Homicide Hunter Tells All in I Will Find You by Joe Kenda #JoeKenda

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I have been watching Joe Kenda on Homicide Hunter, a TV show that appears on ID. I binge watch him for hours and hours. I fell in love with the guy, so when I saw he just came out with a new novel, I HAD TO HAVE IT. I find him very hypnotic and I have only seen him laugh a few times. He is a bulldog and determined to get his man…just like the title states. I buy very few books any more, but I am very excited to read I Will Find You and had to have a copy of my very own.

My favorite Joe Kenda quote:

“I don’t understand people, but they interest me.”  Joe Kenda

To some, my fascination with murder, murderers, homicide and serial killers may be morbid. Mr Wonderful humors my binge watching and reruns of many of the TV shows, such as ID TV, Forensic Files, Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS, etc. To say I am fascinated is to put it mildly. I, too, will never understand the people that commit these crimes, but cannot help but want to know more about them.

I Will Find You: Solving Killer Cases from My Life Fighting CrimeGoodreads  /  Amazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Amazon CA 

MY REVIEW

I don’t buy many books any more, but I Will Find You by Joe Kenda is one of those that I just had to have on my bookshelf.

If you think dealing with the scum of the earth can lead you down a dark road, just ask Joe Kenda. He looks all cool, calm and collected, but beware, he is a badass.

I love the first chapter, where he doles out a little justice to a guy trying to kill a fellow police officer. What a way to start a career. His fellow officers called him a shit magnet and kept their distance. It seemed he was always getting attacked or shot at.

Back in the seventies, police officers were not as sophisticated and trained as they are now. We have come a long way, but I feel it takes a special kind of person to be able to put all the puzzle pieces together and find the killer. He has solved 93% of his 387 homicides.

I love when he talks about the right to lifers…will you take care of all the children who need someone to love and care for them? Where are you when they need a loving home instead of raising themselves and growing up on the street, with a gang as their family? Where are you when the mother doesn’t want them or is at the end of her rope?

I also think a lot of lives could be saved if getting DNA results didn’t take so long. Law enforcement needs more money and all the latest greatest equipment and technology to aid them in doing their job.

Some people complained about a couple of shows ID TV ran. Give me a break. This is real life…it’s murder and it’s messy, as Joe says. If you think the TV show is bad, his glimpses of murder in the book is so much more grotesque, horrifying and heartbreaking.

When do you know enough is enough? How many sleepless nights and hauntings from the dead are enough? Each individual must pick their moment when it is time to pass the torch to the next generation of police officers.

Joe Kenda’s personality shines through in this fabulous glimpse into his life as the Angel of Death. I think it is a very appropriate title for a man that is determined to take the despicable off the street and, sometimes, help them leave this world.

My. My. My. I give this non fiction book a solid four stars and the show…five stars. I look forward to Wednesday’s, when I can binge watch Joe Kenda, and God forbid anyone who gets in my way. LOL

You did a great job Joe!!!!

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

 Detective Lt. Joe Kenda, star of Homicide Hunter, shares his deepest, darkest, and never before revealed case files from his 19 years as a homicide detective. Are you horrified yet fascinated by abhorrent murders? Do you crave to know the gory details of these crimes, and do you seek comfort in the solving of the most gruesome? In I WILL FIND YOU, the star of Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda shares his deepest, darkest, and never-before-revealed case files from his two decades as a homicide detective and reminds us that crimes like these are very real and can happen even in our own backyards. Gruesome, macabre, and complex cases. Joe Kenda investigated 387 murder cases during his 23 years with the Colorado Springs Police Department and solved almost all of them. And he is ready to detail the cases that are too gruesome to air on television, cases that still haunt him, and the few cases where the killer got away. These cases are horrifyingly real, and the detail is so mesmerizing you won’t be able to look away. The tales in I WILL FIND YOU will shock you like the best horror stories-divulging insights into the actions, motivations, and proclivities of nature’s most dangerous species. Don’t mind the blood.

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Underground Tombs – A Perfect Obsession by Heather Graham @heathergraham

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Uh oh. I don’t like tight spaces, but it looks like I will have to get over it in order to read A Perfect Obsession by Heather Graham…and I will.

A Perfect Obsession (New York Confidential #2)Goodreads  /  Amazon

MY REVIEW

There is never any doubt, when it comes to Heather Graham, that I will grab her book without hesitation. Even a bad book by Heather Graham is a good book and I would definitely recommend A Perfect Obsession.

