Triple Cross Killer
By Rosemarie Aquilina
Fiery Seas Publishing
December 5, 2017
Have you ever wondered what really happens to Santa Claus letters? In Detroit and Sarasota some children’s letters are diverted and reviewed by Nick Archer, a religiously obsessed, narcissist. Nick responds, leaving a trail of devastation in the two cities.
In Detroit, co-ed partners and wise-cracking lovers, detectives Jaq McSween and David Maxwell, team up with Sarasota detectives Abel Mendoza and his partner, Rabbit, to find this daunting killer.
When Jaq’s friend, the lovely nurse, Rita Rose, takes a chance on love again, she gets caught in Nick’s web. Working with the ME, she joins in, adding her perspective when events take a sinister turn.
Can this diverse team of characters pool their insights, barbs, and taste for bad food to save Rita when she discovers the final clues or will she become the next victim?
About the Author:
Rosemarie Aquilina is the mother of five children. Elected as a 30th Circuit Court Judge serving in the General Trial Division, after having served as a 55th District Court Judge in Mason, Michigan, she takes pride in public serve.
In 1986, Judge Aquilina became the first female JAG Officer in the history of the Michigan Army National Guard, she retired in 2006 with twenty years Honorable Service. She is an adjunct law professor at both Western Michigan University—Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Michigan State University College of Law and has earned teaching awards at both institutions. Judge Aquilina is the former owner of Aquilina Law Firm, PLC, and former host of a syndicated radio talk show called Ask the Family Lawyer.
TRIPLE CROSS KILLER by ROSEMARIE AQUILINA
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 32
“Remember the dog you brought in? No question death occurred on impact. Take a look,” Dr. Towers said. He opened a file in front of him and began laying pictures across the table. “Photographs of the skin and skull of the collie. Note the forehead.” He paused.
“Note these marks.” He pointed. Detectives followed his finger. “Burns, consistent with marks from a burning cigarette.”
“Burned into the dog after he died?” Rabbit asked.
“Yes. Seven burn marks in the shape of a cross. Five down, one on each side.”
“A cross.” Rabbit stood and began to pace. “Fits Jaq’s religious nut and plague theory as well as the profiler’s and our theory of escalation.”
“He is getting anxious, desperate to be credited for his work and message—” Dr. Towers sighed, his voice more stern. “Might be his time to surprise or taunt you. Make sure our Rita is protected whatever happens.”
Rabbit broke in: “Escalating’s an invite for us to make our move. With the dog, he couldn’t leave neck-cross bruising, didn’t bring an extra silk cross, so he burned it in.”
“Si. Serial killers, the more special they think they are, the more the same they are. Not getting caught earned him confidence and makes him sloppy.”
The table nodded. “We need to undermine his overconfident ass and pull Rita and Jaq—out now,” David said.
Doc clasped his hands. “Do that now, verify all this later—”
Rabbit interrupted, “Jaq has her weapon. She’s not afraid to use it. She’s protecting Nurse Rose.”
“Bennie is faxing over Archer’s blood type, height, weight, and shoe size from the military medical records,” Dr. Towers said. “I paged Rita to come to work early.”
David sat upright and turned toward Doc. “Maybe Rita and Jaq are on their way.” He checked his cell. Nothing.
Doc frowned. “Rita called before you arrived and said she wasn’t well— flu, fever, had a headache, wanted to stay in bed with the drapes drawn. She declined my offer of a prescription or making an immediate doctor’s appointment. She wanted sleep.” He paused. “No mention of Jaq.”
Rabbit shrugged. “Likely hadn’t read the text.”
“She looked pale but fine on Thursday.” Abel winced. “It’s possible she’s really ill—are you doubting it?”
Dr. Towers stopped in thought. “I’m concerned her fiancé is dosing her.”
“Let’s not be too disruptive, cause Archer to suspect. I’ll text when I get back there,” Rabbit said.
David grabbed his cell phone and followed the mapping, then looked up. “GPS monitoring shows Rita at home—”
“Accessible to a killer—let’s cruise,” Rabbit finished David’s sentence, then stood.
David nodded, then continued, “Doc, please secure all information in a separate file away from Rita. Can’t have a potential witness work on it.”
“Agreed. And better for Rita to figure out she is living with a sadistic murderer after he is arrested.” Dr. Towers closed and stacked the files. “If indeed she has that luxury.”
Rabbit’s fingertips were nervously pounding each other. “Let’s find her an escape hatch—unless Jaq already has.”
Icy doses of alarm shrieked inside David. “I want them out, now.” He pushed his chair away from the table and stood next to Rabbit.
Abel grabbed a roll for the road. “Gracias.”