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Scenes of New York

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Two short selections from Jack and the New York Death Mask, first book in the Getting to Know Jack series:

The sun had not yet attempted to peek over Lake Michigan. And it was snowing. While winter storms surprise no one in Chicago, this was a particularly frigid snow, driven by an incredibly stiff westerly—the sort generally reserved for late January or February.

The wind-fractured flakes jetted past Jack Handler more horizontal than vertical, then bounced along the concrete Riverwalk like miniature snowballs. 

The inclement weather did not, however, present a problem to Jack. In fact, he embraced it. The fierce storm suggested he would have no company as he wound up this job.

“What could be better?” he thought. 

Carrying an oversized and plastic-lined leather briefcase, he briskly made his way east along the north side of the Chicago River, less than a mile from Lake Michigan.

Just as he reached a pre-selected point along the water’s edge, he turned toward the river. Gripping a support post with his right hand, he swung the heavy case up and rested it on the railing. Then, with a single motion, he unlatched the case and dumped out of it a solid block of ice. Using his thumb, he retained a brown plastic bag that he had wrapped around the ice so that it would not stick to the case.

Once the bag had separated from the ice, he quickly gathered it up and tucked it back in the case.

The water was several feet below the walkway, so the heavy chunk made a loud splashing sound when it landed. Initially disappearing beneath the surface, the little iceberg bobbed up to the surface almost immediately. Only an inch or so showed above the water, but it was enough to reflect the snow-muted lights of the city as it began floating downstream.

Jack hesitated a moment, took a deep breath, snapped the large brown case closed, and then resumed his walk eastward.

He had chosen this specific spot nearly a week earlier. In fact, he had barely checked into a nearby hotel when he took this exact trek along the river, searching out camera and light locations. He knew that while he could not totally avoid scrutiny, he did need to find the most appropriate place to discard the package—a point that would pose minimal threat from surveillance or excessive lighting.

On his earlier trip, he had also verified that the usually slow-moving current at this specific location was relatively swift. That would insure his deposit would be swept steadily along.

Initially he questioned whether or not the Chicago River would work for him. Theoretically, it might seem that a better choice would have been a river that flowed into a large body of water, as opposed to away from one. But such is not the case with this river—at least not anymore.

Thanks to a series of man-made canals, the Chicago River’s course was altered back in the late 1800s so that it flowed westward, away from Lake Michigan. The project had been undertaken to block the flow of industrial waste into Lake Michigan, because the big lake served as the city’s water supply.

When Jack initially developed his plan, he painstakingly considered all the ramifications associated with the river’s slow westward flow. He finally concluded that convenient accessibility, and size, outweighed any negative factors. Then, when he found a spot on the river where the current was relatively fast, he knew that the Chicago River would work perfectly.

“Too bad they all don’t go this well,” he thought as he glanced backward, checking to be sure that the ice had successfully begun its journey downstream. He had some concern that the hard west wind might actually blow the ice eastward, against the current. But that did not happen. Jack then smiled slightly, turned his face away from the river, and continued walking. “That’s a cool one hundred and fifty grand.”

Jack walked a little farther, and then stopped abruptly. He extended his left arm, exposing a vintage gold Rolex—a gift from his wife on their third anniversary. He held it up to a dim light he encountered about one hundred and fifty feet up river. He then turned around quickly (as though remembering something he had forgotten), and headed back toward Michigan Avenue. He had worked through the night, and he was spent—perhaps too tired, he thought, to rest well. Nevertheless, he knew that he had to try to get some sleep. He did, after all, have a plane to catch out of O’Hare at one p.m.

It was not until he had nearly reached Michigan Avenue that he realized just how cold he was. His thinly lined tan windbreaker did not block the sub-zero wind-chill gusts. Perhaps he was just too exhausted, and his body had begun to shut down. Or maybe it was because he now walked directly into the teeth of the wind. Whatever the case, Jack lowered his head, pulled the brim of his Cubs baseball cap down so it would not fly off, and held it there with his left hand to block the pelting snow from his squinting eyes. Lengthening his Asics’ stride just a bit, he forced a glance up to the stairs that led to the bridge over the river, then pointed himself in the direction of his hotel, which was on the south bank. 

Just as he approached the revolving door leading into the lobby, he was startled when his phone began to vibrate. “Who could be calling me this early in the morning?” Jack wondered. Very few people knew his cell number ... (Chapter one)

 * * *

Beth had just performed at a concert. Afterward, he took her out for a drink. When the taxi dropped them off at their house, gunmen were waiting. Jack never saw it coming. Two casually dressed men got out of a parked car, approached them, and started firing point blank with 9mm semi automatic pistols. Jack took four rounds before he could draw his “Service Six” to return fire. Beth was hit only once—but that was in the face, and it was fatal. It was clear that the men were after Jack, and his unfortunate wife was collateral. But she was the one they killed.

