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Read the first chapter of Death on the Back Nine!

The sixth thrilling installment to the Myrtle Beach Mystery Series, DEATH ON THE BACK NINE, is less than a month away and today I’m excited to share a preview of the first chapter with you! Check it out below and get drawn into Clark’s newest mystery! Preorder now at CalebWygal.com and all your favorite booksellers to be one of the first to read the rest of the book when it releases on April 23rd, 2024!

Preorder from:

CalebWygal.com: https://calebwygal.myshopify.com/products/myrtle-beach-mysteries-book-6-death-on-the-back-nine

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CW3VLNHN

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Books-a-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Death-Back-Nine/Caleb-Wygal/9798988797920?id=9085327924321

Chapter One

My older brother is a jerk. Especially when it comes to respecting other people’s time.

When Bo and I were kids, and he got his driver’s license, Mom and Dad would have him drop me off at my first job as a bag boy at the grocery store. It was his job to pick me up. Sometimes, I’d have to wait for almost forever for him to get me after I clocked out.

He’d pull up to the doors, screech to a halt in his Pontiac sports car, and apologize because he was out with his girlfriend and lost track of time. The girlfriends varied, but the excuse didn’t.

Here I was again, waiting for him. I checked the time on my phone. He was a solid ninety minutes late. This time, however, it wasn’t his fault.

I waited at the bottom of the stairs for arrivals at the Myrtle Beach International Airport near the bright new Visit Myrtle Beach kiosk, tapping my toes and trying to decide if I wanted to hit the coffee bar for a second cup. The airline had delayed his plane during his layover in Kansas City as he traveled cross-country from his estate in La Jolla, California, on the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course. He retired early after being on the ground floor with Uber and selling his share of the company last year. Now, he traveled the world on thrill-seeking adventures. If the activity called for a helmet, Bo wanted to do it. From mountain climbing in Nepal to whitewater rafting the Upano River in Ecuador, he’s traveled the world over.

The world over, except to visit Myrtle Beach and his family. Mom was at home, preparing his favorite meal from our days of growing up in Southern Ohio: a bowl of chili with peanut butter sandwiches. Dad had made a trip to Total Wine to get a selection of beers—Bo’s beverage of choice.

The only thing I had done to prepare for his visit was to dust off my golf clubs. When he called to say he was coming, he told me he wanted to take me out for a round of golf. I played at the Dunes Club a few weeks ago at the invitation of Emilie’s dad. He had backed up his promise to take me out on the prestigious course after I solved the murder of his daughter. Other than that, the only time I played was when old college friends would pop into town once or twice a year.

I wasn’t any good, but it would be fun to knock some balls around a course on Bo’s dime.

A flurry of passengers from an offloaded plane swarmed down the stairs before me. I craned my neck, searching for Bo, but he was not among the throng. Most of the new arrivals made a beeline for the baggage claim area while a few headed straight for the exit. One or two hefted carry-on bags over their shoulders and made for the exit.

I settled back into my place, leaning against a wall beside the Visit Myrtle Beach kiosk. It had been two months since I’d solved the murders of Emilie Smith and Stanley Griffin at Tidal Creek Brewhouse. The summer had stayed hot. Tourists had flocked to the Grand Strand in record numbers. My relationship with Andrea leveled off. I couldn’t place my finger why that was the case, but we still saw each other most days, as she owned the furniture boutique next to my bookstore. We ate dinner together at least once a week. She would be my date for dinner tonight. It was the first time she would meet my parents and Bo.

Andrea and I led busy lives. She had a daughter to take care of by herself and a business to run. I was about to open my second bookstore and was knee deep in writing my second novel.

We set a date to open the second bookstore, Garden City Reads, on the Friday before Labor Day Weekend. The date fast approached. My hand-picked manager for the store, Winona, had left my store and now worked full-time stocking and organizing the new spot next to the Garden City Pier. With my help, she hired three people to help prepare the store and continue to work after it opened.

Back to Andrea. I hadn’t dwelled on the stagnation in our relationship. We needed time to level off and get to know each other better. She and I had both dealt with the sudden loss of our spouses and were in no hurry to walk down the aisle or stand before the justice of the peace anytime soon.

Part of me wondered if the cooling off had been all me. After solving the last murder, I attended a ceremony in my honor to receive a commendation from the mayor. Before the ceremony, I finally met Detective Gina Gomez’s fiancé, Lucien. It turned out he was the one who last had possession of my dead wife’s, Autumn, cell phone before it was stolen from his forensics lab. I had found threatening text messages from an unlisted number to her the night before she died. Messages she never told me about.

I had tried to research the number as much as possible before I resorted to asking Gomez and Moody for help. Gomez had offered to let someone she trusted examine the phone and discern if they could pull more information from the phone that might lead to the mysterious messenger.

She had said she would give the phone to a forensics tech and see what else they might extract from it, and attempt to identify the sender of the threatening messages. It wasn’t enough to open a case, so she was doing me a favor by going through a back channel.

That was the last I saw of the device.

I didn’t trust Lucien from the moment I met him. There was something about the way he shook my hand that sent alarm bells ringing in the back of my head. Not only was he devilishly good-looking, but something about him also reeked of dishonesty.

I didn’t tell him I made out with his fiancée, the lovely Detective Gomez, in her car before she told me she was engaged. That would have been a real icebreaker.

That marked the last time I encountered him or Gomez.

As I had the last forty minutes to ponder the weight of the world while waiting for Bo, it occurred to me that the plateau with Andrea might stem from meeting him and realizing that whatever led to Autumn’s death might go deeper than I imagined. If he was behind the disappearance of her phone, then that hinted at a . . .

“Clark!”

I broke from my reverie, and from staring at my feet when I heard my name called.

“Clark!” the voice shouted again.

I looked up the stairs to see Bo waving an arm in the air and smiling in my direction.

Little did I know that this would be the beginning of another long weekend I’d wish to forget.

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