Monday, February 14, 2022

Book Spotlight: A Shadow on the Snow by JPC Allen

About the Book:

Nineteen-year-old Rae Riley can barely believe her gamble paid off. After spending seven months investigating the identity of her father and whether he tried to murder her mother, Rae has been accepted by her dad, Sheriff Walter “Mal” Malinowski IV, and his immediate family with open hearts. And for the first time in her life, Rae is making friends, jamming with three cute cops who play outlaw country music.

But someone is leaving Rae threatening notes, reminding her of her late mother’s notorious past when Bella Rydell wrecked homes and lives during the few years she lived in rural Marlin County, Ohio. Fearing the threats will make Mal and his family reject her, Rae investigates the mystery on her own. But her amateur sleuthing may cost her the father she’s always wanted when the stalker changes targets and takes dead aim at Mal.

Content warnings: brief mentions of suicide. 

Purchase at: Amazon


My mood crashing like a linebacker had tackled it, I stepped out into the lot, the snow falling so thick it was like an active fog.

Where was Devon? How long had I been standing here?

Peering at the entrance to the lot and the street running past it, I fished my phone from the pocket of my vest. Devon had sent me some texts that I hadn’t heard ping. How could I have missed—I thumbed to settings. I still had the ringer on vibrate from last night when my trap had gone up in flames.

My muscles snapped to attention as numbness stole over my skin.

Could I make it? I’d walk in the opposite direction from the one I’d take to my apartment, nearly eliminating the chance of the stalker finding me.

Transferring the bags into my right hand, I freed my left one in case I slipped. My breath led the way in rapid puffs as I followed the tracks Jill’s car had made.

At the sidewalk, I glanced up the hill. And dropped the bags.
A figure, backlit by the streetlamp, stood at the corner.

Spinning, I fell to my knees. I snagged the bags and, stumbling across the lot, reached

the guardrail at the opposite side.

I scrambled over it and fell five feet down the retaining wall into the little yard behind an empty building. Panting, I raised myself into a hunched stance and ran, scrambling over snow-encrusted chunks of crumbling asphalt.

Please, Father. It can’t end like this.

Behind the deli, I slipped, and the urn rolled out of its bag. I squinted against the flakes. No silhouette. Nobody.

I needed to get out on Main Street and head for Mal’s office. I slapped piles of snow until my palm smacked the urn. I shoved it into a bag and ran into the alley beside the deli. A streetlight illuminated the end that came out on Main Street, welcoming me like a lighthouse.

Bent under the weight of my backpack, I struggled toward Main Street, gripping and regripping the sagging bags.

A figure ran across the entrance to the alley.

My throat closed as my feet froze to the icy pavement.

What ... what do I do?

Wheeling, I fell against the deli’s rough brick wall and glanced back. No one was coming down the alley. He hadn’t seen me.

I slipped and slid behind another empty building and the antique shop, heading for the raised parking lot behind the newspaper office. At the retaining wall for the lot, I threw my bags over the guardrail, then grabbed it, and heaved myself up. And slipped back down.

Ripping off my backpack, I looked behind me. Had he come down the alley from Main Street? Without any light shining between that alley and me, I squinted against the pouring snow.

Yes. Something dark was moving along the dumpster by the deli.

I hurled my backpack over the rail, then myself, and fell, panting, in the fresh snow.

Had he seen me? He couldn’t have seen me. Should I hide here or run out of the lot and onto Sugar Street?

My phone vibrated. I fumbled it out of my vest pocket. Maybe Devon could call the cops. If any were available.

“Devon.” I stole a glimpse over the guardrail. The shadow was moving down the slope of the alley, heading to where it came out on Elm Street.

“No, it’s Mal. Are you home?”

“Dad!” I screamed into the phone.

The figure whipped around.

About the Author:

JPC Allen
started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. She’s been tracking down mysteries ever since and has written mystery short stories for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Her Christmas mystery short story, “A Rose from the Ashes”, was a Selah-finalist at the Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference in 2020. 

Online, she offers tips and prompts to ignite the creative spark in every kind of writer. She also leads workshops for tweens, teens, and adults, encouraging them to discover the adventure of writing. With deep roots in the Mountain State, JPC is a lifelong Buckeye. A Shadow on the Snow is her first novel. Follow the clues to her next mystery on her pages @ jpcallenwrites on Facebook and Instagram, her website,, and her author pages on Goodreads, Bookbub, and Amazon.


  1. This sounds good. I'm going to have to figure out what "outlaw country music" is!

  2. Outlaw country music was a style that started in the 70's with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and other country singers. Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson were also part of that movement. Thank for stopping by! And thanks, Jolene, for spotlighting my novel!