Title: Black Oil, Red Blood
Author: Diane Castle
Genre(s): Murder Mystery, Legal, Thriller
Published: 2012 by Wishlist Publishing
The thing about cancer is it’s hard to prove somebody gave it to you on purpose—but Chloe Taylor can prove it. In fact, she proves it for a living. She sues oil refineries that would rather save a buck than comply with safety regulations designed to do important things like, you know, keep people alive.
Chloe had a successful career until circumstances forced her to move to the bass-ackwards town of Kettle, Texas (human population: 4,000; gun population: 34,356). Big Oil industry giant PetroPlex employs half of Kettle’s population, and there’s no question the judge in the town’s got oil stains on his hands. It’s no wonder she’s been on a losing streak lately. She suspects she’s been litigating on an uneven playing field, but when her star expert witness turns up dead less than 48 hours before a make-or break hearing, she knows.
What she doesn’t know is the key piece of information that got her expert killed. It turns out PetroPlex is harboring a shocking secret—one that has the potential to skyrocket gasoline prices, spark an energy market meltdown, and trigger riots, chaos, death, and destruction on a global scale. Chloe must discover the secret and expose the villains before she is permanently silenced, all while juggling a troublesome ex-fiancé and a tantalizing new flame along the way.
I didn’t even know how to use a gun before yesterday, and I certainly hadn’t become a
crack shot overnight. That didn’t bode well for my chances of survival at the moment —
especially since I was currently staring down the wrong end of somebody else’s barrel. What
was I supposed to do? Duck? Shoot first? Run?
Maybe the decision would have been easier if I hadn’t loved the guy pointing the gun at
me. I watched his trigger finger tense as the smoky, toxic air around us seemed to grow even
thicker. Walls shook and the floor rolled beneath me as an explosion thundered through the
building. The PetroPlex flagship oil refinery was fast on its way to becoming nothing but a
The doorframe buckled before my eyes—my only means of escape. Sharp orange
tongues of flame lapped at me from above, sending down a rain of fiery particles as acoustic
ceiling tiles disintegrated overhead.
That’s when I knew that gun or no gun, I was going to die.
Diane Castle is the pseudonym of a Texas attorney whose practice experience includes assisting plaintiffs with wrongful death and personal injury cases against Big Oil giants such as ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, BP, and ConocoPhillips. Ms. Castle has published short fiction under a different name, and she has also written a stage play that was translated into German, produced in a castle near Munich, and sold out three seasons. Prior to her career as an attorney, Ms. Castle was a staff writer for The Dallas Morning News. She also feels privileged to have been honored with two awards for humor and satire and one award for literary criticism. She lives in Dallas with her husband and three dogs: Gracie, Lucy, and Mouse.
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