THE STASH by Sandra Sperling.
People have fantasies about finding buried treasure, but for Sarah Altman it becomes a reality when she convinces herself that it isn’t really a crime to appropriate a large stash of money hidden by a meth dealer after he has a car accident. Every dollar will likely add to the time he spends in prison, so she chooses to be a good Samaritan and relieve him of the burden. Already contemplating a divorce, Sarah realizes that the money will allow her the freedom to do so with financial security—so long as no one learns she has it.
Deputy Nate Carlson has been giving protection to the dealer in exchange for a share of the profit from the meth. He’s severely injured, but before he dies, he manages to tell Nate where the cash is buried.
Sergeant Frank Devich, Nate’s widowed brother-in-law, questions Sarah, triggering a mutual attraction. Frank doesn’t recognize her as the young woman he’d left with a broken heart years ago, and he’s determined to have her. Sarah, however, resists involvement.
Nate soon discovers that only Frank and Sarah had easy access to the Minnesota gravel pit where the stash had been hidden. Desperate for money, he will do anything to get it.
5-Stars: Would you do it differently, under the same circumstances?
This is a story that brings fantasy to life for Sarah Altman. The drama is suspenseful, and the dilemma Sarah faces, creates a fine line between intention and criminality.
Author Sandra Sperling uses a blend of mastery and imagination to create a plot so realistic, it will keep you turning the page. Sergeant Frank Devich and Deputy Nate Carlson find themselves embroiled in a murder investigation, centered around an old Minnesota gravel pit. Old fossils, murder, crystal meth, drug money, a profile of an eye witness, a dear john letter, and more than one secret in rural America. Throw in a little romance and humor making ‘The Stash’ a fantastic small-town drama that will linger in your mind.
Chapter one sets the stage with a question.
… “How did your grandma get the money to buy this place?”
… “She got a settlement of some kind, is what I’ve always thought.”
… “Accident, divorce, inheritance?”
… “I don’t know,” he said. “She promised to tell me the whole story.”
I invite you to put yourself in Sarah Altman’s shoes. She is practical and approaches things methodically. I found myself asking, would I have done it differently, under the same circumstances?
Chapter 3 finds Sarah exploring the old gravel pit for fossils. Abruptly a landslide burst forth. Rocks crashed and shattered as they hurled past her. She lunged to the side of the gulch, scrabbling up the steep bank. A boulder tumbled close, striking an embedded rock with an explosive crack. Pebbles clattered as they bounced downward, and finally there was only the dry whisper of sand as it oozed its way to the floor of the gravel pit.
…A bit unnerved, but safe on the gritty bank, she examined the fossil she’d found. It was an ammonite in pristine condition over an inch in diameter. The limestone rock in which it was partially encased had broken away only recently, leaving the pearlescent coating intact.
…Sarah tucked it into the pocket of her shirt, buttoning the flap.
…Indecision fueled by fear paralyzed her. Should she stay here and be buried or go down and risk being crushed? Either choice could be her last.
…Leaving seemed safer, and she had about thirty feet left to descend when she heard a vehicle. Bob must have forgotten something when he’d left, because he was driving too fast. A heavy thud and the high screech of twisting metal were followed by a prolonged scream of agony.
What Sarah decides to do next, will change the course of events, in her life.
After you read ‘THE Stash,’ I invite you to read ‘Elisabet’s Will’ (another 5-Star family drama entwined with mystery and suspense). I look forward to Sandra Sperling’s next book.
Editorial Reviews (Book Marketing Global Network).
Paperback: 359 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published (August 25, 2022)
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Humor
Fiction (Contemporary Family Saga)
Fiction (Contemporary Family Suspense)
Fiction: (Family Life)
Elisabet’s Will by Sandra Sperling.
The few relatives who are still friendly to Lisbet spend the summer at her northern Minnesota home. Determined to discover the reason why the rest of the family has shunned her since she was a child, she confronts Evelyn, her estranged uncle’s wife. This action exposes her and her loved ones to danger and thrusts Greta, her beloved 5-year-old granddaughter, into deadly peril.
Review by MK Alexander: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Slow burn to a fantastic finale!
Somewhere near Hibbing, Minnesota, what remains of a large and proud family sees its final demise. We are thrust into the rural life of these descendants of Finns, three generations at least, and we come to know their daily, sometimes rather humdrum lives. There is much more beneath the surface though: good people on one side of the family, and on the other, lurks the banality of evil.
The story centers around the book’s namesake Elisabet, and her courageous granddaughter Greta. At five years old, she is wise beyond age. Around them swirl the rest of the family in close proximity, namely at nearby farms and houses out in the middle of nowhere.
The story begins as a desolate Minnesota winter gives way a tenuous spring, and a brief but significant summer as we are treated to the minute details of the many characters’ lives. Author Sandra Sperling’s simple prose make this a pleasure to read; small details accrue, clues to the larger mystery gain momentum and lead to a devastating climax. Recommended.
5 Stars: Family drama entwined with mystery and suspense.
This extraordinary family drama plays out in rural Northern Minnesota. In this case, there is nothing more destructive, than a ‘Will’ left behind by a prosperous family member. Family secrets leave Lisbet to only imagine why most of the family shuns her. Author Sandra Sperling masterfully pulls back the curtain allowing us into the daily lives and attitudes, of this seemingly normal American family.
