Monday, April 20, 2020



After 25 years on the job, Detective Roscoe Conklin trades his badge for a pair of shorts and sandals and moves to Bonaire, a small island nestled in the southern Caribbean. But the warm water, palm trees, and sunsets are derailed when his long-time police-buddy and friend back home, is murdered.

Conklin dusts off a few markers and calls his old department, trolling for information. It’s slow going. No surprise, there. After all, it’s an active investigation, and his compadres back home aren’t saying a damn thing.

He’s 2,000 miles away, living in paradise. Does he really think he can help? They suggest he go to the beach and catch some rays.

For Conklin, it’s not that simple. Outside looking in? Not him. Never has been. Never will be.

When a suspicious mishap lands his significant other, Arabella, in the hospital, the island police conduct, at best, a sluggish investigation, stonewalling progress. Conklin questions the evidence and challenges the department’s methods. Something isn’t right.

Arabella wasn’t the intended target.

Book Details: 

Book Title: Diver’s Paradise

Author: Davin Goodwin

Genre: mystery

Series: Roscoe Conklin Mystery Series

Publisher: Oceanview Publishing (April 7, 2020)

Print length: 336

On Tour with: Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: family is my cornerstone. My wife, Leslie, keeps me grounded. I’d be lost without her. Daughter, stepson, nieces, brothers, nephews, uncles, aunts, cousins . . . I have deep southern heritage, and growing up I was always surrounded by large numbers of family members.
Having said that, however, I couldn’t live without my banjo and fiddle. Although I don’t play them as often as I should, they’ve been a huge part of my life since childhood. Also, don’t try to take away my Jeep Wrangler. I didn’t buy it for the ride or comfort—I bought it for the lifestyle.
Things you need to throw out: our basement is full of books that we’ve read. Some we want to keep, but most of them need to be donated or recycled. I’m talking hundreds! Also, we still have a bunch of old VHS tapes that we need to do something with.

Things you need in order to write: a glass of Diet Coke with ice. Also, Post-it®—I make lots of notations while I write, things I need to go back and change or enhance. Sometimes, depending on my mood, some sort of background noise. Music, the news, some random TV show, just something to break up the silence.

Things that hamper your writing: my inability to sometimes stay focused. My mind can wander, and I find myself getting up from the computer to do the dishes, throw clothes in the dryer, stare out the window. 

Things you love about writing: allowing myself to be taken away to other places, ones that I’ve created. And I like the concept that my characters live or die at my whim. If they make me mad, they meet with an untimely (or timely, depending) demise.
Things you hate about writing: writing is hard work. Like many other things, it can take a toll on you. I find creativity and staying focused difficult tasks. It’s all a huge challenge for me.

Easiest thing about being a writer: I find editing and re-writes exciting, easy, and fulfilling. It comes easy to me, and I actually look forward to that part of the process.

Hardest thing about being a writer: I never realized the amount of marketing and social media work involved. In the past, I’ve owned several small businesses, so I understand branding, customer acquisition, and advertising. But this is my first bout with Facebook, Instagram, and such. It’s a huge time commitment.

Things you love about where you live: I love the summers. Mild weather, not too much rain, and cozy evenings. Being a state capitol and large college town, there’s always something going on. Lots of live music venues, which I really appreciate, and most of them are amateur or local musicians.
Things that make you want to move: I hate the Wisconsin winters. Seriously, from about mid-November to April 1st every year I ask myself why I live in this part of the country. Painful, painful winters. And for the record, we live here because my wife’s family is close by. Otherwise, I’d live someplace with year-round warmth.

Words that describe you: sarcastic (in a self-deprecating sense), funny, loyal, knowledgeable, talented, friendly, out-going, extraverted, driven.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: procrastinator, talkative, over-bearing, bossy

Favorite foods: pork bar-b-que, ribs, burgers, pizza, French fries, pies, ice cream, chocolate, potatoes, pop-tarts. Basically, anything that’s bad for me and would send my doctor through the roof.
Things that make you want to throw up: anything that comes from the ocean (fish, shrimp, lobster, crab, etc.), most vegetables. Basically, everything that’s good for me and would make my doctor nod and smile.

Favorite music: I prefer bluegrass. Also, mild country and 70’s rock.
Music that make your ears bleed: rap and anything that has a hard driving, pulsating bass beat.

Favorite smell: I love the smell of the ocean, especially early in the morning around sunrise.

Something that makes you hold your nose: any type of seafood cooking.

