Posts Tagged Crime Fiction

“Fifty Years of Fear (Dark Lives Book 1)” by Ross Greenwood


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Fifty Years of Fear (Dark Lives Book 1)

By Ross Greenwood

Genre: Mystery & Suspense/Crime Fiction

Could you forgive murder? What if it was something worse?

A childhood accident robs Vincent of his memories, causing him to become sensitive and anxious around others. His differences attract bullies, and he comes to rely heavily on the support of his family.

After the devastating loss of his parents, a remarkable woman teaches him to embrace life and, little by little, he realises the world is far more forgiving than he imagined. When fragments of his memory return, he begins to unravel his past.

Who was his mother? What kind of a man is his brother, Frank? And why does death surround them?

Fate is cruel. History is dark. Things are not as they seem.

Perhaps he should have stayed at home.

 

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“Power Struggle (Detective Madison Knight Series Book 8)” by Carolyn Arnold #Excerpt #Giveaway


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Power Struggle 3D coverTitle: Power Struggle (Detective Madison Knight Series Book #8)

Author: Carolyn Arnold

Genre: Mystery

One hitman who’s back for revenge.

One detective who’s not going down without a fight.

It’s been ten months since Detective Madison Knight almost died at the hands of Russian Mafia hitman Constantine Romanov. She hasn’t seen hide nor hair of him since he escaped police custody and fled to Russia soon after his arrest, except now her latest murder investigation gives her reason to believe he’s back in town. Seeing as the victim is the man who killed her grandfather, her perspective may be a little skewed, but with the MO smacking of Constantine and the victim’s connections to the mob, she finds it hard to be objective. Still, she’s doing her best to consider all the evidence.

When she receives a threatening letter from Constantine, however, her suspicions are confirmed. And he’s made it abundantly clear that not only does he plan to finish what he started but he has her family and loved ones in the crosshairs, too. Madison vows to do whatever it takes to save them, but as the hours race by, the body count rises. And the stakes only get higher when Madison’s sister, Chelsea, goes missing.

Now, Madison’s only play is to take Chelsea’s disappearance for what it really means: Constantine is calling Madison out for one final showdown. And they won’t both survive…

~ Purchase Links ~

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Apple iBooks

Kobo

Google Play

Goodreads

Series Information

What to expect from the Detective Madison Knight series:

Murder. Investigation. The pursuit of justice. Do you love trying to figure out whodunit? How about investigating alongside police detectives from the crime scene to the forensics lab and everywhere in between? Do you love a strong female lead? Then I invite you to meet Detective Madison Knight as she solves murders with her male partner, utilizing good old-fashioned investigative work aided by modern technology.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Law & OrderCSIBlue BloodsRizzoli & IslesWomen’s Murder Club, and Hawaii Five-O.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.


Book Excerpt

Excerpt #2

Excerpt from chapter 3 of Power Struggle (Detective Madison Knight series)

Yasmine was set up in interrogation room one. There was something about questioning a potential murder suspect in this formal setting that gave law enforcement the edge. Even an innocent person could find themselves unraveling under the pressure, and the mind is good at playing games. It can make one feel guilty when they’re not, and that’s why it was crucial to ask the right questions and be able to read people accurately.

Madison and Terry were about to go in. She had one hand on the doorknob and she was carrying a water bottle for Yasmine in the other when Sergeant Winston called out to her.

“Knight, wait!” Winston sounded winded, and when she turned around, his face was red and his brow was sweaty, and he was panting. “Is it too much to ask for you to come to me? No, I have to go chasing you around the station. What is the update on the Deer Glen homicide?”

“There’s not a lot to say yet.” Madison slid a sideways glance to Terry.

Winston glanced at Terry, too, then back at Madison. He drew a pointed finger between them. “I saw that look. What aren’t you telling me?”

“The victim was Jimmy Bates,” Madison said nonchalantly.

Winston screwed up his brow. “Why does that name sound familiar?”

“He’s the man who served twenty-five years for killing my grandfather.” There, she’d delivered the facts with cool detachment.

Winston’s eyes snapped into alignment with Madison’s. “You should probably be taken off the case.”

“No.” She stood firm, peacocking her stance. “There’s no reason for that.”

He squared his shoulders. “Last I knew, I was the one to call the shots, Detective.”

“Listen, there’s no reason to take me off this case. I didn’t even know my grandfather.”

“He was still your grandfather,” the sarge said. “That makes this case personal.”

She wanted to counter with the fact that her grandfather had died nine years before she was born, but the defense fell flat even in her head. Instead, she locked her jaw and tilted up her chin. It was probably best that she remain quiet, but the sergeant seemed to be expecting her to say something.

“The man served his time,” she said.

Winston turned to Terry. “What are your thoughts on the matter?”

“If Madison says she has things under control, then she does.”

