OUR OTHER CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOK, “THE PASSION THIEF,” BY ANNE McCARTHY STRAUSS, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN DIRECTLY BELOW THIS POST.
THE BOOK: From Behind the Blue Line.
PUBLISHED IN: 2013
THE AUTHOR: William Mark.
THE PUBLISHER: Terri Gerrell with Southern Yellow Pine Publishing. I met Terri through the Tallahassee Writers Association and wasn’t happy with my first “self-publishing” company. She agreed to take a look at my second novel and after reading the first part, she was ready to sign me up which also included my first novel! It has been a great partnership thus far.
SUMMARY: After a heinous murder of a child, the father, also a police officer, asks his long time friend — although estranged — to help him kill the men responsible. Afraid to leave the murderers’ fate in the hands of a jury, he wants revenge. Together the pair devise a cunning and clever plan to find and execute the two men even though they are in police custody. But to pull off this vengeful plan, they must do so under the watchful eye of an unscrupulous Internal Affairs commander as well as determined homicide detectives.
THE BACK STORY: The premise of the story came to me working as a police officer and sharing an awful scenario, similar to that of my characters, with a fellow officer. I built the plot from there.
WHY THIS TITLE?: The “thin blue line” has been adopted by law enforcement officers and the brotherhood among them. It represents a code. In my story, the characters choose to step from behind that line to get the revenge and justice they seek.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT?: My book contains a gritty realism that many police procedurals do not have. I’ve been there, done that and my experience will come out in the pages. The investigations are what real detectives would do, not some of this fantasy science or exotic evidence that exists in some books.
“WOW! JUST WOW! One of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s very evident that the author has a background in law enforcement …. and I have no doubt that if anyone could pull off the perfect crime, it would be him.” — Linda Strong.
“I just had to write a review about this book!!! I am an avid book reader and especially love crime novels, so I have to admit I was a little apprehensive when I first got this book because it was the first one published by Mr. Mark. I literally could not stop reading this once I started!!! I immediately became attached to the characters and felt their pain that Mr. Mark so eloquently describes in the book! His attention to detail in every word kept me reading page after page! The story is so well written and keeps you guessing at every turn! And even up until the end, I found myself torn with the decisions the characters made and couldn’t help but try to imagine myself in their situations! I absolutely loved this book and I can’t wait to see more from Mr. Mark!!! The sooner the better!!!!!! “I found the plot interesting and gripping. It was clever and not at all what I expected from this book. It was clearly written and the details provided an extra layer to enjoy.” — Annie 867.
“This is a fantastic crime novel from a first time author, though you wouldn’t think it with how well he skillfully describes police procedures, action, and deep personal loss.” — Clinton Albritton.
“This book was very hard to put down. It captured my interest from the very first page. I have 4 family members who are in law enforcement and this book described the feelings that police officers face every day.” — Amazon customer.
AUTHOR PROFILE: Born and raised in Tallahassee, the main locale I choose to write about. I do love to travel and hope to see as much of the world as I can. I enjoy a good beer, a good book and a good movie. I’m a cop, SWAT guy, former homicide dick, softball teammate, brother, son, husband to very beautiful and patient woman, but the hat I enjoy wearing the most, is father. Savannah (7), Connor (4) and Clayton (1) are my pride and joy. I’ve seen the ugliest side of human nature and have struggled to crawl out of the abyss, but surrounding myself with good people has helped me see that good exists in this world. This realization is the fuel for my books.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: “Police officers chose to enter a noble profession where appreciation is too far and few between. The good ones choose to stay and fight evil everyday by doing what’s right and will always respond to the cry of help. They are not superheroes, they are not invincible — they are fallible and they are real. They are people.”
The late morning sun hung bright in the sky adding an unwanted heat to the crime scene. The canvass search for evidence had turned up one of Caitlin’s flip-flop shoes about fifty yards down the off ramp and by sight, it didn’t yield any actual evidence, but it was yet to be processed in the lab. With any luck, there was some DNA on the shoe that would lead to the suspects. A plaster mold was taken of the tire track left on scene but it was not very clear and there only appeared to be half of a tire track captured in the small dirt patch. The canvass of the nearby hotels was mostly unsuccessful in providing any leads and detectives were putting a priority on the composite sketches from the possible witness from the Fun Station.
At first look at the case, the detectives knew they were going to have to rely on a lucky break, hoping the suspects talked to some police snitch or getting popped for some other crime with some evidence found linking them to Caitlin Akers’ murder, because the scene wasn’t telling them much. They would obviously put forth the effort on the forensic evidence but that normally took time and would possibly allow the suspects to leave the area or get rid of additional evidence.
A move to interview all sex offenders and predators in a three to four mile area was set and put into motion by a secondary team of detectives. The operation led to several arrests for violations but no leads towards the case that motivated the course of action.
Det. Durgenhoff knew that he wasn’t going to move this case but this case was going to move him and dictate the investigation on its own. Experienced in working child death and abduction cases, he knew he was going to have to look into the family life of the victim. This meant interrogating a fellow cop. A cop of higher rank in the department. Durgenhoff told himself, “He better not turn out to be a child molester.”
Durgenhoff checked his watch, noticing that it was approaching lunchtime and traffic was still held up for the crime scene. He was given word that Lt. Akers and his wife were en route to the scene about ten minutes prior and felt pigeon sized butterflies in his stomach ever since. He always hated the part of any death investigation when the parents became involved, especially when they came onto the actual crime scene. No cop ever likes that part, he thought, none ever should.
