By DB Dakota
Mystery/Crime 330 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans
The movie stuntman’s fall on the set kills him, making his insurance beneficiaries—three people—wealthy. The detective discovers the Hollywood director’s previous shoots have been plagued with “accidents.” He’s killing stunt men to collect their insurance? The female private eye shadows suspects who are losing their grip on reality, scared that she knows what happened and how. So why doesn’t she pounce? Because she’s merciless, unconventional and forces perpetrators to break down and incriminate themselves.
She’s running lab and field tests on props and equipment because the murderer used high-tech materials to rig a foolproof accident. Inciting mistrust, she’s turning the suspects against each other. Bombarded by the PI’s ambushes, the trio can’t work. So they cover up the evidence—try to, for the investigator anticipates the maneuver. She’s not surprised by who shows up as the killer—but readers will be, and relish the war of nerves.
“Do deer work nights?” Ty inquired, with his eye on the monitor. “I see one clocking in already.”
Mitch peered and leaned closer. “How did…? We’re in the middle of a residential—there’s another deer.”
“Deer have become suburbanites in many localities,” Thornburgh submitted with a shrug.
“They take the subway.” Ty pointed out the window. “An arroyo right out there and down the hill. When water runs, it comes from way up in the mountains down to a ponding area and on into a drainage ditch that feeds the Rio Grande. The pond is a mall where the flesh-eater gangs hang out—don’t go there. It’s crowded at night with varmints, and they meet up with their competitors up here from El Paso who paddle up the river or take I-25. A desert subway is not a sociable place to be unless you’re high enough on the food chain to pack a six iron.”
“Look, Ty, your crows took off,” Thornburgh whispered, inching closer to the screen.
“I didn’t say a word to them, now did I?”
“Something scared them off,” Mitch gasped, glancing at Thornburgh the orchestrator. “What did that?”
“Nothing’s on the set.”
“That deer is looking off-camera, waiting for a cue,” Ty pointed to the screen. “Cute little doe, huh? Now she’s— Hey, she’s not hanging around, either. Watch her go.”
“Frightened by a bear, maybe?” Mitch frowned.
“No, she’s going backstage to check her makeup—hey, see that?”
“Yeah. Something flitted in and out of the picture.”
Ty’s jaw dropped. “It was a human, swear to god.”