Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Have you Met Benjamin Tucker in Vengeance is Mine... By Harry James Krebb...

Three days later, I missed the big
Friday night game. It was the day
Christine's raped and savagely
mutilated body was found by hikers
in a remote wooded area....

Prologue - It was the disappearance and murder of my then girlfriend, Christina Morgan, that changed everything for me. She disappeared seventeen years ago on my eighteenth birthday. We had made plans to meet at the Dairy Queen at six o'clock, but my high school baseball practice went later than expected because I'd invested extra time in the batting than expected because I'd invested extra time in the batting cage. Collegiate scouts were expected at that Friday evening's game, and winning a sports scholarship was the most important thing in the world to me.
By the time I borrowed my father's station wagon and drove to the DQ, it was six thirty, and it had begun raining like hell. Christine, who had arrived on time, was no longer there. No one had seen her leave. I called her house, but her mother said she'd gone to meet me. Her father called me twice that evening looking for her. Finally, at midnight, her parents called the police.
The initial police responders showed up at my house shortly after one in the morning. They interviewed me for twenty minutes, but I'd been unable to offer any insight as to where Christine could be...

It wasn't hard to think of Castle as the closest character to Benjamin Tucker.
Castle doesn't have the deep and dark background of the trauma Ben went through, but he did become a writer and wanted to help the police when there was a murder case... And I think the star who plays Castle would make a great Ben Tucker...

Ben blamed himself for his girlfriend's murder... Although he was never charged--and they also never discovered who had murdered her. Let's stop right there, because I'm hoping this is the beginning of a series and that sooner, or later, readers will be able to discover who killed Christina!

In the meantime, Ben is up to his neck in a murder case and, when they discover his background, he's immediately tossed out of participating...sorta...
Vengeance is Mine:
A Benjamin Tucker Mystery
By Harry James Krebbs

We'd only been married for five
months, and adjustment was painful...
She was high-society money,
 but I was a mutt. I came
 from a much lower class background,
and I have little use for money.
 But I believe it was my disdain
for wealth that attracted her to me.
When we married, she knew
 beyond all doubt it was because
I loved her and not her money.
If there's one thing I took away from the previous night's screaming match with my wife, Maggie, it was: don't ever do anything that brings publicity to the family without consulting her first "especially when it involves the police!"
I spent the night in the guesthouse after she'd locked me out of our bedroom. Our relationship was extremely volatile. We'd fight like cats and dogs one night and then relive the passion of our honeymoon the next...
It had been my recent offer to the police to help search for a serial killer that had Maggie livid. She found it "morbid and disgusting," and we argued about it for hours before calling a truce and going our separate ways for the rest of the night. She didn't understand that I had no choice. Even after seventeen years, Christine's murder still affected my life. Her killer had never been identified, and the feeling of utter helplessness that instilled in me had left me with an irrational drive to seek justice for victims of extreme violence. It was always right there under the surface, ready to take control, and with the recent murders, it had resurfaced once more.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather
give place unto wrath: for it it written, Vengeance is
mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. --Romans 12:19

Netter displayed a photograph of a woman on the screen in the front of the room. "This is Renee Jean Clancy...She was thirty-two years old... He then displayed a crime scene photo showing Clancy's nude, decapitated corpse. She was staged sitting up on the bed in the master bedroom with her hands holding an open Bible--her head was missing from the scene..."

The circumstances surrounding the second death were presented by Detective Arnold Erikson of the Apex Police Department. The victim was thirty-five-year old Carla Diane Knudsen...Erikson displayed a photo of Knudsen, who had the same physical characteristics as Clancy, including height, weight, hair color and approximate age. He displayed a photo of the crime scene taken in the victim's bedroom. Like Clancy, the remains were nude with the head missing from the scene. She was also staged sitting up on the bed with her hands holding an open Bible...

Whew! This is an amazing mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The crimes are horrible; we know the guilty has to be insane...but the psychological suspense could not possibly cover all that happened and was discovered during the investigation! This is undoubtedly the first in a series--it must be! Krebbs has created a new character that cannot be constrained in just one book!