Something you’re really good at: playing banjo. I’ve played since the age of 16 and have played in multiple bands, some locally known and one nationally known. Have taught banjo and given workshops and seminars at festivals.

Something you’re really bad at: singing. I can’t carry a tune to save my life. Seriously, my singing would bring a tear to a glass eye.

Things you’d walk a mile for: I’d walk further than a mile to hear a good bluegrass band. Hopefully, it would be straight acoustic, no mics or amplification. And it’d be listening under a shade tree someplace.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: shoveling snow from the driveway. Ugh . . . even using a snowblower. I hate it.

Things you always put in your books: I try to include some level of my family and/or heritage in my novels. It may not be evident to the reader, but I know it’s there and that’s important to me. Some of my family members notice it as well. I have deep southern roots (my family is from the Ozark foothills in Arkansas) and am very proud of my heritage.

Things you never put in your books: any type of child abuse or child killings, as well as cruelty to animals. I write murder mysteries, so there’s going to be some killing, but they aren’t grotesque and most of them happen off-camera, so the reader isn’t exposed to the gory details.

Things to say to an author: ‘Tell me about your next project.” “How’s the writing going?” “What book have you read lately?”

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: anything in the form or starts with “You know what would make that better?” or “Here’s what you should do.”

Favorite places you’ve been: my favorite place to visit is Bonaire, a small island in the southern Caribbean. A close second is Los Angeles to visit our daughter and her husband.

Places you never want to go to again: Chennai, India. I spent a week there on business travel in 2014. The food and spices don’t agree with me, especially curry. Since my business traveling colleagues wanted to experience authentic Indian cuisine, I was left eating bread and fruit all week. I actually lost ten pounds during the trip.

Best thing you’ve ever done: my wife and I owned several small businesses. We learned quickly about budgeting, sacrifice, and community relationships. Everything we learned made us better people and better employees for future companies.

Biggest mistake: I’m a pilot and have always loved airplanes and anything aviation related. I’ve had several opportunities to make aviation a career but failed to act upon those opportunities.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: we flew single-engine, four-seat piper airplanes from Key West Florida to Grand Cayman. 175 miles over open ocean with only one engine!

Something you chickened out from doing: I couldn’t force myself to bungie jump.

The last thing you did for the first time: write a publishable novel. I spent ten years, off and on, to make it a reality.

Something you’ll never do again: take ten years to write a novel. I know how to do it quicker now.


