Fiction Fest: Richard Siddoway’s ‘The Cottage Park Puzzle’ kicks off new year of free previews

Cottage-Park-Puzzle_9781462115624The calendar just rolled over to 2015 and already we’re about to turn loose a few of the high-quality novels we have on tap for this year. Richard Siddoway‘s “The Cottage Park Puzzle” will be released on Jan. 13, but we thought you’d enjoy a sneak peek at his book now instead of later.

The Cottage Park Puzzle” will be available in bookstores and from online retailers once it’s been officially released.

Check out our other January novels.


It was days like this that made Karen Porter’s stomach churn. She had been principal of Cottage Park Junior-Senior High School for over a decade and still hated moments like this. She ran her hands down her gray tailored jacket, trying to smooth the wrinkles. Lorraine Rogers sat in one of the plastic chairs on the other side of Porter’s desk. Next to her was her son, Corky, one of Cottage Park’s special needs ninth graders. Karen Porter’s assistant principal, Tony Smutz, had washed most of the blood from Corky’s face and hands, but his shirt and pants were still covered. He slid back and forth on the slick, plastic seat.

“Lorraine, I don’t know what we’re going to do.” Porter shook her head. “You can see the problem,” she gestured toward the splatters of blood that covered his T-shirt. “I…we just can’t have this kind of behavior on the school grounds.”

Lorraine’s shoulders slumped and she bowed her head slightly, “What happened?”

Mrs. Porter shrugged her shoulders, “Apparently something or somebody set Corky off; so he picked up a ball bat and knocked two boys senseless during lunch. They were behind the equipment shed, out of sight of anyone else.”

“So how did you find out about it?” There was a mixture of hope and resignation in her voice.

“My son, Scott, found them. It scared him to death. He tried to help them—he got blood all over him—then Tony arrived on the scene. I can tell you he was pretty shook up. He found the two boys unconscious, lying in a pool of blood. Corky was spinning around next to them, screaming. He had a ball bat in his hands and was covered with blood. Tony called 911 on his cell phone and an ambulance arrived a few minutes later.” Karen stared at her hands which were open like eagle’s wings in front of her. “There was blood everywhere.” She shuddered.

Corky made some unintelligible sounds and started slapping his hands on the edge of the principal’s desk. Lorraine put her hands on his shoulders and massaged them. After a few minutes Corky quit stimming and sank back on his chair. His face was turned toward his mother, but he was looking out of the corner of his eyes through the window behind Mrs. Porter. He bent his head down, took the top of his T-shirt in his mouth and began chewing. Lorraine reached over and pulled the shirt out of his mouth.

“Lorraine, I don’t think we can continue to house Corky here. He’s become a threat to the other students.”