Tag Archives: murder

A snippet from Cloistered to Death

Just over a month to go until publication… 😀 Enjoy this teaser!!

TWO DAYS TO SOLVE

Los Angeles, California

Monday, April 23, 2018

5:15 am

Voiceover: Homicide. The ultimate crime. When a murder is committed in Los Angeles, the LAPD’s homicide detectives have two days to solve the crime before the trail begins to go cold.

Tonight, a murder was committed. Tonight, we ride with two of LAPD’s finest, the homicide detectives of the West Los Angeles Division, as they hunt a killer.

Detective Brodie (in the passenger seat, speaking to the camera): Our victim is a male, found in front of an empty house that’s for sale. A neighbor was outside with his dog and heard the gunshot. He didn’t see anything but he called it in.

Detective Kevin Brodie has been with the Los Angeles Police Department for sixteen years, ten of them with West LA homicide.

Brodie: We have far fewer homicides in West LA than in most of the other divisions.

Detective Eckhoff (driving): We may not have as many, but the motives aren’t that different.

His partner, Detective Jonathan Eckhoff, has been with LAPD for fourteen years, seven as a homicide detective.

Eckhoff: Drugs and money. There are a lot of drugs in them thar hills. Lots of money, too.

Brodie: We get a fair number of body dumps. Up in the canyons, this side of Mulholland. Someone’s dog discovers a victim and we have no idea where the crime scene is.

Eckhoff: This time, we know.

The unmarked car is waved through a checkpoint and pulls up to the curb in front of a large house. Uniformed police and crime scene personnel swarm the site. There is a For Sale sign at the end of the driveway.

Brodie (to a uniformed officer): Hey, Ben, what’ve we got?

Officer: White male, shot in the chest at close range.

Brodie and Eckhoff approach the the house, where the victim lies just outside the front door in a pool of blood. The victim is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and is barefoot.

Brodie: You’re not kidding, close range. (He leans in to study the wound.) Shooter must have been less than three feet away.

Eckhoff: Someone he trusted. (He scans the scene.) Oh, shit. His shoes are missing. Is this a copycat?

Brodie: No way. (To the camera) About six months ago, Harbor Division arrested a guy who’d been stabbing homeless people and stealing their shoes. He’s in jail.

Officer: This guy doesn’t look homeless. Or stabbed.

Brodie (glances down the driveway): It’s gotta be coincidence, but we’ll keep it in mind. How did he get here? (to coroner’s investigator) He doesn’t have ID?

Coroner’s Investigator: Not yet. There’s nothing in his pockets. Not even a quarter.

Brodie (still studying the body): He’s got a defensive wound.

Eckhoff (demonstrates to the camera): Someone knows he’s about to get shot, he’s likely to throw up his hands. Doesn’t help, the bullet goes right through, but it’s a reflex reaction.

CI (kneeling by the body): Chest wound isn’t a through and through, so we’ll get the bullet.

Eckhoff (looks up at the house): This is an odd place for a robbery.

Brodie: I don’t think this started off as a robbery.

Crime scene personnel are taking multiple pictures.

Brodie: He looks vaguely familiar, kinda like a guy I played ball with in college.

Eckhoff (in some disbelief): You know him?

 

Pre-order links coming soon!

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Whodunit?

"Mystery". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mystery.png#mediaviewer/File:Mystery.png

“Mystery”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mystery.png#mediaviewer/File:Mystery.png

The course that I’ve been taking online in Forensic Science comes to an end this week. Along with the weekly content, we’ve been following a developing case that is based on an actual murder that took place some time ago in Scotland. The first week they presented the scenario; every week since they’ve presented the evidence corresponding to the week’s topic (DNA, fingerprints, etc.). It’s been fascinating.

The scenario: A man called the British equivalent of 911, saying that he’d come across a man in need of assistance. When the police arrived, the guy who called 911 was still there; a car was by the side of the road, and a woman was dead inside. The husband of the woman was shot in the left arm, and said that they were attacked by robbers who shot his wife when she resisted handing over her necklace.

