Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Key Witness, A Novel of Suspense by Sandra Bolton, New This Week from Thomas & Mercer

Named for streets that flank its headquarters in Seattle, Thomas & Mercer — an imprint of Amazon Publishing — showcases first-rate fiction, from cozy mysteries to heart-stopping thrillers.

Omnimystery News is pleased to present you with one of their new titles …

Key Witness by Sandra Bolton

Key Witness by Sandra Bolton

A Novel of Suspense

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Price: $3.99 (as of 03/31/2015 at 7:30 PM ET).

Key Witness by Sandra Bolton, Amazon Kindle format

First published by Desert Dog Press in 2014. This edition includes editorial revisions.

Heading west for the serene deserts of New Mexico with his three-legged dog, Patch, Abe Freeman hopes to escape the memories of his girlfriend's lost battle with cancer. He expects his cross-country journey to be healing, not life-threatening. And he definitely doesn't plan to wind up as the main suspect when a drifter he meets along the way, Easy Jackson, gets murdered.

When Abe's lost knife turns up at the crime scene and Easy's key appears in Abe's backpack, Abe finds himself hunted by the police, biker gangs, and drug dealers, all of whom are determined to get their hands on that key. Caught up in the violence, Abe becomes desperate to prove his innocence. With help from Navajo police officer Emily Etcitty, he just might survive … and his heart just might find another reason to keep on beating.

Key Witness by Sandra Bolton

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Scrapped, A Cumberland Creek Mystery by Mollie Cox Bryan, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Kensington …

Scrapped by Mollie Cox Bryan

Scrapped by Mollie Cox Bryan

A Cumberland Creek Mystery (2nd in series)

Publisher: Kensington

Price: $1.99 (as of 03/31/2015 at 7:00 PM ET).

Scrapped by Mollie Cox Bryan, Amazon Kindle format

The ladies of the Cumberland Scrapbook Crop are welcoming an eccentric newbie into their fold. A self-proclaimed witch, Cookie Crandall can whip up a sumptuous vegan meal and rhapsodize about runes and moon phases with equal aplomb. She becomes fast friends with her fellow scrapbookers, including freelance reporter Annie, with whom she shares shallow roots in a community of established family trees. So when Cookie becomes the prime suspect in a series of bizarre murders, the croppers get scrappy and set out to clear her name …

Annie starts digging and discovers that the victims each had strange runic patterns carved on their bodies — a piece of evidence that points the police in Cookie's direction. Even her friends begin to doubt her innocence when they find an ornate, spiritual scrapbook that an alleged beginner like Cookie could never have crafted. As Annie and the croppers search for answers, they'll uncover a shockingly wicked side of their once quiet town — and a killer on the prowl for another victim …

Scrapped by Mollie Cox Bryan

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

New This Week: Total Surrender, A Sin Brothers Novel of Romantic Suspense by Rebecca Zanetti

Omnimystery News is pleased to present a mystery, suspense, or thriller ebook that we recently found by sleuthing (as it were) through new or recently reissued titles from independent publishers during March 2015 and priced $4.99 or less …

Total Surrender by Rebecca Zanetti

Total Surrender by Rebecca Zanetti

A Sin Brothers Novel of Romantic Suspense (4th in series)

Publisher: Forever

Price: $2.99 (as of 03/31/2015 at 6:30 PM ET).

Total Surrender by Rebecca Zanetti, Amazon Kindle format

A fight he must win … A passion she can't resist …

Piper Oliver knows she can't trust him. They warned her that the tall, dark, and sexy black-ops soldier Jory Dean would try to win her over with his steel-gray eyes and deadly charm, but she won't be conned by this man they call a traitor. All she has to do is figure out the science necessary to save his life, and she's done. Something isn't adding up, though, and she won't rest until she uncovers the truth-even if it's buried in his deep, dangerous kiss.

Jory will do anything to reunite with and save his brothers-even kidnap the gorgeous woman who's working to deactivate the deadly chip in their spines. But the forces determined to destroy his family won't let them go so easily. Keeping Piper alive is more than he bargained for-and so is his burning desire for her. But with every second bringing him closer to certain death, can he afford to lose himself in her hot and willing embrace?

Total Surrender by Rebecca Zanetti

See all of the books in the Sin Brothers Series for $5.99 or less each on Kindle.

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Blood on the Tongue, A Cooper & Fry Mystery by Stephen Booth, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Witness Impulse …

Blood on the Tongue by Stephen Booth

Blood on the Tongue by Stephen Booth

A Cooper & Fry Mystery (3rd in series)

Publisher: Witness Impulse

Price: 99¢ (as of 03/31/2015 at 6:00 PM ET).

