Lisa Combs Jern

Tim's Bayou

In her suspense-driven, emotional debut novel, Lisa Combs Jern introduces us to Tim’s Bayou, a community nestled in the picturesque bayous of Northwest Florida, a town that’s more pine than palm … a place that holds its secrets close.

It was 1973. As a teenager, John Weber was the guy every girl wanted desperately to date and every parent admired. But his life took a sharp turn five years later, when he was a suspect in the murder of two Florida State co-eds. The notorious Ted Bundy was executed for their senseless deaths, but not before the accusations hurled at John, the suspicion that spread through the campus, and his raw fear at being powerless to prove his own innocence changed John’s life forever.

But that’s all behind him now … or is it?

Now, it’s 1991, and John Weber is the youngest-ever homicide detective on Atlanta’s elite hat squad. After a long absence, John has returned to Tim’s Bayou with his daughter Lainie for his mother Sara’s funeral. He’ll see some old friends, spend quality time with his dad, Auggie. His ex-wife, a nurse at Atlanta’s Grady Hospital, will drive down later for the funeral and take Lainie back to Atlanta. All perfectly planned until …

After friends and mourners gather to pay their respects to Sara at Auggie’s weathered but lively bar, the Dockside, John is awakened early the next morning by Chris Hammond, the police chief. Shrimpers, on their way to the docks, found Jennifer Marlowe bludgeoned to death in the brackish waters near the Old Florida Inn, an abandoned Spanish-style relic. It’s where John and Jennifer had been drinking and reminiscing alone, or so they thought, a few hours earlier.

As John races to clear his name—and track Jennifer’s killer before he or she might kill again—he uncovers a link to the past: a secret that Jennifer hinted at before she died. But what could Jennifer’s death have to do with the sudden disappearance in 1973 of two teens … one of whom had been John’s girlfriend? And can John possibly convince a skeptical Chief Hammond to investigate this improbable clue?

Tim’s Bayou’s twists, shared pasts, and deceptions will keep you guessing and leave you wondering, like John, whether the past really happened the way you remember it, or did you invent it? And why? The quirky, unforgettable characters and warm waters of this unique but oddly familiar coastal community will stay with you long after its startling conclusion.