SHOWCASE: The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney


Posted by Ryder Islington, author of Ultimate Jutice, a Trey Fontaine Mystery, and coming at the end of March, Ultimate Game, a Trey Fontaine Mystery

The Long and Faraway Gone

by Lou Berney

on Tour March 2015

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery & Detective

Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks

Publication Date: 02/10/2015

Number of Pages: 464

ISBN: 9780062292438

Purchase Links:

 

Synopsis:

With the compelling narrative tension and psychological complexity of the works of Laura Lippman, Dennis Lehane, Kate Atkinson, and Michael Connelly, Edgar Award-nominee Lou Berney’s The Long and Faraway Gone is a smart, fiercely compassionate crime story that explores the mysteries of memory and the impact of violence on survivors—and the lengths they will go to find the painful truth of the events that scarred their lives.

In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie-theater employees were killed in an armed robbery, while one inexplicably survived. Then, a teenage girl vanished from the annual State Fair. Neither crime was ever solved.

Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those unsolved cases quietly echo through survivors’ lives. A private investigator in Vegas, Wyatt’s latest inquiry takes him back to a past he’s tried to escape—and drags him deeper into the harrowing mystery of the movie house robbery that left six of his friends dead.

Like Wyatt, Julianna struggles with the past—with the day her beautiful older sister Genevieve disappeared. When Julianna discovers that one of the original suspects has resurfaced, she’ll stop at nothing to find answers.

As fate brings these damaged souls together, their obsessive quests spark sexual currents neither can resist. But will their shared passion and obsession heal them, or push them closer to the edge? Even if they find the truth, will it help them understand what happened, that long and faraway gone summer? Will it set them free—or ultimately destroy them?

 

Read an excerpt:

But Wyatt had already told Gavin that he’d do the favor for him.

If he tried to back out now, Gavin would want to know why.

Wyatt ran through the lies he could tell. He knew that Gavin would buy none of them.

Wyatt’s mouth tasted stale from the coffee he’d had with breakfast, so he scooped water from the faucet and rinsed his mouth.

He returned to his desk and sat back down.

“So a guy from Omaha goes on a business trip to New York City,” he said. “The guy he’s meeting takes him out to dinner. They have a couple of steaks. Amazing steaks. Prime porterhouses,
dry-aged. But expensive—this is New York City after all.”

Gavin finished writing a check and tore it out of the book.

“This is for a week, double your rate plus expenses. Don’t say you never did nothing for me.”

“The guy from Omaha says, ‘You know, if we were in Omaha right now, these steaks would only cost ten bucks.’ The guy from New York City just looks at him and says, ‘Yeah, but we’d be in
Omaha.’ ”

“That’s why you’re going, not me.” Gavin stood. “Oklahoma. Shit. What’s in Oklahoma? The wind sweeping down the plains. Have a nice trip.”

 

Author Bio:

Lou Berney is the author of two previous novels—Whiplash River, nominated for an Edgar Award, and Gutshot Straight, nominated for a Barry Award-as well as the collection The Road to Bobby Joe and Other Stories. A television and film screenwriter, he also teaches writing at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University.

Catch Up:

 

Tour Participants:

 

1. 3/01 Showcase @ Our Wolves Den
2. 3/02 Guest Post @ The Book Divas Reads
3. 3/04 Showcase @ Mommabears Book Blog?
4. 3/10 Review & Interview @ Keenly Kristin?
5. 3/11 Review @ Its a Mad Mad World
6. 3/14 Interview @ Hott Books
7. 3/24 Interview @ Writers and Authors
8. 3/24 Review @ Tea and A Book
9. 3/25 Showcase @ Ryder Islingtons Blog
10. 3/26 Review @ Luxury Reading

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

SHOWCASE: What The Fly Saw by Frankie Bailey


Posted by Ryder Islington, Author of Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, and coming this spring, Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery Ms. Bailey has an eye for detail. I’ve read some of her previous work and was quite impressed. This has to go on my TBR list. Check out Frankie Bailey’s latest novel:

