Eyes of Justice (Triple Threat Series #4)

Eyes of Justice (Triple Threat Series #4)

3.9 26
by Lis Wiehl

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When One of the Triple Threat Is Murdered, All Eyes Turn to Justice.

Cassidy, Allison, and Nicole fight for justice everyday—Cassidy as a crime reporter, Nicole as an FBI agent, and Allison as a federal prosecutor. Together they’re a Triple Threat to be reckoned with. A force that, together, has solved the toughest mysteries.

Until a ruthless

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When One of the Triple Threat Is Murdered, All Eyes Turn to Justice.

Cassidy, Allison, and Nicole fight for justice everyday—Cassidy as a crime reporter, Nicole as an FBI agent, and Allison as a federal prosecutor. Together they’re a Triple Threat to be reckoned with. A force that, together, has solved the toughest mysteries.

Until a ruthless killer finds a way to isolate and murder one of the three.

When the authorities keep the survivors at arm’s length in the investigation, the women’s desire for justice goes into overdrive. They find an unexpected ally in a quirky private investigator named Ophelia whose unorthodox methods seem to offer a possible breakthrough in the case.

Yet just as the police appear to have the killer in custody and justice within sight, the murderer strikes again. Not knowing whom to trust, the team must engage in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse where nothing can be taken at face value . . . and nothing will ever be the same.

A riveting Triple Threat mystery that will leave readers shocked and satisfied.

“[S]hocking, fast-paced . . . For those seeking gal pal tales reminiscent of Tess Gerritsen’s Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, the Triple Threat adventures are a sure bet.” —Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Multiple murders and a bank robbery gone awry—part of a killer’s twisted quest for revenge—propel Wiehl and Henry’s shocking, fast-paced fourth Triple Threat novel (after 2011’s Heart of Ice). As special agent Nicole Hedges deals with a new by-the-book FBI boss and federal prosecutor Allison Pierce grapples with faith and family issues, Portland, Ore., TV crime reporter Cassidy Shaw is front and center in the investigation. Wiehl and Henry delve deeply into the psyches, pasts, and tragic collisions of their characters, including newcomer Ophelia Moyer, a technical whiz kid and PI brought into the fold by Nic’s paramour and sometime partner, Leif Larson. Readers will be reeling by the denouement, which ties up loose ends and leaves the future open-ended both personally and professionally for the three leads. For those seeking gal pal tales reminiscent of Tess Gerritsen’s Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, the Triple Threat adventures are a sure bet. Agent: Todd Shuster, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
The surviving members of the Triple Threat (Hand of Fate, 2010, etc.) investigate the shocking murder of one of their own. Allison Pierce and Nicole Hedges get suspicious when their friend, reporter Cassidy Shaw, doesn't show up for a night out. It's in their nature to assume the worst--Allison's a federal prosecutor and Nicole's a special agent with the FBI--so they decide to investigate even though they know they might be overreacting. Cassidy had texted them to let them know she was hot on a lead, but she's not the type to bail completely, especially from a night with the other members of the Triple Threat, as they've called themselves ever since they met again at their 10-year high- school reunion and realized that their overlapping jobs might make them the biggest threat most criminals would ever see. When Allison and Nicole find Cassidy murdered in her apartment, the number of criminals they've triple-teamed provides a daunting number of suspects to sort through. But the two are convinced they should track the killer despite warnings from their bosses about meddling in a criminal investigation. With the help of idiosyncratic private investigator Ophelia, they're determined to meddle their way to an answer to a crime from which they may never recover. Fans may be dismayed at the demise of a key player, but the fast-paced writing and appealing characters go a long way to making amends.

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Product Details

Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date:
Triple Threat Series, #4
Edition description:
maint to frontlist
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.56(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.09(d)

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A Triple Threat Novel

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 Lis Wiehl and April Henry
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59554-708-8

Chapter One

When the authorities questioned Channel Four's receptionist later about the phone call, Marcy King couldn't recall a single distinguishing characteristic about the voice of the person who had made it. Age, accent, attitude—all she could remember was that it belonged to a man. A man insisting that he had to speak to Cassidy Shaw, the TV station's crime reporter.

