Murder Without Pity #Bookreview

  • Title: Murder Without Pity
  • Author: Steve Haberman
  • File Size: 623KB
  • Print Length: 319
  • Publication Date: May 5, 2012
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime

Murder Without Pity is a slow-moving suspense, told in a way that makes you want to turn the pages and keep going. If I had the chance to read it in one night, then I probably would have. It wasn’t even the mystery portion of this novel that I enjoyed so much, although I enjoyed trying to solve the crime before reaching the ending. While I had a few suspects in mind, I feel that there could have been a little more foreshadowing or red herrings to help solve the mystery. As a mystery author myself, I certainly understand how hard it is to throw in red herrings without giving the plot away. There were, however, enough twists to keep me yearning for more.

This story was much more than just solving the strange murder of a man. The investigator, Stanislas Cassel, spends a good amount of his time interacting with the people of France, hoping they either won’t judge him or they just don’t know that he’s the grandson of a French propagandist for the Nazis during their WWII operation. This part of his family’s past mortifies him, so Cassel attempts to avoid anything political and hopes no one will recognize him. Of course, we all know that’s not always possible. And as Cassel continues his investigation, he finds himself in the midst of a larger wickedness beyond the small crimes he prefers to investigate.

This wasn’t a book where you can easily skim a few words here and there…let’s face it, we all tend to do that, whether we mean to do so or not. If you’re focusing on solving the mystery, then it’s possible something would be missing between the lines on the pages. Even reading carefully, I’m sure I missed a thing or two. And if you’re only along for the ride to enjoy the beautiful scenery that’s portrayed, then skipping around will force you to miss out. I’ve never been to France, and as someone who would like to one of these days, I felt I had a good idea of what Paris was like during the time this story takes place. The writing splayed across my mind as though I was watching a movie. It was so beautifully descriptive, whether it was about the thick fog smothering the city or Cassel’s thoughts.

I would most certainly enjoy reading more from this author.

Overall rating: 4 of 5 stars


Steve Haberman

A University of Texas graduate, Steve Haberman pursued legal studies at UCLA before embarking on a career as a legal assistant. Profitable stock market investments made travel abroad possible, and he has since visited Europe extensively and frequently, including London, Paris, Prague, Berlin, as well as Milan and Budapest. Many of these feature as settings in his two e-book novels. “Murder Without Pity,” a murder mystery with tragic echoes from the past, occurs in Paris. “The Killing Ploy” (with heavy overtones of “fake news” before that was topical) is set partially in several Continental capitals. His two works in progress, “Darkness and Blood,” the sequel to “The Killing Ploy,” and “Winston Churchill’s Renegade Spy” also use foreign locales. He is presently planning another three month trip abroad for research on a fifth thriller, this one set in the post World War II apocalyptic ruin of the German capital.


*For more book reviews, click here.*

“Blood Runs Cold” is now available #NewRelease @angelakaysbooks

Hello, fellow authors and readers! I wanted to give a shout out and announce the release of my second novel, Blood Runs Cold. This is the next book in the investigations of Lieutenant DeLong series. I’m so excited that it has been released and I hope you enjoy it!

Blood Runs Cold is available in paperback at, as well as You may also purchase the Kindle edition. Better yet, if you are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free!

Speaking of free, I wanted to give ten readers the chance to read and review a pdf version of Blood Runs Cold. I’m sorry to say that a .mobi format is unavailable at this time. However, you can still read the pdf just like the .mobi version. I’m also looking for five readers/reviewers to take on The Murder of Manny Grimes. If you’d like both, feel free to request it. Both novels are standalones, so if you only want to read the newest, then that’s OK! Just feel out the contact form below and I’ll send you a copy. Act fast, as I am only looking for a certain number of readers at this time.

Both novels are mysteries (I suppose that’s a given) and they both contain a tad bit of the supernatural and a tad bit of the mention of Christianity. There are no sex and no foul language.

Blood Runs Cold

A young woman has been murdered at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion and Lieutenant Jim DeLong realizes at first sight this case will be the most difficult one of his career. DeLong is immediately swept into the memories of his childhood and dark secrets he’s longed to forget.

