Digger's Bones

Digger's Bones

Archaeologist Angie Cooper's colleague and friend, Tarek "Digger" Rashid, is murdered in front of her. But not before giving her cryptic photographic clues to a hidden tomb and the two thousand year old bones within. Angie must battle a ruthless hitman, hired by a U.S. senator with presidential aspirations, and a sociopathic religious zealot while overcoming severe acrophobia. Caught in a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, she works to unravel the mystery of Digger's bones. Bones that affect the lives of all they touch.

Digger's Bones is an action packed thriller that takes you from the churches and burial tombs of ancient Jerusalem to the harrowing cliffs of Bandelier National Monument and the glacier capped Zugspitze in Germany. Angie Cooper, her career in shambles, finds herself on the run from mercenaries, the Holy See, the FBI, and Interpol while trying to solve one of archaeology’s great mysteries. Yet some things are better left in the past.

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The CityZen

January 30th, 2011

Angie Cooper dragged herself out from beneath the warmth of her down comforter with great reluctance. The house felt cold, especially for Pennsylvania in June. Her rose print pajamas were twisted and bunched up around her waist and she left them that way, tripping her way across the clothing strewn floor headed to the bathroom down the hall.

            The master bedroom and its en suite bathroom collected dust as Angie slept in the room where she spent much of her childhood and trudged her way to the hallway bathroom instead.

            Brooding in the mirror she thought, Why am I such a loser? Her brows furrowed over her pale blue eyes. Four years out of Columbia and she was writing human interest fluff for the Pocono Record, the local newspaper. A double major in archaeology and anthropology flushed down the john, along with her dreams of a fulfilling career.

            Her clear acrylic hairbrush made prisms dance on the wall, which she ignored like so many tiny rainbows vying for her attention. Instead she concentrated on untangling strands of her shoulder-length ginger-blonde hair that wove in and out like misery through her life. The blame for her failed career was clearly on her shoulders and she wanted to smash the mirror until glass slivers rained down into the sink.

            “You’re an idiot, Angela Cooper,” she said, putting down her brush and staring deep into her own eyes. “Anasazi . . . damn it! You know better than that.”

            The phone’s shrill ring distracted her from her depressing reverie. She listened for a few moments before dashing down the hall. It had been nearly two years and yet she still hesitated as if her mother might call out, “I’ll get it.”

            Pushing aside the National Geographic with the Mayan ruins on the cover from her nightstand, she lifted the receiver of her pink, circa 1985, princess phone.

            “Hello?”

            “Angie?”

            “Digger, is that you?”

            “Thank God . . . thank God, holy shit—”

            Tarek “Digger” Rashid, her best and perhaps only friend left in the world of archaeology. She hadn’t heard from him in at least a year, a very long time for him to be out of touch. They were students at Columbia on their first real dig when they met. They hit it off immediately. Digger’s quirky sense of humor kept Angie from becoming too overly serious, she helped him to buckle down and do some of his best work. From then on when Digger found work, so did Angie. They worked digs as a team and gained in reputation by doing so. That was until she screwed it up.

            Angie sat down on the bed and uncurled the phone cord with her free hand. “Digger, what’s wrong?”

            “Angie, listen to me,” Digger said, “I need you to come to Washington.”

            “Washington—?”

            “Yeah, I need you to come today. I have to talk to you, it’s urgent.”

            After a year out of touch Angie wondered what could be so urgent that Digger would need her to fly to Washington without notice; something was definitely awry. “Digger, what’s going on?”

            “Meet me at the CityZen, 6:00 . . . please be there Angie.” He hung up.

            Angie made reservations at the Willard InterContinental, her favorite D.C. hotel. She packed enough clothes for a couple of days not sure what Digger had in mind. Fantasies of ceremonial clay pots and hidden chambers played in her mind’s eye, but she knew in her heart those days were over. Besides, Digger’s tone was upsetting and she wondered if he had made some sort of career ending mistake, not unlike herself. Still, her boots and khakis made their way into her suitcase, just in case.

~

The wall of wine, the heavy granite pillars reflected in the stone and wood floors, the cathedral-high ceilings, all added to the CityZen’s light and lively atmosphere. Angie slowly sipped her Apple Martini she ordered while waiting for Digger. She looked good, all five-feet-four-inches of her, dressed in a silky short black skirt—designed to show off her athletic shape—and a classic red v-neck sweater. She hadn’t worn two inch high heel sandals since college; they felt good dangling from her feet.

