Saturday, December 31, 2011

In the Sticks

By Joel Jurrens
320 pages
cover art by Richard Stroud

Murder comes to Cossack County when Deputy Lyle Hoffman finds the murdered and tortured body of a woman in a rural farmhouse.  The investigation will lead him down a path filled with ruthless outlaw bikers, where friends become suspects and dark secrets are brought to light.
He pulled into Angel Geode’s yard and called out his location to Pricilla. The place didn’t look much different on the outside than the last time he had been there. The lab team had come and gone without a trace. The ground was squishy from the earlier rain and his boots made sucking sounds in the soft earth as he walked to the porch. Once on the porch he noticed the yellow strip of plastic crime scene tape that said “POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS” was hanging by one end flapping in the breeze. The wind gusts from the storm must have torn it loose. He took his flashlight out of its holder on his belt and turned it on. The screen door was shut, but the inside door was open.
Kids coming to look at a murder scene was his first thought. Then he noticed the door had been forced open and the latch had been busted out of its frame. He looked at the inside door and could see a footprint where someone had kicked the door open level with the door knob. The footprint still glistened with moisture. Lyle shined the flashlight on the floor and saw a set of still-wet footprints headed across the kitchen’s linoleum floor.

The hair on the back of his neck stood to attention. He unbuckled his .357 from its holster and began to pull it out. It had just cleared the top of the holster when he saw the flash.

He saw the flash first. They should have been simultaneous, but they weren’t. The flash was first and then an instant later he felt the impact of the bullet striking him in the chest.

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