The victim is his sister-in-law, and old thoughts he’s fought to delete will be resurrected whether DeLong likes it or not. He and his brother have been estranged by unhappy times in their youth. With no clear motive, DeLong questions his ability to remain objective.


The Murder of Manny Grimes

When three young boys stumble into Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s life one night during a winter storm, they claim they’ve seen a dead body by the swing sets of the Columbia County Elementary School. After he investigates, DeLong sees no evidence, not even a body.

But were the boys telling the truth?

With the help of his oldest friend and mentor, former Naval investigator Russ Calhoun, DeLong sets out to find whether Manny Grimes is alive or dead. The further away he gets to the bottom of the mystery, the closer he comes to realize that his own life is falling apart.

Delving deeper into the murder of Manny Grimes, Lieutenant DeLong begins to unravel, losing his sense of control, falling into old temptations he spent years to overcome.

Will he be able to move past his own demons and untangle the web of lies before it’s too late?

Character Interview: Lieutenant Jim DeLong

I’ve seen authors choosing one of their characters to interview. After checking out some character interviews, I decided to join in on the fun and do one for my protagonist, Lieutenant Jim DeLong. Some of you know that he was the lead investigator in my debut novel, The Murder of Manny Grimes. Well, Lieutenant DeLong will return within the next few weeks in the follow-up novel, Blood Runs Cold. The upcoming case will be the most difficult of his career, filled with tension and suspense. Will he be able to pull through? Or will DeLong fall even further down the darkness of his soul? Well, you’ll have to pick up Blood Runs Cold once it’s out to find out! In the meantime, enjoy my sit-down with Lieutenant Jim DeLong.

This interview takes place before the events of The Murder of Manny Grimes.

  • What do you do?

I’m a lieutenant at the Columbia County Sheriff’s office in Augusta, GA. I usually push paperwork but I find that boring. I like being out in the field. I do that every chance I get.

  • What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?

I can’t really say. I mean, I don’t usually ask. When it’s about work, I’m there to do my job. I’m dedicated to my work. Sometimes obsessively. When I first meet people, I get right to business. Other than that, I don’t make much small talk.

  • What about afterward?

(Chuckles) I’d say it depends on the person. Some say I have anger issues. I’ve had others say I’m down-to-earth.

  • So, are you bi-polar?

(Laughs) No. I guess you can say I just feel things a little more than I should.

  • I see. Tell me about your family.

Well, I’ve been married for seven years. My wife’s name is Samantha. We met when we were in college. We have a six-year-old daughter, Bella. She’s great. (Laughs) But she certainly can be a bit of a handful.

  • (Laughs) Gotta love that kids keeps life interesting, huh?

Yeah, she certainly does.

  • How is your marriage?

Um, isn’t that a bit personal?

  • Yes. But I believe people like to know what makes Augusta’s finest tick.

Umm….well, we have our ups-and-downs. Just like any other marriage. We just do what we have to, right?

  • I suppose so. Do you think you turned out the way your parents wanted you to?

Does anyone?

  • I’m pretty sure some do. What makes you think you didn’t?

I didn’t say that I didn’t. Is this interview over, yet? I really need to get back to work.

  • You implied it. Lieutenant, is there a reason you don’t want to answer the question?

No, I just have a lot to do. Look, if you want an answer, let’s just say our past makes us who we are today. When things happen that’s out of your control, you deal with it the best way you know how.

  • “When things happen.” Did something happen to you? Something you couldn’t control?”

OK, you know what? This interview’s over now.

  • Wait. Let’s move on. Is that OK, Lieutenant?


  • Who is your best friend? Tell me about him/her.

Russell Calhoun. We go way back. He used to work in the Navy. He retired as a criminal investigator. He’s a good guy. As good as they come. Russ has done a lot for me in the past. I don’t know where I’d be today without him.

  • You seem very close to him. What does he give/do for you that no one else can?

(Pause) I don’t know. I guess…a sense of peace.

  • I see. Are you happy with your life?

