Oct 092018
 

Dead in the Dark

by Stephen Booth

on Tour September 25 – October 25, 2018

Synopsis:

Dead in the Dark by Stephen Booth

How do you prove a murder without a body?

Ten years ago, Reece Bower was accused of killing his wife, a crime he always denied. Extensive police searches near his home in Bakewell found no trace of Annette Bower’s remains, and the case against him collapsed.

But now memories of the original investigation have been resurrected for Detective Inspector Ben Cooper – because Reece Bower himself has disappeared, and his new wife wants answers.

Cooper can’t call on the Major Crime Unit and DS Diane Fry for help unless he can prove a murder took place – impossible without a body. As his search moves into the caves and abandoned mines in the isolated depths of Lathkilldale, the question is: who would want revenge for the death of Annette Bower?

 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0062876104 (ISBN13: 9780062876102)
Series: Cooper & Frye Mysteries #17
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Guest Post by Stephen Booth

10 things that readers don’t know about Detective Inspector Ben Cooper

  1. Ben Cooper’s birthday is in late June, so his star sign is Cancer (like mine!).

  2. He broke his arm as a child when his older brother Matt pushed him off his bike. He still gets a twinge of pain in the winter.

  3. Like many children who grew up on a farm, Ben once had pet lamb that had lost its mother. He called it Norman.

  4. As a teenager, his first girlfriend’s name was Stephanie. She was the daughter of a local veterinary surgeon, but she dumped him when he announced he was joining the police.

  5. Ben barely scraped good enough grades at school to qualify as a police cadet – unlike his colleague Diane Fry, who is a university graduate in Crime and Policing.

  6. However, after his day-to-day experience as a cadet and a police constable, he passed his sergeant’s exams with flying colours.

  7. Ben played rugby for a while, as a wing threequarter with Edendale rugby club, but a bad tackle during a match against Buxton aggravated his old injury.

  8. As a uniformed police constable, he was once called to an incident of domestic violence and had to single-handedly tackle a man armed with a knife, for which he received a Chief Constable’s commendation.

  9. On his desk in his office, Ben Cooper has an aerial view of Bank End Farm, where he grew up.

  10. He doesn’t have much time for reading because of his job, but when he does he enjoys historical fiction like Bernard Cornwell or Simon Scarrow. He rarely reads crime novels, because he finds them too unrealistic.

 

Stephen Booth

Author Bio:

A former newspaper journalist, British author Stephen Booth is the creator of two young Derbyshire police detectives, Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, who have appeared in 17 crime novels, all set in and around England’s Peak District.

 

Catch Up With Stephen Booth On:

stephen-booth.com

Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook

 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

No one wants to die in the dark. To lie alone in the blackness, feeling the chill of death creep slowly over you. Shut away from the light as the fear numbs your limbs and chokes the breath in your throat. The long, long sinking into the cold depths. And then to sense that slipping away. The final slipping away into nothing.

Do you feel that stab of pain as it shoots through your chest? Try to make your breathing more shallow. You have several broken ribs, a fractured arm, perhaps a punctured lung. You can hardly know, in the dark. But you can feel the internal bleeding, the seeping blood as it squeezes your internal organs, bloats your stomach and intestines. You know your injuries are fatal.

That fear of the dark is overwhelming. Because this is true darkness, an eternal night in which your eyes have become useless. Your heart thumps uselessly as you strain to see where you’re lying. You can sense space around you, a slight movement of icy air, a shifting of heavy masses, a solid weight way above your head. A sharp, stabbing pain is in your back from something hard you’re lying on. This isn’t a grave. But it is your tomb.

Does your fear of the dark make any sense? When you’re dead, you go into endless blackness. Yet you’ve always hoped you would get one last glimpse of the light, always prayed that you wouldn’t die alone.

Well, that’s not going to happen. There’s nothing for you to see here. Not a glimmer of light, not a flicker of hope. Only the darkness.

A creak and a rattling makes you freeze. Is someone here? Or some thing? But no . . . you breathe out and release the pain. The noise has quite a different meaning. It’s something huge shifting overhead. It signals the end, the approach of your death. You’re about to be crushed completely.

***

Excerpt from Dead In The Dark by Stephen Booth. Copyright © 2018 by Witness Impulse. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


 

Enter the Giveaway!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Harper Collins/Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) copy of SECRETS OF DEATH by Stephen Booth (eBook). The giveaway begins on September 25, 2018 and runs through October 26, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

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Oct 022018
 

Scar Tissue

by Patricia Hale

on Tour October 1-31, 2018

Synopsis:

Scar Tissue by Patricia Hale

Track star, Ashley Lambert, has just been accepted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins University, so when she jumps eighteen stories to her death her parents hire the PI team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan to find out why. The investigation exposes a deeply disturbed family hiding behind a façade of perfection and follows Ashley’s descent into performance enhancing drugs and blackmail. Ashley’s coaches, peers and even her parents come into question. The disturbing truth behind Ashley’s death is testimony to lines crossed and allegiances sworn…. in the name of love.

