* * * Treble Heart Books Releases Mystery About Battered Women * * *

Contact: Lee Emory at leeemory@earthlink.net Http://www.TrebleHeartBooks.com

Treble Heart Books
1284 Overlook Dr.
Sierra Vista AZ. 85635
(520) 458-5801

or Christine Duncan CHDuncan100@hotmail.com Http://www.ChristineDuncan.com

(303) 456-2652

Release: Immediate

Denver is the setting for Christine Duncan's novel, Safe Beginnings, nothing new in that except that the mystery is set in a battered women's shelter. The heroine is a counselor at the shelter.

"I wanted to do a novel about battered women." said Duncan. "I didn't want to preach, but I wanted to make the point that we as a society have not yet solved the problem of domestic violence. I also wanted to create a mystery heroine who was a real woman, coping with problems that many of us cope with every day. Then I read in the paper about the fire at Women in Crisis Shelter in Jefferson County and my imagination just took off. How would the women cope? How could they feel safe in a shelter that already had been a crime scene?"

Safe Beginnings begins with a fire that breaks out in the battered women's shelter, forcing counselor Kaye Berreano to race to evacuate her residents. But it's too late for one. The newresident, Mary Ellen, is dead.
Farrell, the blue eyed, police arson investigator, believes Kaye knows who set the fire. He makes it clear that he suspects Roger, Kaye's soon to be ex, who had been at the safe house earlier, arguing with Kaye. Farrell's other theory is that Mary Ellen set the fire herself in a suicidal moment.
Kaye knows three things. She's no murderer, and jerk though he is, neither is Roger. And she'd bet her career as a counselor that Mary Ellen wasn't suicidal. With her hours cut due to the fire, Kaye is determined to find the real culprit.
Could it be the roommate who fought with Mary Ellen on the night of the fire? How about Amanda who beat her husband George and is remanded to the battered women's shelter by a quirky court order? Then there is the fanatical minister who unwillingly brought Mary Ellen to the safe house. Could this be murder in the name of Jesus? Come along with Kaye, as she sets out to find the arsonist.
Treble Heart Books is releasing Safe Beginnings in both HTML electronic format and as a trade paperback. (Http://www.TrebleHeartBooks.com)

For more information, obtain a copy of the book for review or to arrange an interview, contact Christine Duncan at (303) 456-2652



Safe Beginnings was on Inscriptions Magazine's 2001 Book of the Year List!

"Safe Beginnings" by Christine Duncan

Reviewed by Jan Kozlowski (JCKoz452@aol.com)

Published by <Treble Heart Books Http://www.Trebleheartbooks.com>

Format: Electronic

ISBN: 1-931742-85-5

Rating: * * * * stars


Kaye Berreano has a lot on her plate. She is the night shift counselor at a battered women's shelter, she's in the middle of a messy divorce and she's trying to raise a teenage son and daughter with little help and much hindrance from her soon-to-be-ex.

Then things get worse. A suspicious fire, preceded by a threatening phone call, starts at the shelter during her shift and while she bravely struggles to get everyone out, one of the residents, a new arrival, who no one was overly fond of, is killed.

Suddenly Kaye's life goes from being merely complicated to spiraling nearly out of control. Farrell, the police arson investigator suspects that Kaye knows more than she's telling and may indeed be covering for the arsonist

The threatening phone calls continue, but the police down play their importance. Kaye's hours are cut due to the shelter's relocation and the paycheck that she is owed has somehow been hung up in administrative red tape. Her ex-husband decides that he wants custody of the kids and her pregnant niece mysteriously goes incommunicado.

Instead of crumbling under the massive internal and external pressures, Kaye decides that her best option is to take matters into her own hands and solve the crime herself. As she investigates though, the number of suspects mount and the facts become even muddier than she could have imagined. Could one of the women have killed a fellow resident? Was it a misguided suicide attempt? Was Kaye's own husband involved?

Christine Duncan's debut mystery novel, the first in a projected series, is a fast paced, well-plotted and highly suspenseful read. The strength of the story is in the astoundingly real personality and voice of the main character. Kaye is, unlike some other fictional female sleuths, a woman we all are intimately familiar with. She isn't a brilliant, hard-edged attorney, a gourmet forensics expert or a karate kicking private investigator. Kaye is an ordinary woman, trying her best to multi-task her way through the day, who is suddenly thrown into an extraordinary situation

where she proves that she can not only keep her head on straight, but successfully use it to solve the crime and reclaim her life.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Safe Beginnings." Mysteries can be notoriously difficult to write well, but Duncan has done an excellent job of balancing the plot, giving us enough story lines and characters to make it interesting, but keeping it from being convoluted or frustrating. Her characters were well drawn and soundly three-dimensional and her use of the battered women's shelter as a background gives the reader the opportunity to see inside a world that too few of us truly understand.



by Christine Duncan
Treble Heart Books
ISBN 1-931742-85-5
HTML $5.00 for a download, $6.00 for a diskette
Available later this spring as a trade paperback $13.99 (plus $3.50shipping)
Cover Designer: Lee Emory
Review by: Evelyn Gale
All About Murder Reviews

Five daggers

Kaye Atchinson--Berreano is night counselor at Beginnings Battered Women’s Shelter. She’s taken back her maiden name in the middle of a messy divorce settlement and fighting for custody of her teen-aged daughter and son and an equitable property settlement from her husband who not only hid his assets, but has impregnated her replacement. Kay and the children are living in substandard conditions waiting for this settlement. Her pay at the shelter is minimal, her ten-year-old VW boasts a hundred thirty thousand miles and her ex lives with Bambi, er, Brenna, in Kay’s professionally decorated home and drives a new Volvo. As if that isn’t enough, Roger accosts Kaye in the parking lot on her way to work, in full view of her clients, in an effort to get her to fire her lawyer so they can reach a settlement alone. A fine way to start a shift.

About nine p.m. Kay receives a harassing phone call. About three a.m. the smoke alarm goes off. Kaye manages to fight her way into the burning room to make sure all the residents are out and barely pulls an unconscious Mary Ellen from the room before the EMT arrives to help. MaryEllen dies in the hospital. It was definitely arson, now murder. The window in the burning room had been opened, to fan the blaze?

Had the L.A. Crips gang learned one of their members was being transferred to the Denver shelter? Amanda was the most unusual resident–the judge sentenced her to Beginnings for beating up her husband. Roger’s Volvo was towed from the snow lane a short distance from the shelter later that morning.

Had one of the husbands tried to burn down the safehouse? What about the preacher who brought Mary Ellen to Beginnings, he ranted and raved about women belonging with their husbands no matter what? Kaye, wasn’t sure what happened or where each woman had been in the house that night. She had been aware of sounds and made suppositions and allowed herself to be led to believe things she wasn’t really sure of. In addition, she forgets to mention some things she does know to the police, so, though they don’t exactly suspect her, they think she’s protecting the arsonist/murderer.

Ultimately Kaye helps Officer Pete Ferrell solve the case and in the process may have found a new friend?

Safe Beginnings is a cozy mystery with a very good plot that keeps the reader guessing. For a first-person story, it moves quite well and gives an interesting insight into the workings of a shelter. The characters are very well-rounded and the editing is good, making Safe Beginnings an easy read. I look forward to Ms. Duncan’s next novel.

Five daggers.

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