Facing A Twisted Judgment
by K. J. McGillick
What happens when tunnel vision clouds a police investigation? Is it true that once you are labeled a person of interest you really are the prime suspect? Can you trust the legal system? Probably not.
After a bitterly contested legal battle over inherited property, the hard-won art collection and its owner Samantha Bennington disappear. Both have vanished without a trace.
When blood spatter is discovered under the freshly painted wall of the room in which two of the paintings were hung, the theft becomes the opening act in a twisted tale of jealousy, revenge, and murder leading to a final judgment for all involved.
As the list of suspects narrows, the focus lands squarely on the husband. Some labeled Samantha’s husband a corrupt attorney, others an opportunist. Either way, he’s in the crosshairs of law enforcement and they are calling him a murderer. But is he the only viable suspect? What about the missing woman’s drug-addicted sister and her convicted felon brother? Both were furious over their loss at court and have more than enough reason to hate Samantha.
Guilty until proven innocent leaves Alexander Clarke facing a twisted judgment.
I saw Mary raise her middle finger ever so slightly from the table in Jackson’s direction, and he got the meaning. Lee’s mouth twitched with a smile. Apparently, Mary and Jackson had their own form of nonverbal communication they were comfortable with.
I had to admit, Mary was not only a hoot, but also a bright woman. The fact that she looked like the mother in The Golden Girls TV show and wore ridiculously thick black owl eyeglasses gave her an edge at disarming people. That she also held a private investigator license and was a co-owner of the firm boggled my mind.
Declan Murphy could be a weak spot for me. Handsome, smart, and funny—the deadly triad.
“Mr. Clarke, unfortunately, trouble seems to find me,” she said as she pushed her glasses up her nose… She opened her bag, and as she took each item out, she identified it. “On my keychain, an alarm to wake the dead. Next to the alarm is pepper spray. This can is hornet spray, and this one is hair spray. Both will blind and choke you. Here is my stun gun and Taser, and fortunately, I’ve only had to use the Taser once,” she said, looking over the items. “No gun?” I asked, intrigued by this eccentric. “Of course. But you asked what was in my bag. The gun is at my back. No need to alarm the public,” she said, eyeing her collection with pride. Who was this lady? A senior citizen 007?
“Alex, before I sign any papers, I need the people who are most involved written on a piece of paper. When I get home, I will separate those names and place each into a small jar and close the lids. Then, I light a candle in front of each to shine a light on each person. I’ll wave a bundle of sage around the jars to cleanse the area. I always say a prayer for guidance. Then, I wait. If any candle immediately dies out in front of any jar, then I’ll know that person shouldn’t touch my paintings. It’s a proven fact, Alex,” she said with a nod. I sat, unable to decide if she was pulling my leg or being serious. I opted for clarification. “Seriously?” “As a heart attack. And, at my age, you don’t use that term lightly,” she replied, easing the grip she had on her handbag.
Maybe it was the shocking and earth-shattering numeral reached on my last birthday, but I seem to be on a roll of my favorite book characters being of the more mature/aged variety. But I will confess, I tittered and smirked like an adolescent at the thought of a tiny yet feisty and resourceful elderly woman repeatedly twitching her middle finger to communicate her pique with an irritating and mouthy coworker. Snort. I adored the character of Mary and her infamous handbag/arsenal. While also a cracker-jack investigator, she provided considerable levity and humor into the complex and stimulating case of murder and art-theft. The plot was cunningly clever. The writing was engaging and continually taunted and teased my curiosity with well-balanced and well-crafted storylines, amusing observations, a cleverly contrived frame, and intriguing and questionable characters. I am eager to see what incredibly unexpected yet timely item Mary next retrieves from her voluminous pocketbook. She was like a miniature and edgy version of a senior Mary Poppins.
K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that's what New Yorker's do. Right?
As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field, she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.
Social Media Links –