Blood on the Tongue by Stephen Booth, Amazon Kindle format

It's a new year for Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, and that means new mysteries to solve in the icy depths of a bitter winter …

It isn't the easiest way to commit suicide, but the dead woman seems to have simply curled up in the freezing snow and lain there until her heart stopped. There was no one to observe her death but the foxes and the hares. Yet she is riddled with bruises. Her demise is horrifying. Is it also suspicious?

When two more bodies are found, Cooper and Fry begin to wonder whether these tragedies are connected — and whether they will survive the winter …

Blood on the Tongue by Stephen Booth

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Hostile Eyewitness by Tyora Moody, a New 1st in Series Mystery Introducing Serena

Hostile Eyewitness by Tyora Moody

Omnimystery News is pleased to present you with one of this month's new 1st in Series titles, a mystery, thriller or suspense novel that introduces a recurring character (or characters) …

Hostile Eyewitness by Tyora Moody

A Serena Manchester Mystery (1st in series)

Publisher: Urban Christian

Hostile Eyewitness by Tyora Moody, Amazon Kindle format

What we know about the character: Depressed from the complications of a head injury, Serena Manchester seeks solitude in the quaint Southern seaport town she left almost twenty-five years before. For more information about her first investigation, see a synopsis of the book, below.

One night Serena witnesses a gang-related crime. She thinks she recognizes one of the young men, but chooses not to identify him. What if her brain injury has altered her perceptions? Her estranged family has already reminded her why she left town in the first place. Drawing attention to herself and perhaps endangering her well-being is the last thing Serena needs.

When tragedy strikes close to home, however, Serena can no longer keep her head in the sand. Serena feels responsible, and her reporter skills kick in. Much to the dismay of the local police, she decides to start her own investigation.

Hostile Eyewitness by Tyora Moody

Cover Your Eyes, A Novel of Suspense by Mary Burton, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Zebra Books …

Cover Your Eyes by Mary Burton

Cover Your Eyes by Mary Burton

A Novel of Suspense

Publisher: Zebra Books

Price: $1.99 (as of 03/31/2015 at 5:00 PM ET).

Cover Your Eyes by Mary Burton, Amazon Kindle format

At first, they struggle to escape. Then a torrent of blows rains down upon their bodies until their eyes cloud over in final agony. The killer shows no remorse — just a twisted need to witness each victim's last terrified moments.

Public defender Rachel Wainwright is struggling to reopen a decades-old case, convinced that the wrong man is in prison. Homicide detective Deke Morgan doesn't want to agree. But if Rachel's hunch is correct, whoever fatally bludgeoned young, beautiful Annie Dawson thirty years ago could be the source of a new string of brutal slayings.

Rachel's investigation is about to reveal answers — but at a price she never thought to pay. Now she's become the target of a rage honed by years of jealousy and madness. And a murderer is ready to show her just how vicious the truth can be …

Cover Your Eyes by Mary Burton

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

The Mystery Across the Secret Bridge by Harper Paris, a New Greetings from Somewhere Mystery for New Sleuths

Omnimystery News is pleased to present in this post a new First Clues: Mysteries for Kids series title published this month …

The Mystery Across the Secret Bridge by Harper Paris

The Mystery Across the Secret Bridge by Harper Paris

Series: Greetings from Somewhere

Publisher: Little Simon

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Recommended for New Sleuths, Ages 4 to 6

The Mystery Across the Secret Bridge by Harper Paris, Amazon Kindle format

The Briar family is off to Peru! They explore small towns within the Sacred Valley, go horseback riding up into ancient salt mines, help weave alpaca wool into blankets, and then travel to Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas."

While Ethan and Ella are exploring the incredible site, they come across a wooden bridge that leads them to a mysterious stone structure. What is it, why haven't they heard about it — and why does it seem to look like a snake, a bird, and a puma at the same time?

The Mystery Across the Secret Bridge by Harper Paris

Smarty Bones, A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery by Carolyn Haines, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Minotaur Books …

Smarty Bones by Carolyn Haines

Smarty Bones by Carolyn Haines

A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery (13th in series)

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Price: $2.99 (as of 03/31/2015 at 4:00 PM ET).

Smarty Bones by Carolyn Haines, Amazon Kindle format

Professor Olive Twist has come to Zinnia, Mississippi to study a mysterious grave wherein lies the Lady in Red, a perfectly preserved and stunningly beautiful but unnamed and unclaimed body. Olive claims she can not only identify the corpse, she can also prove the woman's scandalous role in the nation's history. Olive takes it a step too far, though, when she starts connecting elite Zinnia families with the same scandal.

Dander up, Zinnia's society ladies know only one way to handle Olive: they call on the private investigative services of Sarah Booth Delaney. But Olive's real agenda is clear as Mississippi mud, and when Sarah Booth discovers a present-day dead body, she knows there's more than just family pride and Southern heritage at stake. If she can't find the murderer and fast, it might just be Sarah Booth's life on the line next.