What the Fly Saw

by Frankie Bailey

on Tour Feb 1 – March 28, 2015

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery (near-future police procedural) Published by: Minotaur Books Publication Date: March 3, 2015 Number of Pages: 336 ISBN: 10:1250048303 | 13:978-1250048301 Series: Detective Hannah McCabe #2 Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

Albany, New York, January 2020 (parallel universe) A blizzard sweeps up the coast and shuts down the city. When it is over, funeral director Kevin Novak is found dead in the basement of his funeral home. The arrow sticking out of his chest came from his own hunting bow. A loving husband and father and an active member of a local megachurch, Novak had no known enemies. His family and friends say he had been depressed because his best friend died suddenly of a heart attack and Novak blamed himself. But what does his guilt have to do with his death? Maybe nothing, maybe a lot. Three people — the minister of the megachurch, the psychiatrist who provides counseling to church members, and a medium visiting from the South – say they reached out to Kevin Novak. One of them might know why Novak was murdered. But Detective Hannah McCabe and her partner, Mike Baxter, must sort through lies and evasions as they try to find the killer. The relationship between the partners is threatened as McCabe deals with a political controversy involving her family, unanswered questions about their last high-profile case, and her own guilt because a young woman died after McCabe failed to act.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Saturday, January 18, 2020 5:47 AM After the storm had passed, in the chilly hour before dawn, the last of the “space zombies” found their way back to their nest in the derelict house. From his command post, the squad leader gave the signal. “Go!” A black van pulled up in front of the house. Albany PD vice cops wearing protective gear jumped out and stormed up the walk. They used a battering ram to smash open the wooden door. “Police! Albany PD!” “Police!” Their high-powered torches illuminated the grotesque horror movie creatures in the 3-D posters on the walls. One of the cops ripped down a dangling black plastic replica of the 2012 UFO. He tossed the boomerang-shaped object to the floor. Hippiefreaks, he thought. Ought to make them all go live out in the Mojave Desert and wait for the mother ship to arrive. He kicked at the nearest mattress on the floor. “Police!” he shouted down at the long-haired occupant. “On your feet!” Blank eyes in an eerie white-painted face stared up at him. “Hands up! Hands up!” the cop yelled as the kid stumbled to his feet. He shoved him against the wall and patted him down. Upstairs, in a bathroom, another cop had found a girl sprawled out, unconscious, on the dirty tile floor beside the toilet. She had vomited in the toilet bowl. Her jeans were stained with urine and feces. Reaching down, he shook her, and then rolled her onto her side to see her face beneath the mop of dark hair. A nasty bruise on her cheekbone stood out against the streaked white paint. He moved her red scarf aside to feel for a pulse in her throat. The scarf was damp, like her tee shirt and soiled blue jeans. “Whaddya have?” another cop asked from the doorway. “Looks like an OD,” the cop inside the bathroom said. “Still breathing, but the wagon had better get here fast.” “Got it,” the other cop said, touching thecomm button on his helmet. The cop in the bathroom spotted a smear of blood on the corner of the sink. That explained the bruise. She’d banged her face on the sink when she passed out. Downstairs in the kitchen, cops surveyed the debris of dirty dishes and rotting garbage – and an impressive array of drugs and paraphernalia. One of them lowered her weapon and observed, “With a stash like this, they could have stayed zonked out until the next UFO came to visit.”

