#BookBlitz “Breaking Waves (Phil Tyler Crime Thriller Series, Book One)” by Barry Litherland

~~~

Phil Tyler Crime Thriller Series, Book One

 Thriller, Crime Thriller

Date Published: February 2022

Publisher: Bleaknorth Publishing

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

  

Past events cast shadows you can’t outrun. Wayne and Phil knew that better than anyone, after what happened when they were children, bullied by Wayne’s murderous brother. When Tyrone returns after many years, bent on revenge, they are about to be drawn back into his dangerous world

Breaking Waves is a crime thriller set in a fictional seaside town in the North of England. It is Book 1 in the Phil Tyler Thriller series. The narrator, Phil Tyler, is a journalist on a local free sheet newspaper and he tells the story in the first person present tense. Poor Phil is not an heroic tough-guy type of protagonist; he has an antipathy to violence, blood-shed and pain – especially his own. But he has a strong sense of right and wrong and, even when faced with danger and the threat of death, he cannot help but continue his pursuit of justice. He is very loyal, especially where his friend are concerned. The novel moves between traumatic childhood events, which involved him and his friends, and their consequences in adult life. It is a tense, suspense-filled narrative but there is a lot of humour in the book too, which occurs as he reflects upon the gap between his natural antipathy to conflict and the menacing events he is caught up in.

~~~

About the Author

Barry Litherland lives in the far North of Scotland with his wife and two, lively springer spaniels. He has written several well-received novels for adults – crime, paranormal crime, political crime in the main. He has also written two novels for Middle Grade children (8-12 year olds) – The Jenny Stories. He is currently working on Book 4 of the Phil Tyler series and will
soon publish his first Literary Fiction novel – ‘Dark Skies and Fireflies‘.

 

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn

BookBuzz

~~~

Purchase Link

Kindle Unlimited

99c

Amazon

 

RABT Book Tours & PR

~~~

#BookBlitz “Trial of the Lovebird Butcher” by Lumen Reese

TrialoftheLoveBird copy

You are going to want to check out this book and find out what readers are saying about it! Read on for more info about Trial of the Lovebird Butcher by Lumen Reese!

Trial of the Lovebird Butcher Cover Final (1)

Trial of the Lovebird Butcher

Publication Date: May 13th, 2021

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Crime Thriller

An antiquities dealer and amateur children’s magician named Edward Fox is charged with three murders dating back to the 1980’s, when he should have been only a child. But evidence suggests he has been around and interfering with the lives of humans for a very long time: back to 1920’s Chicago, through decades with a traveling circus, and during the Selma to Montgomery marches in Alabama, 1965

In New Haven, Connecticut, a decades-old cold case resurfaces. As charges are brought, the details grow stranger and stranger…

An antiquities dealer and amateur children’s magician named Edward Fox is charged with three murders, dating back to the 1980’s, when he should have been only a child. Fox is a wanderer and a fall-down drunk. The case’s unnatural timeline combined with one alleged victim’s status as a teen beauty queen set the stage for the State of Connecticut v. Fox to become the trial of the century.

Maggie Stowe -insomniac, Private Investigator, dream thief- has been following Fox for months. She is a crusader for women and girls and can still hear them screaming in Fox’s dreams every night. But reality has begun to blur for the exhausted Maggie. Soon she is unsure of anything except for the fact that she’s a pawn in a perilous game.

Defender Ben Cartwright -the son of a murdered civil rights activist- knows to never take justice for granted. To him, the case reeks of prosecutorial overreach. All three counts are alleged murders without cadavers, linked to his client by circumstantial evidence rooted out by an obsessive PI with a direct line to her girlfriend at the State’s Attorney’s Office. Edward insists that Ben is the man to defend him. Never mind that he’s young, or only just passed the Bar, or that he speaks a bit slowly because his mind works differently than most people’s.

The trial becomes a battle of wills. A jury and a nation are asked to consider -as the evidence strongly suggests- that Fox has been around and interfering with the lives of humans for a very long time; back to the Depression-era streets of Chicago, through decades with a traveling circus, and during the Selma to Montgomery marches that took place in Alabama, 1965…

Add to Goodreads

Available on Smashwords

About the Author

17250653

Lumen Reese is an author of diverse fantasy, sci-fi, historical and speculative fiction from Michigan.
Trial of the Lovebird Butcher is now available Smashwords!

