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All Six Frankie Chandler Books (Paperbacks)

All Six Frankie Chandler Books (Paperbacks)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 493+ 5-Star Reviews

Regular price $69.99 USD
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"A Delightfully Fun Read! I saw this book at a book fair and got it because I loved the premise: a spunky 'pet psychic' that becomes a real pet psychic, lots of animals, and a touch of murder. And it delivered on all fronts! I loved the main character; she was fun, just the right amount of sarcastic and somebody you could root for. And the bit of romance that was thrown in left me wanting to read more to find out what happens next. Luckily, there are four more books in the series! I recommend this book to anyone looking for some laughs and a mystery to solve! Lots of fun!" - Danielle

Synopsis

I’ve always had a knack for reading pets—and their people—which made me the perfect fake pet psychic, until one bright-eyed golden and a vision of murder turned my con artist life on its head. One minute, I’m deciphering pet owners’ subtle tells; the next, I’m getting the lowdown on a crime scene from a dog who’s seen too much.

That’s right, I’m Frankie Chandler, and I’ve been faking it till that day I made it...into a mess of psychic signals from every critter in Arizona. Now, I’ve got images in my head of a crime as clear as day—images that a certain detective finds as credible as a cat confessing to tax evasion. But when those visions matched a body out in the desert, things got real fast.

Now, I'm swimming in a sea of animal emotions, trying not to drown in what feels like their thoughts invading mine. Control? I wish. Without a handle on this, I might just lose my mind. But losing isn’t an option—not when a killer’s on the loose and I’m the only one who can talk to the witness. This pup’s scared, and who wouldn’t be? But if I can’t coax the truth out of him, we might both end up in serious trouble.

Chapter 1

There it was again. A high-pitched buzz tickled my ears.

The noises started last week, sometimes coming as a low rumble and at other times as more of a whine. The tickling was new. There was definitely something going on with my hearing that would require a professional opinion, but I was in the middle of an appointment, and I needed to concentrate. I shook my head to clear my thoughts and returned my attention to the problem at hand.

Tasha, a pudgy bichon frisé decked out in a pink sweater with Kiss Me embroidered on the back, belched out a wave of chicken livers, hacked, and stared up at me with desperate, black eyes. She cocked her head and the matching bows tied around her ears jiggled.

Though I billed myself as a pet psychic, I was actually a devoted pragmatist. Instead of hoping some spirit would flutter by and tell me why Fido was rolling in poop (because he likes it), my business relied on a healthy library of animal behavior books, common sense, and the inability of pet parents to spot the obvious. Like the fact that Tasha needed to lose half her body weight.

I shouldn’t complain since it’s the source of my income, but how could people ignore blatant signs their pets were in distress?

“What is she telling you?” my client asked. Mrs. Shropshire, a rail thin woman in her sixties, perched on the edge of a chintz covered couch, her hands clasped around her knees.

“That she needs an antacid,” I snapped, unable to cover my disgust. I have the patience of a saint with animals, but my social skills are sorely lacking when I’m interacting with the human species.

Mrs. Shropshire, still hoping to get a mystical solution to an obvious problem, valiantly ignored my comment. “But has she said anything about last week? She’s been listless since we missed playtime with her friends.”

I took another look at the tiny diva, irritated that the owner could allow a cute bichon to turn into Jabba the Mutt.

“This dog has been listless for longer than a week. If I tossed a ball across the room, her only hope of catching it would be if the ball rolled back.”

Mrs. Shropshire scowled at me and gathered her pooch to her chest, grunting from the effort of picking up Tasha. She gave me a withering look and whispered in the dog’s ear, “Mommy loves you just as you are. I’ll buy you a new sweater. Would you like that?”

As I watched this woman cuddle her gassy dog and shoot me admonishing glances, I remembered the advice of my Aunt Gertrude, aka Madame Guinevere, the woman who inspired my pseudo-mystical career choice.
“Frances, if people wanted the truth, they’d see a priest. They come to us for hope, even if it’s a lie.”

And come they did, bringing their hope, their questions, and their cash, all to have their tarot cards read by Aunt Gertrude. Repeat business made up the bulk of her income.

