July 2008. Four families are riding high on heady market returns until the body of Rene McAllister, wife of multi-millionaire Alan “Mac” McAllister, washes up on the beach after a daylong Fourth-of-July bash at the home of stockbroker, Matthew Wirth. Eager to avoid publicity, authorities dismiss her death as an accident. Days later, when the body of college drop out, Jamie Sherman, a neighbor to Wirth, is discovered adrift in his fishing skiff, investigators suspect foul play, but the Medical Examiner reports that the youth died of a drug overdose. Only Detective James Raker, upon hearing McAllister’s complaints of unauthorized trading in his deceased wife’s account, suspects the two deaths are related. Bucking his superiors, Raker plunges into an investigation and quickly discovers that at least four members of the affluent lakeside community had motive and opportunity in either one or both of the deaths. Raker’s pursuit slams headlong into an investigation being conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) who were closing in on Jamie Sherman’s drug dealings in the affluent neighborhood.
Ignoring the orders to drop his investigation, Raker fears that the killer will attack again and races to prevent it. The killer does strike for a third time but, tragically, claims the wrong victim. The story is set in the fictitious bedroom community on Heron Lake, NC, a short commute from Charles City, a metropolitan area of more than 1,000,000 and the financial center of the state.
The police cordoned off the area of the beach where Rene’s body was found with yellow and black ribbon. The crowd continued to collect and gawk at the EMS and police. Matthew and McAllister pushed their way through the people toward the beach. Matthew was surprised at the size of the area that the police isolated. The ribbon stretched from the Sherman dock, up into the yard to a folding chair, and then at an angle to a tree on the lot line between the Sherman property and Clay’s. Officer Fletcher was walking the length of the Sherman dock with the roll of ribbon closing the area at the end of the dock so that the water immediately in front of the body would be in the restricted zone. Detective Raker looked up as Matthew and McAllister approached.
“You need to respect that barrier,” Raker called out.
“That’s my wife.”
Raker rose to his feet immediately and walked over to confront McAllister. “You’re McAllister?” he asked.
“Yes. Alan McAllister. Can I see her?”
“At the moment, no, sir. I’m sorry. We need to make certain we can move her without disturbing the scene . . . so it will not be compromised. It won’t take long,” Raker explained. “I’m sorry. Your wife’s been dead for several hours, apparently from drowning. Why don’t you and your friend go back to the house. When we’re through here, we’ll let you know. You can view your wife’s body before we take it to the medical examiner.”
McAllister strained to see Rene’s body that lay more than 50 feet away in the sand. “This is an accident, isn’t it? Why the police?”
“Just routine,” Raker replied. “Please, the quicker we can get on with it, the better. I’ll want to talk to you in a few minutes.” Matthew put his hand on McAllister’s shoulder and nudged him to turn. Mac conceded reluctantly, and the two men trudged back to the deck where Shirley was standing. She had been joined by Joyce Sherman. “Have you had breakfast or anything?” Matthew asked.
“No. I’m not hungry.”
“Well, come sit down. A cup of coffee, maybe?”
I am a Midwesterner by birth. Yankton, South Dakota, is my hometown. I graduated from high school there in 1957. After four years earning degree in English at St. John’s University (MN), I became a teacher. My first wife, Elaine Finfrock, also of Yankton, and I had five children; four sons and a daughter. We divorced in 1977.
In 1964, I joined The Travelers in Minneapolis, MN and began what turned out to be a 40 year career in the financial services industry. During the that time, in addition to The Travelers, I held positions with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota, Wilson Learning Corporation, and Wachovia Bank and Trust. While at Wachovia, I served in many different positions, ending my tenure as a representative of the trust department services in the greater New York City area. I retired at the end of 2007 after 15 years as a Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch serving over 300 clients in the Winston-Salem, NC area.
In 1986, Melinda Folger McLeod and I were married and I gained a stepson, Matthew. Currently, we divide our time each year between our cabin New West Jefferson, NC and our cottage in Southport, NC near the Cape Fear River. I enjoy golf, music, and reading history. Since my retiring I have focused on my writing, an avocation throughout my life. In 2010, I completed my first novel, Deadly Portfolio: A Killing Hedge Funds and the sequel, Breached was published August 2014.
Both books are available at local bookstores everywhere. They may not be in inventory but they both can be ordered from a reader’s favorite store.
Ebook versions are available in Kindle through Amazon and all eBook formats through Smashwords.