Book Blitz Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

#BookTour “Dark Obsessions” by Marie Sutro

Tour Banner

Welcome to the book tour for gritty crime thriller, Dark Obsessions by Marie Sutro! Read on for more details and a chance to win a great giveaway!

“…a taut and terrifying descent into madness and redemption…brilliant psychological thriller—pop culture entertainment at its absolute best…”

—Jon Land, USA Today Bestselling Author of Strong Cold Dead

Dark Obsessions Cover (HR)

Dark Obsessions

Genre: Crime Thriller

Publication Date: April 26th, 2022

Reeling from the trauma of her last case, SFPD Detective Kate Barnes heads to the Olympic Peninsula hoping to heal the present by resolving the past. When the ravaged corpse of an unidentified teen is discovered, her search for personal peace takes a back seat to the quest for justice.

As Kate digs deeper, she discovers the victim was not the only one who had been taken against her will. Racing against the clock to rescue the remaining girls, she uncovers a complex series of ever-increasing horrors. In the darkest corners of Washington state, Kate Barnes will come face-to-face with an adversary so ruthless and powerful that it will take everything she has to save herself, let alone the girls.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

DEPUTY JENNA WHEATON slammed the door of the patrol car shut. The sound bounced off the walls of the abandoned quarry, doubling and trebling before finally fading in the late afternoon stillness. Spinning on her heel, she cast a final warning glare at the two teenage passengers huddled in the backseat. Exhaling, she turned toward the abandoned warehouse which stood across from the edge of the vast mining pit.

The setting sun reflected off a narrow row of windows running above the structure’s main entrance, lighting the surrounding forest ablaze in a fiery glow. Averting her gaze, she strode toward the set of stairs leading up to the double door entry. Bits of gravel crunched softly under her boots as she walked, amplifying the overall sense of desolation.

Jenna’s shadow kept pace with her as she moved—exaggerating her lean, lanky, features topped off by a shoulder-length mop of blonde hair. Exuding the air of a woman not to be trifled with, she remained convinced she was on a fool’s errand. There was no way the old warehouse would yield the unimaginable find the teenagers had reported when they had burst through the doors of the sheriff’s office over an hour ago.

She had been finishing up a domestic violence report on the other side of town when the call had come in. The DV complaint had been a farce—an adolescent attempt to punish a parent for failing to buy a new cell phone.

Jenna had finally convinced the ill-mannered fifteen-year-old daughter to apologize to her overworked mother when her radio had come to life, recalling her to the station. Once there, two more teens had been dumped in her lap. There was every reason to believe the two wanna-be skater boys sitting in her patrol car were fueled by the same adolescent angst, wayward hormones, and abject stupidity.

Foregoing the rusted railings on either side of the stairs, she jogged up to the porch. The right-side door stood open; a broken chain dangled from the handle—the padlock still intact. Beyond the first few feet of the doorway, darkness pervaded.

She unholstered her flashlight and stepped up to the threshold, glad she had taken the time to lock the boys securely in the car. The last thing she needed was for the miscreants to pop up from behind and scare the shit out of her—just their way of passing a boring Friday afternoon.

Truth be told, she could not really blame them. Eagle’s Nest was high on nature but low on things to do. Other than the bowling alley downtown, there was little going on within the town limits. It was a reality she knew all too well.

Divorced at thirty-eight, with a nine-year-old son in tow, Jenna had ached for a change from the predictability of life in small-town America. She had been about to accept a position with the Seattle PD when a sudden heart attack had prompted Sheriff Selby to retire early. With no local candidates for the position, the town had been forced to look elsewhere.

After three months, they had found a unanimous favorite. Far more handsome than any of the local singles, Sheriff Luchasetti, who was only a few years older than Jenna, had immediately infected her with some form of Disney-esque brain fever. Abandoning her senses, she had turned down the Seattle offer.