Kieran Finnegan, a psychologist, also works at the family pub and shares a bed with her FBI guy, Craig Frasier. He knows to keep tabs on her because trouble seems to find her…or does she find it?

A model/actress was murdered just around the corner from Finnegan’s, but nobody thought it was connected to the family…until her brother, Kevin, told her his secret.

Someone wanted her found.

“Living art.”

It’s easy to figure out that Kieran is Irish. She has three brothers. They are quick to defend and protect her, since she’s prone to finding trouble to get into.

We have a headstrong woman, a hunky cop, mystery and dead bodies on display in mausoleums that haven’t seen the light of day in decades, but…

I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m just not getting into this like I do most of her work. Am I having an off day? Or is it because it’s an ARC and will be tidied up before publishing. I think it will get better. You’ll need to check out A Perfect Obsession to figure it out for yourself.

I feel on edge. I keep thinking…waiting…for “the moment”…when the monster reaches out from under the bed and grabs me.

Heather has created a sense of menace from the serial killer. I can’t put my finger on the villain. Have I met him?

Uh Oh. I think I know who it is and we have a big problem.

I started out having a hard time getting into the story. I don’t know why. It has all the elements I require for a thrilling read. I rarely give up on a book, and I sure wasn’t going to give up on a Heather Graham book. And it is worth sticking with. As usual, she leaves me wanting more and I can hardly wait to pick up another one of her stories.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of A Perfect Obsession by Heather Graham.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

Someone is murdering beautiful young women in the New York area and displaying them in mausoleums and underground tombs. The FBI is handling the case, with Special Agent Craig Frasier as lead.

Kieran Finnegan, forensic psychologist and part owner of Finnegan’s, her family’s pub, is consulting on the case. Craig and Kieran are a couple who’ve worked together on more than one occasion. On this occasion, though, Craig fears for the safety of the woman he loves. Because the killer is too close. The body of a young model is found in a catacomb under a two-hundred-year-old church, now deconsecrated and turned into a nightclub. A church directly behind Finnegan’s in lower Manhattan.

As more women are murdered, their bodies discovered in underground locations in New York, it’s clear that the police and the FBI are dealing with a serial killer. Craig and Kieran are desperate to track down the murderer, a man obsessed with female perfection. Obsessed enough to want to “preserve” that beauty by destroying the women who embody it”.

ABOUT HEATHER GRAHAM

 Also published as Heather Graham Pozzessere and Shannon Drake.

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Heather Graham majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write, working on short horror stories and romances. After some trial and error, she sold her first book, WHEN NEXT WE LOVE, in 1982 and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare. She wrote the launch books for the Dell’s Ecstasy Supreme line, Silhouette’s Shadows, and for Harlequin’s mainstream fiction imprint, Mira Books.

Heather was a founding member of the Florida Romance Writers chapter of RWA and, since 1999, has hosted the Romantic Times Vampire Ball, with all revenues going directly to children’s charity.

She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty languages, and to have been honored with awards frorn Waldenbooks. B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, Romantic Times, and more. She has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed, or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, People, and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including local television and Entertainment Tonight.

Heather loves travel and anything have to do with the water, and is a certitified scuba diver. Married since high school graduation and the mother of five, her greatest love in life remains her family, but she also believes her career has been an incredible gift, and she is grateful every day to be doing something that she loves so very much for a living.

 
Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  /  YouTube

MY HEATHER GRAHAM REVIEWS

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Going Covert in Dead Cold by Jennifer Chase @JChaseNovelist @pumpupyourbook

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We’re really excited to be part of Jennifer Chase’s DEAD COLD Blog Tour!

Fabulous cover for a fabulous story!

 

Title:  DEAD COLD
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 326
Genre: Crime Thriller

MY REVIEW

WHOA. Why haven’t I read any Jennifer Chase and Emily Stone? I cannot say how excited I am now remedying that! Intense from the very beginning. The writing went where I wasn’t expecting and I love it. I can hardly wait to see what other surprises await me.

I took a break from murderous mayhem and serial killers, for a short while. All the books started to run together, but I felt right at home when I began reading Dead Cold by Jennifer Chase. Made me wonder why I ever took a break.

