Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Author: Carolyn Arnold      
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours

Looks aren’t the only things that can be deceiving…

When a sixty-eight-year-old woman is found dead outside the hospital in a wheelchair with an anti-abortion sign strapped to its back, Detective Madison Knight expects it to be an open-and-shut case. On the surface, there are no signs of foul play, but the deeper she digs, the more convoluted the homicide becomes. And when two more bodies appear, including those of a girl just barely old enough to drink and a homeless man, the direct links between the three murders are anything but simple.

Without a consistent MO, Madison doesn’t buy that a serial killer is on the loose, despite the conviction with which her ex-fiancé and fellow detective try to convince their superior. But Madison already has enough to juggle without having to defend her reputation. Debilitating flashbacks of being held hostage by the Russian Mafia mere months before haunt her on an almost daily basis, and the promises she made to herself while in captivity are becoming more and more difficult to keep. Learning to trust is hard enough without constant reminders of what destruction—fatal or otherwise—trusting the wrong person can cause.

Now, as both personal and professional friction within the department mounts, she and her partner, Terry, must figure out what motivation could span generations to cause someone to murder these people. But catching this killer is like grasping at straws, and grabbing the wrong one could mean losing not only her pride but also her boyfriend, her credibility, and her faith in humanity…

Author Bio:
CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international best-selling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.™

Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and two beagles, Max and Chelsea. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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Excerpts: (Your Choice)


Chapter 1
APPARENTLY NOT EVEN A DEAD body could stop traffic.
Madison scanned the three-lane, westbound stream of cars. All of the drivers had somewhere to be. Even now, only a few braked to gawk at the investigation on the side of the road.
Squad cars with flashing lights cordoned off the right lane, and the officers were diverting traffic over. This was the busiest intersection in Stiles. With a population of about half a million, seventy-five thousand people passed through this section every hour. Shopping plazas with franchise restaurants and grocery stores occupied two of the four corners; the other two had health care buildings, including one of the city’s three hospitals, the largest of which was on the northeast side of the intersection.
Peace Liberty Hospital sat on acres of land with chain-link fencing running its perimeter. It was outside that fence that the deceased had been found.
Cole Richards, the medical examiner, was working over the body as Crime Scene Unit investigators Cynthia Baxter and Mark Andrews were busy taking pictures and collecting anything that might be evidence.
Cynthia headed up the crime lab. She was also Madison’s closest friend. Her strong genetics gave her the sexy librarian look, and she had wielded that power expertly over men until she got involved with Detective Lou Stanford of the Stiles PD. Now she was engaged. Three months had passed since the announcement, and Madison still hardly believed it some days.
Mark was the only man on the forensics team and the youngest of its four members. Both elements served to make him the target of blame and teasing. All in good fun, of course, even if he might not think so at times. He had long, dark hair that he tied back into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. His hairstyle and other mannerisms had most of his colleagues curious about his sexual preference. To date, it remained an enigma.
Madison lowered her sunglasses and took in the scene. It was midday and mid-July, and the sun was beating down with nondiscriminatory heat.
The deceased was an elderly woman, her identity unknown and age estimated to be in her late sixties or early seventies. She had a short cut of gray hair and wore a T-shirt and a skirt. She sat in a wheelchair on the side of the road, her head dipped to her chest at an unnatural angle. That position alone would disclose to anyone paying enough attention that she was dead.
It was a sad state when people were too preoccupied with their busy lives to notice an elderly woman on the side of the road like that. As it was, people would have passed in good quantity before the jogger who had found her had come along.
His name was Erik Marsh, and he was sitting in the back of a squad car providing his statement to the officers who had arrived first on scene. She and Terry would talk to him shortly. The people who found a body were always the first suspects.
The woman’s chair was on the grass beside the sidewalk, placing her closer to the fence than the road. Based on her thin arms and frail frame, she would have needed help to get there. A wooden board strapped to the back of the chair read, PUT AN END TO ABORTION.
“Protesters in this area are not uncommon, but what makes an older lady come out and sit in the hot sun with a sign strapped to her?” She asked the rhetorical question of her partner, ruminating on what brought the woman to this point.
Her partner, Terry Grant, was three years younger than she was and her total opposite. He loved running, and his hair was always perfect—rarely were one of his blond hairs out of place. Madison, on the other hand, hated mornings, so she stuck with a wake-up-and-wear-it cut. While she had a hard time making commitments, Terry was married to his sweetheart of just over five years. Annabelle was pregnant with their first child and due any day.
Madison continued. “Not to mention, why would she get involved in such an issue? Her child-birthing days are behind her.”
“She could have faced this issue earlier in life, or maybe a family member had? She could have been trying to keep things the way they used to be.”
“When was abortion legalized?”
“In most states, 1973. That would make her somewhere in her late twenties, early thirties, if she faced the issue herself.” Terry pulled his phone out and poised a finger over the screen. Despite Madison’s desire that he take notes on a lined pad, like other cops, he was adamant about embracing technology. His hardheaded determination was paying off, though, as his texting speed was improving.
“There’s no way she came alone. Someone must’ve brought her here. But was she dead when they dropped her off, or did she die sitting in this heat? My grandmother always wore a hat on a hot day.” She paced a few steps and brainstormed aloud. “I don’t think this woman chose to come here.”
“Good deduction,” Cole Richards stated matter-of-factly.
It was the only way Richards talked to her these days. Madison’s friendship with him used to be one based upon mutual respect, but things had changed when she questioned his ruling on a prior case. From there, she had dug into his personal past. If she could go back and change things she would.
Richards continued. “Her forearms show bruising to indicate she was in a struggle, but the cause of death still needs to be determined.”
Madison’s gaze fell to the woman’s wrists, marred in hues of purple. Heat surged through her, the fire of adrenaline blending with rage.
Richards’s dark skin pinched around his eyes as he squinted in the bright sun. “Based on the coloring of the contusions, they happened around the time of death.”
“And when was that?”
“I estimate time of death between twelve and eighteen hours ago. Her body is in full rigor.”
“You can’t narrow it down any more than that?” Madison asked.
Richards shook his head. “Liver temp will be off given the heat. I’ll know more once I get her back to the morgue and conduct a full autopsy.”
“When will that be?”
He shrugged. “I’ll let you know.”
Madison nodded. “So you don’t think she died here?” She hoped his answer would instill some faith in humanity. Surely if she’d been here for that length of time, someone would have seen her before Marsh.
“Again, I’ll let you know.”
“What about lividity? Doesn’t it tell you anything?” Terry asked.
Lividity was the settlement, or pooling, of blood in the body after death. If it showed in the woman’s buttocks and the backs of her thighs, she would have died in a sitting position. But that would’ve only told them she’d died in her chair, not her actual location.
“I’ll let you know once I conduct the autopsy. As for where she died, I will leave that up to you to determine.” Richards signaled for his assistant, Milo, to come with the stretcher and body bag. Sadness always soured Madison’s gut when the black plastic came out, ready to wrap the dead in its dark cocoon.


