Gary
Richardson

 

                  
Author of the Bill Parker
Mystery Series
 
GARY RICHARDSON       
Bill Parker likes to help his friends when they ask. These requests seem very innocent in the beginning and then he finds that things are not as straightforward as he thought. With the aid of his bright and determined wife, Addie, Parker provides this assistance gladly but discovers that danger has become his constant companion. He is not brilliant, but he is honorable, stubborn, practical, and brave. That's Bill Parker.
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 Read Excerpts from the Bill Parker Mystery Series  

  Legislative Body  

Still Waters

             Green Mountain Breakdown


The first in the Bill Parker series, it introduces a look at what's happening to Vermont. A reviewer said she 'couldn't put it down." Mystery and intrigue and real legislation make this book a page-turner, and introduce some interesting Vermont characters, too.

 
 

The second in the Parker Series, it exposes a whole new scam of the murderous kind.  It takes Parker to Colorado and Arizona tracking a killer, with the final pulse-pounding finish in Grand Isle County in Northern Vermont. Parker's wife, Addie, finds danger is looking at her, too, as she steps in to help her husband.

 

In this third novel of the Series, Bill  Parker comes forward to help a friend who finds that the most innocent of Vermont's  unofficial institutions can be the most deadly to deal with. Things get rough when murder takes a hand and a middle school art student points Bill's way to the truth. The plot boils over during Parker's quiet trip into the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

 

LEGISLATIVE BODY SNEAK PEEK:
It was completely still as he stood in the doorway to a short passage that led to the House Chamber.  This was the area known as the “Card” room, where legislators played cards during slow times.  “Slow times” had evaded Parker, and everybody else, completely for all the years he’d been in the House.
 

Parker could see that the lights were at a minimum in the Chamber, and as he walked along the short passage to the darkened interior of the huge room, he heard a sound that abruptly broke the stillness up into pieces and shards. It was a muffled, but still loud, sound as if an enormous wet sand bag had been dropped from a height, followed almost instantly by the smashing sound of something destroyed by that sodden weight Bill Parker never considered himself a coward, but then again, he knew that in Vietnam he had some control over what might startle him.

He knew that something would always be groping upward at him on every mission, and he learned how to deal with it.  He knew it was controlled fear. But this sound was totally unexpected and the loud noise was even more intrusive because of the environment of complete stillness which surrounded it.

He froze in the passageway, unable to come to grips with this sudden disruption of the total quiet.  He didn’t know what had caused it, but he instinctively knew that this sound was in the wrong place and at the wrong time.  He also knew that some form of terrible trouble had decided to come out of its cave – and that feeling instantaneously flooded over him, taking him back to Southeast Asia.  Parker had created this trouble-and-cave thing as a protection when friends did not come back from missions.  He never thought he’d feel it again.

After a few seconds, Parker moved forward to the door into the House Chamber, propped open for the night.  The side door where Parker entered the Chamber was at the corner of the open north end. Parker knew that the sound had come from the direction of the south end, and turned to the right and headed that way.  At first he didn’t see anything different and out of place.  The lights were at their minimum illumination, which was customary at night in the State
House.  But they were enough to show the contrast of the white ends of broken wood where they shouldn’t be.  It was at that same moment that Parker saw, on the floor at the edge of the main passage dividing the House, a body.  It was lying on its face, the head at an unnatural angle, with what looked like a grooved skull.  There was surprisingly little blood, based on Parker’s previous experiences.  Next to it were the remains of a desk that had apparently taken the brunt of the fall.  Parker ran out into the entrance area of the House and hollered for the security guard.  He returned to the injured man and looked at him more closely. Parker would never again debate Representative Kermit Mayes and then have a beer with him afterwards.


 


 

 
STILL WATERS SNEAK PEEK:
 It’s Always Good to Have Visitors Leave Early

Waiting for time to pass can be the one thing that can try a person’s patience to the point of shattering. As the early-morning light allowed things to become more than just fuzzy blobs of non-color, Parker knew that Kate had to be here very soon. He wondered if she had decided not to come. Or if she had fallen and was unable to continue. Or………, and then Parker heard someone coming up the stream – whistling! It was Kate, stepping from stone to stone, nimbly negotiating the stream edge toward her goal. Parker slithered forward to the edge of the drop, the climbing rope right in front of his body, within easy reach. The early morning light was becoming stronger.
 