With my own bank account hovering around empty, I mustered up my happy voice and fought for the bichon’s waistline and my fifty bucks.

“She’d really like a new wardrobe, but in a smaller size. Think how good she’ll look in a doggie jacket once she’s lost a few pounds.”

Botox kept the woman’s forehead from wrinkling, but she radiated disappointment. A diet wasn’t half as exciting as finding out your pet was channeling your dead grand‐ mother.

She crossed her legs and laid her arm across her lap in a defensive posture. Did I mention I excel at reading body language? I decided to pull out the stops and give her what she wanted—a performance.

After a subtle glance around the room, I found my prop—a mirrored door in the hallway next to the front door. Now to bring in my acting skills. I set my hand on Tasha’s head and closed my eyes.

“She’s speaking to me,” I murmured. Since Tasha’s round body was being propped up by her owner, I could feel it when Mrs. Shropshire stiffened in excited anticipation of what the spirits had to say.

“She’s telling me every time she walks out the front door, she sees her reflection. It makes her feel bad about herself.”

“Reflection?” Mrs. Shropshire sucked in her breath. “The closet,” she whispered, and she turned to look at the mirror, just as I hoped she would.

Pleased she had picked up on my hint so easily, I rewarded both my clients—Mrs. Shropshire with a smile and Tasha with a pat on the head.

“Losing weight is all the rage,” I pointed out. “Even celebrities have books and shows about it. A vet could work up a special diet, just for Tasha. Something exclusive. And then you can dress her up properly.”

Mrs. Shropshire tugged Tasha’s sweater down to cover her pudgy tummy. “Every woman likes to look her best, I suppose.”

My stomach growled. All this talk about food had made me hungry. Mrs. Shropshire had laid out a bowl of crackers —a miserly serving, in my opinion—and the smell of cheese had been teasing me ever since I’d arrived. In fact, the minute I had stepped into the room, my gaze had zeroed in on those tiny squares of delight, which surprised me, as I had eaten lunch a little under an hour ago. Unable to resist any longer, I snatched a few.

Tasha whined with envy.

My client waved her hands about as if she had won the lottery. “Precious Pooch just opened a branch at the mall! I could take Tasha there for her outfits!”

“That’s right!” I had no idea about doggie fashions and cared less. I popped two crackers into my mouth. They were excellent, with just the right note of cheddar, so I grabbed another handful and emptied the bowl. Then I noticed Mrs. Shropshire’s odd expression.

“Those are Tasha’s treats, dear.”

I swallowed hard. “Eating her treats, um, helps me connect with her.” Funny, but knowing I had just chomped on dog biscuits didn’t stop me from wanting more. I dropped the remaining treats back in the bowl and wiped my fingers on my jeans, wondering what other surprises fate had for me today.

Ever since I’d fooled around with the tarot cards last night, I’d been worried something bad was going to happen. Maybe I was reading too much into it. It’s not as if I believed in psychic phenomenon.

Mrs. Shropshire brought me back around with her joyful whoop. “Tasha, we could get matching outfits. Would you like that, sweetie?”

Tasha wagged her tail.

“Wait until I tell Mildred. Her Mimi isn’t on an exclusive diet,” Mrs. Shropshire simpered. “I expect Tasha’s just more sensitive.”

I accepted a check for fifty dollars and left confident I’d be hearing from Mildred. Pet owners are more competitive than a room full of stage mothers at an open call for the next Orphan Annie. As soon as Mildred heard about Tasha’s exclusive diet, I was certain her Mimi would require even more attention. Maybe a personalized diet and exercise program with a pedicure thrown in to keep the pooch’s spirits up.

Back in the car, I scraped my tongue with a tissue and tried to convince myself the ingredients in dog treats couldn’t be worse than those in processed snacks.

What in the heck was the matter with me? Tasha’s cheesy bits weren’t the only odd thing to happen recently.

