The Zozobra Incident by Don Travis Guest Post & Excerpt!

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Hi guys, we have Don Travis stopping by today with his upcoming re-release The Zozobra Incident, we have a brilliant guest post where Don chats about his novel and there’s a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~

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The Zozobra Incident

by

Don Travis

B. J. Vinson is a former Marine and ex-Albuquerque PD detective turned confidential investigator. Against his better judgment, BJ agrees to find the gay gigolo who was responsible for his breakup with prominent Albuquerque lawyer Del Dahlman and recover some racy photographs from the handsome bastard. The assignment should be fast and simple.

But it quickly becomes clear the hustler isn’t the one making the anonymous demands, and things turn deadly with a high-profile murder at the burning of Zozobra on the first night of the Santa Fe Fiesta. BJ’s search takes him through virtually every stratum of Albuquerque and Santa Fe society, both straight and gay. Before it is over, BJ is uncertain whether Paul Barton, the young man quickly insinuating himself in BJ’s life, is friend or foe. But he knows he’s stepped into something much more serious than a modest blackmail scheme. With Paul and BJ next on the killer’s list, BJ must find a way to put a stop to the death threats once and for all.

First Edition published as The Zozobra Incident & The Bisti Business by Martin Brown Publishers, LLC, 2012.

Release date: 15th November 2016

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Don Travis!

Shocking auto-da-fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico:

Old Man Gloom, alias Zozobra, Burned to Cinders Before Gigantic Crowd of Cheering Spectators.

Not to worry, it’s an annual burning-at-the-stake that’s been going on in the City Different since 1924. The victim, of course, is not flesh and blood; he’s a fifty-foot articulated puppet whose annual incineration is designed to render all of our woes and worries into ashes… along with him. Or at least, that’s the Mexican folklore legend.

The event takes place on the Thursday following Labor Day and represents the opening of the Santa Fe Fiesta, a grand celebration dating back to 1712 when the Marquis de Peñuelo, the Governor of New Spain, decreed a party to mark the re-conquest of Santa Fe by Don Diego de Vargas following the Pueblo Revolt. The Fiesta is billed as North America’s oldest continuous civic celebration.

Now comes my novel, The Zozobra Incident, using the burning of Zozobra as a pivotal moment in a murder mystery set in the summer of 2006. I try to provide the flavor—as well as the history—of this symbolic purging of our souls.

Zozobra, the first in a mystery series featuring BJ Vinson as a gay Albuquerque confidential investigator, is scheduled for release on Tuesday, November 15. The Bisti Business is due out in April, 2017 with the The City of Rocks following in about four months. A fourth book bearing the working title of The Lovey Pines is slowly revealing itself to my pen. Each novel takes place in a different part of New Mexico, allowing me to paint word pictures of our beautiful landscapes and historical places.

Born in rural Oklahoma, I graduated from a university in Texas with a degree in government and history. How did I plan on making a living off it? I don’t know, but somehow after a stint in the US Army, I found gainful employment in various pursuits. My degree did, however, cement one thing in my mind: an interest in history. I hope that comes through in my work.

I do a weekly blog centering on my writing and my personal foibles at dontravis.com. A member of SouthWest Writers, New Mexico’s largest writing association, I teach a writing class at one of Albuquerque’s multigenerational centers.

Let me tell you a little about my protagonist and my book. B. J. Vinson is a former marine and ex-Albuquerque PD detective turned confidential investigator. Against his better judgment, BJ agrees to find the gay gigolo who was responsible for his breakup with prominent Albuquerque lawyer Del Dahlman and recover some racy photographs from the handsome bastard. The assignment should be fast and simple.

But it quickly becomes clear the hustler isn’t the one making the anonymous demands, and things turn deadly with a high-profile murder at the burning of Zozobra on the first night of the Santa Fe Fiesta. BJ’s search takes him through virtually every stratum of Albuquerque and Santa Fe society, both straight and gay. Before it is over, BJ is uncertain whether Paul Barton, the young man quickly insinuating himself in BJ’s life, is friend or foe. But he knows he’s stepped into something much more serious than a modest blackmail scheme. With Paul and BJ next on the killer’s list, BJ must find a way to put a stop to the death threats once and for all.

Many thanks to MM Good Book Reviews for the opportunity to guest post this blog.

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Excerpt

Prologue

South of Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Sangre de Cristos to the north and the Jemez Mountains on the west stood like massive, mute sentinels. An unforgiving sun high in the cloudless sky bleached the desert landscape brown and turned Interstate 25 into twin ribbons of glistening black tar. The white four-door Impala barreling down the highway pushed the speed limit—not enough to attract the attention of passing cops but sufficient to clip a few minutes off the hour’s drive to Albuquerque.

A blue Mustang convertible closed the distance quickly and then paced the white car. When the Chevy began its long descent down the steep slope of La Bajada into the middle Rio Grande Valley, the Ford muscled past in a burst of speed. Suddenly it swerved right, catching the front fender of the Impala and sending it hurtling toward the sheer drop-off beyond the shoulder.

