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Title: PRETTY BROKEN DOLLS
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 302
Genre: Crime Thriller

In the thin light of the moon, the woman’s limp body hangs from the iron fence amongst the redwoods. Looped over the railings is the little gold locket her mother gave her when she turned sixteen. The picture of the girl inside smiles out at a future she’ll never see…

As day breaks over the fairground, Detective Katie Scott forces herself to take in another disturbing scene in front of her. A woman, the same age as her, found slumped in the carriage of the Ferris wheel, red lipstick dragged across her lips, her throat cut.

Katie doesn’t want to believe that the serial killer picking off women across the state has found their way to the small town of Pine Valley, California, but when her team finds a gold engagement ring hanging nearby, it’s a terrifying, but undeniable fact.

With a twisted killer on her doorstep, Katie knows if she doesn’t act fast, she’ll find more women left out in the cold like broken dolls. Her team hit dead end after dead end, but only she can see the vital link between the victims: a connection with Katie herself.

Katie has spent years pushing traumatic memories of her years in the military far out of reach, but she must confront them now or more innocent women will die. But as the killer circles closer and closer to Katie, what if the only answer is to give him what he wants? There must be another way…

Warning – This absolutely unputdownable thriller will keep you up all night! Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh better hold on tight for a nail-biting rollercoaster ride!

PRAISE

5 Stars! “This is the first book in the series I have read – and I want more! Suspense up to the end, characters I enjoyed, and K9 units. Loved it!” – NetGalley

5 Stars! “As always this Jennifer Chase thriller just cries out to be read in one sitting. Here we see Katie get tangled up with a serial killer although it takes time before anyone takes her seriously. Great characters and a great story, I loved this book.” – NetGalley

PROLOGUE

The front door stood ajar. It bumped gently against the jamb in rhythm with the evening breeze. The screen remained wide open and was bent precariously around the aluminum frame. Pieces of broken glass from a shattered light bulb above had scattered across the porch, leaving behind a shadowy darkness draped across the front of the small house.

The neighborhood remained quiet; the light blue one-story cottage eerily so. No outside illumination or motion lights flooded the front area. The blooming climbing vines and perfectly manicured bushes were eclipsed by the darkness.

Headlights approached.

A small, dark vehicle pulled into the driveway. Waiting a moment before turning off the engine, a woman pushed open the car door and stepped out. The young redhead was dressed for the evening, in a sparkly blouse and tight black pants. Wavering a moment in her spiked sandals, she looked at the house in curiosity—and then in disappointment. Quickly grabbing a warm jacket from inside the car and slipping it on, she walked up the driveway.

“Jeanine, where are you?” she whispered and headed to the front door, ignoring the shattered light bulb on the step crunching under her feet. She knocked on the door. “Jeanine,” she said, more loudly, leaning closer to the opening. “We waited for you… you missed a great party.”

No response.

The front door pushed open, revealing a darkened interior.

“Jeanine?”

The woman hesitated but seemed to be pulled by an unknown force. She stepped over the threshold, not bothering to close the door, and moved through the living room. Confused by the darkness, she turned on a lamp sitting on a small table. The room lit up instantly. Everything seemed in place. The oversized beige couches with brightly colored throw pillows, the dark mahogany coffee table with neatly stacked magazines and books precisely centered appeared usual for Jeanine’s house. It was always neat and organized.

“Jeanine?” the woman said again. “Are you here?”

The woman walked around and checked the kitchen and small bedroom, but there wasn’t any sign of her friend. She eyed a piece of paper on the counter and decided to leave a quick note, scratching out that she had stopped by and asking Jeanine to call her when she got the message.

She suddenly noticed a strange high-pitched whistling noise coming from the other side of the living room. Curious, the woman moved closer to the sound. The back sliding door was slightly open. The crack was enough for the wind to invade and make a strange noise.

Her foot touched something. A tall turquoise vase that had been sitting on a shelf nearby was now lying on the carpet. It seemed strange to her that it had been knocked over. She bent down and picked up the vase, replacing it on the shelf.

She retrieved her cell phone from her pocket and tried calling Jeanine again. It rang numerous times and then went to voicemail where Jeanine’s upbeat voice said, “Hi, sorry I missed your call but please don’t hang up. Leave a message and I’ll get right back to you.”

The greeting was followed by a quick beep.

