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||November 21, 2011
Barnes & Noble.com
Author Jennifer Chase
A serial killer plagues an island paradise.
Vigilante detective Emily Stone continues her covert pursuits to find serial killers and child abductors, all under the radar while shadowing police investigations.
Emily searches for an abducted nine-year-old girl taken by ruthless and enterprising slave brokers. Following the clues from California to the garden island of Kauai, she begins to piece together the evidence and ventures deep into the jungle.
It doesn’t take long before Emily is thrown into the middle of murder, mayhem, and conspiracy. Locals aren’t talking as a serial killer now stalks the island, taking women in a brutal frenzy of ancient superstitions and folklore. Local cops are unprepared for what lies ahead. In a race against the clock, Emily and her team must identify the killer before time runs out.
Two tattered wicker chairs sat on opposite sides of the porch in front of two sash windows. The screens around the sitting area used to keep most pesky mosquitoes away had long since deteriorated, curled and ripped vertically from age and constant humidity.
First step, then the second onto the porch felt like a carnival fun house with sloping sides and uneven movement from the weight of two people.
The blonde man pushed Emily’s left shoulder with the barrel of the gun urging her into the house. The rickety screen door squeaked as Emily slowly pulled it open, it slipped slightly off at a strange angle due to neglect.
Darkness greeted her with an unknown agenda.
She contemplated her next move and waited for an opening to pounce – the sooner the better. The man didn’t expect any resistance from a woman who appeared submissive and frightened – all the classic victim behaviors that Emily was not.
The brightness outside wasn’t enough to overexpose her eyesight inside the cottage. The interior windows covered with heavy black drapes and lack of any luminescent made for a creepy entrance. Slasher movies with chainsaw murderers flashed through her mind.
The hair stood up on the back of Emily’s neck even before the pungent smell of old garbage, booze, and human body sweat hit her senses. The putrid odor kept increasing as she moved deeper into the living room and made her swallow hard to keep from gagging. She knew if she continued into the house it would be next to impossible to escape – too many unknowns not in her favor.
Elements of surprise slowed her pace. She counted down the seconds and inventoried the thrift store furniture consisting of a broken down couch with protruding springs, two overstuffed, mismatched chairs, and a small fold out table with two straight back chairs.
Pieces of mangoes, pineapples, and empty beer bottles covered the table; the fruit had turned dark around the edges allowing flies to feast on the blackened remnants.
“Company.” The British man announced as the screen door slammed shut behind them, the broken door still wobbled on its rusted hinges, squeaking for a few seconds.
Emily’s odds for escape now doubled with two people in the house, instead of just one man with a shotgun.
Her uncertainties now realized.
Small steps forward, left foot, right foot, then pivoting to the left and spinning around to face her attacker, Emily pounced on the man, pressed against him close enough to smell his sickly sweat, and shoved the shotgun upward blasting off a shot through the ceiling. Splinters and chunks of drywall sprinkled the living room like an early snow dusting of winter in the mountains.
The room echoed from the blast. A couple of seconds passed before the world had normal audible sounds.
Emily knew she couldn’t over power the man, but she used her quick self-defense moves to her advantage.
Momentarily stunned, the man blinked twice and before he could retaliate, Emily slammed the heel of her right hand into his face making direct contact with his nose. Blood instantly spurted from his membranes and she felt the slippery, warm liquid on her hand spattering her face and white t-shirt.
Rage and adrenaline pumped through her body and catapulted her forward as she landed a solid right hook on his jaw. He didn’t stand a chance and dropped to the floor. The shotgun flew, completing one full revolution, end over end, and rested next to the sagging couch.
Fighting the urge to kick his face repeatedly for what he had done to the little girl in the basement, Emily took a set of plastic zip ties from her pocket, rolled the bleeding man on his side, and expertly looped his hands. She pulled them tight – too tight. She didn’t care. He moaned, dazed by the blitz attack.
Just as Emily turned to find an entrance to the basement to find Cassie, a large, muscular man with dark tattoos that seemed to ooze around his grubby white tank top grabbed her by the neck and pushed her backwards onto the couch. Her fall wasn’t cushioned and she could feel every sofa steel spring jab into her back. Pain pierced her spine. The hulk of a man pressed his body against Emily and squeezed the air from her lungs.
He groped at her sides and her jeans in a frenzy of excitement.