Smarty Bones by Carolyn Haines

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

The Mourning Bells by Christine Trent, New on the Mystery Bookshelf during March 2015

New on the Mystery Bookshelf during March 2015 …

The Mourning Bells by Christine Trent

The Mourning Bells by Christine Trent, A Violet Harper, Lady of Ashes Mystery (4th in series)

Publisher: Kensington

The Mourning Bells by Christine Trent, Amazon Kindle format

One of Victorian London's most respected undertakers, Violet Harper has the new duty of accompanying coffins from various undertakers on the London Necropolis Railway for respectful funerals and burials in Surrey. But on her fateful first trip, the mournful silence of the train is shattered by the shrill ringing of a coffin bell — a device that prevents a person from being buried alive.

Inside the noisome coffin Violet finds a man wide-eyed with fear, claiming he was falsely interred. When a second coffin bell is rung on another trip Violet grows suspicious. She voices her qualms to Inspector Hurst of Scotland Yard, only to receive a puzzling reply that, after all, it is not a crime to rise from the dead.

But Violet's instincts are whispering that all is not well on the London Necropolis Railway's tracks. Is this all merely the result of clumsy undertaking, or is there something more sinister afoot? Determined to get to the heart of the matter, Violet uncovers a treacherous plot and villains who will stop at nothing to keep a lid on her search for the truth …

The Mourning Bells by Christine Trent

To see more new paperback titles scheduled to be published this month, visit The Mystery Bookshelf for March 2015. For new hardcover mysteries, visit New Mysteries where for a list of March 2015 mysteries, novels of suspense, and thrillers is provided.

Eye for an Eye, A Dewey Andreas Thriller by Ben Coes, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, St. Martin's Press …

Eye for an Eye by Ben Coes

Eye for an Eye by Ben Coes

A Dewey Andreas Thriller (4th in series)

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Price: $2.99 (as of 03/31/2015 at 3:00 PM ET).

Eye for an Eye by Ben Coes, Amazon Kindle format

When Dewey Andreas uncovers the identity of a mole embedded at a high level in Israel's Mossad, it triggers a larger, more dangerous plot. The mole was the most important asset of Chinese Intelligence, and Fao Bhang, head of China's Ministry of State Security (MSS), responds to the discovery and brutal elimination of the mole, by immediately placing a kill order on the man responsible — Dewey Andreas.

Dewey is tracked to Argentina, where he is on vacation with his fiancĂ©e, Jessica Tanzer, a U.S. National Security Advisor. A top-level kill team is sent in quickly and quietly, but their attack fails to take out Dewey. The collateral damage, however, is both horrifying and deeply personal. With nothing left to lose, Andreas is determined to have his revenge. Once he learns who is probably behind the attack — and why they are after him — Dewey goes rogue, using all of his assets and skills to launch a counterattack. Andreas must now face the full weight and might of the MSS, Chinese Intelligence, and the formidable Fao Bhang, if he's to achieve his one last goal: revenge on a biblical scale, no matter the odds or the armies that he will have to fight his way through. Andreas — former Army Ranger and Delta — is a man of great skills and cunning. His opponent, Fao Bhang, is ruthless, determined, and with no limit to the assets at his disposal.

In this conflict, there are only two possible outcomes. And only one Dewey Andreas.

Eye for an Eye by Ben Coes

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Poison Ivy by Cynthia Riggs, New in Bookstores during March 2015

Today's featured new hardcover mystery, suspense, or thriller title scheduled to be published during March 2015 is …

Poison Ivy by Cynthia Riggs

Poison Ivy by Cynthia Riggs, a Victoria Trumbull, Martha's Vineyard Mystery (11th in series)

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Poison Ivy by Cynthia Riggs, Amazon Kindle formatPoison Ivy by Cynthia Riggs, Nook formatPoison Ivy by Cynthia Riggs, iTune iBook formatPoison Ivy by Cynthia Riggs, Kobo format

On her first day as adjunct professor at Ivy Green College, Victoria Trumbull recognizes the stench emanating from her classroom as more than just dead mice. Brownie, the groundskeeper's mangy mutt, soon discovers a second body hiding beneath a cluster of poison ivy.

The stakes have never been higher for Ivy Green, which is on the brink of losing already-lukewarm support from its accredited partner, Cape Cod University. Thackery Wilson, the founder of Ivy Green, worries that the bad publicity from the murders will obliterate the financial and academic support the tiny college and its dependent students desperately need. As the bodies continue to pile up, all tenure committee members, Victoria and Brownie find themselves hunting a serial killer and trying to save the college.

Poison Ivy by Cynthia Riggs

For a list of more new hardcover titles to be published this month, visit our New Mysteries page for March 2015. For new paperback mysteries, visit The Mystery Bookshelf where a selection of March 2015 mysteries, novels of suspense, and thrillers are shelved.

