The Cottoncrest Curse

A series of gruesome deaths ignite feuds that burn a path from the cotton fields to the courthouse steps, from the moss-draped bayous of Cajun country to the bordellos of 19th century New Orleans, from the Civil War era to the Civil Rights era and across the Jim Crow decades to the Freedom Marches of the 1960s, Orleans, from the Civil War era to the Civil Rights era, from Plessy v. Ferguson to Brown v. Board of Education and into the present.

At the heart of this heart-racing thriller are the relationships among blacks and whites, former slaves and landed aristocracy, freedom fighters and segregationists, and people of different backgrounds and religions.

Two decades after the end of the Civil War, an elderly Confederate Colonel viciously slits the throat of his beautiful young wife and then fatally shoots himself. Sheriff Raifer Jackson, however, believes that this may be a double homicide, and suspicion falls upon Jake Gold, an itinerant peddler who trades razor-sharp knives for fur and who has many deep secrets to conceal, and upon Jenny, the multi-lingual daughter of a slave who has her own secrets that must not be revealed.

Jake and Jenny must stay one step ahead of the law, as well as the racist Knights of the White Camellia, as they interact with landed gentry, former slaves, crusty white field hands, crafty Cajuns, and free men of color, all the while trying to keep one final promise before more lives are lost.

PROLOGUE
TODAY.

Nobody blanched as she described the gruesome event. They were captivated.

“It happened right up here,” said the docent, who was dressed in an antebellum costume complete with lace collar, crinoline skirt, and double petticoats. The tour group, which had been wilting while standing outside Cottoncrest in the intense Louisiana heat and humidity, gratefully jammed into the wide hallway that ran through the center of the massive plantation home.

The docent signaled to the tourists to follow her as she ascended the curved interior staircase. “The main house has been restored —y’all come up single file, please—has been restored to how it looked in the 1890s, when Colonel Judge Augustine Chastaine, the son of the original owner, lived here.”

The docent paused, her back to the wall, carefully avoiding an area near the banister. “This is what y’all came to see, right here, where the most notorious murder-suicide in Louisiana occurred.

“One step below where I’m standing. As you come up the stairs behind me, look . . . but don’t walk . . . on these Plexiglas panels. This is where the Colonel Judge brutally slit the throat of his beautiful young wife, Rebecca, and then took his own life. Their intermingled blood soaked the wood, permanently discoloring it. Think of the tremendous amount of blood there must have been!

“But the deaths of Augustine and Rebecca Chastaine weren’t the start of the famous Cottoncrest curse. And they weren’t the end of it, either.”


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The Cottoncrest Curse may also be purchased at the following local booksellers:

Cottonwood Books
3054 Perkins Road
Baton Rouge, La. 70808
Ph: 225-343-1266
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Conundrum Books
11917 Ferdinand St
St. Francisville, LA 70775
Ph: 225-245-5025
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Octavia Books
513 Octavia Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
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Cashed Out

 

Holding $4 million in cash, given to you by your murdered client, makes you everyone’s target.

One failed marriage. Two jobs lost. Three maxed out credit cards. “Schex” Schexnaydre was a failure as a lawyer. Until three weeks ago, he had no clients and no cash. Well, no clients except for infamous toxic waste entrepreneur G.G. Guidry, who’s just been murdered. And no cash, except for the $4,452,737 Guidry had stashed with him for safekeeping.

When Schex’s estranged ex-wife, Taylor, is accused of Guidry’s murder, she pleads with Schex to defend her. He refuses, but the more he says no to Taylor, the deeper Schex gets dragged into the fall-out from Guidry’s nefarious schemes, ending up as the target of all those vying to claim Guidry’s millions for themselves.

Schex careens from the swamps and marshes of Louisiana’s chemical corridor to the deep water oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, from the river industries that pollute minority neighborhoods to the privileged playgrounds of New Orleans’ crime syndicate bosses, and from a notorious alligator processing plant to the halls of political power, all in an attempt to clear his name and claim Guidry’s cash for himself.

 

 

“If you like John Grisham and Michael Connelly’s Lincoln Lawyer, you’re gonna love ‘Schex’ Schexnaydre – a down-and-out-attorney who breaks all the rules looking for some kind of justice. Fast, funny, and filled with twists and edge-of-your-seat suspense. Michael H. Rubin really nails it!
– – R.G. Belsky, author of the Gil Malloy mystery series

Cashed Out features “a lawyer down and out enough to make John Grisham proud. He’s culled from the likes of Michael Connolly by way of James Lee Burke. A gem of a tale.”
– – Providence Journal

“Cash in on this thrilling read from Michael H. Rubin. Set in the sweltering heat of the Louisiana bayou, Cashed Out is enthralling.” 
– – Foreword Reviews