Happy? Sure. Maybe. I mean, I love my family. And my daughter means the world to me. I have friends. But…

  • But?

Well, I’m alive, aren’t I? I have troubles, just like the average guy. I’m working through them. Trying to find…

  • True happiness?

Yeah. I guess that’s accurate.

  • Thank you for your time, Lieutenant DeLong. I wish you the very best.

Right. Uh, you too.


Got comments? Place them below! Let’s get a chat going!

Lieutenant DeLong is featured in The Murder of Manny Grimes, available at B&N and Amazon in paperback and eBook. Blood Runs Cold is set for release soon! For more information or the link to order, click here.

Devil in the Countryside @CoryBarclay #bookreview

  • Title: Devil in the Countryside
  • Author: Cory Barclay
  • Print Length: 348
  • Publication Date: February 15, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery

It’s very rare that I would be tempted to give any book more than a five-star rating. If I did do that, then Cory Barclay’s Devil in the Countryside would be one of the few. It’s 1588, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. It’s rumored to be the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg. Investigator Heinrich Franz is assigned to find the killer, seeking help wherever he can get it. A priest attempts to keep the peace amongst the townspeople, while he attempts to fight against the temptation of a young woman that could destroy his most basic beliefs. They find themselves wrapped in mysteries, steering through the political and religious landscape of the 16th century.

Devil in the Countryside was an extremely tightly written novel, keeping me on my toes the entire time I was reading. I did not want to put it down. The characters were three-dimensional and realistic…very memorable. In my minds-eye, the book played like a movie. I felt as though I was watching the scenes unfold so much, that at times, I had to remind myself that I was in the 21st century. I felt it was that good.

You’ll not only want to find out who—or what—is piling corpse after corpse, you’ll want to find out what secret these characters are withholding from everyone else. You’ll want to find out if they can force temptation out of their minds. You’ll want to find out everything you can about this book.

The story is action-packed from the second it begins until the ending, leaving the reader on the edge of their seat. There were times when the dialogue didn’t seem up to par with the time; however, that didn’t even matter. The scenes were painted beautifully. For readers that enjoy historical fiction, werewolf hunts, and murder, I recommend giving Devil in the Countryside a try. It’s a must-read!

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

For more book reviews, visit


Cory Barclay

As far back as he can remember, Cory Barclay has always loved the “big picture” questions. How much knowledge did humanity lose when the Library of Alexandria was burned down? Why has the concept of Heaven remained intact, in one form or another, throughout most of human history and how has it impacted life on Earth?

And even before that, when he first began writing stories in grade school, he’s been fascinated with histories and mysteries. Whether Norse mythology, the Dark Ages, or the conquests of great leaders, Cory’s been that kid who wants to know what’s shaped our world and write about it. Especially the great unsolved mysteries.

So Devil in the Countryside was a natural for him.

Born and raised in San Diego, he graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied Creative Writing and Modern Literary Studies. He’s also a songwriter and guitarist, and – no surprise – many of his songs explore the same topics he writes about – the great mysteries of our crazy world.

Devil in the Countryside is his second novel and he’s hard at work on its sequel.


“Blood Runs Cold” ~ From the Author of “The Murder of Manny Grimes”

I’ve recently submitted my second novel to my publisher at ThomasMax Publishing. With it being my second book, I’m both excited and extremely nervous! My debut, The Murder of Manny Grimes, was released last year, mid-September. I’ve spent seven years sweating over my manuscript, wondering if I’d ever get it published. Finally, it happened, and my “baby” is now available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble for paperback/e-book. It has had some amazing reviews so far. I hope they keep on comin’!

Sometimes, you live with a group of characters for so long, they become a part of you.

A few readers asked me about a sequel, and I thought, “Why not?” Initially, I hadn’t planned on writing a sequel. However, I was curious as to how my protagonist, Lieutenant Jim DeLong would handle his job and home life. If you’ve read Manny Grimes, you already know that circumstances threatened DeLong’s very existence. Did he overcome his temptations? Well, if you haven’t read the book, I’m not telling! Shhhhh!

And now, Blood Runs Cold is born.

