Blurb: A guest disappears from a private party and blood is discovered on the grounds. Abducted, murdered, or did Abby McCabe fake her own disappearance? San Francisco homicide inspector, Mac Jackson, is called out to investigate.
As Jackson questions the guests, he uncovers old hostilities and learns the details of an unusual death. He centers his investigation on the lingerie bar, where Abby once worked and where the other women are afraid to talk. His best chance at solving the case hinges on an uncooperative source and Jackson must work fast, before his source also disappears.
Excerpt: Chapter 1
Hide and Seek/Hilborne
San Francisco, 2009
Zach Cashmore appeared calm and comfortable, but no one knew for sure. No one knew what went on inside his bandaged head or what functioned in his brain, if anything at all. He breathed unassisted, yet responded to nothing. Fluids entered and left his body by a tube. The team of medical staff moved his limbs to rotate the pressure and prevent bed sores, while his unseeing eyes seemed to gaze out of the window, prisoners of the dark.
For seven months he hadn’t moved a muscle, not a finger or a toe. Not since the savage assault that left him paralyzed, blind, and caused massive trauma to his brain. His battered body had been dumped in an alley and left for dead. A twenty-seven year old investment banker, with a bright future ahead of him. Some thought he deserved what he got by the very nature of his profession. Theories flourished and so did the sick humor. What other occupation could you expect with a name like Cashmore? Greedy, egotistical scum. Most believed he’d screwed someone over one way or another, yet no evidence came to light and such speculation remained a fallacy. While the police appealed for witnesses, his parents stroked his soft blond hair and struggled to comprehend the awful truth: their only child might not survive.
Zach Cashmore spent two months in the TICU. A cardiac monitor assessed his rhythm and condition and intravenous lines were inserted for administering drugs to fight off infection. He required constant attention from the specially trained professionals, of all whom expected him to die, but Zach accomplished the unlikely and gave them all hope. This marvel put him back in the news and one person in particular paid attention.
No witnesses materialized and, five months on, hopes for a break in the case diminished, along with the media interest and Zach’s prognosis. Doctors warned his parents he’d likely never progress further than his vegetative state, yet his parents still held out hope, believed he would come back to them in some way.
While Zach lived in his hospital bed, his athletic build atrophied and his skin sagged. He looked small inside his six foot frame, captive inside his shattered body and dependant on others. Too exhausted to do more than worry and pray, his family placed their trust in the police and the justice system. With no information on who dumped him in the alley, the fickle public soon grew bored of the story and turned their attention to other news and someone else’s misery.
Somewhere else in San Francisco, an antisocial delinquent remained cool, self-assured, and buoyant in the relief of getting away with murder. Almost. Cashmore still might die, and if he didn’t, who cared? He’d never tell anyone what happened. He’d never talk again. Only two others knew anything about the night of his attack and neither of them would say anything about it.