Meanwhile, things don’t add up next door. Britt’s working overtime researching their new neighbors whose one-year-old son disappeared four years ago. Rhea McKenzie, has a secret and bruises aren’t the only thing she’s trying to hide. When an off-hand comment discloses a connection to Ashley Lambert the two cases become entwined, setting off an unstoppable chain of events. Britt is sucked into an alliance with Rhea and driven to make decisions that challenge her ethics, threaten her relationship and in the end, push her over a line she never thought she’d cross.

**Check out my review HERE and enter the giveaway**

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Intrigue Publishing
Publication Date: September 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 194
ISBN: 978-1-940758-85-5
Series: Cole and Callahan #3
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Patricia Hale 

Author Bio:

Patricia Hale lives in Standish, ME with her husband. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Goddard College, a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and the NH Writers Project. Scar Tissue is the third book in the Cole & Callahan thriller series. When the computer is off, you can find Patricia on the sideline of her grandsons’ sporting events or hiking the trails near her home with her German shepherd and one very bossy Beagle.

 

Guest Post

10 Things about Britt and Griff the reader doesn’t know….

It’s hard to find things unknown about Britt, she’s not one to exercise discretion. But she does understand self-preservation and doesn’t always show her hand when it comes to her own insecurities. Truth be told, a childhood spent with dis-interested parents took its toll and left her forever feeling like she has something to prove, hoping someone will notice. So, she leaps before she looks and gets into things she shouldn’t… like the neighbors’ secrets in Scar Tissue.

But Griff understands her. Although he doesn’t always approve of her impulsivity, it’s one of the things about her that he loves. It keeps her interesting and nicely off-sets his careful, methodical approach to investigations and to life. If he could just make her give up her honey berry cigars their relationship would be damn near perfect. Even though everything about them seems to run in opposition. He’s mid-forties, she’s early thirties. He’s been married once, she panics at the “M” word. She’s mercurial, he’s grounded. What one lacks, the other offers. No wonder they work so well together.

What Griff hasn’t mentioned is that he wants a dog and a fleet of antique cars and the big one… someday he wants to live in St. John, Virgin Islands.

What Britt has neglected to mention is that she’ll never move from Maine. It’s home and where her sister, Amy, lives. Maine is her living, breathing security blanket.

And the big one is coming. Now that they own a house together, Griff’s ring shopping and planning a Christmas surprise.

But Britt finds Christmas depressing, filled only with memories of disappointment as a child. It’s a holiday she’d sooner forget than celebrate.

But so far, they’ve made it through a serial killer too close to home in, The Church of the Holy Child. A religious cult covering for a prostitution ring in, Durable Goods. And in Scar Tissue, Britt crosses a line that flies in the face of everything Griff stands for.

If they can weather those storms, I think they’ll make it through whatever I can throw at them. And at the end of the day we’ll see them munching Wheat Thins and smoked Gouda, washing it all down with a Pinot Grigio and Gritty’s Black Fly Stout.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Read an excerpt:

“I don’t believe my daughter jumped. She wouldn’t have done that. I told the police, but they dismissed me. Evidently, they knew my daughter better than I did.”

“What’s your feeling on that, Mrs. Lambert?” I asked. Parents don’t always share perspectives on their children.

When she looked at me, her eyes were moist. She cradled the columbine in her palm. “Call me Gwen.”

I nodded.

“Ashley was a good girl. She worked very hard at everything she did.”

“She was the best, always. She made sure of it,” Greg chimed in.

Or else you did, I thought.

“It would have gone against her nature to jump off that building. It just wasn’t her way,” Gwen added.

“Her way?” Greg squinted at his wife, his face twisted in disgust as though studying an insect on flypaper. “What the hell does that mean?” He stood and walked around the circumference of our seating arrangement and then came back and took his chair again. “My girl did as she was told. And only what she was told.”

“It’s not always easy to tell a senior in college what to do,” I said. “At some point they start making their own choices even if some are ones their parents might not like.”

“Not my girl.” Greg shook his head, knocking my theory out of the park. Dismissed as impossible.

I couldn’t help but notice he kept referring to Ashley as my girl not our girl as though he’d created her, given birth and raised her throughout her short life singlehandedly. I didn’t like him. My assessment of Gwen was still up in the air, but she was wrapped so tight I couldn’t get a glimpse inside. It’s never easy to work for someone you don’t like, but Ashley’s case held the interest factor. Why had this seemingly perfect child jumped to her death?

“She was a star athlete at the top of her class and a week from graduation,” Greg continued. “She’d been accepted at Johns Hopkins Berman Institute for Bioethics. And you’re telling me that’s a kid who makes bad decisions? I don’t think so, Ms. Callahan.”

Okay, he shut me up. (A momentary lull.)

“Mr. Lambert,” Griff spoke up. “I have a daughter. I can’t imagine what you must be going through dealing with all this. What is it you think we can do for you?”

