Secrets of the Gold
by Baer Charlton
November 7 – December 2, 2022 Virtual Book Tour
Concealed in his jacket are ingots of gold; he just doesn’t remember why.
A young girl running from an abusive foster home kidnaps the older biker with a mystery for a past.
Leaving the mining town in Colorado and crossing state lines, anything can happen.
What neither is looking for or expecting is friendship.
But in the cold of the desert night, life lessons can go both ways—even if they are not about a million dollars in gold.
Growing up is hard enough, even without the shooting.
Praise for Secrets of the Gold:
“kept me spellbound”
“you will have a very hard time putting this book down!”
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Coming of Age, Female Sleuth
Published by: Mordant Media
Publication Date: March 2022
Number of Pages: 374
ISBN: 1949316203 (ISBN-13 9781949316209)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Books2Read
Read an excerpt:
Eight Years Before
Someone unexpected at the front door is exciting—for a nine-year-old girl. But time and experience change people.
“I’ll get it,” she squealed.
The sound of cheap sneakers slapped on the cheap flooring. Military housing, even off-base, has never changed. Expensive big toys were always more exciting for congressional representatives than looking after the troops and their families.
“Check the peephole before you open the door.”
The polished brass belt buckles dully reflected the peeling white of the door. The dark blue of the uniforms wasn’t what she was used to seeing around the base, but she had seen them occasionally.
Pulling on the door, she yelled over her shoulder. “It’s a couple of marines like Daddy.”
The enormous crash at the back of the small apartment ricocheted off the rigid walls and out the open door. It hit the two lieutenants hard.
One with their mouth half open.
The man looked at his female companion as she hurried into the apartment. The man reached for the girl’s arm.
* * *
The California sun did nothing to brighten the day. The two lieutenants in dress blues stood a short distance away. The casket sat draped with flowers, but only two adults and a young girl filled the fourteen chairs.
The girl’s hazel eyes appeared washed out—more watery-blue than green. The swell of her lower lip slowly sucked in and then released over and over. The blink had nothing to do with what the chaplain was saying. It had nothing to do with her world. The black dress didn’t fit her, but at least it covered the scrapes and scars on her knees. The long sleeves performed the same service for her arms. The rusty blonde hair, chopped at the center of her neck, was the only acknowledgment of her being less than delicate.
The deep low rumble of the officer’s voice left his Minnesota lips motionless. The sound carried only to his partner. “What now?”
The woman shrugged slightly.
“Any relatives at all?”
The woman turned her head slightly. “There’s an older uncle. He’ll be available, possibly in ten to fifteen—if he behaves this time.”
The man frowned and looked out from the side of his eye. They had worked together long enough for the silent shorthand.
“Aggravated homicide with extenuating circumstances.”
His eyes didn’t move. He was waiting for the boot to drop.
“Beat his wife and then cut off her breasts and legs to let her bleed out.” Her eyes moved to lock on his. “He caught her in bed with his best friend.”
The man’s frown furrowed deep. “And his friend? What did he do to him?”
The woman’s eyes snapped to a distant tableau—seven marines with seven rifles for a different burial. “You mean her. His best friend since high school. He beat her to death with the waffle iron.”
They both came to attention and saluted the three-shot salute of the honor guard from across the cemetery. The other funeral was well attended, even though it was unusual for military internment with honors to be held in a civilian cemetery. The passing thought was that the funeral was for a much-loved senior member of a large family.
“Did they cross-check the weapon of choice for a match…?”
If the dead were not theirs or family, they were fair game for lighthearted banter.
“The prints matched. The iron was still hot when he struck.”
The last rifle volley faded away as three riflemen gave their squad leader a cartridge. The two officers watched as the squad leader marched over to the casket and began folding the flag with the rest of the honor guards. The three shells folded into the flag forever. Some thought the seven riflemen firing three volleys was a twenty-one gun salute. But the tradition didn’t come from salutes of Man-O-War dreadnaughts but to let an opposing army know they had cleared the field of battle of their dead. The three spent shells also had a simpler meaning than many thought—the flag was from a military funeral. Nothing more. They presented the folded flag to the soldier’s spouse or parent.