Even though seriously wounded, Jack got off six rounds from his Smith and Wesson revolver. Two of Jack’s bullets struck one attacker—one in the chest, and one in the neck. Either wound would have been fatal. He hit the second with single round to the heart—also fatal. His other three rounds missed both attackers, and were never found.

None of Jack’s wounds were life threatening. In fact, he lost consciousness only after the volley was finished, and then just momentarily. He took a round to his left hand when he reached out trying to deflect his attacker’s pistol while he drew his own. A second round glanced off his left shoulder, and one lodged in his left leg after it had ricocheted off the sidewalk.

The fourth round would have hit him squarely in the head had the shooter not been hit in the chest as he fired. Instead, it merely glanced off Jack’s forehead, knocking him to the sidewalk. That shot was the last round fired, because by that time both of the attackers had received fatal wounds, and were falling to the ground. They died on the sidewalk only inches apart. That was fortunate for Jack, as he was also face down on the concrete, stunned, immobile, and with an empty revolver locked in his right hand.

Jack never really knew how long he laid there on the sidewalk. For months, the only thing he recalled about the event was waking up with his cheek on the cold hard concrete. It was not clear if the bullet knocked him out, or if it was the concussion caused by the sidewalk when he struck his head.

On this night, sitting in the lobby of that Chicago hotel, in his mind he could still smell the odor of burned gunpowder. And, of course, the horrible ferrous smell of blood—lots of blood.  He recalled slowly regaining consciousness, and struggling to comfort his fallen wife. But his hand fell short, reaching only to the warm, sticky moistness that had pooled around her face. In shock, he pushed himself up enough to see death in her dilated eyes.

At that point, Jack wished death for himself, but it did not come.

He remembered trying and failing to stand. He saw the two dead attackers, but had no idea how they got there. He then started vomiting.

He surmises that he must have passed out again, because his next recollection was waking up in a hospital, with tubes in both of his arms, and doctors and nurses hovering over him.

Jack had not wanted the memory of Beth’s murder to captivate his thoughts on this night. But he knew that sooner or later it would crash down on him. It always happened on Christmas. And even though he had kept himself preoccupied with his work, Kate’s call triggered the old memories. He removed a paper towel he had stuck in his jacket pocket to wipe off any excess moisture from the case he used to transport the ice. And, using that paper towel, he blotted the tears from his eyes ... (Chapter two)

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  Michael Carrier's "Getting to Know Jack Series"
 
  Jack and the
New York
Death Mask
(Jan. 2013)
Murder on
Sugar Island
(Aug. 2013)
Superior
Peril
(Nov. 2013)
Superior
Intrigue
(Aug. 2014)
 
   
  Buy Now
$19.95 Print
$9.99 eBook
Free on KU
Buy Now
$19.95 Print
$9.99 eBook
Free on KU
Buy Now
$19.95 Print
$9.99 eBook
Free on KU
Buy Now
$19.99 Print
$9.99 eBook

Free on KU
 
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of book
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of book
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  Sugar Island
Girl, Missing in Paris

(Aug. 2014)
Wealthy Street
Murders

(June 2014)
Murders in
Strangmoor
Bog

(June 2015)
Watch for New
Jack Handler
Series in 2016
"Jack's Justice"
 
   
Buy Now
$19.95 Print
$9.99 eBook
Free on KU
Buy Now
$19.95 Print
$9.99 eBook
Free on KU
Buy Now
$19.95 Print
$9.99 eBook

Free on KU
Available in
Early 2016
 
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Meet the Jack Handler cast!

Click here to read what people are saying about Michael Carrier's latest books.