Emily and her partner, Rick Lopez, work outside the law, but they use all the skills they had learned in their time with the federal government to pursue criminals. Rick loved Emily and hunting the bad guys with her. They are so much more than partners. They are friends and lovers too.

Emily is like a female Sherlock Holmes. She is patient, meticulous, methodical, a natural when it comes to profiling. But she does have a bit of a problem with surveillance. She wants to go right for the take down. There is absolutely nothing Emily wouldn’t do to accomplish her goal, to save a life, to rescue a friend. Instincts, intuition, deductive reasoning, step by step, piece by piece, she weaves together the facts and data. Each piece of evidence is a part of the puzzle. Then…

She looks death in the eye and spits at it.

They are covert, letting the cops take the credit while vanishing into thin air when they arrive.

Now her sights are set on a serial killer she dubbed the Ice Puzzler.

Jordan is her go to guy for information they can’t get on the own. He’s smart, playful, fun and annoying. I smiled at his antics. When he meets Gunner, he insists he is not a dog guy, but Gunner adopts him. Rick is antagonistic to Jordan. Do they need to put ‘it’ on the table and measure? Is he jealous, threatened? Does Rick have a reason to be concerned about Jordan’s feeling for Emily?

Oh man. A shift of perspective. Right at a crucial moment. One minute I was with Emily and Rick, and Emily is in deep danger, then I was pulled away to be with Detective Daniel Starr. Now I have to wait…to see what comes next. A great way to build suspense and anticipation and I love it.

Uh oh. Kayla cannot let sleeping dogs lie and is persistent in her pursuit of Emily. I can understand it, but I think nothing good can come of it. You’ll need to read the book to find out who Kayla is and what becomes of her.

Enter HER. Who is SHE? What does SHE have to do with anything? Other than being a sad and damaged woman with some very serious issues?

I feel empathy for the villain. I sometimes find myself rooting as much for the villain as the hero. I just can’t seem to help myself. It takes some fantastic writing to make that happen.

Told from multiple perspectives, there’s an underlying mystery running. I’m deciphering the implications and coming up with my own conclusion. Let’s see if I’m right.

As the pieces come together Jennifer Chase delivers a surprise or two or three. She created a wonderful feeling of suspense, and anticipation. My eagerness to find out kept me reading at a rapid pace, but I told myself to slow down…I wanted to savor each delicious morsel of Dead Cold. Danger oozes off the pages. Action and intrigue overwhelm me. Love everything about it. Can’t get enough of it. I need more!

For more fun, be sure and check out her bio.

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Dead Cold by Jennifer Chase.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 5 Stars

 

 

What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design—and execute.

On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time.

Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in reinforcements—the FBI.

Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to unravel the grisly clues, while keeping their identities hidden from the police. With one last-ditch effort, Stone dangles someone she loves as bait to draw out the killer. She then forces the killer out of their comfort zone with her partner  Rick Lopez, and with help from a longtime friend Jordan Smith. A revelation of the serial killer’s identity leaves the team with volatile emotions that could
destroy them.

The killer continues to taunt and expertly manipulate the police, as well as Stone’s team, and as they run out of time—they leave behind everyone and everything—in Dead Cold.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

 
 
ESCAPE WAS IMPOSSIBLE. TEARS STREAMED down her face as she sat in the darkness and waited for the man to return. There was no other choice—but to wait.
 
She hadn’t eaten anything in three days and had only a limited amount of water—her strength continued to fade with every hour. With her wrists and ankles secured with duct tape, her skin stung with pain every time she struggled to move. At least the man had peeled the tape from her eyes and mouth so that she could see something besides pitch-blackness.
 
Even if she could escape, the only way to safety was jumping into the frigid water, but she could not swim and would drown before ever reaching the shore.
 
The only thing thirteen-year-old Kayla Swanson thought about was home. Fond memories flashed through her mind of her parents, her little brother, and her dog Charlie. She was never going to see them again. Their smiling faces were forever etched in Kayla’s mind, and she constantly held them close to her heart.  
 
The boat rocked, and seemed to sway more violently as the tide flooded in and out of the harbor. Kayla could hear a consistent clanking noise above her as the boat rolled back and forth. The sound had a hypnotic quality, and kept her mind on something else besides when the man would return and what he would do next. 
 
