Karen’s Killer Book Bench #SerialKiller #Thriller: TWISTED MELODY, Chance O’Brien Series Book 5 by Tess Thompson

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Chance O’Brien Series Book 5


FBI Agent Jesse Silva is no stranger to gruesome cases, but the string of serial murders he’s investigating has him on edge. Young blonde women are turning up dead, and all the victims look like Piper Chamberlain.

Piper is a talented musician who plays the violin and sings with her popular country western band, The Chamberlains. Her music career is thriving, but her life may be in danger. As the investigation deepens, Jesse discovers that each victim has a connection to Piper, leaving him to wonder if she’s the killer’s real target.

Piper’s twin brother, Colt, is an alcoholic with a troubled past. Colt’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic as Jesse digs deeper into the case, and Jesse can’t help but wonder if he’s involved in the murders or just a pawn in the killer’s game.

As Jesse and Piper navigate the dangers that surround her, they find themselves getting closer and closer. But with the killer closing in, they know that they need to stay focused on the case and not on each other. Can they keep their feelings in check long enough to catch the killer before it’s too late? Or will their dangerous rhythm lead to their downfall?

As the body count rises and the evidence becomes more incriminating, Jesse and FBI Profiler Macy Adams must race against time to unravel the twisted web of secrets and lies surrounding Piper and Colt.

Will Jesse be able to solve the case before the serial killer strikes again, or will Piper become the next victim?

Find out in this gripping thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Chance O’Brien Series Book 5



A strong feeling of déjà vu settled uneasily around Special Agent Macy Adams-O’Brien as she unfastened the seat belt that encircled her enormous belly and got out of the black sedan. The night sky in Houston had given way to the rays of early morning sun as she slogged across the dew-covered grass on the bank of the bayou toward the woman’s body.

Deputy Sheriff Clay Davis waved as he approached Macy, his lips set in a firm line. He reached out a hand, to help her maneuver through the high grass growing on the sloping bank near the water. He gave her an affectionate smile. “You look like you’re about to pop. Couldn’t you have sent someone else?”

“I know I’m as big as a house, but I think you’re safe from having to deliver a baby this morning. I’m still a good six weeks out.” Macy had known Clay both professionally and personally for several years. He was in a long-term relationship with her husband’s sister, Dana, and they saw each other often at family events. Macy considered him a brother-in-law.

“I phoned Agent Silva after I spoke with you,” Macy said, “and he should arrive any minute.” She looked around at a small group of onlookers and wondered if the killer was among them. Two deputies were taking notes and keeping the gawkers at a distance.

As they approached the murder scene, Clay gently squeezed her hand and said, “It’s not pretty.”

The killer had posed the woman in a sitting position with her head resting against the trunk of a small oak tree. She was young and had once been pretty. A deep, jagged red line cut across her neck from ear to ear, and her fingers were torn and bloody.

She wore black leggings, boots, and a tight, sequined leopard print blouse soaked with dark crimson blood. Her blonde hair, ragged and uneven, appeared chopped off. Macy quickly glanced around the body but saw no sign of a murder weapon.

Dr. Esposito, the medical examiner, looked up at Macy and nodded in acknowledgment. “Agent Adams, I haven’t seen you in a while. Does the FBI have an interest in this death?” she asked.

“We might have. It depends on what you can tell me. It appears as if her throat was cut.”

“In a manner of speaking, yes. Garroted by a piece of wire. Looks to be too small for piano wire. More likely a guitar string, but that’s only a guess at this point.”

The woman’s eyes were partially open and cloudy, and she was in full rigor, indicating she was probably killed sometime last night. They would know more after the autopsy, Macy thought.

“Thanks for the call this morning,” Macy said to Clay. “Doesn’t look like they killed her here.”

“I concur,” Dr. Esposito joined in.

“So, you think it’s a serial, then?” Clay looked pointedly at Macy.

“Yeah, I do.” Macy was a senior agent in Houston with the FBI and a highly trained profiler. Years earlier, she had escaped from a serial killer known as the Bayou Butcher. That monster was dead. She knew, because she had killed him, but the death of this young woman was eerily familiar.

She heard Jesse Silva call her name and looked up as he approached. The detective had joined the Houston FBI office two years earlier, and he and Macy had worked together on several occasions. He was easygoing and conscientious but could be tenacious when working a case.

She thought he was a nice-looking man with his dark hair, olive skin, and light blue eyes. Women’s heads turned when he walked into a room. He had a way of getting suspects and witnesses to talk to him.

