From the desk of homicide detective, Sam Harper

It’s snowing again. Big wet flakes plunge from the evening sky to the streets below. From my fourth floor window the scenery looks as peaceful as the pictures on the Christmas cards Emma keeps on her desk. But the new layer of snow reminds me of the bodies piling up in the morgue. I close my eyes—each victim’s face flashes before them.

I curse under my breath and try to make sense of the killings.

Superstitions and biblical prophesies—old wives’ tales told to scare the shit out of weak men, and innocent children. Delusions of twisted beliefs rule the mind, poison the heart, and push unsuspecting fools to the brink of insanity.

To hell with what anyone says. There’s nothing supernatural about those boys we pulled out of the bay. They were dead long before their bodies surfaced and washed ashore. It was the water and natural processes, not demons that left us with little more than the discarded remnants of a madman’s fury. Yet the crimes are precise, planned like a well-choreographed dance, but even the most deliberate acts of violence are rarely perfect.

On the streets, tinsel and bright colored lights can’t mask the undercurrent of fear that has spread through the city and reporters are pressing for answers. All I need to hear is a slip of the tongue—just one mindless deed and the killer is mine. But solutions are in short supply and every minute measures another segment of time without answers. One inaccurate statement from me is all it would take to feed the media frenzy. This pack of journalists can lick their lips and starve before I’ll give them a crumb to feed on.

It’s later than I intended to stay. I’ve thumbed through the case file a million times and the lack of evidence stings like a sharp blow to the jaw. Facts seem distorted, leads haven’t panned out. Just when I thought I was close, the evidence pointed in a different direction. A familiar, unsettling jerk in the pit of my gut yanks harder with each ring of my cell. I know what’s coming. Don’t need to answer the call to know the killer has struck again. This time, that nagging little voice in the back of my head tells me I’m in for a long ugly chase down a narrow path that leads straight into hell.

Sam Harper

“The Devil Can Wait” November 3, 2008, ISBN: 978-1-905202-86-7
Second book in the Sam Harper Crime Mystery Series
www.martastephens-author.com

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