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A DEAD RED HEART (The Dead Red Mystery series) [Kindle Edition]

RP Dahlke
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)

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Book Description

What would you do if the love of your life lost their chance at a heart transplant because the donor organ went to a convicted felon? Grieve and let go--or wait until the convict is released and then hunt him down and make him pay?
Lalla Bains certainly doesn't need any more distractions during the simmering summers in the San Joaquin Valley of California; her tight-wad, widowed father is now a born-again lady's man, a disreputable crop-dusting competitor threatens her business, and last but not least, she worries whether the sultry redhead in the local police department is taking more than a professional interest in her honey, Sheriff Caleb Stone.
But when a homeless vet is stabbed and dies at her feet, Lalla Bains, being the exasperating, pushy, tenacious gal she is, Lalla believes the dead man deserves a better homicide investigation than what he's getting.

Editorial Reviews


"This book is not exactly a Valentine, but by golly, if you have a mystery lover in your life, Dead Red Heart is sure to please." Eileen Granfors:

"Lalla Bains, Crop Duster and Amateur Sleuth has become one of my favorite characters. In A Dead Red Heart, the second book in the Lalla Bains Mystery Series, R.P. Dahlke weaves together suspense, mystery, romance, and a touch of humor for a fantastic mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. A Dead Red Heart is on my list of favorites...." Kellie Rix,. Reader/reviewer 
..Entertaining, suspenseful, totally unexpected and has a love story mingled in with it." MariLou Georges for

"The characters in this book are strongly defined and very, very memorable. The Modesto, CA setting is so well described that a fan and a cool drink is almost a requirement while reading this smoothly written mystery. When the ending arrives, you know that you've been on a wild ride with a spirited and feisty woman."Mary R. Fairchild "Mare F"

"Author R P Dahlke has combined suspenseful murder and even humor in the creation of A Dead Red Heart.  And I have to admit, I didn't come up with the real murder until the end. This author really kept me guessing and changing my mind."
Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

From the Author

I got to thinking why I so very much like reading and writing about strong women. To be honest with you, I think it's because I've spent most of my life as a wimp, doing as I was told, minding my manners, saying all the right, and expected, things,  until one day I realized being miss-goody-two-shoes was getting me exactly nowhere. Since then, I've been called disrespectful, annoyingly forward, and my favorite--uppity.  To make up for lost time, I now suit up as Lalla Bains, born again bachelorette, ex-NY Model, crop-duster, sometime amateur sleuth.   I might as well let her tell it... she's crowding me for the spotlight anyway. 

 Lalla Bains here, and I seldom do as I'm told especially after my lyin', cheatin' whoring  second ex-husband took up with yet another too-tasty-to-resist side-dish. 
 So what if I took a baseball bat to his recently restored vintage Caddy? It was worth it just to watch him  try to yodel  his way out of this latest lie... like I didn't catch him and his secretary fogging up the windows of his pimp-mobile.
I smashed in the headlights, the driver's side window, and just for good measure, slashed the tires. That way, he had to get a tow.  I skinned him of the Caddy in the divorce and, just for spite, painted it candy apple red.
That's me, hell raiser--well, sort of. Flying and partying don't mix during the long hard days of summer.  Even if I had the energy  I get too damn little sleep as it is and now that I'm fu-fuuu-fu-forty.--'kay, that's--that's just--rude to laugh. You try my life for a day--up at three a.m., chasing after lazy pilots and the smart mouthed ground crew I inherited when my dad when he went  in for a triple by-pass.
"Would you mind coming home and taking over the crop-dusting business?" he says, coughing lightly into the phone. "I might not be around much longer." 
Miraculously recovered, my tight-wad father is now too busy to take back his desk, what with rediscovering  a whole new wardrobe from the back of his closet.  He's in leisure suits, squiring local widows to funerals and scarfing up free meals at the wakes while I try to shake off the ankle biting Chihuahua we inherited from the last murder case.
On the bright side, my love life is finally out of the dumps since I have a wonderful relationship with Sheriff Caleb Stone. Well, that is, it would be, if only I could do as I'm told and stay away from solving crimes. It's not my fault that people die at my feet, or they're found six feet under a local lake strapped into the front seat of my trophy red caddy.
But, If I did as I was told and stayed out of trouble,  I never would have solved those cases.  Besides, it helps keep my mind off turning fu-fuu-forty.  So, now you understand why well behaved women seldom make history is now my motto.
Note to self: tattoo the above quote somewhere I can clearly see it when I'm in another jam.