In hindsight, it had been a ridiculous move. After a few months of intense flirting on her part, Tony had made his disinterest clear by turning down Jenna’s invite for a nightcap at her place. He had claimed he could not risk his new position by fraternizing with a deputy. But Jenna knew better. Any man who made it to forty-four without signing a marriage license or siring a child had no sincere interest in either one.

Swallowing past the year-old frustration, she stepped over the threshold into the cavernous space. Her right hand settled on the butt of her Glock as she entered, evidence of good training and experience rather than anticipation of actual trouble.

The beam from her flashlight was not strong enough to reach the back of the building, but she moved ahead anyway. Had she even partially believed the boys’ outlandish story about finding a dead body in the concrete pit up ahead, she may have proceeded with more caution.

She had only made it about five feet before a vile stench—reminiscent of a cross between motor oil and animal fat—hit her like a semi. Steeling herself against the aroma, Jenna focused on the goal ahead. If the boys had seen something, it was certainly nothing more than a sick animal that had sought refuge here in its final moments.

As she continued, the rubber soles of her shoes squeaked softly against the dusty concrete. Arriving at the fifteen-foot-square opening in the floor, Jenna pointed her flashlight down. Her eyes tracked the circle of visibility as it traveled down the opposite wall of the shaft.

A moment later, the light revealed a pale arm. As it swept over a mutilated breast, then worked its way across the rest of the slender human form, the deputy staggered backward. Her right hand clawed at her shoulder, grasping for the radio affixed to her uniform. When her fingers finally closed around the device, it took an entire minute before she was confident she could speak without shrieking.

Available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Marie Sutro Headshot (HR)

Marie Sutro is an award-winning and bestselling crime fiction author. She is also a member of Sisters in Crime whose writing has been inspired by the combined service of her great-grandfather, grandfather, and father in the San Francisco Police Department.

Her bestselling debut novel, Dark Associations, was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Award for the Best New Voice in Fiction. A proponent for literacy, she volunteers with California Library Literacy Services, helping adults learn to read and write.

She resides in Northern California and is currently at work on the next Kate Barnes story. To learn more about Marie, visit her website at mariesutro.com.

Marie Sutro | Instagram | Twitter

Click the link below for a chance to win a copy of Kate Barne’s first case, Dark Associations!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Banner

Book Tour Schedule

April 26th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

@biblio.jojo (Review) https://www.instagram.com/biblio.jojo/

@bookish_and_cookish (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bookish_and_cookish/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

April 27th

@kyproff (Review) https://www.instagram.com/kyproff/

@2manybooks2littletime (Review) https://www.instagram.com/2manybooks2littletime/

@mels_booksandhooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/mels_booksandhooks/

April 28th

@hodophile_z (Review) https://www.instagram.com/hodophile_z/

@read_betweenthecovers (Review) https://www.instagram.com/read_betweenthecovers/

Latisha’s Low-Key Life (Review) https://latishaslowkeylife.com/

@latishaslowkeylife – https://www.instagram.com/latishaslowkeylife/

April 29th

B is for Book Review (Guest Post) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

@thrillersandcoffee (Interview) https://www.instagram.com/thrillersandcoffee/

@abutiful.nerdy.nightmare (Review) https://www.instagram.com/abutiful.nerdy.nightmare/

May 2nd

Cheryl’s Book Nook (Review) https://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/

@beastreader – https://www.instagram.com/beastreader/

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

Books + Coffee = Happiness (Review) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

@juliereadzintherockies (Review) https://www.instagram.com/juliereadzintherockies/

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

May 3rd

@jacleomik33 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/jacleomik33/

@ofmoviesandbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ofmoviesandbooks/

Riss’s Reviews (Review) https://rissreviewsx.wixsite.com/website

@rissreviews_xx – https://www.instagram.com/rissreviews_xx/

Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

@ascorpioslibrary (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ascorpioslibrary/

May 4th

Misty (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf/

@bhaneereads_ (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bhaneereads_/