Cinemystery News: Gillian Flynn To Co-Write Thriller Screenplay based on Lynda La Plante's Miniseries Widows

Cinemystery: Crime Novels Adapted for Film

Crime novelist Gillian Flynn is teaming up with Steve McQueen to write the film screenplay for a thriller based on Lynda La Plante's 1983 ITV television miniseries Widows for New Regency.

The storyline of the original series is centered on three women, widows of three men killed while committing an armed robbery, who team up with a fourth to complete the job. The twist in the series is that there was a fourth man involved, who left his fellow robbers to die and escaped, prompting the widows to seek vengeance as well. Widows aired two sequels and was remade in 2002 for the US market.

(Source: Deadline.)

Tails, You Lose by Carol J. Perry, New on the Mystery Bookshelf during March 2015

New on the Mystery Bookshelf during March 2015 …

Tails, You Lose by Carol J. Perry

Tails, You Lose by Carol J. Perry, A Lee Barrett, Witch City Mystery (2nd in series)

Publisher: Kensington

Tails, You Lose by Carol J. Perry, Amazon Kindle format

Her instincts may be killer — but can she catch one this wicked?

After losing her job as a TV psychic, Lee Barrett has decided to volunteer her talents as an instructor at the Tabitha Trumbull Academy of the Arts — known as "The Tabby" — in her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. But when the school's handyman turns up dead under seemingly inexplicable circumstances on Christmas night, Lee's clairvoyant capabilities begin bubbling to the surface once again.

The Tabby is housed in the long-vacant Trumbull's Department Store. As Lee and her intrepid students begin work on a documentary charting the store's history, they unravel a century of family secrets, deathbed whispers — and a mysterious labyrinth of tunnels hidden right below the streets of Salem. Even the witches in town are spooked, and when Lee begins seeing visions in the large black patent leather pump in her classroom, she's certain something evil is afoot. But ghosts in the store's attic are the least of her worries with a killer on the loose …

Tails, You Lose by Carol J. Perry

To see more new paperback titles scheduled to be published this month, visit The Mystery Bookshelf for March 2015. For new hardcover mysteries, visit New Mysteries where for a list of March 2015 mysteries, novels of suspense, and thrillers is provided.

Stolen, A Novel of Suspense by Daniel Palmer, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Pinnacle …

Stolen by Daniel Palmer

Stolen by Daniel Palmer

A Novel of Suspense

Publisher: Pinnacle

Price: $2.99 (as of 03/31/2015 at 1:00 PM ET).

Stolen by Daniel Palmer, Amazon Kindle format

The future looks bright for Boston couple John Bodine and Ruby Dawes. John's online gaming business is growing, and they're planning a family. But when Ruby receives a life-changing diagnosis, and their insurance won't cover her treatment, John makes a risky move. He steals a customer's identity and files a false medical claim. It works perfectly — until the customer contacts John with a startling proposition …

If John and Ruby play a little game he's devised, he won't report their fraud. The rules of 'Criminal' are simple: commit real crimes. But if they fail, there will be deadly consequences. John assumes it's a sick joke — until people start dying. Now John and Ruby can't disappear — and they can't go to the police. Their only option is to keep playing, while trying to outwit a psychopath who has no intention of letting them leave this game alive …

Stolen by Daniel Palmer

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

New This Week: A Ghostly Grave, A Ghostly Southern Mystery by Tonya Kappes

Omnimystery News is pleased to present a mystery, suspense, or thriller ebook that we recently found by sleuthing (as it were) through new or recently reissued titles from independent publishers during March 2015 and priced $4.99 or less …

A Ghostly Grave by Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Grave by Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Southern Mystery (2nd in series)

Publisher: Witness

Price: $4.74 (as of 03/31/2015 at 12:30 PM ET).

A Ghostly Grave by Tonya Kappes, Amazon Kindle format

There's a ghost on the loose — and a fox in the henhouse …

Four years ago, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home put Chicken Teater in the ground. Now undertaker Emma Lee Raines is digging him back up. The whole scene is bad for business, especially with her granny running for mayor and a big festival setting up in town. But ever since Emma Lee started seeing ghosts, Chicken's been pestering her to figure out who killed him.

With her handsome boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, busy getting new forensics on the old corpse, Emma Lee has time to look into her first suspect. Chicken's widow may be a former Miss Kentucky, but the love of his life was another beauty queen: Lady Cluckington, his prize-winning hen. Was Mrs. Teater the jealous type? Chicken seems to think so. Something's definitely rotten in Sleepy Hollow — and Emma Lee just prays it's not her luck.

A Ghostly Grave by Tonya Kappes

See also the first book in this series, A Ghostly Undertaking, also $4.74 for Kindle.

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Please Welcome Mystery Author Anne Cleeland

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Anne Cleeland

We are delighted to welcome author Anne Cleeland to Omnimystery News.