“But she didn’t say she has things under control.” Winston studied Madison. “Do you?”

She flashed him a cocky grin. “I like to think so.”

“I’m sure you do,” Winston stated sourly and pointed to the closed door. “Who’s in there? A suspect?”

“It’s Yasmine Stone, a woman who Bates was sleeping with,” Madison began. “She’s the one who found his body.”

Winston nodded. “Does she look good for the murder?”

Madison’s heart pounded. The similarities between Lillian Norton’s and Jimmy Bates’s murders crashed together in her mind. Her legs began to buckle thinking about Constantine being back in town, but she managed to muster her strength without warranting the men’s attention. “It’s too early to say.”


~ Author Bio ~

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

Website – http://carolynarnold.net/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

 


~ Giveaway ~

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“The Ex: A Novel” by Alafair Burke


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“The Ex: A Novel

Genre: Crime Fiction/Suspense/Thriller
Release Date: January 26, 2016
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Twenty years ago she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.

Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.

Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why?

For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?

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“Framed – A Black Swann Investigation” by Wayne Kerr #Excerpt #Giveaway


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Framed Excerpt

Okanagan Bliss

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!

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~ Author Bio ~

Wayne KerrCanadian 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

Links

website: waynekerrnovels.com

twitter: @waynkerrnovels

Amazon: https://goo.gl/qQonNw


~ R A F F L E C O P T E R ~

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“Penchant for Vengeance” by Robert Downs #Excerpt #2


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Title: Penchant for VengeancePenchant for Vengeance cover

Author: Robert Downs

Genre: Mystery

Charlottesville, Virginia, Police Detective Luke McGinty has a closet filled with demons, along with a few skeletons; a steady job, but no steady partner or girlfriend; and is still married to his wife Sallie, even though she’s been dead for three years. Then his detective work takes a turn for the worse when a body is discovered at the downtown mall. One dead body isn’t enough, though, and another one turns up. When ties to a cold murder case in another county present themselves, Luke realizes that, if he doesn’t tread carefully, he could end up short more than just a few answers…

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Excerpt #2

The body was bent like a pretzel. Wounds that were possibly from a knife or a whip slathered the body from the neck to the pubic region, deep enough to resemble tattoos. Some were spaced closely enough to disfigure the top half of the body, rendering an exact age nearly impossible. A crime of passion entered the forefront of my mind, and it clung to the roof of my mouth. The victim probably knew his killer intimately, or was, at the very least, an acquaintance.

The wounds stood out for me: a multitude of lacerations that made me unable to look away. When I scanned below the belt, I noticed the mutilated genitalia, rendering the man much less of one. I didn’t like the look of the scene, with the body splayed at an obscene angle, dropped right outside the glass front doors of Regal Cinema to render two of the doors nearly impassable. It resembled something. I just wasn’t sure what. I’d probably blocked it out of my mind, being that I frequented this particular cinema and watched more movies than I cared to admit.

I hoped it never came back, the thought I had blocked. It always did in the end. That was what hurt the most: Movies exacerbated the oddities of life.

Killers were usually born not made, but sometimes, it was the other way around.

The victim’s hands were positioned above his head, forming a triangle, as if he prayed in death to some higher power. Positioned that way by the killer, his hands rubbed up against each other, his head tilted slightly upward. The wounds to the victim’s hands told me he had put up a struggle, knowing that death was inevitable, yet he had wanted to live all the way to the end. But it wasn’t enough. It often never was.

The lack of blood told me the victim wasn’t killed here, and other than a nude body covered in wounds and dried blood, like strokes from a brush, with his hands pointed toward the sky, there were no other obvious signatures. His head was shaved with only a small area of stubble on his chin. His height and weight fell in the average region, his eyes were black, and his lips formed a permanent grimace. He had defensive wounds on both his wrists and the back of his hands, and his skin was as white as a first-floor apartment.

“Who’s the victim?” I asked.

“Victim’s name is unknown, until we run some tests,” the ME said. “Other than being male, and probably between thirty-five and forty years old, I’m out of guesses.”

Addie Ferguson, the ME, had a knack for guessing ages, along with her serious attention to detail. A short woman, with a few extra pounds she could never seem to get rid of, she preferred ankle-length skirts, black boots, and blue blouses.

“Have we got a time of death?”


~ Author Bio ~

Robert DownsRobert Downs aspired to be a writer before he realized how difficult the writing process was. Fortunately, he’d already fallen in love with the craft, otherwise, his stories might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and now resides in California. When he’s not writing, Downs can be found reviewing, blogging, or smiling. To find out more about his latest projects, or to reach out to him on the Internet, visit the author’s website: www.RobertDowns.net. PENCHANT FOR VENGEANCE is his fifth novel.

