Body Wave

  • Publisher: Orange Grove Press
  • Series: The Bad Hair Day Mysteries , 4
  • Release Date: June 16, 2015
  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Available Formats: Audio, eBook and Paperback
  • Digital: 9780991465583
  • Paperback: 9780991465590

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Hairstylist and southern sleuth Marla Shore goes undercover in a hair-brained scheme to catch a killer in this adventurous cozy mystery.

Hairstylist and southern sleuth Marla Shore goes undercover in a hair-brained scheme to catch a killer in this adventurous cozy mystery.

Hairstylist Marla Shore goes undercover as a nurse’s aide for wealthy Miriam Pearl to investigate her granddaughter’s murder. While Marla snoops into the elderly matriarch’s affairs, her boyfriend, Detective Dalton Vail, is afraid that the only affair she’ll snag is with her ex-spouse, Stan. Juggling work at her salon, crime solving, and two amorously inclined males, Marla fights a race against time to save Stan before the dashing detective nails him for murder.

RONE Award Winner!

“Ms. Cohen’s plot has more twists than a French braid, and Marla is a shear delight.” Joanne Fluke, author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries

Awards & Accolades:

RONE Award Winner  RONE Winner

Independent Mystery Booksellers Association Bestseller

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“In Nancy J. Cohen’s fourth bubbly Bad Hair Day mystery, Florida hairdresser Marla Shore agrees to help her snake of an ex husband, Stan Kaufman, who’s been arrested for the murder of his third wife, Kimberly, find the real killer.” Publishers Weekly

“When it comes to hair-raising tales of murder and mayhem, Nancy J. Cohen’s wonderfully wry Bad Hair Day mysteries are second to none…In Body Wave, Marla faces more shades of guilt and malice than she has colors of nail polish in her salon and exposes herself to a hidden killer who may decide that eliminating Marla is a permanent solution for getting away with murder.” Barnes & Noble Ransom Notes

“The Bad Hair Day mysteries have been noted for their humor, quick pacing and an intelligent amateur sleuth. Author Nancy J. Cohen continues to offer a refreshing and fun series.” Lelia Taylor, Creatures ‘n Crooks

“You will find it all within the pages of Body Wave: a touch of romance, laugh out loud moments, hilarious characters, and a puzzling mystery.” Tracy Farnsworth, The Romance Readers Connection

“Nancy J. Cohen has a knack for writing mysteries that keep readers guessing right up to the final pages.” City Link

“This follow up to Murder by Manicure moves right along and will make good reading for the holidays.” Library Journal

“Nancy J. Cohen takes us on quite a roller coaster ride with this one…a real page turner.” Stephanie S. Levine, Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore

“Body Wave has more twists , turns, and “red herrings” than any cozy mystery I’ve read.” New and Used Books

“Many funny things happen in this book. I enjoy Marla and the fact that she is a hairdresser.” Dawn Dowdle, The Best Reviews

“A truly fun read!” 4 Stars, RT Book Reviews

“Body Wave is a very enjoyable book, my favorite in the first four books of the series that are out on audio. The plot has some really creative twists, and it made me keep changing my guesses as to the identity of the murderer. The denouement was thoroughly exciting and led me to cheer on the good guys!” 5 stars
Vicki Mejia-Gewe, FangirlNation Magazine

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2002 by Nancy J. Cohen


“If you succeed, I’ll sell you my half of our jointly owned property,” Stanley Kaufman offered. “You’ll double your rental income and get rid of me all in one swoop.”

Marla Shore gave her ex-spouse a sardonic grin. “Oh joy. All I have to do is solve a murder which you may have committed.”

“You’ve wanted to get me off your back. This is your chance. Don’t make a hasty decision you’ll regret later.”

Dressed in his high-powered attorney suit, Stan appeared out of his element in the stark confines of the city jail. Marla’s gaze traveled from the painted gray concrete floor to the metal sink and toilet unit at the opposite end from where they stood. The room stank of urine and stale sweat. A built-in bench qualified as the sole piece of furniture; residents didn’t stay long in a holding cell. Fluorescent lights lit harsh angles on walls that pressed too close. Gray scored as the operative color, coating the solid door with its secured viewport. It seemed the wrong choice in a place where society drew definitive lines of justice.

Stan would have to engage his own partners if he was actually charged with murdering his third wife. “Why do you think I can find Kimberly’s killer?” she asked. “You have money. Hire a private investigator.”

“You’ve solved cases before.” Stan’s hazel eyes glinted as though he didn’t want to admit she’d done something right. “Obviously, you’re more on the ball than that detective friend of yours. Lieutenant Vail would like to bust my ass.”

“If it weren’t for Dalton, I wouldn’t have been allowed to see you.” Her glance flitted to Stan’s thin black hair brushed off his forehead. It reminded her of all the times he’d brushed off her accomplishments through the years. Ever since their divorce, Stan had never let Marla forget how much he’d done for her. Even now, despite her ability to manage her own hair salon, she couldn’t believe the man regarded her capable enough to do him a service.

“Maybe we haven’t gotten along in recent years,” he said in a half-apologetic tone, “but we had something once. For old times’ sake, give me a break.”

