EXCLUSIVE Excerpt; The Deadwood Murders (Kendall Parker Mysteries – Book 2) by Jon Michaelsen

DEADWOOD

ded wood

noun

The dead branches of a tree; dead branches or trees.

Useless or burdensome people or things.

Chapter One

Two men dressed in dark slacks, pressed white shirts, scuffless black shoes shinier than a new penny, and aviator shades pushed above their foreheads examined the crime scene. Their suit jackets remained across the backseat of the black Chevy Suburban parked behind them on the shoulder of the interstate. Sweat layered their backs and pooled in droplets at the temples, soaked their armpits. Swatting at the insects swarming about proved useless.

The Georgia heat this day was stifling, the air thick with humidity, and enlaced with a putrid odor familiar to homicide investigators and most cops. They stared at the nude body about fifteen feet away, a male corpse lying face up on damp, decaying leaves. The skin of the cadaver was grayish and mottled; blood dried a Moorish brown. The eyes of the victim had been eaten away by the scavengers of the forest.  

A trio of sheriff’s deputies and a couple of attendants clad in white jumpsuits from the county coroner’s office stood on the perimeter. Forensic pathologists, the medical doctors who performed autopsies, rarely left the morgue. The professionals watched both FBI investigators intently, awaiting their turn with the body. No doubt they were cursing from having to wait in the stifling heat. One consolation, however, was the Feds appeared as miserable as everyone else on this blistering day in mid-July, a record ninety-degrees or better twenty-one days straight and counting.

The sheriff, a fiftyish gray-headed man with a round belly, tie askew, top button of his dress shirt open to reveal a tuft of graying hair, stood a couple of paces off to the side of the tall agents. He had placed the call to the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Atlanta upon notification of the horrific discovery. He had referenced a BOLO alert disseminated to statewide law enforcement agencies the previous month mentioning a string of linked and unsolved homicides. 

“Who found the victim?” asked Special Agent Hales without looking away from the body.

“Georgia Department of Transportation mowing crew,” Sheriff Hinson said. “One of their men walked up into the wooded area a hundred feet that way to take a leak. Claims he caught a foul stench and noticed buzzards circling overhead. Figured it was a dead animal, a wild hog or such, and though he’d take a peek. Made his way ‘round that ravine over yonder and saw something curious. Thought it might be a decomposing animal carcass, but it looked strange to him from a distance, so he decided to get a better look-see. Curiosity got the best of him, I guess. It always does.” Hinson chuckled, but lost his grin when the agents remained stoic.

Hales snorted as his partner, Special Agent Delvecchio, spoke up, obviously frustrated with the man’s slow, winding drawl as evidenced by the scowl ripped across his red face. “Go on sir.” 

“When the worker got closer, he ain’t seen no dead hog at all, but a body. He told his supervisor and 911 Dispatch got the call from GDOT’s office in Macon. A couple deputies called out here to check.”

“Thanks, Sheriff Hinson,” said Delvecchio. “That’ll be all for now.” He motioned the official to step away and give them room. “We’ll call you over after an initial walk-through. Inform the photographer and techs they can get to work afterward.”

Hinson opened his mouth to speak, thought better of it and slunk away with his head bowed like a banished child. They took the cue and snapped on nitrile gloves and microfiber booties before moving closer to the body, careful not to disturb the scene.

“Give me the rundown,” said Delvecchio.

Hales bent at the knees. After a thorough once over, he began reciting what he observed. Delvecchio took notes: “White male, twenty-five to thirty-five, one-seventy to one eighty-five pounds alive. Height about six feet. Dark hair cut short to the scalp, hairless torso. Signs of trauma to the neck and chest. Bruising, ligature marks visible on both wrists, ankles, and neck.” Hales lifted a stiff arm and portion of the right shoulder. “Dark patches beneath the arms, shoulders, legs and buttocks appear to be livor mortis caused by hypostasis. Abrasions caused by some ligature device; rope, twine, or a type of cord perhaps. Hard to determine without a more thorough examination.”

The younger agent swatted the gnats and flies swarming around, then shifted his eyes lower.” Significant defects noted to the pelvic region. Victim’s penis, scrotum and a portion of the abdomen incised.” Hales cleared his throat and continued in a gravely tone. “No clothing or personal identification present on scene, same with any visible tattoos, scars or other identifying marks. Autopsy will determine the length of exposure to the elements and possible cause of death, but my best guess is the victim has been here four or five days at most.”

Delvecchio spotted something at the base of a thick tree-trunk approximately three feet away and moved off, calling back over his shoulder. “No drag marks or foot impressions I can see, but damn weather could have erased any evidence therein by now.”

