Just Holler Bloody Murder

Callahan Banks returns to her beloved Timicau Island near Charleston, South Carolina, to settle her mother’s estate. Her grief is compounded by Pepper Dade’s plans to develop the island and destroy the only home she’s ever known. When the body of a bikini-clad blonde washes up on the beach, Callahan is pulled into a web of intrigue that has her questioning all she thought she knew about her own life. Struggling to resist her attraction to Pepper, Callahan suspects he may be involved in the death of the blonde. She ignores her misgivings until nine-year old freckle-faced Harry Applegate, her sidekick, disappears. Now Callahan must muster all her skills as a naturalist and tracker to find the little boy before it’s too late.

“Captivating first mystery from a writer with acute sensitivity to the animal kingdom and a critical eye for the actions and motives of the human heart. An all-night, page-turner from beginning to end.”

—5-star reader review

“Ms. McDevitt has an unerring eye for details both in the physical world of nature as well as the myriad behaviors of human nature. The contradictions in the characters’ personalities keep you interested and curious and add to the many surprises of the mysterious ending.”

—5-star reader review

“I loved the descriptions of the island…could almost smell the cliff mud of the marsh. The characters were filled out and believable.”

—5-star reader review

“I couldn’t put this book down. It is full of original descriptions that transported me onto that island. I effortlessly learned all kinds of interesting facts about nature. They were tucked so beautifully into the story….This is a must read!”

—5-star reader review

“Such a well written, page-turning book with colorful characters! The descriptions of the wildlife and surrounding low country were so vivid I could almost smell the sea and feel mosquitos biting my legs!”

—5-star reader review

Perils of a Pregnant Sleuth

Callahan Banks, still living on Timicau Island, is six months pregnant. She’s wearing Pepper’s mother’s diamond engagement ring but can’t bring herself to set a wedding date. It would be lots easier if her attraction to him weren’t so strong.

Harry Applegate, her nine-year-old triplet sidekick, and his family have just moved to the island. He and his brothers “borrowed” their father’s metal detector to search for buried treasure.  Instead, they have found a dead man wrapped in barbed wire on the edge of a tidal creek.  It looks like he was still alive when he was left there half-buried in the tidal creek. So he’d drowned by inches on the incoming tide.

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Someone is stalking Callahan, too, and Pepper’s newly divorced ex-girlfriend, Teelia Moultrie, has moved herself and her troubled teenage son to this private barrier island off the coast of Charleston. So, the weekly Woman’s Roundtable, expanded by five quirky new residents, already has plenty to gossip about, and then a second body is discovered on the island.

This time, they know the victim. He’s Chalmers Redpath, the creepy, reclusive doctor who’s been restoring a cottage on the island’s isolated north end. Now, little Harry is missing, and Callahan—ever the biology professor—must leave her stilt house on the swamp and focus all her knowledge and tracking skills to rescue this darling little boy.

At least for the moment, persistent Pepper Dade and his marriage offer can be put on the back burner. But he’s not a patient man, and Teelia Moultrie, of course, has her own plans for Callahan’s fiancé.

Excerpts from Perils of a Pregnant Sleuth


Waves, cold black waves, and churning sand from the shores of Velvet Creek have nearly buried the body of the brown-skinned man whose face is frozen in a Munch’s Scream of death. Only his long black hair, swirling like seaweed in the roiling water when it disappears under an angry froth of incoming tide, can be seen. The heavy barbed wire, which encased his body when he was buried alive low on the bank of this remote tidal creek, has so far kept him from bobbing to the surface, but it has been only four tidal cycles.

A bigger, more powerful, incoming wave surges against the narrow end of the creek, rides higher up its banks, then crashes with a furious roar against Lake Timicau’s eroding earthen dam.

At least displaced sand has softened the initial horror of the man’s expression, completely filling the open-mouth and mortising closed deep barbed wire gashes across his naked back and shoulders. He did all he could do to free himself from those torturous barbs when he was alive, but it wasn’t enough. Immobilized, screaming himself voiceless over pounding waves against the dam, he drowned here by inches as the rising tide filled Velvet Creek.



End of Chapter One

This morning’s distraction, watching the old bull gator eating the cormorant, has been a welcome relief because Callahan’s so conflicted about whether to marry her baby’s father.  Now though, as anxiety creeps back, her stomach growls, and her belly pitches and cramps.

Even thinking about being tied to a man makes me want to bolt and hide.

She’s so absorbed in her ruminations that it takes her a minute to realize someone else is in her house. There’s a thud on the steps and then another before Harry Applegate appears.  Nine years old, a triplet, and a new island resident, he’s her favorite budding scientist. But he looks atypically worried as he charges across the deck towards her, his cheeks huff-and-puff red, the bill of his wet purple baseball hat off-center, and his husky voice breathless from climbing two flights of stairs.

“Callahan, whew! Am I glad to see you!” His round brown eyes widen. “Quick, can you come right now?” He speaks in something pretty close to a yell.  “We’ve got a problem, and I can’t find Daddy anywhere.”  Tom and Dick and me—” he removes the wet hat and bellows—“we were looking for buried treasure with this metal detector we sort of borrowed from Dad. Thing is, we think we’ve found a dead guy instead.”



A Horse Brought Us Here
Excitement grows all day Friday in the quiet Wyoming cattle town of Juniper as cheerleaders and football players ready themselves for the biggest football game of the year. When the omecoming Parade finally wends its way down Main Street, everyone strains to see who’s been chosen Homecoming Queen. They clap delightedly when they spot BJ Bonniface in her pink strapless formal sitting high on the back of the big Buick convertible, though no one is surprised. She’s the popular steady girlfriend of star quarterback, Rob Hitchcock. Life continues to unwind as life is expected to on such iconic weekends. The home team even wins the game. But on Monday morning, Juniper High is shaken to its foundations when the announcement is made that the Homecoming Queen is dead.
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“Act as if nothing has changed,” advises the Dean of Women. “Carry on as normal for the good of the school.” But there are those in the student body who doubt that BJ died from a bee sting. How are they to carry on? Her best friend, Nella Fortune, and her boyfriend, Rob, have private and personal reasons to question the story, but there is no one to go to and nothing to be done. Both will sleepwalk through the rest of their senior years, consumed with what they know and what they cannot tell. But the clock is ticking. How long can such a secret be kept?

In A Horse Brought Us Here, Dershie masterfully weaves the tapestry of small-town fiction into a tense, disturbing story. She invites readers to travel back to a time when life looked simple but often was not. With every turn of the page, she evokes our nostalgia for a time in the West when some of life’s mysteries may have been best kept buried.