Thursday, August 9, 2018

SCENE OF THE CRIME: Jennifer Chase

SCENE OF THE CRIME by Jennifer Chase, Mystery, 300 pp., $.99 (Kindle)

Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 300
Genre: Mystery Suspense

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.




Chapter 1

NOTHING CAPTURED HIS ATTENTION. IT wasn’t as if he wasn’t looking for anything specific or that he didn’t care about anything, but everything became like white noise. Looking down, he spotted a couple squashed beer cans, which had resulted from the constant compression of car tires repeatedly running over them. Now they lay in the gutter unnoticed—as discarded litter. Out of boredom, he kicked the aluminum pancakes with his worn out running shoes. The compressed disks clattered a ways before landing back in a different part of the same gutter, just as his life.
Roger Case was in one of those moods where everything seemed futile. It was a time when his temperament plummeted; he entertained the spirit of defeat, which was becoming more common these days. His concentration slipped farther into the dwindling mindset of drugs and crime to the point of mania. Rationalizing his motives, he preferred to enact self-medication.
He needed something strong to take away his thoughts of negativity. The repetitive movements of his hands and arms worsened. He wanted anything that would take away his fears, his depression, and his unrelenting obsession for the next quick fix. Roger knew that even when he felt the most empowering high that there was a high price to pay—and it was predictable and inevitable—the hard, downward crash.
Roger hadn’t always been teetering on that slippery slope, dangling over the life of crime; in fact, he still remembered when things were normal and even mundane. He grew up in a typical middle class family with his mom and dad, along with his older brother and sister. Reflecting on those memories now, he would trade just about anything to have those times back.
Now he waited with anticipation for his contact. It was going to make everything better—at least for a while. He convinced himself that just a little bit of crystal meth would help him get back on track—to see things clearly again. It wasn’t as if he was a full-blown addict, he just needed something to help motivate and push him in the right direction.
He heard a hollow scraping noise and stopped to listen. Standing quietly, still straining to hear, but that sound never repeated. He looked around. Curious. The sound seemed to resonate in his head instead of around the street. Upon further inspection, he realized it came from inside the cement structure.
The old water treatment plant had been decommissioned by the county some time ago, now outdated, and was nothing more than an eyesore gathering the grime and deteriorating aspects of time gone by. Something loomed in Roger’s vision and waited in darkness—he strained his eyes looking into the long structure that seemed to lead to nowhere.
Maybe his connection made a change of plans and the meeting place was at the cement sinew, and out of sight from any onlookers, or cops happening by on their route. It was possible. At this point in Roger’s life, anything was possible.
Roger contemplated his options for a moment and then decided to check it out. He turned toward the water treatment plant and headed inside. The first thing he noticed was the temperature difference—cold and damp compared to the warmer street areas.
He slowed his pace, unsure if he should call out or announce his presence. Fidgeting nonstop with his hands, pressing his fingers tighter and then releasing them, Roger moved farther into the tunnel.
A shuffling sound came from the other end.
“Hello?” he finally said, his voice weak and tinny which made him unconsciously twitch.
A muffled dragging sound was the responded answer. It resonated from the back-left area.
“Hey, I don’t have time for this… you either want the money or not.” He tried to sound tough but his nerves were frayed. It wasn’t something he was used to feeling. In fact, Roger couldn’t remember the last time he felt scared, frustrated, angry or anxious.
The damp cement tunnel seemed to pull him closer to the heart of it—into the bowels of no return. Instead of turning around and leaving, Roger slowly moved deeper into the cavern. It was as if someone or something else had control over his body. His insatiable curiosity had put him in troubling situations throughout his life. It contributed to him getting into deep trouble with a growing rap sheet to prove it.
Most memories had a calming effect on Roger, which had initiated his fidgeting to cease and his hesitation to subside. He didn’t understand many people’s fears and phobias, most things were just benign and didn’t amount to anything remotely scary or debilitating.
There it was again—a dragging sound followed by what he thought were hushed whispers.
He would smack a kid if they jumped out at him or gave him any crap. Most likely, they were tagging gang symbols and looking to get into trouble.
There was the distinct sound of two people whispering to each other.
Roger tried to sharpen his vision but the darkness played tricks on him with weird shadow figure apparitions. He blinked his eyes quickly trying to concentrate on the area and where the kids were hiding; his eyes began to water from the extreme effort. Wiping away the aggravated tears, Roger felt his surroundings close in tightly around him as his perception changed. The darkness seemed to give a strange rippled effect.
The voices became louder. There was nothing sinister about the voices, but they were speaking faster with more of an urgent tone.
“Hey, you little maggots, I know you’re here,” stated Roger.
He stopped and stood still.                                                         
The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.
A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.
The anonymous whispers stopped.
All buzzing in his ears stopped.
Roger Case’s heart stopped too.

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.