Hales followed his partner’s movements. Delvecchio bent at the waist and retrieved something from the ground. He stood, holding an object midair for closer inspection. “Looks like a piece of leather, a shoelace,” he said. “The kind found on work-boots. Might be the ligature used on the DB.” Delvecchio inspected the area around the barnacled trunk, circling to the backside of the tree. “Hales, you need to see this.”

The agent joined Delvecchio after making a wide arc around any potential evidence on the ground before cutting back to where his colleague stood. On the lower portion of the trunk Hales saw the bark gouged, like a wedge or deep notch. Inspecting farther up the tree he spotted numerous, much thinner marks scored into the rough crust. Rope burns, perhaps from the portion of shoelace Delvecchio held aloft.

“Victim was either tied to or propped against this tree, strangled with some sort of ligature device, perhaps some of that shoelace you found,” Hales said, bending at the knees. “The scars in the tree’s bark would suggest the UNSUB braced a foot against the trunk for leverage to garrote his victim, but the binding broke, so another device was substituted.” Hales looked around the base of the tree. “Body was either cut down or the bindings broke.”

Hales stood after inspecting the lower impression further, then retraced his steps to the body.

“This our guy’s work?” Delvecchio asked, following close behind, but his tone suggested he knew the answer.

“MO appears the same, but I cannot be sure until getting a closer inspection of the body, more specifically the throat.” Hales motioned for the crime scene photographer. A gangly shutterbug with billowing white shoe coverings joined them at once. “Get your prelims before we inspect the body. You can finish your evidence-quality shots once we’ve stepped away.”

The photographer nodded and began snapping away with a fancy digital camera, bending, squatting, and contorting his lithe frame in a kind of hushed, bizarre dance around the corpse, positioning himself near enough, but not too close in order to avoid contamination. When satisfied, he stepped away from the body to reclaim his spot at the perimeter where he began fussing with his equipment and unpacking a tripod.

Hales withdrew a pair of chrome-plated micro tissue forceps from his shirt pocket and stepped next to the corpse. Lowering his solid frame to one knee, he leaned over the body. “Let’s determine for sure.” He used the thin instrument to pry open the purple lips, and probed the interior of the mouth, removing some dead leaves and earth. The steel prongs of the tool snagged something solid, lodged deep within the throat. Hales withdrew the forceps and held the foreign object aloft for closer inspection. “Piece of deadwood,” he said, scowling. “Like all the others.”

“Where to next?” asked Delvecchio, wiping the sweat from his forehead with the back of his meaty hand. The gnats were relentless; the heat insufferable.

Hales glanced at the interstate and sighed. Motorized vehicles whipped past at breakneck speed; their occupants oblivious to the horrific discovery a few yards away. “Based on the UNSUB’s previous pattern and northern trajectory these past few months, and considering the body’s been here a few days, I’d say he’s already arrived at his next destination.”

Available December 6, 2019

26th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists Announced – “Pretty Boy Dead” makes the cut

 

The 26th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists were announced on March 6th 2014. My novel, “Pretty Boy Dead” was shortlisted as a finalist in the Gay Mystery category.  To see the finalists for all categories, click on the link below:

LammySeal-actualsize_2013-e1377558848107

http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/news/03/06/26th-annual-lambda-literary-award-finalists-announced/

PRETTY BOY DEAD –

Blurb:

A murdered male stripper. A missing go-go dancer. A city councilman on the hook. Can Atlanta homicide detective Sergeant Kendall Parker solve the vicious crime while remaining safely hidden behind the closet door?

When the body of a young man is found in a popular midtown park, police and local media quickly pin the brutal killing on a homeless gay kid with AIDS. But Homicide Detective Sgt. Kendall Parker isn’t convinced, even when the suspect is accused of assaulting a police detective with a deadly weapon.

City leaders want the heinous murder solved yesterday and they jump at the chance to pin the crime on the drug-craving teen. Besides, it’s an election year and remaining in office is their top priority, even at the sacrifice of the young man. Sgt. Parker isn’t easily persuaded and is determined to prove Hopper’s innocence, despite protest from his colleagues and the great citizens of Atlanta. And all threatens to expose the deep secret Parker has carefully hidden from his comrades for years.

PrettyBoyDead_cvrFINAL_FINAL

Reviews:

Pretty Boy Dead

A murdered male stripper. A missing go-go dancer. A city councilman on the hook. Can Atlanta homicide detective Sergeant Kendall Parker solve the vicious crime while remaining safely hidden behind the closet door?

