Thursday, 5 July 2018

Scene of the Crime by Jennifer Chase

Title: Scene of the Crime
Series: A Chip Palmer Forensic Mystery
Author: Jennifer Chase
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Date Published: 5/16/2018
Publisher: JEC Press

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.


      The cement walls, which once had the typical graffiti symbols, now were covered with red and black smears. Everything had the sheen of being wet and sticky. The bright red covering appeared to be blood, but they wouldn’t know until the lab tested it.
      Kate dared to move closer to the wall and the closest thing that she could guess making the black smear was some type of engine grease. She snapped a photo and could see in the picture that there were grainy pieces embedded.
      The entire area around the body had garbage, coagulated chunks of a jelly substance, broken bottles, pieces of wood, pinecones, and a dozen of other types of debris that Kate couldn’t immediately identify.
      “Springfield,” she said as the flashlight beam highlighted several dark pieces. “Is that…”
      He moved closer and turned to Kate. “It’s a cat’s head and what looks like the rest of the body in pieces.”
      Kate let out a breath, remembering what her ex did to her own cat. She pushed away the bad memories and refocused on the scene. It was the most disorganized, scattered mess of any crime scene she had ever seen or had ever heard of during her career. She wracked her brain trying to recollect anything she had witnessed in the past that would shed some light on this murder scene.
      Nothing came to mind.
      “Have you ever seen anything like this, Rawlins?” the detective asked.
      “No,” she replied abruptly. The stench made her queasy almost to the point of no control, and she could feel her salad and four cups of coffee rising into her throat.
      “What is your take?” he pushed, clearly not knowing what else to say.
      “It’s a complete disastrous confusion—as if the killer went on a rampage and mutilated the body, but…”
      “But what?” he quickly asked.
      Kate moved closer to the victim, taking a moment before bending down next to the body.
      She checked his wrist, which still had a watch attached. The timepiece was ticking and had the correct time. She reached into his pant pocket and pulled out a wallet containing twenty bucks in cash and a California driver’s license with the name on it that read clearly: Roger Allen Case, thirty-four years old with an address that wasn’t far from the crime scene. There was also a small bag clutched in his hand with what was most likely crystal methamphetamine.
      Detective Springfield stood behind her and watched. “So the scene appears to be a disorganized and crazed individual, but they didn’t rob him or take his drugs. That can’t be right.”
      “It’s not the usual drug deal gone bad, but that’s what most likely drew the vic here,” Kate added. Standing to face the detective, she said, “We’ll be able to find out all about the vic but nothing about the killer… except…”
      “Except what?” he inquired, his eyes wide and face pale.
      “Except that the killer or killers staged the crime scene.”
      “Killers?” he asked.
      “One person couldn’t make this kind of horrific mess and massive contamination in a short period of time based on the lack of decomposition of the body. And not wanting to attract unnecessary attention,” Kate explained. “Go direct CSI to search and document everything, no matter if it appears contaminated. I want to know what the hell has been mixed around here.”
      Detective Springfield hurried to leave, no doubt to get away from the stink as quickly as possible.
      He turned and answered, “Yeah.”
      “Tell the techs to document everything from anything viable at the entrance all the way to the body.”
      “You got it,” he said and swiftly left.
      No matter how much she wanted to leave to escape the horrific odor, Kate stood for another five minutes trying to ascertain who, and how, the perpetrators could pull off this type of crime scene, and, most importantly—why.

About the Author:

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 psychopath, 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

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