This next case DeLong will be involved with will be the most difficult of his career. It’s full of mystery, intrigue, new characters, as well as old. We’ll learn even more about DeLong–more than he wants us to know. But sometimes, secrets have a way of coming out! No one knows this like our beloved protagonist.

My publisher is working on preparing the book for publication. I don’t know the exact date it’ll be released. My hope is by the end of May or early June. You’ll be kept updated for sure! If you would like to pre-order a signed copy of Blood Runs Cold (or even The Murder of Manny Grimes), I will be selling them for $14–shipping included. If you’d like to order both, I’m offering them for $20! Again, shipping is included.

A New Case. An Old Memory.

A young woman has been murdered at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion and Lieutenant Jim DeLong realizes at first sight this case will be the most difficult one of his career. DeLong is immediately swept into the memories of his childhood and dark secrets he’s longed to forget. With no clear motive, DeLong questions his ability on whether he’s able to remain objective.

Check out my video for The Murder of Manny Grimes.
Check out my video for Blood Runs Cold.


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Follow me on Twitter: @angelakaysbooks


Angela Kay

Equipped with a professional writing degree from Augusta State University, Angela Kay is a southern lady who spends her days and nights dreaming up new ways to solve dark murders of normal people.

Angela Kay was one of 23 across the United States to win a 2009 playwright contest for her one-act entitled “Digging Deeper.” Because of this, she was able to spend a week in Atlanta at the Horizon Theater Company.

She lives in Augusta, Georgia with her crazy calico, Maggie.


Murder and More #BookReview

  • Title: Murder and More
  • Author: Gerald Darrell
  • Print Length: 222
  • Publication Date: February 3, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Mystery, Crime

From the Author

This short story fiction work, Murder and More is what the author calls “Fiction for Fun.” It uses real places and real geography to spin a story that didn’t happen, but should be fun for the mystery reader. As a quick read, those familiar with the early 1960’s geography in the novel, will travel back in time to places that will always be remembered. This is the fourteenth story in the Carson Reno series. The other books are available in paperback, hardback and e-book formats. Some are also offered as an audiobook.  His book, Don’t Wake Me Until It’s Time to Go, is a non-fiction collection of stories, events and humorous observations from his life.  Many friends and readers will find themselves in one of his adventures or stories.

My Review

Murder and More is a quite intriguing story. The author does well to take the readers back in history. The scenery were very well described, the characters three-dimensional and interesting. The story pops out from the pages and you’re really just watching a movie–that’s how engrossing it was…for me, anyway.

This is the fourteenth installment of the Carson Reno series but is a stand alone. We get the sense of who Carson is without knowing anything about this novel’s predecessors.

Carson is a very likable man, but I had trouble discerning how old he was. Sometimes he seemed to be in his mid-thirties, while other times he appeared to be much older. Either way, he gets his job done well.

Throughout the novel were various photos which help remind us that it’s set back in time. While I enjoyed the old-time landscaping and sign photos at times, some of the photos were beginning to become a bit of a nuisance, making it more of a picture book.

I did rather enjoy reading Murder and More. It was a quick, easy read, kept me guessing, and I became so engrossed in the story telling that I managed to finish in one day. I highly recommend the story, whether you’ve followed along with Carson Reno in the past or not.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars


Gerald DarnellA Florida native, Gerald grew up in the small town of Humboldt, Tennessee. He attended high school and was a graduate of HHS class of 64. Following graduation from the University of Tennessee, he spent time in Hopkinsville, KY, Memphis, TN and Newport, AR before moving back to Florida – where he now lives. During the early 70’s the author actually worked from an office in the Memphis Peabody Hotel. So many of the events about the hotel in Carson Reno’s stories are real as well as many of the characters you meet.
His fiction books are what he calls ‘Fiction for Fun’. They use real geography and include pictures and characters some readers might recognize. The ‘Carson Reno Mystery Series’ features adventure mysteries set in the early 1960 time period. The primary geography is Memphis and West Tennessee, but Carson’s stories take the reader across the United States and occasionally to foreign countries. Each story is considered light reading and is rated PG for everyone’s enjoyment. You are invited to pick your character and put yourself in the ‘play’. You might find it fun!
The reader will experience character continuation through all the stories and enjoy the growth of the core characters with each new adventure.
Current published ‘Carson Reno Mysteries’ include ‘Murder in Humboldt’, ‘The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land’, ‘Killer Among Us’, ‘Horse Tales’, ‘the Crossing’, ‘Sunset 4’, ‘the Everglades’, ‘The Illegals’, ‘Dead Men Don’t Remember’ ,’Fingerprint Murders’,’Reelfoot’, ‘Justifiable Homicide’, ‘Dead End’ and ‘Murder and More’.
Gerald’s non-fiction book ‘Don’t Wake Me Until It’s Time To Go’ includes stories and events spanning time from pre-high school to his now retirement in Florida. As an avid hunter and fisherman, many of the events involve activities and stories from his personal outdoor adventures. As a business executive, and extensive traveler, he gives us some playful observations accumulated from the millions of miles he traveled across the US. As someone who loves animals and adventure, he offers thoughts and observations that are probably outside most reader’s imagination. Not a ‘tell all’ narratives, real names and real people are included. If you know the author, you might find yourself – or one of your adventures – included. If not, I’m certain you will find a real familiarity with the stories and the times chronicled in the book. A must read if you enjoy hunting, enjoy humor and can laugh at yourself – while others are also laughing at you

“The Murder of Manny Grimes”

Who loves a good mystery? I know I do! I love reading them, I love watching them, I love writing them! I’ve always written mysteries…most were short stories from a young girl, which you probably NEVER will read. They are tucked and locked away in a file that reads if opened, self-destruct. Just kidding…well, sort of.

Anyway, I wanted to announce the release of “The Murder of Manny Grimes” on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites.  Help this freshly indie author out by spreading the word. Tell your mystery-loving friends to buy!

The eBook version is only $4.99 and the paperback is $14.95. I urge you to at least get an electronic copy…it’s cheap! Now, who doesn’t like cheap?

OR, if you want a signed copy, fill out the order form below! I’ll give you a signed copy of the paperback for just $15, taxes and shipping included!

So, tell your friends! Christmas is just around the corner! It’d make an awesome Christmas gift for one of your mystery-loving friends (and family).

And I want to know what you think, so feel free to leave a review! Of course, more five stars are always welcome!


Send me a message below that you want to order a signed copy!

“Blur” Book Blitz

Book & Author Details:Curse
Curse by Steven James
(Blur Trilogy #3)
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: May 24th 2016
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

Don’t miss this intriguing and climactic conclusion to the Blur Trilogy.
As Daniel Byers prepares to attend a basketball camp before his senior year of high school, the terrifying blurs that’ve plagued him for the last nine months return.Dark images begin to haunt him—creatures crawling from the deepest pits of his nightmares, glimmers of chilling memories from his early childhood. But before he can unearth the meaning behind his mysterious hallucinations, Daniel must team up with two other extraordinary teens to save a young woman who has been abducted by a scientist obsessed with enacting his own warped form of justice.This atmospheric mystery picks up where Fury left off and takes readers into the uncharted regions where reality and madness intertwine.



Enter for a chance to win a copy of “Blur”

Read below for an Excerpt:




The forest, thick on each side of the road, lies caught in the deep shadows of the coming night. Lake Algonquin sits nestled among them.

A net of darkness settles across the woods.

Though I’m driving, there’s no traffic and I’m alone in the car, so I sneak a quick glance at my phone.

No texts from Kyle.

His house is exactly eight miles from the corner up ahead, so at this speed I’ll be there in just under twelve minutes and forty seconds.

I don’t even have to consciously think about it. Math comes naturally to me. Sometimes it’s helpful. Sometimes it’s just annoying.

We’re going to spend some time planning for our upcoming trip to Georgia next Saturday.

In my headlights, I glimpse movement ahead of me on the right side of the road and I brake.

Two skittish whitetail deer stare at the car, then bound in front me. I wait for them to clear, make sure there aren’t any more coming, then pull forward.

