Rules of Crime
By L. J. Sellers
This novel is part of the Detective Jackson series, but is able to stand on its own. However, if you're really into series like I am, you will feel that you should already know the Detective by this time and wonder about some of the background. For instance, Detective Jackson is divorced, but has a 15-year-old daughter. The novel opens when his daughter calls in a panic because his ex-wife has been kidnapped.
Renee has been living with a man to whom she is now engaged and he is the target of the requests for ransom money. The $100,000 is doable for him by selling some stock; he's rich but cash poor. Fortunately, Jackson insisted on getting the FBI involved, but by the time you get into the story, you'll find that not much of anything was going to make this whole escapade work out...
You see, when the first money drop occurred, the man picked up the money, ran toward the river, used an inner tube and went speeding down the river...
Only thing is that he turned over, and they later found that he had drowned...Money never found...
The car raced forward, away from the rehab building and student housing. Renee struggled, but the alcohol made her weak and the man shoved her to the floor. Strong, thick fingers dug into her flesh and quickly bound her hands and mouth with duct tape. A knife was suddenly in his hand and her heart missed a beat. She screamed into the duct tape but only made a gurgling sound. The man cut her purse strap from her shoulder, then rummaged through her pockets until he found her cell phone. He shoved her last little hope into his jacket pocket, then taped her ankles together and tied a blindfold around her head. Oh God, what did they want with her? Panic exploded in painful shards in her lungs and she couldn’t think straight.
A few minutes later, the car stopped, and the men dragged her from the floor of the backseat and shoved her into the trunk. They slammed down the lid and left her alone in the small dark space, trussed like an animal on its way to slaughter.
Heart pounding, all she could think was, I wish I’d finished the thermos.
While the kidnapping was going on, an officer who had previously been mentored by Detective Jackson, Lara Evans, caught her first major case.
A Lila Murray had been found a victim of an assault. She was in surgery and might not make it, but her wounds were very strange and vicious. She had been beaten and had dirt and shit rubbed on her body and then dumped naked at the ER.
Tracking her down had led to the local college, and soon hazing was brought up, but she had not been a part of a sorority.
Then Evans got word that she had been trying to get into a private residence with students, supposedly it was not a sorority, but she had learned that there may still be an initiation of some sort to be able to live there!
While she had been diligently working on her case, it had reached the point of "waiting" for information and Evans was quickly pulled in to work on the kidnapping charge, which was getting complicated.
Renee's fiancee had another daughter who worked at a radio station and without anybody's permission, she had gone live and asked for money for the second payoff!
His daughter was found dead soon thereafter...
Well, I must admit that I was unable to piece this one together! Good for Sellers, but sad for the characters, especially Renee's fiancee who kept trying to do everything to protect his family, only to see things continue to come apart without resolution.
And then the surprise, maybe unnecessary(?) ending really threw off everybody involved! Not a happy ending, but unfortunately maybe more realistic in today's world? This is my first read of Sellers and the writing didn't attract my attention sufficiently to backtrack... If you don't mind coming into an ongoing series, check this one out--I figured out some of it. If you do better, let me know!
L.J. Sellers writes the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery/thriller series, a Readers Favorite award winner, as well as provocative standalone thrillers. Her novels have been highly praised by Mystery Scene, Crimespree, and RT Reviews, and her Jackson books are Kindle bestsellers as well as top-ranked novels.
L.J., who resides in Eugene, Oregon where her novels are set, is also an award-winning journalist who earned the Grand Neal. When not plotting murders, she enjoys standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes.