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A Cold Case Suspense
BY DONNELL ANN BELL
A cold case heats up when a 9-1-1 call puts police at a Denver murder scene pointing investigators to the abduction of a Colorado teenager fourteen years before. The connection? A calling card—a single black pearl—is found on the newest victim. Is the murder a copycat? Or has a twisted serial killer, thought dead or in prison, returned to kill again?
The hunt for a multi-state killer is on and brings together an unexpected team: a Denver Major Crimes police lieutenant; an FBI special agent who investigated the previous murders, a rookie FBI agent with a specialty in psychology; and the only living victim of the Black Pearl Killer is now a cop.
For Special Agent Brian DiPietro, the case is an opportunity to find answers. For Officer Allison Shannon, the case will force her to face down the town that blamed her for surviving when another did not. And for both DiPietro and Shannon, it’s a chance to find closure to questions that have tormented them both for years.
Colorado Book Award
Unlike the other times she’d crossed the cattle grate and entered the property, she didn’t stop near the cattails. She was here on official business and needed to present herself as such.
Seth was already on the porch when she drove onto the pea-gravel circular drive. He’d set up tarps on large areas on his grandmother’s porch, and, dressed in painter pants and a T-shirt full of holes, appeared ready to get down to work. As she brought the Acadia to a stop, he stood and shielded his eyes. Seeing her behind the wheel, he waved.
Allison’s heart twisted. She liked this man, and any progress they’d made toward ending the bitterness between them was about to end permanently.
He trotted down the steps to meet her at the passenger door. “Nice wheels. Where’s your car?”
She stepped out of the vehicle. “A friend has it. Good morning.”
“To you, too.” He waved a hand toward his project and looked her over. “Thought we agreed on grungies. Those are nice clothes.”
“We did, but something’s come up. We need to talk. This involves your grandmother as well. Is she in the house?”
“She’s asleep. What’s up, Ally?”
This was harder than she’d anticipated. The only thing that saved her was seven years of tamping down her emotions. “Yesterday you asked why I wasn’t concerned about Elva and why I had Chief Newquist’s number in my phone. I’m here to explain.” She removed her badge from her jeans.
Seth stared at her credentials, then, walking away from her, called over his shoulder. “I wondered when you’d get around to telling me.”
For a second, Allison stood speechless. She rushed to catch up with him. “I don’t understand.”
“What’s there to understand? I know you’re a cop.”
A lump grew in her throat. “How long have you known?”
He turned and leaned a broad shoulder against a post connected to the porch’s overhang. “Let’s see.” His expression became thoughtful. “About two hours after you left on Thursday.”
“The day you arrived?”
“Yeah. About then.”
“So, what was that scene about in the restaurant yesterday?”
“Oh, that?” He shrugged. “You’re not the only who can act.”
Allison started to return her badge to her pocket. But now that he knew—or had known—what difference did it make? She clipped it to her belt. “Evidently, I’m not as capable as you. I believed every word you said. Does Elva really want me investigated?”
“Nah. But she really should mind her own business.”
Shaking her head, Allison joined him on the steps. “All right. Spill. How’d you find out? Did you call the CSPD?”
“Actually, that never occurred to me. All I know is, when I saw you in my grandmother’s living room, I thought no way in hell would Ally Shannon be in Montrose of her own volition. And it certainly wouldn’t be because she heard Milt Walker had died and wanted to pay her respects.” A half smirk, half smile played on his lips. “My sister may have been the one with a high IQ, but I inherited a few smarts of my own. After you left, I called up a buddy. Any idea where we train, Ally?”
“Never thought to check. Is it important?”
“For you it is. The Pike Hotshots train in Monument.”
Twenty minutes north of Colorado Springs. Busted.
“You work with many of the guys I do who want to get into the program. Dave Collins speaks highly of you, by the way. When I asked what hospital you worked at, poor guy was confused. He said you’re no nurse, but you do wear a uniform.”
Allison smiled and closed her eyes. Dave was a member of the Colorado Springs Fire Department. Not only had she worked with him numerous times over the years, cops and firefighters often met afterward to decompress.
“Okay. You got me. So, why not come right out and ask me? Not to mention all that cloak-and-dagger stuff between you and Elva. Why all the glares and the cold-shoulder routines?”
He laughed. “To tell you the truth I felt bad about that. I was hoping to make you mad enough you’d blurt out the truth. Gotta hand it to you, you’re a pro. I made up for it, though, when I showed you around the place, didn’t I? You have to admit I was nice.”
“Yeah, you were nice. You’re also a jerk.”
Seth left his spot by the post. “No, Ally, I’m not. You invaded my turf, remember? I know you’d never hurt my grandmother. That’s the only reason I didn’t expose you. So, yes, I know you’re a cop. What I don’t know is why you’re here. You said you’d come to explain. I’m listening, Officer Shannon. You have my full attention.”
Donnell Ann Bell gave up her nonwriting fiction career in newspapers and magazines because she was obsessed with the idea she could write a mystery or thriller. An award-winning author, including the 2020 Colorado Book Award for her latest release Black Pearl, A Cold Case Suspense, Donnell’s other books include Buried Agendas, Betrayed, Deadly Recall and The Past Came Hunting, all of which have been Amazon bestsellers. Currently, she’s deep in research mode for book two of her cold case series www.donnellannbell.com
Links to Donnell’s website, blog, books, etc.
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