Hidden Chamber of Death
by Hawk MacKinney
The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series, Book One
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Hidden Chamber of Death is a compelling tale of intrigue, murder, deception and suspense that leads retired Navy SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram in search of the connection between seemingly random murders and a banking conspiracy. Working with the local homicide investigator, who just happens to be a former Navy buddy, Craige Ingram’s attempts to protect a lonely widow and solve the case before another person dies are only thwarted by a psychotic killer whose motivation is based on pure depraved pleasure. In this first book of the MOCCASIN HOLLOW MYSTERY SERIES, the instincts and skills Ingram and his buddy acquired as Navy SEALS are tested to their limits.
The battered, green side door with its peeling, leprosy paint framed one small window with smudged shattered wire-glass. The door cracked just enough for a pair of bright blue eyes to peek out at him.
A voice said, “That you, Mister Craige?” The grey head was hardly visible.
“Yes,” Craige said. “Sallie Mae, that you?” Got no answer, and she didn’t come out.
The door left ajar; rusty hinges squeaked as Craige pushed against it and stepped into a vacuous, black void, the air heavy with a peculiar, stale warmth. He was more than queasy. It had the makings of a perfect ambush layout. Talk about the perfect setup. If Zeb hadn’t OKed the time and place, he would’ve been out of there. Except for jumbled, grimy clutter and vague outlines in a trashed yawning interior, he could make out no details. As his eyes adjusted, Craige found himself facing two frail figures who’d been standing there the whole time.
With a fragile movement Sallie Mae said, “Right here. A’gatha Ruth here’s not too pleased about Zeb tellin’ you where to find us.”
“Don’t like this a darn tootin’,” Agatha said. “Nobody’s bizness.” She was testy. “Plenty robbin ‘n ‘killin’ to be took care of ‘stead of cops pokin’ in folk’s private matters. Botherin’ folks what druthers be left alone.”
“I don’t work for the police,” Craige said.
Agatha continued, “Fiddle-de-dee, who you think you’re foolin’? Tain’t a mite of difference twixt you and MacGerald ‘cept he calls it what it be—cop.” She had wizened, bottomless eyes. “Claimin’ we make corn squeezin’s.” Her ire rose. “Don’t try puttin’ no lyin’ to me. I know what the likes of you is after. Them bunch of scallywags wants you to help take away Sallie Mae’s croup potions.” Wiped her mouth with her hand. “That’s what, you’re after Sallie’s makin’s.” She didn’t care for him one bit.
“We been run out from lots’a places,” Sallie Mae said. “Lord knows, these old bones don’t take up much room, and these empty buildings ain’t no use fer nothin’ much.”
Craige interrupted, “Zeb told me you saw the killing in the bank’s garage.”
“Both of us seen it,” Agatha said. “What you want to know for anyhow? We ain’t talkin’ to no cops. Might as well git that out on the table right now. They throw us in jail, say we the ones what did it till we tell where our still wuz.”
“You see who did it?” Craige asked.
“‘Course we seen the man who done it,” Sallie Mae said. “Didn’t see no face, saw his big black car, the kind what rich folks drive.” She shook her head. “Lordy mercy, that poor woman didn’t have no chance.”
Agatha nodded, “Skeer a body plumb to death. Gives me chill blains jus’ thinkin’ on it. Like some animal, like he wadn’t mad. Jes took o’nry mean pleasure beating her.”
Craige asked, “You know it was a man?”
“Jesus my all!” Agatha Ruth spit snuff juice into a paper stuffed big peach can. “You ain’t much good at detecting if you cain’t tell whether a body be man or woman. Maybe you need readin’ glasses. Gettin’ a mite blurry myself, but I don’t have to see a body close-up to tell it was a man, and sure didn’t want that one close-up no how. Tell by the way he hit. He was hefty enough he didn’t have to put much swing to it. Kept whackin’n’whackin’, blood everywhere. Even after she mostly quit moving, he kept hittin’n’hittin’, her legs just’a jerkin’.”
Craige made a mental note to check with Fred if any clothing, gloves, anything showed DNA different from any of the victims.
“Awful!” Sallie Mae shivered. “We hunkered down so he wouldn’t see us.” The filtered light framed Sallie Mae’s dignified, wrinkled face, ancient beyond years with a proud reserve.
Agatha said, “Even after the police got there, we never told them what we seen.”