I especially enjoyed the rural setting with large acreages, houses, farms, barns, secret places, hidden spaces, and three mysteries to unravel. This story centers around Lisbet (namesake for her grandmother Elisabet). Ignored by most of the family, Lisbet has an amazing relationship with her five-year-old granddaughter Greta. As a loving, protective grandmother, the local new is most disturbing. Let me bring you into the first of three mysteries to unravel.
…That evening Lisbet stared into the refrigerator, trying to figure out what to put together for a light supper when Roger hailed her from the living room, where he was watching the six-o’clock news.
…The newscaster said, “Kenzie is four years old, with short, ginger-colored hair and blue eyes. She is wearing blue jeans and a pink windbreaker.”
…Roger shook his head. “She vanished from the greenhouse about three this afternoon. She’s what? The fourth or fifth kid who’s been snatched.”
… “Mom and I were there right before it happened. Good Lord! I do wish they’d catch that bastard.” She shivered, feeling ill at the thought of what the girl’s parents must be going through. The phone rang, and she answered it in the kitchen, certain it was her mother, upset by the abduction.
…It was, and they discussed the crime at some length. Doris said, in conclusion, “I don’t remember any local kids being kidnapped until recently. And no cougars or timberwolves were roaming around here when I was growing up. This whole area is going to hell.” “So, it seems.” Lisbet hung up, saddened that the region was no longer the safe wilderness paradise it had once been.
It is Lisbet’s quest to uncover family secrets, that leads her, Greta, and other family members into dangerous territory. This family saga will keep you turning the page, reflecting on your family tree, and childhood experiences will lead you to an unpredictable conclusion.
Author Sandra Sperling brings her life experiences and creativity from Nevada, Minnesota, to Kentucky where she enjoys taking nature walks, refinishing old furniture, and reading. Sandra writes contemporary family fiction giving us ‘Elisabet’s Will’, contemporary women’s fiction with ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Spouse Removal, a thriller suspense novel with ‘Snowmelt: Dealing With Betrayal’ and humor (satire) with ‘A Few Trivial Felonies’. I look forward to reading more novels from Sandra Sperling in the future.
Editorial Review (Book Marketing Global Network).
Paperback: 395 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published (January 28, 2022)
Fiction (Contemporary Family Saga)
Fiction (Contemporary Family Suspense)
Fiction: (Family Life)
A Few Trivial Felonies: How many will these ladies commit? by Sandra Sperling.
Rachel suffers burnout from her job as a counselor. When Nick, her husband, is forced to take early retirement due to health issues, she’s delighted to quit her job and move from Minnesota to coastal Oregon. Even with Nick’s reduced pension, they have enough to live on without her returning to work.
Rachel becomes friends with Ruth, her next-door-neighbor, whose much older husband is also retired. They both yearn for ocean views, which they would have if only a few trees on the wooded acreage to the west of them were cut down. So, with an old lumberman’s saw, an ax and a chainsaw, they do just that, carefully concealing the evidence of the logging venture, their first crime.
It would likely have been their last, but Nick’s health takes a turn for the worse, and he passes away, which will bring an end to the pension income. Although Rachel has an excellent resume, there are no job openings in the area, so she’ll have to sell out and move. Neither she nor Ruth want that, but they need some extra cash. Organized crime, with its kidnapping, murder and drug dealing, falls beneath their somewhat twisted ethical standards.
They choose, instead, to become free-lance criminals and commit only a few trivial felonies.
Paperback: 292 Pages
Publisher: Sandra M. Sperling (April 23, 2020)
Humor and Satire
Snowmelt: Dealing With Betrayal by Sandra Sperling.
Ann Bergquist returns to Selden, Minnesota at the time of spring snowmelt to meet with her former best friend who is dying and wishes to clear her conscience. Although uneasy about the visit, Ann must nonetheless come to terms with their troubled past before feeling secure enough to try for the child she and her husband desire. She has to learn the truth about Shelly, whose malicious actions severed the friendship between Ann and Gina. Things are not as they appear, however, and the suspense inexorably spirals up to an explosive climax.
Paperback: 278 Pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 1, 2018)
The Beginner’s Guide to Spouse Removal by Sandra Sperling.
When Merry Mitchell discovers that her husband is hiding assets in preparation to dumping her for a younger woman, she is filled with hurt and rage. Having toiled her way up from poverty, she will do nearly anything to avoid being poor again.She considers an immediate divorce, but quickly realizes that with her sons now of age, she won’t get the house or enough of a settlement to allow her to continue her pleasant life style. After several efforts to save the marriage, she gives up, deciding that her husband must die.Merry’s ideas for spouse removal are limited by the sophisticated methods of detection used by law officials. She wracks her mind to find a method that is both undetectable and supposedly accidental. And, to assuage her troublesome conscience, the attempt must give him a sporting chance of survival.How should she do it…
Paperback: 238 Pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 20, 2017)
Fiction (Women’s Divorce)
Fiction (Contemporary Women)
About The Author: Sandra Sperling was born in Nevada and began her creative life in Minnesota, where, as a child, she wrote a play and a short story.
Eventually, she attempted a horror novel, but it didn’t horrify. Her mother, while reading the manuscript, began to laugh helplessly and leaned against a door for support, sliding to the floor like a piece of cooked spaghetti.
Deciding she was a failure as a writer, Sandy switched to painting dry-brush watercolors. The pull to write, however, was too strong to resist, so while still in Minnesota, she again began to write, publishing some short stories and advancing to novels.
She currently lives in Kentucky with her husband, she enjoys taking nature walks, refinishing old furniture and reading.
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Twitter: Sandy Sperling3
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