Mystery & Thrillers

By Deborah J Ledford

Publisher : Second Wind Publishing

ABOUT Deborah J Ledford

Deborah J Ledford
Deborah is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize. Her award-winning short stories appear in numerous literary and mystery print publications, as well as mystery and literary anthologies. Her debut thriller Staccato, presented by the small independent press Second Wind Publishing,  More...



Three world-class pianists.

Two possible killers.

One dead woman.

Who is her murderer?

Who will be next?

STACCATO: Retribution played double-time


When acclaimed pianist Nicholas Kalman discovers his lover’s dead body, he sets out alone to find her killer. During his journey, he meets an unwitting female accomplice who soon becomes determined to help Nicholas wield his retaliation. Following a parallel path for justice, Steven Hawk, the deputy of a sleepy Southern county, is assigned to the case. Pursuing the investigation, Hawk finds himself entangled in a world of vengeance, greed and manipulation.


Performed against the backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, Staccato transports readers to a behind-the-scenes glimpse of professional musicians, the psychological twists and turns of its characters, and in the end, retribution that crashes in a crescendo of notes played at the literary pace of a maestro’s staccato.


Staccato is the first novel of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela thriller trilogy.

"Staccato" is staccato: sharp, crisp, almost percussive--like gun shots, like a cane tapping on the floor or striking a shoulder, like light reflected off a black Porsche Targa, like the piercing cold of a Great Smoky Mountains night.

Two years into his career as a world-class concert pianist, young Nicholas Kalman finds his absent father's journal. It's written as a warning to Nicholas, or perhaps a confession. "Beware of this man you call, Uncle," it says.

The uncle is Alexander, the tyrannical, club-footed, cane tapping maestro and mentor. He's crafted the talented Nicholas into a dazzling musician who crushes the competition in every venue. He drinks. He expects perfection. He lashes out when angry.

Alexander demands unquestioning obedience from Nicholas, the cloyingly submissive second-string pupil Timothy, the imposing butler Sampte, his niece Elaine, sheriff's deputy Steven Hawk, and everyone else who dares enter his ten thousand square foot mansion in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Deborah J. Ledford's thriller tears through mountains and music with a steady rhythm in perfect time with the maestro Alexander's music room metronome. Nicholas finds a his lover's body in his Porsche. Timothy perfects his Prokofiev to steal the limelight. Sampte does what he's ordered to do. The metronome ticks and the cane taps as the bodies pile up, as Nicholas searches for a killer and runs for his life, as Hawk investigates a grim case, as Alexander orchestrates notes and lives, as readers turn "Staccato's" pages, quickly, crisply, sharply throughout Ledford's Toccata-like virtuoso performance.—Malcolm Campbell-Knight of Words Reviews

What a debut novel! The style is unlike anything available in mysteries today. The story of a handsome pianist who learns his idyllic life is far from it. A definite page-turner with fascinating characters that draw you in and despicable villains you want to get their comeuppance! Mansions, fast cars, mysterious foreigners, mistaken identity... all the elements that make Staccato a pitch-perfect mystery! – 5 star Amazon review –C.A. Osman