Excerpt taken from Chapter 3

Her phone vibrated, notifying her of a text message. It was from Cynthia. Richards booked the autopsy for first thing the next morning. Madison shared this information with Terry, and although he nodded, his eyes seemed distant—a common occurrence these days.
Doctors had told Terry and Annabelle that their baby could be born with spina bifida, but they strived to stay positive.
“Are you thinking about the baby?” Madison asked.
“I’m thinking of him, yes.” He gave her a slick smile. Despite ultrasounds not revealing the baby’s sex, Terry was convinced it was a boy.
“How is Annabelle these days?”
“She’s excited, nervous. She wants him out.” He laughed, but the expression quickly deflated.
“Good. And I bet.” Madison was thirty-five and didn’t have a mothering bone in her body. If she thought pregnancy through to birth—all the bodily fluids and the blood—it made her squeamish and just sealed the fact she would likely never have a family.
“So if you get to ask about my life…” he teased.
“Oh, no, you don’t. My relationship with Matthews is off the table.”
“Matthews? Sounds rather formal and cold.”
Troy Matthews was head of SWAT for Stiles PD. She’d known him for years, but it wasn’t until a recent case that their friendship had turned into something more. Despite her initial resistance, some things cannot be stopped. The draw she had to him was one such thing. He was an alpha male and, as such, attracted women in droves. He was into working out and ripped. But he was serious-minded and interested solely in her—or so he kept trying to convince her.
Madison took a deep breath thinking back to last night—their bodies entangled, moving together… She had to wish the images from her mind. At least for right now. They were on a case.
“I can tell by the flush of your cheeks, things are heating up.”
“Oh, shut up.” She punched him in the shoulder and then smirked. Her relationship with Terry would never change. He was like the younger brother she’d never had.
“By the way, you’re looking good these days,” he added.
She narrowed her eyes, tempted to punch him again.
“What?” He lifted his shoulders, hands palms out toward her. “I just noticed. I thought women liked this type of acknowledgment.”
But she wasn’t “most women.” She wasn’t worried about what men thought of her. After being betrayed by her fiancé in her early twenties, she’d been somewhat bitter for the better part of a decade now. It didn’t help that he—Toby Sovereign—was also a detective and currently working with Stiles PD. The greatest tragedy was how she held what he had done to her against all men who had entered her life—up until now. She still dated, of course, but she never allowed anyone to get too close. No, her heart was hers and hers alone. With that state of mind, though, the loneliness was also hers alone. She had both Cynthia and Terry to thank for helping her to see that life was too short to sit around and mope. Even Troy deserved some of the credit.
“You must be working out,” Terry said, breaking her train of thought. “Does Troy have you on a program?” Terry snickered, evidently amused with his innuendo.
“Would you just—”
The elevator dinged, interrupting as it announced their arrival on the second floor.
She stepped out first. Not that she’d admit it to Terry, master of the treadmill, who ran ten miles every morning, but she was exercising. And eating healthier. Before her shifts, she’d walk Hershey, her chocolate lab, at a brisk pace for an hour. Thanks to the obedience classes she was able to fit in every other Saturday, he was a pleasure to walk. She had started with one block and kept building herself up.
She hated to concede that the new lifestyle had anything to do with Matthews—Troy. She still slipped sometimes, but it was beginning to get easier to refer to him by first name. She was doomed. Whenever she sensed the trepidation setting in, the hesitancy over accepting their relationship, she’d blurt out Matthews to establish focus again.
But life had taken her through a lot in recent months. She had almost died at the hands of the Russian Mafia and came close to being raped by one of them, too. Faced with the muzzle of a revolver to her head, she had promised herself that she would forgive past hurts and try to love again with a full heart. The latter was really tough. It equated to vulnerability, the very thing she always did her best to avoid.