Chapter 1

Swimming therapy at the country club had put me behind schedule, so I rode the elevator instead of taking the stairs to the third floor of a downtown landmark building on Fifth and Copper NW. I paused on the landing outside my office to frown at the gold lettering on the door. There was a scratch in the flowing C of the sign “B. J. Vinson, Confidential Investigations.” I liked that better than “Private Investigator.” It had a less sleazy connotation.

I turned the knob and walked inside. “Hazel, somebody scratched—”

My guardian of the outer chamber, Hazel Harris, a plump, gray-haired warden who thought she was my mother, put a halter on my tongue simply by holding up a pudgy white hand. “You’re late, BJ. Your first appointment’s already here.”

“I didn’t know I had an appointment. Who is it?”

Her broad mouth compressed into a thin line; her fleshy jowls shook. “Del. He’s waiting in your office.” Hazel loved me dearly, but she did not approve of my lifestyle. And Del Dahlman was definitely a part of my lifestyle. Or had been.

I blinked. “What does he want?”

A shrug jiggled her matronly frame. “No idea. I met him in the lobby on my way in. He claimed he had an emergency but didn’t condescend to share it. ‘Confidential’ was all he’d say. If you’re lucky, it’s his law firm’s business. Even if it is, you’d do well to show him the door.”

“Now, Hazel—”

“Don’t flash those apple-green eyes at me, Burleigh J. Vinson. That man’s already hurt you enough.”

“What do you expect me to do? You said he’s in there waiting for me.”

“Deal with it.”

I opened the door to my inner office, unprepared for the emotional wrench that almost paralyzed me at the sight of the man who had once shared my life. Although Albuquerque is a small-town type of city, I had seen him only occasionally at a distance since our breakup in August of 2005, a month short of one year ago.

“It’s good to see you, Vince.”

Del called me Vince because no one else did. Somehow I found the strength to accept his handshake before dropping into my chair. If he shared my mental turmoil, it wasn’t apparent. He wandered the room examining the Gorman and Bierstadt originals and the Russell reproduction. He no doubt recognized them as part of my late father’s Western art collection. They’d hung in the house my folks had left me at 5229 Post Oak Drive NW for the three years he shared it with me.

Del settled uninvited into one of the leather chairs opposite my desk. The scent of his aftershave—he still used Brut—wafted across the room and triggered unwanted memories.

“Nice digs.” His voice brought me back from the edge. “I was surprised to hear you’d left APD and become a PI. I always heard it was a tough business to break into.”

“For a while it looked as though I wouldn’t be up to the APD job physically after I was shot, so I left the force. As for being a confidential investigator, it was slow going for a while. But it helps to have cop friends refer business.” Del only indulged in small talk when he was nervous, and although that piqued my interest, it wasn’t enough to sustain it. “Look, you should take your business elsewhere. I don’t care if it is Stone, Martinez, et cetera.”

“It’s Stone, Hedges, Martinez, et cetera. However, I’m not here to throw some of their money at you.” He paused, obviously expecting me to ask why he was here. I didn’t bite. After studying his buffed fingernails a moment, he spoke again. “You must think I’m a shit.”

That one, I couldn’t pass up. “A spineless shit.”

“Touché. But we were good for one another, weren’t we? It was so perfect we should have known it couldn’t last.”

“Maybe you can rationalize it that way. I can’t.”

Del stirred uncomfortably in his chair. The fact he didn’t walk out the door told me he was here on a matter of some importance, at least to him. “You know me, I’ve got to have some action, and I wasn’t getting it from you.”

“Christ, I nearly died.”

Two years ago a bullet had partially severed the artery in my right thigh while I was trying to apprehend an accused murderer, and I almost bled out. I’d been an Albuquerque police detective at the time.

“I know.”

“You couldn’t put up with the bloody bandages and the festering wound and the poor sap struggling to make it to the bathroom on time.”

The reflexive denial in his eyes died. He nodded. “Yeah, that too. I’m not cut out to be a nurse.”

“We had a nurse, Dahlman.”

“During the day, but not at night.” His eyes flicked to mine as he tried to muster a smile. “You’ve picked up the weight you lost. God, you look good enough to eat. Short-sighted of me, I guess.”

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About Don

Don Travis is a man totally captivated by his adopted state of New Mexico. Each of his mystery novels features some region of the state as prominently as it does his protagonist, a gay ex-Marine, ex-cop turned confidential investigator. Don never made it to the Marines (three years in the Army was all he managed) and certainly didn’t join the Albuquerque Police Department. He thought he was a paint artist for a while, but ditched that for writing a few years back. A loner, he fulfills his social needs by attending SouthwestWriters meetings and teaching a weekly writing class at an Albuquerque community center.

Here are some links to me and my writing:

Blog | Email: dontravis21@gmail | Facebook | Twitter

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