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Dead Witness

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FBI’s “dead witness” defies their authority and goes after the man they’re hunting when he threatens her children.
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Rating: 5/5
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Description

Dead Witness

A Novel by: Joylene Nowell Butler

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Release: November 4, 2011

Editor: Christine I. Speakman

Line editor: Valerie Haley

Cover artist: Suzannah Safi

Words: 97066

Pages: 292

ISBN: 978-1-927361-07-8

Price: $5.95

Warning:

* Mild sexual content.  * Some violence.  * Coarse language.  * 18 or over.

Back Cover:

Valerie McCormick is a wife and mother from small town Canada. While visiting Seattle, she becomes the only witness to the brutal seaside murder of two FBI agents. When she flees to the nearest police station to report the crime, she becomes caught up in a web of international intrigue and danger. Suddenly, she and her family are in the sights of ruthless criminals bent on preventing her from testifying against the murderer. Even with FBI protection, Valerie is not safe. Whisked away from her family and all that is familiar to her, Valerie fights back against the well-intentioned FBI to ultimately take control over her life with every ounce of fury a mother can possess.

Excerpt:

A long, narrow building beyond the small shed blocked her view. Valerie inched past a rusty engine leaning against the hut and peeked around the corner. Two men in black T-shirts and black pants stood at the stern of the sleek cabin cruiser docked at the wharf. Three more men stood on the pier: one young, one old, one dangerously attractive. Facing her, she could see he was perfect, in fact. Except, why was he wearing a long, tan raincoat? Maybe she wasn’t the only unprepared foreigner.

 

No way would she interrupt their business.

 

Two of them walked away. Mr. Perfect, the handsome Latino in the tan raincoat, smiled after them. His sensuous, slightly accented voice broke the silence. "Gentlemen, please. It has been my experience that even in times of indecision, a solution exists." His arms spread wide as if to embrace them.

 

The two men stopped and turned back.

 

Still smiling, the Latino reached inside his raincoat and pulled out a gun.

 

Valerie gawked at him. She heard a pop.

 

The older man fell backward onto the wharf.

 

Pop. The young man's head exploded.

 

The man in the tan raincoat leaned down and fired a third bullet in the older man's head. The body twitched and then lay still.

 

Valerie's stomach lunged to her throat. She looked at the bodies, the blood, and at the man in the raincoat. Without looking around, he climbed aboard the cruiser.

 

The two men in black walked down the gangway carrying buckets. Valerie couldn't move. She couldn't blink. She stared with such focus, her eyes burned. She watched them tie something to the men's ankles. Watched as they rolled the bodies into the water and splashed the bucket contents across the wharf; watched as they returned to the cruiser. One man disappeared under the fly bridge. The other climbed to the helm.

 

She inched backward, holding her breath. Her foot dislodged an empty oil can; her leg barely touched the motor—Crash!

 

She jerked forward. The camera dropped to the ground.

 

The man at the helm turned. He yelled something in Spanish and pointed down at her.

 

Move Now!

 

The man from the helm slid down the ladder from the bridge, vaulted over the side of the cruiser, and landed with a thump on the wharf.

 

Her feet, obeying, scrambled backward, the toes of her running shoes dug into the grimy blacktop, and with a burst of adrenaline her body accelerated.

 

She heard a pop and felt a bullet zing past her head.

 

She ran, ran as hard as she could, passing the next vacant building, cornering left. Open water. A dead end.

 

Valerie spun around. Raced back to the warehouse. Footsteps pounded on the asphalt behind her, rapidly gaining ground, closer. Closer.

 

She ducked around the building and spotted a broken two-by-four lying next to her. Grabbing it she listened, gauging his steps, heard his panting, and swung.

 

Before he hit the ground she was gone, racing toward the next building, dodging behind another, crossing the yard.

 

She reached the path leading up to the highway. Gaining the crest of the hill, her legs throbbed, her lungs blazed. She dared a backward glance, heard him yelling, and saw him reach the last corner.

 

Another pop and a bullet whistled past her head.

 

She ran into the middle of the four-lane highway and waved frantically. "Stop!"

 

Two cars swerved around her, horns blaring.

 

The third screeched to a halt. She ran to the passenger side. The door was locked. She tugged at the door handle and gasped for air. "There's a man after me," she stammered. "Please."

 

The middle-aged driver stared at her. She glanced back toward the hill and then at the driver. Her eyes pleaded. He stomped on the gas and sped away as her fingers grazed the paint on his car. She felt the panic rising in her chest, swung around, and ran toward the skyscrapers of Seattle. She couldn't see the bus stop, couldn't risk running all the way back to find it. Traffic zoomed by. She zigzagged into the oncoming lane. Tires squealed.

 

A taxi pulled over. "Better jump in." The driver laughed. "Before you get yourself killed."

 

"Thank you, God," Valerie whispered and climbed into the back. "Please hurry."

 

"Where to?"

 

The words police station stuck in her throat.  Did she have a choice? "Uh—Downtown. Please."

 

The taxi rolled forward, waiting for an opening to join the traffic. She twisted around, peered out the back window, and saw her pursuer reach the sidewalk at the top of the hill. She couldn't see his gun.

 

He slumped forward and pressed his hands to his bent knees, his chest heaved. He scanned every direction until his eyes locked on her cab. Her heart leaped. A semi-trailer moved between them.

 

The taxi darted in behind a car. The driver glanced over his shoulder at her. "You okay?"

 

Valerie trembled, thought of undoing the windbreaker around her waist, but couldn't exert the effort. "Sure," she said, slouching in her seat, while images of the two dead men flashed before her. She nudged their images aside and folded her hands together on her lap. And gagged.

Her camera!

Reviews:

As the story progressed, I kept myself up past my bedtime to simply see her through the end of each chapter! I highly recommend this if you like thrillers with meat AND heart.  5Star Review - Amazon Reader

Joylene Nowell Butler, Metis, began writing in 1984 after the death of her father. Her first novel Dead Witness, published in 2008 is distributed across Canada by Sandhill Books. Her current WIPs include a political thriller, a children's book, a suspense thriller, and the sequel to Broken But Not Dead. Joylene, her husband, four stray cats and their Siberian Husky Bandit live in Cluculz Lake in central BC. In her spare time, she teaches T'chi.

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Reviews

Monday, 10 March 2014
Anything written by Joylene Butler promises to keep you on the edge of your seat. She is the master of suspense. I read her other novel and loved it, and this one is equally good. But I guess the part I like the best about Joylene Butler, is that her stories both take place in Beautiful British Columbia, in the town of Prince George. It's not New York, or LA, or Paris. Just a small B.C. town like I grew up in.
Suzanne Demontigny

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