As she came abreast of the killer’s probable hiding place, Parker tensed, wondering if the killer would step out right then. There was no movement. Kate continued along toward the dam. She had stopped whistling, and slowed her walking gait, no doubt looking for the first spot where she would begin taking pictures. She reached the dam, set her backpack down, and began to look at one of her cameras, both of which were slung around her neck. There was no movement anywhere around her. And it was completely quiet, except for the musical chiming of the running water, spilling over the top of the dam at the place where the beaver had designed for it to run. And then Parker saw the first indication of motion downstream. It was a man, carefully stepping out from his cover and walking quietly to the edge of the stream. Kate had her back to him while she adjusted her camera for her morning’s work. He was still fifty feet, or so, from her back, and heading up toward her. She was so engrossed in her preparations that the man could have probably been whistling, too, thought Parker, and she still would never have been aware of his presence. And, suddenly, the early morning sun came out from behind a rim of mountain and threw a flash of light across the scene. It was so abrupt that Kate looked up, probably to gauge her position in order to take her first picture with the sun being the principal subject as it cast a sheen across the still waters.

She turned east, to see this brilliant landscape, and when she did, she saw the man. He was about twenty-five feet downstream from her. He was wearing camouflaged clothing, and a floppy Ranger hat that hid his face. But, Parker knew that Kate, by her reaction, was afraid of this man. Then, the man stood erect, and raised his head, and Kate stumbled back against the dam. The man was wearing a ski mask.

“Don’t try to run, Kate,” said the man in a soft, husky voice. “It won’t do you any good. There’s nobody around here for miles. And I have a job to do, don’t I?” He continued to walk slowly toward her. “You’re the last piece of my puzzle, you know, and then I’m done forever with my plan and all its work.” Kate couldn’t speak. She looked desperately for a chance to run. But there was no chance for her. He’d planned everything perfectly - except for one thing that his arrogance and confidence caused him to ignore.  Somebody else knew what he’d been doing. Parker grabbed his rope in his gloved hands and leaped over the edge of the sheer wall of rock and plummeted down toward the dam. “Run, Kate, run!” he shouted, as his boots hit the hard surface of the anchor end of the dam. He almost fell, but desperately gained his balance in a scrabbling effort.
 


GREEN MOUNTAIN SNEAK PEEK:
 Parker decided to change the subject. “Where’s your boss? I assumed he’d be here. Then I could talk with him, too.” It was an inane way to change directions, he knew, but he didn’t  trust this screwball to remain stable for too  long. “He left about 7:00 AM this morning. He’d been trying to reach somebody all night. He got no answers, I guess. So, he left, and in a hell of a rush, too. As I think about it, I guess he must have wanted to reach his helicopter – yes, we have one of those, too, Parker. We’re very well equipped, you know. He’ll be back any time now, I think. However, you won’t be able to talk to him, I’m afraid.” 

He motioned with his silenced pistol. “Now, out the door. And no sudden movements, please.” He looked at Parker, who was standing askew, keeping as much of his weight off one leg as he could. “Parker, you look a little like that leaning tower thing, or whatever. Bad leg, I think? You’d better not be trying to make me think you’re not dangerous. I have my Master’s degree in sniffing out that sort of crap, and I’m not lying about it. Now, move out, both of you,” and he motioned to Jan.  As they stepped through the door and into the darkness outside,  Parker thought that he might have an advantage. The night would make a lot of things easier for him and Jan and he’d be looking for it. That thought dissipated when Mr. X switched on the outside lights as he stepped through the door.  The two lights, one on each side of the door, were not bright. The bulbs were obviously undersized for the job of illuminating the outside area behind the barn.

Parker continued to look around the cones of light produced by the inadequate lamps. Beyond the splotches of light was blackness. Jan Evlin had not said a word. Parker thought that she was numb and wasn’t understanding what this crazy man was about to do to them.  “Jan,” Parker said quietly, “are you okay?” She nodded vacantly, first looking at Parker and then the pistol. Parker knew that his question was totally dumb. If she doesn’t understand, that’s probably better, he thought. “When do you expect your boss to be back? He may not be very happy when he learns that you’ve harmed us,” Parker said, as equably as he could. “I think he’ll give me a bonus for getting rid of you, Parker. And I don’t think he cares about the woman at all.” “What does he mean, Mr. Parker? Is he going to kill us?” asked Jan. Her voice was showing her panic as she seemed to understand what all this preparation work meant. “I’m afraid so, missy,” Mr. X said, “but it will be. . . ”