Stephen Carlucci
Created by Lorie Ham

Donlyn, California private eye STEPHEN "STEVE" CARLUCCI definitely has a knack for playing second fiddle.

He made his debut in Murder in Four Part Harmony, lending a helping hand to series protagonist and amateur sleuth Alexandra Walters, a divorcee with a young daughter, who runs a boarding house and sings gospel at the local church.

If you're in a cozy, amateur sleuth with Christian overtones kinda mood, you might enjoy this one, since it seems to have gotten some good reviews. Alex returns home to a call from Jerry, another singer and a former lover, who's being held on suspicion of the murder of his no 'count cousin. Seems Alex is the only one in town that he knows. She in turn hits on her pal (and later, boyfriend) Stephen to help clear Jerry's name. There's a lot of emotional conflict in here, as her burgeoning feelings for Stephen are thrown up against a rekindling of her emotions for her old boyfriend. There's also a missing cat, and a lot of will they/won't they? melodramtics at work here, but there's also an enjoyable look at the seedy underside of the gospel music world, and even a few gansters popping up to make things a little more gritty. But let's make this clear: nobody's going to mistake this for James Ellroy.

Carlucci returns in The Trouble With Tenors (2001) to help Alex out of another jam.

He also shows up, sans Alex, in Deadly Discrimination (2004), again as a supporting player, this time to help out Mike Raffles, the new local pastor and his old best friend, who worries a recent murder could exacerbate the town's already heightened racial tensions. In fact, Deadly Discrimination is pegged as the first book in the Pastor Mike Raqffles series.

Writer Lorie Ham has been singing gospel music since she was a child, and has toured the country ever since as a singer and recording artist. On her solo albums, she generally sings her own material (she's been writing songs since she was thirteen). She's married to Larry Ham, who works for a Christian radio production company. They have two young children, Jessica and Joseph, three cats and two dogs.

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Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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