Her lips were dry and cracked as she bordered on dehydration.
Even her tears dried on her cheeks, leaving her skin stiff and drawn. Her body began to shake, not only from fear, but also because of the extreme exhaustion and the constant dampness all around her.
 
The boat rocked more, but this time it shifted from the opposite sides. Kayla heard soft footsteps above, which she knew wasn’t her captor’s heavy walk. She strained her eyes in the darkness and thought she saw a thin shadow stealthily move along the upper deck.
 
Was it a ghost?
 
Kayla remembered a television series where a team of people hunted ghosts and they had said that ghosts could occupy any type of space, house, property, and even a boat.
 
She blinked her eyes several times and hoped that she could catch a glimpse of the ghost again. With every ounce of declining strength, Kayla scooted her body closer to the narrow stairs leading to the upper deck.
 
Painfully craning her neck, she strained to see something up in the darkness.
 
The dark shadowed areas played tricks on her eyes—it was there, then it wasn’t.
 
She waited for several minutes.
 
Nothing appeared.
 
The only sounds she heard were the usual boat noises she had grown accustomed to hearing. Whatever she thought she heard was gone now. It was most likely her imagination trying to give her some hope and a few moments break from her dire circumstances.
 
As she relaxed her shoulders and leaned back against the wall, the reality of her world pressing down hard. Tears streamed down her face. She tasted the saltiness that settled around her mouth. Her last moments were approaching, and there was nothing she could do.
 
 

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

 Her latest book is the crime thriller, Dead Cold.
 

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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Friday 56 #144 – Kill and Run by Lauren Carr @TheMysteryLadie