“Jeanine, it’s Mandy again and now I’m standing in your living room. Where are you, girl? Everyone was asking about you tonight. Hey, and you left your front door open. Call me.” She ended the call.

Mandy was about to head back to the front door to leave, but something stopped her—it didn’t feel right—and instead, she stood at the sliding door staring out into the large backyard where dense rows of pine trees and acacia bushes huddled around the house’s boundary. During the day, the property appeared green and lush, but now it looked gloomy and foreboding.

Mandy flipped on the outside light, but it only lit up the patio areas directly outside the house, and the extended wooded region still looked dark.

She pulled open the sliding door and the wind whipped through the house. It chilled her. Goosebumps scuttled up her arms. Worry now set in and she didn’t know what to do. Redialing Jeanine’s number, Mandy listened to it sound again and in unison heard the faint, far-off ringing of a phone somewhere in the distance.

She stepped outside, trying to decipher where the ringing was coming from. “Jeanine?” she said, noticing that one of the outside chairs had been toppled over and lay precariously on its side.

Moving off the stone patio and pulling her jacket more tightly around her, Mandy slowly trudged toward the trees, a bit wobbly in her shoes. She turned on the flashlight mode on her cell phone and moved forward.

She dialed Jeanine again. This time, she heard the distinct ringing of the cell phone coming from the trees—low at first and then it rang louder.

Jeanine,” she said, with barely a whisper. Her voice sounded oddly distant.

Looking down, she saw where there were crushed weeds and small broken branches as if someone had walked back and forth recently. Still, she kept moving forward, into the trees, swinging her cell phone back and forth which only illuminated a tiny patch of ground in front of her, creating dense shadows outside its beam.

Her pulse quickened.

Anxiety escalated.

Something fluttering on a bush caught her eye. She leaned closer, focusing. As she moved the cell light beam nearer, it revealed a piece of white fabric with a mother-of-pearl button still attached.

Mandy gasped.

It wasn’t the fact that she had seen Jeanine wear that pretty white blouse on so many occasions, it was the droplets of crimson spattered across the fabric that shoved a spear of fear into her gut.

Thoughts of dread and horror-filled scenarios ran through Mandy’s mind. Urgently, she pushed the redial button on her phone again.

The sound of Jeanine’s ringtone rang in the darkness. This time it kept ringing and there was no cheerful message.

Mandy walked further into the dark realm of the trees, still hoping that there was a logical explanation. Stepping over old branches with loud crunching noises and sidestepping bushes just before reaching the back fence of the property, she managed to make her way to the sound of the ringing phone.

Everything went quiet.

Mandy stood a foot from the phone lying on the ground. It mesmerized her. She slowly bent down to pick it up. With a startled gasp, she stepped back, dropping the phone as she stared at her hand. It was covered in blood.

In a frenzied panic, Mandy ran past the phone and continued along the low wrought-iron fence. The flashlight feature dimmed and she couldn’t see where she was going. Slowing her pace, she glimpsed something white and moving slightly.

“Jeanine? What’s going on?” She spoke in a strained whisper.

Trying to catch her breath and calm her hammering pulse, Mandy approached. Her cell phone flashlight surged and shone brightly on the blood-soaked white silk blouse, now shredded from Jeanine’s right shoulder. She reeled back at the sight of her friend.

Mandy couldn’t tear her eyes away from the horror. Her throat constricted as her breath trapped in her chest. She staggered backwards, taking in the entire scene—unable to turn her focus away.

Her friend’s upper body was impaled on the iron fence penetrating from her back through her ribs, and her throat was slit open. Her head flopped down, lifeless eyes trained on the ground. Her long brown hair fell forward, some strands sticking to the blood seeping from her chest. Her arms hung at her sides, legs crooked, like a marionette waiting for someone to pull the strings. Blood still dripped from her body, sliding down her arms to her fingertips before collecting on the ground—the wet crimson almost matching her fingernail polish. The body was shoeless and Jeanine’s feet were dirty and bloody—as if she had been running through the woods barefoot.

It was the sight of Jeanine’s face that made her sob in terror. Caked in grotesque makeup, making her look like a caricature of herself—a hideous broken doll. Red lipstick drawn heavy around her lips, dark purples for blush on her cheeks, and dark blues for eye shadow made her look like a circus clown instead of her friend.

Beside Jeanine’s body, a necklace hung on the fence. It was a small locket that she always wore, which her mother had given her when she turned sixteen.