            She almost sat at the bar, more to be seen than anything, but the stools just seemed a bit too high. So instead she sat at a table in the back that had a wonderful view of the place. A smile found its way to her lips for the first time in what seemed like years. That’s when she saw Digger moving quickly across the room, his usual neatly combed black hair tousled, his clothes and jacket in disarray, a Manila folder with its contents spilling out pressed tightly to his chest.

            “Digger—”

            “Professor Rothschild’s dead.”

            “What—?”

            “There isn’t much time,” he said as he sat down across from her. “Just listen carefully.” He looked back over his shoulder as if he were expecting someone to be following him.

            “You’re scaring me, Digger.” Angie whispered, seeing the tension in his jaw from his tightly clenched teeth.

            “Just listen. Remember the kiva at Bandelier?” He continued without waiting for her to answer. “The spot in the wall where we found the hidey-hole? You need to go—”

            Suddenly, a thin man wearing a dark blue Armani suit, a blue shirt with its collar unbuttoned, and expensive looking loafers, sat down beside Digger. Digger leaned back pulling the folder closer to his chest, desperation in his eyes. The man’s arms were crossed, his left hand within his jacket, the other holding the opposite elbow. He smiled at Angie, a broad smile that didn’t hide his arrogance. His tufted white hair and black eyes made him look like some sort of bird, a predatory bird.

            “Tarek, who’s your lovely friend?” The man asked as his eyes moved up along Angie’s body.

            “She has nothing to do with this.”

            “Is that right?” he asked, staring at Angie, his right foot bouncing against his crossed leg.

            “Do with what?” Angie asked indignantly. “Who the hell are you?”

            He twisted his head toward Digger. “She’s got fire. I can see why you’d bring it to her.”

            “Bring what to me—?”

            Even in the boisterous CityZen Angie heard the faint “pfffaat” of the man’s silencer. It was a sound she was entirely unfamiliar with. She didn’t put it together until she realized Digger’s head had fallen back and to the side and the man was relieving him of his folder. Still, it took catching a glimpse of his pistol before real terror set in.

            “So . . . what were you two chatting about?” he asked.

            Angie trembled, words caught in her throat as she labored for breath.

            He smiled his arrogant smile, baring his teeth at her. He lifted his hand, covered by the Manila folder, onto the table. Her heart pounded loudly in her ears. Her breathing became rapid, nearly out of control.

            “I suppose it’s not important really,” he was saying, “I know as much as I need to.”

            “Is he okay?” A waiter carrying a tray of drinks startled the gunman. He turned quickly to see who had spoken. Angie took it as a cue to make her escape. She stood, stumbling on a chair, knocking into the waiter, the drinks crashing down upon the table and the gunman. The waiter falling against the table caused the candle to ignite the alcohol. The gunman’s sleeve burst into flames. Angie ran for the door. People began screaming hysterically. An enormous mirror crashed to the ground as she passed; she didn’t hear the muffled shot over the din of the fleeing crowd.

            Angie was out the door and into a cab before she could quite grasp what had happened. A throng of patrons erupted from the CityZen in panicked terror. She peered out the back window to glimpse the gunman emerging from the building, crushed by the frenzied wave of people, his predatory eyes following the cab as it sped down the street.

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A Savva Masterpiece

January 29th, 2011

A Time To Tell is the spellbinding story of Cara Hughes, and the dark secrets that plague her and her family. From the time she first falls in love, and that relationship’s tragic ending, to meeting her first love again as an elderly woman, we are transported as voyeurs through the heartbreak of Cara’s life.

Now, confined to a wheelchair, Cara must confront the torrent of problems that have coursed their way down through her family, washing over each in turn, inflicting suffering on those she truly cares for. After years of heartache and denial, Cara must finally face her own role in the circumstances of her life. She must bring her own hidden secrets out into the light of familial scrutiny.

Maria Savva weaves a tapestry of misfortune and turmoil that draws you in and drapes you in its story. Each throw of the weaver’s shuttle brings out another detail of the emotional hardships of Cara and her family’s lives, forcing them further from each other and closer to your own heart. Savva’s mastery of dialogue allows you to live inside this woven fabric of Cara’s world and feel the genuine sorrow of each character.

