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Writing History & Mysteries

When I'm not delving into historical research, I'm planning a character's demise.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Milk Carton Murders 19

We pick up where we left off two weeks ago.  Investigator Pepper Black is still over at Dave's house questioning his father, Hal, on his connection to the murders of the three girls 20 years earlier whose remains were found at Wiscoy Creek. Pinned to each was a piece of a milk carton with their photograph as part of the missing children campaign of the 1980s and 90s. Only problem is they are different than the ones that came from the Center. Hal worked at one point in the print shop at the dairy.

Pepper had some pretty damning evidence against Dave's dad last time about his work in the print shop and how the killer changed the milk carton layouts to add his victims. Just to keep the flow of the scene the last line last week was the voice in Dave's head which said, "Two points for Pepper, Davy boy. You better come up with something or poor, old Hal here will be spending his retirement in Attica."

Dave didn’t like the way this was going. “Okay, two points for you, Pepper, but it seems pretty farfetched don’t you think?”

“Not really—maybe they were souvenirs for him,” said Pepper, “like some serial killers keep something from their victims. This would be so much better. The milk cartons with their pictures would be right in plain sight. He could look at them every day, in every store, and so would everyone else. It would be very gratifying for him.”

“That’s just plain sick!” said Hal.


The link to the other Weekend Writing Warriors is here. You're bound to find something to pique your interest.

The Sunday Snippet writer's on Facebook are here. Between the two there is something for everyone. Thank you for any comments you leave me. Much appreciated!

(This also serves as post #15 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge.)
When three small coffins are unearthed near the Wiscoy Creek during a routine dredging operation, it’s the last thing DAVE ROBERTSON, of the Lamont Weekly Times, expected. Pinned to the skeleton’s clothing are pictures from milk cartons of missing girls.

Dave is stunned to find that one of the girls is Sally―a foster child his parents had cared for through the Friends of Foster Families (FFF) program. Cold case files reveal the girls disappeared over 20 years ago. Knowing his house was the last place he saw Sally alive, he can’t help but suspect his dad.

How can he write the biggest story of his career if his father turns out to be the killer? If the voice in his head would shut up and let him remember, he might figure it out before he loses his mind and his dad is charged with murder.

Full blurb and snippet recap here.



  1. Things are looking really bad for Hal! I'm rooting for him to be innocent. Dave's discomfort is so obvious and well portrayed.

  2. Not to mention that it would also make him think that they were still alive somewhere and that he didn't kill them.
    I would say at this point, Dave is the killer and his mother covert it up for him without telling his dad.

  3. Sounds like Pepper's on to something. Really great scene!

  4. AnonymousJuly 21, 2013

    I'm with Linda -- poor Davy's probably going to have to choose between Hal spending his retirement in Attica or going there himself.

    Another nice one!

  5. I never thought of the milk cartons being souvenirs . . . That's diabolically clever! And creepy!

    And when is this coming out again?

  6. Love your ideas, Pepper has it all worked out - or so it seems!

  7. My first time checking out your snippets, and this has got me fully intrigued. Nicely done. I like the milk carton souvenir concept...very creepy!

  8. I admit you have me hooked. Pepper seems to think she has all the answers. Can't wait to see where the investigation takes her.

  9. Man, Cindy, you have a creepy way of thinking that works perfectly for this story! :-D

    This is a great turning point scene: is Pepper right, is she half-right, is this a red herring? Great excerpt.

  10. The whole thing with the milk carton labeling is fantastic. I'm totally hooked by this story and can't wait to learn more. Always a new twist! Another excellent excerpt.

  11. I'll be back later to comment on everyone's blogs (if I haven't already)and from our list. I'm on vacation in Austin and we're off to the Alamo!

  12. The plot thickens and I'm getting more nervous for Dave. ;) Nicely done, Cindy.

  13. I'm right with Siobhan, my stomach's in knots. Well done. :)

  14. I agree with Hal's last statement. Well done with the rising suspense. Great 8.

  15. great 8! I actually shivered at the idea of the killer looking at the milk carton pictures every day as tokens of his kills...

  16. God job of racheting up the tension.

  17. The plot thickens. Ha! Davey boy is squirming, and Pepper is hitting hard with her investigation. Another great 8, Cindy! :-)

  18. It's just getting worse and worse for him, isn't it? Fantastic snippet. Now I'm really wondering if he did it, and if not, then who?

  19. Great scene, and interesting insight into the mind of the killer.

  20. AnonymousJuly 21, 2013

    Sick and creepy indeed... And very clever.

    How's he going to get out of this one?

  21. I don't think it's sick. I think it's brilliant.

  22. Sick, indeed. But logical, no doubt! At least to the madman...

  23. I don't think I will ever look at a carton of milk the same way again...

  24. Love that premise! Great idea with the milk carton pictures. Enjoyed your 8!

  25. AnonymousJuly 23, 2013

    Another great cliffhanger there.

  26. Hal and Dave. Weren't they the characters in 2001: Space Odyssey? Hal:"Why are you touching the milk cartons, Dave? Don't you trust me?" Sick, I'll say! The suspense is killing me Cynthia!

  27. Thanks for your comments this week everyone.

  28. Great snippet and I love this story, and the theory of putting the victims on the milk cartons!


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Available in paperback and eBook formats

Available in paperback and eBook formats

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Carried by over 20 college/university libraries across the county, according to daily updates by worldcat.org, including Columbia University, Oklahoma State, Texas A & M, and Yale University Law Library.


APRIL 2nd,11-1 PM
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May 17th, 6 PM Warsaw Public Library - Warsaw, NY

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More to announce as they are confirmed.

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