Thursday, May 29, 2014

Straight Chatting from the Library: Character Interview with Stephanie Chalice

Lawrence Kelter, author of BABY GIRL DOE, has stopped by The Library today as part of his virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Leave a comment or ask the author a question to be entered into a drawing for a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. You can see the other stops on the tour here:


An interview with Detective Stephanie Chalice
Interviewer: Her mother

Background: Murder mystery thrillers are often driven by tough, fast-talking, streetwise detectives with a sad story about their past and a penchant for nabbing perps. Detective Stephanie Chalice is all these things and more. She's a smart, beautiful, 28-year-old NYPD homicide detective whose acerbic repartee is like an arsenal of nuclear missiles—It convinces her male colleagues that she means business. Detective Stephanie Chalice is also the hero of five mystery books: Don’t Close Your Eyes, Ransom Beach, The Brain Vault, Our Honored Dead, and the newest release, Baby Girl Doe. Here, she takes a break from crime fighting to endure a short grilling from her mother about her youthful transgressions:

Ma: “You never smoked, right?”

Chalice: “Ma! How can you ask a question like that? You know how I feel about smoking.”

Ma: “Well now, sure … I mean when you were a teenager. All kids sneak cigarettes.”

Chalice: “No. Never.”

Ma: “You’re telling the truth?”

Chalice: “Yes!”

Ma: “Okay, I believe you, but I know about you and Frankie Bono.”

Chalice: Oh shit. Here it comes. “What are you talking about?” Damn, I feel like I have one of those cat who ate the canary expressions on my face.

Ma: “Don’t you BS me, Stephanie Marie Chalice. I knew all about it.”

Chalice: Should I deny it? Nah, what the hell for? “How did you know?”

Ma: “Stephanie, Do you think I was born yesterday? Do you think I didn’t see what they wrote about you in your high school yearbook? Bright and beautiful, she always makes the scene, but look out boys, she’s Frankie’s queen.”

Chalice: “Jesus, you saw that?”

Ma: Chuckles. “Saw it? Your father and I had some of our biggest laughs over it.”

Chalice: “So why didn’t you say something?”

Ma: “Because you broke up with him soon afterward. But I knew.”

Chalice: She knew? How could she have known? I’m a cop’s daughter—I’ve always been careful to cover my tracks. “You’re full of it.”

Ma: “I’m full of it?”

Chalice: “You don’t know anything. You’re making it up.”

Ma: “You think you and your father were the only detectives in the house? It rubs off, you know. I’ve got you dead to rights.”

Chalice: “Seriously?”

Ma: “Francine Delgado’s mother told me all about it. Francine used to follow the two of you home from school every day. She had such a crush on Frankie. Her mother said that she used to cry herself to sleep every night.”

Chalice: “Francine Delgado?”

Ma: “Yes.”

Chalice: “Little Francine with acne?”

Ma: “Yes!”

Chalice: “No wonder she hated me.”

Ma: “Don’t feel too bad. She just married a football player, someone on the New York Jets.”

Chalice: “You’re kidding?”

Ma: “Well, it’s true. She must’ve found a good dermatologist, because I saw her wedding picture and she looked beautiful.”

Chalice: “Really? That’s nice. I’m so happy for her.”

Ma: “Speaking of marriage, when are you and Gus going to make it official? You’re wasting time.”

Chalice: “Soon.”

Ma: “You’d better make it very soon, before Francine Delgado’s mother starts calling you the puttana cop.”

Chalice: “She wouldn’t?”

Ma: “Oh yes she would. That woman carries a grudge like no one else, and she knows how to gossip. You made her daughter miserable, and I think she wants revenge.”

Chalice: “Oh let her talk. Who cares?”

Ma: “I care. You don’t live in the neighborhood anymore. You think I want to hear things like that?”

The doorbell rings in the middle of the interview.

Ma: “Who the hell is that?

Chalice: “That’s probably Gus. You can ask him yourself.”

Chalice opens the door to find her partner and boyfriend Gus.

Gus Lido:“What’s wrong?”

Chalice: “Are you going to marry me or what? People are starting to talk.”

Gus Lido: “Talk about what? Who’s talking?”

Chalice: “You’re in deep shit. Mrs. Delgado called me a puttana.”

Gus Lido: “She what?”

Chalice: “The talk around town is that I’m a big slut.”

Ma: “It didn’t help any that you and Frankie Bono played grab-ass in the twelfth grade.”

Chalice: “I’ve had enough. I’m going to have a martini and read a book.”

Ma: “Which one?”

Chalice: “The one about the ingĂ©nue and the alcoholic, Fifty Shades of Grey Goose. This interview is over!”