Links

Author website http://www.RobertDowns.net

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RobertDownsBooks

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4821934.Robert_Downs


~ Giveaway ~

Robert Downs is sponsoring a giveaway for 2 paperbacks and 2 eBook copies of Penchant for Vengeance.

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“Penchant for Vengeance” by Robert Downs #Excerpt #1


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Title: Penchant for VengeancePenchant for Vengeance cover

Author: Robert Downs

Genre: Mystery

Charlottesville, Virginia, Police Detective Luke McGinty has a closet filled with demons, along with a few skeletons; a steady job, but no steady partner or girlfriend; and is still married to his wife Sallie, even though she’s been dead for three years. Then his detective work takes a turn for the worse when a body is discovered at the downtown mall. One dead body isn’t enough, though, and another one turns up. When ties to a cold murder case in another county present themselves, Luke realizes that, if he doesn’t tread carefully, he could end up short more than just a few answers…

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Excerpt #1

Traffic was light—Charlottesville, Virginia, despite being a college town, had a curfew—the morning was dark, and a light mist filled the air, adding drops of water to my bright yellow 1974 Camaro. I took the back roads, rather than using US 250 to reach the downtown mall, with Regal Cinema located near the center, off Main Street. I reached the scene in less than ten minutes, including parking, without using a siren, or running a single red light. The body, however, wasn’t nearly as successful as I was.

“Can’t you guys pick a more reasonable hour?” I asked. “Crime should wait until at least nine o’clock.”

“Why don’t you get your butt out of bed like everyone else?” a cop said.

The man didn’t look familiar, nor did his crew cut, wide shoulders, and pressed uniform. His face lacked wrinkles, and his scowl provided more menace than a rabbit with a semi-automatic weapon.

“I did. I’m here, aren’t I?”

I’d flashed my shield to get in, and now I wanted to flash my nine-millimeter. The early hour meant a yawn preceded one hand wrapped around the thick neck of my competition. I preferred reasonable solutions since reasonableness was all I had left. “What do we know?” I asked.

“We know you don’t belong here,” Nelson Rivers said.

Like his name implied, he preferred headlocks to handshakes and shaved heads over full-haired ones. He and I had respectfully disagreed on multiple occasions, so often I couldn’t remember the last time we’d ever agreed on anything other than the day of the week. He had hands the size of pencil sharpeners, and he pushed more buttons than he allowed pushed in return. What he needed was a little less mouth and a lot more action.

I ignored his comment. Ignorance was a hard emotion to pin down, but it seemed to rear its ugly head quicker than the other ones. And crime scenes brought out a special kind of ignorance. I had a few emotions left in my system, despite the hour, and I wanted to save them for the victim, who appeared about my age.


~ Author Bio ~

Robert DownsRobert Downs aspired to be a writer before he realized how difficult the writing process was. Fortunately, he’d already fallen in love with the craft, otherwise, his stories might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and now resides in California. When he’s not writing, Downs can be found reviewing, blogging, or smiling. To find out more about his latest projects, or to reach out to him on the Internet, visit the author’s website: www.RobertDowns.net. PENCHANT FOR VENGEANCE is his fifth novel.

Links

Author website http://www.RobertDowns.net

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RobertDownsBooks

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4821934.Robert_Downs


~ Giveaway ~

Robert Downs is sponsoring a giveaway for 2 paperbacks and 2 eBook copies of Penchant for Vengeance.

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“Power Struggle (Detective Madison Knight Series Book 8)” by Carolyn Arnold #BookTour


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Power Struggle 3D coverTitle: Power Struggle (Detective Madison Knight Series Book #8)

Author: Carolyn Arnold

Genre: Mystery

One hitman who’s back for revenge.

One detective who’s not going down without a fight.

It’s been ten months since Detective Madison Knight almost died at the hands of Russian Mafia hitman Constantine Romanov. She hasn’t seen hide nor hair of him since he escaped police custody and fled to Russia soon after his arrest, except now her latest murder investigation gives her reason to believe he’s back in town. Seeing as the victim is the man who killed her grandfather, her perspective may be a little skewed, but with the MO smacking of Constantine and the victim’s connections to the mob, she finds it hard to be objective. Still, she’s doing her best to consider all the evidence.

When she receives a threatening letter from Constantine, however, her suspicions are confirmed. And he’s made it abundantly clear that not only does he plan to finish what he started but he has her family and loved ones in the crosshairs, too. Madison vows to do whatever it takes to save them, but as the hours race by, the body count rises. And the stakes only get higher when Madison’s sister, Chelsea, goes missing.