Cazdeshaw," Cassidy said into her headpiece, fast enough that her name ran into a single blurred word. Her hands never stilled on her keyboard. She was finishing a piece for the evening news, a terrible story about a man who had killed his two children rather than see his ex-wife get full custody.

"Is this Cassidy Shaw?" A man's voice, so soft it was nearly a whisper.

"Yes." She lifted her fingers, straining to hear. That sixth sense she had, the sixth sense that had never steered her wrong, told Cassidy it would be worth her while to listen.

"I've got a story for you." He hesitated and then said in a rush, "About a cover-up."

Her elation slipped away as fast as it had come. A cover-up? It sounded like some sort of boring malfeasance. "You know I handle the crime beat, right? I could transfer you to the business reporter." Her hand was already hovering over the button on the phone.

"No!" Panic edged his voice. "I only want to talk to you. It's about the Portland Police Bureau. And what's being covered up is ... well, I don't want to get into it on the phone. Something bad."

The Portland Police Bureau? Cassidy's antennae were quivering again. "What's your name?"

"I can't give you my name over the phone. If they find out I talked, I'm in big trouble."

"Come down to the station then." She opened a new document, typed in the words police cover-up, and hit the save key. "I would love to talk to you."

His voice arced higher. "Are you crazy? If I'm seen walking into Channel Four, something will happen to me. I could end up being shot in the back and they'd rule it an accident."

What could be bad enough that this man feared being murdered? Whatever it was, it had to be juicy. Cassidy hoped he couldn't hear the soft tap-tapping of her fingers on the keys.

"Then we can meet someplace else—a Starbucks, a restaurant, a shopping mall," she said in a soothing tone. "You name it."

"You're not listening to me. It can't be anywhere out in the open. Not where people can see me. If anyone sees me talking to you, I'm as good as dead."

"I could wear a baseball cap," Cassidy said as she typed in the words as good as dead. "And dark glasses."

"That won't work. Everyone in Portland knows who you are!"

Cassidy smiled, but was careful not to let it color her voice. "So why'd you call me?"

"Because you're the only one who has the guts to break this story. We all saw how you stood up to Rick. Everyone wanted that hushed up, but you wouldn't step off."

Rick McEwan was Cassidy's old boyfriend. And a cop. Over time he had changed from a generous and loving boyfriend to a man who kept her in line with well-timed outbursts of violence. Finally Cassidy had gathered her courage, pressed charges against him, and gone public with her story. She had laid her heart bare on live TV, spoken honestly about how even a smart woman could find herself cowering and afraid. The piece had won some local awards.

But what she really dreamed of was an Emmy.

"I watch you," the caller said now. "Even when you went after Rick, you were fair. You didn't throw mud at the whole bureau, just Rick, and everyone knows he's bad news. I figure you'll be fair here too."

From the way this guy talked, he had to be a cop.

"Okay, maybe we don't have to meet," she said, as she typed in Rick McEwan and a question mark. Was he hinting that Rick was involved? "You can just tell me what you know."

And then later she could talk him into being filmed in silhouette with his voice artificially deepened.

"But I have proof. Proof I need to show you."

"What kind of proof?"

"Proof that they planted that gun on that homeless guy. He was just a crazy transient, but they lost control and killed him."

This story was vaguely familiar. Cassidy hadn't covered it because it had been an open–and–shut case. In a new computer window she opened Channel Four's website and typed in the words homeless, Portland, police, and shooting. A few seconds later she found the story: Homeless Man Shot Dead by Police. Her eyes quickly scanned the three short paragraphs.

Two weeks earlier, just before midnight, an officer responding to a prowler call had been dispatched to northeast Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. When the cop spotted the suspect, the guy ran. The officer gave chase and was joined by five other cops. According to Sgt. Joe Morton of the police bureau's media relations division, at some point during the foot chase the suspect produced a handgun. After pointing it at the responding officers, he was shot by one of them, Kevin Craine.

Cassidy leaned closer to the screen. Rick McEwan had been one of the other officers on the scene. At the sight of his name, the hair rose on her arms.

The story went on to say that the prowler, Vernell Williams, a black man who normally lived in a ravine underneath a freeway overpass, had been declared dead at the scene. Records revealed that he had spent time in prison, in mental health treatment, and in rehab.

