Book 1 -- Killer Double
In KILLER DOUBLE, body parts wash up on shore in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Victim of a shark attack, or something more sinister? Less than a thousand miles away in Indiana, the body count is rising. The prints left behind are puzzling. It matches the prints from the body parts in South Carolina, but there’s a second set of prints…a serial killer’s from twenty-five years ago. Only problem is, the killer has been dead for over twenty years.
A case this bizarre is right up Dagger’s alley, but he isn’t about ready to share it with another detective team. Dagger is very private and Sara’s talents must be kept a secret. Jake is a former FBI agent, a by-the-book detective who will find it difficult to look the other way at Dagger’s tactics. It will be up to Sam and Sara to keep the two men from killing each other before the case is solved.
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Small footprints dotted the shoreline and were quickly erased by an ocean wave. Two boys searching for the best seashells to take home were scouring the beach at sunrise. Their family had been coming to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina for as long as they could remember. It certainly beat the Chicago beaches which didn’t have seashells and were closed too many times to count because of sanitary conditions.
Connor and Caleb were six-year-old twins and not looking forward to leaving nor the start of the school year. They wished they could have spent all summer on Hilton Head, but their parents only had the timeshare for one week.
Water lapped at their bare feet as they walked, head down, stopping every now and then to dig out a half buried seashell. The water was still warm from the summer’s heat, and the humidity made the air feel as thick as gauze. The boys didn’t care. Heat and humidity didn’t faze them after the arctic winter that had blasted through the Windy City.
“Ugh, what’s that?” Connor winced as he pointed. Freckles dotted his bronzed skin. He was shorter than Caleb who took great pleasure in reminding his twin that he was five minutes older and one inch taller. It was easy to tell the two apart. While Connor had red hair and freckles, thanks to his dad’s side of the family, Caleb was blond and blue-eyed, thanks to his mom’s side of the family.
Caleb leaned down, hands on his knees. Lying on the sand was a helmet-sized creature that looked like something that had dropped out of a UFO. “That’s a horseshoe crab, dummy. You would have known that if you had paid attention when we toured the museum. It’s part of the tick and scorpion family rather than a crab.” Caleb also prided himself at being the smarter of the two.
The crab was a muddy brown color and resembled a huge tick with a long spiny tail. “They use the tail for digging,” Caleb added.
“It’s still ugly. Does it sting?”
“It looks like a skull. What do you think killed it?” Connor straightened, bored with this latest find and eager to find better and bigger seashells.
“Sun probably. It can’t live on land for long. They wash up with the tide and if they land on their backs or can’t get back to the water, they die.” Caleb saw a new crop of shells deposited further up shore by the tide.
They each carried bags that already contained several dozen shells. Their parents had told them not to get their hopes up. This was not the best beach to find large shells, but they didn’t stop looking.
Connor looked over his shoulder. “We’re pretty far from the condo. I can’t see mom and dad anymore.” While their parents preferred to sit on beach chairs and enjoy their coffee, the boys had taken off with a warning from their dad not to go too far.
They had wandered onto a strip of beach lined with marsh grass and small dunes. Clusters of other seashell hunters had ventured in the opposite direction. The boys had this section of the beach to themselves. It was void of any houses much less swimmers or beachgoers.
“This is a weird shaped shell,” Connor said as he bent down to pick up the cylinder shaped object. “Is that a…?” He screamed and dropped the object.
Caleb poked at it with a stick. “Is that a finger?”
“It can’t be, can it?” Connor leaned closer, now intrigued.
While Connor studied the finger, Caleb poked at another object tangled in seaweed. “Looks like another horseshoe crab.” But when he dug it out of the seaweed and flipped it over, both boys screamed. It wasn’t a crab at all but part of a human skull.