Today's teaser comes from Solstice (The Lake Prophet Mysteries, 1)
Out now – https://rjscott.co.uk/read-solstice
My chest constricted, panic buzzed, my memories created a cityscape in this remote place, where I’d last seen something like this. Where were the sirens? Where was the staring crowd? How come this horror was next to sleepy Prophet in the cold light of day, with a man lying there, utterly alone?
A chill ran down my spine. I’d seen bodies in LA with horrific injuries that haunted me to this day, but there was something so wrong about this man laid bare to the elements, the mist of rain swirling around him, his skin gray as drops of water collected and ran down his muscled stomach. This was a man who looked after himself, built, strong, maybe a hiker, or one of the open water swimmers who loved coming to the lake?
His upper torso was exposed to the elements but navy jogging bottoms, covered the lower, and he wore running shoes and socks. He was on his back between the two upright stones, his arms and legs spread, and his sightless eyes faced us with his head turned our way. There was extensive bruising on his face, darker on one side, running from his cheek up into his hair, but it was so bad that from ten feet away it was impossible to ID him for sure even if the guy was someone I knew.
“Fuck,” Devin muttered and took an instinctive step forward, but I held out a hand to stop him moving.
“What about a pulse?” my rookie asked hurriedly. “Shouldn’t we check for that? Procedure for finding an unconscious person?”
“Normally, but it’s clear there’s no pulse.” The victim was unmoving and there was an X scored into the man’s chest, digging deep into his breastbone, and tearing his flesh apart. I could see the purple stain of lividity at the underside of one arm. He was very dead.
I stumbled back a step in shock. The mark was deliberate, considered. Please don’t let this be a serial killer with a propensity to carving Xs into their victim’s chests.
“…Sheriff?” Devin asked. “What now?”
From the dramatic peaks of the Olympic mountain range to the small town of Prophet, murder is only a footstep away.
Gabriel is a former undercover cop haunted by the things he’s seen and done. He returns to his small hometown of Prophet, taking on the role of sheriff, hoping to mend his fractured relationship with his estranged brother and rebuild his life. But when a chilling murder occurs at Sentinel Rocks, a sacred Makah site on Lake Prophet, Gabriel’s dreams of peace and reconciliation are shattered.
Gabriel navigates a web of intrigue, with a long list of suspects; from local tribal elders to fervent Solstice worshippers and even those hunting the elusive Bigfoot. When the brutal murder leaves Duke, a loyal Labrador retriever, as the sole witness, Gabriel stumbles upon an unexpected ally—a local animal behaviorist named Tiber.
Tiber, a newcomer to Prophet, seeks refuge in this remote haven, attempting to escape his own inner demons. Armed with his extraordinary ability to communicate with animals, he offers his expertise through video consultations, helping pet owners with their beloved companions. While he attributes his skill to his academic background, his intuition and flashes of insight owe as much to his Navajo heritage as to science.
With the relentless rain washing away sins and good intentions alike, Gabriel and Tiber must begin to confront their own vulnerabilities and unravel the truth.More info →