About the Book
Infidelity is a gamble that when exposed, carries devastating repercussions. Add murder and the stakes go through the roof. Felix Anderson unwittingly learns this lesson and the costs are high. A one-night indiscretion, the subsequent slaying of his beautiful, young wife, and his own evasive behavior places him under a cloud of suspicion despite an ironclad alibi.
Relentlessly shadowed by Detectives Monroe Waters and Kevin Conner, Feilx’s continual missteps cast doubt on his innocence. Complicating his predicament is a hefty insurance settlement, a dubious financial transaction and unpredictable ex-lover. Undeterred, Felix focuses on finding his wife's killer. As he attempts to put the pieces together Felix is propelled through a series of events that leave him no margin for error. Lawson Brooks explodes onto the literary scene with a suspenseful and smartly paced mystery.
Read an Excerpt
FROM THE WAIST UP
Excerpt © Copyright Lawson Brooks
P R O L O G U E
THE ASSAULT IS QUICK AND UNEXPECTED. The harshness of the aggression executed by her assailant catches her completely off guard. Cornered, the young woman can do nothing more than to raise her arms in an effort to thwart the impending blow. The fireplace poker rockets toward her head. The impact of her attacker's swing sends her tumbling to the hardwood floor in her neatly adorned living room.
The pain! Her cries for help come loud and unrelenting. Unmoved by the look of inspired terror and her pleas, the attacker heartlessly pursues the victim as she desperately crawls along the floor. The intense agony caused by the unimpeded blow, renders her vulnerable. Again, the weapon raises and violently lowers, again connecting directly with her head. Similar blows repeat--again, and again, and again, and again, until finally her body lies completely and eerily still.
As an ever-widening pool of blood engulfs the head of the aggressor's prey and trickles along the contour of the floor, the adrenalin rush from the homicidal encounter subsides and a flash of logic kicks in. The intruder scours the first floor of the row house, wiping down any and every object and surface that has been touched and searching for any item or strand of hair that may give rise to investigators' suspicions. The visitor even takes the time to wash up. Believing that all bases are covered, the killer unplugs the answering machine and places it into a plastic grocery bag found under the kitchen sink. Using the same door entered, the suspect disappears into the unseasonably warm, moonless October night.
Clumsily, I unlock the door and enter the hall smiling. It feels good to be home. The night out on the town with my boys has left me feeling no pain. Surprisingly, the house is without any light and frighteningly silent. Usually, the sound of music and the smell of something good to eat would fill the air. As I inch through the darkness, my arm extends to locate the floor lamp that I know is nearby. Finally grasping the switch, I turn on the light. To my horror, Loretta lies directly in front of me. Her outstretched body seemingly hugs the floor. Even with blood spattered about her face and head, she maintains a look of innocence. Her engaging dimples and her pouting lips had always been her trademark. Despite the trauma, her facial appearance is intact. Kneeling, I cradle her in my arms. Blood now covers the sleeve of my shirt and pant leg. I begin to cry and scream her name, over and over again.
* * *
THRUSTING UPRIGHT IN MY BED, I find myself aroused from another bad dream. Shaken, I can feel the sweat that inundates my head and torso, and my heart races. The strange thing about it is that’s as far as it ever gets. No intervention, no conclusion, just me holding Loretta in my arms. Based on all of the reports at the time, that’s how I’ve always imagined her last moments. In reality, I didn’t discover her body. Thank God. I've always wanted to remember her as she was. Looking back on it all now, the circumstances surrounding Loretta’s death were all too surreal.
It’s been over fourteen years since Loretta was brutally murdered, yet the scenario surrounding her death plays in my head like a bad movie on a never-ending loop. The guilt is gut wrenching at times. Of course, I can't accurately envision the terror that she endured, but it's not for lack of trying. The fear and the pain must have been horrific. As her husband, I should have been there to protect her. But I wasn't. With everything that went on back in DC, I would turn back the hands of time in a New York minute to make it all right. But I can’t. Funny thing though, Loretta, it turns out, wasn’t the only victim. Consequences abounded for a few of us, and our lives will never be the same. I know mine won’t. It seems like just yesterday when I met her.