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The release date for CAUSE of DEATH has been pushed back....... but relax, just by two days. It will be zapped to your ereader on August 13th. So clear your Sunday, because you aren't going to be able to put this one down.


Chapter 3

“Wait a second, you stole this? From Beckett Campbell?”

A look of confusion crossed Eddie’s face.

“Yeah, I took it. But the important thing is that this man—” he reached across the table and took the photograph from Drake. “—was murdered.”

Drake stared at Eddie for a long time before saying anything; he was having a hard time reading the man. Eddie was convincing enough, but this whole thing about stolen photographs from Beckett of all people, of forensic pathology exams, positional asphyxia, if that really was a thing, all seemed like a cruel joke.

A setup of some sort, the reason for and the point of, Drake couldn’t begin to imagine.

He leaned back in his chair and prepared himself to put this young doctor—if he was in fact a doctor—to the test.

“Alright Eddie, I’m not sure what king of game you’re playing, but I’ll play along. But here’s the thing: if after I’ve drunk a fifth of scotch I decide that I don’t like the rules of this game, then I’m going to make sure that there is only one loser, and it ain’t gonna be me. Got it?”

Eddie screwed up his face and recoiled.

“Game? What are you talking about, game? Someone’s been murdered. Maybe you haven’t been—”

“How’d you find me, Eddie? Of all the private investigators in New York City, you came to me—why? If you’re so convinced that the person in the photo was murdered, why don’t you go to the police?”

Eddie dropped his gaze and said nothing. Drake grimaced and slid the photograph back into the folder.

“Thanks so much for coming in today, Eddie. But I’m afraid you caught me at a bad time. See, I was just about to go get drunk and celebrate signing a new client—a real client,” Drake said as he pushed the folder across the desk toward Eddie, an unfamiliar smugness forming on his face. “So if you’ll excuse me, I—”

Eddie’s eyes shot up.

“Suzan told me about you. Suzan Cuthbert.”

Drake froze.

“What?” He felt anger immediately start to mount inside him, and his body tensed. “You better watch what you say next, Eddie, or—”

“Suzan’s at NYU in her first year of medical school, and she started auditing the forensic pathology resident course,” Eddie said leaning away from Drake. “It… uh, the death of her father came up.”

Drake leapt to his feet so quickly that his chair toppled behind him.

“You little shit,” he seethed. “You come in here with some bullshit story about some sort of copycat killer, then you have the gall to bring up Suzan? Was it that bastard Ivan Meitzer that put you up to this? Revenge for not giving him the Butterfly Killer story?”

Drake saw red and before he even realized what he was doing, he reached across the table and grabbed Eddie by the collar of his white polo shirt. He twisted the material in his hand, bringing Eddie’s face to within inches of his own.

“You get the fuck out of here—take your goddamn pictures and get the fuck out of here.”

He stared into the man’s wide eyes as he threatened him. When Eddie tried to look away, he tightened his grip on his shirt until his eyes came back to him.

Only then, after staring at the man’s watering eyes for the better part of a minute, did he shove the young doctor away.

Eddie fell back into his chair with a grunt, but then quickly stood, grabbed the folder and shoved it into his messenger back. Then, with a final, wistful glance, Dr. Edison Larringer scrambled out of the office, then through the reception area of Triple D Investigations, leaving both doors wide.

Drake fell back into his chair and sat there, breathing heavily as he watched the man go. Then he reached into his desk and pulled out the bottle of whiskey and glass again.

Seriously? Whoever put the kid up to this must have some serious balls to bring up Suzan.

As he poured himself another drink, the image of the psychiatrist whose nose he had broken outside Suzan’s school flashed in his mind.

When I find out who’s behind this, I’ll break more than his fucking beak.

Drake poured himself another drink, and when his blood pressure started to normalize, he found himself back at his computer again without even thinking about what he was doing.

Only this time he didn’t search for his own name, or Chase’s, and not even Suzan.

Instead, he searched for Beckett, and a photograph of his friend, smiling widely, his bleach blond hair spiked atop his head, was the first result that popped up.

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