Mandy mouthed the word “Jeanine” but no sound escaped her lips. Realizing she still had her cell phone in her hand, she tried to dial 911 but fumbled a few times with the buttons before she heard the words, Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?”

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3xDXuU9

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. You can visit her website at www.authorjenniferchase.com or connect with her on TwitterGoodreads and Facebook.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Jennifer Chase

  • I always write my novels in my bare feet. It’s just comfortable and I’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember. It has happened once or twice that I had to put on a pair of socks if the winter is extra cold.
  • I was born and raised in California, and currently reside there. But, I’ve lived in Oklahoma and Colorado for a short period of time.
  • I’ve had dogs in my entire life ever since I was two years old. My first dog was a Golden Retriever.
  • I won an open tennis tournament when I was fourteen years old.
  • I thought seriously about becoming a veterinarian because of my love for animals.
  • I don’t drink coffee! I love the smell of freshly ground coffee, hate the taste with a passion, but I’ve been known to eat coffee ice cream on a whim. A little bit crazy—I know.
  • I write left handed, but I’m ambidextrous in most activities.
  • My favorite city in California is Santa Barbara.
  • The snack I like to eat I’m writing is black licorice—especially when I write about serial killers.
  • I love to write when it’s raining.

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JChaseNovelist

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferChase/

About the Book

On the floor, amongst the piles of freshly pressed laundry, lay the woman’s lifeless body, her pale yellow nightdress soaked in blood.
“I didn’t do it…” came a whisper from the corner of the room.

Detective Katie Scott has never seen two people more in love than her aunt and uncle as they danced on the decking the night of their wedding anniversary party. But the next morning, when Katie finds her aunt’s body sprawled across the floor, that perfect image is shattered forever.

All fingers point to Katie’s uncle, Pine Valley’s beloved sheriff and protector – after all, his prints are all over the antique knife found at the scene. Grieving, but certain of her uncle’s innocence, Katie is consigned to the cold case division after she’s discovered searching the house for clues. Does someone want to keep her as far away from this investigation as possible?

Ignoring warnings from her team, Katie digs into her uncle’s old case files and discovers photographs of the body of a young girl found tied to a tree after a hike in search of a rare flower. Her body is covered with the same unusual lacerations her aunt suffered. Katie knows it can’t be a coincidence, but every lead she follows takes her to a dead end.

Moments before the sheriff is arrested, Katie realizes that a single piece of thread she found at the crime scene could be the missing link that will stitch old crimes to new. But how can she prove her uncle’s innocence without throwing herself directly into the line of fire? She doesn’t have a choice, he’s the only family she has left

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Katie focuses her mind, trying to keep another anxiety attack at bay. The victim’s long brown hair is slick and wet, her body rigid in the grass. She looks more like a mannequin than the woman Katie had spoken with only yesterday, the woman she had promised to protect… 

When a cold, naked body is discovered by a couple on a jog through the lush woodlands of Pine Valley, California, new recruit Detective Katie Scott is stunned to discover the victim is Amanda Payton – a much-loved local nurse and the woman at the heart of an unsolved case she’s been investigating whilst getting a grip on her crippling PTSD.

Weeks earlier, Amanda had run, battered and bruised, out into the headlights of a passing patrol car. She claimed to have just escaped a kidnapping, but with no strong evidence, the case went cold. The Pine Valley police made a fatal mistake… 

Katie is certain the marks on Amanda’s wrists complete a pattern of women being taken, held captive and then showing up dead in remote locations around Pine Valley – and she won’t let someone die on her watch again.

But then a beautiful office worker with a link to the hospital where Amanda worked goes missing. With only days before the next body is due to show up, can Katie make amends for her past by saving this innocent life?

Totally gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Nothing will prepare you for this nail-biting roller-coaster ride…

Readers adore Jennifer Chase!

THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS PUTTING THIS BOOK DOWN!!!!!… I was literally holding my breathI HAD TO KNOW!!!!! As for the explosive ending WOW definitely not what or who I was expecting.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

I was really wowed by itI couldn’t put the book down and was trying to read as fast as I could so I could find out who the killer was. The ending took me by surpriseI was literally gasping for air… I would definitely recommend.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Wow what an absolutely amazing fantastic read. I was hooked almost as soon as I started this book. I am still trying to pick my chin off the floor. I loved it from page one and couldn’t read the pages quick enough. I did not see the end coming…Awesome.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

If you read one police thriller this year make sure that it is this one… it will grip you from the start and will drag you into the story trying desperately to work out who the killer is but I promise you that you will not be able to figure it out.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘A great way to start a new series! It’s a wonderfully written roller-coaster ride. A must read!Book Obsessed Introverts, 5 stars

Wow!The hairs on my head stood up with this one!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

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Amazon → https://tinyurl.com/yxdmmftw

Book Excerpt

A heavy evening mist clung to the windshield of the police car, obscuring the view of the forgotten neighborhood. In the few occupied houses curtains were drawn tightly leaving only thin cracks of light seeping around the edges. Some homes even had bars across the windows. This small rural community had been ignored by the rest of the lively, growing town around it for too long. It was in desperate need of attention and restoration.
Deputy Stan Miller flipped on the wipers to clear his view, only to smear streaks of dirt across the windshield. He let out an annoyed sigh and turned the wipers to a higher speed—making it worse—and then off again.
“Now you’ve done it,” said Deputy Karl Windham beside him, and Miller laughed in spite of himself after a long and uneventful night shift.
“You’re going to criticize me?” Miller joked. “Me? The guy who has your back?” He sat up straighter, sucking in his waist and adjusting his seatbelt; it was no use pretending he hadn’t put on a few extra pounds recently.
“It’s the kiss of death out here tonight,” complained Windham watching out the side window as the mist turned to light rain.
“I bet it was Sheriff Scott’s idea to double us up, with all those recent ambushes on cops around the state.”
“It probably has something to do with the mayor’s office. Who knows? You know how they don’t tell us anything, even though we’re the ones putting our asses on the line every shift.” Still gazing out of the window, he watched a dark figure dart around a garbage can and disappear into the darkness, then he turned his attention to a skinny cat scurrying along the sidewalk, nose close to the ground tracking something.
The rain got heavier as they drove deeper into the Basin Woods Development. There were no other vehicles on the road. No lights in the distance. Only darkness.
“You hungry?” asked Miller.
“I wouldn’t turn down a cup of coffee,” replied Windham.
“Me neither.”
Deputy Miller took his eyes off the road for a moment to check the time and looked back just in time to see a slender woman stagger into the road ahead of them. She stopped still in the headlights. Her long hair, wet from the rain, was plastered against her head and around her face. She wore only a pair of panties and a tattered tank top. She looked terrified, dark eyes pleading in the glare of the lights, her mouth forming words they could not hear.
“Hey!” yelled Windham to his partner. “Stop!”
Miller jammed on the brakes, making the patrol car bounce to a stop inches before hitting the young woman. Weak and unbalanced, she fell to her knees. In the glare of the headlights, both men could clearly see the dirt embedded on her face and neck, the blood seeping from wounds on her hands, elbows, legs, and feet.
Deputy Miller turned to his partner with wide eyes. “What the…?” Jamming the vehicle into park he picked up the radio. “Dispatch, this is 3741, we have a possible 10-16 at Lincoln and Travis. Will keep you updated. Copy.”
“Copy that,” replied Dispatch.
He nodded to Windham who swung open the car door and ran to kneel beside the woman. “Miss…” he spoke gently. “Are you alright?”
She shook uncontrollably. Her head and shoulders drooped as her mouth tried to form around a word.
“Can you tell us what happened?” Windham said.
He gently touched her shoulder and she flinched away from him. “It’s okay. You’re okay now,” he reassured.
“Truth… truth… the truth… you don’t understand… otherwise…” she finally managed between gasps for breath. “I told the truth…” she muttered.
“What truth?” asked Deputy Miller who had retrieved a blanket from the trunk and now stood a few feet away.
She stopped speaking and slowly looked up at the deputy, her eyes filled with fear. Then she whispered, “I told the truth… I told the truth… told… the truth.”
Both deputies carefully helped the woman up and gently wrapped the blanket around her.
“What’s your name?” asked Windham.
“A… Aman… Amanda,” she said slowly.
“Okay, Amanda. We want to help you. Can you tell us what happened?”
“I tried…” she whispered. “It was…” Her voice trailed off.
Deputy Miller opened the back door to the patrol car as his partner gently guided her to sit down in the backseat. Miller handed her a small bottle of water and, after a few moments, her eyes focused on the officers and her breath began to steady.
Deputy Windham kneeled down to her eye level and asked, “Amanda, can you tell us what happened to you? Do you remember what happened? Anything?”
She shook her head as more tears welled up in her eyes.
“It’s okay.”
“A blue door with white trim,” she said quietly. “A big box…”
“What else, Amanda? Can you remember anything else?”
“There was a fantasy tree…”
Confused by the description, the deputy tried to make sense of it, pushing gently to pry out any more details from her. “Can you tell us what happened?”
Taking a couple of deep breaths, she finally spoke: “I was k-kidnapped.”

