Nancy Howard's story combines love, betrayal, conspiracy, suffering, and survival with a cast of improbable characters: a respected church-going husband and his mistress, a group of unsavory criminals, and a millionaire businessman. The story opens with Nancy's returning home from a church function on a Saturday night in 2012, and pulling into her garage. As she walks toward the door to her house, she suddenly faces an attacker who demands her purse and then shoots her in the head. Investigation of the shooting first reveals that Nancy's husband, Frank, has been having a three-year affair. A few days later, detectives uncover links between her CPA husband and an unsavory criminal in East Texas, Billie Earl Johnson. The story becomes increasingly bizarre as evidence surfaces of a murder-for-hire conspiracy between Billie and Frank, known to Billie only by his first name, John.
Alice Mathews is a retired university professor, whose research centered primarily on the works of John Milton, best known for writing Paradise Lost. During her academic career at the University of North Texas, Dr. Mathews especially enjoyed the opportunity to engage young adults in spirited discussions of theological issues in Milton's works. Although she has published academic and feature essays in various publications, this is her first book, inspired by her friendship with Nancy Howard.
That friendship was fostered by their common faith and their membership in the First Baptist Church of Carrollton, especially in the church choir. In addition, Alice and Nancy experienced several similar surgeries, Nancy's resulting from a shooting and Alice's from a blow to the face, likely linked to the "knock-out game," which was popular several summers ago.
Mathews and her husband, Bill, are long-time residents of Carrollton, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. They have two adult daughters, Allison and Meredith, and always at least one cat.
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