She couldn’t move her arms or wiggle her body loose from his enormous weight thrust against her one hundred-fifteen pound frame. Slowly turning her head to the left, she saw the dark inked flesh of his right shoulder and sunk her teeth deep into the muscle. The powerful human jaw cut through soft tissue and then sliced through the muscle. He cried out in agony with an animal wail, retreating long enough for Emily to slide out from under him and hit the uneven wooden floor. Emily crawled toward the shotgun and prayed that it had another bullet in the chamber.
Before she could reach the gun, she was tugged roughly by her hair, dragged a couple of feet backward, picked up like a rag doll, and thrown to the floor on the other side of the room. The huge man with a long ponytail stood in front of the door blocking any means of escape for Emily.
Bleeding from his shoulder, red ooze seeped further down his shirt as he stood staring at her with a wide, terrifying smile on his face, reminiscent of the inbred family member intent on wreaking havoc on any unsuspecting visitor who happened upon their place in the woods. It piqued some type of sick, twisted game to him. He was oblivious to his partner lying on the floor whimpering softly and didn’t care if he were alive or dead. His focus was on Emily as his personal sadistic plaything until he killed her.
Not clear if he was a brutal psychopath or merely a caged wild animal that acted as the muscle partner in crime, Emily knew she was out manned, out maneuvered, and out gunned.
She stood up shakily and readied herself in a standoff against her opponent. Her options were to hope that Rick would rescue her, probably not going to happen soon enough, or hand-to-hand combat with an overdriven testosterone, dominated Neanderthal, which was highly unlikely, or plan three…
She tried to stand up straight to size up the fervent man as a sharp, searing pain exploded down the base of her neck to her lower back, like a lightening bolt, which caused her knees to quiver. Light headed with difficulty breathing, Emily remembered her early training at the police academy, which seemed like another lifetime ago. She kept her physical training updated even though she wasn’t a sworn police officer anymore.
She pushed off with her left foot and took three well-placed steps, covered her face leading with her elbows, and crashed through the single paned, sash window. She tucked and rolled at the perfect time, hit the catawampus porch, bounced once, and continued down the two stairs to the soft, reddish dirt of the island.
Continuing to roll to the side, she knew that the hulking man would soon be on her tail.
As Emily caught her breath and happy to see that her arms weren’t sliced to ribbons, she saw some familiar shoes approaching fast. She rolled onto her back to sit up just as the front door opened with a crash that ripped the screen entrance from its hinges.
A two-by-four swung through the air and made precise contact with the angry man’s chest, he dropped immediately to the ground with a dull thud that undoubtedly rattled his internal organs.
Rick stood over the large man with a satisfied look on his face, steadying himself for another blow if necessary.
The large man, face down, windless, remained knocked out cold.
Rick tossed the board aside and helped Emily up, gently touching her cheek and wiping her hair from her face. “You okay?” His eyes said more than his simple words.
“I’m fine.” Emily smiled as her body screamed in agony. “Let’s get these guys contained before the cops get here.”
Rick grumbled. “I don’t think they’re coming.”
“It’s different here.”
“What do you mean?” She said slowly.
“Island police protocol.”
“They didn’t believe you?” Emily looked surprised.
“It may be a while before the cops get here. Let’s get the girl to safety and leave the rest for the local cops to clean up.”
5 Stars Reviewed by Rita V for Readers Favorite
“Jennifer Chase does not disappoint in this remarkable mystery murder novel. The plot is well thought out and the chapters flow nicely from one subject to the next. The descriptive words and the use of imagery immerses the reader directly into the story among serial killers and evil perpetrators. The tension build-up blew me away as I could not put down this novel because I was so entwined in the mystery and suspense. I felt as if I was right by Emily and Rick’s sides as they put the puzzle pieces together in tracking down a sadistic serial killer. This book had me on the edge of my seat in fear and contains many twists and turns that I had not seen coming. I absolutely love a great mystery murder novel and could easily see this novel turned into a television series or motion picture movie. I highly recommend this book for all avid mystery readers and am greatly looking forward to the next novel written by Jennifer Chase.”
5 Stars Reviewed by Sarah Moore, Writers in the Sky
"To share that the most recent offering by author Jennifer Chase is my favorite means that I really love this novel, as I have enjoyed every book that she has published. Dark Mind is the fourth novel by Jennifer Chase, and through its pages Chase takes her magnificent ability to put her readers inside the mind of a serial killer and to produce plot twists that literally take your breath away to a new level of thrills and intensity. Whether or not you are already familiar with Jennifer Chase’s work and have eagerly been anticipating this new release (like me), or she is an author you are discovering for the first time, you will not be disappointed by Dark Mind.
