by Carolyn Arnold
GENRE: Mystery, Police Procedural
Sometimes the pursuit of justice becomes personal…
There’s one rule when it comes to the blue wall of silence: never report a fellow officer for mishandling a case. But when a woman’s remains are found in a garden and the investigation seems to be connected to a closed suicide case, Detective Madison Knight may not have a choice. She’s pretty sure that suicide was actually a murder.
To make matters worse, the lead detective on the old case is Madison’s ex-fiancé, and he wants to get back together. The last thing Madison wants to do is lead him on, but for justice to be served, she must risk not only jeopardizing departmental relationships but churning up the attention of an old flame at the same time. Because if she doesn’t, the guilty just may be found innocent.
Excerpt from chapter 2 of Found Innocent (Detective Madison Knight series)
SIXTEEN HOURS LATER, Madison still wondered why she had agreed to look into it. By all accounts, Vilma with an ‘i’ seemed to be either disillusioned or off her medications.
Madison had searched the database for Kevin Thorne. He had been twenty-seven. His cause of death was suicide. His body was released within the last week and his funeral was scheduled for today.
Vilma was having a hard time coming to grips with what her fiancé had done, and the fact their wedding was set for two days after his death wouldn’t have helped the situation. Even with that aside, in suicide there was rarely an acceptable reason to justify the action.
She flicked a pen across her desk and thought about how the interaction had changed the direction of her day. She didn’t get much accomplished with her cold case and it had kept her up most of the night. She knew who was behind the murder, but she had to prove who pulled the trigger.
The victim was a defense attorney who had been gunned down in his driveway after failing to come through for his client, Dimitre Petrov, a Russian mafia boss. He was sent away on a life sentence for a single murder, a joke when the man’s hands were stained with blood. With him behind bars, she knew he wasn’t physically involved, but she believed he’d ordered the hit. It was a matter of proving which of his right-hand men were responsible, and then this beyond a doubt to the DA and subsequent jury.
The bit of evidence she focused on these days came down to an envelope match—the infinity symbol was woven into the fiber of the paper.
A torn piece had been found next to the dead attorney and it was a comparative match to an envelope addressed to her from Petrov himself. The contents of the letter, however, she kept to herself. She never even told her partner, Terry, what it said.
Terry would mock her, asking what she expected to solve with an envelope.
Her thoughts on the matter were that small things pile up, and when there is enough, it builds a solid case. Just as a mountain is formed, one dirt particle at a time, she would gather indisputable evidence against all involved with the murder.
“So, what did I miss yesterday?” Terry came in holding two Starbucks. He smiled as he extended one to her.
She looked up at him, disappointed there weren’t more hours in the day. She closed the Internet browser and, with it, a list of printing companies, but before she did, she sent the link to her home e-mail. “I take it you heard.”
“Oh yeah.” He started laughing. “I’d say eccentric, but everyone said she didn’t appear to have any money.” He spun his index finger around his right ear. “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.”
Madison laughed. “You have such a way with words.”
“You’re jealous of me.” He pulled back his coffee for a quick sip and then put it on his desk. “Seriously, though. Clashing colors, screaming, ‘He wouldn’t do it.’” He steepled his hands. “What didn’t he do? Spill it.”
“Here I thought it was going to be so much better than that.” He exhaled. “Disappointing.”
“Well, I thought maybe she was going to say the butler didn’t do it. I don’t know. I just expected something better.”
“She says that her fiancé never would have killed himself.”
“If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard that—”
She overlooked the cliché. “You’ve heard that before?”
“Nope, not really, just thought I’d bug you with a cliché. Too bad it didn’t work.” He pouted.
“Terry, I’m going to kill you.” She rose and headed toward him.
He took his Starbucks and started into a slow jog away from her. “First you’ll have to catch me.”
She would catch him and she’d make him beg for a reprieve. At least that was her goal until Sergeant Winston came around a corner.
“Don’t you two have work to do?”
Terry stopped moving. Madison caught up to where the Sergeant and Terry were.
“We’re a little slow this morning,” she said.
“As I can see. Well, now you’re not. Remains have been found at nine twenty-three Weber Street.”
“That’s a residential neighborhood.” Terry took a sip of coffee.
“Very good work, Sherlock. They were found in the backyard. Of a house.” The sarge seemed to add the latter part for the purpose of mocking Terry. “Some poor sap thought it would be a good time to turn the dirt in his garden and came up with a finger on the point of his shovel.”
It seemed a little early to start on a garden—it was March—but Madison focused on the victim. “Do we know if it’s a male or female?”
“They were still working at uncovering it all, from what I know, but the finger indicates it is a female. Seriously, don’t tell me you’re both still standing here. You were moving quicker a moment ago.”
“Damn right you better be.”
“I call the driver’s seat,” Terry said.
Madison brushed past him. “You can call whatever you want. Still doesn’t mean it’s happening.”
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Meet today’s guest, Carolyn Arnold.
She is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series and has written nearly thirty books. 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™.
Today, she answers a few questions for us and gives us insight into her life and journey as a mystery author.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don’t remember back as far as a young child, but as a young adult, I either wanted to be a defense attorney, a police officer, or a journalist. As a crime author, I’ve really become a blend of all three. LOL
If you had one wish, what would that be?
That people would use their energy for building other people up and that the world could unite, accepting each other’s differences, even when there’s not the threat of an alien invasion or global destruction. 😉
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
I write organically or go with the flow. Writing in this manner is also known as panster-style. If I set out to write an outline—even a brief one—my creativity stops.
When I start writing a book, I normally only have the concept of the plot. Most times I don’t even know who the killer is and I never know in advance how I’m getting my investigators to their door.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?
It will take a lot of hard work, likely more than you can imagine until you’re immersed in the process, but there is no need to get overwhelmed. Take one day at a time and keep your focus on how much you enjoy writing and how you are writing for the readers who will love to read you.
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.
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.
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Carolyn will be awarding a paperback copy of In the Line of Duty valid in US, Canada and UK to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.