Moved by the success of her debut novel, twenty-six-year-old BJ Donovan of New Orleans, Louisiana, can't handle the thoughts of being a one-hit wonder and never feeling special ever again. Using her position as the executive chef and owner of a popular restaurant in the French Quarter to blend in with the community, she embarks on a killing spree, with the aid of voodoo magic, and uses details of the murders to help sustain her best-seller status with a planned thriller series.
While the body count rises — from her brother's girlfriend, found mutilated at an abandoned farmhouse, to an undercover cop murdered in a dark alley on the riverside — BJ tries to remain above suspicion as she continues to write the wrongs in her world.
Excerpt from Chapter 1
Virgil awoke late at night to find his wife gone. He kicked off cold and clammy bedcovers, box springs screeched when he got up. A steady breeze, weighed down with humidity, carried the vanilla-like fragrance of Joe-Pye weed and the barely audible sound of laughter through an open window.
He stood behind fluttering white sheers and watched Marie trot across the back yard, her long black curls bouncing with each footfall. The opaque security light above the barn doors cast an eerie pallor through the limbs of an old elm draped with Spanish moss. He noticed her belly, in the narrow space between her shirt and shorts, seemed rounder than normal. He lazily scratched his ass, wondered what the hell she’s doing.
A man stepped out of the shadows, and drew her into an embrace. They kissed for a moment, then entered the barn.
Marie came back out. She turned her head side to side, looked up.
Virgil leaned back without thinking.
The man clasped her hand. “C’mere, baby.” He brought a shiny metal flask to his lips and took a long swig.
She giggled again. “Gimme some.”
“Sh! Not now.” He pulled her into the barn, loosely swung one door shut, the other already latched at the top.
* * *
Virgil slipped through the half closed door. Stood beneath the loft and listened to the rough’n ready sounds of raw lust. Glossy photos in his dog-eared girlie magazines flashed through his mind. He hiked the leather rifle strap onto his shoulder, gripped the sides of the wooden ladder. Slowly mounted the rungs; aware one always squeaked.
He found them in a clearing behind short stacks of hay. Virgil recognized him. He was the same slick salesman who’d come sniffing around last April trying to sell them some kitcheny crap. He didn’t know if his wife got any. He’d left the house to spend the rest of the mild and sunny morning planting eggplants to be sold at the farmers market and to local chefs.
A July heat wave made the guy come a-knocking again. Now he was a-rocking, in the hayloft, with a young wife and mamma.
His face was nestled against her neck. He grunted mightily with each slow thrust. She flexed her leg muscles, gasped. “Bring it home, baby,” he told her.
A metallic click.
Marie froze. Her dark eyes and reddish complexion oddly reflected the lantern light. She tried to speak but couldn’t. Too late to warn her loverboy, anyway. He shot the salesman named Russell Something-or-other when he raised his head and looked over his shoulder. She screamed bloody murder. Virgil yanked her up off the floor, got a whiff of the man’s scent, resisted giving her the beating she damn well deserved.
Shivering with fear, she used handfuls of hay to wipe the blood off of her. Watched Virgil load Russell’s body into the bed of his pickup truck. She stared at the back of the house through the open loft doors on the left side of the barn. Her gaze shifted from one upstairs window to the next. She thought she saw her four-year-old son, Bernie, rest his arms on the windowsill in his bedroom and stick his thumb in his mouth. Marie bowed her head and cried.
Virgil drove through the field, toppling crops in his path. He put the body in a rowboat. Filled a feed sack with the man’s belongings, and a cinderblock, then tied the bag around his scrawny neck. He thought he heard a small gasp. Tightened the rope. Using a pair of wire cutters he removed the guy’s wedding band with his finger still attached, and slung the bloody digit to the ground for the snapping turtles to fight over.
He rowed to the middle of a bottomless pond where dark green scum floated on the surface and mosquitoes multiplied by the hundreds, and chucked the salesman in. Red-hot bolts of lightning clawed the black sky. A roar of thunder soon followed. Straight-line winds almost flipped his boat. Virgil returned to the water’s edge without delay.
In the midst of a torrential downpour his truck got stuck in the mud. He made a mad dash to the barn. Jerked open the right door. Marie ran out screaming, waving her arms in the air, stringy hair covering her face. Crazy bitch looked and sounded like a banshee. His heart thumped erratically while he worked to unlatch the other door with wet hands.
He stepped into the salesman’s car just as a gust blew one of the flimsy wooden doors shut. Dammit. He carried two empty oil drums out of the barn, and stood them in front of the doors. Drove in, parked behind a do-it-yourself pegboard wall holding an array of hand tools, hooks and baling wire.
He wouldn’t allow Marie to change clothes or to sleep in his bed, making her spend the night in the living room instead. Lamplight threw a shadow on a cheap seascape hanging to one side on the wall. He leaned against the worn banister, listened to her tossing and turning on the couch. Virgil was tempted to put her out of her misery. Decided a bullet would be too swift. He needed to teach her a thing or two about faithfulness. Too bad he didn’t think of that before he shot her loverboy.
Quite a bit of research went into the making of SERIAL QUILLER to ensure that the novel was accurate. The title came to me out of nowhere. About to join a writers forum, I wanted a clever opening line to introduce myself. The first thing that popped into my head was: "Hi, my name is Sharon, I am a serial quiller." [I was writing the Hellfire series.] I skipped the forum. Did an online search for books titled 'Serial Quiller'. To my delight there were none. Minutes later, I had a story idea.
This story has everything:
Swampland. Spells and Potions. Mystery. Madness. Murder. Voodoo. New Orleans. Kidnapping. Detectives. Chefs. Restaurants. Suspense. Horror. Sadness. Anger. Humor. A little Romance. Love and Hate. Locusts and Honey.
BJ Donovan could be Salma Hayek at age 26.
Copyright 2011-2013 Sharon A. Austin All Rights Reserved