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The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and find any sentence or a few ( no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence or so of the book you are reading along with you initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Please include the title of the book and the author’s name.

~~~

I have been a huge fan of Lauren Carr for a long time. I love her fun writing style.

You can see my 4 star review Here.

Kill and Run (Thorny Rose Mysteries, #1)Amazon  /  Goodreads

MY 56

Murphy was skeptical. “That’s what they always say when an attractive man gets onn the fast track anywhere.”

“I don’t think General Graham is all the attractive, do you?”

“Buttercup, I don’t think any man is attractive.”

Pressing her long, elegant index finger against his chest, she narrowed her eyes until there were violet slits framed in lush long eyelashes. “You were the one who called him attractive, Honey Buns.”

(Pages 56 in paperback published in 2015)

GOODREADS BLURB

Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

Before long, the case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to sift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

 

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Giveaway & Review – The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter @SlaughterKarin @partnersincr1me

The Good Daughter

by Karin Slaughter

on Tour August 7 – September 8, 2017

Synopsis:

MY REVIEW

NO. NO. NO. The girls…

Secrets do not stay buried. The past catches up with you.

Twenty eight years later and the memories of the past are brought back to Charlotte. Charlie is a pit bull. She doesn’t run from danger…she runs toward it.

WOW Karin, from ones horror to another. People can turn into rabid dogs, unable or unwilling to control themselves. The bad guys…deserve to be buried under the jail, wiped off the face of the earth.

OMG. This book is terrifying. My mistrust of police officers is reinforced after reading this up close look at corruption in law.

The Good Daughter is a wickedly evil look into the human psyche and all its ugliness…Yet…some characters goodness will shine through.

I was so enraged in the first seventy pages…so into the book, that even though I went on a road trip and it wasn’t convenient to take notes, I couldn’t stop reading.

I laughed, I cried, I hated, and I loved.

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter.

 Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5 Stars

MY KARIN SLAUGHTER REVIEWS

The stunning new novel from the international #1 bestselling author — a searing, spellbinding blend of cold-case thriller and psychological suspense.

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever…

Packed with twists and turns, brimming with emotion and heart, The Good Daughter is fiction at its most thrilling.

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Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Published by: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Number of Pages: 528
ISBN: 0062430262 (ISBN13: 9780062430267)
Series: Good Daughter 1
Purchase Links: Amazon US🔗Amazon UK  l Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Charlie Quinn walked through the darkened halls of Pikeville middle school with a gnawing sense of trepidation. This wasn’t an early morning walk of shame. This was a walk of deeply held regret. Fitting, since the first time she’d had sex with a boy she shouldn’t have had sex with was inside this very building. The gymnasium, to be exact, which just went to show that her father had been right about the perils of a late curfew.

She gripped the cell phone in her hand as she turned a corner. The wrong boy. The wrong man. The wrong phone. The wrong way because she didn’t know where the hell she was going. Charlie turned around and retraced her steps. Everything in this stupid building looked familiar, but nothing was where she remembered it was supposed to be.

She took a left and found herself standing outside the front office. Empty chairs were waiting for the bad students who would be sent to the principal. The plastic seats looked similar to the ones in which Charlie had whiled away her early years. Talking back. Mouthing off. Arguing with teachers, fellow students, inanimate objects. Her adult self would’ve slapped her teenage self for being such a pain in the ass.

She cupped her hand to the window and peered inside the dark office. Finally, something that looked how it was supposed to look. The high counter where Mrs. Jenkins, the school secretary, had held court. Pennants drooping from the water-stained ceiling. Student artwork taped to the walls. A lone light was on in the back. Charlie wasn’t about to ask Principal Pinkman for directions to her booty call. Not that this was a booty call. It was more of a “Hey, girl, you picked up the wrong iPhone after I nailed you in my truck at Shady Ray’s last night” call.

There was no point in Charlie asking herself what she had been thinking, because you didn’t go to a bar named Shady Ray’s to think.

The phone in her hand rang. Charlie saw the unfamiliar screen saver of a German shepherd with a Kong toy in its mouth. The caller ID read SCHOOL.

She answered, “Yes?”

“Where are you?” He sounded tense, and she thought of all the hidden dangers that came from screwing a stranger she’d met in a bar: incurable venereal diseases, a jealous wife, a murderous baby mama, an obnoxious Alabama affiliation.

She said, “I’m in front of Pink’s office.”

“Turn around and take your second right.”

“Yep.” Charlie ended the call. She felt herself wanting to puzzle out his tone of voice, but then she told herself that it didn’t matter because she was never going to see him again.

She walked back the way she’d come, her sneakers squeaking on the waxed floor as she made her way down the dark hallway. She heard a snap behind her. The lights had come on in the front office. A hunched old woman who looked suspiciously like the ghost of Mrs. Jenkins shuffled her way behind the counter. Somewhere in the distance, heavy metal doors opened and closed. The beep-whir of the metal detectors swirled into her ears. Someone jangled a set of keys.

