Sunday, February 21, 2021

Excerpt & Giveaway: NETWORK OF DECEIT

 
NETWORK OF DECEIT
An Amara Alvarez
Stand-Alone Novel
by
Tom Threadgill

Categories: Mystery / Suspense / Detective
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: February 2, 2021
Number of Pages: 384 pages


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She's following her instincts. They're following her every move. 

After her rescue of nearly fifty kidnapped children made international headlines, Amara Alvarez gets what she's worked for: a transfer to San Antonio's Homicide Division. But reality sets in quickly when her first case, the suspicious death of a teenager at a crowded local water park, plunges her life into chaos. 

As the investigation moves forward, Amara finds herself stalked online by cybercriminals who uncover her personal life in frightening detail. With few leads, she's forced to resort to unconventional methods to find the killer and prevent her first murder investigation from ending up in the cold case files. 

Tom Threadgill is back with another riveting page-turner featuring the detective who is willing to put everything on the line to see justice served and lives protected.


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Excerpt: Chapter One, Part Two

of NETWORK OF DECEIT

by Tom Threadgill

 

Read Part One of the excerpt on The Page Unbound.

 

He nodded. “Zachary Bryce Coleman, seventeen-year-old Caucasian male. I have his file ready to, um, it’s right, well . . .” He moved his hand over his desk twice, then pounced on a folder. “Here we go. The young man expired in rather peculiar circumstances.”

“Yeah, it was on the news too.”

He shrugged. “Perhaps. I’m afraid I don’t spend much time watching television.” He dragged his finger down a sheet of paper. “The death happened two days ago. Exceptionally hot, if you’ll recall. The decedent and a group of friends planned to escape the heat at the water park. Have you ever been there, Detective?”

“Uh, no. Not that I recall.”

He tilted his head. “Is that something you’d forget? Of course, if you visited before the age of three, it’s unlikely you’d remember, and recent studies regarding Freud’s childhood amnesia theory indicate that most events occurring before a child reaches seven or eight fade as—”

“No,” she said. “I’ve never been there. You were saying the victim and his friends wanted to spend the day at the water park?”

“Yes, along with thousands of others. He had a blood-alcohol content of point-zero-eight. The final toxicology report may show a variance from that number, but he definitely consumed alcohol. Our initial theory was the combination of excessive temperatures and alcohol consumption led to heatstroke. The autopsy, however, showed no signs of petechial hemorrhages or—”

“English, please.”

“There was no indication of bleeding in the membranes surrounding some of the body’s organs. No congestion in the lungs or swelling in the brain. None of the symptoms we’d typically identify in a heatstroke victim. And before you ask, alcohol poisoning would exhibit many of these same indications, as well as others which also were not detected during the autopsy.”

She planted her elbows on the chair’s armrests and inched forward. “How did he die, then?”

“We don’t know. It will be four to six weeks before the toxicology tests are completed, so as of now, the cause of death is undetermined.”

“You told Lieutenant Segura it was suspicious. Just because you don’t know how he died doesn’t mean it’s a potential homicide.”

His eyebrows scrunched together. “What in the world?” He leaned back in his chair, pulled off his left shoe, and removed a tea bag from it before tossing the thing in the trash.

Don’t ask. Don’t do it. No wonder Sara broke things off. “I was asking why you think this might be a homicide?”

He slid a large photograph toward her. “Take a look at this. That’s from the water park’s security cameras. First image of Coleman on that ride. I requested video of him from the time he entered the water until he was pulled out. This is all they had. Something about camera malfunctions, but they estimated he’d been on the attraction for somewhere around two minutes at that time, based on the distance between the last working camera and this one.”

The cropped photo focused on the teen, though numerous people were visible in the water around him.

Amara glanced at the doctor. “Is he alive or dead here?”

“Hard to tell, isn’t it?”

“No video of him getting in the water?”

“What you saw is everything I received, but my request was extremely limited in scope. Beyond that, you’d have to ask the park.”

She scooted back in her chair and crossed her legs. “I get why you think this could be suspicious. Trust me, I’d love to look into this, but so far you haven’t said anything that makes me believe it might be a homicide.”

“I thought not.” He pulled another photo from the folder and passed it over. “Tell me what you see.”

She held the picture higher. “Bottoms of his feet? Nothing unusual as far as I can tell.”

“No? Think about it.”

Guessing games. What fun. “Dr. Pritchard, I’m not a medical expert. If there’s something here that might—”

“Do you ever shower? Take a bath?”

How did Sara last so long with this guy? “Now and then.”

He waved his hand in a circular motion for her to continue. “And your toes and fingers . . .”

She knocked her fist against her forehead. “They wrinkle. Pucker up. And Zachary Coleman’s toes didn’t.”

“Precisely. Our central nervous system triggers an involuntary reaction when we interact with water. Our capillaries shrink, causing the skin to furrow. As to why this happens, there are several theories. My favorite is—”

“I’ll cede the point,” she said. “So why weren’t his toes wrinkled?”

“It usually takes less than five minutes for the body to initiate the reaction to water. That didn’t happen with Mr. Coleman because his nervous system ceased functioning before the response could begin.”

Amara licked her lips. “You think he was already dead when he went in the water.”

“No, Detective. I’m certain of it.” 


 
 

  

Tom Threadgill is a full-time author and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the International Thriller Writers (ITW). The author of Collision of Lies, Tom lives with his wife near Dallas, Texas.
 


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Copies of both Collision of Lies
and Network of Deceit
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Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, February 27, 2021
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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:

2/17/21 Series Spotlight All the Ups and Downs
2/17/21 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
2/18/21 BONUS Promo LSBBT Blog
2/18/21 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
2/19/21 Review That's What She's Reading
2/20/21 Excerpt The Page Unbound
2/21/21 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
2/22/21 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
2/23/21 Review KayBee's Book Shelf
2/24/21 Review Librariel Book Adventures
2/25/21 Character Interview The Clueless Gent
2/26/21 Review Tangled in Text


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