Happy Boxing Day, hope Santa was good to you all and brought you lots of bookish presents. Today I’m sharing an extract from Triple Cross Killer by Rosemarie Aquilina, published 5th December by Fiery Seas Publishing.
Have you ever wondered what really happens to Santa Claus letters? In Detroit and Sarasota some children’s letters are diverted and reviewed by Nick Archer, a religiously obsessed, narcissist. Nick responds, leaving a trail of devastation in the two cities.
In Detroit, co-ed partners and wise-cracking lovers, detectives Jaq McSween and David Maxwell, team up with Sarasota detectives Abel Mendoza and his partner, Rabbit, to find this daunting killer.
When Jaq’s friend, the lovely nurse, Rita Rose, takes a chance on love again, she gets caught in Nick’s web. Working with the ME, she joins in, adding her perspective when events take a sinister turn.
Can this diverse team of characters pool their insights, barbs, and taste for bad food to save Rita when she discovers the final clues or will she become the next victim?
David stared at him, then refocused and shuffled through the letters. Chris watched.
“See, some are to Santa, but others are to Saint Nick, Baby Jesus—my brother’s very religious. My guess is he prays for the kids at Mass. You’ve got things all twisted, whatever you’re thinking. He’s a solid citizen.”
David raised his brows and directed the officers, “Take pictures. Then list the box, letters, and news clippings on the inventory. Take more pictures than what you think we need.”
“We take letters and clippings with us when they’re finished. Si?” David nodded. “Let’s see what twin brother’s room has to reveal.” They followed the same procedure in Chris’ room. When they were finished, David confronted Chris. “You are under arrest for suspicion of murder—”
“No!” Evelyn turned deathly white. Abel put a hand on her shoulder.
“—conspiracy to murder, and aiding and abetting. We’ll see what else we can come up with, and the judge will let you know at arraignment.” David handcuffed Chris, read him his rights, and released him to a uniform. “Take him downtown to lock-up. I’ll contact the prosecutor when we’re finished so the paperwork will be ready for the Judge to arraign him in the morning.”
“Murder?” Chris shook his head. “You guys are nuts. I want a lawyer. We’ll sue.”
Abel directed to another uniform, “Find a new home for the mother for a few days.”
“Until we’ve gone over every crevice, this house is a crime scene.” David motioned the officer and Abel downstairs.
“Man, this is unbelievable.” Chris just kept shaking his head.
“Let’s cruise.” David curved his head to the remaining uniformed officers and ordered, “Call me when everything’s completed. Until you’re finished, I want an update every hour.”
Evelyn rocked herself. “Arrest me if you want. My boys have nothing to do with the crimes of this house. You can’t do this.”
“Bueno. We can and we did.”
“I’m calling my lawyer.” She didn’t have enough breath to yell, only a whisper came out.
David stiffly stated back to her. “A lawyer is a great idea. Your boys will need a good one. In fact, when you speak to your boys, ask them how they feel about wearing jumpsuits for the rest of their lives.”
“Detective, you are very wrong, my sons were just boys.” She took on a pleading tone. “Don’t prosecute them for the sins of their mother. I was the fool who married him and didn’t divorce him.”
David shook his head. “Every family has problems.” She looked confused. David pressed on. “From all those shoe boxes in Nick’s closet, he wears a size twelve shoe? Is that correct?”
Evelyn stepped back. “So do millions of men.”
“I’m only concerned about your boys. Twins? Maybe they both wear size twelve?”
“You’ve got it all wrong—what’s going on here? I have very good boys, best sons in the world. A boy protects his mother, nothing wrong with that. That’s the way it should be.” Evelyn’s voice was low and harsh. Tears streamed down her face, but she stood tall and unblinking. She scooped her purse over her shoulder, stepped into the boots by the door and grabbed her shoes. A tall uniformed officer handed her a coat and escorted her outside of her home.
David checked his watch as the search of the house continued. It was one thirty, time to get mom downtown to talk about “sins of this house.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rosemarie Aquilina is the mother of five children. Elected as a 30th Circuit Court Judge serving in the General Trial Division, after having served as a 55th District Court Judge in Mason, Michigan, she takes pride in public serve. In 1986, Judge Aquilina became the first female JAG Officer in the history of the Michigan Army National Guard, she retired in 2006 with twenty years Honorable Service. She is an adjunct law professor at both Western Michigan University—Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Michigan State University College of Law and has earned teaching awards at both institutions. Judge Aquilina is the former owner of Aquilina Law Firm, PLC, and former host of a syndicated radio talk show called Ask the Family Lawyer.