Stine Writing (Spotlight) https://christinebialczak.com/

Read & Rated (Spotlight) https://readandrated.com/

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

#BookBlitz “The Dayton Dilemma” by Dave Ives

~~~

When doing the right thing, isn’t the right thing.

 

Crime Thriller

Published: November 2021

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

 

Dayton, Ohio 1986, Sean Mitchell finds himself in a gut-wrenching dilemma, “Trust the legal system or trust the fact that – they ain’t lookin for us? We shut up, we’re safe, we start blabbing, who knows what the lawyers and legal system will do to us?

Sean’s world is turned upside down when he discovers a shocking life truth – sometimes telling the truth is the wrong thing to do.

Sean Mitchell is on a summer engineering work study program at the Flight Dynamics Laboratory, Wright-Patterson, AFB. Taking a term off from his ‘stressed out’ aerospace engineering studies at Ohio State, Sean’s new home in Dayton is a hotel right next door to a fancy, gorgeous-lady-filled, nightclub.

What could go wrong?

Everything.

Sean’s life of ‘working out at the gym’ and ‘meeting pretty ladies at the nightclub,’ took a nosedive one night. His world changed. He entered the ‘secret’ world. The world of people with a secret, people who know something they’re not supposed to know; something they don’t want to know, but too bad, no going back.

~~~

About the Author

Dave Ives transitioned from air force officer to civilian engineer, to property investor and then to author. ‘The Dayton Dilemma’ is Dave’s seventh book and is a continuation of the Sean Mitchell adventure. If you liked Dave’s other books, you’re in for another treat when you read ‘The Dayton Dilemma.’

 

 

 

 

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

~~~

Purchase Link

Amazon

RABT Book Tours & PR

~~~

#NewRelease “Treacherous Deceit: A Donatella Mystery” by Demetrius Jackson

book cover

~~~

When a secret needs to be kept, death is the only option.

The night of the North Carolina high school basketball championship game; star point guard and son of the mayor, Blaine Tucker, is found murdered. He was last seen leaving the game with his high school sweetheart, Krista Ross, who has no memory of the attack.

Mayor Tucker request Special Agent Donatella Dabria lead the investigation into his son’s untimely death. What she uncovers places her squarely in the killers’ crosshairs.

Can she find justice for Blaine before she becomes the next victim?

Treacherous Deceit is the fourth book in the fast-paced Donatella thriller series. If you like scandalous revelations, rollercoaster action, and unstoppably strong women, then you’ll love Demetrius Jackson’s pulse-pounding page-turner.

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

~~~

#BookBlitz “Death is 27 Red (The Frank Doyle Reports, Book Three)” by H.E. Joyce

~~~

 The Frank Doyle Reports, Book Three

 

 Crime Thriller

 Date Published: February 2022

A tense new crime thriller from H E Joyce. A real page turner from beginning to end.

Sandra Gray was looking forward to the future with David Ryan. But tragedy strikes. Ryan is attacked and left for dead in a Boston side street on the waterfront.

A passing stranger comes to his aid. This was no ordinary passer-by; it was Frank Doyle, a private investigator. Doyle wants to know who carried out the attack, and when the police seem uninterested, he sets out to find the perpetrator. He is quick to identify a suspect, however, proving guilt takes him on a journey of deceit, corruption and greed.

~

Other Books in the The Frank Doyle Reports:

The Deadliest Game

The Frank Doyle Reports, Book One

Following an horrific trauma in her life, Laura, along with her young son, escape to the small coastal town of Brooksville in Maine. Her quest for a peaceful life, removed of sorrow and loss proves to be fruitful when she meets and falls in love with a local attorney.

With layers of heartache and remorse to contend with, Laura struggles to keep her sordid past in the past. She soon realises that everyone has a past, including the new man in her life. New worries abound, causing her to question the new life she thought she wanted.

Trying to make sense of her dark, new world, she hires a private investigator that uncovers secrets so sinister and a past so riddled with danger that Laura is left to make hard choices in order to protect those she holds dear.

Amazon

~

Alternative to Murder

The Frank Doyle Reports, Book Two

Richard Douglas feels unfulfilled and unappreciated in his job at The Boston Globe, a role created for him by his wealthy wife, Lindsay Nelson, CEO and owner of the media corporation. He calls on the assistance of ex-cop, now private investigator, Frank Doyle, when he receives a call telling him his wife has been kidnapped and a ransom of fifteen-million dollars demanded, but the exchange goes wrong and takes them on a perilous
journey.

Amazon

~~~

About the Author

H.E. Joyce has been interested in writing since he was a young boy.

