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Last Summer's Evil

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A homicide detective and FBI agent hunt a serial killer who collects and kills women annually during the summer solstice.
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Author: MJ LaBeff
Description

A fearful city lies in wait. Summer is here. The solstice is near. Each time the serial killer strikes there are two more victims. One woman has already disappeared. It’s only a matter of time before another woman is murdered.

Homicide Detective Rachel Hood, a psychic empath, feels every ounce of a victim’s pain but is powerless to save her.

Psychic FBI Agent Nick Draven is a skilled profiler, specializing in occult crimes. Together, they must race against the clock to capture the psychopath terrorizing Snug Harbor, Ohio. Only one victim has escaped, but she can’t ID her attacker. What they do know is the sick signature the killer leaves behind. A handmade ragdoll crafted out of the previous victim’s clothes is found in the clutches of the deceased women.

Rachel’s obsession with the case deepens, and she devises a rogue plan to outsmart the killer. The risky plot puts her life in jeopardy. The serial killer has had years to master the crime. Nick only has hours to track down the killer and rescue Rachel before she dies in a ritualistic sacrifice at the hand of a knife wielding, blood thirsty murderer.

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Title Last Summer's Evil
Series Last Cold Case
Author MJ LaBeff
Genre Suspense Thriller
Release February 7, 2017
Designer Eerilyfair Design
Length 362 pages
ISBN 978-1-77127-905-5
Price $5.99
Tags Murder, serial killer, crime fiction, psychic, paranormal, FBI agent, homicide detective, kidnapping, mystery, thriller, suspense, witches, psychological thriller,

Excerpt

“The terrain is rough. We tried to get in there when we were arranging search parties and looking for the missing women. It wouldn’t be easy to drag a dead body out of Hogs Back.”

“We can’t rule out the possibility. Trevor and the other deputies are still searching the immediate areas where witnesses claim they saw Claudia. We should stop by the concession area and pick up a map before we go over to Snug Harbor Beach State Park.”

The sun blazed over them. They walked toward the concession pavilion. Music from the concert at the Public Dock blared, clearing out most of the young people sunning on the beaches, leaving groups of families with kids behind. Nick observed many of them packing picnic baskets and urging their kids to have one last swim. The Rock and Dock was not a family affair. But, Snug Harbor made sure to balance events for families and teenagers.

They had a reprieve from the heat under the canopy of the concession area. Picnic tables bolted to the cement formed neat rows. Nick stood in a short line of people waiting at the concession stand and then ordered lemonade for each of them and picked up a map of the area beaches. Rachel wilted onto a metal bench at one of the tables. With an exhausted expression, she lifted the ponytail and fanned the back of her neck. She jumped, ready for action, when Nick handed her the drink.

“Relax,” he said, and took a seat next to her, unfolding the map, and spread it on the table. “We can do some work and rehydrate.”

“Thanks for the lemonade,” she said, then sucked down a drink through the straw.

“No problem.”

Nick pulled the lid off the plastic cup and tossed it and the straw in the nearest receptacle, then gulped down the sugary and tart liquid. Working in the heat and humidity drained his energy reserves, and not having anything to eat since before he worked out wasn’t helping. He studied the map but had a hard time concentrating. Through the heavily scented suntan lotions and natural smells of surf, Rachel’s delicate floral fragrance emanated the strongest. He leaned in closer and took a deep breath, pretending to look down at the map. She gave him a funny look and slid down the bench, putting a little distance between them.

“What?”

“I’m not a rabid dog.”

“You only sniffed me like one.”

“You smell nice.”

She rolled her eyes. “Ready to go to the other end of the beach?”

“Not yet. How about a hotdog?”

“Sure, why not? There’s only a serial killer on the loose.”

“Five minutes, Rachel. We are working.” He shook the map making the paper snap in front of her and then dropped it back onto the table.

“Five minutes.”

Nick maneuvered off of the picnic bench and went to the concession stand and ordered them each a hotdog with ketchup and mustard.

“Bon appétit,” Rachel said, taking the hotdog wrapped in white butcher paper.

“After we catch Slayer, I’ll take you out for a real meal,” Nick said.

She chewed, nodding in acceptance to the dinner invitation.

He straddled the picnic bench, devouring the meager meal in a few bites. “I still think she had to have run out from one of the mud holes or escaped Hogs Back,” Nick said, pointing to the area on the map.

“There’s fencing around it, but I suppose it’s possible. The mud hole isn’t that secluded. We can walk through there to get to the lower bluffs and Snug Harbor Beach State Park. Father Michael owns the property now. We’d need to ask permission to search it. He’s protective of that land. He has this vision of turning it into a campground for kids. The church is really behind this idea, raising money to have the northernmost area cleared, but it’s been a slow process due to funding.”

“If the dirt under Claudia’s nails matches that area, we won’t need to ask anything, we’ll have a search warrant. You know we overlooked that entire property during the first investigation because of the overgrown and rugged terrain. It doesn’t seem possible that anything but a wild animal could get into that place.”

“Until this new evidence surfaced today it didn’t seem likely. The victims’ bodies were found within days of being killed. It’s almost like Slayer wanted them to be found.”

“Serial killers want recognition for their crimes. Let’s go through the mud hole, crossover the family beaches and into Snug Harbor Beach State Park. I’ll analyze this map back at your place.”

They finished their drinks and started the trek to the mud hole.

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