Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Find and Recover

By H. Susan Shaw
Mystery – 377 pages
Cover art by Richard Stroud

Katherine Anne Tucker moved to Pennsylvania to get away from her abusive ex-husband. She fled straight into more danger. Her best friend was killed before Kate arrived in Bedford County, PA.

Next on the soon-to-be-dead list, Kate was attacked. While trying to aid the police in their search for the killer, Kate exposes her friend’s daughter to danger and inherits a mobile home which is immediately torched. Katherine Anne Tucker stars in this mix of murder and mayhem.

“Someone’s out there, Kate.” Her voice was so hoarse I nearly asked her to repeat what she’d said. Then it sunk in.

No answer was needed—only action.

As I spun away from her and through the bedroom door, my mind was in overdrive. If I went out the kitchen door, the most direct route, the watcher in the back would see light from the opening door.
Front door, and quietly.

I sprinted down the hallway, across the foyer and out the door. I stopped to shut the door quietly.
Running on my toes, suppressing the noise of my flying feet, I darted around the shrubs toward the back yard. The T shape of the house worked to my advantage—even if reaching the backyard took longer because I had to skirt the bedroom wing, I would be hidden until I was lined up with the watcher Sara had seen. The intruder was within the triangle formed by the kitchen and bedroom walls.
Too close to people I love.

My mind was working faster than my feet. Sara’s window was only ten feet away, around the corner. To keep my presence hidden, I dropped to my knees before rounding the building’s angle. I was grateful I’d been wearing my black jeans, black top, and roper boots, rather than a skirt and pumps. My denim jacket was light blue.

Light-colored jacket shrugged off and stuffed silently under a bush, I was ready to advance to the corner and check out the yard. If I moved slowly and kept low, I should be invisible in the darkness.

I crawled to the corner, and peered around it. I saw a silhouette. Someone was there, standing in the yard.

No way to gauge height, not from where I was. The person was standing in front of the brick fireplace, about twenty-five feet from the house. All of us backyard sneaks were dressed in dark colors. I could see a pale roundness of face, turned toward the house. No other details.

Hoping for an opportunity to steal up to the watcher, I was disappointed. The fireplace was too far away. The shrubs were all close to the foundation. The entire backyard was open space. If I couldn’t use stealth, I’d use speed.

Lifting myself backwards, onto the balls of my feet, I prepared to go after the intruder. One hand still in contact with the damp grass, I was in the classic sprinter’s position. My lungs were filled with air. My muscles were taut, ready to spring. My mind was filled with outrage. I launched myself at the person staring at Sara’s home.

Running flat out, I gained speed with every step. I was more than halfway to the still figure. The back door opened.

When light filled the backyard, I was highlighted as if in a spotlight. Only a few feet from the watcher! The intruder disappeared around the house toward the driveway. That sucker could move.
Footsteps receded into the distance. From what I could hear, the runner only took a few crunching steps on the stone of the driveway before the noise changed to diminishing thuds on grass.
From the kitchen doorway, Allan demanded, “What’s going on out there? Kate? Lee? What’s happening?”

A disembodied voice behind me asked, “What did you see, Kate? Can you give me a description?”

I liked Allan, but right now I wanted to hit him. Instead, I went for the easy target. Swinging around, I planted my fists on my hips and snarled, “Why didn’t you tell him to stay on the couch?”

Lee, looming over me in the dark, ran his hand through his hair. “Frankly, I didn’t think it was necessary. I figured when I followed you out the front door, he’d stay where he was.”

Allan yelled from the lighted doorway. “Kate, Lee? What’s going on?”

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