The air seemed to contract with each new sound, as if the school was bracing itself for the morning onslaught. Charlie looked at the large clock on the wall. If the schedule was still the same, the first homeroom bell would ring soon, and the kids who had been dropped off early and warehoused in the cafeteria would flood the building.

Charlie had been one of those kids. For a long time, whenever she thought of her father, her mind conjured up the scene of his arm leaning out of the Chevette’s window, freshly lit cigarette between his fingers, as he pulled out of the school parking lot.

She stopped walking.

The room numbers finally caught her attention, and she knew immediately where she was. Charlie touched her fingers to a closed wooden door. Room three, her safe haven. Ms. Beavers had retired eons ago, but the old woman’s voice echoed in Charlie’s ears: “They’ll only get your goat if you show them where you keep your hay.”

Charlie still didn’t know what that meant, exactly. You could extrapolate that it had something to do with the extended Culpepper clan, who had bullied Charlie relentlessly when she’d finally returned to school.

Or, you could take it that, as a girls’ basketball coach named Etta Beavers, the teacher knew what it felt like to be taunted. There was no one who could give Charlie advice on how to handle the present situation. For the first time since college, she’d had a one-night stand. Or a one-night sit, if it boiled down to the exact position. Charlie wasn’t the type of person who did that sort of thing. She didn’t go to bars. She didn’t drink to excess. She didn’t really make hugely regrettable mistakes. At least not until recently.

Her life had started to unspool back in August of last year. Charlie had spent almost every waking hour since then raveling out mistake after mistake. Apparently, the new month of May was not going to see any improvement. The blunders were now starting before she even got out of bed. This morning, she’d been wide awake on her back, staring up at the ceiling, trying to convince herself that what had happened last night had not happened at all when an unfamiliar ringtone had come from her purse.

She had answered because wrapping the phone in aluminum foil, throwing it into the dumpster behind her office and buying a new phone that would restore from her old phone backup did not occur to her until after she had said hello.

The short conversation that followed was of the kind you would expect between two total strangers: Hello, person whose name I must have asked for but now can’t recall. I believe I have your phone.

Charlie had offered to meet the man at his work because she didn’t want him to know where she lived. Or worked. Or what kind of car she drove. Between his pickup truck and his admittedly exquisite body, she’d thought he’d tell her he was a mechanic or a farmer. Then he’d said that he was a teacher and she’d instantly flashed up a Dead Poets Society kind of thing. Then he’d said he taught middle school and she’d jumped to the unfounded conclusion that he was a pedophile.

“Here.” He stood outside an open door at the far end of the hall.

As if on cue, the overhead fluorescents popped on, bathing Charlie in the most unflattering light possible. She instantly regretted her choice of ratty jeans and a faded, long-sleeved Duke Blue Devils basketball T-shirt.

“Good Lord God,” Charlie muttered. No such problems at the end of the hall.

Mr. I-Can’t-Remember-Your-Name was even more attractive than she remembered. The standard button-down-with-khakis uniform of a middle-school teacher couldn’t hide the fact that he had muscles in places that men in their forties had generally replaced with beer and fried meat. His scraggly beard was more of a five o’clock shadow. The gray at his temples gave him a wizened air of mystery. He had one of those dimples in his chin that you could use to open a bottle.

This was not the type of man Charlie dated. This was the exact type of man that she studiously avoided. He felt too coiled, too strong, too unknowable. It was like playing with a loaded gun.

“This is me.” He pointed to the bulletin board outside his room. Small handprints were traced onto white butcher paper. Purple cut-out letters read MR. HUCKLEBERRY.

“Huckleberry?” Charlie asked.

“It’s Huckabee, actually.” He held out his hand. “Huck.”

Charlie shook his hand, too late realizing that he was asking for his iPhone. “Sorry.” She handed him the phone.

He gave her a crooked smile that had probably sent many a young girl into puberty. “Yours is in here.”

Charlie followed him into the classroom. The walls were adorned with maps, which made sense because he was apparently a history teacher. At least if you believed the sign that said MR. HUCKLEBERRY LOVES WORLD HISTORY.

She said, “I may be a little sketchy on last night, but I thought you said you were a Marine?”

“Not anymore, but it sounds sexier than middle-school teacher.”He gave a self-deprecating laugh. “Joined up when I was seventeen, took my retirement six years ago.” He leaned against his desk. “I was looking for a way to keep serving, so I got my master’s on a GI bill and here we are.”

“I bet you get a lot of tear-stained cards on Valentine’s Day.” Charlie would’ve failed history every single day of her life if her teacher had looked like Mr. Huckleberry.

He asked, “Do you have kids?”

“Not that I know of.” Charlie didn’t return the question. She assumed that someone with kids wouldn’t use a photo of his dog as his screen saver. “You married?”

He shook his head. “Didn’t suit me.”

“It suited me.” She explained, “We’ve been officially separated for nine months.”

“Did you cheat on him?”

“You’d think so, but no.” Charlie ran her finger along the books on the shelf by his desk. Homer. Euripides. Voltaire. Bronte. “You don’t strike me as the Wuthering Heights type.”

He grinned. “Not much talking in the truck.”

Charlie started to return the grin, but regret pulled down the corners of her mouth. In some ways, this easy, flirty banter felt like more of a transgression than the physical act of sex. She bantered with her husband. She asked inane questions of her husband.

And last night, for the first time in her married life, she had cheated on her husband.

Huck seemed to sense her mood shift. “It’s obviously none of my business, but he’s nuts for letting you go.”

