By Liam Sweeny
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
When Jack was six years old, his parents were brutally slain by a serial killer. The police later found drifter Clyde Colsen driving a stolen car, his clothes soaked in blood. He was tried, convicted and executed. Jack grew up knowing that they got the guy.
Now, Jack, a decorated homicide detective in New Rhodes, arrives at the third crime scene of the “South End Killer” murders and finds his name. He will soon find out something else: Thirty years ago, they got the wrong guy. And now the right guy’s come back to pay Jack and New Rhodes his bloody respects.
As Jack struggles to stay on the case, his cat-and-mouse with the killer makes him wonder if he’s the cat or the mouse. His family, and everyone in his life is fair game. As the killer escalates and threatens the entire city, Jack has a question he must answer in his desperation; can he stop the monster without becoming one?
Welcome Back, Jack – Liam Sweeny – Excerpt
The mayor had a gold-painted shovel and in the background was a backhoe, which local artists fully painted in psychedelic patterns and designs for the occasion.
The guy running it was a blue collar guy with skull tattoos on his arm. Jack tried not a laugh at that.
“So basically, the mayor is going to say some stuff, shovel a bit of dirt and then the backhoe will take out one scoop for the photo-op.”
“Yup,” Harken said. “I think they just want something good in the news for a change.”
“I think we all do, Cap.”
Mayor Erickson stepped up to face the cameras, Chief Detmer behind him. Harken and Jack were away from the cameras.
“New Rhodes has come a long way since the times when it was a small trading post on the Hudson River,” he said. “We were one of the first cities to industrialize, one of the first to have electricity, and we have been a pinnacle of success in architecture and character. But we have seen our rough spots too, including urban decline and loss of jobs. We are a reflection of the history of America. And I know, recently, we have had tragedies to endure.”
The mayor raised his shovel. “But we will get through it. We will survive, and we will revive. And this land, once a symbol of urban decay, will become the New Rhodes Collaborative Arts Center, a state-of-the-art facility for the promotion of the creativity that will one day renew our city. To my left is Susan Williams, the director of the New Rhodes Cultural Arts Council. Her hard work and passionate dedication has turned this dream into a reality.” He looked over. “Susan, would you like to say a few words?”
“Thank you, Mayor Erickson,” she said. “I would just like to thank all of the volunteers who have been the true driving force behind the revival we have seen in New Rhodes. Thank you all for inspiring this collaboration between the city government and our council to create a place that will breathe new life into the arts community of New Rhodes. Thank you all so much.”
With that, the mayor took a couple of heaps of dirt from the ground to the flash of cameras. Next, Susan Williams, who would presumably become the director of the Arts Center, dug a couple of shovels full as well.
Then everybody backed away, and the cameramen repositioned their equipment to catch the backhoe as it prepared to take its turn.
Jack and Harken walked over to the chief.
“You doin’ alright, Chief?” asked Harken.
Detmer sighed. “This is the only peace I’ve had in the past week. How are you boys?”
“We’re holdin’ up,” Harken said.
“Jack, how about you?”
Jack could hear the backhoe bearing down. “Yeah, I’m just happy to be out in the open air for a—” He was interrupted by the sound of shouting and a woman screaming.
All three of them ran over to the backhoe. The crowd of media staff and the attendees were gathered tightly, obscuring the view, but the chief cleared them away to see what caused the commotion.
Inside the bucket of the backhoe, sticking up at obscene angles, were bones. Other bones were poking through the gouge in the ground. Dangling from one of the bucket’s teeth was a jawbone, surreal against its neon butterfly backdrop. Its teeth were cracked and stained from age and dirt.
The Arts Center site was now a crime scene. What was worse, and what raised the bumps in Jack’s flesh, was that they had just publically broken ground on a body dump.
Liam Sweeny has worn many hats in his life. In addition to being a writer for ten years, he has been an artist, musician, grassroots campaign staffer and spent four years in disaster response, both in leadership and in the field.
It was in the field in New Orleans that Sweeny got his start as a writer. Hurricane Katrina, and his role in the relief effort, fueled his early writing, where he began in sci-fi/fantasy before transitioning into crime, mystery and noir.
As a crime writer, Sweeny’s work has appeared in many publications, such as Thuglit, All Due Respect, Near to the Knuckle, Shotgun Honey and others. You can find out more at http://www.liamsweeny.com
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