Dungeon of Horrors

  


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The bank’s newest Trust Officer Terri Stanley prepares the requested department’s internal audit. Finding puzzling inconsistencies and a jumble of misappropriations and unexplained offshore accounts, she follows protocol and immediately punches in the listed number for the Executor-Trustee, Craige Ingram.

Wealthy land owner/parttime PI Craige Ingram reaches the file back to homicide Lt. Grayson MacGerald after finishing a quick read-through of the preliminary forensic report from Coroner Fred Dinkins on the unexpected death of bank President Royce Sedgewicke. Dinkins’ meticulous autopsy findings verify that a massive apparent heart attack was not from natural causes, confirming what these longtime SEAL buddies suspected.

When Ingram gets a call from Terri Stanley, the bank’s attractive, newly-hired Trust Officer, wanting to discuss in confidence possible account irregularities discovered during her audit, he never imagines the twisted world of money and greed that would involve a psychopath’s trail of bloody body parts strewn along Ingram's river property, or that Terri and her son would disappear.

Confronted by a race against time, Ingram fears that Terri might become one more on the list of dead who crossed a twisted mind bent on thrill-kills and retribution.


Enjoy an Excerpt

Terri had no trouble with Craige’s directions. A half hour later, she turned into Ardochy’s meandering white-graveled drive and spotted Craige waiting on the steps of Ardochy’s columned porte-cochère carriage porch. Terri thought of her father and his brushy-browed scowl at her for breaking his business rule. Once her father learned of her infatuation with a teller at his Napa Valley Bank. “Never mix business with anything else, and never on your own doorstep,” he told her. He never mentioned it again.

As her car pulled up and stopped, Craige hurried down the steps to open her door. “I see you made it.” As she stepped out, his eyes followed every turn of the shapely ankles.

“It was no problem.” Her thoughts cluttered. Feelings surfaced she’d had since that first time they’d met. Now they surged, somehow stronger, with his nearness. Terri would never have believed her good sense could be so altogether rattled, and she tried not to think about what Irene had said. In the private sanctions of her heart, Terri tried to keep her mind on why she came—it wasn’t working.

“Come on in the kitchen.” Craige held open one of the double-carriage porch doors. “I iced a fresh pitcher of tea.” He led her through the butler’s pantry into the sedate library.

“Oh my, all these marvelous books…” Terri murmured.

“It’s my favorite room in Ardochy,” Craige smiled. “All for the enjoyment of reading. Theosia left me several first editions. Sit down, make yourself comfortable.”

The soft leather chairs, Tiffany lamps, and comfy reading niches made the high ceiling expanse of shelves somehow cozy. She looked around the library with its frescos in delicate pastel blushes, intricate friezes and matching tiered chandeliers heavy with Austrian crystal drops. Without seeming out of place or time, she thought he seemed to belong to this refined, patinaed ambience of high ceilings and ornate carvings. He filled the Chippendale chair as though he belonged—male supremacy without being rawboned. Terri sat, recalling private times with her mother, of parlor rites and playing dress up that wasn’t all play-act—learning to sit, stand and walk properly; how to set an afternoon high tea, finger cakes and scones. Terri wished she hadn’t hurried her makeup that morning. Had she used too much perfume? Did he find it pleasant? She’d refreshed her lipstick before she left to come here—what if it was on her front teeth? She found herself acting like a high-school subdeb.

“If you prefer, there’s unsweetened tea.” Craige iced his glass with the tongs from the silver and crystal ice bucket.

“No,” she said. “It’s fine.” His devil-may-care rakish smile, the dark auburn reflections from his hair and the fiery golden flecks in his green eyes kept getting in the way of why she came. “With so little to go on, I’m not sure where to start,” Terri began. She tried to soothe her jitters.

“About what?” Craige asked, picking up on her nervousness.

Terri knew she was taking a risk. He could be part of it, yet some inherent trust told her different. She handed him several folders.

“Perhaps I’m overreacting.” She looked straight at Craige without wavering. “Several of the portfolios don’t quite add up. There're stocks, mutual funds, international oil, precious metals, grain futures, money markets. Some of it’s over my head.”

He jigsawed any number of reasons she might have for coming out here. Her eyes seemed to swallow the room. At least he was lost in them. He wanted her visit to be more than just business. “An audit should take care of that.”

“On that matter there’s been some foot dragging,” she replied. “Enough to leave me somewhat uncomfortable.”

It struck Craige as an odd remark for a bank officer, even more so about her own bank. He studied the bottomless eyes of this wholly female creature, and his gut feeling told him this visit wasn’t a concoction.


About the Author


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 and 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.

Known for his terrifying suspense and unique “Southron” dialog, Hawk has published five novels in the Moccasin Hollow Mysteries: Hidden Chamber of Death, Westobou Gold, Curse of the Ancients, Dead Gold, and Blood of the Dragonfly.

In a change of direction, Hawk has also published three books in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series: The Bleikovat Event, Volume I; The Missing Planets, Volume II; and The Inanna Phantom, Volume III.

His latest work is a series called the Moccasin Trace Mysteries. Dungeon of Horrors is the first book in the series, and the second book – Blood in the Shadows – is in development.

Website: https://www.hawkmackinneyauthor.com/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dungeon-Horrors-Hawk-MacKinney-ebook/dp/B0D6BP1Y27/ref=sr_1_1

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for featuring DUNGEON OF HORRORS today!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Literary Gold - Thank you for hosting the Moccasin Trace Mystery, Dungeon of Horrors.

    Hawk MacKinney
    http://www.hawkmackinneyauthor.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I enjoyed reading through the excerpt.

    ReplyDelete

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