by Mary Keliikoa
July 17 – August 11, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
Sheriff Jax Turner is staring down the barrel of his broken past. On the brink of ending it all, he feels like a failure following his daughter’s tragic passing and his subsequent divorce. But when a schoolgirl vanishes and her backpack is found in a sex offender’s backseat, the weary lawman drags himself into action and vows to nail one last sociopath.
Shocked to discover the teen’s aunt had lost her life in an abduction years prior, the devastating outcome that he’s taken personally, Jax believes the killer has returned with a vengeance. But as the desperate cop frantically hunts down a mysterious relative in search of a suspect, the girl’s time keeps ticking away…
Can the jaded sheriff take down the culprit in time to bring the young girl home alive?
Praise for Hidden Pieces:
“A multilayered psychological thriller…that is both poignant and engrossing.”
~ Kirkus Reviews
“Hidden Pieces is an intense novel offering hair-raising twists and turns and differing plots making it difficult for the reader to discern the culprit. Surprises arise to give the story more power and excitement. A page-turner up to the conclusion this is an exhilarating and spine-tingling read.”
~ New York Journal of Books
“Moody, evocative, yet propulsive.”
~ Matt Coyle, Bestselling Author of the Rick Cahill crime series
“Wow! What a novel. It crackles with realism, a page turner that sucks you in and won’t let you go till the last page… Domestic thriller and mystery fans will get their money’s worth.”
~ David Putnam, Bestselling Author of the Bruno Johnson seies
Genre:Police Procedural + Mystery & Psychological Suspense
Published by:Level Best Books
Publication Date: October 2022
Number of Pages: 282
ISBN: 9781685121563 (ISBN10: 168512156X)
Series: Misty Pines Mystery, #1
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
ZERO MINUS FOUR HOURS
Sheriff Jax Turner swerved his patrol car off Highway 101 and took a sharp right onto an unmarked dirt road leading to the beach. Tourists didn’t come to Misty Pines for the summer to swim in the ocean or the lakes. Too much mist; too much murkiness. The few outdoorsmen drawn to the area for fishing off the ragged ocean jetties had long gone for the season.
His Glock 22 rested on the seat next to him, along with a miniature wooden chair. He’d finished carving it during another sleepless night for a dollhouse he’d never complete, for a tea party that would never happen.
Jax followed the smooth road as it transitioned into rock, his upper body swaying and bouncing with the uneven terrain. When it leveled, he floored it, the tires spinning before they found their footing on the sandy flat.
Aimed toward the sea, he parked on a stretch of solid pack a few yards from the surf. The foamy fingers of the ocean reached for his cruiser, coming up short. The weather report called for ninety degrees in the city located eighty miles east, which meant an inversion for everyone on the coastline. His future, or lack of one, floated in the horizon, where gray ocean met gray clouds, both soon to be indiscernible in the impending fog. Damn, he was tired of being tired.
The window down, he sucked in the brackish scent of the seaweed-littered shores. Seagulls swarmed overhead. Their plaintive cries sent a wave of grief through him.
Misty Pines should have been a fresh start, a place to heal the wounds of the past. Instead, the salty air had entrenched itself in the ten years since he’d arrived. The torture would never end on its own. An hour spent unloading his ammunition at the shooting range into a silhouette target hadn’t helped this time.
Except he hadn’t unloaded all of it.
He leaned over the passenger seat to retrieve two sealed envelopes from the glovebox. A dragonfly drawing done with blue-green Crayola and glitter slid out. He fumbled and then caught it before it floated to the floor. His finger trembled as he traced the wings, remembering Lulu’s soft pink cheeks. He laid his daughter’s gift on his lap and propped the envelopes on the dash right before picturing them splattered in his blood. They’d accuse him of many things when they discovered his body. He wouldn’t let heartless be one of them. He placed the items back, securing the latch.
At least when they were found, the people who’d cared about him once would know why. One letter was for his former partner, Detective Jameson. He would understand if no one else did. The other to Abby. Ten years married, and their only child lost to cancer.
Lulu’s brave smile flashed in his mind, making the lump in his throat swell. Abby said she didn’t blame him, but he blamed himself enough for them both. And despite what she said, the light had dimmed in Abby’s eyes the night their little girl passed. Their marriage died that day too. They just hadn’t properly buried it until last year.
He balanced the gun on his lap and held the miniature chair in his hand, letting the gulls’ cries and the roaring surf fill his mind one last time. The rearview mirror reflected his weary eyes and the bags that had taken up residence under them. He ran his broad hand over his graying sandy hair and back around to the stubble on his chin.
Time to get to it.
He lifted the gun, holding the barrel in his mouth. The cold, metallic weight pushed against his bottom teeth. His throat closed, and he forced a swallow. Quit stalling. Eyes squeezed shut, sadness flooded his chest. Regret shoved him. Don’t think. He drew in the cool air through his nostrils one more time. Held it. Waited. Was this what he really wanted?
“Jax,” his radio crackled to life. “Sheriff…please….”
His eyes flew open, and he withdrew the gun from his mouth. Trudy. Had he heard something in her tone? Hard to tell with her voice coming in and out. He wouldn’t miss the shoddy technology in this godforsaken place. No. He was imagining it. He shook his head. Raised the gun.
“Sheriff Turner, we have a Code Ten-Fifty-Four. Urgent. Response needed.”
Lost child or runaway. Could be either. He’d been equally useless in both instances in the past.
“Sherriff Turner. Answer your damn radio.” Trudy’s voice blared that time.
He bristled and lifted the receiver off the hook. “What’re you talking about, Trudy?”
“There you are. It’s Emily Krueger’s kid. She didn’t get on the school bus.”
Allison. The little girl with the gap-toothed smile who used to wave when he walked past the bookstore. Not so little now, right? A teenager?
“Emily check with her friends?”
“No one’s seen her, hon.”
“Have Chapman handle it. I’m a little—”
“Gone this week,” Trudy said. “Alaska fishing trip. Remember?”
He scrubbed the exhaustion from his eyes. “On my way.”
He dropped the mic into its holder and secured his gun. Hopefully, this wouldn’t take long, and he’d be back in an hour to contemplate finishing the job.
Excerpt from Hidden Pieces by Mary Keliikoa. Copyright 2023 by Mary Keliikoa. Reproduced with permission from Mary Keliikoa. All rights reserved.
Mary Keliikoa is the author of Hidden Pieces and the upcoming Deadly Tides in the Misty Pines mystery series, the PI Kelly Pruett mystery series which includes the Shamus, Lefty, Agatha and Anthony nominated Derailed for best debut, and the upcoming Don’t Ask, Don’t Follow out Summer of 2024. Her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World and in the anthology Peace, Love and Crime.
A Pacific NW native, she admits to being that person who gets excited when called for jury duty. When not in Washington, you can find Mary with toes in the sand on a Hawaiian beach. But even under the palm trees and blazing sun, she’s plotting her next murder—novel that is.
Tour Host Info:
Book Formats: ePub, Print
Hosting Options: Review, Interview, Showcase
Giveaway: There will be a tour-wide PICT Giveaway
More: According to the author Hidden Pieces does not include: Excessive Strong Language, Graphic Violence, Explicit Sexual Scenes, or Rape. Readers may encounter content that is considered to be a trigger situation. Generally the content is considered to be: Clean (mild language no more than a mild swear or two, no sex, mild innuendo content. At this time, PICT staff have not yet read this book and cannot give additional information.
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