“I’m a lot of work.” Charlie studied one of the maps. There were blue pins in most of Europe and some of the Middle East. “You go to all of these places?”

He nodded, but didn’t elaborate.

“Marines,” she said. “Were you a Navy SEAL?”

“Marines can be SEALs but not all SEALs are Marines.”

Charlie was about to tell him that he hadn’t answered the question, but Huck spoke first.

“Your phone started ringing at o’dark thirty.”

Her heart flipped in her chest. “You didn’t answer?”

“Nah, it’s much more fun trying to figure you out from your caller ID.” He pushed himself up on the desk. “B2 called around five this morning. I’m assuming that’s your hook-up at the vitamin shop.”

Charlie’s heart flipped again. “That’s Riboflavin, my spin-class instructor.”

He narrowed his eyes, but he didn’t push her. “The next call came at approximately five fifteen, someone who showed up as Daddy, who I deduce by the lack of the word sugar in front of the name is your father.”

She nodded, even as her mother’s voice silently stressed that it was whom. “Any other clues?” He pretended to stroke a long beard. “Beginning around five thirty, you got a series of calls from the county jail. At least six, spaced out about five minutes apart.”

“You got me, Nancy Drew.” Charlie held up her hands in surrender. “I’m a drug trafficker. Some of my mules got picked up over the weekend.”

He laughed. “I’m halfway believing you.”

“I’m a defense lawyer,” she admitted. “Usually people are more receptive to drug trafficker.”

Huck stopped laughing. His eyes narrowed again, but the playfulness had evaporated. “What’s your name?”

“Charlie Quinn.”

She could’ve sworn he flinched.

She asked, “Is there a problem?”

His jaw was clenched so hard the bone jutted out. “That’s not the name on your credit card.”

Charlie paused, because there was a lot wrong with that statement. “That’s my married name. Why were you looking at my credit card?”

“I wasn’t looking. I glanced at it when you put it down on the bar.” He stood up from the desk. “I should get ready for school.”

“Was it something I said?” She was trying to make a joke out of it, because of course it was something she’d said. “Look everybody hates lawyers until they need one.”

“I grew up in Pikeville.”

“You’re saying that like it’s an explanation.”

He opened and closed the desk drawers. “Homeroom’s about to start. I need to do my first-period prep.”

Charlie crossed her arms. This wasn’t the first time she’d had this conversation with longtime Pikeville residents. “There’s two reasons for you to be acting like you’re acting.”

He ignored her, opening and closing another drawer.

She counted out the possibilities on her fingers. “Either you hate my father, which is okay, because a lot of people hate him, or—” She held up her finger for the more likely excuse, the one that had put a target on Charlie’s back twenty-eight years ago when she’d returned to school, the one that still got her nasty looks in town from the people who supported the extended, inbred Culpepper clan. “You think I’m a spoiled little bitch who helped frame Zachariah Culpepper and his innocent baby brother so my dad could get his hands on some pissant life insurance policy and their shitty little trailer. Which he never did, by the way. He could’ve sued them for the twenty grand they owed in legal bills, but he didn’t. Not to mention I could pick those fuckers out of a lineup with my eyes closed.”

He was shaking his head before she even finished. “None of those things.”

“Really?” She had pegged him for a Culpepper truther when he’d told her that he’d grown up in Pikeville.

On the other hand, Charlie could see a career-Marine hating Rusty’s kind of lawyering right up until that Marine got caught with a little too much Oxy or a lot too much hooker. As her father always said, a Democrat is a Republican who’s been through the criminal justice system.

She told Huck, “Look, I love my dad, but I don’t practice the same kind of law that he does. Half my caseload is in juvenile court, the other half is in drug court. I work with stupid people who do stupid things, who need a lawyer to keep the prosecutor from overcharging them.” She held out her hands in a shrug. “I just level the playing field.”

Huck glared at her. His initial anger had escalated to furious in the blink of an eye. “I want you to leave my room. Right now.” His hard tone made Charlie take a step back. For the first time, it occurred to her that no one knew she was at the school and that Mr. Huckleberry could probably break her neck with one hand.

“Fine.” She snatched her phone off his desk and started toward the door. Even as Charlie was telling herself she should shut up and go, she swung back around. “What did my father ever do to you?”

Huck didn’t answer. He was sitting at his desk, head bent over a stack of papers, red ink pen in hand.

Charlie waited.

He tapped the pen on his desk, a drumbeat of a dismissal.

She was about to tell him where to stick the pen when she heard a loud crack echo down the hallway.

Three more cracks followed in quick succession.

Not a car backfiring.

Not fireworks.

A person who has been up close when a gun is fired into another human being never mistakes the sound of a gunshot for something else.

Charlie was yanked down to the floor. Huck threw her behind a filing cabinet, shielding her body with his own.

He said something—she saw his mouth move—but the only sound she could hear was the gunshots echoing inside her head. Four shots, each a distinctive, terrifying echo to the past. Just like before, her mouth went dry. Just like before, her heart stopped beating. Her throat closed. Her vision tunneled. Everything looked small, narrowed to a single, tiny point.

Excerpt from The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. Copyright © 2017 by Karin Slaughter. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 36 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her sixteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novel Pretty Girls. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her Will Trent series, Grant County series, and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television.

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