But it wasn’t until he retired after 20 years in the fire service that he decided to pick up the proverbial pen in earnest.

“I thought, ‘Well, this is an ideal time to take it
up,’” Joyce said.

He has always enjoyed reading thrillers, so he decided to try his hand at the genre. The latest product of his proverbial pen is Death is 27 Red, the finale of a three-book series dubbed The Frank Doyle Reports, which was released at the end of February. The first entry, The Deadliest Game, came out in 2014, and is set in Maine. The second book, Alternative to Murder, was released in April of 2021, and – like the third installment
– is set in Boston.

Contact Links

Twitter

Facebook

BookBuzz

~~~

Purchase Link

Amazon

RABT Book Tours & PR

~~~

#BookBlitz “Retribution” by Richard Rose

~~~

Crime Thriller

 

Published: December 2021

Publisher: Savant Books and Publications

Chicago Police Department detective “Mack” McPherson returns to the Indiana lakes community after 23 years to confront those who murdered his brother and others who covered up the crime. When they suddenly become murder victims, Mack becomes suspect number one, challenging him to track down their killer, a dangerous psychopath on his own mission of retribution.

~~~

~~~
About the Author

Richard Rose is an award-winning author of short stories, novels and screenplays. His most recent novels are RETRIBUTION, THE LAZARUS CONSPIRACIES, and THE GUMSHOE – all mystery thrillers. LAZARUS is an adaptation of a screenplay that was a top-ten finalist in the Illinois/Chicago Film Writing Competition. Published by Savant Books and Publications in 2013, it has received rave reviews, including one by The Huffington Post, and a major award in fiction at The Pacific Rim Book Festival in Hollywood. Some of his screenplays have been optioned by independent producers, including Don Johnson Productions. Savant also released COMIC CRUSADERS, an adventure/fantasy screenplay novel and RETRIBUTION, a crime thiller.

Richard lives in Chicago, IL with his wife Kay Lynn Rose.

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

~~~

Purchase Links

Amazon

iBooks

Google Play

Publisher

RABT Book Tours & PR

~~~

#FREE “Poster Girl” by Jack Adams

~~~

Backpacker, Soleil ‘Sunny’ Reyer is gone. Tanned, glowing and star of the Missing poster; no one thought fruit-picking could be deadly.

Journalist, Jessica Steyn was the last person to give Sunny a lift. Assigned the biggest story in her career, Jessica is on the job. Dig, dig, dig … until she buries herself.

The cold case file never leaves his desk in the same way that Detective Nick Clarkson is stuck in Strand Harbour fifteen years after Sunny disappeared. Less hair, marriage over, no sign of Sunny.

Author Coen Watson’s people are water people; his trust in it is marrow-deep – he’s counting on Strand Harbour to cure his writer’s block. Unpacking, he forces open a drawer corroded by salt air to find a faded Missing poster for Soleil Reyer. The author begins picking at old wounds.

Free for a limited time!

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon

~~~

#BookReview “The Pine Barrens Stratagem: From the Case Files of Steve Rockfish” by Ken Harris

February 1-28, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

~~~

book cover

~~~

5/5 Stars!

What a great read! Steve Rockfish is my new bestie!

A down, but never out private investigator, Rockfish isn’t an anti-hero. He also isn’t necessarily the good guy. He intends to do the right thing and sometimes, that’s by way of doing the wrong thing!

After a chilling and heartbreaking opening, the story goes full circle with Covid-19 and mandatory lockdowns leading Rockfish to take cases he would otherwise pass on. But jobs are far and few between and the repo man is coming for him.

From an eighty-year-old child trafficking case to a Covid-19 fraud case that involves… well, a little of everybody, Rockfish has to do double time to keep up and stay alive.

I’m looking forward to more of this everyman character who wants to be a high-end Magnum, would settle for a middle-class Joe Mannix, but is actually a low-end Jim Rockford… for now.

Enjoy!

~~~

Synopsis:

 

Private Investigator Steve Rockfish needs cash, like yesterday. The bad news is that yesterday, a global pandemic raged, and Maryland was headed toward a lockdown that would ultimately lead to cheating spouses no longer “working late,” and hence a lack of new clients.