“I told the police and the medical examiner that my daughter wouldn’t take her own life. Cops shook their heads, said it wasn’t their call to make. The medical examiner said it presented as a cut and dried suicide.”

“And what do you say, Mr. Lambert?”

“My daughter was murdered.”

I glanced at Gwen. “Do you agree, Mrs. Lambert?”

She raised her eyes, glanced at her husband and then to me. “I’m not convinced, but I do agree that suicide doesn’t fit with who my daughter was.”

Griff kept his focus on Greg. “What makes you think someone would have killed your daughter? Did she have enemies that you’re aware of?”

“No, no enemies that I know of, but her jumping makes no sense. She had everything going for her and absolutely no reason to end her life. She would never have done that to me.”

Strike two. The selfish bastard assumed his daughter’s tragic death had more to do with him than whatever had driven her to that fateful state of mind. “Suicide is about what’s going on within the person themselves,” I said trying not to let my voice betray my disgust. “I doubt Ashley was consciously doing anything to you at the moment she jumped. If she jumped.”

“She knew the goals we’d set,” he said dismissing my remark. “And she had every intention of attaining them.”

“Goals?” I asked.

“Johns Hopkins, her PhD, an Olympic gold medal.”

“Had she been accepted to compete in the Olympics?” Griff asked.

“It was in the works,” he said annunciating each word as though we were hard of hearing.

“Did you let the medical examiner know how you felt?”

“Of course, I did.”

“And was an autopsy performed?”

Greg Lambert glanced at his wife. She looked away. Touchy subject, I gathered.

“Useless,” he said. “They found nothing.” He turned to Gwen. “Go get my checkbook.”

She rose and disappeared inside the house without a word, still holding the columbine in her hand.

I caught Griff’s eye and he raised his eyebrows as though asking, should we?

“Look Mr. Lambert,” he said. “Britt and I like to discuss a case before we commit to it. We want to feel some degree of surety that we can help you before money changes hands and we sign a contract. Give us time to talk it over and we’ll get back to you tomorrow.”

Gwen reappeared holding a large, black-spiraled checkbook. Greg took it from her along with the pen she offered and flipped open the front of the book. He looked at Griff. “How much do you want?” he asked.

“Mr. Lambert, I…” Griff started.

“We’ll give you the information you need to get started. I don’t have any doubt you’ll see it my way. What’s the retainer?” He held the pen poised over the checkbook.

“Five thousand,” Griff said.

I thought that was a little high. He must be thinking about the pool we wanted to install.

“And a list of names. Professors, coaches and friends,” he added.

Greg pointed to his wife. “Put that together.”

Dismissed, Gwen went inside to gather what we needed.

Once we had the necessary information from Gwen, and Greg’s check was folded inside Griff’s pocket, Carole stepped onto the deck and offered to show us out.

“We’ll be in touch,” Griff said. He stood extending a hand toward Greg.

Greg Lambert rose from his chair and placed his hands on his hips. “When?”

“As soon as I have something to tell you,” Griff said lowering his arm.

Griff’s ability to come off unfazed by blatant rude behavior is beyond me. I couldn’t get off that porch fast enough. If I’d lingered I would have placed a well-directed snap kick to Greg Lambert’s groin.

We followed Carole to the front door. She swung it wide and stepped with us outside then pulled the door closed behind her. On the front step she glanced from one of us to the other then dropped her head and stared at the granite, clearly trying to make up her mind. We waited. When she looked up she extended her arm toward Griff as though intending to shake.

“Look,” she said. “I’m probably way out of line here and dipshit in there will have me banned if he knows I’m talking to you. I’m already on probation around here so whatever I say stays between us, all right?”

Griff nodded and reached for her hand, keeping his eyes on her face.

She slipped a folded piece of paper into his palm. “I’m Carole Weston, Gwen’s sister. Call me,” she said. “There’s more to this. A lot more.”

***

Excerpt from Scar Tissue by Patricia Hale. Copyright © 2018 by Patricia Hale. Reproduced with permission from Patricia Hale. All rights reserved.

 

Tour Participants:

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Oct 012018
 

SCAR TISSUE by Patricia Hale
Genre: Thriller
Published by: Intrigue Publishing
Publication Date: September 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 194
ISBN: 978-1-940758-85-5
Series: Cole and Callahan #3
Review Copy from: Publisher
Edition: ARC TPB
My Rating: 5

 

Synopsis

Track star, Ashley Lambert, has just been accepted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins University, so when she jumps eighteen stories to her death her parents hire the PI team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan to find out why. The investigation exposes a deeply disturbed family hiding behind a façade of perfection and follows Ashley’s descent into performance enhancing drugs and blackmail. Ashley’s coaches, peers and even her parents come into question. The disturbing truth behind Ashley’s death is testimony to lines crossed and allegiances sworn…. in the name of love.