Chapter 2

Saturday afternoon 3:17 PM Funeral director Kevin Novak stared at the Cupid and Psyche bronze clock on his host, Olive Cooper’s mantel. He had allowed himself to become marooned on a conversational island with Paige, Olive’s great niece. As Paige complained about the conversation and laughter filling the long room — the “rabble babble,” as sheput it — Kevin found a name for what he had been feeling for the past forty-eight plus hours. Grief. He was experiencing first-hand what he had often observed when relatives came into the funeral home after the unexpected death of a loved one. That first stage of grieving the experts described as denial, but he often thought of as amazement and disbelief. The stage of bereavement when family members spoke of their dead loved one in the present tense because they couldn’t yet believe their lives had been ripped apart. It seemed in this state of mind, one went through the usual motions, saying what was expected. But the shell was thin. His was developing cracks. He could tell because he felt no inclination at all to warn Paige Cooper that he had glanced over her shoulder and seen her Great Aunt Olive headed their way and Paige had better shut up. So he must be moving into the next stage: anger. “Where in the galaxy did Aunt Olive find these people?” Paige said. “Look at them.” “Some of them are from the church’s community outreach,” Kevin said. True, Olive’s guest list for this celebration of her life reflected her eccentricities. An odd assortment of guests: old friends, relatives, church members and business associates, and other people who tickled Olive’s fancy or touched her big heart. But they had all cleaned up and put on their best in Olive’s honor. “It’s freezing in here,” Paige said. She pulled the belt of her hand-knit cardigan tighter and held her hands out toward the fireplace. “Feels fine to me,” Kevin said. “It really is annoying we have to come out for this farce when there’s a blizzard on the way. The least Aunt Olive could do is heat this mausoleum. Everyone here except her will come down with pneumonia, and we’ll still have to do this all over again when she finally does kick off.” “When I finally do ‘kick off’, Paige,” her great aunt said, right behind her. “You may feel free not to attend my funeral. In fact, if you die first – maybe of the pneumonia you expect to catch – you’ll spare us both that annoyance. And for your information, it was your father who insisted on including you in this shindig.” Paige flushed an unbecoming shade of scarlet. “Aunt Olive, I didn’t mean –” “I know what you meant. Get yourself a glass of champagne, now you’re actually old enough to drink, and make the best of the situation.” Olive’s sharp gaze fastened on Kevin. “And since you already know you’re going to get to bury me when I’m dead, you can relax and enjoy the party.” “I always enjoy your parties, Olive,” Kevin said. “Come with me,” she said. “There’s someone I want you to meet.” Aware of Paige’s suspicious glare, Kevin smiled in her direction. That would teach the little brat to say funeral directors reminded her of vultures without first checking for one of the species within hearing distance. Vultures sometimes exacted their petty revenge. “At your service, Olive,” he said, offering his arm to the woman, who was eighty-five years old and counting and might well live to be a hundred. “How have you been?” she asked him. “Fine,” Kevin said. “Never better.” “Don’t give me that. Anyone who knows you can tell you’re still taking Bob’s death hard.” “Having your best friend collapse with a heart attack while you’re beating him at tennis and then die on the operating table can have that effect.” “It’s been over four months since it happened. You should be coping with it by now.” “I am coping with it.” “You’re still off-kilter. Not your usual self. That’s why I want you to meet Luanne Woodward.” “Luanne? That medium or spiritualist or whatever she calls herself that you found somewhere?” “I didn’t find her ‘somewhere’. She was the featured lecturer at a fundraiser.” “Lecturer? Don’t you mean ‘performer’?” “She talked about being a medium and answered questions. She’s an interesting woman. I think you could benefit from talking to her.” “I don’t believe in that hocus-pocus, Olive.” “I don’t believe in most of it, either. I’m almost ancient enough to remember the Fox Sisters and their flimflam. But, as I said, Luanne’s interesting. I invited her today so you could meet her.” Kevin noticed one of Olive’s guests filling his plate high with the urgency of a man who expected the bounty in front of him to disappear. “And do what?” he said in belated response to Olive. “Sign up for her next séance?” “That might not be a bad idea. Spiritual therapy, so to speak.” “I get my spiritual therapy at church on Sunday from our minister. You might consider doing the same.” “At my age, I take what I need from wherever I happen to find it. And the fact you’re going all righteous on me instead of laughing about my eccentricities, as you like to call them, proves you’re off-kilter. We need to get you putto right.” “Olive, I don’t think a medium and a séance will do the trick.” “You need an opportunity to confront your feelings.” “I have confronted my feelings. I confronted them after Bob died. I sought counseling from both Reverend Wyatt and Jonathan Burdett.” Olive stopped walking and glared at him. “Now, if you want to talk about hocus-pocus, psychiatrists are right up there. You lie on their couch spilling your guts. And they mumble an occasional Freudian pearl of wisdom while they’re thinking about how they intend to spend what they’re charging you.” “Burdett offers the option of sitting in a comfortable armchair, and, as you well know, his services are free to church members.” “The church pays his salary, so he’s not free. He’s full of his diplomas and his jargon, that’s what he is.” “And what about your medium? Is she one-hundred percent jargon free?” “Not a chance. They all have their language intended to impress, but she’s a hell of a lot more fun then Burdett. So come along and meet her.” “I suppose it would be a waste of time to say no?” “Yes, it would. You said you were at my service.” “Yes, I did say that.” Not much sleep last night or the night before. His moment of irritation with Paige had given way to weariness. No doubt he would feel the anger later. No chance he’d be able to skip over that stage. Not with the piper to pay. “Luanne,” Olive said to the plump, blonde woman sipping from a champagne glass as she observed the people around her. “I’d like you to meet Kevin Novak, the friend of mine I was telling you about.” “I’m so happy to meet you, Mr. Novak,” she said in a Southern drawl that suited her pleasant, round face. Her blue gaze met and held his. If he believed in such things, Kevin would have sworn she’d looked past his tailored suit and crisp white shirt, straight into his tarnished soul. He took a step back, and reached out to steady Olive, whose hand rested on his arm. “Sorry,Olive” he said. “I just remembered something I need to do.” Luanne Woodward said, “It’s all right, Kevin, honey. You don’t have to run away from me.” But he did, Kevin thought. He had to run as fast as he could.

