Good morning. It’s a gorgeous spring day. I’ll treasure each one so much more after last winter. Maybe we need months of lousy weather to truly appreciate the gift of warm, sunny days. For my Mid Week Tease this week, I’ve chosen an excerpt from my first published novel, Fire Angel. It wasn’t what I was going to post, but I received a lovely surprise this morning, an unexpected five star review, which prompted me to change my mind.
5.0 out of 5 stars Blazing Brilliance, May 21, 2014
This review is from: Fire Angel (Crimson Romance) (Kindle Edition)
“Fire Angel” tears us from our complacency to view a quiet town scorched by a homicidal maniac. With superb mastery of her craft, Susanne Matthews drags us screaming into the horror of a forensic mystery. “Fire Angel” unravels the journey of her gorgeous but damaged hero, criminal profiler Jake and his arson expert partner Alexis. As they search to uncover the identity of the murderer and fire-starter, they begin to reveal the issues that their mutual past has dogged their lives.
Susanne’s “Fire Angel” weaves the various threads of suspicion and romance together so exquisitely with her descriptions that you can follow close behind, trying to warn her characters to beware. Alexis is so easy to relate to, a strong woman who has rebuilt her life from a broken childhood and her growing feelings for the emotionally and physically broken Jake, flowers naturally. As they seek the twisted mind behind the growing body count, dismissing suspects as their alibis hold up against examination, they are drawn closer together. A fast and exciting read which never lets the reader come up for air. I could find no faults whatsoever in Fire Angel. I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Fire Angel” and would unreservedly recommend it to other readers.
Jake got to the fire scene within the half hour. When he stood and stared at the destruction and raging inferno in front of him, he questioned whether or not it could possibly be the same arsonist. This fire was out of control, a hellhole from which spewed death and destruction, completely at odds with what his profile and the previous fires had shown. Maybe, for once, it was accidental.
Paramedics and ambulance attendants were parked nearby as was the coroner’s wagon. Firefighters worked valiantly to stop the fire from spreading to the neighboring houses; nothing could be done to save the garage. As Jake panned the crowd, he noticed women outside the police lines crying. There was Duffy’s wife held tightly in her brother’s arms. That could mean only one thing. There were bodies inside.
This fire was different from the others, yet because of the fatalities, he had a strange feeling about it. He shook his head and sighed. Three fires, three months. He didn’t believe in coincidence.
Just as it appeared that the fire was under control, flames erupted from another section of the building. Heavy black smoke filled the air. With so many flammable and combustible materials on the premises, the fire could burn for hours. There had been a couple of explosions, possibly from aerosol cans and the compressed gas cylinders—there would have been acetylene and God knows what else in there. The police pushed the crowd back, although it surged forward again fueled by its own fascination and morbid curiosity.
He noticed Frank’s truck on the edge of the crowd and walked over. He needed a jolt of caffeine to wake him, something to help him get his mind around this.
“Hey, Frank, you’re working late,” he uttered.
“Lynette got me out of bed. She said you guys needed me. It looks like a bad one.” He moved gingerly to get Jake the coffee he had requested.
“What happened to you? Did you hurt yourself?” Jake asked.
Frank smiled. He stood up straighter.
“Only my pride; I fell asleep in my tree stand this morning and fell out of it. I landed on my ass on the rocky ground. I’ll be sore for a couple of days.” He laughed at himself. “On the plus side, I did get the dozen rabbits and the partridges Minette wanted.”
“Well, take care of yourself. If it isn’t better by the end of the week, have Dr. Shillingham look at it. You might have a hairline fracture or something.”
“You could be right, Jake, but I think I can consider this my lucky day; Duffy asked me to play tonight, but I bailed; the butt’s too sore to sit in a hard chair all night. I guess that’s two close calls for me today.” He shook his head and pointed to the widow. “I’ll drop by Duffy’s house tomorrow with coffee and squares. I hope he had lots of insurance.”
Jake had never really cared for the canteen owner; in high school, Frank had been a bully, picking on people, playing mean tricks. It had always amazed Jake that Frank had managed to stay out of legal trouble. After his father died, Frank had turned himself around, and now, he was a model citizen. Jake handed over some coins to cover the cost of his coffee and turned back towards the fire.
Damn! He shook his head. The problem was that he didn’t know enough about fires to do this on his own. He was a profiler; he needed a fire expert. He’d read the reports; he just couldn’t see the answers in them, and the answers had to be there. No, regardless of how this particular fire had started, he needed to convince Everett to send for a professional fire investigator.
He had read an interesting article in last week’s newspaper about one. Apparently, she used unorthodox methods to solve supposedly unsolvable fires. She’d recently taken down members of the mob who’d been using fires to extort money. Perhaps between the two of them, they could solve this mystery.
Jake walked over to the police chief.
“Everett, I think we need to consider bringing in someone else on this, someone who can solve this kind of puzzle. My gut tells me this is the arsonist’s work.”
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Now, Please take the time to read the other Mid Week teases. They’re diverse with something to tickle everyone’s fancy.