The Novel Approach welcomes SJD Peterson on the Splintered blog tour.
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED
Blurb: A string of murders targeting effeminate gay men has the GLBTQ community of Chicago on alert, but budget cuts have left many precincts understaffed and overworked. Not to mention, homophobia is alive and well within the law enforcement community and little has been done to solve the mystery. When the FBI calls in Special Agent Todd Hutchinson and his team, the locals are glad to hand the case off. But Hutch finds a bigger mystery than anyone originally realized—seventeen linked murders committed in several different jurisdictions. Hutch’s clues lead him to Noah Walker.
Working on his PhD in forensic psychology, Noah has been obsessed with serial murders since he was a child. But coming to Hutch’s attention as a suspect isn’t a good way to start a relationship. Noah finds himself hunted, striking him off Hutch’s suspect list, but not off his radar. To catch the killer before anyone else falls victim, they’ll have to work together, and quickly, to bring him to justice.
Available for Pre-Order at: Dreamspinner Press
Excerpt: The dew glistening on the grass in the early-morning light gave the impression that each blade had been infused with brilliant, flawless diamonds. The sun just beginning to crest above the horizon cast the field in a stunning orange glow. Special Agent Todd Hutchinson, known simply as Hutch, stood on a slight rise and looked down at the beautiful sight before him. It reminded Hutch of scenes he’d seen in photography magazines. He’d tried his hand behind the lens, but found he didn’t have the eye for it. Still, he enjoyed looking at the work of others. Hutch could get lost in imagining being there; it was calming. The only thing keeping the sight before him that morning from being postcard perfect was the easterly breeze bringing the stench of rotting flesh to his nose.
Turning back to the forest behind him, Hutch scanned the area. He saw no indication of any disturbance in the foliage, no signs of a struggle or that the body had been dragged here. He was convinced the murder had occurred elsewhere, and whoever the killer was, they were fit and strong. They’d carried the body some distance to dump it.
The body was that of a naked man, face down in the center of a small grouping of trees. He was thin, weighing no more than about one hundred-twenty pounds, and small of stature, approximately five foot six inches. His hair was dyed an unnatural shade of red with black streaks running through it and medium in length. He had ligature marks on both wrists and ankles as well as on his neck. Insects feasted on his pale skin.
Granite, Hutch’s best friend and associate, bent under the yellow crime scene tape and made his way toward him. “Glad you could join us this bright early morning. How ya doing, Hutch?”
“Well, other than a little disgusted at the fine men and women in blue of Jefferson County traipsing all over, fucking up the crime scene—” He took a cigarette from his coat pocket, lit up, and blew out a long stream of smoke. “—I’m good, what have ya got?”
“Not much, other than the obvious,” Granite drawled. He pushed his long bangs out of his eyes and flipped open the small notepad he always carried. “Woman, one Florence Carmine, fifty-four years of age, local resident, came upon the body while walking her dog. Body appears to have been dumped at the site. Still waiting for the coroner to get here before we can fully check out the vic, but the dark blue color on his wrists, ankles, and neck make it pretty obvious he didn’t do this to himself.” He shrugged, closed his notepad, and returned it to his pocket. “Then again, I’ve seen some pretty messed-up shit. Remember that guy with the gasmask hanging from the bedpost by his tie? Fuck, after that scene, nothing really surprises me anymore.” Granite shuddered.
Hutch shook his head as he remembered the accidental death. Young guy alone in a sleazy downtown motel playing autoerotic asphyxiation games. Poor bastard had a dildo up his ass, hand on his dick, and had hung himself from the bed by his own tie. Probably wasn’t the way the man ever imagined leaving this world. Hopefully, for his family’s sake, those crime scene photos wouldn’t make it onto the World Wide Web, though in this day in age, they were more than likely already there.
“Got an ID on the vic?” Hutch took another deep pull from his smoke. It was a nasty habit, but the world was a lot safer for others when he got his fix of nicotine.
“Not yet,” Granite responded as he scratched his head. “Unless he’s hiding it beneath him, we’re not going to know who he is until they run prints. It’s like whoever dumped him here flew in and flew right back out. Hell, maybe he was teleported here, who knows? We’re not going to get shit for evidence with this one.”
SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can’t cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.