Wednesday, April 29, 2020

High Stakes & Scandals in High Places #MFRWhooks

The Conspiracy of Silence

#Mystery #Suspense #Thriller

A depiction of the life-and-death struggle of a gutsy female lawyer who goes to great lengths to save her lover from a murder rap.


The conscience of a town steeped in sexism, vanity, and hypocrisy is pricked by the brutal murder of a mysterious woman in a park in Los Angeles. But the shock is transformed into a steamy, seductive scandal when the body turns out to be that of Susan Whitaker, the flamboyant wife of the governor of California.
Soon, a dazzlingly intricate shuffle of volatile links lead the police to the delicate theory of a secret lover/blackmailer, and to the indictment of Benjamin Carlton, Hollywood’s most influential black celebrity. 
Then curious things begin to happen when Carlton’s ambitious girlfriend, Rita Spencer suddenly unearths the shocking secret that Susan Whitaker did not, in fact, exist. She little realizes however that her discovery of this colossal fraud is a mere curtain-raiser to a chilling world of ugly skeletons dating back to the assassination of a U.S. senator in a Washington hotel sauna, skeletons connected to riveting sex scandals in high places, skeletons the FBI and political king-makers will kill for...

The Hook - {Book Excerpt}

The dim figure lurked in the dusking patch of tangled shrubbery until darkness enveloped him. Then he choked and swore and frothed at the mouth, and went down on all fours. After a while, he clambered out of the shrubbery like a ghost, picked himself up, and wiped his hand across his brow. Tall, with an athletic build, he covered his hands with fleeced gloves and masked his face with a hood. He had a definite presence in spite of the aura of repulsion that swelled around him like foul breath. For a moment, he stood in death-like silence in a navy hooded sweatshirt, a pair of matching pants, and black running shoes. His dark brown eyes studied his environment like a bloodhound determined to unearth a misplaced object without losing its sense of smell.
A short distance away, small cylindrical light bulbs cast an eerie glow over the lush greenery of Glennon Park, capturing its beauty in a halo of kaleidoscopic brilliance. And then a throng of men in fancy tee shirts and short pants intermixed with women in jeans and sleeveless tops whisked into view. The dim figure, hearing their muffled voices over the sound of the fountain’s cascading waters, stiffened. Like him, the fountain stood in an unlit area of the park. Surrounded by luxuriant shrubs, it was the place where randy youths who often exploited the shadows for romantic mischief loved to loiter.

But on this particular night, there were no lovers necking by the fountain, something else had taken their place. A black diamond Cadillac stood beside the fountain. The unusual sight caused the dim figure’s hands to shake with excitement. Cars were not allowed that far into the park, so whatever fantasies within the limits of human accomplishment the Cadillac’s driver had conceived, this was the wrong night for it, he mused. This will be my last murder, he decided, the climax of a long, enterprising career as the greatest hitman of all time. He was a killer so efficient and so elusive that even the FBI nicknamed him Shadow of Death for his uncanny ability to dissolve into a penumbra after every hit.

He looked up and recognized the wonderful head of hair and the slender, sensual neck as the lone occupant of the Cadillac appeared in silhouette against the fountain. His pulse quickened at once. He mopped his brow with a handkerchief and contemplated the lady’s mesmerizing beauty. Thinking of her now as a victim seemed odd to him. He had loved her once; in fact, he still loved her, a reality that put him in a quandary—a lethal clash between his obsession and his survival instinct. The survival instinct, he knew, had to win, for between them now stood the only thing that love could not subdue—a dark secret.
The Shadow of Death moved with stealth in the semi-darkness toward the Cadillac, his hands shaking with excitement with every step he took.  His only accomplice was his own shadow, perceptible to no eye but his. It seemed innocuous even to him, like a specter, only there to see, not to arbitrate. It moved when the killer moved and stopped when he did, like a minion with no initiative of its own, an android programmed to repeat the action of its mentor, as only a ghost would, only to be saddled thereafter with the damning knowledge of the truth, a truth that would elude the rest of the world—an everlasting witness, a ghost that would never die.
There was deafening silence inside the Cadillac. All around it, darkness closed in as slowly and unfalteringly as the approaching evil. The killer’s face was impassive, his heartbeat regular, but his muscles were taut as he strained to open the driver’s door with his gloved hand.
She did not see him, could not see him, because she was leaning face downward on the steering wheel.
Gripped by a morbid fascination with death, he stared down at her, the roaring tension inside him silenced by his cold determination. Everything would depend on this moment, this act, he mulled over, staring around the fountain. He wanted no interruption and there was none. He reached for her throat, giving her no chance to react.
There must be no error, he steeled himself against the guilt he knew was coming. His pressure on her throat was fierce. Time, thoughts, fear, regrets, all ceased to exist as an eternity seemed to roll by in a matter of seconds. And then relief flooded his being.

It was over, he almost smiled. It bore the mark of his usual professional touch—smooth, fast, painless, and very peaceful...

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