Friday, January 10, 2014

Every Last Secret by Linda Rodriguez

This book is the first in a series featuring Marquitta Bannion aka Skeet. She left her job on the Kansas City Police to take a position as the chief of the Chouteau campus police. A murder happens and Skeet and Gil start to investigate. But the administrators of the college want to keep this a secret because they are doing some fundraising.  The evidence is pointing to some top people in the college being responsible.  Then the victim's wife is murdered.  Skeet needs to figure this out quickly before more people die. At the same time, Skeet's father Charlie has a major stroke.
I really enjoyed this story.  It was well written.  I did not figure out who the killer was ahead of the story. I think we have a new mystery author to love!
This book has won this award, Malice Domestic First Traditional Mystery Novel.

From the author:
Half-Cherokee Marquitta “Skeet” Bannion thought she was leaving her troubles behind her when she fled the stress of being the highest ranking woman on the Kansas City Police Department, a cop ex-husband who didn’t want to let go, and a disgraced alcoholic ex-cop father. Moving to Brewster, Missouri, a nearby small college town, to be chief of the campus police force, she began to build a life outside of police work with a house and yard, pets, and women friends who were not cops. She might even begin a new relationship with the amiable Brewster police chief and his sweet little girl.

All of this threatens to crumble around her when the student editor of the college newspaper is brutally murdered on campus. Skeet must track down his killer, following trails that lead to some of the most powerful people in the university. Everywhere she turns, she uncovers secrets, and the murderer will do anything to keep the most dangerous secret from being exposed.

College administrators demand that she conceal all college involvement in the murder, and in the midst of her search for the killer, Skeet takes up responsibility for a vulnerable teenager while her jealous ex-husband and seriously ailing father wind up back on her hands. Time is running out as Skeet struggles to catch a killer and prevent more deaths by unraveling every last secret.

Excerpt:
CHAPTER 1


I look back and second-guess myself about Andrew McAfee, imagine I could have seen further into the cloud of dangerous secrets that surrounded him. But I know nothing that happened can be changed, no dead brought back to life. I had no way of recognizing the tangled webs all around me at the very time I thought I had found sanctuary.
*   *   *
A middle-of-the-night call used to mean a dead body. All that changed when I moved twelve miles out of Kansas City to this little college town. Not only did I trade the war zone of inner-city policing for a peaceful college campus, but I owned a house, a dog, and plants that were actually alive. Now, my collie, Lady, was barking at the ringing phone, unaccustomed to disturbances at two in the morning.
I jerked awake in practiced reflex. My first thought was of murder, but my new reality came back to me. Couldn’t be Homicide. Was it my ex-husband to tell me my dad had wrecked his car while driving drunk?
I grabbed the phone from the bedside table. “Bannion here.”

“Chief! It’s Dave Parker. I found a body!”

On automatic pilot, I swung out of bed, wondering how the hell that brand-new hire for the campus police had managed to find a corpse on Chouteau University’s pristine campus. Wilma Mankiller, the survivor cat I’d brought from the city, jumped from her side of the bed and hid. She knew the phone ringing in the middle of the night meant I’d be storming around with no patience for pets.

“Where? Report, Dave.” I pulled underwear and a sweater from drawers.

“Sorry. I just never…”

I seized one of my old black Homicide pantsuits from the closet and started to dress. “Slow down and breathe, Dave.” I heard him take several uneven breaths. “Now, report.”

“Sorry, Chief. I was making rounds, going past the News offices like you wanted.”

I had asked the whole department to keep a special eye on the Chouteau University News editor in chief, Andrew McAfee, after breaking up a fight between him and his news editor and hearing from the faculty adviser about sexual assault and theft claims against him. My second-in-command belittled me in front of night and morning shifts for using woman’s intuition. Frank Booth thought I stole the chief’s job from him—though they’d never have hired him since he lacked investigative experience. I retaliated by claiming I was using detective’s instinct. Then, I insisted everyone keep watch for trouble from McAfee.

“A light was on in the inner office so I opened the door,” Dave continued. “To make sure it wasn’t someone it wasn’t supposed to be. It was McAfee. I thought he’d just fallen asleep till I got close enough to see the blood. God!”

Blood. Damn! I fastened my belt and put on my shoulder harness. “Manner of death, Dave?” Pulling open the drawer in my night table, I checked my gun before holstering it.

He took a long, deep, steadying breath. “Back of his head’s smashed in.”

“Did you touch anything?” My voice jerked as I ran down the stairs to the front door.

“Just the door. When I went in. Once I saw him, I backed out quick into the hall and … I guess I panicked. I haven’t called it in to Dispatch yet or anything. I called you because it was like you knew. Having us keep an extra eye on him and all.”
That extra cop-sense at the back of my skull had niggled at me ever since my run-in with Andrew McAfee. I’d lived down the street from him, his wife, and his stepson, who walked my dog and mowed my lawn, but I’d never really met Andrew until breaking up that fight and learning he was probably stealing money from his student reporters.
“Your first time finding a body is hard, Dave. You’ve done fine. Kept the scene intact.” I reached my car and unlocked it. “Call Dispatch and have them contact Gil and the coroner and the county evidence techs. Tell Dispatch not to send anyone else over there. I’m on my way to you. I don’t want anyone messing up the scene. Keep everyone out till I get there or Gil does.”

“Okay, Chief.” His voice sounded less strained.

“And, Dave,” I added, as I started the car and peeled away from my peaceful house into the night, “you did fine.”

Pages: 289
Published: 2012

1 comment:

bookdout said...

I love cosies and this one sounds fun - thanks for sharing!