Meanwhile, things don’t add up next door. Britt’s working overtime researching their new neighbors whose one-year-old son disappeared four years ago. Rhea McKenzie, has a secret and bruises aren’t the only thing she’s trying to hide. When an off-hand comment discloses a connection to Ashley Lambert the two cases become entwined, setting off an unstoppable chain of events. Britt is sucked into an alliance with Rhea and driven to make decisions that challenge her ethics, threaten her relationship and in the end, push her over a line she never thought she’d cross.

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

5 stars

The P.I. team, of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan are back and taking the reader on another exciting case!!!

This is the third book in the series but easily read as a stand alone. You can see my review of THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY CHILD HERE.

Griff and Britt have been hired by the parents, whose daughter has supposedly committed suicide, which they don’t believe since she was an exceptional student with a very promising future.

During this time, the couple has also made a big step in their relationship, when they buy a house together. But something isn’t right with their new neighbors and Britt starts to investigate. What really happened when the neighbor’s 1 year old son went missing and never found. And now that this mother is pregnant again, but the bruises she is hiding, infuriates Britt and she will stop at nothing to help.

The story grips the reader from the very first page and doesn’t let go! The author’s writing style is fluid and descriptive. The characters believable. An engrossing read with an ending that had this reader holding her breath!

Highly recommend!

**Stop by tomorrow for Q&A with Patricia Hale

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Enter To Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Patricia Hale. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on October 1, 2018 and runs through November 1, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.
  • Sep 132018
     

    Criminal Misdeeds by Randee Green Banner

    Criminal Misdeeds

    by Randee Green

    on Tour September 3 – 14, 2018

    Synopsis:

    Criminal Misdeeds by Randee Green

    As far back as the Shatners can be traced, they have been breaking the law and running from it. It’s a family tradition. Now Carrie Shatner is a detective and crime-scene technician with the Wyatt County Sheriff’s Department in Eastern Texas. Over the years, she has tried to distance herself from her family’s criminal activities. But that is easier said than done.

    The Shatner family is celebrating New Year’s Eve at the Wyatt County Fairgrounds in their usual style: illegal fireworks, homemade moonshine, and a near brawl. After shutting down the party, Carrie does a final sweep of the fairgrounds and finds a dead body in a dumpster.

    Good news: the dead man is not a Shatner. Bad news: the Shatners are now suspects in a homicide investigation. Soon the fairgrounds are overrun with law enforcement, including Sergeant Jerrod Hardy, a Texas Ranger. The victim is Kyle Vance, Carrie’s ex-boyfriend and a member of the Palmer family, who have been feuding with the Shatners since the Civil War.

    Despite serious misgivings, Hardy allows Carrie to help him investigate. He knows she physically couldn’t have beaten Vance to death, but he wonders if she is covering for a family member.

     

    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery
    Published by: Coffeetown Press
    Publication Date: July 1, 2018
    Number of Pages: 280
    ISBN: 1603817093 (ISBN13: 978-1603817097)
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

     

    Read an excerpt:

    CHAPTER ONE

    I come from a long line of criminals.

    Moonshiners, rumrunners, and drug dealers. Horse thieves and carjackers. Bank robbers, burglars, pickpockets, and con artists. And then there has been the occasional killer. You name it, whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor, somewhere along the line a member of my family has committed it.

    As far back as the Shatner family could be traced – from southern England to the mountains of western North Carolina, and now to the Piney Woods of East Texas – we had been breaking the law. And running from it, too.

    It was a family tradition.

    You see, the Shatners have never swum in the baby pool of life. We’ve always been out in the deep end, and we jumped in headfirst.

    As for me, every day I fight my genetic predisposition to break the law. Some days I’ve been more successful than others. You see, I can’t break the law when I’m the one who is supposed to be upholding it.

    My name is Carrie Shatner, and for the last three-and-a-half years I have worked as a detective and crime scene technician for the Wyatt County Sheriff’s Department in East Texas. That would put my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University to good use except there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of serious crime in Wyatt County. I mainly sat behind my desk all day, twiddling my thumbs, playing Sudoku, and keeping up with my various social media accounts.

    While my official job was to process crime scenes and deal with all parts of criminal investigations, my unofficial job was to cover up my family’s illegal activities and keep them out of jail. I’d be the first to admit that what I have been doing wasn’t ethical. It was probably also criminal. I tried not to think about that too much. To be honest, I tried not to think about any of it too much. Most days I felt like quitting my job. Family obligation prevented that.

    I’m not saying that all of the Shatners have been hardened criminals. Sure, most of the older ones were. But at least some of the younger ones shied away from the family business and seemed to be sticking to the straight and narrow. And they were the reason why I do what I do. Yes, I clean up the crimes of the guilty. But I do it to protect the innocent.

    These days, the laws my various family members break have been fairly minor ones. Okay, some were still kind of major. But it was nothing compared to what we used to engage in. I mean, I’m pretty sure we were no longer involved in contract killing or organized crime.