Author Bio:

Frankie Y. Bailey is a mystery writer and a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY). Her academic research focuses on crime history, popular culture/mass media, and material culture. She has done research and writtenabout topics ranging from local history and women who kill to African American characters in crime and detective fiction. She is currently at work on a book about dress, appearance, and criminal justice. She is the author of two mystery series, featuring crime historian Lizzie Stuart, and Albany police detective Hannah McCabe. Frankie is a past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. A dog lover, she now shares her home with a Maine Coon cat/mix named Harry.

Catch Up:

Tour Participants:

1. 02/02/15 Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads 2. 02/05/15 Guest Post @ Writers and Authors 3. 02/08/15 Radio Interview @ Suspense Magazine 4. 02/08/15 Review @ Literary R&R 5. 02/09/15 Review @ Rhodes Review 6. 02/16/15 Review @ A Dream Within A Dream 7. 02/17/15 Guest Post @ Babs Book Bistro 8. 02/18/15 Guest Post @ Mythical Books 9. 02/19/15 Review @ Vics Media Room 10. 02/20/15 Review @ Real Army of Moms 11. 02/23/15 Review @ GoodReads 12. 02/24/15 Review @ Bless Their Hearts Mom 13. 03/02/15 Review @ Booksie’s Blog 14. 03/03/15 Review @ The Top Shelf 15. 03/04/15 Review @ Booked on a Feeling 16. 03/10/15 Showcase @ The Pen & Muse 17. 03/16/15 Review @ Bunnys Review 18. 03/20/15 Review @ FictionZeal

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SHOWCASE: Web of Betrayal by Clare Price


Posted by Ryder Islington, author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery and coming soon: ULTIMATE GAME, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

 

 

Web of Betrayal

by Clare Price

on Tour at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours October 20 – November 21, 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller

Published by: CFP Media Group, LLC

Publication Date: June 28, 2014

Number of Pages: 412

ISBN: 978-0-9903723-0-1

Purchase Links:

 

Synopsis:

There’s No Hiding in Cyberspace

The year is 1994, the dawn of the Internet Age, when companies from Silicon Valley to London are fighting to claim the billions to be made on the new information highway.

