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Last Fall's Hunted

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A homicide detective and FBI agent hunt for a serial killer harvesting kidneys from his victims’ corpses during the fall equinox.
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Author: MJ LaBeff
Description

Homicide Detective Rachel Hood and FBI Agent Nick Draven hunt for a serial killer harvesting kidneys from his victims’ corpses during the fall equinox.

A dismembered body is found in Kill Buck Wildlife area in Snug Harbor, Ohio, andthe discovery of two more victims within a twelve mile radius suggests a sadistic killer's return. Homicide Detective Rachel Hood, a psychic empath, joins forces with psychic FBI Agent Nick Draven to hunt for a killer who harvests kidneys from his victims' corpses. But, why strike twenty years later? They draw a parallel between his first crime and the recent murders. His first victim was murdered in 1991 during the rare occurrence of the super harvest moon, an event that will happen this year and fuel his blood lust to kill again.

Time is not on their side. Hood and Draven have five days to find the killer before the next full moon rises and another teenage girl is found murdered and missing her kidneys.

Drawn into a hunt for a serial killer, more deranged and dangerous than any other she’s tracked and captured before, Hood finds herself unable to control her psychic empathy, and Draven must work fast to help her catch this human hunter before she becomes his next casualty.

Paperback coming soon!

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Title Last Fall's Hunted
Series Last Cold Case: Book 2
Author MJ LaBeff
Genre Suspense Thriller
Release December 12, 2017
Designer Eerilyfair Design
Length 366 pages
ISBN 978-1-77127-977-2
Price $5.99
Tags Murder, serial killer, crime fiction, psychic, paranormal, FBI agent, homicide detective, kidnapping, mystery, thriller, suspense, witches, psychological thriller,

Excerpt

Dead Eye turned from the window and set down the rifle. The dust covered wood floor creaked with each step he took. He hadn’t come to the cabin in years. Apparently, no one else in the family had bothered with the place either. Of course, what would any of them want with it? No cell phone reception, WI-FI or cable TV existed in the desolate cabin. The place was a time warp. He breathed in its musty, rustic scent.

He went over to the antique roll top desk and removed the tiny key from his pocket, inserting it into the lock, and rolled open the desk. The desk blotter from 1991 hadn’t been moved. Careful not to disturb the dust, he grabbed a plastic letter opener and slid it between the last sheet of paper and the cardboard backing of the calendar. He inched out the brittle newspaper clipping, set down the letter opener, and unfolded the article.

The story had made front page news in the Snug Harbor Times.

Metro County Sheriff’s Department Searches for Missing Girl the headline screamed. Sixteen year old Loretta Grimacher, a high school student at Snug Harbor High School, was last seen leaving the school after cheerleading practice ended around five o’clock. Grimacher was wearing red silk running shorts and a gold and white Spartans track t-shirt. Dead Eye looked at the black and white photo of Loretta. He remembered her chocolate brown ponytail swaying across her back and shoulders. Beads of sweat covered her forehead and rosy cheeks. Her breath came in heavy gasps. He had run up beside her on the sidewalk careful no one noticed him. They ran in to the woods together. Deep into the night, deep into danger, not even he had suspected. Until, it was too late.

Dead Eye folded the article and slid it under the month of December again. He pulled down the drawer and locked the desk. He didn’t need to read the others.

Loretta Grimacher had never been found.

He went over to the window and rested his hand on the rifle. Dead Eye caressed the cool metal. The gun cabinet to the right of the table housed the forbidden .22 pistol. He lifted his hand from the rifle and rubbed his fingers together. His gaze strayed from the window to the pistol. The keys were hidden, but he knew where to find them and bent down running a hand underneath the case. The key was taped to the inside. He peeled it away, unlocked the cabinet and removed the pistol. The gun rested comfortably in his hand; he packed it against his hip. When he finished securing the cabinet, he went back to gazing out the window.

The full moon in the sky was one of the most beautiful sights to him. Especially, tonight’s. The super harvest moon in autumn was a rare treat. The last one had occurred on September 23, 1991.

Dead Eye had gathered with his family on the porch and watched the sunset and moon rise. A boom box tuned to the local news blared in the background. The announcer explained the harvest moon would appear even bigger and brighter and more colorful than other full moons. That night, the harvest moon coincided with the night of the equinox creating a super harvest moon. Dead Eye knew why he remembered that night so long ago.

Blood red sky. Too bright full moon. Leading him away from the safety of his family’s front porch into the thicket of woods, blood, so much blood, she was covered in the thick red liquid. He squeezed his eyes shut. It only made the visual image seared inside of his brain worse. Her organs were strewn across the ground. The image of her mutilated form haunted the corners of his mind. This was why he couldn’t sleep at night or close his eyes during the day. His eyes popped open.

Please, Don’t! Why? Please, Don’t.

Her scared voice filled the room. Dead Eye clapped both hands over his ears. Voices. Hushed voices. Loud voices. No! No! No! He pressed both palms harder and tried to quiet them.

A heat so hot had ignited within him, worse than burning up with fever. Blood, so much blood. Organs. Her body pulsing. He was dizzy and puked at the hideous sight.

Loser! Bury the vomit! Bury the vomit! Ah, shit, now I’ve got to move her body. Dump it, dumbass! Dump it!

More front page news in the Snug Harbor Times, he didn’t need to go to the desk for the article. The headline was branded into his brain—Mutilated Body Found. The fine citizens of Snug Harbor got worried. One girl missing and another found dead on the side of the road by a hitchhiker. He ran all the way back to town, yelling and screaming down Route 7. Finally, sixty year old Hank Sedmack out for a drive stopped for the man acting crazy. They went to the Metro County Sheriff’s Department. The Snug Harbor Times had reported the hitchhiker had not witnessed the crime against Megan Hubert. Her blood had not been found on his body. His fingerprints cleared.

Lieutenant Detective Joe Hood and deputies searched the area where her body had been discovered. They had set up a special tip line, begging for leads. Volunteers stepped up and combed the woods.

Two missing girls. One never found. One mutilated. Megan Hubert’s organs had been removed from her body. The horrific details sent shock waves through the quiet beach community.

Eventually, the story about Loretta Grimacher and Megan Hubert disappeared from the news and from the minds of Snug Harbor’s finest and its citizens.

Dead Eye remembered.

He had failed her. Now, he had had years to study and observe. Tonight he would get it right. Tonight she would be proud of him. Tonight the voices in his head would stop talking.

He picked up the rifle. Who hung his hat on the moon? He started singing again. And, deep into the night he went, deep into the woods, where the deer, rabbits, squirrels and other creatures feared him.

Click. Click. Boom.

Gutting the first animal was the hardest but gutting her was the worst. Practice makes perfect. Point, click, drop, drain, cut. Repeat.

The hours waned.

The sun slithered into the night sky, slowly stealing the moon from him. He jumped behind the wheel of the old pick-up truck. He was ready. Dead Eye drove into town to the corner store and parked the truck behind the building. She ran by. Same as she did every Wednesday morning. Dead Eye reached out his big glove covered hand and smacked it over her mouth. She struggled against him.

“Red sky in morning my dear take warning,” he said against her ear and then stabbed her with the needle. She melted against him. “Atta girl.”

He crammed her into the bed of the truck under the tarp. She wouldn’t wake for a long, long time.

Dead Eye drove away with Brittany Fulton.

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