Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, PEG BRANTLEY, and her favorite recipe for SHIRLEY’S ENCHILADAS.
An Aspen Falls Thriller
BY PEG BRANTLEY
Aspen Falls, Colorado.
Secrets within a community.
Secrets within a family.
Detective Chase Waters finds himself working the most interesting case of his career—one that comes closer to home than he could ever imagine.
Are the mutilated bodies of young men and women the result of cult… or commerce?
“No sophomore slump here after Ms. Brantley’s first successful outing—RED TIDE….Another ‘unputdownable’.” — Jack Quick, Reviewer
An Aspen Falls Thriller
BY PEG BRANTLEY
in he and she
who are not like
you and me.”
Main Street, 400 block
Wednesday, September 19
Senior Detective Chase Waters pulled his car up to the alley. Crime-scene tape stretched like flexible neon ribbon across the entrance, popping in and out of the light from his headlights. The shadow of the tape bounced against the snow in a sort of bizarre striptease, with falling snowflakes adding a glittering special effect to the surreal scene. Chase hoped the uniforms who confirmed a body in the dumpster hadn’t messed up the scene.
He’d know in a minute.
Chase pulled on latex gloves and cloth booties and climbed out of his car. His evidence bag over a shoulder, camera in hand, he dipped his long frame under the tape. About two inches of fresh snow made him slip, and he wondered if the old rubber-band-over-the-soles trick would have been a wiser move. Only September, and the snowfall held promise of another record Colorado ski season. It didn’t, however, do much for his footing at this hour of the morning, when he could have been lying in his warm bed next to the woman he loved.
The Crime Scene Unit van puffed exhaust at the other end of the alley. A door opened at the end of the CSU vehicle, and he saw Akila move with cautious deliberation down the steps, carefully holding a pan in front of her. The pan billowed steam from its heated contents. Chase thanked the heavens that his case had drawn Akila Copeland from the crime unit. Known by other detectives, district attorneys, and more importantly, judges, as one of the most meticulous Crime Scene Investigators in the area, Akila made him feel a little better about being out here in the early morning hours processing a scene.
“Hey, Chase. We got lucky. The uniforms were careful and approached the dumpster from the sheltered side next to the building. We have a couple of really great footprints in the snow from the alley. Plus some tire tracks.”
“You need any help?”
“I could use your assistance for this last cast. It’s in an awkward place and looks like it’ll be the best one for this set of prints.”
“How many prints?”
“Two distinct sets. If you get their footwear we’ll have some cool evidence.”
“Too bad there isn’t contact information on the sole of every shoe.”
“You mean like an owner’s code? One day, my detective friend, one day. I sort of hope I’m not around to see it, though—too much Big Brother for my taste.” Akila laughed and led him to the far end of the dumpster where a clear footprint was formed in the snow halfway under the metal container.
As the two bent to pour the hot sulfur into the print, Chase worried about the fragile nature of sulfur casts. He knew that, surprisingly, the snow wouldn’t melt when the liquefied sulfur hit it, but the resulting beautifully detailed impressions were like sandstone—one false move and all of the beautiful evidence could crumble into a thousand pieces.
“Don’t worry.” Akila read his mind. “I’ve got plenty of photos from all angles. We’re good to go. There’s just this print in this impossible place I’d really like to capture. And as long as we can keep the casts together, we’ve got perfect 3-D evidence.”
“You must’ve gotten here fast.” Usually Chase had to wait for the CSU van—if it was available at all.
“I just got back into town from Snowmass when the call came in.”
“Snowmass? Did someone lose their platinum ring again?” Last summer a woman vacationing in Snowmass had called demanding every department in the area provide a full effort to find her half-million-dollar platinum ring. That included the CSU van.
“Actually, something completely different demanded our attention tonight—a dog and pony show for the brass and politicos. Some Hollywood production team is in the area to film some mountain scenes and wanted to get an authentic feel for a crime-scene vehicle. Some asshole volunteered me. I figure they needed to show another ‘face’ of our fine mountain community.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Nope. This fine African-American skin of mine is more than just something to hold my brain in. Not only did I get overtime, but I got two offers to test for a walk-on role.”