Everyone deserves a well-earned vacation, don’t they? Guess again!

Plans have been made and the bags are packed but Detective Stephanie Chalice is having about as much fun as Michael Vick at an ASPCA fundraiser.

The new story finds Chalice and Lido on the East End of Long Island, vacationing with Max, their new arrival. Things go wrong from the very start. Their vacation rental burns to the ground, bodies pile up, and just to make things interesting Lido . . . Well, I’ll just leave it to you to find out.

Chalice may be out of her jurisdiction but she's never out of questions or determination and soon connects two unsolved homicides. As always, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and her initial findings plunge her deeper and deeper into the most extraordinary investigation of her career.


This is my favorite of the excerpts provided--it shows another look at Stephanie and her mother.

“There’s nothing wrong with the Menuccis, but you know how Dina earns a living, don’t you?”

“She works evenings selling restaurant supplies. Are you crazy or something?”

“Ma, listen to yourself. Who sells restaurant supplies at night? She’s a call girl. My God, how gullible can a person be?”

“Madonna mia, sweet little Dina? Are you sure? She said Vesuvius is her biggest customer.”

“Vesuvius, the Italian restaurant on 49th Street?”

Ma nodded.

“Yeah, I’m sure there’s an eruption there every time she walks through the door.”

“How can that be? You know Mickey V, the owner; he’s a family man.”

“First of all he’s not Italian, even though he professes to be. He’s Greek. That’s why he never uses his full last name.”

“For real?”

“Yes for real. His last name is Vloganitis, or Vaginitis, or something you’d need antibiotics to clear up, and he’s the biggest sleazeball on two feet. Believe me when Dina visits him in the restaurant, his soufflĂ© isn’t the only thing that rises.”

“So Mickey is Greek?”

I nodded with conviction. “Mickey is short for Mikolas. He got into a jam over unpaid traffic tickets several months back and asked me to help him out. That’s why I know his real name.”

“Were you able to help him?”

“I made a call over to my friend Tay at the DA’s office. She pulled some strings. They let him pay the fines, and he was able to avoid criminal charges.”

“And he’s Greek.”

“Like baklava, Mama.”

“Oh my? Does that mean . . .”

“That’s right, Ma, Dina’s probably multi-portal.”

She cringed. “Stephanie, that’s disgusting.”

“You brought it up. Do you prefer I use the term backdoor specialist?”

“Madonna, too much information.” Ma pretended to retch.

“Ma, you’re such a prude. You’ve never heard of ass play?”

“What play?”

“Ass play.”

“Isn’t that the group that sings about clocks?”

“Oh my God.” What am I going to do with this woman? “No, Ma, that’s Coldplay.”

“Stephanie, I’m confused.”

Evidently. “Ma, ass play . . . anal sex. Stop being such a Girl Scout.”

She shrugged. “You mean like for a gay man.”

“It’s not just for gay men, Ma. Straight couples do it too.”

“But why?” Ma was completely out of her comfort zone. Fine droplets of sweat broke out across her lip.

How can I put this delicately? “Sometimes a man prefers to squeeze his car into the garage instead of just leaving it to hang out in the nice wide driveway.”

“You’re losing me. What does this have to do with cars?”

Sometimes there’s just no beating around the bush. Yikes. I can’t believe I just said that. “Because, Ma, after a woman shoots two or three linebackers out of her vagina, it isn’t exactly a snug fit anymore.”

Ma smiled with revelation. “Ah. So you’re talking about a man’s pleasure.”


“What about the woman?”

I flashed my palm like a stop sign. “I’m not going there, Ma.” I wasn’t saying I don’t go there, but I wasn’t going there with my mother.

“I still don’t believe it. Dina told me flat out that she sells macaroni.”

I giggled. “A hooker whose cover story is that she sells macaroni? Does that make her a pasta-tute?”


A resident New Yorker, Kelter often uses Manhattan and Long Island as backdrops for his stories. He is the author of the Stephanie Chalice Mystery Series and other works of fiction.

Early in his writing career, he received support from best-selling novelist, Nelson DeMille, who reviewed his work and actually put pencil to paper to assist in the editing of the first novel. When completed, DeMille said, “Lawrence Kelter is an exciting new novelist, who reminds me of an early Robert Ludlum.”

His novels are quickly paced and feature a twist ending.

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Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


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  1. I like character interviews but this one with her mom asking the questions is priceless.

  2. LOL! This is great, Larry!! Hilarious!

  3. Great interview, I enjoyed reading it.


  4. Loved the interview. It was really fun. The excerpt was great.