Authors Showcase: An Arizona Tragedy by Billy Ray Chitwood

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The Book: An Arizona Tragedy

The Author: Billy Ray Chitwood

The Story: Meet Bailey Crane, a transplanted son of the south. Bailey is an auxiliary detective, has a soft rep business that brings in easy money, and he’s a part-time actor.

Bailey’s got golf, love, money, friends, a hearty life, and he carries an amusing personality with him wherever he goes. He’s a rowdy, good looking rogue with a lot of that southern charm. His heart and his emotions are in his eyes and on his lips … he is not reluctant to share his world.

A lovely young model and mother is brutally murdered in the Arizona desert northeast of Phoenix. The lady was a friend and her homicide begins an adventure for our southern sleuth that will take him down the halls of our nation’s capital where he will discover that fact and fiction are strange bedfellows.

Bailey is a marked man, chased by an unknown pursuer with a gun. Wounded, his body battered and bruised, his anger pushes him onward until the puzzle pieces begin to make sense.

The exciting climax has a unique twist, and our musing son of the south does not quite know it but the ending is also a beginning.

From the Author:

Billy Ray Chitwood
Billy Ray Chitwood

Many years ago, a lovely actress friend of mine was brutally murdered in the desert northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. She was a young mother of two children, a legal secretary for two of my attorney buddies, and she was responsible for my acting avocation — we had the same great agent in Scottsdale, Bobby Ball.

My friend’s murder has never been solved, and this fictional novel was inspired by her death. The book was originally published years ago under the title, Probable Cause, by a small publisher.

I’ve dusted it off, edited it, rewrote some sections, and it is now, An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery. It is my way of remembering her.

She had her life in front of her with all the dreams most of our young generation had at the time, but her biggest dream was to have someone to love and a home for her family.

You are never far from our thoughts, dear lady.

Review by Donna Thompson:

Billy Chitwood has written a fiction novel about a real crime that happened to his wife’s friend. As I read the story, I suddenly realized I couldn’t tell where Billy Chitwood ended and his main character, Bailey Crane began. Somehow, I think the two may have a great deal in common.

Billy describes Bailey Crane as a transplanted son of the south. He says there are still a few words that will give away his heritage like the word help may come out as hep. I can identify because I’m also from the South.

Catherine Gibbs, the murdered woman, had no idea as she started her morning that this was going to be her last day on earth. She kissed her daughter, and son good-by, hugged her mom, and headed out the door thinking things were right with her world.

Cathy worked for two of Bailey Crane’s friends and she and Bailey had become casual buddies. When Bailey saw her that last morning at his friend’s place of business, he noticed her face had a happy glow. He kept remembering how she looked that morning, and hearing how two kids had found her the next day with her head and face bashed in by a rock. It was that and the fact that she was his ex-wife’s friend that made him determined to help solve her murder.

Cathy met Steve Langford, her boyfriend, after work that evening and they had dinner. He was the last known person to see her alive. Langford quickly became the police’s prime suspect, and Bailey Crane’s as well. That is all I will reveal and you will have to read it to find out the rest.

I enjoyed the way Chitwood told his story. He used sayings that I have never heard before. Sometimes they made me smile and sometimes they caused me to laugh out loud. I like the way his character, Baily Crane, describes himself after a hard night on the town. “My eyes looked like two weak and damaged headlights on an ugly foggy morning.”

I liked the way Billy Chitwood tells his story, and all I have left to say is, “Rock on, Bailey Crane.”

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