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A police cruiser sat outside the house as I pulled into the garage. All kinds of thoughts entered my mind, none of them pleasant. Had my investigation ruffled some feathers? I quickly made my way inside, not bothering to remove my helmet. I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard laughter coming from the kitchen. From the doorway, I spotted Mom and Hannah sitting at the table, sipping tall pink concoctions. On the counter, beyond them, stood the blender, a bottle of Bacardi, a cutting board and the remnants of chopped fruit.
I stepped into the room.
“Hi, honey,” Mom said. “Look who stopped by to see you.”
Hannah waved, and though she was still in her uniform, the open collar without tie and hat made her seem much more casual.
“Hi, Hannah,” I said, removing my helmet and shaking out my hair. “I hope you haven’t been waiting too long.”
“My shift ended at eight and I came right over. I wish I’d gotten here sooner,” Hannah laughed. “Your mom is a hoot.”
Another tall glass magically appeared on the table before I had managed to sit down. The nectar of the gods slid across my tongue. The look on my face caused giggles from my tablemates.
“Good isn’t it?” Hannah’s question was an understatement.
“What is this?” I asked after a larger sample.
Mom raised her glass. “I call my little concoction ‘Okanagan Bliss’. I throw peaches, plums, pears, ice, and rum into the blender and this marvelous mixture is the result.”
“To bliss,” Hannah said, then we clinked our glasses together.
“I can use some bliss right now,” I said, after swallowing another mouthful. Then while we polished off our Okanagan Bliss and another blender full after that, I told them about my frustrating afternoon. My serial killer theory had turned out to be a lot less fruitful than our drinks.
“Don’t be so certain,” Hannah said. From next to her chair, she retrieved a leather satchel and pulled out a one-inch-thick ream of paper. “I ran a nation-wide missing persons search this afternoon.”
“There are that many missing people in Canada?” Mom asked, her voice filled with alarm.
“Oh, heavens no,” Hannah responded.
Mom patted her chest and breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness, you had me worried.”
Having been in law enforcement for all those years I knew what was coming. I reached over and took Mom’s hand.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Hannah informed her. “For our purposes, I didn’t include missing children, older folks or men.”
“Oh my,” Mom said. “I had no idea.”
“Most people don’t,” Hannah told her, then turned to me and slid the stack my way. “These are the women between eighteen and forty who are missing and/or presumed dead.”
“How many are there?” I asked, giving Mom’s hand a final squeeze before thumbing through the missing women.
“Over the past ten years, 182 women have gone missing and are, as of yet, unaccounted for,” Hannah informed us.
“That’s awful.” A look of horror swept across Mom’s face. “Those poor women.”
“I assure you that some of these women are alive and well,” I told Mom, hoping to make her feel better.
“Some of them are hiding,” Hannah piped in.
“Hiding?” Mom asked.
“Escaping abusive relationships,” I told her. “A few are hiding from the law, to avoid prosecution.”
“Oh, I hadn’t thought of that,” Mom said.
“But most are likely dead,” Hannah said.
“Hannah!” I said, indicating with my eyes to tone things down, for Mom’s sake.
“Many of them are possibly,” Hannah hesitated trying to find the right wording, “in heaven by now.”
“Really?” I laughed.
“I tried,” Hannah giggled. I laughed, she laughed and even Mom joined in. Guilt over the subject matter sobered us quickly, though.
“To the ones that got away,” Mom said, raising her glass. “Stay safe ladies, wherever you are.”
“Hear, hear,” Hannah and I added. We drained our glasses.
Title: Framed – A Black Swann Investigation
Author: Wayne Kerr
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Toronto’s newest homicide detective, Reggie Swann, seemed to have it all: great career, handsome husband and plans to start a family, until she was framed for murder…
A cop has very few friends in prison. After surviving ten brutal years behind bars, Reggie’s conviction is finally overturned thanks to her tenacious mother, a new forensic test, and a very clever lawyer. She quickly discovers that getting her old life back won’t be as easy as she hoped. To many, she was still as the media had dubbed her: ‘Black Swann – murderer and cop-gone-bad’. The Toronto Police Department still considers her to be a suspect, Reggie’s husband has remarried and the real killer is still on the loose.
Before Reggie can return to Toronto and solve the crime that ruined her life, she reluctantly agrees to investigate a murder in her hometown of Penticton, only to discover the two cases which are separated by ten years and five provinces might somehow be connected. Will anyone believe the wild theories of the disgraced detective?
The real murderer does. He framed her once, this time Reggie Swann must die!
~ Author Bio ~
Canadian author, Wayne Kerr, was born and raised in the small town of Biggar, Saskatchewan (New York is big, but this is Biggar). He married his high school sweetheart, Marlene, thirty-nine years ago and has lived happily ever since. They resided in the United States for the past twenty years, but recently returned to Canada and now call the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia home. The writer honed his story-telling skills while keeping his five younger siblings and later his daughter entertained during long cold winters. When not reading or writing thrillers, Wayne is probably hiking, biking or playing tennis.
For more information on the author and his books please visit: waynekerrnovels.com or follow him on Twitter: @waynekerrnovels
~ R A F F L E C O P T E R ~
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