Anne has a new mystery published today, the third in her New Scotland Yard series, Murder in Hindsight (Kensington; March 2015 hardcover, audio and ebook formats), and she offered to give us a little insight into her writing process as well as providing us with an excerpt from her new book. She titles her guest post for us today, "A Shot in the Dark: No plot? No problem!"

— ♦ —

Anne Cleeland
Photo provided courtesy of
Anne Cleeland

We've all heard that there are two kinds of writers; the plotter, who carefully maps out the storyline ahead of time, and the seat-of-the-pants writer, who wings it like a college student traveling on standby.

I'm in the latter camp — not because I'm college-aged, but because when I try to come up with a decent plot, it's a pretty dull affair, and even I begin to lose interest. Instead, I start typing to see what shows up on the page, and most of the time I've no idea what will happen in the next chapter.

The problem, of course, is how to work without a net when you are writing a mystery. As we are all aware, mystery stories require at least some mapping out; Elizabeth George once described the process as juggling a lot of balls in the air, and then having to bring them down, one at a time, in the right order. The author has to engage the reader with the set-up, lead the reader down a few blind alleys, and then — wham! — stage the revelation in such a way that the reader didn't see it coming, but realizes that he or she should have seen it coming, all along.

This is no mean feat. How do you pull it off, if you are a seat-of-the-pants writer? The answer, at least for me, is that you flood the zone with plot lines, and then wander through three hundred pages pursuing whatever takes your fancy until you hammer out some semblance of a decent story.

While a plotter may take months to come up with a good outline, the seat-of-the-pants writer takes months to wander through the first draft. It's only when I meander my way to the last page that I finally realize who these characters are and what they've gone through. Then I go back to the beginning, and shape the story to fit the plot, ruthlessly cutting out the loose ends that seemed to be such a good idea at the time. The third time through, I add descriptions and otherwise try to make the story more three-dimensional (my first draft is almost all dialogue.)

Somehow, someway, I end up with something that seems cleverly plotted out, and it's just as well that the reader doesn't see what's behind the curtain; I barely understand it myself. I can only say that — like my main character — I work by instinct, rather than by reason, which is a lot of fun; you never know what's going to happen next.