The two officers couldn’t tell the woman’s age through the black veil. The man nodded his chin toward the small girl, who looked frightened by the whole proceeding. After that, they resumed standing at ease.
The female lieutenant spoke softly. “Child Services is picking her up this afternoon.”
“None of the family friends could take her? Keep her in the same school or with people she knows?”
The woman rolled her eyes shut and opened them again as she faced the man. “You grew up a navy brat. How many new schools did you go to before you got out of high school?”
“Fifteen or sixteen.” He looked back at the woman. “Dad was on the fast track. We lived on sixteen bases in seven different countries. He wanted dragons on both arms.”
She nodded. “Yeah. A double shellback. I’ve seen a few. The tattoos become muddy, ugly, and smeared by the time you’re eighty. But by then, who cares?”
Excerpt from Secrets of the Gold by Baer Charlton. Copyright 2022 by Baer Charlton. Reproduced with permission from Baer Charlton. All rights reserved.
How long does it take you to write a book?
My first novel took about fourteen months to get ready to publish. But then, there were
thousands of middles of the night emails with the illustrator and I. While that book was being
edited, I wrote my first mystery. And as I finished writing the last chapter, I was already writing
Somewhere in the middle of the second and third book in that series, an old friend stopped by. I
hadn’t seen him in years. The weather was perfect for a barbeque and eating in the backyard. The
talk of old times led to my wife going to bed and our talk turn to why he visited so randomly out
of the blue.
That visit led to a five-month sprint to compile the bits and pieces of many friends and the stories
they told about their dealing with becoming civilians again. Some had horror stories of war,
some had horror stories of becoming the guy next door. Most of us were dealing with PTSD and
some of us with a Traumatic Brain Injury. None of us were basket cases, but each had a crack or
two in our pot. It’s a thick story, but it was therapeutic for me and many who have read it.
About the time I had written the fifth book of the series, Stoneheart had been out for a while. I
had been averaging about a book every six months. Except for the one I’m still picking at ten
In 2014, I got a call in the late evening. It was November fifth. It was a friend I had known since
the very early seventies, and he wanted me to write our story. I reminded him of the statute of
limitations on certain crimes and the innocents involved. He insisted I could make everything
fiction, but I could use him and the primary nurse, whole cloth. We argued for hours. But in the
wee hours of the sixth, I listened to the alarm bells of what he wasn’t saying.
Major reconstruction of my right arm and shoulder was scheduled for the twelfth of December
and was non-negotiable. And cancer riddled his body. He would not see the summer.
Thirty-four days later, I went into surgery as he was reading the last of the one hundred-and
forty-eight-thousand-word tome. His email said it all: “I like the ending. Thank you.”
Books take however long they need to tell their story. Thankfully, I have an understanding editor
Baer Charlton, is an Amazon Best-Selling author, and a Social-Anthropologist. His many interests have led him worldwide in search of the unique.
As an internationally recognized Photo Journalist, he has tracked mountain gorillas, been a podium for a Barbary Ape, communicated in sign language with an Orangutan named Boolon, kissed a kangaroo, and had many other wild experiences in between. Or he was just monkeying around.
His love for sailing has led him to file assignments from various countries, as well as from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean aboard a five-mast sailing ship. Baer has spoken on five continents, plus lecturing at sea.
His copyrighted logo is “WR1T3R”. Within every person, there is a story. But inside that story, even a more memorable story. Those are the stories he likes to tell.
There is no more complex and incredible story than those coming from the human experience. Whether it is a Marine finding his way home as a civilian or a girl who’s just trying to grow up, Mr. Charlton’s stories are all driven by the characters you come to think of as friends.
Catch Up With Baer Charlton:
BookBub – @BaerCharlton
Twitter – @baer_charlton
Facebook – @WR1T3R
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Very nice guest post! It takes as long as it takes. 🙂
Sounds like a great book.
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