pan Am, and another feature film, Lip Service, along with a documentary about her family's four generations in the carousel business. Visit http://sheetrockangel.homestead.com/ or SheetrockAngel on Facebook. You also can visit Jeanne’s website at http://www.bricolage-arts.com/.
Sheetrock Angel is available at Amazon as a paperback or in a Kindle edition.