Teaser Tuesdays: The Widowmaker

teaser tuesday

Did you enjoy last weeks tease? I know this has been one of my favorite Stan Brookshire novels. When I wrote it during National Novel Writing Month it all came tumbling out in just about two weeks. Yes! You read that right… I wrote this book in TWO WEEKS!

I guess I’ve kept you waiting long enough…here is this weeks tease! Enjoy!

*****

The squad room was a buzz with activity as Detective Stan Brookshire made his way through it and into his office, closing the door behind him. They had been pushing hard for the last couple of days on a case that no one could wrap their heads around. It was just too senseless to begin with and there were things that simply were not adding up or making sense.

Newlyweds Tyler and Brea Hamilton had just returned home from their honeymoon and the night they had come home the husband had been killed by what seemed to be a random act of violence. But the woman had been left alive and unharmed in the bedroom. And although they went through every item in the house, there was absolutely nothing missing. There were signs that someone had stayed in their home for an undetermined amount of time. Food had been cooked and eaten. Dishes had been washed and were left in the drain board. A bed had been slept in.

That was the part that Stan couldn’t understand as he looked out the window to the busy downtown street below. Why lie in wait for a long time, attack and kill the husband, leave the woman alive and unharmed, and then in the end take nothing.

At first, he thought that it might be that the woman had had an ex-boyfriend who had not taken kindly to the fact that she had married someone other than him. But as far as Stan and Jane had been able to see, there was no animosity between her and her former boyfriends, in fact a few had actually put in an appearance at her wedding with ladies of their own.

There was also the possibility of a lover on the side that had gotten jealous and killed Tyler. But that theory went right out the window as they talked to the family and friends of the victims. The couple had been totally in love with each other. They had spent every waking moment of their courtship together. Inseparable is the word most people used to describe them.

To Stan that did not sound like a couple that would have lovers on the side. Even though he had seen every kind of person imaginable, the way that this couple was described there wasn’t a chance of adultery. That left not a single doubt in Stan’s mind that this was completely monogamous couple.

That’s why it was so hard to put a finger on who this person was that had come after this couple and had left their new life together destroyed with no chance of repair.

What the hell was this person after? Stan asked himself for the hundredth time in the past few days as he turned away from the window and settled into his desk, picking up his notes again to look them over.

“You look a little lost there, my friend,” he started; he had not even heard the door open.

Stan looked up from his notes in time to see his partner and best friend, Jane Trinity, sit down in a chair across the desk from him.

“Yeah, this case has really done in my head. Nothing here is making sense; there seems to be absolutely no motive for the crime at all. All the usual ones have been ruled out for one reason or another,” he said shaking his head and running his hands through his thick dark hair.

“I know what you mean,” Jane empathized, reaching for the papers on his desk. “Did you hear back from the lab yet on those finger prints? Maybe we will get lucky and the guy will already have a record and we can get this one in the bag early.”

Stan started to laugh. “That’s the thing Jane. I did get the lab results back, and yes, I was hoping for the same thing you were and no there was nothing there. Not a single blip or anything. If this guy has done anything illegal before he has never been caught.”

“And just how sure are you that this is a he?” Jane said raising an eyebrow. “It could be some female stalker type you know.”

“Oh don’t get started on that women’s lib crap again. Seriously. I know women are just about as bad as men for causing trouble; if I have learned anything over my years in the department, it’s just that. But in this case I just don’t see a woman having done this. She would have had to be pretty strong to have taken out the man.”

“Remember what the medical examiner said – that the perp had used ether on the victims. That could be how she did it. I mean it wouldn’t take much for a woman to walk up behind a man, catching him off guard. One deep breath of shock would have been all that it would have taken for him to go down like a sack of potatoes and as for the woman, same thing. That could have been why the person used the ether, because they were not strong enough to take on the man one on one.”

