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The Hip Shot

by Michael L. Miller

When Skeeter Ellington doesn’t show up for happy hour on a Friday afternoon, his drinking buddies fear something is wrong. A 66-year-old retired lawyer living in the small town of Preston, South Carolina, Skeeter never misses Friday happy hour. It’s a ritual. Besides, there’s little else to do in Preston but drink beer, go fishing, grow pot, or play golf. His buddies, Boot, Perch and Mervin, know they must do something. Across town, Hazel Owens is finishing a recording session with a band of marginally talented indie rockers from up the road in Lumberton, North Carolina. Keeping a studio above water in such an out-of-the-way locale isn’t easy, and now Hazel’s significant other, Dr. Carol Baxley, isn’t responding to texts or calls. Hazel is worried and a bit frightened. When a murdered woman is found early one morning in a car in the parking lot at the Urgent Care where Carol works, Hazel’s fright turns into dread. Sgt. Barbara Lowrie of the Preston police, a strong-willed Lumbee Indian who’s overcome much to climb the ranks, throws herself into the case. She finds a tangled web of hatred, misogyny, and possible criminal collusion within the force. Is the murdered woman connected to Carol Baxley? Are the disappearances of Skeeter Ellington and Carol Baxley connected? And who is the threatening stranger in town she’s heard about?

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