About The Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

Website → https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Twitter → https://twitter.com/JChaseNovelist

Facebook → https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferChase/

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Title: Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1)
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 377
Genre: Thriller/Crime

BOOK BLURB:

He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could save her. He could let her sleep forever.

An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.

But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.

Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.

And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.

Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the little girl before it’s too late?

Compulsive and gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Katie Scott’s first case will have you on the edge of your seat and gasping with shock.

Readers love Jennifer Chase!

‘WHAT A FANTASTIC READ! OMG! I just finished reading this book! It was an absolute thrilling, edge-of-your-seat read!… I couldn’t believe who the serial killer was; I thought I knew but was surprised! I could not put it down… BRAVO JENNIFER!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘GREAT!!! Thoroughly enjoyed!!! Jennifer Chase has become one of my favorite crime thriller authors. She totally captures you from beginning to end!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Fantastic read! The author kept me hooked from the first page till the last. I truly thought I knew the serial killer… Boy was I wrong. This is a fantastic read, it kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire time. Well done!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow!… Such a gripping tale… I couldn’t stop reading and found myself daydreaming about it while I was supposed to be working… A gripping thriller with multiple twists and turns. A must read!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Great book. I really liked it! Would like reading more of her books! This book keeps you involved and unable to put it down!! Great!!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Action-packed… An adrenaline-packed book from start to finish. ’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow… This book will take you for a ride. Have you soaked right in till the end! Absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read another from this author!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘This is one of the best books I have read in a while.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘From beginning to end this is a non-stop thriller.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Real page turner. I read this book in two hours. I could not put it down. I never guessed who the killer was until he was revealed. Mind blowing.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Captivating from beginning to the last page. A “who did it” crime mystery that keeps you guessing, and then changing your mind!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one. I could not put this book down. A real page turner full of suspense!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

http://tinyurl.com/y582nct2

Book Excerpt:

Prologue

The oversized tires obliterated the rural roadway before the large truck came to an abrupt stop. The driver stalled the engine. Dust rose in a curious flowering cloud, swirling in front of the vehicle’s hood and creeping toward the back of the camper shell. When the surrounding vicinity finally cleared, a dense forest landscape emerged.

The truck overlooked the sheer cliff and rugged scenery that had become a permanent roadblock. The usual silence of the deserted region was interrupted by the incessant and rhythmic sound of a cooling engine.

Tick… Tick… Tick…

The vehicle remained parked. No one moved inside the cab or got out. The truck stayed immobile as if an unlikely statue in the vast wilderness—a distinct contrast between nature and manufactured steel.

The truck sat at the ideal vantage spot, which was both mesmerizing and terrifying for any spectator; but still the occupant chose to wait. The intense high beams pierced ahead into the picturesque hills, leaving a hazy view of the area above the massed trees.

When the driver’s door finally opened, a man stepped out, his steel-toed leather work boots hitting the dirt. They were well-worn, reflecting the many miles he had walked and the many hours he had labored. Swiftly the door shut as the man, medium build and wearing only a plain dark T-shirt, walked to the back of the truck and, with a loud bang, released the lift gate. He moved with purpose and with a calm assertiveness, as if he had performed this particular task many times before. His weathered hands, calloused from years of working with heavy tools and machinery without the protection of leather gloves, had a certain agility and speed.

He grasped two well-used shovels, a large arching pick, and a bulky utility garbage bag. As he tossed the bag onto the ground, the top burst open and several medium-sized teddy bears spilled out. Their smiling faces accentuated the brightly colored ribbons tied around their necks, contrasting with the muted shades of their surroundings.

The man pushed the floppy bag aside with the toe of his boot. He worked in quiet solitude, no humming, no whistling, and no talk.

He flipped on the flashlight fixed to his baseball cap. Straight ahead and slightly arced, the large beam illuminated his path while he strode steadily toward a particular wooded area.