“I know, I know. But something about this doesn’t seem to fit. I am not sure why. But it is just the way I feel. Call me crazy but I just don’t see a woman doing this. I mean look at what she did to the man.”

“I would rather not have to look at the photos again. I mean seeing the body in person was bad enough to permanently burn the images into my mind’s eye,” Jane remembered, obviously adverting her eyes from the stack of photos on Stan’s desk.

Whomever it was had done a real number on the man. They had not only slit his throat, effectively killing him, but had desecrated his body by slicing off his genitals and shoving them into his mouth. Almost like they were trying to feed it to the dead man. It was an image even Stan had a hard time handling and he had seen some pretty gruesome sights over the years.

Maybe it has a little something to do with the fact that I am a male and the person cut the guy’s balls off and fed them to him, he thought. At least he wasn’t alive when it happened.’

He said as much to Jane.

She nodded. “Thank God for small favors.”

“So where do we go from here? We have gone over every one of the couple’s family and friends. We have branched out to their co-workers, and even down to their acquaintances. Who else?”

“At the moment, we have guys out canvassing the street they lived on. They are talking to the people that frequent the shops along there and the shops that they went to. We have people out in every area we can think of, checking and rechecking every angle.”

“That’s the whole problem with this. We have checked out all the usual angles and nothing is fitting like it should. It is almost as if there is no motive.”

“Well… at least not one that we can easily see at this point. But there has to be a reason. Did you check with the woman again?  Did she say anything?”

Stan shook his head. “She is still almost comatose. She still won’t talk to anyone at all. Not even her mother. She’s a wreck. Even if we could get anything out of her there would be no chance in hell of us getting it to stand up in court now. She’s so far gone that it would take no time at all for a defense attorney to rip her and her testimony to shreds on the stand.”

“True enough but at the same time she might be able to point us in the right direction. Give us a motive or something to explain what happened to them,” Jane pointed out, her brow creased as she spoke.

Stan knew that her heart went out to the victims and their families and that she hated to see someone hurt. Which was one of the reasons she had decided to pursue a career in the police department, so that she would be able to find a way to stop some of Lake City’s people from hurting by putting away the people who were causing the pain.

He admired her for that. She had a huge heart for everyone and everything and no matter how badly things got on the cases that they worked on day after day, night after night, she never lost that about her. She still had the strength to care after all was said and done. She was still able to go home to her husband and two sons and show them all the love in the world. Sure there were some days that the tortures of the job got in her way and she did her best to keep it from them, but for the most part she was able to separate the emotions from the job, and still have it all left when she walked in the door at home.

“What can I say? The doctors have no idea how long it is going to take for her to come back to the rest of the world. There is nothing that they can do for her at this point but make her comfortable and make sure she continues to look after herself adequately.”

“She is up and walking around still?” Jane asked, an eyebrow raised. He knew what she was thinking that maybe Brea had slipped backwards into the comatose state that she had been in when she had arrived at the hospital.

“Yes, she’s up and doing for herself. But she still walks around, looking around and at you, but at the same time through you. It’s almost like she doesn’t see you, doesn’t hear you. And if she does hear us, I don’t know if there is anything left in her to answer us. I have tried everything I can. I just can not seem to get through to her at all,” Stan said shaking his head.

“It’s sad. Makes this case all the worse,” Jane said picking up the case file on his desk and flipping idly through the pages, almost as if she was hoping for something to pop out at her.

“Know what? I have gone over that file ten times today and I still haven’t seen anything. I am beginning to think that if I don’t get food in the near future, I am going to start eating that file,” Stan joked. His stomach was starting to growl, that much was true, but at the same time he also wanted to get out of the station and away from the case just for a bit. To clear the air and his head and he knew that Jane could use it as well.

“Alright I’m game,” Jane agreed standing up and turning to walk out the door. “I’ll grab my coat and meet you downstairs in the garage.”

“Done.” Stan stood up and shrugged on his own jacket before heading towards the door.

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