Over the last week, I’d been getting frequent headaches that had steadily increased in intensity. Then there was the noise. The humming came and went, but the pitch and volume were never the same. And I’m by no means a vegetarian, but I’d been craving meat. Lots of meat. Lots of bloody, undercooked meat. Maybe I had developed an iron deficiency. But that didn’t explain the peanut butter cravings. Or my new habit of sleeping with my dog Chauncey’s ball under my pillow. What can I say? It comforted me.

My cell phone rang. I looked at the caller ID. It was my best friend, Penny Newcombe. I flipped the phone open.

“I’ll kill you if you’re canceling tonight,” I said. “Why do you always assume it’s bad news?” “Because it usually is.”

“Honestly, Frankie,” Penny chirped. Yes, my obsessively optimistic friend Penny had a tendency to chirp. “It’s a beautiful day, we’re healthy, young women—”

“Is this a long story?”

“Short version? You have nothing to complain about.”

“Then we’re still on for dinner?” I asked.

“Absolutely,” Penny said. “I’m starved.”

“Good. I’ve been dying to try the filet smothered in sautéed onions and blue cheese.”

“I’m not canceling,” Penny hedged, “but there is a slight problem.”

“What?” I tried to keep the panic out of my voice. Like my clients, the quickest way to my heart was through my stomach. I’d been looking forward to dining at La Hacienda Chop House ever since the restaurant had opened six months ago. Reservations were hard to come by and, once I’d booked a table for two, a day hadn’t passed without my dreaming of the stuffed mushroom appetizers or au gratin potatoes served in dainty side dishes.

“The thing is, Ann’s daughter is sick. That leaves the new girl, Monica, waiting tables alone. If we eat at the Prickly Pear, I’ll at least be on hand in case Monica runs into problems.”

Penny owned the Prickly Pear Bistro, a former bakery she’d turned into a successful eatery in downtown Wolf Creek, Arizona.

“It will be a good learning experience for her,” I grumbled.

Penny sounded shocked. “That wouldn’t be right.”

“We eat at the Prickly Pear almost every day.” I’d moved on to whining.

“It’s not a big deal. We will go to La Hacienda. Sooner than you think,” she added in a mysterious voice.

“Fine. But you owe me.”

“Can you make it earlier, before the dinner rush?” Penny was pushing her luck.

“I’ll see what I can do. I have one last appointment in Fountain Hills. Since I no longer need to change for dinner,” I said with emphasis, “I’ll head straight there.”

“I’ll make it up to you. I promise.”

“It’s just as well,” I said. “I have a headache and my taste buds are acting up.”

“Another headache?” Penny added a tsk-tsk. “Maybe you should see the eye doctor. You might need glasses.”

“If they keep up, I will.”

Satisfied, Penny hung up after singing out, “Have a good reading.”

Because my best friend is the one person in the world under the delusion I actually have a psychic gift, I hadn’t mentioned anything, but I was nervous about my next appointment. It was the last opportunity for something to go terribly wrong, and I was certain accidentally eating dog treats wasn’t the source of the ominous feeling I’d carried around all day.

Last night I’d been flipping the tarot cards. It was something I did to relax. I didn’t believe the cards could predict anything. Not like Aunt Gertrude’s clients. I thought of them as a way to pry information I already had in my brain out of my subconscious and into the open.

At the end of each day, I’d ask aloud, “What does tomorrow hold for me?” And then I would pull a card and study it to see what thoughts came to mind.

Last night I pulled the Death card.

Chapter 2

Golden retrievers are typically happy-go-lucky dogs, playful and cheeky. Sandy would never win Best in Breed. He lay at the foot of a single bed in a barren bedroom, his face between his paws, his eyes trained on the doorway, and his tail motionless on the rug.

A single chest of drawers was covered with a fine layer of dust except for a few clean areas that, from the shape of them, recently marked the spots of framed photographs and a vase. A distinct musky scent hung in the air.

Maybe that’s what attracted the dog to this room, though it didn’t explain why he stayed or who he expected to come through the doorway. He reminded me of a child determined to catch sight of Santa Claus.

“He won’t leave the room,” David Peters said, aiming an accusing glare at the dog.

“I’ve moved his food in here,” Jennifer Peters added in a kinder voice, pointing to a full dish of kibble and an untouched bowl of water. “I’ve even tried to give him peanut butter, but he just won’t respond.” She gave a help‐ less shrug. “Peanut butter’s his favorite.”