“Michael Rubin’s Cashed Out is a dark and gritty crime novel that is packed with plenty of suspense and enough turns to keep readers entertained from start to finish. Rubin slowly unveils one surprise after another on the way to a nail-biting final act that fans of Joseph Finder and Michael Connelly will appreciate.”
– – Book Spy Reviews

“Michael H. Rubin catapults his main character, Schex Schexnaydre, into impossible situations, and the tension never lets up. Schex finds himself engulfed in a series of seemingly inescapable physical and mental traps. And then . . . neither our hero nor the reader has a way out of the growing, chilling suspense until the surprising conclusion.
— Steven W. Kohlhagen, author of “Where They Bury You” and “The Point of a Gun”

Michael H. Rubin’s new legal thriller is filled with great local color, entertaining characters, and plenty of action. CASHED OUT goes beyond the typical setting and deeper into Louisiana in a way that makes the reader feel she’s being pushed down the bayou at breakneck speed. It’s fresh, exciting, and well paced. I’ll be watching for the next in the series for sure. Five Stars!
Manning Wolf, author of the thriller, “Dollar Signs.”

 

 

 

Chapter 1

Failed lawyer? Damn right I’m a failed lawyer. Got a failed marriage, three maxed-out credit cards, and a broken-down office with a mortgage that’s underwater.

Until three weeks ago, I had no clients and no money.

Well, no clients except for G.G. Guidry, and he’s just been murdered. And no money, except for the $4,452,737 in cash that G.G. had left with me for safekeeping.

G.G. Guidry hired me on a Sunday morning. Less than a hundred hours later he was dead. His body was found on the industrial plant site of toxic waste processor Camellia Industries, floating in one of the “holding ponds” in a scummy mixture of petroleum waste, drilling fluid, arsenic, lead, barium, chromium, manganese, mercury, and who knows what-all.

The police initially thought that G.G. had been overcome by fumes and had fallen in. But when they pulled his body out, the cause of death was clear. G.G. had been shot three times. Once in the stomach. Once in the chest. And once in the forehead.

He was dead before someone dumped him in all that muck.


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Sanction

IN DEVELOPMENT
From the manuscript of the upcoming novel in the Bayou Thriller Series.

Mardi Gras madness. Mutilated prostitutes. Crooked cops. Corporate corruption. Courtroom chicanery. Big oil. Big deals. Big problems. Just another series of strange coincidences cascading through the boardrooms and bedrooms of sultry New Orleans . . . or not?

SANCTION interweaves two tales: one involving Shanita Banner, a black female detective on the New Orleans police force, and the other involving Drey Soileau, a rising young star in the Crescent City’s premiere law firm. Shanita suspects a serial killer is preying on prostitutes working the downtrodden Achilles Street Projects but can’t get her superiors to take her suspicions seriously. Drey apparently misses a critical document in a major case involving one of his senior partner’s most coveted clients and gets unceremoniously fired and disbarred. When the body of Drey’s former girlfriend is found in the Projects, murdered in the same manner as the prostitutes, the two stories intertwine. The cops, no longer able to turn a blind eye to Shanita’s suspicions, pursue Drey, believing him to be the serial killer. As the police search for Drey, Drey searches for the truth behind both his diminished circumstances and the grisly death of his former girlfriend, all in an effort to find the real killer and resurrect his reputation.

COMING SOON!
Reviews will be posted as soon as they are available.
Chapter 1

Patrolman Joey Raguso steered the police cruiser into one of the many cul-de-sacs that made the Achilles Housing Projects in New Orleans so dangerous. His partner, Mac McHaver, kept a wary eye on the crowd, which dispersed as the flashing blue lights and screaming siren approached. Shadowy figures scattered, disappearing into the neighborhood of ill-kept structures, splintered siding, and shattered lives.

By the time Detective Shanita Banner had arrived in her unmarked car, the two patrolmen had secured the crime scene.

The doorframe of the first-floor apartment was missing. The entrance was a gaping hole leading into a husk of a building. Whatever human life it once possessed had long since vanished, replaced by tendrils of weeds groping the rotting wood siding.

“Joey’s in there with the d.c.” said Mac to Shanita. “I’ve called the coroner’s office but, as usual, there’re working several other scenes and are tied up. Unit One is over in the Irish Channel where some guy got popped. Number Two is on a domestic off of Claiborne. Some bitch shot her old man when he gave her a slap or two. TV reporters are already on site at that one. So, the coroner’s folks may not be here for a couple of hours or more. And, after we called in ours, two more shootings came in: one in Mid-City and one out in New Orleans East.”

Shanita Banner didn’t say anything. Five deaths in one night. A typical evening in a city that slithered beneath its tourist veneer.


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Mike-Rubin-Mini-Bio-Footer A nationally known legal ethicist, public speaker and humorist, as well as a full time appellate attorney,
Mike has had a varied career.

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