Only problem was, the wife was shot in the side of the head facing the driver’s side of the car, so the robber would have had to reach all the way through the window and across the driver’s side to do that. Doesn’t sound right, does it?

The husband’s story held inconsistencies, and most of us in the class had the initial reaction that he must have done it. His wife was shot in the temple facing his side of the car; he’s right handed, and his gunshot wound was in the left arm; and he’d been having an affair. The weapon turned up, tossed from a pier on the loch by which the car was parked.

But, the instructors’ reactions were, “Oh, of course you all think the husband did it, haha.” As if he didn’t. So I don’t know what to think. We won’t find out until Friday afternoon.

But the course has been great. I’ve been rewriting the crime scene in Talked to Death based on what I’ve learned, and I’ve gotten several questions answered about CSI procedure and what’s possible in forensics.

I’ll share those questions and answers later.

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Stacked to Death: Who is the Stacks Strangler?

Stacked to Death is published! If you’ve already downloaded it, thank you! If you haven’t, you can get it here.

Here’s an excerpt to entice you. 🙂

I went to circulation for a book cart, wheeled it to the elevator and rode up to the third floor. The books on my list were toward the far corner of the room.

I rounded the corner of the DS shelf and nearly tripped over something.

Someone’s foot.

I jumped back a step, startled, then looked closer. The foot was attached to a body, clothed in tight white pants and a lime green shirt.

Austin Sharp.

He was sprawled on his back, a couple of books scattered at his side. I leaned toward him as far as I could without moving my feet any further. “Austin?” I kicked at his foot a little. “Austin. Wake up.”

He didn’t move. He wasn’t breathing. His face was blue-purple, his eyes were bulging and his tongue, also purple, was poking out between his lips.

He’d been strangled.

Oh God. There was a sound in my head like a distant swarm of bees. Shit. Fainting would be bad.

I heard footsteps behind me and turned to see Andy from circulation coming up behind me. “Jamie? What’s-” He stopped and gasped. “Fuck. Is that Austin?”

“Yeah.”

“Did you call 911?”

“No.” I patted my pockets. “I don’t have my phone.” Where was my phone? Oh, yeah – it was locked in my office. I never brought it with me into the stacks.

“I’ll do it.” Andy pulled his phone out and dialed.

I backed against the wall for support and thought about not fainting. At one point Andy knelt by Austin’s ankle, touched him, and said, “He’s cool to the touch. I don’t feel a pulse. Okay.” He hung up as the stairwell door banged open and the cops arrived.

 

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Researched to Death: Free for two days!

Speaking of old boyfriends…On Saturday, 6/28, and Sunday, 6/29, Researched to Death will be free at Amazon: http://goo.gl/ei5oMJ

“Was it National Old Boyfriends Week, and I’d missed the memo?” 
Librarian Jamie Brodie is looking forward to a week of vacation in Oxford, England, his first trip back in seven years. Before he’s even packed, though, a couple of complications arise. 
The first complication is Jamie’s ex, Ethan Williams, who shows up at Jamie’s office with his new boyfriend and a request. Ethan’s going to Oxford too, and he needs Jamie’s help to find a rare 15th century book in the Bodleian Library. When Jamie tells his boyfriend Pete that he and Ethan will be in Oxford at the same time, Pete doesn’t react well. To say the least. 
The second complication is Pete’s ex, Luke Brenner, who shows up at Pete and Jamie’s house. He lets Jamie know that he’s in town to get Pete back – but Pete doesn’t think Luke will try anything. 
He’s proven spectacularly wrong, in one horrible moment. 
Jamie leaves for Oxford, not sure where he stands with Pete, not looking forward to seeing Ethan. When he requests the book that Ethan needs, he learns that it’s been missing for three weeks – and the man who likely stole it is dead. 
Then two more men die, and Ethan goes missing as well. Is he in danger? Or is he a killer? And what could be in an obscure medieval manuscript that’s worth killing for?

 

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