Rockfish’s luck changes when a Hollywood producer reaches out, but the job is two states away and involves digging up information on a child trafficking ring from the 1940s. What he uncovers will be used to support the launch of a true crime docuseries. He grabs a mask, hand sanitizer and heads for South Jersey.

On-site, Rockfish meets Jawnie McGee, the great granddaughter of a local policeman gone missing while investigating the original crimes. As the duo uncover more clues, they learn the same criminal alliance has reformed to use the pandemic as a conduit to defraud the Federal Government of that sweet, sweet, stimulus money.

It’s not long before the investigation turns up some key intel on a myriad of illicit activity over the last eighty years and Rockfish rockets toward a showdown with the mafia, local archdiocese and dirty cops. COVID-19 isn’t the only threat to his health.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thriller

Published by: Black Rose Writing

Publication Date: January 27th 2022

Number of Pages: 250

ISBN: 1684338719 (ISBN13: 9781684338719)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

~~~

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

~~~

ENTER TO WIN:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Ken Harris. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

~~~

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours

~~~

#BookTour “The Pine Barrens Stratagem: From the Case Files of Steve Rockfish” by Ken Harris

February 1-28, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

~~~

book cover

~~~

Synopsis:

 

Private Investigator Steve Rockfish needs cash, like yesterday. The bad news is that yesterday, a global pandemic raged, and Maryland was headed toward a lockdown that would ultimately lead to cheating spouses no longer “working late,” and hence a lack of new clients.

Rockfish’s luck changes when a Hollywood producer reaches out, but the job is two states away and involves digging up information on a child trafficking ring from the 1940s. What he uncovers will be used to support the launch of a true crime docuseries. He grabs a mask, hand sanitizer and heads for South Jersey.

On-site, Rockfish meets Jawnie McGee, the great granddaughter of a local policeman gone missing while investigating the original crimes. As the duo uncover more clues, they learn the same criminal alliance has reformed to use the pandemic as a conduit to defraud the Federal Government of that sweet, sweet, stimulus money.

It’s not long before the investigation turns up some key intel on a myriad of illicit activity over the last eighty years and Rockfish rockets toward a showdown with the mafia, local archdiocese and dirty cops. COVID-19 isn’t the only threat to his health.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thriller