Named one of Jessewave’s Top Picks 2013!

Pretty Boy Dead is a well-written police procedural with an engaging plot and well-developed characters.” – Jessewave

“…the writing is solid, the book is well executed from cover to edits…” – author Ryan Field

“The author has written a gritty crime drama that is exciting…” – Rainbow Book Reviews

“Highly recommended for those who like swift, compelling stories.” – Chris Beakey, author of Double Abduction, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award

The characters are well drawn and I really believe that they propel the story and of course, it helps that the book is so well written.” – Amos Lassen

“…offers an intriguing look into the thought process, personal demons, peer pressure and bureaucratic nightmares that can plague a homicide detective working on such cases.” – Bob Lind, Echo Magazine   

“If you are looking for a great mystery, you can’t go wrong with Pretty Boy Dead. – The Novel Approach

“Jon Michaelsen has written a tense, entertaining, and believable crime novel.” – David Sullivan, author and retired 29 year veteran of the San Jose Police Department.

“Overall, a good read…a murder mystery with a lot of flawed characters.” – On Top Down Under Reviews

WHERE TO PURCHASE “PRETTY BOY DEAD” –  

Wilde City Press: http://tinyurl.com/PrettyBoyDead

Amazon

eBook: http://tinyurl.com/PBD-ebook

Print: http://tinyurl.com/PBDprint

Print UKhttp://www.booksamillion.com/p/Pretty-Boy-Dead-Kendall-Parker/Jon-Michaelsen/9781925031607

Amazon India: http://www.amazon.in/Pretty-Dead-Kendall-Parker-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00H9VAM5Q

(Europe) Junglee.com: http://www.junglee.com/Pretty-Boy-Dead-Kendall-Mystery/dp/1925031608

Barnes & Noble –

eBook:

Print: http://tinyurl.com/PBDBarnesandNoble

OmniLit –  https://www.omnilit.com/product-prettyboydeadakendallparkermystery-1364535-243.html

Kobo http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/pretty-boy-dead

Tower Bookshttp://www.tower.com/pretty-boy-dead-kendall-parker-mystery-jon-michaelsen-paperback/wapi/124483703#product_details

What They Are Saying About Pretty Boy Dead

Pretty Boy Dead – by Jon Michaelsen

A murdered male stripper. A missing go-go dancer. A city councilman on the hook. Can Atlanta homicide detective Sergeant Kendall Parker solve the vicious crime while remaining safely hidden behind the closet door?

PrettyBoyDead_cvrFINAL_FINAL

What they are saying about Pretty Boy Dead  

Named one of Jessewave’s Top Picks 2013!

Pretty Boy Dead is a well-written police procedural with an engaging plot and well-developed characters.” – Jessewave

“…the writing is solid, the book is well executed from cover to edits…” – author Ryan Field

“The author has written a gritty crime drama that is exciting…” – Rainbow Book Reviews

“Highly recommended for those who like swift, compelling stories.” – Chris Beakey, author of Double Abduction, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award

The characters are well drawn and I really believe that they propel the story and of course, it helps that the book is so well written.” – Amos Lassen

“…offers an intriguing look into the thought process, personal demons, peer pressure and bureaucratic nightmares that can plague a homicide detective working on such cases.” – Bob Lind, Echo Magazine   

“If you are looking for a great mystery, you can’t go wrong with Pretty Boy Dead. – The Novel Approach

“Jon Michaelsen has written a tense, entertaining, and believable crime novel.” – David Sullivan, author and retired 29 year veteran of the San Jose Police Department.

“Overall, a good read…a murder mystery with a lot of flawed characters.” – On Top Down Under Reviews

 

Where to purchase:

Wilde City Press: http://tinyurl.com/PrettyBoyDead

Wilde City Press Ebook; Pretty Boy Dead

Amazon

eBook: http://tinyurl.com/PBD-ebook

Print: http://tinyurl.com/PBDprint

UPDATE: New Releases, Re-releases and Current WIPs

Many of you know my former publisher, loveyoudivine, closed its doors for good June 30, 2013 and I had to move quickly to figure out a plan for my published titles and future works. I needed to wait until the rights for FALSE EVIDENCE (Murder Most Deadly I) and SWITCH HITTER returned to me before looking for a new publisher. I have found a wonderful publisher who not only agreed to re-release these novellas, but also offer re-editing and new covers.