Mentally ill, black, homeless, an alcoholic, an ex-con. Any of which could be problematic when it came to the local police. The Portland Police Bureau had an unfortunate history of occasionally treating crazies like criminals, seeing danger when there might not be any, and miscommunicating among themselves.

In the last year the city had made three expensive settlements: two for using excessive force and one for a wrongful death. And the chief of police had been working to change the perception that Portland cops would rather shoot first and ask questions later.

In the news brief, Williams's family said they couldn't believe he'd had a gun. But without evidence there was no way it could be proved that he hadn't. Now Cassidy was being offered that proof.

"How do you know what really happened?" she asked.

"Because I was there," he said, confirming Cassidy's suspicion. "We all promised to tell the same story. The chief has been wanting to make an example of someone to prove he's serious about shaking things up. If you shoot an unarmed civilian, at the very least you could lose your badge. Maybe even go to prison. So they planted a piece on this guy."

"A throw-down gun."


"Who supplied it?" Cassidy wondered if she already knew the answer.

"I'm not saying that on the phone. But it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. And now we're all in too deep to go back. If the others knew I was talking, they might feel like they had no choice but to ..." His voice trailed off. "But I keep thinking about the poor guy they shot. If someone like you starts asking questions, maybe the truth will come out."

This story was dynamite. They had to meet. Someplace private. Someplace safe. Someplace where people wouldn't notice them.

Her condo building.

Riverside Condominiums was a great place to go if you wanted to be unobserved. The builders had broken ground at the height of the real estate mania, when property was appreciating 15 percent every year. Everyone had wanted in. The management held lotteries to choose who was allowed to buy, and Cassidy had felt lucky when her number came up. Six months later the bottom fell out of the market. Roughly half the units in her building remained unoccupied. A lot of investors ended up walking away from the debt, giving their units back to the bank. As a result, the building was often eerily silent.

"Okay," Cassidy said. "How about this? There are a couple of meeting rooms in my condo building. No one ever uses them." It had been one of the perks of the building, but the parties and business meetings the owners had envisioned never materialized. She had signed her mortgage agreement in one of them, and that might have been the last time it had been occupied.

The caller finally agreed, reluctantly. Cassidy added up the time in her head. She agreed to meet him at six forty-five, after the last broadcast of the local news. She was supposed to be joining Allison and Nicole for dinner at seven thirty, but like her, they were professionals. They'd understand if a story caused a delay. She sent a quick text to each of them.

Might be a bit late—following a lead. Save some chips and salsa for me.

As she drove home, Cassidy's hands were slick on the wheel, and it wasn't just from the oppressive August heat. There was no doubt this story could be dangerous. Cops—even good cops—tended to band together when one of them was under attack. And Rick was far from a good cop. The story had so much potential. And she would be the one to break it.

What Cassidy didn't realize was that this story would really break her.

Chapter Two

I can see why Cassidy likes this place," Allison Pierce said as she lifted a tortilla chip laden with bean dip to her mouth. She bit down with a satisfying crunch.

Puerto Marquez was a wild riot of colors, from the purple carpet to the bright seascape murals decorating the walls. Each of the restaurant's chairs was a different color of the rainbow—green, purple, orange, yellow—and the backs were covered with paintings of flowers and birds.

The sounds were nearly as overwhelming as the colors: Mexican folk music drifting from the kitchen fought with Spanish-language infomercials playing on two of the dining room's big-screen televisions. The other two TVs were broadcasting Spanish telenovelas with the sound turned down. Overlaying the music and advertisements was the rattle of three aging air conditioners turned on full blast.

Nicole Hedges nodded, looking a little shell-shocked. Whenever it was Nicole's turn to choose a restaurant for the three of them, she tended to pick places where the loudest sound was the clink of ice cubes.

Puerto Marquez was located in a strip mall in a less-than-glamorous part of outer Southeast Portland. Without Cassidy's recommendation, Allison wouldn't have given the place a second look, but their friend had sworn that the restaurant had the best Mexican food in Portland. It didn't hurt that free chips, salsa, and refried beans had appeared on their table as soon as they sat down.