Other Books in the Series

Body of the Crime


Can Bare Feet Benefit Your Writing?
You know that exhausted, tired feeling after a long day of standing on your feet? You come home and immediately kick your shoes off and peel away your socks—now that’s relief.  You even feel a little bit lighter and brighter in spirit once you have shed your shoes.
My writing quirk is working in my bare feet. I don’t really know if it’s a quirk rather than a preference. When I’m writing in my home office, I do so without shoes or socks. Why you ask? The only answer I can convey is that I like it. I feel more relaxed and ideas seem to flow easier.
I wanted to find out if there was really something about being more productive with bare feet. Once something grabs hold of my curious mind, I cannot seem to let it go until I’m satisfied with the answer. I began to research the “barefoot syndrome” and here are a few things that I found out.
There is actually a society called Society for Barefoot Living founded 1994 with over 1,400 members from around the world. Here is a quote from their homepage, “Set your feet free and your mind will follow…”
That’s interesting.
According to an article written in the New York Magazine, we walk wrong and we’re hurting our feet by wearing shoes. This immediately caught my attention and I probed a little bit further into this phenomenon to find out exactly why.
“Natural gait is biomechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person,” wrote Dr. William A. Rossi in a 1999 article in Podiatry Management. “It took 4 million years to develop our unique human foot and our consequent distinctive form of gait, a remarkable feat of bioengineering. Yet, in only a few thousand years, and with one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying it its natural grace of form and ease of movement head to foot.”
There are definite health benefits of going bare foot. I was amazed to find out that my quirky habit when I write actually has some scientific merit to it. Think about all of the cultures and martial arts disciplines that involve being barefoot.
Kicking off your shoes can actually:
·     Keeps your feet properly exercised, agile, and in shape. Stronger feet help to make a stronger body. Wearing shoes can actually make your feet lazy and potentially increase the risk of injury.
·     Fights varicose veins by improving circulation.
·     Relaxes the body and mind.  It changes the mindset that we associate when we are wearing shoes.
I don’t know if I’m ready to toss all my shoes for the barefoot lifestyle, but I know that when I’m writing I feel more relaxed and ready to take on any storyline challenge with ease.

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.




Monday, June 18, 2018

Review of LAUNDRY MAN by Jake Needham

(The Jack Shepherd International Crime Novels Book 1)
Mystery / Thriller
Date Published: January 16, 2014

“LAUNDRY MAN is in the tough-talking tradition of Elmore Leonard and Ed McBain and deeply infused with a sense of place. Jake Needham gets things right.” -- Asia Review of Books

Once a high-flying international lawyer, a member of the innermost circles of government power, Jack Shepherd has abandoned the savage politics of Washington for the lethargic backwater of Bangkok, where he is now just an unremarkable professor at an unimportant university in an insignificant city.

Or is he?

A secretive Asian bank collapses under dubious circumstances. A former law partner Shepherd thought was dead admits he was behind the disgraced bank and coerces Shepherd into helping him track the hundreds of millions of dollars that disappeared in the collapse. A twisting trail of deceit leads Shepherd from Bangkok to Hong Kong and eventually to an isolated villa on the fabled island of Phuket where he confronts the evil at the heart of a monstrous game of international treachery.

A lawyer among people who laugh at the law, a friend in a land where today’s allies are tomorrow’s fugitives, Jack Shepherd battles a global tide of corruption, extortion and murder that is fast engulfing the new life he has made for himself in Thailand

Superb Complex Thriller – BUY IT

Jack Shepherd is living the life in Bangkok. Teaching at Chulalongkorn University, his lawyering days are behind him – or so he thought. A two o’clock in the morning call awakens him from a sound sleep, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the other guy on the line. He insists he’s Barry Gale, but as everyone knows, Gale is dead.

Oh, this book is a winner!

LAUNDRY MAN by Jake Needham is the kind of book you hope to find, but rarely do. From the first page, it sinks its hook into a reader’s soft palate, and doesn’t let go. Good on so many levels, it’s sort of frightening that someone can tell a story this well, but that’s what happens in this non-stop plunge into a conspiratorial abyss.

Needham is masterful in his delivery. The atmosphere and descriptions are first-rate, and as for the story, it’s cogent and impressive in scope. No doubt that you’ll want to be puttin’ on those thinking caps for this one! The plot hinges on dirty business deals and global finance, but don’t worry if you’re not up on international law. The ins and outs are told in a remarkable understandable style. The complex information is comprehensible and quickly processed. The skillful handling helps prevent the pacing from getting bogged down, while its inclusion helps form a fuller, more intricate picture of the spidery doings going on.

Jack Shepherd is a bona fide hit. His character is illustrated to the nth degree. We see his strengths and many flaws, but don’t lose sympathy because of the shortcomings. Instead, we fight alongside him as the web tightens round him. In fact, all the very many seamy, seamier, seamiest characters he meets along the way are enjoyable. They’re of the scum-sucking variety and really add depth of flavor to this soup.

Everybody has an angle, and I wasted no time in trying like crazy to figure out what they were and where the story was headed. Luckily, it was impossible, and so I gave up trying and went along for the ride. Let me tell you it was sensational, and it’s books like these that make me want to give up backseat driving for good!

Kudos to Mr. Needham, and to those savvy enough to pick this baby up and find how good reading can be. While I usually include both up and downsides in my reviews, there are no downsides here. It’s why I can give it FIVE BIG BOLD THRILLING STARS for a job well done! If you’re into intelligent action, LAUNDRY MAN is a must!