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by Susan Whitfield
Description: A gruesome murder leads Agent Hunter into wicked waters. Some call Gator Creek "Sin Creek"--where the Cape Fear River snakes through eastern North Carolina, past the stunning port city of Wilmington. A sliver of water where wickedness and decadence take precedence over decency. When SBI Agent Logan Hunter discovers a dead UNC-Wilmington coed used porn to pay tuition, she tracks down and questions other coeds. Far too many of them have been coerced into the raunchy business and have the scars to prove it. Hunter battles dens of iniquity, zeroing in on a brazen but somehow elusive ferry to find a deranged killer and bring down the porn operations, while trying to keep her marriage to Agent Chase Railey from falling apart. Even though she succeeds in finding the killer, the investigation changes her life in ways she never could have imagined.
eBook Publisher: L&L Dreamspell/L&L Dreamspell, 2011 London, Texas
eBookwise Release Date: January 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [271 KB]
Reading time: 164-230 min.
"This action-packed mystery will keep you turning pages until its shocking end." L.J. Sellers, The Sex Club and Secrets to Die For "?Susan Whitfield offers a strong commentary on some of the dangers of college life. Her protagonist, Logan Hunter, gives a strong telling of the story from the initial meeting with a dead girl's parent to ending up on The Fearsome Ferry, a happening spot that would bring shivers to any parent with a kid in college. Lickety-split pace and effective description give the reader the feeling they are conducting the investigation right along side Logan. If you're a fan of mysteries, this one is guaranteed not to disappoint. If mystery's not your genre, make an exception with Sin Creek. Like the Cyclone at Coney Island, Sin Creek is gripping and intense, yet an enjoyable ride." Mark Rosendorf, The Rasner Effect
I drove to 6150 Rock Creek Road in Brunswick County dressed in the silk and heels I'd worn to my bridal-shower tea. I followed a University of North Carolina-Wilmington campus policeman down Loblolly Loop Trail and through the university's Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve. We passed a pond covered with duckweed, and I thought I saw a gator hump with beady eyes watching me. We arrived at the crime scene where officers from New Hanover and Brunswick counties collected evidence.
I badged my way around some blood and over to the body--white female, badly beaten, unclothed--with only a small amount of mulch covering her emaciated body, her only attire a red leather choke collar with a red heart pendant. Her lower extremities--the groin area specifically--had been shredded by some kind of razor-sharp instrument.
"Agent Hunter," a Brunswick County badge with the name Blake said with a nod. His cell rang before I responded. "Excuse me, ma'am." He turned and answered. "Blake. Go ahead." He listened and nodded while I took a closer look at the crime scene. "That's a positive," I heard him say, "she's pretty torn up in the groin. Yeah, sick bastards." Blake snapped the cell cover shut to end the call and stepped toward me.
"Seems some kid out jogging reported a large amount of blood over by the dorms on the UNCW main campus."
"Killed there and moved here," I said.
"Yes'm." His cell rang again. "Yeah?" I waited again for more information. When this call ended, Blake looked me in the eye.
"They found a small purse not far from all the blood. Purse belongs to a Maeve Smoltz. Had a UNCW freshman ID. Probably one and the same." I moved closer to the dead girl. "They may have found the murder weapon over there too, Agent Hunter."
"Not so great for her. A bloody Sawzall," Blake said.
"What's a Sawzall?"
"It's a carpentry tool. I have one myself. It's got different tips, depending on what kind of woodworking project you're doing, but who in his right mind would use it on a person?"
"I think it's reasonable to say whoever did this is not in his right mind, Sergeant Blake."
"Yes, ma'am. You're right. I guess that goes without saying."
"Are there any witnesses here or at main campus?"
"No. This place here is open from dawn to dusk seven days a week, but the Grounds Manager," he glanced at his notes, "a Mr. Tom Barnes, says it's been slow traffic since the semester ended. Want my theory, Agent Hunter?"
"I think the perp killed her on the university campus, came up one of the logging trails at Town Creek, and dumped her out here."
"This is certainly a desolate area," I said, seeing nothing but tall pine trees around me, "but a long way from the university."
A young New Hanover County law-enforcement officer working the crime grid walked up.
"I guess I should be looking for a dildo, but so far--"
"Excuse me?" I stared at him.
"I've heard hardcore crowds use a Sawzall with a dildo, but there's no dildo here," the officer said. "Probably where the saw is."
"You're kidding, right? People use these things for sex?"
"Yes, more than you can imagine. Pretty desperate, huh?"
I couldn't comprehend a saw used for sex, and whoever did this either didn't know what he was doing, or intentionally left a dildo off. I shook my head, hoping the coroner would determine Maeve Smoltz died before this atrocity. What had she done to have her young life end this way?
* * * *
When I arrived at the Wilmington Police Department on McRae Street, the chief briefed me on their depressing situation. With six unsolved murders in four months on their own docket, I learned I wasn't going to get much--if any--assistance, through no fault of their own. Just an unusual and unfortunate circumstance. They didn't have the luxury of focusing on one case. That left me--and a small group of SBI agents who would probably pop in and out--to solve Maeve Smoltz's murder.
Governor Bev Perdue had recently held a press conference about the state's economic crisis and her budget cuts, creating a situation where all law-enforcement entities became short-staffed. Positions arising from retirements and resignations were left unfilled from local to state levels, all a direct result of the national and international financial mess that affected all of us. To make matters worse, the feds, who usually had a hard-on for porn--no pun intended--now had a new top priority. Since the recent discovery of a terrorist cell living and operating in North Carolina, terrorism on American soil had become a primary focal point, and that involved plenty of SBI agents. If that weren't enough, the state planned to release rapists and murderers back into society due to overcrowded prisons. I had an answer for that one, but nobody wanted to reinstate capital punishment.
I sucked in the humidity and slammed the Hummer door a little harder than necessary, frustration attaching itself to me like a second skin. I grew up in humidity. Why then, had I never become accustomed to it? My mood soured more as I thought about the way Maeve Smoltz died.