Welcome to author Michael Halfhill, who joins us today with an exclusive excerpt from Sparkle, the latest installment in the Jan Phillips series.
About the Book
Series: Whatever Happened to Jan Phillips: Book Three
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 170 Pages
Release Date: June 29, 2016
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press || Amazon || ARe || Kobo
Blurb: A life cut short; unsolved robberies plaguing Philadelphia’s Jeweler’s Row; a cryptic message scrawled on a paper napkin; a Romanov prince; a young man held captive in Iran; a terrorist cell bent on revenge; and an opera company due to mount a rarely performed production of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast. What do these have to do with Jan Phillips?
One plunges Jan into a prolonged sadness. One leads him on a race to prevent a nuclear disaster. One offers Jan the promise of renewed love. One leads him to reluctantly wield his power as a Mundus master. One is bent on shattering thousands of lives beyond repair, while one unknowingly holds the key to the mystery that has baffled Philadelphia’s finest. Follow Jan as he untangles this Gordian knot that will alter his life in a way he never thought possible.
Brilliant Venus shone like polished silver through the darkness that had fallen hard around them. Jan lay on the ground; his back nestled on a bed of fragrant pine needles, his head resting on his saddle. He had cocked his hat low over his brow and pulled a woolen blanket up to his chin. Colin added a new log to the fire to ward off the night air, and then joined him, settling his back against his own saddle. After a while Colin said, “Can we talk? I mean… about you and my mother.”
Jan pushed his hat back and looked upward. He had dreaded this conversation ever since, on a snowy New Year’s Eve, Colin’s aunt Elaine callously dropped Colin off on Jan without warning, without ceremony—unless a shouting match with Elaine could be considered ceremony. At the time Colin was in his mid-teens. Colin, the son Jan never knew he had, suddenly became inextricably a part of his life. Now alone, with only silent Venus to eavesdrop, and after so many years and so many missed opportunities, Jan understood that Colin wanted answers.
After a pause, Jan said, “What do you want to know?”
“I want to know what she was like. Was she ever happy? I… don’t remember her being happy.”
What was she like? So much of their brief marriage was made up of angry fights, silent nights, and emotional walls made thick with Angela’s bottomless need and Jan’s complete lack of understanding those needs. Defining her without hurt would be almost impossible. Jan’s devil whispered in his ear, Come on, you’re a lawyer. You know how to make a mud brick look like a gold bar. Jan’s good angel countered, He deserves to know. He’s waited a long time for this. Don’t let him down.
About the Author
I was born in February 1944 three months before the end of WWII. Until the age of 16 I lived with my family in a small coal town in W.Va. I was raised a Catholic and as I child I was very devout. Until college, Capuchin monks and nuns—mostly from Italy and Ireland, meted out my education. That probably explains why my Latin has a decidedly Italian accent. When I was sixteen my father moved the family to Delaware. I finished college just as the Viet Nam War began to engulf our nation. I joined the army and trained as a tank gunner. After leaving the army I returned to Delaware where I built a career in analytical science. I retired after 37 years with the DuPont Company. I’ve traveled throughout Europe, Central America and Asia. All of my books derive from my experiences (at least emotionally) from my loathing of war and violence; my understanding of life choices and the consequences that flow from these—those we anticipate and those that are unexpected.