 - --Mario are saying about this book: This review is from: Murder on Sugar Island: Kill or die quickly on this mysterious northern island (Getting to Know Jack) (Paperback). Move over James Patterson and David Baldacci ...Michael Carrier is the newest great suspense author!!! Murder on Sugar Island is an intense thrill ride!! Michael Carrier's character Jack Handler is a retired Chicago detective who keeps finding himself suspenseful situations....I seriously couldn't put this book down!!! Definitely a must read for those who enjoy David Baldacci, James Patterson and Michael Connelly. Being a Michigander, I loved that this book is based in the UP. When is the next Jack book coming out? –by Mario on August 19. Finally there is a new author who will challenge the likes of Michael Connelly and David Baldacci. In this latest mystery, Sugar Island (in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula) is used as a fitting backdrop to the wild action. It is a fast-paced thriller that you won’t want to put down until the final page. —Island Book. Murder on Sugar Island is a fast paced mystery full of twists and turns. If you like James Patterson, you'll enjoy Michael Carrier's second novel in the Getting to Know Jack series. This riveting thriller will keep you turning pages all the way to the shocking end. —Cascade Writer's Group. A good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and kept coming back to it whenever I had the free time. The characters were really good. Connelly and Baldacci should approve—by Dave on August 10, 2013. If you like James Patterson and Michael Connelly, you'll love Michael Carrier. Carrier has proven that he can hang with the best of them (seriously- we're talking Patterson and Connelly) with his newest book. It has all of the great, edge-of-your-seat action and suspense that you'd expect in a good thriller, and it kept me guessing to the very end. Fantastic read with an awesome detective duo. By KatieWhat people are saying about this book: This review is from: Murder on Sugar Island: Kill or die quickly on this mysterious northern island (Getting to Know Jack) (Paperback). Move over James Patterson and David Baldacci ...Michael Carrier is the newest great suspense author!!! Murder on Sugar Island is an intense thrill ride!! Michael Carrier's character Jack Handler is a retired Chicago detective who keeps finding himself suspenseful situations....I seriously couldn't put this book down!!! Definitely a must read for those who enjoy David Baldacci, James Patterson and Michael Connelly. Being a Michigander, I loved that this book is based in the UP. When is the next Jack book coming out? –by Mario on August 19. Finally there is a new author who will challenge the likes of Michael Connelly and David Baldacci. In this latest mystery, Sugar Island (in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula) is used as a fitting backdrop to the wild action. It is a fast-paced thriller that you won’t want to put down until the final page. —Island Book. Murder on Sugar Island is a fast paced mystery full of twists and turns. If you like James Patterson, you'll enjoy Michael Carrier's second novel in the Getting to Know Jack series. This riveting thriller will keep you turning pages all the way to the shocking end. —Cascade Writer's Group. A good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and kept coming back to it whenever I had the free time. The characters were really good. Connelly and Baldacci should approve—by Dave on August 10, 2013. If you like James Patterson and Michael Connelly, you'll love Michael Carrier. Carrier has proven that he can hang with the best of them (seriously- we're talking Patterson and Connelly) with his newest book. It has all of the great, edge-of-your-seat action and suspense that you'd expect in a good thriller, and it kept me guessing to the very end. Fantastic read with an awesome detective duo. By KatieWhat people are saying about this book: This review is from: Murder on Sugar Island: Kill or die quickly on this mysterious northern island (Getting to Know Jack) (Paperback). Move over James Patterson and David Baldacci ...Michael Carrier is the newest great suspense author!!! Murder on Sugar Island is an intense thrill ride!! Michael Carrier's character Jack Handler is a retired Chicago detective who keeps finding himself suspenseful situations....I seriously couldn't put this book down!!! Definitely a must read for those who enjoy David Baldacci, James Patterson and Michael Connelly. Being a Michigander, I loved that this book is based in the UP. When is the next Jack book coming out? –by Mario on August 19. Finally there is a new author who will challenge the likes of Michael Connelly and David Baldacci. In this latest mystery, Sugar Island (in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula) is used as a fitting backdrop to the wild action. It is a fast-paced thriller that you won’t want to put down until the final page. —Island Book. Murder on Sugar Island is a fast paced mystery full of twists and turns. If you like James Patterson, you'll enjoy Michael Carrier's second novel in the Getting to Know Jack series. This riveting thriller will keep you turning pages all the way to the shocking end. —Cascade Writer's Group. A good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and kept coming back to it whenever I had the free time. The characters were really good. Connelly and Baldacci should approve—by Dave on August 10, 2013. If you like James Patterson and Michael Connelly, you'll love Michael Carrier. Carrier has proven that he can hang with the best of them (seriously- we're talking Patterson and Connelly) with his newest book. It has all of the great, edge-of-your-seat action and suspense that you'd expect in a good thriller, and it kept me guessing to the very