The surrounding thickets and trees remained still without any wind to rustle the leaves. The only audible sound was the man’s quick footsteps—never with any hesitation. He walked with the gait of a young man, despite his stature of someone older.

He hesitated as if he had forgotten something, standing motionless with his arms down at his sides and his head hung forward as he shone the bright light at the ground and the tops of his boots. He still held firmly to the tools. He mumbled a few inaudible sentences of a memorized prayer, which sounded more like a warning than a passage from the Bible, then he raised his head and continued to walk into the dense forest.

Dropping his tools, he carefully pushed a pine branch aside and secured it with a worn piece of rope that had been left for the purpose. An opening was exposed—a tunnel barely large enough for a man to enter.

He grabbed his digging tools once again and proceeded. The flashlight on the front of his cap brightened the passageway as it veered to the right. He followed, only ducking his head twice before the path opened to an area with several boulders sticking out of the cliff. Clusters of unusual rock shapes, some sharp, some rounded, made the terrain appear more like a movie set or backdrop.

A narrow dirt path of crude, sloping man-made steps dropped fifteen feet to a landing jutting out from the rock formation. A small yellow flag was stuck into the earth, marking a spot. A slight evening breeze picked up, causing the flag to flutter.

The man balanced the shovels and pick against the hillside and pulled a hunting knife from a sheath attached to his belt. Pressing the bone handle tight against his palm, he drew the blade through the packed dirt to mark a rectangular pattern on the ground.

He stared intently at the soil, then retrieved the pick, gripping it tight, and swung it hard against the dry, heavily compacted earth. It dented the surface, spewing chips of dirt in every direction. A few small rocks buried in the soil since the beginning of time hampered his progress, but after several more arced swings, the ground began to crumble, exposing the fresh earth.

The heavy pick was exchanged for one of the shovels. Soon there was a small pile of California soil, comprised of sand, silt, clay, and small rock. The repeated movements of dig, scoop, and deposit continued for more than forty-five minutes at a brisk pace. The hard work of manual labor didn’t deter him. It only made him more determined to create a work of genius—his ultimate masterpiece.

At last he stepped back and admired his handiwork, perspiring heavily through his shirt from the effort. Exhilaration filled his body, keeping his muscles flexed and his heart pumping hard. He leaned against the shovel, a smile forming on his lips as he waited for his pulse to return to normal, and marveled at the unmistakable outline of a freshly dug grave.

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

Her latest book is the thriller, Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1).

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 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Dead Cold  Scene of the Crime

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

 

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Jennifer Chase

“The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.

A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.

The anonymous whispers stopped.

All buzzing in his ears stopped.

Roger Case’s heart stopped too.”

–From Scene of the Crime by Jennifer Chase

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. Her latest book is Scene of the Crime, Book 2 in the Palmer Forensic Mystery series.

SceneoftheCrime

Book Description:

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.

Interview:

Welcome Jennifer! Can we begin by having you tell us how you got started writing mysteries? Did the movies influence you? Books?

Jennifer: Books, movies, news headlines, true crime stories have all inspired my writing. I’ve loved books ever since I was old enough to appreciate the amazing stories at the library. Mysteries have a special place for me. I love puzzles, forensic evidence, and the delicate balance of the human psyche of what makes a person do the things they do. I’ve always written stories and screenplays, but it was not until 2008 did I chose to write novels professionally and I have not looked back.

Do you find writing mysteries comes natural to you or did you struggle sometimes?

Jennifer: I think when you love something, it comes a bit more easily and you don’t have to fight as hard. I have more ideas than I could ever write in a lifetime. It’s difficult to turn off the writer’s brain sometimes. These ideas come to me when I’m basically anywhere, running errands, exercising, driving, and even in the shower.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Jennifer: Anyone can write. You have to sit down with something to say and convey it to the reader. But, I do feel that you have to understand emotions, not necessarily feel all of them in order to express emotions in your characters that readers will respond to. It helps, for example, that if you’ve felt great loss or extreme fear at some time in your life to write those strong emotions with conviction.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Jennifer: That’s a very interesting question. The way I see it, at least for me, is that it’s the ultimate expression to tell a story and have your readers experience an incredible journey understanding what you’re trying to express. My first novel, Compulsion, was actually similar to therapy for me as I wrote it. I had experienced a violent psychopath neighbor, so being able to write through my stress and experiences was very liberating.

How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?