— ♦ —

CHAPTER 1

DETECTIVE SERGEANT KATHLEEN DOYLE WAS fretting; fretting and stalling until Detective Chief Inspector Acton could make an appearance whilst she tried to appear calm and composed in front of the Scene of the Crime Officers. As a newly-promoted DS, she should maintain a certain dignity and display her leadership abilities, even though she was longing to bite her nails and peer over the hedgerow toward the park entrance. The various Scotland Yard forensics personnel were impatiently waiting because Acton was delayed, and Doyle had a good guess as to why he was delayed. One of these fine days, someone else may make the same guess, and then the wretched cat would be among the wretched pigeons — although the mind boggled, trying to imagine Acton being called on the carpet by Professional Standards. Pulling out her mobile, she pretended to make a call just to appear busy.
  "I'll lose the light soon, ma'am." The SOCO photographer approached, cold and unhappy, and small blame to her; Doyle was equally cold and unhappy, but with better reason.
  "Ten more minutes," Doyle assured her, holding a hand over her mobile so as to interrupt her pretend-conversation. "Then we'll move forward — whether DCI Acton makes it or no." She wanted Acton to have a look before the corpse was processed and removed, but she could always show him the photos.
  The woman immediately plucked up. "No hurry; we can wait, if the DCI is on his way."
  Has a crush on him, the brasser, thought Doyle. Join the club, my friend; the woman probably had some private photographs she'd be all too happy to show Acton in her spare time. The SOCO photographer used to treat Doyle with barely-concealed contempt, but her attitude had improved remarkably after the bridge-jumping incident. A few months ago, Doyle had jumped off Greyfriars Bridge into the Thames to save a colleague, and was now a celebrated hero. All in all, it was a mixed blessing, because Doyle was not one who craved the spotlight and now she was perceived as sort of a female version of St. George — except that she'd rescued the dragon instead of the maiden, when you thought about it.
  Irish by birth and fey by nature, Doyle had an uncanny ability to read people, and in particular she could recognize a lie when she heard it. This perceptive ability had launched her career as a detective, but it also made her reclusive by nature — it was no easy thing, to be able to pick up on the currents and cross-currents of emotion swirling around her. The SOCO photographer, for example, was lusting after the vaunted Chief Inspector but bore Doyle no particular ill-will for being married to him, since she was the heroic bridge-jumper and thus above reproach.
  With a nod of her head, the photographer gestured toward the victim, being as she didn't want to take her hands out of her pockets until it was necessary. "Is there something special about this one, then?"
  There was, but Doyle did not want to say, especially before the loose-lipped SOCOs who were notoriously inclined to blather in their cups — it came from wading knee-deep in guts all the livelong day. So instead, she equivocated, "There are a few details that are worrisome, is all. I wanted the DCI to have a quick look."
  As it appeared to be an ordinary case of a bad `un coming to an only-to-be-expected bad end in this part of town, this pronouncement would ordinarily hold little water, but because the photographer was anticipating a chance to bat her eyes at Acton, no demur was raised. Doyle was reminded that on the aqueduct case, this particular photographer had withheld evidence at Acton's request, and wondered at such foolish devotion. Then she recalled that it was a case of the pot and the kettle — Doyle herself was an aider and abettor, after all — and so she tempered her scorn. Although she was married to him, Acton was in many respects a mystery to her as few were; he abided by his own notions of justice, and was not above manipulating the means to achieve the ends he desired — not something one would expect from a well-respected DCI at the Met. But the fact that no one would expect it was — ironically — the very reason he got away with murder on certain memorable occasions; his reputation acted as a shield. Any suggestion that the celebrated Lord Acton was running illegal weapons, dispatching villains or manipulating evidence would be met with disbelief and derision, as well he knew. In the meantime, his better half was left to hang on to his coat tails and try to curb his wayward ways — it was no easy task, and Doyle reluctantly rang off from her pretend-conversation so as to decide how best to proceed without him.
  After peering over the hedgerow yet again, she blew into her hands because she'd forgotten her gloves, and reflected that the cold was actually a blessing because the recently departed wouldn't be further decomposing whilst they cooled their heels — she truly shouldn't delay for much longer, or the Senior Investigating Officer might think they'd all gone for a pub crawl.
  "Here he comes, ma'am," the photographer chirped happily, and with a great deal of relief, Doyle looked up to see that Acton was indeed approaching; his tall, over-coated figure emerging from the evening fog. In such a setting he appeared larger-than-life, and small wonder that female underlings harbored a crush, or that the younger detectives at the Met called him "Holmes" behind his back. He was a local legend, which only made her fret all the more whilst she entertained the bleak conviction that the whole thing was about to come crashing down around their heads.
  "DS Doyle." He nodded to her. "Have you an ID?"
  "I do indeed, sir." They kept up a professional façade when they were dealing with each other at work, but she met his eyes and felt the chemistry crackling between them like an electrical charge. No one could fathom why the great Chief Inspector Acton had married the lowly likes of her, and literally on a moment's notice. She could fathom it, however, and did — sometimes twice a day. Thus far in their short marriage they were very happy together, despite the occasional crisis. "He's twenty-three years old with a record of petty thefts and drug-dealin' — nothing major — but he was a suspect in an arson homicide about eight years ago." She paused significantly, and Acton met her eyes with interest. He then stepped carefully over to the body, lying next to the hedgerow, and she followed to crouch down beside him and contemplate the victim's remains for a silent moment. The victim had been shot in back of the head, and there were no signs of a defensive struggle.
  She continued, "No sign of robbery, and he was armed — had a .38 revolver tucked into the back of his belt." That it was illegal went without saying; guns were carefully controlled in Britain, but the black market flourished, particularly among the criminal classes. Lowering her voice, she indicated with a finger, "The entry wound is angled, and there's no visible residue, so it's at mid-close range — no more than a foot or so. Another shot from behind, but not a professional hit."
  He began to pull off his leather gloves by the fingers. "Allow me to lend you my gloves."
  "You mustn't," she warned. "I'll never learn, else."
  "Your fingers are white."
  "Are you listenin' to me?"
   "Yes." He glanced up at her. "He used a different weapon, this time, and shot from the opposite side in an attempt to obscure his identity."
   "I think so," she agreed, mollified that he was paying attention, and had come to the same conclusion as she had. "He's trying to disguise it, but it's the same killer. And the victim has another cold case connection."
   They rose, and Acton stood next to her, his breath making a cloud in the chill air.
  In a low tone, she ventured, "Perhaps you should button your coat, my friend — and try not to be breathin' on anyone."
  There was a pause. "Is it so obvious?" he asked quietly.
  "Only to me," she assured him. "Was it completely wretched?"
  "I've been admonished not to discuss it with you, but the answer is yes."
  "Grand," she observed dryly.
  He continued in a neutral tone, "I am asked a great many questions about my mother and about you."
  "Whist, Michael," she scoffed. "As if that has anythin' to do wi' it."