    What I did know was that my great-uncles had a moonshine still out in the woods and a marijuana crop concealed in a bunch of old Cold War bomb shelters. Every time I caught one of my family members selling the homebrew or the pot, they would promise me it was the last time. I didn’t believe them. I didn’t arrest them either, because I knew it wouldn’t stop them. It would also infuriate the rest of the family. And, while tempting, that wasn’t a risk I was quite willing to take. At least not yet.

    Occasionally, one of the younger Shatners would steal a car or deface some public property or get busted for underage drinking. The older Shatners were always getting nabbed for public indecency and public intoxication. Some of them were also heavily involved in insurance scams. And then there had been the occasional assault. But we hadn’t killed anyone – accidently or on purpose – in years. Or, if someone had, I didn’t know about it.

    When you got down to it, the majority of the bad things that the Shatners have done were just plain dumb. And, as far as I knew, being stupid wasn’t illegal. We would have been in serious trouble otherwise.

    I don’t want you to go into this thinking that all of the Shatners were bad people. Most of them have just been a little misguided.

    At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

    Until I found the body.

    ***

    Excerpt from Criminal Misdeeds by Randee Green. Copyright © 2017 by Randee Green. Reproduced with permission from Randee Green. All rights reserved.

     

    Author Bio:

    Randee Green

    Randee Green’s passion for reading began in grade school with Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, as well as a master’s and an MFA in Creative Writing. When not writing, she’s usually reading, indulging in her passion for Texas country music, traveling, or hanging out with her favorite feline friend, Mr. Snookums G. Cat.

    Catch Up With Randee Green On:
    randeegreen.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

     

    Tour Participants:

    Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews and giveaways!


     

    Enter To Win

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Randee Green. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on Sept. 03, 2018 and runs through Sept. 15, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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    Sep 122018
     

    A Fatal Obsession

    by James Hayman

    on Tour September 1 – 30, 2018

    Synopsis:

    A Fatal Obession by James Hayman

    “James Hayman’s edgy, ingenious novels rival the best of Lisa Gardner, Jeffery Deaver, and Kathy Reichs. A Fatal Obsession is his finest to date: a ferocious live-wire thriller starring two of the most appealing cops in contemporary fiction.” —A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

    Zoe McCabe is a beautiful young actress on the verge of stardom who has been basking in the standing ovations and rave reviews she’s been getting from critics and fans alike for her portrayal of Desdemona in an off-Broadway production of Othello. As she takes her final bows, Zoe has no idea that, seated in the audience, a man has been studying her night after night, performance after performance. A man whose carefully crafted plans are for the young actress to take a starring role in a far deadlier production he has created just for her.

    Portland, Maine detectives Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage are settling into the new rhythm of their relationship when McCabe gets a late night call from his brother Bobby that Zoe, McCabe’s favorite niece and Bobby’s daughter, has suddenly disappeared. The NYPD is certain Zoe’s abduction is the work of the man the tabloids have dubbed “The Star Struck Strangler,” a killer who has been kidnapping, abusing and finally strangling one beautiful young performer after another. Bobby begs McCabe to return to the New York City crime beat he’d left behind so many years ago, to work his old connections, and to help find Zoe before her time runs out. The stakes for McCabe and Savage have never been higher. Or more personal. And suddenly the race is on to stop a vicious attacker, before the McCabe family is torn apart beyond repair.

     

    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery, Thriller
    Published by: Witness Impulse
    Publication Date: Aug. 21, 2018
    Number of Pages: 432
    ISBN: 9780062876676
    Series: McCabe and Savage Thrillers #6
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

     

    Read an excerpt:

    Prologue

    The worst thing about the rage was its randomness. Tyler Bradshaw never knew what might trigger one. A tone of voice. A look. An innocent or perhaps a not so innocent remark. Tonight he could feel it starting to build just seconds after he’d begun walking down the center aisle of the small McArthur/Weinstein Community Theater on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

    Having attended all eleven previous performances in this limited-run production of Othello, Tyler knew exactly where he wanted to sit for tonight’s finale. The same seat he’d occupied for every performance so far. The same seat he was going to sit in tonight no matter what. A12. On the aisle. Front row. Right-hand side. By far the best seat in the house in terms of offering him the most intimate view of the death of Zoe McCabe, the young actress cast in the role of Desdemona.

    This would be Tyler’s last chance to watch the woman he wanted so desperately, the woman who’d been haunting his dreams for months, meet death at the hands of Randall Carter, the well known black actor who was playing Othello the Moor. And if all went according to plan, this closing night would become opening night for a much more intimate relationship.

    But Tyler had taken only a few steps down the aisle when he was stopped short by the sight of some son of a bitch sitting in his seat. The theater was practically empty, and some asshole had actually had the nerve to plant his butt in the seat Tyler claimed as his own. He stood for a few seconds watching the guy as the anger grew. Some skinny twerp with a shaved head and black-framed hipster glasses leaning over and talking to the woman next to him as if unaware of his transgression. Tyler barely managed to suppress an urge to run down the nearly empty aisle to the first row, pull the guy up by his ears and kick the shit out of him right then and there.