Two weeks ago when I received the invitation to the basketball camp in Atlanta, I was surprised. I’d had a good season, but it’s an elite camp and usually fills up early, so just getting an invite was a big deal. But since it was half- way across the country, getting there was going to be a challenge.

Because of their work schedules, neither of my parents could take me.

Apparently, there was some anonymous donor who gave money to cover the tuition and travel costs of students from out of state to help assure “diversity.”

At first we weren’t sure if the camp scholarship was legit, but everything cleared, my coach told me it wasn’t breaking any college recruitment rules, and I sent in my registration. But there was still the issue of getting down there.

The camp is at Northern Georgia Tech, a private university just outside of Atlanta.

Not a short trip from Beldon, Wisconsin.
Right around eighteen hours, actually.
Then Kyle’s girlfriend, Mia, mentioned that she had an aunt in Atlanta whose house wasn’t too far from the cam- pus and it got us thinking.

Dad told us his college roommate lived half an hour south of Champaign, Illinois, which is about halfway down there. After he brought that up, things came together quickly. Kyle, Mia, and Nicole, the girl I was dating, would go down with me.

All of us are rising seniors, getting ready for our last year of high school. Three of us are seventeen, but Mia is eighteen and that helped our case.

Her aunt could show everyone else around Atlanta while I was at the camp. Just the right amount of freedom for us and the right amount of supervision for our parents.

Ground rules: Check in every day. No drinking. No drugs. Nothing stupid.

The first three, no problem.
That last one might take a little more work.
Now, as I come around a curve that follows the shore-line of the lake, I catch sight of some movement again, about a hundred feet away.

I slow to a stop.
 But this time it’s not a deer. 
A little boy emerges from the woods. He’s maybe five or six years old and seems distracted as he wanders to the middle of the county highway.

He stops at the centerline.

I wait to see if his mom or someone will follow after him, but after a moment it’s clear that he’s alone.

I let the car idle, then, stepping out, I call to him, “Hey, are you okay?”

The summer day has cooled off. There’s a slight chill in the air.

Crickets chatter in the shadows.

After a quick glance toward the forest, the boy faces me. Pale complexion—even in the dim light I can make that much out. He reaches one hand toward me as if he some- how wants me to hold it from this distance, but he doesn’t leave the road.

Beyond him, around the bend, headlights cut through the darkening day and the rumble of a logging truck rolls toward us from the direction of the sawmill.

I start the boy’s way. “You need to get off the road.” He doesn’t move.
 As I get nearer, although I can’t place him, I have the sense that I’ve seen him before. “Hurry!”

The truck doesn’t slow. 
Now I’m running. 
Its headlights come sharply into view, glaring toward me, backlighting the boy.
 As it barrels toward us, I yell again for him to move. His back is still turned to the logging truck as he stands completely still with that one arm held out to me.

“Hey!” I gesture wildly. “Get off the road!” He stays there, but lifts the other arm. 
Both hands outstretched now. 
He wants you to help him.

He needs you to save him.

I bolt as fast as I can toward the oncoming truck to sweep the boy into my arms and get him to safety.

My mind is calculating speed, distance. Math. 
Second nature.
 There isn’t time to get there and save him. Yes there is. There has to be.


I do.

The driver blares his horn and slams on the brakes, but he’s going too fast and there’s no way he’ll be able to stop in time. The sharp smell of burning rubber fills the air. As the cab begins to slow, the truck bed, which is loaded with logs, starts sliding sideways along the road.

When I’m just a few strides away from the boy, he finally looks over his shoulder at the truck.

I throw out an arm to pick him up, but my hand passes through empty air.

I spin to see how I could’ve missed him, and my back is to the truck as it clips my left side and launches me into the air toward the ditch.

Time somehow slows and slurs around me while I’m in midair. The night becomes liquid and I’m aware of the cool evening air brushing against my face, of the rich scent of pine trees surrounding the road, of the sound of the wailing brakes. The glaring sweep of the headlights. The rocky ground beneath me. Coming closer.

Time collapses. Rips forward.