A Time To Tell is a book not to be missed.

www.mariasavva.com

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Powerful characters make Loco Lobo a must read!

January 29th, 2011

Haunted by his fiancée’s tragic death, Joaquin Black Wolf tries desperately to mask his pain by joining a second band as drummer. Yet nightmares and sudden flashes of his inner pain cascade through his life like a mid-summer’s storm through a desert town.

Struggling to defeat his demons on his own terms, Joaquin desperately seeks answers from within himself, pushing his friends and family away. When love enters his life again he finds himself awash in his fears and catastrophic memories.

I must admit this is my first foray into the romance genre and I was a bit wary about reading a romance novel. Magnolia Belle dispelled any prejudices I may have had with a wonderful, almost lyrical, style of writing. Loco Lobo’s characters are fully realized and the dialogue is natural and unforced, like having coffee with a good friend. Belle’s descriptive phrasing draws you in–you can picture Joaquin and his band playing passionately on stage or quarreling from bruised egos–and captures your heart.

Brilliantly written, Loco Lobo has opened my eyes to whole new genre, and I like what I see. Belle has a real hit on her hands with the forth book in the Black Wolf series, Loco Lobo.

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Digger’s Bones Receives 5 of 5 Stars on BookPleasures

January 26th, 2011

A very impressive debut novel. Digger’s Bones is a thriller with substance. Angie Cooper is a failed archaeologist; having wanted nothing more than to pursue her lifelong dream to follow in her father’s footsteps and become an accomplished archaeologist, she destroys her career by being too impulsive and making a huge mistake.
We meet Angie at her lowest ebb, she has lost touch with her friends, her career has ended and she has also recently lost her mother. Her father died when she was a child and she still harbours feeling she associates with guilt over his death and experiences recurring nightmares.

Out of the blue, her old friend, Tarek ‘Digger’ Rashid, contacts her, asking her to meet him. At their meeting, in a restaurant, he advises her that a former colleague of theirs, Professor Rothschild, is dead. Then, a strange man joins them at the table, and kills Digger; taking away the Manila folder that Digger had brought with him.
Angie is left reeling; two of her colleagues are dead and someone is evidently keen to stop some information being disclosed. Professor Rothschild and Digger had obviously unearthed an important archaeological find. Digger’s last words to her were that she should revisit a place they had been together, Bandelier, New Mexico, and look in a hidey-hole. Angie knew that he must have left something there for her to find, something with implications so huge that people were prepared to kill to prevent the word getting out.

Digger was the only one who’d stood by Angie when her career was falling apart and had always been there for her. Even though she knows she will be risking her own life, she is determined to find out what Digger had wanted to tell her.

In the hidey-hole, Angie finds a flash drive containing photographs which appear to hold clues to the mystery. Angie knew that Professor Rothschild had a theory that Judas’s bones were somewhere in the holy land and he wanted to find them. Perhaps he had? Fans of Dan Brown’s books will find more religious controversy to whet their appetites within these pages.

We follow Angie on her travels to locate Digger’s bones. She is ruthlessly pursued by the strange man from the restaurant, who she now knows is called ‘Tek’. But he is not the only one who wants to stop her uncovering the secret. Many people associated with Digger’s bones are being killed. But who is the killer?

As she embarks on her search for the bones, Angie is reunited with her former lover, Reilly, and for a time it seems that her life may be getting back on track; perhaps if she discovers the bones, she could get back to her work as an archaeologist and be taken seriously again? But even Reilly is reluctant to help her in her search when the going gets tough.
There is a lot of edge-of-your-seat action in this book as Angie is forced to run for her life on more than a couple of occasions. The action scenes are well written and compulsive, and this complex story is crafted with skill. There is a lot of historical information in the book, showing that it was well-researched.

All the characters are believable, and I was especially impressed by the character of Angie Cooper whose emotions and thoughts were so realistic as those from a female perspective.
This book contains action, adventure, mystery and romance. Angie’s character is particularly well-developed as she tries to deal with her emotional baggage in regard to her father’s death. The subjects of regret, guilt and forgiveness are dealt with well by the author.

There are enough twists and turns and unexpected discoveries in this book to keep the reader enthralled to the end. A very enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Maria Savva as a reviewer for Bookpleasures.com

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Digger’s Bones, Chapter 1

January 23rd, 2011

Angie Cooper dragged herself out from beneath the warmth of her down comforter with great reluctance. The house felt cold, especially for Pennsylvania in June. Her rose print pajamas were twisted and bunched up around her waist and she left them that way, tripping her way across the clothing strewn floor headed to the bathroom down the hall.