    Take it easy, Tyler told himself. Don’t start a fight. Don’t cause a scene. Don’t get your ass thrown out of here. Do that and you’ll miss Zoe’s final death scene, and you really don’t want to do that. Still, when something he so desperately wanted was denied him, when something he considered rightfully his was withheld or taken away, Tyler found it nearly impossible to suppress the anger filling his brain. But he knew he had to try. Taking a deep breath, he managed to walk at a measured pace the rest of the way down the aisle. He stopped and stood directly in front of the guy in A12. He looked down. “Sorry, buddy,” he said in a voice filled with no more than a hint of threat, “you and your girlfriend are gonna have to move. This seat’s taken.”

    “I beg your pardon,” the guy said in what Tyler thought was a condescending tone. Tyler hated it when people condescended to him. New York was full of them. It was one of the reasons he really didn’t like spending time in the city even though he’d been born here. Even though he still kept an apartment here. Even though he’d worked three years at his uncle’s fancy Wall Street law firm. That job had gone down the crapper the day Tyler totally lost it when one of the other associates had condescended to him. Told Tyler in front of like ten other people that the only reason the firm had hired Tyler was because his uncle happened to be managing partner. Tyler reacted by slugging the guy right then and there in front of six other lawyers. Knocked the bastard flat on his ass. Then followed up with a kick to the gut. A deliciously satisfying kick even though it marked the end of his legal career. The only reason Tyler hadn’t been charged with assault was that his uncle convinced the other guy his own career would go much better if he simply forgot about the whole thing. Tyler still got pissed off when he thought about that asshole.

    “You heard me,” Tyler said to the guy who’d taken his seat, making sure he kept his voice quiet and controlled. “You’re sitting in my seat. This has been my seat for the last two weeks. The entire run. And it will continue to be my seat for tonight. That means it’s time for you to tell me how sorry you are and get up and move.”

    Condescension changed to huffiness. “I don’t know who you think you are but there’s no reserved seating in this theater. We took these seats first. That means they’re ours. There’s plenty of empty seats all over the place. Just take one of those and leave us the hell alone.”

    “This is my seat and you are going to have to move.”

    For exactly twenty-three seconds the guy said nothing. Tyler knew it was twenty-three without having to consult his watch. It was this brain thing he’d had ever since the so-called accident. He always knew precisely to the second what time it was and precisely how much time was passing. Just as he knew how many steps it would take to get from one place to another without having to think about it. It hadn’t always been that way. Just since his old man had tossed him headfirst into the shallow end of the swimming pool at their country place when he was fourteen and he’d bashed his head against the concrete. That’s when the rage problems started as well.

    For the entire time, the guy just sat where he was and looked up at Tyler. Maybe he was debating whether to challenge someone who, at six foot three and two hundred and twenty pounds, was way the hell bigger than he was.

    Tyler was getting closer to hoisting the guy out of the seat and tossing his skinny little ass out into the aisle. Which would have ruined everything. Thankfully, one second before he would have done just that, the guy’s wife or girlfriend or whatever she was, broke the impasse.

    “Come on, Richard,” she said. “Let’s move. I don’t like being this close to the stage anyway.”

    “I oughtta call the police,” said Richard.

    “Call whoever the fuck you want, Richard. Just get your ass out of my seat.”

    “Richard. Please,” said the woman. “This guy’s unhinged.”

    “Yeah, Richard, I’m unhinged,” said Tyler, putting as much menace in his voice as he could.

    “And if you want to know the truth, I’m getting more fucking unhinged by the second.”

    The woman rose, took Richard’s hand and pulled. “Please,” she said.

    The guy finally stood. No doubt relieved not to have to confront someone as big and angry-looking as Tyler. But, Tyler figured, also ashamed that he lacked the cojones to stand up to the bully who’d shamed him in front of his girlfriend. A lot of people responded to Tyler that way. He usually enjoyed it when they did. He especially liked it when people backed down and did exactly what he told them to. Which was most of the time. Most people were too chicken-shit to stand up for themselves.

    Tonight was no different. The guy named Richard picked up a canvas messenger bag from the floor and let the woman lead him across to the other side of the small auditorium, where they found seats a couple of rows back. Tyler watched them go. Neither looked back at him. Neither noticed the small, satisfied smile he threw at them. Confrontations that ended like this and the adrenaline rush that came with them always made him feel better.

    Before sitting down, Tyler unzipped his backpack, pulled a pair of latex gloves from the package he’d put in there, and put them on. Then he took out a packet of antibacterial wet wipes and used three of them to wipe down the seat, the backrest and the arms before easing his large frame down into seat A12. His seat. That done, he closed his eyes and focused on breathing deeply in and out. Pictured the rage that had come from the confrontation slowly dripping out of him, drop by drop, like water from a leaky faucet. That’s what Dr. Steinman, the therapist he started seeing a year after the swimming pool incident, had taught him to do when he felt this way. He watched the drops falling . . . exactly one drop per second . . . and knew without counting that one hundred and forty-four drops had fallen before he’d totally emptied himself of the anger and felt calm enough to open his eyes.