“All right! Why so late?”
“My shift didn’t end until eleven. And they didn’t want us out there until eleven-thirty. Something about a late dinner and entertainment. Hey, I wasn’t complaining. I can use the money.”
Ten minutes after pouring the sulfur into the impression, the CSI carefully pulled up the cast. She flashed a smile at Chase. “Perfect. I knew this was the best one, but because of its position under the dumpster I couldn’t get all the photo angles I wanted.”
Time for the body. Chase worked to move his mind toward a professional and pragmatic place. It was important to work toward justice for each victim, and while observing a body whose life had been taken by force made him angry and depressed, he needed to trump those emotions. He needed to let the dead body begin to tell its story.
He cranked his neck. “Did you get photos of the DB?”
“Yeah, but you’ll want to get your own. Jax is on her way.”
“Great.” They were lucky to have a medical examiner as good as Jacqueline Taylor based right here in Aspen Falls.
“Anything interesting?” Chase asked, as he moved toward the dumpster with his camera.
Akila stopped and looked directly at him, her expression somber. “You have no idea.”
About Author Peg Brantley…
A Colorado native, Peg Brantley and her husband make their home southeast of Denver, sharing it over time with the occasional pair of mallard ducks and their babies, snapping turtles, peacocks, assorted other birds, foxes, a deer named Cedric, and a bichon named McKenzie.
With the intent to lend her stories credibility, Peg is a graduate of the Aurora Citizens’ Police Academy, attended the Writers’ Police Academy, has interviewed crime scene investigators, FBI agents, human trafficking experts, obtained her Concealed Carry Permit, studied diverse topics from arson dogs to Santeria, and hunted down real life locations that show up in her stories.
At this very minute (well, not this very minute) she’s busy turning her standalone books into two separate series because that’s what her readers want.
Peg’s third book, The Sacrifice, was a finalist for two 2014 Colorado literary awards.
Links to Peg’s Website, Books, & Social Media:
You can learn more about Peg at http://www.pegbrantley.com or meet up with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pegbrantleyauthorpage or follow her blog at http://www.suspensenovleist.blogspot.com
I hope you enjoy the recipe Peg is sharing with us today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy eating!
P.S. We’re at 250 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
A NOTE FROM PEG: This was my mom’s recipe. Keep in mind that this will make a boatload of enchiladas (like 36!) so you can freeze a lot to use later.
IMPORTANT: This is a really simple recipe that ends up tasting amazing. You can score a lot of points by not letting on how simple it actually is. Just a thought.
SAUCE (for best results, make the night before—this also adds to the illusion of difficulty):
3 cans beef broth (or close)
1 clove chopped garlic (or maybe a couple of extra, your choice… we smashed three or four of ’em)
3 cans enchilada sauce (or close)
2 cans tomato sauce (or close)
Heat over medium-low heat until it thickens like a heavy gravy. Stir often. Refrigerate overnight if you can. (Your kitchen/house is gonna smell fabulous, just so you know.)
2 lbs. hamburger (or close)
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 lbs. grated cheese (or close), separated
2 cans sliced black olives, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute meat and onion. Add olives, a bit of the sauce, salt and pepper, some of the cheese, and heat just until the cheese melts, then remove from heat.
Spread some sauce over the bottom of a baking pan.
Fry corn tortillas lightly in olive oil over medium-low heat. When the tortillas begin to bubble, turn them over, wait for the bubble, then place on a plate. Fill with just enough filling (you’ll figure out the amount), roll, and secure with a couple of toothpicks, and place in the sauced pan.
Pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas, spread with the rest of the cheese and cut up some green onion/chives over the top. Stick the pan in a warm oven (350-ish degrees) until bubbly and the cheese has melted.
Serve and tell everyone they’re welcome. <g>
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Peg is giving away an ecopy of THE MISSINGS to ALL OF HER READERS. The ebook is #FREE from March 16-18th so grab your copy today. Thank you, Peg, for sharing your story and recipe with us.
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!