Jennifer: It’s a difficult balancing act. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but it is challenging field because there’s no sure thing in this career. There are definite successful levels that you can achieve, such as a best seller and award winner, but that doesn’t mean you’ve now have it made. Every book you write there is always some type challenge you must meet and overcome.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book, Scene of the Crime?

Jennifer: Taunting the police and orchestrating killer hit squads, The Slayer is the ultimate puppet master. He believes that he has discovered the recipe for the perfect murder.

Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins, together they are reunited as a team to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—leaving them vulnerable and fighting to stay alive. But that still doesn’t stop the sparks to ignite between them.

What was the hardest scene to write?

Jennifer: With my background in criminology and profiling, most would think that writing from the mind of a serial killer would be easy. To some degree it is for me, but it takes the most energy and effort to create the killer in a way that doesn’t seem contrived and superficial. I make sure that I put aside enough time with breaks to complete this part of the book.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point when the reader just can’t put the book down. Can you give us one of those pivotal points in your book?

Jennifer: Without giving anything away, there will be someone within the underdog team that will be kidnapped and you’re not going to see it coming. Everything changes from that point on for the characters.

Will there be a follow up book to Scene of the Crime or other books in the near future?

Jennifer: Absolutely. I love creating mysteries for Dr. Chip Palmer to solve. Evidence of the Crime will be out early 2019. In addition, Dark Lies from the Emily Stone Thriller Series will be out this fall.

Thank you so much for the interview!

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Title: SCENE OF THE CRIME (Book 2 of Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery Series)
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 300
Genre: Mystery Suspense

BOOK BLURB:

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.

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Chapter 1

NOTHING CAPTURED HIS ATTENTION. IT wasn’t as if he wasn’t looking for anything specific or that he didn’t care about anything, but everything became like white noise. Looking down, he spotted a couple squashed beer cans, which had resulted from the constant compression of car tires repeatedly running over them. Now they lay in the gutter unnoticed—as discarded litter. Out of boredom, he kicked the aluminum pancakes with his worn out running shoes. The compressed disks clattered a ways before landing back in a different part of the same gutter, just as his life.

Roger Case was in one of those moods where everything seemed futile. It was a time when his temperament plummeted; he entertained the spirit of defeat, which was becoming more common these days. His concentration slipped farther into the dwindling mindset of drugs and crime to the point of mania. Rationalizing his motives, he preferred to enact self-medication.

He needed something strong to take away his thoughts of negativity. The repetitive movements of his hands and arms worsened. He wanted anything that would take away his fears, his depression, and his unrelenting obsession for the next quick fix. Roger knew that even when he felt the most empowering high that there was a high price to pay—and it was predictable and inevitable—the hard, downward crash.

Roger hadn’t always been teetering on that slippery slope, dangling over the life of crime; in fact, he still remembered when things were normal and even mundane. He grew up in a typical middle class family with his mom and dad, along with his older brother and sister. Reflecting on those memories now, he would trade just about anything to have those times back.

Now he waited with anticipation for his contact. It was going to make everything better—at least for a while. He convinced himself that just a little bit of crystal meth would help him get back on track—to see things clearly again. It wasn’t as if he was a full-blown addict, he just needed something to help motivate and push him in the right direction.

He heard a hollow scraping noise and stopped to listen. Standing quietly, still straining to hear, but that sound never repeated. He looked around. Curious. The sound seemed to resonate in his head instead of around the street. Upon further inspection, he realized it came from inside the cement structure.

The old water treatment plant had been decommissioned by the county some time ago, now outdated, and was nothing more than an eyesore gathering the grime and deteriorating aspects of time gone by. Something loomed in Roger’s vision and waited in darkness—he strained his eyes looking into the long structure that seemed to lead to nowhere.

Maybe his connection made a change of plans and the meeting place was at the cement sinew, and out of sight from any onlookers, or cops happening by on their route. It was possible. At this point in Roger’s life, anything was possible.

Roger contemplated his options for a moment and then decided to check it out. He turned toward the water treatment plant and headed inside. The first thing he noticed was the temperature difference—cold and damp compared to the warmer street areas.

He slowed his pace, unsure if he should call out or announce his presence. Fidgeting nonstop with his hands, pressing his fingers tighter and then releasing them, Roger moved farther into the tunnel.

A shuffling sound came from the other end.

“Hello?” he finally said, his voice weak and tinny which made him unconsciously twitch.

A muffled dragging sound was the responded answer. It resonated from the back-left area.

