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No Place Like Home

It's tough to solve a dead cop's murder when there's no hard evidence; it's tougher still when the cops don't want to believe the crime ever happened. It gets even more difficult when small town politicians fight scorched earth turf wars, and when a high-priced, well-connected crime consultant sets you up to take the rap for not only that crime, but a half-dozen other homicides as well, even a former FBI profiler and "black Ops" agent can find himself backed into a deadly corner. When a respected cop is found naked and dead in a sleazy motel, emotionally battered FBI profiler turned reluctant PI Jonathan Kraag sets out to clear the dead man's reputation. The trail leads Kraag to homicide cases hot and cold and behind wholesome fa�ades to the dark, seamy underside of suburban life. Scorned by infighting local politicians, hunted by local law enforcement, and with no tangible evidence to support his claims, Kraag risks his life and fragile sanity as he pits his deductive skills against a vicious, manipulative killer who seems to hold all the trump cards-and to have a hold on the detective's heart.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release


T.A. Stone

    Head Writer for Crime Scene (www.crimescene.com) award-winning author and screenwriter T.A. (Todd) Stone is the author of the Digital Literature Institute Best of Fiction Winner and 2002 INDIE Mystery Winner CLOSE TO HOME, the NY Times Review of Books acclaimed military techno thriller KRIEGSPIEL, the war novel of today's heroes THE BEST DEFENSE, and a contributor to the best-selling ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING, THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE. His articles regularly appear on the web and in nationally known writers' magazines such as Writers Digest. His anticipated book on writing, NOVELISTS BOOT CAMP; 101 Ways to Take Your Fiction from Boring to Bestseller, is a Writers Digest Book Club Featured Selection. An avid motorcyclist, Stone is a former Army Ranger and military parachutist. He is a member of the Author's Guild, Mystery Writers of America, EPIC (the Electronically Published Internet Connection), the National Writers' Union, the Crime Writers' Guild, and is a graduate of his local Citizens Police Academy. He can be reached attoddwrites@yahoo.com

Reviews

4 Stars

"The characters are well drawn, the town has an ambience of its own and the subplots aren't just window dressing. Stone's research and attention to detail are excellent."

Donna M. Brown -- Romantic Times Book Club


"NO PLACE LIKE HOME is a well-written story, full of characters who both aid and impede police in their investigations. The author adds tension by having the mayor and district attorney constantly stepping on each other's toes. The suspense builds until the end. Murder mystery lovers should add this book to their reading lists."

Robert H. Goss -- Round Table Reviews


"Todd Stone's latest book proves conclusively that you can find as many good books in electronic form as you can in the hard print world. No Place Like Home has got everything you need to while away a rainy afternoon: murder, mayhem, and electronic skullduggery; a flawed, troubled protagonist; beautiful women, and a complex plot. If you haven't run across Todd Stone before now, treat yourself to this book; it costs less than $6 in e-format, and you'll meet one of the best cop-and-consultant teams to come along in years."

Karen Treanor -- New Mystery Reader


lists."--Robert H. Goss, Round Table Reviews

"Todd Stone's latest book proves conclusively that you can find as many good books in electronic form as you can in the hard print world. No Place Like Home has got everything you need to while away a rainy afternoon: murder, mayhem, and electronic skullduggery; a flawed, troubled protagonist; beautiful women, and a complex plot. If you haven't run across Todd Stone before now, treat yourself to this book; it costs less than $6 in e-format, and you'll meet one of the best cop-and-consultant teams to come along in years."

Karen Treanor -- New Mystery Reader


"I really enjoyed No Place Like Home. It is a suspenseful read, full of mystery. I liked the fact that you cannot easily guess who the murderer is until end of the book. I loved the way that the murderer subtly undermines the credibility of the investigation. As a character, I found Jonathon easily likeable and believable. He is smart, tough and vulnerable. He knows he is fallible, yet it seems that he is not quite able to accept it or forgive himself for things that happened in the past. If you are looking for a book to make you think, plot and plan, then No Place Like Hom is the book for you."

Janet -- Fallen Angel Reviews


"T.A. Stone's No Place Like Home delivers a body blow from the first page to the last as authentic details, and the power of John Kraag's voice, can't be exaggerated. Stone has sculpted a terrific, twisty, exciting plot thanks to expertly crafted characters in the manner of a Stephen Coontz crossed with a Kathy Reichs. In other words, Stone is a writer's writer."

Robert W. Walker -- author of the Instinct Series and City for Ransome
Excerpt


Chapter One

NIGHTMARES WILL JUST ruin a perfectly good after-sex night's sleep. My nightmare was a ringing phone with death on the other end.

I woke up slick in cold sweat.

The phone kept ringing.

The alarm glowed 2:39. Only one kind of call comes at that hour. I caught it just before the voicemail lady did.

"Jonathan Kraag."

"Dubrowski here. Got something I need a good consultant to take a look at. Starlite Motel. It's a fleabag south of town."

In my mind's eye I could see him. Ravensburg detective Dan Dubrowski is a balding bear of a man. He'd be on his cell phone, his big mitts fumbling with the tiny buttons. Dubrowski hates gadgets. Cops and techs would be processing a crime scene. There would be a corpse nearby, and death would have come in some particularly ugly but unique manner.

Dan never calls about the common ones.

"I'm not a consultant," I said. "I'm just a plain old corporate security director."

And when I don't listen to the voice of my better judgment, a PI.

My dog, a purebred miscellaneous, padded into the bedroom. If I was awake, then it was therefore time to go for a walk. I shook my head. His hopes dashed, he slouched off to settle for second best—sleep.

"I don't need to take a look," I told Dubrowski, "to tell that whatever you got, I've seen too much of it already."

Too many bodies. Too many victims. So many that the FBI gave me my walking papers years early. So many that the psychiatrists had to give me my own room at the hospital and lots of long-named drugs to keep me sane.

That was in my past. I wanted to leave it there, leave it behind.

Somehow it kept with me, as constant as a river's current.

"Ain't we all seen too much," Dubrowski said. "Room 107."


* * *

"YOU DON'T HAVE to go, John."

Andrea's voice was soft and warm, just like her hand on my shoulder and her naked body next to mine. It was our turn to stay at my place. I liked the way she felt in my bed. I sat on the edge of the bed for a moment, caught between the comforting sounds of her breathing and the cold horror of a distant crime scene.

My better judgment told me to get back under the covers.

"I'll be back soon." I patted her hand in weak reassurance.

She pulled away and turned her back to me.