    Tyler had another twenty-one minutes and twelve seconds to wait before scheduled curtain time. Maybe even more minutes and seconds before the curtain actually went up, because they never seemed to get the timing right. To pass the time he popped a couple of sticks of Juicy Fruit gum in his mouth and started chewing. Then he pulled a week-old copy of the New York Daily News from his backpack and unfolded it. He stared for what had to be the hundredth time at the banner headline, the big black letters seeming to leap out at him from the front page. StarStruck Strangler Strikes Again. He wondered if that was just one headline or if that was the nickname they were going to give the killer. He wondered if the name would stick. Tyler thought about it. Star-Struck Strangler wasn’t nearly as interesting as, say, Son of Sam. Though it was, he supposed, equally alliterative. Both had multiple S’s, which had always been one of Tyler’s favorite letters. He repeated the headline to himself. Star-Struck Strangler Strikes Again. Four ST words in a row. Tyler preferred S words when they were followed by L’s. Words like slasher. Slimy. Sleazy. Slippery. Slinky. Slick. Slutty. Yes, SL words were much better than ST words. His favorite SL word, slithy, wasn’t a real word at all. Just something made up by Lewis Carroll. ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe. Wonderful creepy-crawly sounds.

    Beneath the headline that dominated the front page was a subhead set in slightly smaller black type. It read, Missing Ballerina Found Murdered on Beach. No alliteration there unless you counted the M’s in Missing and Murdered and the B’s in Ballerina and Beach, and Tyler didn’t think that really counted. Tucked next to the headline and subhead was a color photo of an attractive young blonde, her hair pulled back in a bun, smiling at the camera. A happy smile, he thought, for a woman who’d turned up dead over a week ago. Tyler flipped open the tabloid and read full the story once again:

    Friday, October 2, 2015. The body of 21-year-old Sarah Jacobs, a dancer with the New York City Ballet who had been reported missing two weeks earlier on September 15, was discovered late last night lying in a shallow, sandy grave on a stretch of beach in Sherwood Island State Park., The beach is located on the Long Island Sound in the affluent suburb of Westport, Connecticut.

    Investigators say Ms. Jacobs’s body was discovered at approximately six a.m. by Westport resident Edward Todd. Todd told police he was walking his dog on the beach as he does every morning, when the dog raced ahead and started sniffing at something in the sand. When Mr. Todd was close enough to see it was the remains of a human body, he immediately dialed 911 on his mobile phone and informed Westport police, who arrived moments later. After identifying the body, Westport detectives notified the NYPD, which had been searching for Ms. Jacobs since her disappearance.

    The victim, Sarah Jacobs, was a well-regarded dancer who was considered a rising star with the New York City Ballet. According to police sources, the victim’s body, when found, was wearing a black leotard and black ballet slippers, an outfit identical to the one she wore on stage during her last performance at Lincoln Center on September 12, three days prior to her disappearance. Her hair was also arranged identically to the way it had been during the performance.

    Ms. Jacobs was the daughter of prominent Broadway producer Frederick Jacobs and Chelsea art dealer Marjorie Hanscomb Jacobs. Both parents refused to comment on the discovery of their daughter’s body. André Komar, the company’s ballet master, told reporters, “Sarah was an exceptionally gifted young dancer with a bright future ahead of her. All of us who knew and worked with her here at the New York City Ballet are grieving along with her parents. This is a real tragedy and we will all miss her enormously.”

    Assistant New York City Medical Examiner Dr. Peter Weisman told reporters the apparent cause of death was strangulation. He also said the body was badly bruised and there were clear signs that Ms. Jacobs had been sexually assaulted prior to death. Her body is scheduled to be autopsied by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine, among other things, time of death and if strangulation was indeed the cause.

    The victim has been the subject of an intense New York Police Department manhunt ever since her disappearance. She was last seen leaving a private party at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan on the evening of September 15th. Her father told reporters she left the party early after complaining of feeling “queasy” and said that she was going to take a cab home to her Greenwich Village apartment.

    Ms. Jacobs is the third young member of New York’s performing arts community to have disappeared from Manhattan since the beginning of the year. The body of an earlier victim, Ronda Wingfield, 28, an actress who appeared frequently in musical productions in Manhattan and elsewhere, was discovered last May 19th in a wooded section of Manhattan’s Highbridge Park.

    A third performer, actress Marzena Wolski, who also lived in Manhattan and who, for the last two years, had a starring role in the TV crime drama Malicious, was reported missing September 28th. Police have reportedly found no clues as to Ms. Wolski’s whereabouts.