A black Chevy Tahoe with tinted windows pulled up to the edge of the outer crime scene. The Chief of Police exited the driver’s door and opened up the back door for Wendy Akers. Her demeanor, Durgenhoff could tell from a hundred yards away, was of a person with a heavy and broken heart. Not a broken heart from a failed relationship but a broken heart caused from a monumental tragic event that only a murdered child could bring.
Dylan Akers appeared from around the back of the Tahoe and grabbed his wife around the shoulders consoling her. The couple walked bravely towards the inner crime scene where their daughter lay slain. Wendy Akers was holding back an explosive amount of emotion just waiting to vent outward. She looked ahead at the white sheet covering the body, trying earnestly to prepare herself for the sight of her dead child. The body didn’t have to be Caitlin, there was still a chance it wasn’t her. If she didn’t look, then it would never be confirmed and therefore she might still be alive, she thought.
Beau Rivers had left the scene for about an hour to answer a call but quickly found a reason to return. He had gotten there just before the Akers and stood as a spectator as they walked to the crime scene.
As the couple approached the inner crime scene, a Forensic Tech was busy jotting notes on a pad and hadn’t noticed the Akers standing there. Durgenhoff waved off the Tech as the grieving parents walked by. He removed his sunglasses out of respect and caught the eye of the Chief who was following them. Durgenhoff nodded to the Chief who gave a quick smile, passing on the notion that he was running a thorough investigation.
With about thirty yards to go, Wendy Akers froze. Her husband tugged at her saying that it was okay. Durgenhoff knew it wasn’t okay; it wasn’t even near tolerable, let alone okay. He set aside his own guilt knowing that it wasn’t him consoling his wife who was about to look at their dead daughter lying in a watery culvert.
Suddenly, Wendy Akers pulled away, “I can’t do it, Dylan. I can’t. Not my baby!” She turned her back to the body, hugging herself in self-preservation and burying her face in a pile of tissues. Dylan Akers, known for his fortitude and inner strength, remained as close to stoic as one could in this situation. He rubbed his wife’s arms and shoulders from behind, not saying anything and letting her deal with the unprecedented situation in the only way she knew how. He knew he was going to have to be the strong one, for Wendy and for Caitlin. He fought the overwhelming urge to break down himself but knew he needed to get this over with and get away from the scene before he exploded. For a second, he thought he was on the job and was approaching a different murder scene, with a different victim and a different case. He wanted to believe this more than anything at this moment because that meant Caitlin would be at home playing music on her I-pod and dancing joyfully around the house like the carefree spirit she was growing up to be.
Durgenhoff leaned over the Chief and whispered, “We don’t need an identification from them, Chief. We ID’d her with the photographs they gave us and the memorial bracelet. They don’t have to do this if they don’t want to.”
“I know detective but he insisted and I’m not denying a father of that right.”
Durgenhoff took the reply as an order and stood still. The level of respect he held for the Chief elevated.
Dylan Akers continued to walk up and kneeled before the white sheet. He hid his puffy, watery eyes behind a dark pair of Ray-Ban’s. He took a deep breath, praying to God, that the little girl under the sheet was not his Caitlin. He gestured to the crime scene Tech who grabbed hold of one corner of the sheet. He wasn’t ready but given the circumstances, he knew he’d never, ever, be ready for this.
As the sheet moved back slowly, it revealed his only child, lying lifeless, yet looking as if she was sleeping after a long, full day at a theme park. He knelt down next to his daughter, tears streaming down both his cheeks from under the dark sunglasses. The emotions were an uncontrollable cascade of anger, fear, sorrow and bitter helplessness. He turned his head in the direction of the head crime scene tech but not looking directly at her.
“You’re done collecting, taking pictures?”
“Yes, Lieutenant,” she said respectfully.
Dylan turned back to his daughter and reached out to touch her one last time. He grazed her little lifeless, body with his left hand and smoothed her soft, light brown hair back behind her ear, a habit he would happily perform when her hair fell in front of her face and she didn’t seem to notice. He leaned in closer to his daughter and removed his sunglasses and softly spoke to Caitlin and only to her.
The Forensic Tech was standing just out of earshot and couldn’t make out what he said to his daughter. She felt intrusive and embarrassed for even trying. She was thankful for the breeze that swept by blocking the grieving fathers words.
Dylan Akers ended the heart wrenching, yet beautiful moment, by standing up and walking directly back to his wife. He stopped briefly and leaned in to tell her that their child was dead. He spoke briefly to the Chief then continued towards the Tahoe without stopping or conversing with anyone else. Wendy Akers let out a primal cry and sank to her knees at knowing she would never see her daughter alive again.
The Chief of Police walked over the Det. Durgenhoff and motioned for the other detectives and officers to gather around. They all stepped up knowing that he was going to pass on whatever Akers had told him.
“Lt. Akers wants me to express his extreme appreciation for all that you’ve done and will continue to do for his family. He wants me to convey that he not only wants the perpetrators arrested but a solid case built to ensure a conviction. This not only happened to one of our own but in our community. Let’s make it so that little Caitlin is the only victim of this sick individual. Let’s go out, do our job and do it right.”
LOCAL OUTLETS: My Favorite Books, 1415 Timberlane Rd, TLH, Florida 32312; Southern Yellow Pines Publishing.
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon.com and Barnesandnobles.com.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Williammark649@gmail.com