Behind the Closed Door (A Detective Series of Crime and Suspense Thrillers)
In this sophomore novel, Detective Jacob Hayden is back.
When Jack Smith doesn’t come home from a business trip, his wife, Erin Smith becomes concerned. Before she has a chance to call police, Detective Jacob Hayden and his new partner, Patricia Jennings, show up at the house and Erin immediately knows that something terrible has happened. Days later a body is found in the woods without the head or fingers and it’s determined that the body is that of Jack Smith. Erin Smith becomes the primary suspect. After her arraignment Erin posts bail and without anyone knowing, flees the city…
A man named Max leads a group through a string of bank robberies. Each bank robbery leaves the branch manager and their families murdered. FBI Agent Jadyn Davis and Detective Hayden have to find out who’s committing these robberies before more families are murdered. But what they don’t realize is that the bank robberies are only a small part of a larger plot that Max has planned.
Behind the Closed Door will keep you guessing until the very end.
Excerpt - Prologue
Trenton, New Jersey
They came for him at midnight. Four people dressed in black. Black ski masks covered their faces. Black gloves covered their hands. Clifton Marshall didn’t hear them enter his house. He didn’t hear them walk up his stairs and enter his bedroom. He and his wife, Deborah, were fast asleep. He didn’t hear that two of the four broke off and each entered one of the kid’s rooms. Two teenagers, a boy and girl named Melanie and Kyle, slept comfortably in their beds soon to be awoken by strangers.
Clifton slept snug with a thick brown blanket covering his shoulders. Drool hung from his partly open mouth. His eyes fluttered back and forth under his eyelids. His brain was too caught up in whatever dream he was having to notice that two intruders turned on the bedroom lights. It wasn’t until he heard his wife’s piercing scream that his mind brought him back to consciousness.
He quickly sat up. For a second he thought that he still might be dreaming. But when he felt his wife clinging to his left arm like he was her life support, he knew that he wasn’t. The light in the hallway came on and Clifton heard a rugged voice say “move” and then bushy haired Melanie and Kyle came into the room, startled and stumbling over one another. No one said anything. The two intruders from the hallway were each holding black handguns. Seconds passed with total silence.
“You can take what you want,” Clifton nervously said. “Anything in the house is yours.”
One of the intruders stepped forward. He was the tallest of the group with broad shoulders and thick arms. When he spoke, his voice was calm.
“I’m glad you’re willing to give us your house. But the house isn’t what I’m after.”
“What do you want then?”
“There’s something I want you to do for me.”
“Anything you want. Just please leave my family alone.”
“That’ll be up to you.”
Clifton gulped, and in the silence it sounded like a boulder fell down his throat.
“You’ll need to get dressed,” the intruder said.
“Where are we going?”
“To your place of employment.”
The intruder looked over at Kyle who was a bit tall and thick for a fourteen year old.
“Young Kyle as well.”
“My son can stay here. He’ll be no trouble. Wait, how do you know Kyle’s name?”
“That shouldn’t be your concern right now. And I’m not worried about trouble. He’ll be put to work.”
“Is it money you want? I can write a check right now. We only keep a little cash in the safe at the office.”
“I don’t want your money either.” The intruder moved a little closer. “Now, you and Kyle get dressed. Two of my associates will stay behind and watch over your lovely wife and daughter. If everything goes well, you’ll be back before sunrise. If not, you won’t be coming back at all.”
Clifton looked over at his son and nodded his head. “It’s okay Kyle, just do what they say.”
He slipped from under the covers wearing pajama pants and a white T-shirt. He quickly found a pair of blue jeans and a jacket from the closet. His hands shook when he kissed his wife and daughter on the cheek. Outside the night air was cool. Clifton was told to sit in the front passenger seat and Kyle was to sit in the rear seat. The intruder who did all of the talking was the driver. The engine fired up and warm air blew through the vents. Clifton looked up at his bedroom window and saw his wife standing there, staring back at them.
The car slowly pulled off and then accelerated as it moved away. Clifton’s mind raced with horrid and fearful thoughts. He closed his eyes. It’d been years since he said a prayer, but he figured this was as good a time as any to ask for mercy. His prayer was simple: please let me see my wife again. However, unfortunately for Clifton, this prayer didn’t get answered the way he wanted.