Peter Ellis, an aggressive investigative reporter struggling to repair his damaged reputation after being framed for rigging a story, attends the Consumer Electronics Show and learns that a skilled programmer known for cracking secure computer code has mysteriously disappeared.

Peter’s quest to find the missing programmer unwittingly pits him against a brilliant hacker and deranged killer with an agenda of his own: taking revenge on the man who ruined his life—computer industry luminary David Lockwood—who is now poised to introduce a product that will change the Internet forever.

As Peter is drawn into the deadly game of betrayal and murder, he is faced with losing everything he holds dear: his career, his one true love, even his own life. Can he find the programmer’s encoded disk—which the holds the key to the killer’s identity—before his luck runs out?

 

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

November 10, 1993: Cali, Colombia

The day Arnold Tollie burned alive was ordinary in every other respect.

It was business as usual as Toby Eastman unobtrusively parked his Piper Super Cub at the far end of the jungle landing strip just outside Cali. Toby instinctively chose secrecy over exposure whenever possible. He adapted like a chameleon, blending naturally into any background or situation. This trait had served him well in the past and it would do so again today.

Arno—as Toby called Tollie—was late. Arno was often late. Toby habitually threatened to take off without him; it was an empty threat and they both knew it. Toby and Arno protected each other in this jungle just as they had when they served together in Vietnam. It was Arno who had arranged for Toby’s introduction to Colombian drug lord Enrique Valdez when Toby needed cash and connections and didn’t care where he got them.

Toby walked to the edge of the landing field, peering down the path. Nothing.

The chatter of monkeys and screams of macaws above heightened his awareness of the silence on the trail. Come on, Arno, Toby thought, as impatience slid into nervous irritation. It was more than the flight delay that made Toby nervous this time. Arno was taking chances again, the way he had when they’d run drugs in ‘Nam. Nothing too big or too obvious, just a little bit off the top here and there. It was stupid and risky but Arno seemed to think he was invincible. Invincibility, Toby knew well, was not a factor of the human condition.

First Toby heard the footfalls, then the grunts and groans. Valdez’s men were walking down the trail. They were half-pushing, half-carrying Arno, bound and gagged, between them. Arno was barely walking. His face was pulverized.

Toby dove behind a stand of mangroves, watched, and waited. Arno was a big man. It took four of them to drag him to the open field where the bush pilots landed, where his death would serve as a warning to any other pilots who thought they could steal from Valdez. They staked him spread-eagle to the ground and began cutting holes in his clothes, exposing naked skin with the dispassionate precision of a surgical team. Arno writhed in the tight ropes as they dipped frayed sections of his clothing in kerosene. Kneeling, one of them massaged Arno’s hair with the oil as if for a shampoo.

Their methodical preparations, Toby realized with a sickening lurch in his stomach, were meant to avoid an explosive conflagration that would end quickly. They favored an excruciatingly tortuous burn that would slowly melt living flesh from bone. A human torch. As Toby waited through the night, unable to escape the sight, the smell and the screams, a human torch was exactly what Arnold Tollie became.

* * * * *

December 18, 1993: Palo Alto, California

The fire crackled. A tongue of flame broke free, reigniting dying embers, warming the room. Toby leaned back in his chair, took a small sip of his brandy and glanced around the tight space.

Henry Rhodes’s bachelor’s quarters held the same comfortable clutter that Toby remembered. A sagging green sofa and two wingback chairs faced the now-cheerfully crackling fire. An oversized bookcase against the wall held evidence of Henry’s two passions–volumes of the classical literature he loved and, in a testament to Henry’s thirty-five years of gainful employment, a wide range of computer manuals.