  He chuckled, which was a good sign, and she chuckled with him, not caring what the impatient SOCO team would think to see the CID detectives amusing themselves over the remains of the decedent. Acton had begun therapy for an obsessive condition, the object of his obsession being her fair self. He had developed a fixation for his first-year colleague, and by the time Doyle had become aware of it, he'd convinced her to marry him — which she had, in a pig's whisper, which only spoke to the state of her own mental faculties. To make a try at a normal life he was seeing a therapist, hoping to learn techniques to control his symptoms without necessarily disclosing the reason. Apparently, the therapist had not been misled.
  "So you've been servin' yourself some self-help," she concluded. After his sessions, Acton would drink impressive quantities of scotch. He was not one to refrain, even under normal conditions, but it seemed to Doyle that the therapy was only making matters worse.
  "We're losing the light, sir," the photographer ventured from a respectful distance.
  Thus reminded, Acton called the SOCO team over and began giving instructions; particular care was to be given to physical evidence at the site, although there was little to hope for, with the ground so cold. Because the killer was using a variety of murder weapons to disguise his involvement, any footprints or trace evidence they could scrounge up might provide a means to link this murder to the others; by all appearances, they were dealing with a serial killer.
  While they watched the forensics team go to work, Acton lifted his head to survey the area and observe the placement of the CCTV cameras. "Tell me about the cold case that is connected to this one."
  "Unsolved double-murder by arson. Our victim here was the chief suspect, eight years ago, but there was little evidence and he had a lot of sympathetic press coverage, bein' so young." There was a pause. Doyle's working theory was that they were now dealing with a vigilante; someone who was murdering earlier suspects who'd gotten away with murder.
  "Eight years; a strange sort of vigilante, who abides for such a length of time."
  "Aye, that," she teased solemnly. When Acton drank, his tone and language reverted to House of Lords, and so she reverted to hardscrabble Dublin so as to counter him.
  Amused, he turned to meet her eyes and said sincerely, "This was very good work."
  She shrugged, nonetheless pleased by the compliment. "Lucky, more like. And give yourself some credit; it all came of you throwin' me off the cases." Acton had been concerned — and rightly so — that Doyle was in danger when they were investigating the Kempton Park racecourse murders. He had taken her out of the field, and instead placed her on thankless and uninteresting cold case duty, locked in the CID basement and looking through dusty boxes of unsolved homicides. Thoroughly frustrated and resentful, she had nevertheless used the time to review and index Acton's cold case files, and had noticed a link between a recent string of apparently-unconnected murders and some of the unsolved cold cases. Her intuition came to the conclusion that someone was murdering killers who had previously escaped justice — a vigilante was at work. This latest victim would appear to confirm her theory.
  A PC who was monitoring the cordon came over to have a word with Acton. "Sir, there is a reporter who would like to have a word."
  Doyle caught a quick flash of annoyance from her husband, but there was nothin' for it; if you tried to avoid the pests, it would only make them think you were hiding massive police abuse. Cooperating with the fourth estate was a necessary evil, especially in this day and age, but on the other hand, Acton was not one to suffer fools. This attitude worked only to enhance his standing with the public, who followed his career with avid interest — not that he cared or noticed. He signaled for Doyle to accompany him, and so she followed him as he went to address the reporter, a woman who stood with her arms crossed against the cold despite wearing a fine cashmere coat — reporting must pay well. She was from the London World News, a paper that had often been critical of the Met. Recently, however, an uneasy truce had been achieved and the Detective Chief Superintendent had cautioned them that the Home Secretary desired as much cooperation with the press as possible. Doyle was nervous; Acton was very self-possessed and she doubted that anyone else could tell that he had been drinking, but if the interview did not go well she'd have to create some sort of distraction — perhaps another pretend phone call.
  The reporter seemed a very competent woman in her mid-thirties, brimming with confidence, Doyle could see; someone who would never forget her gloves on such a day. Holding out a hand to shake his, she threw Acton a friendly smile that held a touch of flirtatiousness, not an uncommon occurrence as the SOCO photographer was also attempting to sidle up next to him on the pretext of waiting to be discharged. You're not his type — neither of you, Doyle thought; his type was shy redheads who nonetheless tended to fly off the handle on occasion. She was resigned, though; Acton was titled, handsome, rich and unattainable, a combination which was apparently fatally attractive to the general female population. Male, too, she amended, remembering Owens, the detective trainee who had harbored an unhealthy obsession for him. She was lucky Acton was literally crazy about her; there was a lot of temptation lyin' about.
  Acton didn't introduce her, and so Doyle stayed back, monitoring the conversation between the two and wondering if she had the wherewithal to step in, if the need arose. Judging by the questions, however, it didn't appear that the reporter was yet aware of the pattern which pointed to a serial killer, and so Doyle relaxed a bit. As the scene had been cordoned off in a public place and there had been a delay in waiting for Acton, no doubt the press had merely caught wind of it and had come to see if there was a story. Serial killers were tricky; although there were times when the public should be warned there was such a killer afoot, in cases like this, when it seemed unlikely the killer was aware they'd twigged him, discretion was the better option — all the better to set up a trap and seizure.
   In a provocative gesture, the reporter threw back her head and laughed at something Acton said, which inspired the photographer to interrupt with barely-concealed jealousy. They were both making a dead run at him, but he appeared completely oblivious to it, which was commendable, being has his wife was making a mighty effort not to interject a smart remark. Instead, said wife comforted herself by recalling that she'd carried off the palm, and thus managed to curb the urge to knock both their heads together.
  At this point, the reporter deigned to notice Doyle. "Why, you're the bridge-jumper, aren't you?"
  Doyle acknowledged that indeed, she was the bridge-jumper.
  The woman shook her head. "I have to say — I don't think I could have done it."
  Doyle remembered that Kevin Maguire, the reporter who had interviewed her from the same paper, had told her it was a great human interest story because everyone who read it would pause and wonder if they would have run such a risk. Apparently, he was right. "Please give my regards to Mr. Maguire," she said; the man had done her a favor and Doyle was grateful.
  "Will do," the woman agreed, and with one last glance under her lashes at Acton, she left.
  After giving instruction to close down the scene, Acton and Doyle walked back toward Acton's Range Rover, parked a block away. He was quiet, and she broke the silence. "You should probably go straight home, my friend."
  "Come with me."
  She could see that he was in need of the cure — it was her experience that a good, hearty serving of ungentle sex tended to bring him out of the dismals. "I can't," she explained regretfully. "I'm slated to help at the clinic, and I'm past due already."
  He ducked his head for a moment, and then looked at her with an expression she knew very well. "Don't stay late."
  "I won't. Don't be startin' without me."
  "Not a chance," he replied.

