While I’m off on the last stop of my blog tour at Karen’s Killer Fixen’s. , Anne is going to introduce you to her latest release, Murder In Retribution! The second installment of Anne Cleeland’s Acton & Doyle Scotland Yard series. The two detectives are investigating an escalating turf war between two underworld factions.
Ann is giving away one print copy to a commenter who tells her you want the book!
Now the blurb.
Perhaps there’s nothing more to the murders than under-the-table business dealings gone wrong, but Doyle is uneasy because there’s something here that doesn’t make sense. . .and sometimes vengeance takes a wrong turn.
Here’s the starred review from Library Journal:
“While dealing with the aftermath of their relationship going public, DC Kathleen Doyle and CI Michael Acton set out to discover who is behind a rash of underworld murders in London. As the couple try to find a balance between their work and personal lives, everything escalates when violence hits close to home. In addition to dealing with her not-so-traditional marriage to Acton, Doyle must face some hard truths during her investigation that might better have stayed unrevealed. VERDICT Doyle and Acton are incredibly flawed and engaging protagonists who stay in the reader’s mind long after the case is solved and the last page turned. With just a second book (after Murder in Thrall), Cleeland is developing a memorable series that will captivate fans of police procedurals and complicated sleuths such as the protagonist in Carol O’Connell’s “Mallory” series.”
Here’s an excerpt:
Detective Constable Doyle and Detective Chief Inspector Acton crouched on the cement floor of the aqueduct and peered into the conduit that diverted surface waters into the greater London drainage system. Lodged in the conduit—dry at this time of year—was the decomposing body of an adult white male of perhaps forty years. Doyle held a paper mask over her face because the odor was making her stomach heave, and they studied the crime scene in silence while the SOCOs—Scene of the Crime Officers—stood by, clad in their paper bunny suits and awaiting instruction. Weak morning sunshine filtered through the trees lining the aqueduct, which ran though a remote wooded area near Epping Forest.
“Less than a week?” suggested Doyle.
“Perhaps,” said Acton. “Difficult to say—it is cool down here, and so we’ll wait for the Coroner to come up with something more precise.” He glanced at her. “Ready to pull him over?”
Doyle nodded, unaccountably annoyed that he was being so deferential, and they carefully rolled the corpse over, allowing the SOCO photographer to step in and take photos as they studied the decedent. It was an unusual wound; the man had been shot in the face with a large caliber weapon. An act of rage, thought Doyle; not your average professional job, which was a bit strange as all other aspects indicated a professional job. The remains of the face were a mess as the maggots had been busy, and between this gruesome sight and the odor of decomposition, Doyle made a strangled sound in her throat and wished she were elsewhere.
“Need a moment?” asked Acton quietly, motioning the photographer away.
“No. I am in perfect curl.” Annoyed, she broadened her Irish accent so that she pronounced it “paarfect,” just so he was aware she was annoyed—not that there was any mistaking. She knew she was being childish, snapping away at him, but couldn’t seem to help herself; she was miserable, he knew she was miserable, and he was walking on eggshells which was a sad, sad testament to her supposed role as his helpmeet. Unconsciously lifting a hand to bite her nails, she was thwarted in this desire by her latex gloves, and so instead fought an almost overwhelming urge to cry. Or start throwing things; either, or.
Acton’s dark eyes rested on her for a moment and then returned to study the body. “It would probably be best to know for certain.”
With a monumental effort, Doyle took hold of her foolish, sorry self. “I do know for certain. I took a pregnancy test this mornin’.” Best not to mention that she had panicked, thinking he’d discover the evidence, and so had thrown the stupid stick out the bathroom window, no easy feat from seven stories up.
He raised his gaze to meet hers.
“I am wretchedly sorry, Michael; I am bein’ such a baby and I can’t seem to help myself.” She sighed so that her mask puffed out and then collapsed again.
He touched her hand and said with quiet emphasis, “I am not sorry; it is wonderful news, Kathleen.”
It was the truth—which came as a complete surprise. Doyle had an innate ability to read people, and she could usually tell when someone was lying. Presumably, this ability was inherited from some Irish ancestor—hopefully one who hadn’t been burned at the stake as a result—and it was a mixed blessing; it was no easy thing to constantly aware of the currents of emotions that swirled around her at any given time. Acton guarded his own emotions very closely but she knew on this occasion he was speaking the pure truth. It was a huge relief, all in all.
Fearing she would disgrace herself by being sick during what should be a sentimental milestone in married life, she stood and backed away a step, taking in a deep breath and trying to settle her stomach. Acton rose to stand alongside her and the SOCO team took this as a cue that the visual inspection by the detective staff had now concluded—although there had been precious little detecting done, thus far. As Acton nodded permission, the examiner moved in to bag the corpse’s hands and conduct preliminary tests for trace evidence before the body itself would be bagged and removed. After the man moved away, Doyle continued, “And do not pretend this blessed turn of events is not completely my fault.”
“Oh? I feel I may have had a hand in it.” He cocked his head, trying to tease her out of the sullens.
For whatever reason, this attempt to humor her only succeeded in making her more annoyed and she made a hot retort. “I am well-aware that you have no self control, my friend; mine is the burden of keepin’ you at arm’s length.”
“You failed miserably,” he agreed. “A very memorable occasion.”
She had to duck her head to suppress an inappropriate smile; it wouldn’t do at all to be seen giggling while this poor mucker’s mangled body was supposedly under examination.
Buy Links: Amazon ~ B&N
Anne Cleeland holds a degree in English from UCLA as well as a degree in law from Pepperdine University, and is a member of the California State Bar. She writes a historical series set in the Regency period as well as a contemporary mystery series set in New Scotland Yard. A member of Romance Writers of America, The Historical Novel Society and Mystery Writers of America, she lives in California and has four children. www.annecleeland.com; @annecleeland.
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