“Hey, I don’t have time for this… you either want the money or not.” He tried to sound tough but his nerves were frayed. It wasn’t something he was used to feeling. In fact, Roger couldn’t remember the last time he felt scared, frustrated, angry or anxious.

The damp cement tunnel seemed to pull him closer to the heart of it—into the bowels of no return. Instead of turning around and leaving, Roger slowly moved deeper into the cavern. It was as if someone or something else had control over his body. His insatiable curiosity had put him in troubling situations throughout his life. It contributed to him getting into deep trouble with a growing rap sheet to prove it.

Most memories had a calming effect on Roger, which had initiated his fidgeting to cease and his hesitation to subside. He didn’t understand many people’s fears and phobias, most things were just benign and didn’t amount to anything remotely scary or debilitating.

There it was again—a dragging sound followed by what he thought were hushed whispers.

Kids.

He would smack a kid if they jumped out at him or gave him any crap. Most likely, they were tagging gang symbols and looking to get into trouble.

There was the distinct sound of two people whispering to each other.

Roger tried to sharpen his vision but the darkness played tricks on him with weird shadow figure apparitions. He blinked his eyes quickly trying to concentrate on the area and where the kids were hiding; his eyes began to water from the extreme effort. Wiping away the aggravated tears, Roger felt his surroundings close in tightly around him as his perception changed. The darkness seemed to give a strange rippled effect.

The voices became louder. There was nothing sinister about the voices, but they were speaking faster with more of an urgent tone.

“Hey, you little maggots, I know you’re here,” stated Roger.

He stopped and stood still.

The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.

A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.

The anonymous whispers stopped.

All buzzing in his ears stopped.

Roger Case’s heart stopped too.

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Read Full Post »

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

Her latest book is the crime thriller, Dead Cold.

 

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

                                                              

Title: DEAD COLD
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 326
Genre: Crime Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design—and execute.

On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time.

Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in reinforcements—the FBI.

Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to unravel the grisly clues, while keeping their identities hidden from the police. With one last-ditch effort, Stone dangles someone she loves as bait to draw out the killer. She then forces the killer out of their comfort zone with her partner Rick Lopez, and with help from a longtime friend Jordan Smith. A revelation of the serial killer’s identity leaves the team with volatile emotions that could destroy them.

The killer continues to taunt and expertly manipulate the police, as well as Stone’s team, and as they run out of time—they leave behind everyone and everything—in Dead Cold.

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What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?

Books and fictional stories always fascinated me ever since I was a young child. I loved all types of stories and how it could transport you anywhere at any time. I’ve always written stories, and then later screenplays, but it wasn’t my main occupation.  As things changed in the publishing industry, I jumped in and wrote my first professional book in 2008, and I’ve never looked back.

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?

No. When I’m reading or watching a movie, it’s for escape and entertainment.

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?

It’s always been a passion and continued to grow through the years.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?

One of my personal nemeses of writing is procrastination. I’ve learned to refocus my attention to my writing project(s) to not let anything unimportant get in the way.

What hours do you write best?

My best writing hours are late afternoon and nighttime. I’ve tried to be a morning writer, but it doesn’t work with me.

How often do you write?

I write something every day, except Sunday.

Are you an avid reader?

I’m not as much an avid reader as I used to be. There aren’t enough hours in the day—unfortunately. Now, I have to budget my time for reading.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading The Kill Room by Jeffrey Deaver. My Kindle is full of great books waiting to be read.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on the second book of the Chip Palmer Forensic Mysteries, Scene of the Crime, which will be out later this year.  I’m outlining the next Emily Stone Thriller, Dark Lies, which will be out early 2018. There are a couple of Novellas that I’m considering for short Emily Stone cases.

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Jennifer_Chase_-_Postcard_Front


Inside the Series

Title: EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Genre: Crime Thriller

Vigilante detective Emily Stone hunts serial killers and child abductors, covertly and under the law enforcement radar. She uses her fine-tuned skills of criminal profiling and forensic perceptiveness to locate predators that cops cannot or will not find. She is trained, she is tough, she is serious, and she gets results.

With Stone’s toughest cases yet, the killer immediately crosses her radar and sends her into the dark territory of a serial killer’s mind—tothe point of no return.

Take your pick of any of the award-winning, stand-alone books and tag along with a serial killer hunter.

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Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor
degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath,
providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. 
She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic
Criminologists.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

Read Full Post »

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