When the Shadows Come by Alyssa Breck
What if the person you hated most was murdered and their ghost came to you asking for help to solve the crime?
Carolina Sinclair is surrounded by shadows that crawl up walls and dead people looking for the door to the other side. When her childhood nemesis, Mallory Kramer, is murdered, the deceased former troublemaker shows up on Carolina’s doorstep asking for help. Carolina’s instinct is to turn Mallory away, but there’s a problem. Mallory’s killer isn’t finished, and if Carolina doesn’t help her, he’ll likely kill again.
State Police Detective Nathan Claiborne gets pulled into a missing person investigation in the small town of Romance, Arkansas. When Carolina walks into the police station with a suspicious-sounding tip credited to a ghost, she quickly becomes the prime suspect. But what if Carolina’s right? With no other leads, Nathan finds himself relying on her clues in a case that could easily go cold.
Carolina’s involvement in the case draws the killer’s attention. In fact, he’s zeroed in on her now, and it’s all going well until … the shadows come.
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“I thought I told you to get lost. I don’t know why you’re here again.”
“Believe me, honey, I’m just as eager as you are to end this little affair. I hear the after death party is to die for.” Mallory tipped her head back and laughed. “No pun intended. Well, maybe a little. But apparently, I can’t get my name on the invite roster until I cross some items off my to-do list.”
Carolina looked up at the roof of her car. “Why me?”
“Good question. You weren’t who I expected to run to in this situation, trust me.”
“What do I have to do with your list? You need to handle your own mess.”
“I need you to go to the Romance Police Department and help them find who killed me.”
The tiny police department in Romance, Arkansas was about as sophisticated as a herd of cattle, but they weren’t completely stupid. “You can’t be serious. Do you think anyone in that station would believe me if I walked in there and told them you were sitting in my car and that you had information for them regarding your own murder? They don’t even know you’re dead. You’re still being billed as a missing person.”
“I know where my body is buried. You could take them to me.”
“Fantastic idea. Let me run over there and draw a map for them so they can slap the cuffs on me.” Carolina shook her head. “You’re out of your God damned mind.”
Mallory bit down on her bottom lip and her face softened. “You have to. I can give you enough information for them to solve the case, and they’ll know you didn’t have anything to do with it.”
“Sorry. I have a full agenda today and being stripped down and cavity searched didn’t make the list.”
“What if I told you that if they don’t stop him, someone else will die?” The statement was absent any snark or sarcasm.
A cold chill skittered down her spine. Carolina put the car back in park and squeezed her eyes shut, pinching the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger. She had tried talking to the police before and had been laughed out the door. Growing up in Romance, she had been the odd little girl who talked to herself in the post office and played hopscotch with her imaginary friend during recess. People stared at her and whispered to each other in hushed tones while other kids laughed and made fun of her. Her parents had taken her to the finest psychiatrists that money could buy. She had been on medication for schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder and antisocial personality disorder.
Around the age of ten, she realized it was socially unacceptable to talk to dead people in front of the living; especially when she was the only one who could see the ghosts. When she stopped talking to herself in public, her parents took her off the medications with the exception of a sleeping pill. She still suffered from insomnia and took a pill each night that usually allowed her to sleep through any spectral visitors and the shadows that climbed her walls and watched her. For some reason, nighttime was the favored visiting hour for ghosts and the other things that ventured into her room.
Looking back at Mallory, Carolina shook her head, knowing she was about to concede. “Who else is in danger?”
“I’m not sure. But I wasn’t the first woman he killed, and I won’t be the last.”
Carolina wanted to doubt Mallory’s sincerity. She didn’t want to believe her story and risk opening herself up to public scrutiny again. She’d expended too much time and energy erecting the mental wall that kept everyone out, and she liked it that way. Douglas and Stellaluna were the only company she needed outside of the dead people and the shadows.
“How do you know?” Carolina picked at her black fingernail polish.
“He told me about it. He’s been killing women for a while.” For the first time, fear flashed across Mallory’s already pale face.
Carolina turned off the car and put the keys on her lap. “Okay. Tell me everything.”
Genre: Supernatural Suspense
Release date: 8/7/2018
Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2IFyXZa