Book 1

Last Dance

Book 2

One Last Goodbye

Book 3

The Last to Remember

Book 4

Until Our Last Embrace

Book 5

For The Last Time

Book 6

Dreams Don't Last

Book 7

Last Fires Burning

Book 8

Glory's Last Victim

Book 9

Last Rites

Oct. 2004

Book 10

Last One Down

February 2005

Book 11

Before the Last Lap

August 2005

Book 12

The First Shall Be Last

June 2007

All books are available at 



Last Rites

Old Outhouse (Photo by Joyce and Jim Lavene)



Short Notes...

It’s spring in Montgomery County. The new police chief is feuding with Sheriff Sharyn Howard over who will solve the murder of a man the Boy Scouts find buried in a Mercedes in the old Union Cemetery. Shot twice with two different guns then buried alive trying to climb out of the car, this is no ordinary killing. It will lead Sharyn and her deputies on a sad path of discovery that will change the lives of more than one person close to her.


The move from the old sheriff’s office will point the way to another mystery hidden since the death of T. Raymond Howard, Sharyn’s father, the previous sheriff of Diamond Springs. Will Sharyn find justice against Jack Winter or another dead end?


Available at:


Read more on the story in the excerpt below...

The cover design and illustration of "Last Rites" by Tess Anson

Sheriff Sharyn Howard fact...

Sharyn was shot for the first time pursuing the men who killed her father.


A barnburner of a book! Sheriff Sharyn Howard finds a half-buried Mercedes with a man in it who died trying to claw his way out the window. As always, a great read with characters who stay fresh and memorable.

—Koch's Reviews




Excerpt from "Last Rites"...

“How much longer do we have to do this?” Stevie half heartedly pulled at some tall weeds in front of him.

“Until Mr. Willis says we’ve done enough to earn our civic duty badge,” his friend informed him.

“But we’ve been out here all day. I wanted to try out the new X-box before Paul gets home.”

“Yeah. Brothers can be a real pain in the butt. I’m glad I have a sister. She only wants to play with Barbie.”

The warm May sun beat down on their heads as they continued pulling weeds. There was no shade. Only one old pine tree stood at the edge of the pre-Civil War cemetery where they worked. It was gnarled and twisted, resembling a grotesque hand that seemed to be thrusting out of the ground. People in Diamond Springs used it as a marker for the city limit.

No one recalled the people who were buried there. Most of the tombstones had fallen over or rotted. Still, the Diamond Springs’ Historical Society put a wreath on the rickety front gate every year. This year, Anjelica Parsons, president of the Historical Society, had persuaded Tad Willis to take BSA Troop #323 to the cemetery and begin the clean up.

“What’s that?” Stevie asked his friend.


“That thing over there. Something shiny. See it?”

“It looks like glass.”

Stevie dropped to his knees and pushed at the weeds. “It’s a car window! There’s a car buried over here. Cool!”

            His friend leaned closer and peered into the gloom. “What’s that inside?”

“It looks like a man!”

Both boys ran to find the scoutmaster.






Jim & Joyce Lavene