Now, Madison’s only play is to take Chelsea’s disappearance for what it really means: Constantine is calling Madison out for one final showdown. And they won’t both survive…

~ Purchase Links ~

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Apple iBooks

Kobo

Google Play

Goodreads

Series Information

What to expect from the Detective Madison Knight series:

Murder. Investigation. The pursuit of justice. Do you love trying to figure out whodunit? How about investigating alongside police detectives from the crime scene to the forensics lab and everywhere in between? Do you love a strong female lead? Then I invite you to meet Detective Madison Knight as she solves murders with her male partner, utilizing good old-fashioned investigative work aided by modern technology.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Law & OrderCSIBlue BloodsRizzoli & IslesWomen’s Murder Club, and Hawaii Five-O.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.


~ Author Bio ~

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

Website – http://carolynarnold.net/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.


Book Excerpt

Excerpt #1

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Power Struggle (Detective Madison Knight series)

Death was not discriminatory, but murder was certainly selective. At least that’s what Major Crimes Detective Madison Knight had learned in her twelve years with the Stiles PD.

She looked down at the male victim. He was single, fifty-nine, and lying on the king-size mattress in his master bedroom. Silver sheets were covering him to his hips, leaving his upper body bare and exposing multiple stab wounds to his chest and abdomen. Blood was everywhere, staining the bedding and spattered on the walls and ceiling.

Normally, being immersed in such a messy murder scene would make Madison’s stomach churn. She’d most certainly feel a burning drive to get justice for the victim. But this time, she was devoid of emotion, flatlined like the man on the bed. If anything, there was lingering bitterness and underlying anger. Because she knew the victim. Jimmy Bates. The man who had killed her grandfather.

Because of Bates, her mother had lost her father as a teenager and her grandmother had to bury the love of her life before Madison was even born. And all this because Bates’s father had been the numbers man for the branch of the Russian Mafia that operated out of Stiles, and Madison’s grandfather, a police sergeant, had put him away.

Madison pinched her eyes shut briefly. A darker part of her was finding some sort of redemption in the fact that Bates had exited the world, not of his own volition. Just as he had snuffed out her grandfather’s life, someone had taken Bates’s. A working out of Karma as it were…

“Are you all right?” asked her partner of seven years, Terry Grant. He had a light complexion and never had a blond hair out of place, always ran before breakfast, was a loving husband and father to a baby girl named Danielle. He was three years younger than Madison’s thirty-six.

She turned to see that he hadn’t come into the room alone. Higgins, the first officer on scene and her former training officer, stood next to him. Both men had given her time to be alone with the scene and Bates after learning the vic’s identity.

“I’m fine.” Her response had come out way too quickly to be believable.

She looked back at the body. Both his arms were over his head and tied to the barred, wooden headboard with zip ties. She let her gaze trail down to his ankles, to see if those were also restrained, but they were still covered. She’d have to wait until the scene was processed to find out.

Given the number of stab wounds he had, though, it was likely that both his arms and legs had been bound, which indicated that the killer knew where to strike to delay death and invoke torture. While the former indicated a professional, the latter suggested the killer may have been after something.

Madison scanned the room. A television was mounted on the wall at the end of the bed, and it was on at a low volume and tuned into a popular crime drama.

Odd how reality can mimic fiction.

“Winston should have sent someone else.” Higgins sounded apologetic for the Major Crimes sergeant’s decision to include her in the case.

She met his gaze and dismissed his comment with a wave. “He probably didn’t even know the ID on the vic when he made the call.” She returned her gaze to Bates, analyzing whether he’d paid and suffered enough for his wrongdoings. In life, he’d served a full twenty-five-year sentence, but when he’d gotten released nineteen years ago, it hardly seemed like enough punishment. Was his murder finally enough to satisfy her personal scales of justice?

As her mind relaxed, and she took in the scene, she sensed a familiarity about it. The numerous stab wounds, the bound wrists…

The woman was laid out on the couch, her arms open wide, one resting against the back of the sofa, the other raised in the air, its wrist twisted back at an unnatural angle. Her torso was stained red with blood, which extended to the sofa and the floor. It was as if a can of red paint had been dumped on top of her.

“It looks like she was stabbed dozens of times. The killer must be a professional, too.”

At the time, bile had risen in Madison’s throat. The odor, the sight—it had been all-encompassing.

The woman’s name had been Lillian Norton, and the man who’d killed her had been a Russian Mafia hitman by the name of Constantine Romanov—the same hitman who had almost succeeded in raping and killing Madison ten months prior. Lillian’s longtime boyfriend had worked as an attorney for the mob, and she’d been tortured for information.

With Bates’s father’s involvement with the Russian mob, as well, it didn’t seem like it could be a coincidence that Bates’s murder resembled Lillian’s. And all the stab wounds, the bondage, the time it would have taken, and the seeming lack of concern over getting caught fit with Constantine’s personality. But if Madison was going to entertain the idea that Bates was killed by the hitman, that meant—

God, no, please don’t tell me he’s back.


~ Giveaway ~

Carolyn Arnold is sponsoring a giveaway for two (2) Five-Dollar ($5) Amazon gift cards!

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