— ♦ —

Anne Cleeland is a lifelong Southern California resident, and currently makes her home in Newport Beach. An attorney by trade, she's been reading mystery and romantic suspense since her Nancy Drew days. The Acton & Doyle series features two Scotland Yard detectives, and if you are a fan of Masterpiece Mystery, you may enjoy their adventures.

Anne also writes a historical series set in 1814 because she loves historicals, too. Being a romantic at heart, all her stories have a strong romantic element.

She has four grown children, three wonderful grandchildren, and one nutty dog.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at AnneCleeland.com and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

— ♦ —

Murder in Hindsight by Anne Cleeland

Murder in Hindsight by Anne Cleeland

A New Scotland Yard Mystery

Publisher: Kensington

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)iTunes iBook FormatKobo eBook Format

While Acton and Doyle, two of Scotland Yard's finest, pursue a self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner, Acton's own questionable methods may prove their undoing …

The victims are all criminals who eluded justice — until they ran afoul of an avenger whose modus operandi is a bullet to the back of the head. The key to the vigilante's identity lies in connecting the cold cases to an event that may have triggered retribution after all these years.

Meanwhile, Doyle finds herself shadowed by a mysterious figure. After the man steps forward to rescue her from harm, she wonders why he is invested in protecting her. But when she learns he's in contact with Acton's nemesis, she fears she's being used in a plot against her husband.

The stakes are high, and both Doyle and Acton must work independently to outwit the players — before their lives are brought crashing down like a house of cards …

Murder in Hindsight by Anne Cleeland

Today's Selection of Free MystereBooks for Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Omnimystery News is pleased to feature a selection of Free MystereBooks found on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 6:30 AM ET …

Not Famous in Hollywood by Leonie Gant

Not Famous in Hollywood by Leonie Gant

A Not in Hollywood Mystery

Publisher: Leonie Gant

Price: FREE!

Not Famous in Hollywood by Leonie Gant, Amazon Kindle format

Chasing Fireflies by Paul Seiple

Chasing Fireflies by Paul Seiple

A James Beamer Thriller

Publisher: Eight Arms Evolving

Price: FREE!

Chasing Fireflies by Paul Seiple, Amazon Kindle format

Quarterback Trap by Dallas Gorham

Quarterback Trap by Dallas Gorham

A Carlos McCrary Mystery

Publisher: Seven Oaks Publishing

Price: FREE!

Quarterback Trap by Dallas Gorham, Amazon Kindle format

Final Witness by J. F. Straker

Final Witness by J. F. Straker

A Crime Thriller

Publisher: Endeavour Press

Price: FREE!

Final Witness by J. F. Straker, Amazon Kindle format

Dark Ritual by Patricia Scott

Dark Ritual by Patricia Scott

A Murder Mystery

Publisher: Endeavour Press

Price: FREE!

Dark Ritual by Patricia Scott, Amazon Kindle format

Cruising for Murder by Stephen Stanley

Cruising for Murder by Stephen Stanley

A Jesse Ashworth Mystery

Publisher: Stonefield Publishing

Price: FREE!

Cruising for Murder by Stephen Stanley, Amazon Kindle format

Wolf's Haven by Ambrielle Kirk

Wolf's Haven by Ambrielle Kirk

A Caedmon Wolves Novel

Publisher: Obsidian Gem Publishing

Price: FREE!

Wolf's Haven by Ambrielle Kirk, Amazon Kindle format

For a summary of all of today's titles, plus any that may have been added since this post was created, visit our Free MystereBooks page. This page is updated daily, typically by 8 AM ET.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. The price displayed on the vendor website at the time of the purchase will be the price paid for the book. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

 

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