Henry sat in the other armchair, his feet barely reaching the floor. Like his home, Toby thought, enjoying the constancy, Henry hadn’t changed much in the last eighteen years. He was a small man, now sixty-two, rounded from his enjoyment of food and drink. His eyes closed in pleasure with his first sip of brandy.

“It’s good to see you, Toby,” Henry said. “I enjoyed all those letters, but it’s not the same as a real visit. Are you back in the Bay Area for good?”

“I’m not sure yet. What about you? Have you been traveling much?”

“Not as much as I’d like. I thought when I retired I’d have more time, but my consulting has almost become a full-time job.”

“The secret’s out, Henry–everyone’s finding out how good you really are. Of course, there were some of us who always knew it,” Toby replied, allowing himself another small sip of brandy.

Despite the warmth of the fire and the brandy coursing through his veins, Toby knew he couldn’t afford to relax; not until he had the computer disk back safely in his possession. He touched the glass to his lips once more and then pushed it aside, watching with pleasure as Henry finished his first drink.

“And how are your boys?” Toby asked.

“I’ve got a couple of boys who are real crypto-wizards. Give even you a run for the money,” Henry said, chuckling mildly as he set down the empty glass.

Henry referred to all the young engineers he’d shepherded through the company as “his boys,” even the women. Although Henry had been a talented software programmer in his own right, his company soon recognized he had an even greater ability to mentor the young college recruits they hired. Henry still kept in touch with most of them. Toby had been one of Henry’s boys, once, though his tour of duty in Vietnam had given him a later start than most of the others.

“I’ve got pictures. Would you like to see them?”

Toby nodded.

Henry disappeared into his bedroom and returned with a large manila envelope. He peered over Toby’s shoulder as Toby flipped through the pictures of a recent camping trip. Toby remembered those camping trips. This one was in Yosemite, with El Capitan visible in the background. Two young men stared at the lens. The young Asian man stood stiffly, uncomfortable in front of the camera. The impish smile on the other boy, a chubby-faced blond wearing a blue and white rugby shirt, tugged at Toby, snagging him with memories he thought he’d laid to rest years ago. Memories he could not afford to indulge, especially now.

“They look like great kids, Henry,” Toby said as he studied the prints.

“Smart, too. Like you. But I keep them on their toes. I’ve still got a puzzle game or two up my sleeve,” he said.

Henry sat down, poured a second glass of brandy and enjoyed a large swallow. He began talking about the old days, about the puzzle games, and how the competitive contests to crack encrypted computer code had helped discipline young minds like Toby’s and, in turn, had given Henry’s company valuable insights into the emerging field of cyber security.

The reminiscences were flowing as freely as the brandy. Another time, Toby thought, he could relax and enjoy them, but not tonight. Too much was at stake. Henry finished the last of his brandy with a flourish and stood, reaching for the bottle and Toby’s half-filled glass.

“No more for me, Henry. I have to go,” he said, rising. “I really just came to pick up that disk I sent you a few weeks ago.”

Henry looked up at Toby embarrassed, his smile sheepish.

“I know you told me keep that one strictly confidential, Toby. But your puzzles are always the best. It was just too tempting.”

“What do you mean?” Toby asked, forcing a casualness he did not feel.

“I couldn’t crack it. I tried, but it was beyond me.”

Toby smiled, starting to relax. “I’ll send you another. But I need this one back, tonight.”

“I don’t have it,” Henry said.

“What?” Toby fought to keep his voice calm.

“When I couldn’t solve it, I sent it to the boys to see what they could do with it.”

Henry’s tone was mildly irritated, as if Toby had forgotten who was the student, and who the master.

Toby’s mind spun, recoiling at the Hobson’s Choice Henry’s recklessness offered him. The one man he thought he could trust had betrayed him.

“Henry, that disk wasn’t just another puzzle,” Toby said vehemently. “That disk has information on it that belongs to some very powerful men.”