Product Details

  • File Size: 498 KB
  • Print Length: 317 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1463582811
  • Publisher: Dead Bear Publishing; 2nd in the Lalla Bains mystery series edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004W9NIOU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,939 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, if willing to overlook minor annoyances December 15, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A DEAD RED HEART, Dead Bear Publishing, an e-book by R. P. Dahlke is a murder mystery with a woman protagonist the Spanish would refer to as a real testarudo- stubborn to a fault.
Lalla Bains is a twice divorced, forty- year-old former model who has returned to Modesto to run her father's successful dust-cropping business. She has an inclination to want to solve crimes and, when a man who has a crush on her is killed, she is a suspect and can't leave the investigation alone. The crime takes place in an alley behind Mr. Kim's restaurant in a rather undesirable section of town. From this point, the plot evolves with numerous suspects besides Lalla. These include Kim, who is a former Vietnamese freedom fighter, his lovely daughter, Grace, a nebulous shadow figure, and a pilot that Lalla fired. A number of other characters are important to the story, and most are Lalla's former classmates or other acquaintances. The exceptions are Detective Rodney, Pippa Roulette, a beautiful new addition to the police department, and Sheriff Caleb Stone, an ex-marine hunk who is the new love of Lalla's life.
The story is based on a plot I have not previously encountered and follows along at a brisk pace that readers no doubt will enjoy. The protagonist exhibits not only rebellious tendencies, but often downright ridiculous actions and police procedures as pictured, are quite removed from normally acceptable action. Additionally, manuscript proofing- errors increase gradually to become a sizable number in the last third of the book.
All in all, however, if a reader is willing to overlook the problems described, they will find a few entertaining hours. Reviewed by John H. Manhold, award winning fiction/non-fiction author.
NOTE:I have been informed that the author has published an edited copy that should measurably increase enjoyment.3/30/14 JHM.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A murder mystery with fragments of unrealism February 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I received this book to review from the World Literary Cafe (WLC). I requested it with the hope that it will be a quick read, and indeed it was.

I noticed that the writing needs some mild editing, as in, there are words repeated twice like "this this", and it wasn't a single case scenario.

The story was entertaining and engaged my attention almost the entire time. It had a nice mystery that wound through the pages. There was also a sweet romance which at times felt a little forced.

I give the book 3 stars, because I don't really agree with the reality of it. I mean, we're talking about a 40-year old ex-model who suddenly turns private investigator and is damn good at it with no experience behind her back? Seriously? That's not only incredible - it's impossible. I know that there are many books like that, where the main investigator isn't really a police officer, but they always, ALWAYS have a real officer/retired cop/real private investigator behind their back to feed them info and help with the clues. Not here. In "A dead red heart" Lalla is the only one with brains and a thought process. Okay, sure I give it that Dal was a journalist who was helping her. But my point still stands.

I think that even though this is a work of fiction, there must be some realistic boundary in it. After all it's in the contemporary genre, not the paranormal or urban fantasy where all sorts of things are possible. Here we're talking about normal people with no special powers.

I don't agree with the author on her portrayal of the cops either. Sure, some cops really are lazy asses and all, but how come not even one of them had brains? Why did all their information come from Lalla, the ex-model?
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Dead Red Heart January 24, 2012
By Liz
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I got this book free as a Kindle download. I am so glad I didn't waste my money on it. Confusing storyline and bad editing are only two of the reasons Idisliked it. I stuck with it to the end, hoping it would such luck.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT READ May 15, 2011
By Jacquie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like the other R P Dahlke mystery (Dead Red Cadillac) - (please see my review of that one), this one is just as great. Add it to your To Be Read list right away. Fun, funny, intriguing and a darned good cozy mystery and I'll buy any or all of this author's books right away.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story is interesting enough, but as the book went along, there were so many misspelled words and inconsistencies in the story, it just got to be painful. Get an editor before you publish!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The More There Is, The Less We See" February 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Typically me, I have come into this series with the second book, although luckily `A Dead Red Heart' works fine as a stand alone novel. It was quite easy to pick up the background of the character Lalla Bains and arrive at the situation in which we now find her. In fact, in no time at all, it felt as though I knew her personally, such is the strength and personality of the characterisation.

You have to know right from the start, that this romantic mystery also has its fair share of humour and nothing is meant to be taken too seriously, which is just as well given the quirky nature of the disparate group of characters which the author has created and brought to life, in such spectacular fashion.

That includes Lalla Bains herself. Someone more unsuited to her job as a crop duster, both in appearance and personality, you couldn't wish to find and even being au fait with her background and tarnished reputation, doesn't prepare you for her quirky dispostition and flamboyant personality. Mind you, you only have to look at Lalla's father to explain where some of her eccentricities might stem from and let's not mention her past private life! trouble just seems to follow the girl around like a bad smell!