Readers discover in the prologue that Ben's girlfriend is also horribly murdered when he was just a senior in high school. He went into severe depression and was finally able to come out of it. He chose to write a True Crime novel that gained him the beginning of a credible career and was commissioned to write a fiction novel... Ben found that a much more difficult task since fiction required creativity and imagination well beyond that of the mostly research and writing skills used in his first book. He was "blocked" for ideas and was late on getting a manuscript ready...

The sun glistened off Netter's gray
hair as he admired my ride and
exhaled a large cloud of blue smoke.
"Christ, Tucker, nice set of wheels."
"Yeah, it was a wedding gift from
"You're shittin' me. She gave you a
Jag for a wedding gift?" Netter
shook his head. "When I got married,
my old lady gave me a TV. Six months
later she left me and took the fuckin'
Oscar is routinely dressed by
Maggie's daughter...
Oscar made a pit stop along the
way and kicked up mulch and
grass all over my shoes. "Thank
you very much," I said.
He wagged.
Ben had met Lt. Netter when he was working on his first book and had enjoyed their relationship. So it wasn't hard to get accepted as a member of a "multi-organizational task force" that would be working the case. He was happy but his wife certainly wasn't. She's a respected CEO of a family business and, to illustrate their wealth, bought Ben a Jag for their wedding present...and also the one gift he had always wanted...

Another interesting member of the family, housekeeper Roberto, was more than unhappy...she firmly believed Ben was out to get his hands on the family money... and would often question Ben about his life and whether he had talked to Jesus that day... Roberto is a much welcomed character and readers will enjoy watching how her righteous protection for the family slowly begins to melt...

Ben was previously married and has a daughter who gets along fine with Maggie's daughter. But Ben's ex has constantly tried to turn their daughter against Ben and she apparently has heard that Deception is doing well and is demanding a renegotiation of child support!

But the thing that set off Ben's total commitment to the case was when he was asked to be interviewed on Carolinians in the News. And the killer called him afterwards and told him he knew after seeing the show that destiny had brought them together...

Soon the murder of his ex happened... 

Followed by leads in the investigation that Ben had been seen there...

Many of the investigators thought Ben could be guilty, but at a minimum because of the murder of his ex, he was tossed off the task force. He didn't dare tell his agent because Deception was going into multiple printings because of his involvement and the assumption that he would now write about this serial killer...

There were a couple of indiscretions by Ben that set him off worrying... He had kissed his sister-in-law after his ex had been killed... and he was attracted to the FBI agent assigned to the case, and later to him personally as he refused to leave town with the rest of his family who relocated because of the killer's fixation on Ben... What was up with that? Even Ben didn't know but worried he was having some of his earlier symptoms from his teens... To me, this was another hanging item that convinced me another book was coming... Right, Krebb??? I hope!

The title is a significant clue about this particular serial killer. But it still was just a part of the complex story that unrolls in the drama that is Ben's life! I found him a very sympathetic character but also an intelligent researcher and investigator who was gutsy enough to choose a career that would put him directly in line for flashbacks to his past. Sure wish the next book was already available! But the capture of the "Headless Corpse Killer" is waiting to force you, as I did, to read this book in one sitting! You've just got to check out this tremendous thriller!

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." -- E. E. Cummings

About the Author
Harry James Krebs was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. After receiving his BA in applied physics from Aurora University in Illinois, Harry spent thirty-seven years with United States Department of Energy Contractors as a senior mechanical engineer. He designed, built, maintained, and operated large experimental detectors for high-energy physics experiments at national laboratories such as the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Superconducting Super Collider, and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University.
Krebs always wanted to write mystery novels, but his engineering career left him little time to write until now. His first novel, Fractured Persona, is based on a recurring dream where he would wake up in someone else’s body and life.
The author and his wife currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina with their Chihuahua, Lucille.

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