The Suspect: Meet the Characters of Magnolia Bluff

Richard Schwindt releases his brilliant new psychological thriller, The Shine from a Girl in the Lake, today, September 20. It is Book 6 of the Crime Chronicles of Magnolia Bluff.

Dr. Michael Kurelek is a clinical psychologist.

He also teaches within the liberal confines of Burnet College.

His life has been turned upside down.

A woman is dead.

Her body was found in the lake.

She had been his patient.

Everyone in Magnolia Bluff knows him.

Or they know about him.

He’s an outsider.

And folks in a small town are suspicious of anyone who’s not homegrown.

He’s a big man, tall and strong.

He is a hunter.

He likes to kill things.

Could he have killed his patient?

Police think it’s possible.

Kurelek says he’s innocent.

But who believes him?

How can he proves his innocence?

The suspicion hanging over his head is smothering.

He goes to the lake to clear his head.

He goes to the lake where the lady was found.

Only one other person is fishing.

The judge.

Richard Schwindt

Another hot day in October under the bright Texas sun. This was the time of year where I most missed frosty mornings on the Upper Peninsula, setting out before dawn for ducks or bucks with my dad. I missed the gold and crimson forests of maple and oak.

The appearance of water settled me. I could see a few fishermen trolling and one bass boat sprinting across the surface. No one but fanatics would be out in the noon heat.

I pulled up my truck and saw the owner Judge Peacock standing outside staring at the water. He turned and shrewdly looked me over. He then turned back.

“Never could fish mid-day,” he said, as if trying to guide me away from irrational thoughts. “You here to fish?” He looked again, and spoke again. He seemed to want to figure this out, with no input from me. “You’re the shrink. The one the cops took in yesterday.”

“Yes.” No point denying the obvious.

“You’re not here to fish, are you?”

“No.”

“Do you fish?”

“I took a thirty-eight-pound musky out of South Manistique Lake once. And more than a few bass out of this reservoir.”

He briefly dissociated; I suspect into a fisherman’s dreams. But he returned quickly. “Never seen you here.”

“I launch my canoe from a trail on the north shore.”

“What can I do for you?”

“You okay? Not easy pulling a body out of the water.” He didn’t expect empathy and his posture changed slightly.

“I’m okay,” he said softly, “but I keep looking out at the water, like there’s another one waiting.”

“I have one simple question.”

“Doc…”

“Kurelek. Call me Mike.”

“Mike, don’t forget that I am a Judge. I’ll be recused from this case, but I’m still an officer of the court. But I don’t know much. I hear the girl – you don’t have to say anything – was your patient; innocent till proven guilty, and all that, so shoot.”

I had the impression of a good man who was working things out as he talked.

“Judge, the police said you saw a glint in the water. That’s how you found her body.” He listened. “Can you tell me what made the glint?”

“That’s easy Mike. It was a ring. It looked like a large diamond actually, not that I know a real one from a fake. The police have it in evidence. They should know by now.”

“Thanks. I appreciate your time, Judge.”

“I want something back.”

What was this?

“Sure.”

“Look me in the eye, son. You kill that girl?”

He was taking this personally. Good. I was, too. I looked him in the eye. “No sir, I did not.”

“I believe you. But it’s not up to me.” Now I turned to leave, but he interrupted. “I’m not done. One more question.”

“Okay.”

“What you get the musky on?

“Mepps Musky Killer, with a wire leader.” He nodded approval. Now I could go.

Please click HERE to find The Shine from a Girl in the Lake on amazon.

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