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Scenes from Sugar Island

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A short selection from "Wealthy Street Murders," the sixth book in the Getting to Know Jack series


So, even though she was not viewed as cover-girl beautiful, her pleasant countenance and the manner in which she carried herself would always turn heads as she walked by.

Sadly for Skye, her mother and father had separated when she was fifteen and a half. And even more sadly, she had always blamed herself for their breakup—a feeling frequently enforced by the rants of her alcoholic mother.

Skye was the only child of Candice and Randolph Everly, and her mother was the only child of Chicago’s Alfonso and Maria Costiano, whose family owned the largest concrete company in the Midwest.

As is often the case with second- and third-generation wealth, Candice was given everything she wanted but was never held accountable, nor was she ever satisfied.

While most teenagers rebel against their parents, Candice took her rebellion to a higher level. By the time she was fifteen she was changing hair color every week to match what she saw in the stores on Michigan Avenue or in pop culture magazines.

Adorning her eyes with charcoal shadow and her lips with shades of glitter, she would secretly slip into her trendy mini skirts and tall black boots and sneak out the back door. From there she would duck between the decorative trees, through the neighbor’s backyard, and there meet up with Lilly, her sixteen-year-old girlfriend. Lilly had a driver’s license.

Too young to do the Rush Street clubs, Candice would hang out looking cool at underage private-party clubs. And then she’d be dropped off in front of her neighbor’s house and sneak in through the back door.

It was at these parties that Candice began drinking—and smoking more than a little marijuana.

Her family lived in a three-story brick and limestone home on a double North Astor lot, which was in the affluent Gold Coast district of Chicago. Their house had a private walled courtyard, landscaped gardens, hardwood floors, both wood- and gas-burning fireplaces, a gourmet kitchen with an attached gazebo, five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and a walnut-paneled library with a music conservatory displaying a white grand piano that no one knew how to play, nor does to this day.

And, as was typical for households with alleged underworld connections, the Costianos were protected by an elaborate security system with three shifts of armed guards.

Even though Candice acquiesced to her father’s will by attending his alma mater, she never bought into the program. From the very first she found the academic rigors of Notre Dame not to suit her free spirit.

In fact, her single accomplishment in college occurred at a local restaurant, not in the classroom.

She had already made her mind up to drop out—her only concern was in how to break it to her father. It was in late April of her freshman year that she determined she did not even want to take her finals. So, skipping her classes and taking refuge in a local deli, she contemplated her exit strategy.

It was while sitting at a small table with a glass of water and an empty yogurt cup that she experienced the most significant event of her life—second-year law student Randolph Everly.

He had been sitting at a table nearby when he noticed her very shapely legs. He quickly scooped up his coffee, walked over to where she was sitting, introduced himself, and asked if he could join her.

If ever a young man was smitten, Randy Everly was smitten.

Candice found him to be attractive as well. However, she was motivated by a whole set of factors not related to spring or hormones. She saw in this beautiful man her ticket out of Notre Dame.

By their second date, she had fully developed her plan.

Instead of dropping out before finals, she would study hard and do her best to get a passing grade. But during the summer, she would work even harder to get pregnant, and use her family’s strong Catholic anti-abortion values to escape the drudgery that to her was college.

It worked. In May of the following year she gave birth to Skye Dreamer Everly. Randolph passed the bar exam on his first attempt and was immediately hired into his father’s prestigious Chicago law firm.

Unfortunately for Candice and her young family, once Skye was born, she again surrendered to her love for alcohol.

Perhaps she turned to the bottle partly because of her husband’s busy schedule, or maybe it was because she wasn’t prepared for the demands of motherhood. Whatever the cause, the result was devastating.

By the time Skye was three years old, Candice was buying gin by the case and throwing away two empty bottles every three days.

Within a year, it was up to a bottle a day and sometimes more. After that no one counted.

Finally, Skye’s father gave her mother a choice—him or the bottle.

Her mother’s reaction was the same as it always was when confronted. She screamed, “You can’t mean that! After all I’ve done for you. You bastard!”

And then she poured herself another glass of gin.

Her father did not leave immediately. But when Skye’s grandfather came storming through the door the next day, shouting that he was going to beat the shit out of her father if he ever tried to leave his daughter, Randy ran out of the back door and cut through the neighbor’s yard on foot. He vowed he would never spend another night in the house.

Skye was never permitted to do overnighters at his apartment. Down deep, Skye knew that the reason her father left had more to do with her mother and grandfather than it did with her, but she still couldn’t help thinking there might have been something more she could have done to save her parents’ marriage.

When it came time for college, Skye knew that she wanted to get out of the house and escape from the clutches of her mother’s family. So, when she announced that she would not be applying to Notre Dame, which had become a family tradition, she was shocked that none of her family lobbied to get her to change her mind.

She wasn’t particularly surprised that her mother didn’t object. In fact, it seemed to Skye that she was almost happy to get her out of the house, probably because having a daughter around made her feel guilty about her drinking.

But she was really taken aback when her grandfather gave his unequivocal blessing on her acceptance to the nursing program at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids.

She both feared and loved her grandfather. If he had told her she had to go to Notre Dame, she would have complied. But he not only approved of her decision—he promised to pay for her entire education, plus all living expenses.

Skye had figured that it would be better for her to get away from Chicago and her alcoholic mother. Besides, Grand Rapids was only a few hours away.

When Skye moved out of her home, it was her grandfather who drove her the two hundred miles from Chicago to her lovely Heritage Hill apartment on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids.

Not only did her grandfather pick out her apartment for her, but he kept his word regarding helping her financially.

He paid her rent and tuition, plus he provided her with an allowance of two hundred dollars a week. While that amount of spending money did not seem like much to her mother, Skye led a far more simple life. And she didn’t drink, at least not like her mother did.

During her tenure at GVSU, Skye never returned to Chicago—not even during Christmas break. She took additional classes in the summers, expediting her completion of the nursing program. When it came time for her to graduate, she never even notified her family. She simply passed through the line unheralded, except by her graduating friends.

In fact, the physical separation was so complete that the first time Alfonso Costiano saw his granddaughter, after saying his goodbyes when he moved her into her freshman apartment, was at her funeral.


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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)
 
   
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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"
 
   
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Available in
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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