Sunday, April 27, 2014

Justified, a Bloody #Mystery #SampleSunday


The coffee came up into the back of her throat the way it always did.  Madison Knight swallowed hard, forcing the acidic bile back down.  This was a messy one, the kind she did her best to avoid.  She knew the first officer on scene was speaking, but the words weren’t making it through.  Despite her revulsion, her eyes were frozen on what was before her. 

The victim lay on a crimson blanket of death, wearing nothing but a lacy camisole.  The blood pool reached around her body in an approximate two-foot circumference.  The blood had coagulated resulting in a curdled pudding-like consistency.  The kitchen floor was a porous ceramic, and the blood had found its way to the grout lines and seeped through it like veins.  Arterial spray had splattered the backsplash like the work of an abstract painter who had fanned a loaded brush against the canvas.

Cynthia Baxter was hunched close to the body taking photos and collecting shards of glass that were in the blood.   She was head of the forensics lab, but her job also required time in the field.  She looked up at Madison, nodded a hello, and offered a small smile.  Madison knew her well enough as a friend outside of work that the facial expression was sincere; the scene only dampened it from developing.

Weir, the first officer on scene, stood back at the doorway that was between the front living room and the kitchen.  “Such a shame, especially on Christmas Eve.”
Terry Grant, Madison’s partner, braced his hands above his holster, and exhaled a jagged deep breath.

“What’s her name and background?”  Madison asked Weir with her eyes on the victim.

“The vic is Claire Reeves, forty-three.  Lived here alone.  No record of restraining orders or anything out of the ordinary.  Nothing noted as her place of employment.  Her maid, Allison Minard, found her.  She’s over at the neighbor’s.  Officer Higgins is over there with her.”

Madison managed to break eye contact from the body, glanced at Terry, and settled her gaze on Weir.  His words had broken through as though out of context. 

“Detective Knight?”  Judging by the softness in his tone of voice, Weir must have read her reaction to the scene.  His eyes inquired if she was okay, but the silent probing would have been squashed by the wall she had erected.  He continued, “The maid’s pretty shaken up.”
Madison could understand that.  She had experience in processing murder scenes, and she could barely handle this one.  She did her best to keep eye contact with the officer, but her fear—her distaste for blood—kept pulling her attention to the woman.

Claire.  That was her name before she had been reduced to this.  To be killed in this manner pointed towards an emotional assailant.  Her lack of clothing also indicated the vic likely had an intimate relationship with her killer.

Madison scanned the room.  There was no sign of a struggle—no overturned chairs or broken dishes.  The only thing standing out was a tea towel bunched on the floor in front of the stove as if it had slipped off the front bar.  “Any evidence of forced entry?”

Weir shook his head.

“She let her killer in.”  Madison’s eyes dropped back to the victim.

She was someone’s daughter, someone’s best friend, someone’s lover.  Normally Madison didn’t have an issue with separating herself from crime scenes and keeping them impersonal.  Maybe it had something to do with all that blood and the fact Claire had been murdered just before Christmas.

The vic was on her back, albeit slightly twisted, from the fall to the floor.  Her legs were crumpled beneath her.  A large slash lined her neck, and based on the angle and directionality, her killer had come from behind.  Logic dictated this killing method typically belonged to a male but something about the maid finding the body didn’t make sense. “So the maid was to work on Christmas Eve?”

“Supposedly she got a text message from Claire.  She called us right after she—”  Weir pointed toward the vomit at the far entrance to the kitchen. 

Madison had noticed it on the way through.  She took a shallow breath, hoping to cleanse her focus despite the fact the stench of the crime scene had transformed to a coating on her tongue.
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JUSTIFIED is the 2nd in the Madison Knight Series. Right now, you can grab the first, TIES THAT BIND, for free!  So that's 2 eBooks for $2.99.

The Madison Knight Series is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

Justified

Ties that Bind