end. Fantastic read with an awesome detective duo. By Katie--Mario are saying about this book: This review is from: Murder on Sugar Island: Kill or die quickly on this mysterious northern island (Getting to Know Jack) (Paperback). Move over James Patterson and David Baldacci ...Michael Carrier is the newest great suspense author!!! Murder on Sugar Island is an intense thrill ride!! Michael Carrier's character Jack Handler is a retired Chicago detective who keeps finding himself suspenseful situations....I seriously couldn't put this book down!!! Definitely a must read for those who enjoy David Baldacci, James Patterson and Michael Connelly. Being a Michigander, I loved that this book is based in the UP. When is the next Jack book coming out? –by Mario on August 19. Finally there is a new author who will challenge the likes of Michael Connelly and David Baldacci. In this latest mystery, Sugar Island (in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula) is used as a fitting backdrop to the wild action. It is a fast-paced thriller that you won’t want to put down until the final page. —Island Book. Murder on Sugar Island is a fast paced mystery full of twists and turns. If you like James Patterson, you'll enjoy Michael Carrier's second novel in the Getting to Know Jack series. This riveting thriller will keep you turning pages all the way to the shocking end. —Cascade Writer's Group. A good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and kept coming back to it whenever I had the free time. The characters were really good. Connelly and Baldacci should approve—by Dave on August 10, 2013. If you like James Patterson and Michael Connelly, you'll love Michael Carrier. Carrier has proven that he can hang with the best of them (seriously- we're talking Patterson and Connelly) with his newest book. It has all of the great, edge-of-your-seat action and suspense that you'd expect in a good thriller, and it kept me guessing to the very end. Fantastic read with an awesome detective duo. By KatieWhat people are saying about this book: This review is from: Murder on Sugar Island: Kill or die quickly on this mysterious northern island (Getting to Know Jack) (Paperback). Move over James Patterson and David Baldacci ...Michael Carrier is the newest great suspense author!!! Murder on Sugar Island is an intense thrill ride!! Michael Carrier's character Jack Handler is a retired Chicago detective who keeps finding himself suspenseful situations....I seriously couldn't put this book down!!! Definitely a must read for those who enjoy David Baldacci, James Patterson and Michael Connelly. Being a Michigander, I loved that this book is based in the UP. When is the next Jack book coming out? –by Mario on August 19. Finally there is a new author who will challenge the likes of Michael Connelly and David Baldacci. In this latest mystery, Sugar Island (in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula) is used as a fitting backdrop to the wild action. It is a fast-paced thriller that you won’t want to put down until the final page. —Island Book. Murder on Sugar Island is a fast paced mystery full of twists and turns. If you like James Patterson, you'll enjoy Michael Carrier's second novel in the Getting to Know Jack series. This riveting thriller will keep you turning pages all the way to the shocking end. —Cascade Writer's Group. A good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and kept coming back to it whenever I had the free time. The characters were really good. Connelly and Baldacci should approve—by Dave on August 10, 2013. If you like James Patterson and Michael Connelly, you'll love Michael Carrier. Carrier has proven that he can hang with the best of them (seriously- we're talking Patterson and Connelly) with his newest book. It has all of the great, edge-of-your-seat action and suspense that you'd expect in a good thriller, and it kept me guessing to the very end. Fantastic read with an awesome detective duo. By KatieWhat people are saying about this book: This review is from: Murder on Sugar Island: Kill or die quickly on this mysterious northern island (Getting to Know Jack) (Paperback). Move over James Patterson and David Baldacci ...Michael Carrier is the newest great suspense author!!! Murder on Sugar Island is an intense thrill ride!! Michael Carrier's character Jack Handler is a retired Chicago detective who keeps finding himself suspenseful situations....I seriously couldn't put this book down!!! Definitely a must read for those who enjoy David Baldacci, James Patterson and Michael Connelly. Being a Michigander, I loved that this book is based in the UP. When is the next Jack book coming out? –by Mario on August 19. Finally there is a new author who will challenge the likes of Michael Connelly and David Baldacci. In this latest mystery, Sugar Island (in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula) is used as a fitting backdrop to the wild action. It is a fast-paced thriller that you won’t want to put down until the final page. —Island Book. Murder on Sugar Island is a fast paced mystery full of twists and turns. If you like James Patterson, you'll enjoy Michael Carrier's second novel in the Getting to Know Jack series. This riveting thriller will keep you turning pages all the way to the shocking end. —Cascade Writer's Group. A good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and kept coming back to it whenever I had the free time. The characters were really good. Connelly and Baldacci should approve—by Dave on August 10, 2013. If you like James Patterson and Michael Connelly, you'll love Michael Carrier. Carrier has proven that he can hang with the best of them (seriously- we're talking Patterson and Connelly) with his newest book. It has all of the great, edge-of-your-seat action and suspense that you'd expect in