With the windows down and the top off, the warm Bonaire-island breeze flowed through the cabin of my four-door Jeep Wrangler. I glanced right, across the sea, savoring the salt-filled air. A brilliant shade of blue—one found only in the Caribbean—filled the cloudless sky.
Living on Bonaire, I never worried about traffic lights or big city hustle and bustle. With fewer crowds and more locals, I considered this tiny island my undiscovered paradise, not yet spoiled by restaurant chains, high-rises, or all-inclusive resorts. Scooters and bicycles were primary transportation for many, while others walked, greeting each other with smiles and waves. The culture, best described as laid-back with an unhurried pace, continued to have that slow, relaxed feel of the old Caribbean.
Unhurried, unspoiled, unforgettable.
My phone rang as I turned left, heading north on the road called Kaya International, toward Kralendijk. Even island life has its flaws.
Damn cell phones.
“Hello, Erika,” I said.
“Hello, R. You are on your way back?”
My full name is Roscoe Conklin. However, most folks refer to me as R. “Yes. Do you need anything?”
“It is Friday,” she said. A Bonaire native, and having lived on the island her entire life, Erika spoke English as a third, maybe fourth, language. As with most of the local population, her speech contained a hint of Dutch accent and reminded me of someone who wanted to sound formal and correct, but sometimes placed words in the wrong order.
“Yes, it is Friday… all day,” I said.
“I must leave early today.”
She had reminded me three times since noon. I smiled, downshifting around a curve.
“I know, I know. You must have a wonderful boss.”
“I did have a wonderful boss. Now I work for you.”
“Yes, you do.” I sighed. “Need anything?”
“I need a raise.”
I shook my head. “Anything else?”
“I do not think so.”
“See you soon.”
A few turns later, I stopped for a road-crossing iguana, or tree chicken as they’re called on Bonaire. It stood in the middle of the lane and swiveled an eye my direction which I considered a gesture of gratitude for saving its life. Even so, this guy had better quicken the pace. Many locals considered iguanas a food source, and one this size—maybe three feet long from head to tail—would be a prized catch.
We studied each other a moment or two, then I beeped the horn, ending our one-sided standoff. The iguana scurried away and found refuge in the roadside underbrush.
I pulled into the parking lot of the YellowRock Resort, which I owned, courtesy of my life savings and a large chunk of my pension. The Resort part, however, was a bit of a misnomer. It was a 10-unit ma-and-pa type hotel with a front reception area and a small apartment upstairs where I lived.
Guilt shot through me knowing the roof leaked in several units, and, scattered along the path, yellow flakes of paint reminded me of some much-needed upkeep. Bonaire is an island for water lovers and, most days, I wished for more time in the sea. Retired, and in no hurry to overwork myself, I struggled to stay ahead of the repairs. Erika seemed her happiest when keeping me busy.
I’d be lost, though, without her.
Before going into the office, I walked around the side of the building. Mounds of dirt, a cement mixing tool, and several wooden forms laid haphazardly around a partially repaired section of the foundation. The mess had cluttered the small side yard between the YellowRock and the building next door for several weeks. Neither the contractor responsible for the work nor any of his crew had bothered to show for work in several days. He wanted more money to finish; I wanted the job completed before paying him another cent. A stalemate like this on Bonaire—on island time—could last for months. Shaking my head, I walked into the guest reception area, which also doubled as the office, on the first floor.
Erika sat behind an old gray desk that reminded me of something from a 1960’s secretarial office. I did my work on an identical one against the back wall, and a third, stacked high with papers and other junk, gathered dust in the corner. The place needed an upgrade, but the retro decor of our cozy office served our function and suited us well.
Erika punched away at a computer keyboard, acting as if she hadn’t seen me enter. Her yellow polo, embroidered with YellowRock Resort on the upper left shoulder, deepened the tint of her dark skin. She refused to tell me her age, but insisted she was older than me “by several years.” I loved her like a big sister, and most of the time, she treated me like a little brother.
With black-rimmed glasses perched halfway down her nose, she rolled her eyes as I walked by her desk. “There are still some papers on your desk that still need your signature,” she said, turning back to her work.
“Hello to you, too.”
I laid a plastic bag on my desk and retrieved a bottle of water—or awa as it’s called in the native language of Papiamento—from the small fridge in the corner. I sat and put my feet on Erika’s desk, playing a game with myself by blocking out most of her face with my size eleven sandals. Her modest afro formed a dark halo around the tops of my toes.
“You still have not fixed the problem with that bathroom light.” She continued to gaze at the computer, not giving me the satisfaction of showing the least bit of aggravation.
I didn’t say anything and hoped she’d look over and see the soles of my sandals.
“The light?” she said.
I decided I’d better answer. “Which unit?” I glanced at the bags I’d placed on my desk. They contained several packages of light bulbs.
“You know which unit.”
“It’s just a light bulb.”
“Then it will be easy to fix, yes?”
“I’ll get it tomorrow.”
She moved her head to look around my sandals. “That is what you said last month about the paint.” She grabbed a small stack of papers, slapped my feet with them and turned back to her work, muttering “hende fresku.”
My Papiamento wasn’t good, but I got the gist of what she said. “What would I do without you?” I lowered my feet to the floor.
Knowing how far to push was most of the fun.
“Don’t forget you have some friends arriving on tomorrow afternoon’s flight,” Erika said. “You’ll need to meet them at the airport.”