Published by: Black Rose Writing

Publication Date: January 27th 2022

Number of Pages: 250

ISBN: 1684338719 (ISBN13: 9781684338719)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

~~~

Read an excerpt:

Rockfish sat in the Scion’s passenger seat while Jawnie drove. He wasn’t thrilled with the decision, but she was adamant that some of the dirt roads, deep within the Pine Barrens, were no place for a Dodge Challenger. Plus, she didn’t feel like playing navigator. In the end, Rockfish decided not to put up much of a fight, considering Jawnie was more than a little familiar with where they were headed, although he had second thoughts with the four cases of whiplash he had suffered before even reaching the highway.

“Do you drive with two feet,” he asked. “Because my head can’t keep jerking forward and slamming back much more. Unless you’re running an insurance scam, and if so, what would be my take?”

“Enough with the backseat driving, and can you put your visor back up? That late afternoon glare off the mirror is killing me.”

“Make a deal with you. You drive how you want. I’ll keep an eye on our surroundings the way I want. Speaking of which, can you move this right-side passenger mirror a little more to the right, all I’m seeing is the rear fender.”

“You got it,” Jawnie said, and she played with the mirror control until Rockfish let her know it was right where he needed it. He could monitor anyone approaching from behind without having to turn around.

“I do want to fill you in on something I learned before we left,” Rockfish said. “When you went into the house to fix those sandwiches, I reached out to a guy I know in the Baltimore PD, Dan Decker. He’s an old friend and helps me out when he can. He’s going to have one of their academy cadets do some research for us and see if there is anything more than a current history between the Marini and Provolone families. The Marini’s have run Baltimore as long as the Provolone’s have this area. If Edward’s notation of the two factions working together has anything to it, Decker will let us know. He said currently both families have worked together when it was profitable to do so. Sound familiar?”

“Yeah, same M.O. as our knuckle draggers and kid touchers,” Jawnie replied.

Rockfish was happy to learn Jawnie’s disdain for organized religion matched his own. “Well put. But if there is a history there, what are the odds that some wealthy, non-fertile Baltimore Catholics would be willing to pony up some cash to right the situation. And Edward was witness to it all?”

They drove in silence over the next twenty minutes, Rockfish trying to figure out exactly what he expected to find in a fifty-four-year-old decrepit building in the middle of the woods. He hadn’t arrived at a conclusion yet when something very familiar came into focus.

“Remember when you asked me about knowing when you’re being followed?” Rockfish said.

“Yeah, I just chalked it up to anxiety and paranoia. It comes standard on the Millennial base model.”

“Guess what? We are,” Rockfish deadpanned. “Don’t do a damn thing different and let me think for a second. There’s a Jeep Grand Cherokee, right now, two cars back that’s been with us since we pulled off the highway when I was telling you what Decker said.”

Rockfish pulled out a scrap of paper and jotted down the license plate.

“I’ll ask Decker to run this, if they end up sticking on our ass the whole way. I could be a tad paranoid, but I’d rather err on the side of caution. Just keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll tell you if evasive actions become necessary. We’ll start you slow and work our way up to the infamous private eye J-turn.”

Ten minutes later, the Scion crossed the Hammonton City line and Rockfish lost sight of the Jeep. He had Jawnie drive a couple of concentric circles around the downtown area, before heading out on County Route 542 which, according to her, would point them towards the southern part of Wharton State Forest and the abandoned orphanage.

Rockfish spotted the Jeep, only a second or two after it turned on Route 542 from a side street.

“Company’s back,” Rockfish said. “I guess when we hit these dirt roads you mentioned, we’ll see how serious they are.”

When the Scion’s tires soon left the asphalt, and began rolling down the slightly larger than single lane dirt road, the Jeep’s true intentions came to light. No longer concerned about being spotted, the Jeep’s speed increased until it was only a few feet from Jawnie’s bumper. Rockfish’s head swiveled from the Jeep and back to his pilot. He needed to stay calm, but Jawnie looked petrified, and while her hands had a death grip on the wheel, they were also visibly shaking.

“Jawnie, listen to me and we’ll be alright.”

She didn’t say a word, but Rockfish could feel the car slowing down. Screw her feelings, he thought and began giving orders.

“Put your foot back on the gas. You need to keep a constant speed.” And then a minute later. “Stay in the center, don’t give them space to get alongside of us.” Lastly, he shouted. “The center I said!” His voice gave out with that last outburst and he knew she heard the fear in it.

Rockfish swore as the Jeep slammed into their back bumper. “That a girl, keep her straight! Gas, give it some—”

The rear windshield exploded, shards of safety glass like small pellets peppered the interior of the car. Jawnie screamed and instinctively yanked the wheel to the left. Likewise, Rockfish now yelled in order to be heard.

“Foot off the gas! Steer into it!”

Rockfish wasn’t sure how he got through to Jawnie, but she listened, and the Scion straightened back up and they were rocketing straight down the dirt road once again. But before he could congratulate his pupil, the Jeep was now angling to get alongside; the Scion drifting dangerously close to the right shoulder, or lack thereof. Rockfish turned and looked out the driver’s side rear window. He could clearly see the Jeep’s front end.

