Lupa Schwartz Spotlight – a guest post by J.D. Core

Friend of the blog, mystery writer extraordinaire, and all around cool dude, J. David Core, has a new book coming out in a little over two weeks. For those of you who want to know what I think of his writing, I did review Common Sense a while ago. Don’t adjust your interwebs, I’m turning over control of the horizontal and the vertical to him:

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Book one in the Lupa Schwartz Mystery Series, Extreme Unction, is currently FREE in eBook format at all online channels. All other books in the series are also on sale in anticipation of the release of the next in the series, Five Secrets. Books two through four – Common Sense, Fair Play, and Shared Disbelief – are each currently $2.99 in eBook and Five Secrets will also be $2.99 when it is released on July 18.

Born In the Balkans, Lupa Schwartz is the son of an ex-CIA operative and his freedom-fighter wife. After his parents were killed following the collapse of the Tito regime, Lupa escaped to America and worked for years in car repossession. Upon leaving that career, he purchased a large Victorian house in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, hired a live-in cook/house-keeper and began a new life as a private detective. Over the next few years, he built up a reputation as an eccentric, a car collector, and a ladies’ man.

Cattleya Hoskin was raised along with her sister by their great aunts in Ohio after their mother and father were killed on a clandestine trip to Yugoslavia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Recently divorced and trying to make a name for herself as a reporter in the Cleveland offices of Gamut Magazine, Cattleya has come to Pittsburgh hoping to score an interview with the notorious detective with the tenuous link to her family’s past.

That’s the deep background to the mystery series I have been working on for over a dozen years now. Each story is a standalone mystery chronicled by Cattleya for the magazine, which allows her to tag along with Lupa, provided she edits her peers’ stories on her down time. The first novel in the series, Extreme Unction, is available in both paper and electronic formats.

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Extreme Unction: When an autopsy finds traces of the banned insecticide Chlordane in the anointing oil on the corpse of a local bigwig, Pittsburgh police bring Lupa Schwartz, an outspoken non-believer, into an investigation focused on a well-liked local clergyman.  Worried that the police are planning to use him as a political fall guy, Schwartz coerces Cattleya Hoskin, a magazine reporter with a connection to his family’s past, to chronicle his process and squelch any misgiving that his world-view influenced the outcome.

Suspicion in the case is focused on Fr. Coneely, an outspoken euthanasia advocate who had earlier made the mistake of telling the family of the now-dead man that, hypothetically, he could safely apply poison-laden oil to their suffering father during last rites, and nobody need be the wiser. Was Mr. Hanson the willing victim of a mercy killing, or was a lapsing insurance policy the real motive for one of Hanson’s five children to taint the oil?

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Common Sense: I’d finished describing my surprise at how easy it was to identify Dave since – after all — he’d been pulled from a river after drowning. I’d thought he’d be bloated or discolored, but he’d looked like himself. Then out of nowhere, Schwartz had asked me if Dave had often gone night fishing alone, and I’d gone suddenly mute.

Common sense tells Cattleya Hoskin that her reporter ex-husband wouldn’t have gone out night fishing by himself in the middle of an investigation. The unaccommodating local authorities see it differently. In an effort to prove them wrong, Cattleya enlists the help of her private investigator friend, Schwartz, to follow through with Dave’s investigation—theft from the power grid in a small Ohio town.

Crooked contractors, a menacing white van, and some long-abandoned coalmines and antebellum tunnels complicate the inquiry. Aggressively loud church bells and the amorous advances of a bounty hunter Schwartz brought in to help add to an already convoluted situation. Yet Cattleya feels she owes it to Dave to figure out what happened to him, for better or for worse.

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Fair Playa Lupa Schwartz Trilogy: Fair Play features three full length novellas, Overlord, Counterfeit, and Confessions of the Cuckold, each a stand-alone story in the Lupa Schwartz universe.

Cattleya Hoskin has settled into the Schwartz residence and her new gig chronicling Schwartz’s exploits for Gamut Magazine. With cases running dry, she takes matters into her own hands and pushes Schwartz to investigate a case that has the entire country buzzing, the on-air poisoning of a reality game show contestant on Cattleya’s favorite TV program, Overlord.

Schwartz next takes Cattleya undercover to investigate the death of a smalltime store manager in their old stomping grounds of Paine County, Ohio. With a renewed passion for logic puzzles as fuel, can Cattleya solve the homicide before Schwartz, or are all of her attempts going to prove to be Counterfeit?

Finally, is a bounty hunter ever supposed to share as much information on a former client as the unnamed protagonist in this peripherally related yarn? Was there ever even a murder plot to begin with, or was it all just the fanciful Confessions of the Cuckold?

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Shared Disbelief: A serial killer stalks Pittsburgh, re-enacting the history of human sacrifice and martyrdom, attacking religion by attacking the religious. The baffled police department turns to local PI Lupa Schwartz and his journalist partner Cattleya Hoskin, hoping the former can use his connections in the atheist community to find a killer with a vendetta against faith.

Coerced into action, the pair face their hardest, most draining case yet. Cattleya risks breaking her professional ethics by using her media connections to draw out the psychopath. For Lupa, this case puts both his credibility and his friends’ lives on the line. Only together can they hope to catch a monster, but it could mean tearing down their careers to do it – if they survive at all.

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Five Secrets: After surviving a vicious attack, magazine reporter Cattleya Hoskin learns that her ex-boyfriend, Ulric, has gone missing having left only a coded message the police cannot decipher. Digging deeper, she learns that he’d been working with the man who got her injured on the last story she covered, Pittsburgh PI Lupa Schwartz. The two men had been trying to covertly unravel a centuries-old scheme, but the conspirators found him out and drove Ulric underground. To complicate matters, a mystery woman arrives with a tale of peril linking her to the same nefarious plot.

In order to protect this client and Ulric, Cattleya and Schwartz delve into the mysteries of sacred geometry and a genetic line that traces back to Charlemagne and beyond. Now the pair must work together to expose an ancient secret before being thwarted by the agents of a shadow government, which has been secretly operating since Mesopotamia.

If they succeed, they just might topple an empire. If they fail, there may be no place for them in the New World Order — or anywhere else.

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Well, there you have it, folks. J.D. Core has left the building. He didn’t drop the mic, because microphones are hella expensive, and since he knows my day job is in broadcasting, he wouldn’t dream of subjecting me to that particular horror.

Anyway, I hope you liked this little Lupa Schwartz spotlight. Here are some other J.D. Core links:


About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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