- by Joan Curtis
- Genre Psychological Suspense Thriller
- Tags Female sleuth, psychological suspense thriller, southern fiction, mystery, mystery series, murder mystery, anonymous e-mail, serial killer
- Series A Jenna Scali Novel
- Release September 1, 2015
- Cover Designer Carolina Bensler
- Pages 299
- ISBN 978-1-77127-744-0
- Price $5.99
THE E-MURDERER is a race to find a psychotic killer before he kills again.
On this anything but typical Monday morning Jenna Scali, who works part-time for a shrink, opens an email that depicts the brutal death of a young girl. On that same day the police uncover a dead coed two blocks from Jenna’s house. The e-murderer’s description creepily echos the death described in the newspapers.
When Jenna receives other emails, she takes what she knows to the police and thus begins her journey in the path of the e-murderer. Her curious nature impels her from e-messages to dead coeds to a ring of prostitutes. With the help of her quirky friends, Jenna learns that she’s more than a conduit for the killer. She’s his target. New secrets unfold, and finally her love life takes a tumble when the true killer emerges.
People jammed the Athens Community Dance Festival later that night. Dancers from all over the ten-county area came to perform. There was everything from ballet, modern dance, tap dance to belly dancing. I suspected the audience consisted mainly of family and friends of the multitude of dancers.
While gyrating through our routine, I strained to see who had come, but the bright lights facing the stage blinded me. Starr made her presence known when she hollered, “Way to go, Jenna!” I’d also seen Timothy before the performance. He gave me a kiss on the cheek and a single red rose for luck. There was no sign of Frank, and he hadn’t responded to the text I’d sent him asking him to come.
Squinting, I’d tried to spot the cops who I thought would be there, but if any came, they were inconspicuous—perhaps in plainclothes.
When we finished our belly-dance finale, Quentin beamed with delight. I hugged Doreen and Lucille, quickly changed out of my costume, and exited through the backdoor, too keyed up to mingle, and determined to get to the office to check what was nagging me about Fran.
When I drove into the dark parking lot, a wave of fear passed over me, causing me to slump low in my seat. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
Glancing around, I searched for my police escort but spotted no one. Fran’s half smile, which I’d seen today in that photo at her house, jumped into my mind. I’d waited too long to help her. That couldn’t happen again. I mustered all my courage, took a deep breath, and fumbled for my keys to enter the office. Surely the policeman would arrive behind me shortly.
Once inside, Quentin’s words about the killer floated into my mind: It must be someone you know.
I wanted to believe the killer was one of Dr. B’s patients who happened to hone in on me because I worked in the psychiatrist’s office. But too many things suggested otherwise. He knew about my cats. He knew my first name. The way he addressed me in his e-mails hinted at familiarity. Who then? Steve? Dr. Bingham?
Michael? What about Timothy and Frank? Each was computer savvy.
God, I shook my head, frustrated with myself, but trusting no one.
As soon as I switched on the lights and retrieved Fran’s file, a noise came from the outside, sounding like a car door closing.
Oh my God! My stomach—none-too steady since Fran’s house—lurched. I inched toward the side window. Everything outside looked black. A car sat in the lot, but the darkness prevented me from making out who, if anyone, was inside. That had to be my police escort finally arriving.
I let out a small sigh of relief and returned to the back room to begin reading Fran’s file. I’d hardly started when the lights in the office flicked off. I gasped.
Damn. Didn’t I lock the door? Good grief!
I crouched low. The room was black as ink. The footsteps neared. No one called out. My heart pounded on warp speed. Where the devil was that policeman? He was supposed to be watching me.
I crawled toward the door and groped for the light switch. When I turned it on, nothing happened.
Someone had flipped the fuse.
My legs tingled with stabs of numbness, but I managed to stumble into the hall and creep toward the back entrance.
The floor creaked under my feet.
Arms wrapped around me like a snake. I kicked and struggled when a large sweaty hand covered my mouth, muting the scream in my head.
“You bitch,” a voice whispered. “You wouldn’t stop, would you?”
The smell of onions overpowered me before everything went black.