After greeting Esposito and Clay, he knelt to look at the wound on the woman’s neck. “I bet this wire came from a violin.”

“I don’t engage in speculation, but I’m smart enough not to take that bet,” Esposito said as she stood and motioned for her assistant to move the body. Once they secured the victim in the body bag and placed it on the gurney, she looked at Jesse and said, “Now tell me what you all know that I don’t?”

“We’ve had two similar murders of young women over the last year. One in Dallas and one in Galveston. Same MO. Long hair chopped off and garroted with a violin string,” Jesse said. “Each victim had an amateurish drawing of a musical note drawn with a black marker on the palm of her right hand.”

A look of surprise crossed Esposito’s face. “This victim does, too?”

“We’re not sure,” Macy said, “we didn’t touch her. ViCAP, the national database, shows that besides the two cases here in Texas, there are five more in several other locations throughout the country. Most are in large cities or their suburbs.”

Esposito arched one of her eyebrows. “I should have my preliminary results for you this afternoon and the autopsy tomorrow morning. I hope for everyone’s sake you’re mistaken.” She removed her gloves and placed them in the pocket of her white smock.

As Macy walked with Esposito toward her van, she said, “Yeah, I hope so too.” Deep down, she knew they weren’t mistaken. This was the work of the same killer. She looked back at the crowd as she asked Clay, “Who found the body?”

“Morning jogger. Says he’s out here by first light every day” He pointed toward his patrol car and said, “That’s the guy leaning against the car talking with one of the deputies. Seems pretty shook up.” Clay pulled out a small notebook and said, “Name’s James Gaber.”

Macy nodded toward Jesse and said, “Let’s see what our witness has to say.”

He gave her a lopsided grin. “I can take care of it if you want and meet you back at the office.”

“Nah, I’m okay. Sitting and standing are equally uncomfortable, so I might as well be constructive, but you can take the lead.”

James Gaber straightened up as they got close, and Jesse held out his hand and said, “I’m FBI Special Agent Jesse Silva, and this is Special Agent Macy Adams. I understand you discovered the body.”

“FBI?” he gulped, and Macy could see the sweat on his upper lip. It was early spring, and the mornings were still cool without the steamy heat of summer in Houston, so it was unusual to see the perspiration on his face. Either he was nervous around law enforcement, or possibly he had something to hide.

“Yes, sir,” Jesse said. “What time were you out jogging this morning?”

“It was close to seven. I try to get in a quick run before work. I run earlier in the summer even if it’s mostly dark, but this time of year, it’s nice in the mornings.”

He was talking fast and seemed uncomfortable, but that didn’t mean he had done anything wrong, Macy thought. She took in his appearance. Black shorts, shirt, and hat. Unusual for running clothes, but not against the law.

“How did you discover the body? It’s lying on the downward slope towards the water. Not exactly on the running path.”

“I saw something shining in the morning sun. I was curious. Sometimes people lose stuff, but that wasn’t it. It was a woman.” He wiped the sweat from his lip, and Macy thought this man had nothing to do with the death unless he was giving an Academy-Award-winning performance.

“I took out my phone and called 911 right away. Her eyes were dead. She was dead. I’ve never seen a dead person before, except at a funeral, and they don’t look like that.”

Macy thanked him, and she and Jesse walked back toward Clay as she scanned the dense foliage covering the area. Was the killer somewhere out there watching?

About Author Tess Thompson…

Charlene Tess and Judi Thompson are sisters who live over 1400 miles apart. They combined their two last names into the pen name Tess Thompson and write novels as a team.

Judi Thompson has been writing since her early teens. She lives with her husband Roger in Texas. She is a retired supervisor for special education in a local school district.

Charlene Tess is a retired writing teacher and writes educational materials and grammar workbooks available on TPT.com. She lives with her husband Jerry in Colorado.


Links to Tess’s websites, blogs, books, #ad etc.:


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Special Giveaway: Tess will give away one eBook (winners choice of one of the ebooks in the Chance O’Brien series) to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog.

Happy Reading!


Thanks, Tess, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!


12 thoughts on “Karen’s Killer Book Bench #SerialKiller #Thriller: TWISTED MELODY, Chance O’Brien Series Book 5 by Tess Thompson”

  1. Good morning, Tess, and welcome back to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. Intriguing title, caught my attention right away. I enjoyed the excerpt peek you gave us. I can’t wait to read this one! Thanks for sharing your new release with us today!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this intriguing excerpt!! I’m looking forward to reading more.

  3. Too bad I haven’t followed this series. It sounds like a good regular “cast” of characters and is well written. Thank you for the excerpt.

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