In the next instant, they were sliding again, Jawnie’s foot slammed on the brake and the Jeep’s right fender nudged the Scion’s left rear. Brakes squealed, and tires howled as dirt, dust and burnt rubber filled their lungs.

“Hold on, hold on, hold on!” It was all he managed to say, but her eyes told him she was a million miles away. Rockfish closed his and braced for impact.

The car spun violently to the left, a hundred and eighty degrees, and his head whipped left and then right, slamming against the window. The seatbelt dug into his chest and he had trouble breathing. A second later, the earth beneath the car’s right side began to give way and the Scion slid into a ditch before coming to a stop.

By the time Rockfish opened his eyes and turned around, the taillights from the Jeep had disappeared into the distance.

* * * * * * * * * *

“That settles it, I’m going to the police now! They, someone, fuck I don’t know who just tried to kill us!” Jawnie said. “Look at my car! Who’s going to pay for this? Not like we’re exchanging fucking information with them!” Her mask was around her neck and Rockfish could see the tears.

Rockfish took a second before he replied. His partner was still in shock, borderline hysterical, and he didn’t want to push her over the edge, unlike the car they pulled themselves from. The Jeep had performed a textbook pit maneuver and Rockfish bet Jawnie wasn’t a big fan of Cops or Live PD. Hence, her jumping straight to attempted murder.

“Now hold on Jawnie,” Rockfish said. “You’re not hurt, right? That seatbelt and airbag did their jobs?”

“Of course, but—”

“No buts about it. Your chest might be a little sore tomorrow from that belt, your eyes swollen from the air bag, and more importantly, you’ll never forget your first chase. But seriously, no one tried to kill us. If they had wanted us dead, we’d be bleeding out from gunshot wounds. Your rear window was the victim of a warning shot. When we were in that ditch, no one walked up from behind and pumped a few slugs into the back of our heads.”

Rockfish stopped and looked at Jawnie, he needed to make sure he was getting through. Her breathing had slowed down quite a bit and that was a start.

“This was a warning, pure and simple. All this tells us is that someone thinks you might be sticking your nose somewhere it doesn’t belong. Obviously, it pertains to those boxes. I haven’t been in town long enough to piss someone off yet, at least, I hope. But if they were staking out your place, they’d have my license plate number and know who I am.”

“But I’ve only dealt with Hasty on this,” Jawnie said.

“Look. You might have worked out a deal with Hasty, but odds are he wasn’t the one that went into the very back of the evidence room and pulled those boxes for you. He’s probably recounted your conversation to a few of his ‘trusted’ senior men, and God knows who else might have been in the room when those conversations took place. Was there anything else you mentioned either to him or anyone else at the station that might cause a reaction like what just happened?”

“I d-d-did tell him I had hoped to t-t-take what I found in these boxes, scan what I could, and create a website. One that would ask the public for tips. Anonymously, of course. It would be a way to get the word out and maybe get someone’s attention who might remember something. Hasty asked his secretary to check and see if he had the authority to put the PD’s logo and tip line on this site. He was only trying to help.”

“So, he’s got a secretary. Old bird, I bet?”

“Yeah, Betty Lou Sommers. I’m guessing she’s logged more than a few years there.”

“There’s your problem. Old Betty Lou sees all Hasty’s business that comes and goes out of his office. I’d lay odds her loyalties lie with others she’s worked with or for through the years and not the guy who knocked the latest Ringle out of office.”

“I’d never thought of it that way.”

“If you’re trying to be a junior special agent, I’d advise you to think that way. Someone in that department is crooked and an off-duty cop or on-duty mafioso ran us off the road. Doesn’t matter who, I’m betting they can be one and the same. Now if you feel alright, we need to call for a tow.”

“And an Uber.”

“Do you have any bars?” Rockfish said.

“Nope.”

“We were lucky this was only a warning. We’ve got some walking ahead of us. They shouldn’t be coming back.”

I gotta reach out to Davenport, he thought. The stakes have significantly increased.

***

Excerpt from The Pine Barrens Stratagem by Ken Harris. Copyright 2022 by Ken Harris. Reproduced with permission from Ken Harris. All rights reserved.

~~~

Author Bio:

Ken Harris

Ken Harris retired from the FBI, after thirty-two years, as a cybersecurity executive. With over three decades writing intelligence products for senior Government officials, Ken provides unique perspectives on the conventional fast-paced crime thriller. While this is his first traditionally published novel, he previously self-published two novellas and two novels. He spends days with his wife Nicolita, and two Labradors, Shady and Chalupa Batman. Evenings are spent cheering on Philadelphia sports. Ken firmly believes Pink Floyd, Irish whiskey and a Montecristo cigar are the only muses necessary. He is a native of New Jersey and currently resides in Northern Virginia.

Catch Up With Ken Harris:
www.KenHarrisFiction.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @08025writes
Twitter – @08025writes
Instagram – @KenHarrisFiction
Facebook – @kah623

~~~

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

~~~

ENTER TO WIN:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Ken Harris. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

~~~

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours

~~~