I careen down the embankment, rolling toward the lake until I smash into a tree and come to an abrupt stop about fifteen feet from the road.

Breathe, breathe, breathe.
You’re okay. You’re going to be okay.
 It should hurt. It will hurt, but right now adrenaline is blocking the pain—during all my years of playing football I’ve taken my share of hits. I know how this works.

But right now, I don’t care about any of that.
 All I can think of is the boy. 
You didn’t get to him. You missed him. He’s gone.
 My left arm hangs loose and useless from a dislocated shoulder. 
It’s happened to me before in football and every time it does, seeing it like that is pretty shocking, but the pain hasn’t quite registered yet.

I get to my feet and scramble up the bank toward the pavement.

The logging truck has skidded past me and finally come to a stop. One of the straps holding the logs in place must have snapped because the logs have spilled sideways off the bed and are strewn across the road, blocking it.

Terrified of what I might see, I scan the pavement, but can’t find the boy. No blood. No sign of a body. I gaze into the ditch I landed in. It’s shrouded in lengthening shadows, but from where I’m standing I can’t see the boy—or what might have been left of him if he was hit by that truck.

My ankle got wrenched when I landed and as I take a wobbly step forward to study the other side of the road, it buckles. I collapse and the driver of the logging truck comes hurrying toward me.

“You okay?” he shouts.

Using only one arm, it’s tough to push myself to my feet again, but I manage. “Did you hit him?”


“The boy. The little boy.”

“What boy?” He stares at me dumbfounded. A mixture of confusion and fear. “We’re the only ones out here. You came running at my truck. What happened to your arm?”

“No, no, no. The boy who was in the road.”

“Listen, I’m telling you, there wasn’t anyone else. Just you. What’d you think you were doing?” He offers a hand to steady me. “You could’ve been killed. Are you okay?”

I take a step, but lose my balance again and barely catch myself from falling by grabbing his arm.

“We need to get you to a hospital. Is your shoulder . . . ?”

“Dislocated. I’m okay.”

“You shouldn’t be walking around.”

“We have to find the boy.”

The pain is finally tightening around me. I gaze at that left arm. By the awkward angle, anyone could see that things aren’t right. The last time this happened the physical therapist told me it might sublux again.

His prediction came true.

Either I get it back in place myself or I wait for a doctor to do it—and it’s going to hurt just as much then. And in the meantime the tissue will continue to swell, so it’ll only get harder to pop back into place if I wait.

“Help me,” I say to the driver. “I need to get to your truck.”

He tells me once more that I shouldn’t be walking around, but when I start limping forward, he joins me, supporting my good arm. We arrive at the flatbed and I wedge my left wrist into a gap between the boards on the back.

Okay, this is really not going to feel good. The man gasps. “What are you doing?” “Traction. I have to get . . .”
 I clench my teeth and lean backward.

A sharp explosion of pain.
I almost collapse.
But, I didn’t go back far enough. The shoulder remains out of its socket.

Relax. You need to relax the muscles. It’s the only way it’ll go back in place.

“Give me a sec.” I take a deep breath, close my eyes, ready myself, and pull back again, harder. I twist slightly and finally, after what seems like the longest three seconds of my life, the shoulder grinds as it slides back into place. There’s a shot of relief but, at the same time, a wave of a heavier, duller kind of pain.

The driver’s face blanches. “Did you just . . . ?”


I use my right hand to support the weak arm and to keep it from swinging. Based on how things went the last time this happened, it’s going to be sore for a couple weeks at least.

“You might have internal injuries.” The man produces a cell phone and punches in 911. “You should lie down until help gets here.”
“We need to find the boy.”

Finally, he gives in. “Listen. I’ll look for him. But you, rest.”

When dispatch picks up, I say to the driver, “Tell them I’m Daniel Byers. They’ll know who I am.”

“They will?”

“Yeah. My dad’s the sheriff.”


Best known for his high-octane thrillers, Steven James is the award-winning author of eleven suspense novels. The Blur Trilogy is his first mystery series for teens. Steven has taught creative writing around the world and loves rock climbing, science fiction movies, and chicken fajitas. Find him at

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