    When asked if police believed the three kidnappings and two confirmed deaths were the work of a serial killer, the NYPD’s chief of detectives, Charles Pryor, told reporters, “While we can’t be absolutely sure at this point in the investigation, given the obvious similarities in the choice of victims, all of whom performed on television or on stage, as well as similarities in the cause and manner of death of the two victims found so far, we are fairly certain that that is the case.” Pryor added, “There are currently no suspects but we are hopeful that the discovery of Ms. Jacobs’s remains will provide some relevant leads.”

    Tyler reread the article a couple of times even though he already knew it pretty much by heart, as he did just about everything else that had been published about the kidnappings and murders. He then turned back and examined the front-page photo of Sarah Jacobs. With her long, narrow face, Sarah wasn’t really all that pretty. At least not compared to Zoe McCabe. For Tyler Bradshaw, there was no one who could compare to Zoe.

    Tyler finally returned the paper to his backpack, relaxed in his seat and waited patiently until the curtain rose, and Roderigo and Iago entered a bare-bones version of a sixteenth-century Venetian street. Tyler watched the beginning of the play with minimal interest. It wasn’t Iago or Roderigo he’d come for. Tyler’s only reason to sit through this part of the play over and over again was to make sure he got the right seat to feel the closeness of the woman he so desperately wanted. His gaze never strayed from her from the moment she first came on stage in Act I, Scene III, until she was finally done to death in Act V, Scene II, bloodlessly smothered by the actor who played the title role. When the play got to that point, Tyler whispered Desdemona’s last words to himself, doing his best to mimic the way Zoe spoke them.

    That death’s unnatural that kills for loving.

    Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?

    Tyler sometimes practiced gnawing his nether lip when Zoe said the lines. She was right. It didn’t seem natural. Still, the most famous writer who ever lived had written it that way.

    Some bloody passion shakes your very frame:
    These are portents; but yet I hope, I hope
    They do not point on me. . . .
    A guiltless death I die.
    Oh yes, my love, he whispered to himself, a guiltless death you die. But not too soon I hope. For I’m quite sure I want you with me for a much longer time than the Star-Struck Strangler had allowed either of the others.

    And then, when it came time, he mouthed the famous lines spoken by the Moor.

    When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
    Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
    Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak
    Of one that loved not wisely, but too well . . .

    Tyler had fixated on these words since he’d watched the first performance two weeks ago, for he believed they precisely defined who he was. They were his lines because he believed that he too was one who loved not wisely but too well.

    When the play finally ended and the curtain fell two hours, twenty-seven minutes and thirty seconds later, it was the third longest of the twelve performances he had attended. It irritated Tyler that the actors couldn’t do a better job of getting the timing right. Yes, in one performance, the actor playing Iago had even screwed up one of his lines and Othello had to ad-lib filler dialogue until Iago got his brain back on track. But that was the only time they had an excuse.

    He let the irritation go when Zoe and the rest of the cast stepped in front of the curtain to take their bows. He stood with the audience and applauded as loudly as, if not more so than, anyone else in the theater. Took the overchewed ball of gum from his mouth and whistled loudly.

    Of course, Tyler’s applause was only for Zoe. His gaze fixed only on her. Her dark and penetrating eyes. Her glorious smile. The slender perfection of her figure. At last, when the curtain calls were finally finished and the actors gone from the stage, Tyler slung his pack around one shoulder and walked out, once again practically the last to leave the theater. For the first time, his mind was finally and truly made up. He could wait no longer. He pulled a crushable Aussie outback hat from his backpack and put it on. Kind of goofy-looking, but what with all the damned surveillance cameras on the streets these days, the wide brim did a good job of hiding his face. And on a cold, drizzly night like this, it wouldn’t even attract much attention. Tyler left the theater by a side exit, crossed the street and stood in the shadows of a darkened computer repair shop, waiting for Zoe to emerge from the stage door dressed in her own street clothes.

    When she finally walked out, she wasn’t alone. She was with Randall Carter, the big black dude who played Othello. They stood together on the sidewalk talking. Tyler felt rage once again building as they talked. Especially when Carter leaned down and kissed Zoe on the lips. Nothing passionate. Nothing sexy. But still. The woman Tyler considered his own kissing some hotshot Hollywood bastard? A black hotshot Hollywood bastard no less, which made it even harder to take. Tyler could barely keep his rage from roaring back, barely restrain himself from rushing across the street and kicking the shit out of Carter. While he stood there seething, a black Lincoln SUV pulled up. Randall Carter got in. Zoe waved. The car drove off. Zoe pulled up the hood on her rain jacket and started walking by herself along the street. Tyler watched and waited until she was a little ahead before following.

    ***

    Excerpt from A Fatal Obsession by James Hayman. Copyright © 2018 by James Hayman. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

     

    Author Bio:

    James Hayman
    JAMES HAYMAN, formerly creative director at one of New York’s largest advertising agencies, is the author of the acclaimed McCabe and Savage Thriller series: The Cutting, The Chill of Night, Darkness First, The Girl in the Glass, The Girl on The Bridge, and A Fatal Obsession.

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