Chapter 9
I CAN’T MOVE MY WRISTS. The smell of blood is up my nose, in my mouth. The shadows looming in the corners shift and transform.
Anatolli emerges, holding a revolver.
My heart is beating like a piston, and my breath is labored as I struggle against the restraints.
He’s coming closer and there’s nothing I can do.
My head is locked in place, the clasp around my neck limiting my range of motion.
He’s pulling on my hair, yanking it so hard my vision goes to pinpricks of red with flashes of white.
“You are going to die.” His spittle mists my face, and he lowers to look me in the eye. But it is no longer Anatolli. It’s Constantine.
Madison jolted awake and bounded from her bed. Hershey let out a startled bark. He must have been dreaming, too. Madison hoped he’d been running through a field or eating a bone—something peaceful.
“Sorry, buddy.”
Hershey stretched out, worming his way to the edge of the mattress.
She rubbed his fur, waiting for her heartbeat to calm down. “It was a nightmare, that’s all.”
Was that all? It was so vivid. Her visceral reactions to the images were so real. She knew these men were dead, but Constantine was still alive, out there somewhere. And the simple fact remained that she had upset the Russians and there would be consequences.
Really, it was surprising that they had let her live as long as they had. Dimitre Petrov must have derived more pleasure from toying with and manipulating her than killing her.
She sat down on her bed, reality hitting her. The Russians would have tired of playing games. When they came for her next, they would be coming to kill her. Oddly, she found herself hoping they’d torture her first so she could find a window to escape. And if she got the chance, she’d shoot to kill this time.
Her breathing slowed. But would that be enough? The Russians would just substitute Constantine’s face for that of another hired killer—plenty volunteered their services for blood money.
And while Constantine was likely out of the country, this left her with another ally of the Russians—the former police chief, Patrick McAlexandar. The fact that he had relinquished his post at the police department and was staying out of the media spotlight these days did little to change her opinion of his guilt.


It’s been a while since I’ve read any Suspenseful types of books. I love them but I’ve been stuck on mostly Romantic and Erotica but this one definitely brought me back to wanting to read more Suspense types. 

The story line really captured my attention. I was enraptured by the life of Detective Madison Knight. She was a seriously tough cookie but rightfully so. 
Madison had been through a lot in her life and it has taken her to the point that she has to shelter her heart and throw herself into her job. Not only that but since she is the only female Detective within the Department she has to prove herself even more and her every move is watched to the most minute detail. 

I had forgotten how exciting it felt when you read a good mystery. Trying to get all the evidence and witnesses together to figure out who'd done it.. It gets my heart pounding and full of anticipation for the next page. The way the characters interacted with each other was great too.. 

Madison had Terry-her partner, Cynthia- her best friend, and Troy- the head of SWAT and a love interest. All of them were like family. They understood Madison and her determination to get things done and it just added to the story. 
I especially loved Terry. He just seemed like a fun down to earth guy that loved to tease and didn't have a problem doing so with Madison. 

Sneaking in a little love interest didn't hurt this story at all. I loved it and I actually wanted to know more.. I was left with lots of questions regarding Madison but overall i loved this story. I was very into figuring out everything and was surprised when i didn't know everything there was.. 

This was a fun and exciting read and i look forward to reading more in the Detective Madison Knight Series.