As many of you know, a homeless encampment plays a big part in my Branigan Powers mystery series. Malachi Ezekiel Martin is a homeless veteran who often sees and hears things that others don’t because homeless people “are looked right through.”
What you may not know is I based Malachi on a man I know who spent 35 years on the streets. I met Sippio in 2005 when I became pastor of Triune Mercy Center, a church that ministers to homeless people in Greenville, SC. He was always the last in line to eat, and the first to jump up to carry out trash or mop the dining room floor. He was also kind, exceedingly kind.
Those were attributes I used when I began to create the character Malachi. He meets the reporter, Branigan, in The Cantaloupe Thief when the pair attempt to solve a 10-year-old murder in Grambling, Georgia. They reunite in The Cover Story to solve the deaths of two college students. In Death of a Jester, available now on Amazon, I decided it was time to explore why such a smart man was living on the street. And so in this third book, the reader will learn what happened to Malachi in the Gulf War that led to his drinking — and eventually to his life in Grambling’s homeless encampment.
Sippio, of course, didn’t serve in the military nor does he drink or solve murder mysteries. But he continues to worship at Triune, has obtained housing and bought a car. And now he has a book dedicated to him. Here’s what the dedication page of Jester says: To Sippio, who taught me what kindness looks like on the street.
I hope you will join me on July 13 at Fiction Addiction, 1175 Woods Crossing Rd. in Greenville, for a drop-in to celebrate the launch of “The Cover Story.” Come any time between 5:30 and 8 PM.
Fiction Addiction is a small independent bookstore, but we can spread out into a courtyard for wine and refreshments.
“The Cover Story” is the second in the Branigan Powers mystery series.
A fatal crash involving two college students seems like an unfortunate accident. But when the surviving girl wakens, she tells a curious story of the vehicle that forced them off the road — an old-fashioned, 1950s-style hearse.
Branigan delves into the mystery that takes her to a college campus, and leads her into dangerous fraternity and sorority pledge parties.
Reunited with the homeless Malachi Martin, who is so adept at seeing what isn’t there rather than what is, Branigan must uncover what is really going on at the college before other students are put in danger.
Please join us on July 13, 2017, at a drop-in to launch The Cover Story at Fiction Addiction, 1175 Woods Crossing Road, in Greenville, SC.
The store is in a shopping strip adjacent to the Haywood Mall parking lot on the Belk’s side, so there’s plenty of parking. We’ll have wine and beer, soft drinks and food. Come and meet your friends between 5:30 and 8 PM, chat with me, and get your signed copy of Branigan and Malachi’s latest adventure. It seems that someone in Grambling, Georgia, is trying awfully hard to cover up a murder, so the unlikely pair is back together.