“Yup, I remember. Tiffany and her boyfriend.”
She removed her glasses, laid them on the desk, and leaned forward resting on her elbows. “And how does that make you feel?”
I knew what she trolled for but didn’t bite. Tiffany and I had met during a case many years ago and were friends long before I moved to the island. She had visited me on Bonaire in the past and decided to bring her new boyfriend along on this trip.
“I feel fine about it.”
“You know what I mean.” She leaned back in her chair. “When do you plan to introduce her to Arabella?”
“Tiffany is a friend. That’s all she’s ever been. Nothing more, nothing less.” I took a swig of water and wiped my mouth with the back of my arm. Letting out an exaggerated “Ahh,” I concentrated on screwing the cap on the bottle before continuing. “Erika, you think you know more than you actually do.”
“Uh-huh.” She put her glasses back on, grabbed the stack of papers, and walked to the filing cabinet.
Wanting the conversation to end, I stood and headed up the stairs leading from the office to my apartment. “I’m going to take a shower. Have a nice weekend and don’t forget to lock up when you leave.”
Entering my apartment, I went straight to the fridge for a cold beer, my favorite being an Amstel Bright. The advertisements described it as a “Euro Pale Lager,” whatever that meant. Most of the bars and restaurants served it with a slice of lime wedged atop the bottle’s neck. At home, I didn’t waste time slicing limes.
Unlike Jeff “The Big” Lebowski, I liked the Eagles and Creedence, so I popped the Eagles Greatest Hits, Volume 1 into the CD player and sat in front of my computer to check email. Twelve new messages. Eleven went straight to my junk folder, but one had a recognizable address—Marko Martijn, the contractor responsible for the unfinished foundation work. Before I clicked it open, my cell phone rang.
“What’s up, Bella?” I said.
“Hey, Conklin, happy birthday.”
I laughed. “Thanks, but you’re a little early.”
“I know, but since it will be the big five-oh, I thought your memory might slip and needed a reminder.”
“Yeah, that’s funny.” Arabella was from the Netherlands, and I’d found sarcasm doesn’t always work on the Dutch.
“I thought so. I called to see how you are doing.”
“Well… I’m about to take a shower. Want to join me?”
“I wish I could, but I am on my way to work. They called me in to work the desk tonight.”
“That’s too bad.”
“Yes, for both of us. It is that new inspector, Schleper. He thinks we are at his beck and call.”
I walked out on the balcony and sat on a lounger facing the sea. “Yup, sounds familiar.”
“Ach. You think he would give me more respect.” She exhaled a short, hard breath. “I’ve been a cop for ten years on this island. Longer than him!”
Changing the conversation, I asked, “We still running tomorrow morning?”
“You bet. Eight kilometers?”
“If you mean four point nine miles, then yes.”
She laughed. “No, I mean eight kilometers.”
“Ah, forgive me. My measurements are still strictly American.”
“I will forgive you. You are drinking a beer right now?”
“Yup. Need to drink away my sorrows before I shower. Alone.”
“Do not drink too much. I do not want to hear excuses for tomorrow’s run.”
“Maybe one more, then I have some paperwork to do. Or maybe change a lightbulb.”
“Yeah, right. You are drinking, so you will not do more work tonight.
“I will see you tomorrow. Usual time?”
“Yup. Good night.”
She chuckled. “I will send you a text reminder.”
I seldom read text messages and never answered them, but the phone pinged as soon as I set it down. She’d included the words “old man” as part of the reminder about our run.
The sun had moved closer to the distant horizon, creating an orange aura behind the few low clouds. Palm trees and sunsets. Tough to find a more relaxing setting. I nursed my beer and watched the sparse traffic crawl along the one-lane road that ran between the YellowRock Resort and the sea.
I imagined Erika’s delight in arriving at work in the morning and finding the light fixed. It’d be easy—just a bulb. As I headed towards the stairs to retrieve the bags sitting on my office desk, the landline phone rang; the one used most often for off-island communications. It might’ve been a future guest wanting to make a reservation at the YellowRock or maybe an old friend from the States calling to chat me up about retirement in paradise.
Darkness was settling over the vast, smooth sea and I took a swig of beer, not interested in answering the phone, content with letting voicemail do its job. Besides, the Eagles were telling me to take it easy, and, regardless of the lightbulb, that sounded like a good idea. Arabella was right. I was drinking; my work finished for the night.
Second ring.
Nearby, my banjo sat on its stand. Erika had kept me busy enough lately that practice had eluded me. Picking some tunes sounded good.
Third ring.
Turning around, I noticed my old 7-iron propped in the corner. I hadn’t played golf since moving to Bonaire five years ago but still fed the urge to practice my swing. Make sure my elbow stayed tucked, and the clubface didn’t open.
Fourth ring.
Or I could swap the Eagles CD for Creedence, sit on the balcony, and drink another beer or two or three, watching the sun settle below the horizon. Maybe skip the shower, doze off early, and catch a few Zs to the rhythm of the waves.
Fifth ring.
I could’ve done any of those things but didn’t.
Instead, I went to my desk and answered the phone.
Excerpt from Diver's Paradise by Davin Goodwin.  Copyright 2020 by Davin Goodwin. Reproduced with permission from Davin Goodwin. All rights reserved.


Davin Goodwin is a graduate of Arkansas State University and works in the technology industry. He has been a small business owner, a real estate investor, an aerial photographer, a flight instructor, a semi-professional banjo player, and—important to Diver’s Paradise—a scuba diver, often seen on the island of Bonaire. Diver’s Paradise is his debut novel and he intends to continue writing the Roscoe Conklin series, set in Bonaire. Goodwin lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife, Leslie.

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