Chase brings character Emily Stone back to the forefront in Dark Mind. Still happily connected to Detective Rick Lopez in an endearing romance, the two arrive on the island of Kauai to investigate a child abduction that is part of a larger, disturbing trafficking network. Once there, the couple becomes drawn into the search for a serial killer who has been attacking women and then sacrificing their bodies in grotesque and public ways to please his god. Joined by former FBI investigator and good friend Jordan, who fans of Chase will recognize, and local investigator Sergeant Lani Candena, Emily and Rick explore the darkest and most remote locations in Kauai in their hunt to bring a vicious monster to justice.
For the first time in her writing, Chase involves the physical environment as a major character in her writing. The island of Kauai provides an amazing backdrop for the storyline, with its gorgeous beaches that create a sense of peace and pure beauty, as well as the uninhabited woods and caverns that can be terrifying to those not familiar with the land. Chase also displays a deep knowledge of, and respect for, the local culture and traditions. The readers are not just placed on an island and asked to accept the storyline; they are transported into the language and mystery and mysticism of the land, making the authenticity of the work thoroughly believable.
As has been a particular strength through all of her books, Jennifer Chase continues to put forth a powerful psychological component in her writing. We are asked to delve into the thoughts and fears of a serial killer, even taking breaths with him and walking with him as he stalks his prey. I found myself having to shake off the intensity of these episodes before moving forward with the next scene, which speaks to the strength of Chase’s writing and her obvious background in criminology. And, Chase also succeeds at another critical element of a thriller novel . . . she keeps the reader guessing. The suspense is effectively built so that you never know when danger may strike and the twists in who the “bad guys” are in the novel evolve wonderfully. It’s not an instance in which you read a scene and think, “Oh, she wants me to think this guy is the killer, but he won’t be.” The revelations really are unexpected and make for a great climax to the book.
Jennifer Chase does not disappoint with her new novel, Dark Mind. Far from it. Instead, she proves that her creative mind continues to generate fresh and compelling storylines and characters. If you are looking for a book that is smart, beautiful, and even a bit frightening at times, you need to pick up a copy of Dark Mind."
Highly Recommended by reviewer: Jan Evan Whitford, Allbooks Reviews
“Okay, think HAWAII FIVE-O meets CRIMINAL MINDS, meets CSI. Sort of. Only much, much better because this author captivates and charms the reader with her many impressive writing skills—particularly for setting the scenes. And even as she engages the reader with vividly descriptive sights, smells and feel of the enchanting island of Kauai in Hawaii, she ratchets up terror, tension and suspense. Immediately, she hooked me by placing me into the tense atmosphere of an interrogation room—engaging all my senses with great sensory images. And then she follows up with a horrific captive scenario, some nasty crime scenes, nail-biting confrontations and plenty of well-researched police procedural action plus a corker of a plot that kept me guessing; just what I love in a crime fiction thriller. And the short chapters keep things hopping. I like that, too. I was definitely captured and seduced by the prose—very well done, and with thorough research into Hawaiian culture.
Emily Stone is the protagonist, along with her partner and possible romantic interest, Rick. Their passion? Hunting down serial killers, child abductors, and pedophiles. And they do it under the radar. Without badges. Starts out, they’re searching for a missing 9-year-old girl, taken by slave traders. Gritty enough for you? After that, the reader is treated to a roller coaster ride of vivid, authentic crime scenes, stalking, terror, violent confrontations, and dangerous forays into such exotic locales as the rugged terrain of the Na’Pali coastline. Plus even a little steamy romance. Anyway, we find out soon enough that a local serial killer is abducting women and doing away with them in horrific ways, definitely not for the squeamish. Ancient Hawaiian superstition is involved and the bad guy might just be a local. Or not. Of course, there are red herrings and the compulsory antagonism with local police, all good stuff but the ending? It’ll blow you away. Nail-biter. Did I mention that? Well, that’s what it is. The only downside was that I didn’t really connect with the protagonist until about 150 pages in—probably because I should’ve read the previous books in the series first. Nonetheless, as a rule, all books, even in a series, should stand alone. Minor hurdle, though. It was still a page-turner.
Since this is an e-book with no back cover for an author bio, I went online and found out that Jennifer Chase lives in California. She’s got a Bachelor’s degree in Police Forensics as well as a Master’s in Criminology. Wow. No wonder her crime scenes are so authentic. She claims her intense curiosity into the psychological aspect of crime led her to write crime fiction. Well, I’m so glad it did.”
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