Here’s an excerpt from Edita A. Petrick’s para/mystery-romance, “The Cracked Shadow”
that’s now out as a trade paperback and also available as ebook with fictionwise,
amazon.com, mobipocket, AllRomancebooks, and Cambridge Books/ ebooksonthe.net.
Plot Premise: Gina’s a mass-murder survivor and spent ten years institutionalized. She lives in a transition house, under psychiatric supervision. She’s being stalked. If she goes to the police she might get locked up again. If she doesn’t, she might be the next victim.
Max is a cop who likes to speak his mind…and never lets anyone get closer than his name and his badge. Gina becomes his case. And for the first time he’s not sure he can solve it.
“The Cracked Shadow” – Excerpt
“You lie well,” Max said, when they were in the car.
“When our lives and sanity depend on it, I do,” she agreed flatly.
“We entered that bank at three-forty-one. I checked my watch.”
“I know, Max. After all, Gina’s message was not ambiguous.”
“Gina’s never ambiguous.”
“Those guys would have started shooting at precisely three-forty-two.”
“They were going to shoot up the place. No doubt about it.
They came to celebrate the holiday with a bloodbath. That’s what they did in St. Cloud, and five months ago in Baxter. I remember the bulletin. I think we got the psychotic Romano brothers from Buckman.”
“Billy Marks checked on that. I heard he got a positive ID. Max, where’s Gina?”
“Better be at Cramden’s.”
“And if she isn’t?”
“Then you’re going to have a long and difficult night, searching Minnesota.”
“It’s been a hellish day. I wasn’t planning on much sleep until next year anyway.”
“Her stalker left her a message in a phone book,” he said.
“Gina doesn’t lie, Max. If that’s what she said, then that’s what happened.”
“The Romano brothers operated alone. They had no partners.”
“I know, Max. I read the bulletin too. I don’t think Gina’s stalker was their accomplice.”
“Then how could she know?”
“I’m sure the answer to that question will be accompanied by a trip to the drugstore, to pick up a ton of antacids. I was wondering about something else.”
“The Romano brothers are vicious cretins who probably can’t count beyond the fingers of one hand. In one of their robberies, in Prairie, they stuck a gun into the teller’s face and asked her to empty her till of all one hundred dollar bills. The terrified girl didn’t have any hundreds, so she gave them all her tens. They didn’t notice. The teller told the police. I remember reading it in the file. They let her live but they shot the two security guards and three patrons, just for the hell of it.”
“What’s your point?” he asked.
“I’d be very surprised if the Romano brothers could tell time – or actually plan to rob a bank at precisely three-forty-two.”
“Gina’s message said….”
“I know, Max. Her stalker wrote in the phone book that a robbery was going to take place at three-forty-two at Lexington, and we got that message at three-fifteen.”
“We’re not having this conversation, partner.”
“Of course not. I don’t want to go anywhere near Parmenter’s mental recreation facility,” she said with a painful chuckle.
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