The re-release of SWITCH HITTER, a sexy erotic thriller novella co-written with author, Alex Morgan, was released by my new publisher, Wilde City Press (http://www.wildecity.com/books/gay-erotica/switch-hitter/#.Ug7CiO7D_IU) this week, which you can pick up currently at their website, and in a couple weeks at other fine etailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, and others. SwitchHitter_cvr-FINAL

For those curious about the sequel to FALSE EVIDENCE (Murder Most Deadly I), I am happy to report that I have signed a contract to release both parts I and II with Wilde City Press. After much discussion with my editor, we’ve decided to release both parts combined in one novel with the title, MURDER MOST DEADLY. In fact, my current WIP is the second and final portion of FALSE EVIDENCE, which we are targeting for release later this year. I will keep you updated via my blogs here, GoodReads, Amazon, Lazy Beagle Entertainment

False Evidence: Murder Most Deadly 1
False Evidence: Murder Most Deadly 1

(http://www.lazybeagleentertainment.com/murder-most-deadly-1–false-evidence.html), as well as on Facebook and share the new cover with you as soon as I am able.

More exciting news! I have also signed a contract to release my debut full-length novel, PRETTY BOY DEAD, the first in a planned series with Wilde City Press (http://www.wildecity.com/). Check out the first peak of the blurb at Lazy Beagle Entertainment: (http://www.lazybeagleentertainment.com/pretty-boy-dead.html).

Though straddled with a little setback this year, I’m really excited about my upcoming releases and new projects. Once I have finished with my current WIP, I plan to finish PRINCE of the SEA, which is a southern gay romance set in the beautiful coastal town of Tybee Island, Georgia, and includes a supernatural element that I’ve really enjoyed writing. Of course, in keeping with my style the story does include a mysterious and thrilling theme.

SWITCH HITTER available now from Wilde City Press

SWITCH HITTER

by Alex Morgan and Jon Michaelsen

SwitchHitter_cvr-FINAL

Blurb:

Top ranked National League baseball player, Jase Dockery, was having a record-breaking year until a sluggish bat threatened to derail his streak. To the world Jase is a hero, but the MVP harbors a deeply guarded secret…one that just might end his career.

To satisfy his craving for domination, Jase agrees to a tryst with the captain of APD S.W.A.T. The night of unbridled passion has him fantasizing about his next rendezvous with the hard-bodied cop the next day at practice, but his pans are soon derailed by a stalking fan who abducts the nation’s hero to hide out in a lake cabin outside the city.

Can the smitten S.W.A.T captain locate Jase before the humiliation that awaits him with risking coming out to his comrades?

excerpt…

Jase swallowed hard and counted to ten before taking a breath. Jesus Christ! He expected his subjugator to bust him over the head, take his wallet and bike, but nothing happened.

“I…look, I’m sorry, man,” Jase managed. “Just forget it, all right? I made a mistake.” He flinched as the arm slipped higher around his chest. “I really need to go, now.”

The man breathed against his neck. “Are you sure you don’t want to stay? I’m horny as hell tonight, and you’re precisely what I need. Lady Velvet has never disappointed me. Anonymity is as important to me as it is to you, she assured.”

Jase didn’t answer in words, but in the thickening of his cock. Tendrils of lusciousness rose from the base of his balls, and surged through his abdomen. He glanced down at the hand covering his left, at the thick fingers that clamped over his own. Lady Velvet had said the man was a cop, a S.W.A.T. officer at that. What luck!

Fighting off fear, Jase found his voice. “I-I’m not sure this is a good idea,” he said, still feeling uneasy. The man’s hand moved up to caress his chest, fingers tweaking his hard tits. Jase held his breath, ready to drop his load right there on the bike without shedding his clothes.

“My friends call me Cap.” The tip of a moist tongue slid up the base of Jase’s neck as the man’s hand settled on his crotched and squeezed hard. “I hear you’ve been a real dick lately and need some attitude adjustment.”

Those final words sealed the deal. Concern and fear evaporated in the heat churning between them. Jase wanted nothing more than to lose himself in the arms of this beast, captain of a S.W.A.T team.

Jase dismounted his motorcycle, and faced Cap. His heart skipped a beat and his breath caught in his throat. The mustachioed face, more handsome than any professional athlete or model, stared back at him. The brown eyes seemed to draw him in, engulfing his vision. He couldn’t look away, didn’t want to look away. Cap’s torso seemed to explode from out of his narrow waist. His T-shirt stretched across a huge, muscular chest.

The gorgeous specter smiled, and Jase’s legs nearly buckled.

“Let’s see what Lady Velvet has in store for us.” Cap draped an arm around Jase’s shoulders and led him to the elevator.

http://www.wildecity.com/books/gay-erotica/switch-hitter/#.UgKlgu7D_IV