Title: Coded For Murder
Age and Genre: Adult, Thriller/Mystery
Word Count: 70 000
The leaders of a tech startup are serially tortured, poisoned and bludgeoned to death, propelling a scarred detective into a three-day chase among Montréal’s cafés, hipsters, and geeks to stop a killer from striking again.
Three years after the death of his wife and son (for which he is partly responsible), Chief Inspector Derek JAMES of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal has accepted his physical and emotional scars and lives for the thrill of his next case. But the investigation is complicated by his boss trying to kill him, and the need to protect the twelve-year-old psychiatric patient who witnessed the murder. Plus, the startup’s CEO won’t let anything get in the way of her selling the company. With two more attacks occurring within twenty-four hours, James must race to the finish to catch the murderer.
First 250 Words
April 2, 6:50 am
“Strung up by the river? Without a face?”
Chief Inspector Derek James of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal tucked his cold hands into his pockets and looked up. A rope looped over the middle branch of an oak in the urban beach park. Above him hung a body with an exposed skull, framed by sparse hair on top, ears on either side, and a wrinkly neck puckered in a noose. The face was stripped to the bone with eroded teeth set in a perpetual grin as if the skull were enjoying a joke at everyone’s expense.
James’s gut tightened, but he stilled the reaction in an instant, regaining his calm.
“I’m sure we’re thinking the same thing, Derek.” Forensic Pathologist John Seymour exercised professional restraint, but his eyes were bright and keen. “What could this poor guy have done to deserve this?”
James took his time responding. Dawn cast a blue light on the water and snow. A damp cold sank through his coat and into his bones. It was amazing how the usually peaceful beach park took on a menacing air: the St. Lawrence River choppier than usual, swirls of sand and snow rolling like tumbleweeds, the sky heavy and low. But a children’s playground lay behind the hanging body, and its red swings, bright yellow slide, and empty wading pool anchored the mind in a comforting reality.
“What can you tell me, Doctor?”
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