            The master bedroom and its en suite bathroom collected dust as Angie slept in the room where she spent much of her childhood and trudged her way to the hallway bathroom instead.

            Brooding in the mirror she thought, Why am I such a loser? Her brows furrowed over her pale blue eyes. Four years out of Columbia and she was writing human interest fluff for the Pocono Record, the local newspaper. A double major in archaeology and anthropology flushed down the john, along with her dreams of a fulfilling career.

            Her clear acrylic hairbrush made prisms dance on the wall, which she ignored like so many tiny rainbows vying for her attention. Instead she concentrated on untangling strands of her shoulder-length ginger-blonde hair that wove in and out like misery through her life. The blame for her failed career was clearly on her shoulders and she wanted to smash the mirror until glass slivers rained down into the sink.

            “You’re an idiot, Angela Cooper,” she said, putting down her brush and staring deep into her own eyes. “Anasazi . . . damn it! You know better than that.”

            The phone’s shrill ring distracted her from her depressing reverie. She listened for a few moments before dashing down the hall. It had been nearly two years and yet she still hesitated as if her mother might call out, “I’ll get it.”

            Pushing aside the National Geographic with the Mayan ruins on the cover from her nightstand, she lifted the receiver of her pink, circa 1985, princess phone.

            “Hello?”

            “Angie?”

            “Digger, is that you?”

            “Thank God . . . thank God, holy shit—”

            Tarek “Digger” Rashid, her best and perhaps only friend left in the world of archaeology. She hadn’t heard from him in at least a year, a very long time for him to be out of touch. They were students at Columbia on their first real dig when they met. They hit it off immediately. Digger’s quirky sense of humor kept Angie from becoming too overly serious, she helped him to buckle down and do some of his best work. From then on when Digger found work, so did Angie. They worked digs as a team and gained in reputation by doing so. That was until she screwed it up.

            Angie sat down on the bed and uncurled the phone cord with her free hand. “Digger, what’s wrong?”

            “Angie, listen to me,” Digger said, “I need you to come to Washington.”

            “Washington—?”

            “Yeah, I need you to come today. I have to talk to you, it’s urgent.”

            After a year out of touch Angie wondered what could be so urgent that Digger would need her to fly to Washington without notice; something was definitely awry. “Digger, what’s going on?”

            “Meet me at the CityZen, 6:00 . . . please be there Angie.” He hung up.

            Angie made reservations at the Willard InterContinental, her favorite D.C. hotel. She packed enough clothes for a couple of days not sure what Digger had in mind. Fantasies of ceremonial clay pots and hidden chambers played in her mind’s eye, but she knew in her heart those days were over. Besides, Digger’s tone was upsetting and she wondered if he had made some sort of career ending mistake, not unlike herself. Still, her boots and khakis made their way into her suitcase, just in case.

~

The wall of wine, the heavy granite pillars reflected in the stone and wood floors, the cathedral-high ceilings, all added to the CityZen’s light and lively atmosphere. Angie slowly sipped her Apple Martini she ordered while waiting for Digger. She looked good, all five-feet-four-inches of her, dressed in a silky short black skirt—designed to show off her athletic shape—and a classic red v-neck sweater. She hadn’t worn two inch high heel sandals since college; they felt good dangling from her feet.

            She almost sat at the bar, more to be seen than anything, but the stools just seemed a bit too high. So instead she sat at a table in the back that had a wonderful view of the place. A smile found its way to her lips for the first time in what seemed like years. That’s when she saw Digger moving quickly across the room, his usual neatly combed black hair tousled, his clothes and jacket in disarray, a Manila folder with its contents spilling out pressed tightly to his chest.

            “Digger—”

            “Professor Rothschild’s dead.”

            “What—?”

            “There isn’t much time,” he said as he sat down across from her. “Just listen carefully.” He looked back over his shoulder as if he were expecting someone to be following him.

            “You’re scaring me, Digger.” Angie whispered, seeing the tension in his jaw from his tightly clenched teeth.