The Peters resembled the results of an ominously successful Aryan DNA experiment. They shared the same shade of blond hair down to the highlights, and their bronzed skin glowed even though March was too early in the year for a deep summer tan.

As for physiques? Each could have stepped out of molds marked Adam and Eve. Even under his navy suit, I could tell David had a well-muscled body. Jennifer went with a lilac two-piece that tucked in at her slim waist and modestly attempted to conceal a spectacular bust line.

As with all social engineering, perfection is not created out of thin air. One group benefits only to the detriment of another. The personality pool had paid dearly.

“Is this going to take long?” David asked, checking his watch for the third time. He had the patience of a flea. “I’ve got to prep a client for an interview.”

Jennifer perked up. “Which client?”

“Angela Westerborough,” he said, naming a popular local author.

Jennifer frowned. “Funny that Angie didn’t call. She’ll need me to do her makeup.”

David put an arm around his wife’s shoulder and squeezed. “Angela’s going on television. They use professionals, Jen.”

She swatted him, not quite playfully. “I am a professional.”

He squeezed her again and looked over her head at me. “My wife is a Love My Face makeup representative. Some‐ times my clients or their wives let her play around with their faces.”

“It’s Love Your Face,” Jennifer corrected, shrugging off his arm. “And it’s not playing. Now, about Sandy?”

I knew I’d have to reign in the cynicism with this pair.
They would want their money’s worth, yet they seemed young and hip enough to not appreciate too much mystical talk. I’d have to feel my way to the best approach.

When I stepped closer to the dog and crouched at his side, I stroked his soft fur and pointed out the drooping ears and listless tail.

“He’s depressed.”

David snorted. “That’s obvious.”

So, I should push the performance up a notch. Sandy lifted his head to look at me, and a blue rubber ball rolled out from between his paws. My stomach clutched in an anxious knot, and my chest ached with sadness. I let out an “ooph”.

“What is it?” Jennifer asked.

Probably the cold pizza I’d had for breakfast, but out loud I said, “I’m connecting with him.”

David Peters rolled his eyes and took a step back to disassociate himself from the reading. Okay. Back to the straightforward approach.

I shook off the queasy feeling and cocked my head to one side. “He’s lonely, too, I think.”

Though my eyes were on the dog, my mind was on my first impression of Jennifer and David Peters. David was obviously dressed for work “southwestern style” in his expensive suit accented with a bolo tie and cowboy boots. I would have to be careful with Jennifer. Her outfit looked like something she might wear to meet a client, but she could do most of her work over the internet or phone and simply walk around the house in her grown-up clothes.

“You both spend a lot of time outside of the house.”
I risked a peek and caught the guilty glance they exchanged. More confidently, I asked, “Is anyone home with Sandy during the day?”

“I’m obviously out,” David said, “and Jennifer is hardly ever around with her client meetings and seminars.” He checked his watch. “In fact, I should get going.”

“So, Sandy is alone all day?” I repeated this to
emphasize I had been right.

“For cripe’s sake. He’s a dog,” David grumbled.

Jennifer Peters placed a hand on her husband’s shoulder and, with a backward glance at Sandy, led us to the living room. Judging by the décor (and the bolo and boots), David harbored aspirations to be a cowboy.

On the high, flat ceiling, Pintos stampeded across the room in an intimidating mural that ended above a fireplace mantel overflowing with statues. There was John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn, both Will and Roy Rogers, and the Lone Ranger, pistol drawn. A barren spot marked the wall just over the mantel. David was probably holding out for an oil painting of Deputy Dog.

“We had someone who looked after Sandy during the day,” Jennifer said, “but not anymore.”

“That’s probably what it is,” I said. “Dogs get emotion‐ ally attached to their caregivers. In fact, I’m sure that’s what Sandy is telling us.”

Now, for the grand solution. “There are several doggie day cares in the area. That should help cheer Sandy up.”

“That’s it?” David crossed his arms in an argumentative stance. “What a rip-off.”