It certainly doesn't look too good, that someone who is all set to marry one of the local police officers, should keep being discovered with all these dead bodies and involved in crime scenes, that she seems intent on solving single-handedly, much against her lover's wishes, although Caleb seems to have little, if any control, over this impatient and impetuous female, who is obviously addicted to danger, as well as to him.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Dead Red Heart
Not a bad mystery. Lots of typos and double words. Needs editing to bring it up to snuff. if you like women who chase down a guy, then toss him up in the air, then chase him... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Dora M. Gourley
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
This series is very enjoyable. I have read several and have not been disappointed. And did I mention that they were FREE?!
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok
This book is ok, it's the only book I've read with this character. Not sure I would read others with this character.
Published 7 days ago by Deborah Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dead Red Heart #2
Really enjoyed this book. Now I have to back up and read the first one and then I can continue on with the series. Read more
Published 7 days ago by alice
2.0 out of 5 stars A Dead Story Line, No Heart in it!
To me this was an extremely frustrating book to even get into. It started with the assumption I had read the previous novel. I hadn't. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book!
This book really kept me interested. GOOD PLOT, interesting characters, a real fun read. I would recommend it to any mystery lover.
Published 1 month ago by Judith Heinrich
4.0 out of 5 stars Just Plain Fun
Interesting twists even if it is unrealistic that so much could happen to one person. Quick, easy and enjoyable. A good summer read.
Published 1 month ago by L. Blake Borate
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read
I will begin by saying I have a rather large To Be Read list, and several of my choices are my favorite kind, part of a series with hundreds of pages. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Victoria Trout
5.0 out of 5 stars Edgy suspense with turns to intrigue your interest
This mystery thriller will hold true to the saying of never judging a book by its cover. Homeless Billy Wayne Dobson would post snowflake poetry on Lalla Bains car. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Valerie Caraotta
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dead Red Heart
This was a very good read, couldn't put it down. The characters were great. It was a page turner. Thrilling and suspenseful.
Published 2 months ago by Linda Canbek
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More About the Author

I sort of fell into the job of running a crop-dusting business when my dad decided he'd rather go on a cruise than take another season of lazy pilots, missing flaggers, testy farmers and horrific hours. After two years at the helm, I handed him back the keys and fled to a city without any of the above. And no, I was never a crop-duster.

My Lalla Bains series is about a tall, blond and beautiful ex-model turned crop-duster who, to quote Lalla Bains, has "been married so many times they oughta revoke my license." Lalla is no Danielle Steele character & she's not afraid of chipping her manicure. Scratch that, the girl doesn't have time for a manicure what with herding a bunch of recalcitrant pilots and juggling work orders just to keep her father's flagging business alive.

My romantic suspense, A Dangerous Harbor, is now up on Kindle and if you liked my Lalla Bains series, I know you'll love this book: More romance, more suspense, an exotic location with nastier bad guys and a bald parrot!
Then Hurricane Hole, treasure hunt with Gabe Alexander & TV star Leila Standiford

Here's an excerpt from Chapter One:

The world is flat. I know it is, because for the last five hours, the view has been exactly the same. Only the sun has done any traveling, working long shadows through the straight lines of recently harvested cotton plants with nothing to break the monotony but a few crows shopping the furrowed rows for worms, weevils and grasshoppers.
One hops over to inspect the truck I'm lying under, cocks a beady black eye at me; probably attracted to the shiny metal police-issued hand-cuffs, the hand dangling from wrist to arm, and me, Lalla Bains, Aero Ag pilot, sometime busy-body, meddling where I shouldn't--again. I'm dirt smeared and sweaty thinking if I get out of this alive, if the killer doesn't return to finish me off, I'll foreswear all future sleuthing. My dad, Caleb, Roxanne and half of Stanislaus County will be pleased to hear that promise come true. I will, this time. Really I will.
I waggle my grubby, unpainted and unadorned fingers at the crow. Too bad I didn't have on my engagement ring, maybe get him to peck at the lock mechanism and open it. Yeah, right, and while I'm hallucinating, maybe get him to bring me a nice cold Pepsi.

And in 2012,a whole NEW humorous/romantic mystery series starting with:
#1Wishbone, Arizona

Sisters in Crime, National and Desert Sleuths
1st chapter Pres.Cochise County, AZ chapter of Sisters in Crime 2003-2005.
Arizona Mystery Writers
Society of Southwestern Authors, Tucson, AZ.

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