All the color drained from Henry’s face. “What kind of information?”

“Useful information, but only if you know what to do with it.”

Henry’s eyes blinked rapidly. He looked at Toby as if he’d never seen him before.

“Toby, what have you gotten yourself into?” he asked, his voice cracking.

“Nothing I can’t get out of. As soon as I get the disk back, everything will be fine.” Toby offered him a comforting smile. “You know me, Henry. Just tell me where the boys are and I’ll fix it,” he cajoled.

Henry gave Toby a concerned look. Then he turned, picked up pen and paper and rapidly scribbled names, email addresses and phone numbers. “I’m sorry, Toby,” he said, handing over the note.

You’re sorry? Toby queried silently. It’s too late for sorry. His mind flashed back briefly to the jungle, and the odor of the lump of burning flesh that had once been a man. The tension started in his neck and shoulders. Adrenaline kicked in, and with it the same rush of excitement and danger he’d always felt in the jungle right before the kill. Staring at his mentor, Toby felt uncontrollable rage explode inside of him, spouting like lava from an active volcano.

“You stupid old goat,” he snapped. “Why didn’t you do what I told you and keep that disk secure?”

Henry stood before him frozen in shock. His mouth sagged open in fear and protest. Toby understood his distress. The young recruit Henry had known wouldn’t dare speak to him that way. But Toby was no longer that man, if he had ever been. He reached into his pocket and palmed his stiletto, opening the blade. As it caught the bright light of the fire, Henry gasped. His expression changed rapidly from surprise to comprehension soaked with dread.

“Who are you?” Henry whispered, backing away. “What kind of animal have you become?’

Toby stared mercilessly at the man who had been his closest friend. Then, in one cat-like movement, he stepped across the room and grabbed Henry by the neck, pressing his fingers against the carotid artery. As the body went limp, Toby shoved his knife into the man’s back. The force of the thrust penetrated the kidney, twisting upward toward Henry’s heart. Black-red liquid oozed from the small wound, staining both their shirts.

The body shuddered and slumped against Toby. He stepped back letting it slip to the ground in the widening pool of its own blood.

His task completed, Toby paused, panting from exertion. Drawing a deep calming breath, he looked around the room investigating the scene, ready to cover his trail. He picked up his glass and swallowed the remaining brandy. A reward for a job well done. Then he pocketed the used glass and the photographs.

As he moved around the body lying lifeless on the floor, he glanced back for one last look. Henry’s eyes stared at the ceiling in surprise. A stream of pink blood trickled down his jaw.

The sight stopped him. His clean and uncomplicated exit from the house was suddenly impeded by a pull he hadn’t experienced in years, maybe since he’d sat under Henry’s tutelage at the company. Leashed by fleeting but honest remorse, he returned to the body and tenderly closed its eyes.

“I’m sorry, old friend. I truly am,” he whispered, his lips brushing against Henry’s ear. “But if it hadn’t been me, it would have been them.”

 

Author Bio:

Clare witnessed the birth of the commercial Internet firsthand as a research director with the Gartner Group, the global leader in information technology consulting. As a principle analyst in Gartner’s Internet Strategies Service, Clare assisted many of the world’s biggest technology companies (IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Sun Microsystems, Oracle) in their bid to make the information highway a reality.

That experience prompted her to write her first novel, WEB OF BETRAYAL, set in 1994 at the birth of the Internet. Fury is unleashed when a long simmering grudge match between a brilliant hacker turned killer and a renegade tech visionary erupts into murder and betrayal, and a struggling reporter risks his life and one true love to find the truth.

Clare began writing at age five with her short story, “My Dog Nicky.” In her career she has been a business journalist, tech industry journalist, Internet industry analyst and a VP of marketing for several software startups.

Clare is an Ohio native and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. degree in Rhetoric. She currently lives in Sacramento, California with her two Shetland Sheepdogs, Dan and Toby.

Catch Up With the Author:

 

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