“What exactly did you expect?” I asked.

“I thought you were supposed to wow us with inside information directly from the dog.”

“You wouldn’t want me to make something up just to make it more exciting, would you?” I pursed my lips to show my disapproval of such an unethical tactic—one I relied on regularly.

“Isn’t that what you do, anyway?” He waved his hand toward Sandy. “It’s not as if you can actually read the dog’s mind.”

I crossed my arms over my chest to match his pose. “Then why did you call me?”

He jerked his chin toward Jennifer. “She insisted.”

“David, honey.” Jennifer slid next to him and rubbed his
back. “You’ve been so concerned about—about Sandy. Every day when you come home, you run in to check on him.” I caught a rising tension in her voice. “You keep asking and asking me what’s wrong with the dog. You just won’t leave it alone.”

Jennifer caught herself and switched back to her sweet, Stepford Wife tone. “I thought a pet psychic might put your mind to rest. That’s all.” She beamed. “And now we know he’s lonely. I’m glad that’s all it is, aren’t you?” To me she said, “We’re so grateful to you. We can take him to daycare and he’ll be fine.”

She brushed the hair from David’s forehead. “And you can forget about—things.”

While she retrieved my windbreaker from the closet, David Peters handed over a crisp fifty-dollar bill, though he accompanied it with a side of grumbling.

As he complained, his mouth continued to move, but the grumbling suddenly morphed into the roar of a train—the same sound I’d heard described by people who’d survived earthquakes.

I looked up to see if the light fixtures were moving, which might be why I didn’t see it coming.

A blow to my sternum sent me flying. As I landed hard on my back, my first thought was David had decided to hang on to his Grant and punch me instead, but he stood over me with the bill still clutched in his hand and his eyes open wide in shock.

My head hurt where it connected with the floor, and
the headache from the last few days pounded against my temples until I thought my head would burst.

Jennifer Peters chose this moment to return with my jacket draped over her arm. “David! What have you done?”

I clutched at the soft Berber carpeting and pulled myself to my hands and knees, rubbing the sore spot in the center of my chest. When the Peters’ living room faded from sight, I froze.

I was in a jungle, surrounded by diamond-shaped leaves. The foliage parted and revealed a youngish woman with long, curly black hair. She wasn’t a happy woman. I could tell because her eyes were open wide, and there was a gloved hand placed firmly over her mouth. She fought against her attacker, jerking her head side to side as she fought for her life. Yes, I knew she was fighting for her life. And as strange as it sounds, the letter “U” floated above her head.

My nostrils burned from an assault of strong odors— chemical scents and roses, gardenias and, oddly, vanilla. I could feel her panic, and as my chest tightened, I growled— a low, rumbling warning. My throat tightened, my muscles cramped, and I fought back the urge to scream. At least I thought I did. As the details faded, my mouth was open wide, and the room echoed with the remains of a dying shriek.

“What is it?” Jennifer cried as I gasped in a deep breath to recover my wind. Her voice sounded far away. I had to blink a few times before the room came back into focus. Had I hit my head so hard I’d passed out and dreamed?

“Water,” I croaked, still on my knees and stroking my neck to try to sooth the burn in my throat.

While David pulled me to my feet and led me to the couch, Jennifer retrieved a glass of water from the kitchen.

My hands shook when I accepted it. As I emptied the glass, water dribbled down my chin and onto my lap. Jennifer’s gaze flickered toward the off-white carpet.
“Do you, er, feel sick?”

David offered to escort me to the bathroom.

“Not necessary,” I assured him. I rubbed my forehead so hard I thought I might leave a mark.

It probably wasn’t my finest professional moment, but when I looked up into their concerned faces, I couldn’t help but ask, “What in the hell was that?”

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Reading Order

The Frankie Chandler reading order:

Barking Mad at Murder (1)

A Bird's Eye View of Murder (2)

An Almost Purrfect Murder (3)

What the Cluck? It's Murder (4)

A Scaly Tail of Murder (5)

A Scape Goat for Murder (6)

The Harlow Brothers Reading Order:

Civility Rules (1)

Bad Behavior (2)

Deadly Decorum (3)