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Hidden Chamber of Death, Book One of The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series, by Hawk MacKinney for the purpose of an honest review.
It is my pleasure to have had the opportunity to read and review Hidden Chamber of Death by Hawk MacKinney.
This is the first book of Mr. MacKinney’s that I have read, but not the first I have heard of his writing. He has been a frequent visitor here on Room With Books. And an author that it has been my pleasure to host time and again.
I was not disappointed for a moment with Hidden Chamber of Death. I love the way Mr. MacKinney writes his characters, real enough you can hear them talking in your head as you read along and so alive you could almost reach out and touch them.
The search for a psychotic (no, TRULY psychotic) killer makes this first book in The Moccasin Trace Series an absolute thrill to read. I know I consumed Hidden Chamber of Death without hesitation once I began reading it.
I highly recommend Hidden Chamber of Death, Book One of The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series, by Hawk MacKinney and encourage you to pick up a copy right away. I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with it!
I give Hidden Chamber of Death by Hawk MacKinney five steaming hot cups of Room With Books coffee (the first cups I’ve given since learning how to use my new Keurig ;-).)
©March 9, 2016
Do you have any relation to a homicide investigator?
Not on a regular basis. I do know investigator(s) on specific cases, the `professional’ who eyes the bizarre with a keen mind and keener paranoia/suspicions lurking in the human animal.
Are your characters based on or inspired from real people?
All of them…people-watching is fascinating. Zoo-animals studied in airports, restaurants, malls, shopping centers, rest stops, freeway drivers with their “smart” phones, driving with their feet. Anywhere one can observe Pavlovian behavior that often has to be cleaned up before painting murder & mayhem with words…chaos WAY beyond sordid X-rated.
Which was the hardest character to write?
”Hardest” doesn’t describe the wrap enclosing complex character(s), but they’re the most exciting to bring to life. The more difficult a character is to create, the more the reader enjoys it. Gimme a good character, and I can take a reader anywhere…even across the galaxies. Don’t ever forget the reader.
My most difficult character in Hidden Chamber:
The complexities of the Bergamot character…Zebulon embodied divergences & personality facets that let him turn on a dime, yet ones that couldn’t be loosed to the reckless…a guarded character who never took anything for granted…except Grannie’s kindness & hero-worship of the protagonist.
Which was the easiest character to write?
”Easiest” is simple. The victims of felony foul murder OR the connivers who delude themselves into believe no one knows what they’re doing. It’s the oldest of trip-ups that can derail a PI on the trail/hunt, or trap the most devious.
My easiest character in Hidden Chamber:
It was Terri. Coming from families of strong, voluptuous, warm, fascinating, determined, creative, utterly feminine Southron women, her character was practically pre-written for me before I could walk. With her opposites also part of the gene pool bloodlines, contrasts between polar opposites make great examples. Luved ‘em all…well…most of ‘em.
What is the last great book you’ve read?
Boots On The Ground. Nonfiction, gruff & gritty about the sweat, tears, sordid, sad, success of some of our finest special forces, and how much we ALL owe them, as well as the hog pen stench of cover-ups by the higher-ups…military & civilian.
Do you schedule a number of book signings per year; budget for advertising and marketing; and attend conferences or other writers’ events?
The publishing/marketing/editing team members often suggest things throughout the year–often a year or more in advance. It never becomes a priority with this writer. BUT advance scheduling it’s a good managing road map, mainly for managing time, but for eliminating unexpected time-eaters as well.
Internationally acclaimed author and public speaker, Hawk MacKinney began writing mysteries for his school newspapers. Following graduation, he served in the US Navy for over 20 years. While serving as a Navy Commander, he also had a career as a full-time faculty member at several major state medical facilities. He earned two postgraduate degrees with studies in languages and history. He has taught postgraduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem, Israel.
In addition to professional articles and texts on fetal and adult anatomy, Hawk has authored several novels that have received national and international recognition. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel, was nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award. This was followed by the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. In a change of direction, October of 2012 saw the release of Hawk’s first science fiction novel, The Bleikovat Event, in The Cairns of Sainctuarie series. Volume II in The Cairns of Sainctuarie series, The Missing Planets, was released in 2014 with Volume III in the works.
Hawk’s latest project focuses on The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series. Book 1 in the series, Hidden Chamber of Death, was just released, and Book 2 in the series, Westobou Gold, will be released in the fall.
Hawk MacKinney will be awarding a $20 Amazon/B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.