            “Just listen. Remember the kiva at Bandelier?” He continued without waiting for her to answer. “The spot in the wall where we found the hidey-hole? You need to go—”

            Suddenly, a thin man wearing a dark blue Armani suit, a blue shirt with its collar unbuttoned, and expensive looking loafers, sat down beside Digger. Digger leaned back pulling the folder closer to his chest, desperation in his eyes. The man’s arms were crossed, his left hand within his jacket, the other holding the opposite elbow. He smiled at Angie, a broad smile that didn’t hide his arrogance. His tufted white hair and black eyes made him look like some sort of bird, a predatory bird.

            “Tarek, who’s your lovely friend?” The man asked as his eyes moved up along Angie’s body.

            “She has nothing to do with this.”

            “Is that right?” he asked, staring at Angie, his right foot bouncing against his crossed leg.

            “Do with what?” Angie asked indignantly. “Who the hell are you?”

            He twisted his head toward Digger. “She’s got fire. I can see why you’d bring it to her.”

            “Bring what to me—?”

            Even in the boisterous CityZen Angie heard the faint “pfffaat” of the man’s silencer. It was a sound she was entirely unfamiliar with. She didn’t put it together until she realized Digger’s head had fallen back and to the side and the man was relieving him of his folder. Still, it took catching a glimpse of his pistol before real terror set in.

            “So . . . what were you two chatting about?” he asked.

            Angie trembled, words caught in her throat as she labored for breath.

            He smiled his arrogant smile, baring his teeth at her. He lifted his hand, covered by the Manila folder, onto the table. Her heart pounded loudly in her ears. Her breathing became rapid, nearly out of control.

            “I suppose it’s not important really,” he was saying, “I know as much as I need to.”

            “Is he okay?” A waiter carrying a tray of drinks startled the gunman. He turned quickly to see who had spoken. Angie took it as a cue to make her escape. She stood, stumbling on a chair, knocking into the waiter, the drinks crashing down upon the table and the gunman. The waiter falling against the table caused the candle to ignite the alcohol. The gunman’s sleeve burst into flames. Angie ran for the door. People began screaming hysterically. An enormous mirror crashed to the ground as she passed; she didn’t hear the muffled shot over the din of the fleeing crowd.

            Angie was out the door and into a cab before she could quite grasp what had happened. A throng of patrons erupted from the CityZen in panicked terror. She peered out the back window to glimpse the gunman emerging from the building, crushed by the frenzied wave of people, his predatory eyes following the cab as it sped down the street.

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Digger’s Bones Book Trailer

January 19th, 2011

Digger’s Bones
by Paul Mansfield Keefe

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Night’s Eternal Shadow

January 10th, 2011

Night’s Eternal Shadow
by Paul Mansfield Keefe

eyes like gray skies stare out from fragility
hands withered and mottled
nails and hair growing like spring’s wildness

he calls out for one last taste of freedom
one last breath beyond the clutch of life’s mortality
beyond the pain of memory, the false hope of dreams

let not night’s eternal shadow fall

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And the Wind Blows Empty

January 9th, 2011

And the Wind Blows Empty
By Paul Mansfield Keefe

The wind blows empty
Through the hollow of the soul

The sun calls mightily
The body stretching up, bold and triumphant

But the shine dulls on unfulfilled promise
Snarling teeth tear at the flesh of hope and desire

Leaving the soul wanting
Disillusioned and crippled

Burn sun, burn down
Burn down till darkness fills the void of days infinite

There upon the ashes lay truth, barren and naked
And the wind blows empty

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Books By, For and About Women

January 8th, 2011

I feel honored to have my latest review of Digger’s Bones posted to “Books By, For and About Women.” Honestly, I hadn’t heard of the site before, being of the male gender, but have found that it is a great resource for women seeking books of empowerment. Granted, my novel is a thriller and so is more about a particular woman than about women’s issues, but the site itself is a wonderful concept that is worth taking a look at.

Here’s a link to my review, don’t forget to scour the site for other great reads:
http://women4reading.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/exciting-debut-novel-by-paul-mansfield-keefe/

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First Annual BestsellerBound Sample Anthology

January 4th, 2011

Read some outstanding Indie book excerpts in the First Annual BestsellerBound Sample Anthology. I’ve read many of these authors and can tell you first hand you’ll find a new novel worth reading. This link sends you to volume 1 and you can navigate to the other two from there.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/46280258/1-BsB-Anthology-Vol-One

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