“Tell me what happened, and then I’ll decide.” She strode to the bench and plopped down, careful to avoid any encrusted crud that might soil her khakis.

Hands folded behind his back, Stan paced purposefully like a trial attorney. “I’m a sound sleeper. You remember, don’t you? When I fall asleep, I don’t even hear the lawn men trimming hedges outside our windows. This morning, I awoke at my regular time, seven o’clock. Kim usually gets up earlier and has a cup of coffee waiting for me. I couldn’t smell it like I normally do, but her side of the bed was empty, so I figured she’d be downstairs.”

He halted, shoulders slumping. “I should have known something was wrong, because I couldn’t hear her moving around the kitchen. Kim was a good wife. A good wife,” he repeated in his habitually annoying manner. “She always had my breakfast ready on time.” His resentful glare told Marla how she’d never met his expectations when they were married.

“Go on,” Marla grated, suppressing her irritation.

“I was still in my pajamas when I reached the foyer. Our stairway is just a few steps from the front door,” he explained. “Kim was lying on the floor. I called her name, but she didn’t respond, and her body was awfully still. I couldn’t imagine what had happened. Did she trip and fall down the stairs? In a terrifying flash, I thought she must have broken her neck until I saw the blood. It had seeped out like fingers of a river.”

His eyelids squeezed shut, and a tremor rippled through him. Seconds ticked by while he regained his composure. When he opened his eyes, pain glistened in their depths.

Surprise slashed at her. She hadn’t realized Stan could feel so deeply about anyone. On impulse, she rose and embraced him in a quick hug, startling both of them. While she cursed Stan for his arrogance, she didn’t wish upon him this suffering. Grief was a difficult burden to carry alone. “Tell me more,” she said encouragingly, stepping back a few paces.

He drew in a shuddering breath. “I-I knelt to see what I could do. I turned her onto her back, but it was too late. Too late. She’d been stabbed in the abdomen. It must have hit a major organ. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes—terror mixed with astonishment.” His voice faltered. “I froze, Marla. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know what to do.”

“You called the police.”

“Yes. Somehow I stumbled into the kitchen. It crossed my mind that I should wash my hands.” He turned them palms up as though to show her the stains. “Instead, I grabbed the phone and called the cops.”

“What did you do until they arrived?”

“I don’t remember.” He squinted as though trying to force the memories into his brain. “Before I knew it, uniformed officers were pouring into my house.”

“So you opened the door for them.”

“No, it was unlocked. The officers let themselves in after ringing the bell. I was too numb to respond.”

“Where did they find you? In the kitchen?”

“Hovering over Kimberly’s body. I’ll admit it doesn’t look good for me, babe.”

“Maybe an intruder entered the house and Kim surprised him. Do you think robbery was a motive? If you could prove things were stolen—”

“Nothing was missing. The cops asked me to check before I got dressed.” Stan’s gaze held genuine bewilderment. “I can see why they believe I did it. Blood on my pajamas was damning evidence, and I’d touched my wife when I tried to save her. What was I supposed to do, leave her lying there bleeding to death? I don’t know how we’re going to clean up the mess on the floor.”

From his use of the joint pronoun, Marla realized he hadn’t come to grips with his loss. “Did the police find signs of forced entry?”

“No, that’s the peculiar thing. The windows were secure, and our other exterior doors were locked. There weren’t any footprints on the ground, either, and the sprinklers had been on earlier.”

“So when the cops confronted you, there were no signs anyone else had been in the house, and you had blood on your clothes.”

His face darkened. “Hell, Marla, whose side are you on? Things may not have been perfect between us, but I’d never hurt Kimberly. You know how I abhor violence. When you and I were married, I never mishandled you in anger. Never.”

Not physically, no. But you’re skilled in throwing verbal darts that can wound.

“What do you want me to do?” she asked, intending to speak to Detective Dalton Vail to get his viewpoint.

“Help me, Marla.” He spread his hands toward her. “The police don’t believe me. Find out who killed Kimberly, and I’ll sell you my half of our rental property at a reasonable price.”

“Are you willing to put that in writing?”

“Why? You don’t trust me?”

Her lips curved in a cynical smile. “Well, Stan, let’s just say I like to protect my investments.”

His spine stiffened. “If that’s what it takes. Will you do it?”

His voice echoed in the high-ceilinged room, and it struck a chord within her heart. When they’d first met, Stan had pulled her out of a morass so deep, Marla feared she’d never emerge into the light again. Didn’t she owe him the same favor?

“I’m surprised you have such faith in me, but yes, I’ll check things out.” Her nature wouldn’t allow an innocent man to be convicted. No matter how much she loathed Stan, injustice wasn’t tolerable.

On the other hand, she didn’t discount the possibility that he might be guilty. In that case, this could be a ploy to distract attention from himself. She’d look for evidence, and if it pointed toward Stan, he’d lose her sympathy pretty quickly. But that possibility was later down the road. Marla knew quite well she enjoyed solving mysteries because they provided spice in an otherwise routine life. She sought the challenge, despite Dalton’s warnings to steer clear of his domain. Maybe it was the challenge of matching wits with him that entertained her.

Several paths opened in front of her, and she leapt at the nearest one.

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  • Narrator: Mary Ann Jacobs
  • Audio Publisher: Orange Grove Press

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