Allison thumbed through the huge menu, pages and pages encased in clear plastic. Despite the aggressive air-conditioning, her fingers slid on the pages. It was nearly eight o'clock, and she bet the temperature outside still hadn't dropped below eighty-five. Because of the heat, she had left most of what she thought of as her "court uniform" in the car—the suit jacket, white blouse, and pumps—and was now wearing just a white camisole, a dark blue skirt, and flip-flops. Her hair was still pinned up from this morning, but tendrils kept falling in front of her eyes or, more annoyingly, finding their way between her lips.

She hooked a strand out of the corner of her mouth and took another sip of her margarita, wondering just how late Cassidy would be. Maybe she'd sent a second text? But when Allison checked her phone again, there was nothing new.

Nicole put her hand on Allison's wrist. At the touch of her cool fingers, Allison set her phone back on the table.

"Stop checking," Nicole said. "You know that in ten or twenty minutes Cassidy will come running in, knocking some poor customer in the head with that big old black tote of hers. That girl is always late." As she spoke, Nic managed to dip a tortilla chip into the bean dip and the salsa without snapping it in half.

Nicole's description of Cassidy was on the money. Cassidy was always multitasking, always looking for a shortcut, always in a hurry, and always, as Nicole had said, late.

"Maybe I should start telling her we're meeting half an hour earlier than we really are," Allison suggested. "That way she might actually be on time for a change."

Nicole shook her head. "The leopard doesn't change its spots. Cassidy is Cassidy, and that means she's always late. It means a lot of other things too, but right now it means we shouldn't wait for her before we place our order."

The three of them had been friends for six years, though they had been acquainted with each other for much longer. Sixteen years earlier they had graduated from Catlin Gabel, one of Portland's elite private schools. In high school they had barely known each other. Cassidy had been a cheerleader. Nicole had stood out by virtue of being one of the fewer than a half-dozen African American students. And Allison had captained the debate team.

At their ten-year high school reunion, the three women realized they now had something more than an alma mater in common: crime. Cassidy covered it for Channel Four, Nicole investigated it for the FBI, and Allison prosecuted it for the federal government. At the time, Nicole had been working out of the Denver FBI field office, but a few months later she was transferred back to Portland and started working cases with Allison.

Soon after, the three women met for dinner, and a friendship began over a shared dessert called Triple Threat Chocolate Cake. In its honor, they had half jokingly christened themselves the Triple Threat Club. Now whenever they got together they always ordered the most decadent dessert on the menu—but just one serving, and three forks.

Allison wasn't sure, since most of Puerto Marquez's menu was in Spanish with no translation, but she thought the only dessert available here might be a flan.

Their waiter came up, and the two women ordered. After he left, Nicole said, "Some idiot almost ran me over today."

"What?" Allison straightened up.

"Yeah, I was out for a run at lunch, and some guy in an old beater came out of nowhere." Raising her hands, Nicole made a shoving motion. "I managed to push myself off his hood. Somehow I stayed on my feet and made it to the other side of the car. I'm lucky he didn't break my legs, or worse. As it is, I know I'm going to be really stiff tomorrow."

Despite the air-conditioning, Allison shivered. "Did you get his license plate number?"

Nicole grimaced. "The car was filthy. There was mud all over the plate."

Allison replayed her friend's words. "Wait—did you say you were running? It must have been ninety degrees by lunchtime."

The city was on the second day of over one-hundred-degree temperatures, and coping poorly. While most businesses had air-conditioning, a lot of older homes didn't. It was also an oddly muggy heat for Portland, which usually didn't have much humidity. The weathermen had promised a thunderstorm the night before, but it never came.

Nicole shrugged. "Lunch is the only free time I have. It's not that bad if you wear sunglasses and drink lots of water."

"I'll take your word for it. I can't stand this heat much longer." Allison made a face. "When I got in my car to come here it was like getting into a blazing oven. A blazing oven that was on fire. Inside a volcano."

Nicole smiled. "Don't you guys have air-conditioning at home?"

"Only in our bedroom. It's either turn the air-conditioning on and listen to it rattle, or turn it off and baste in your own sweat."

Nicole took another sip of her margarita. "Which one are you—the one who prefers silence or the one who would rather be cool?"

"We alternate." Allison pushed a piece of hair out of her eyes. She


Excerpted from EYES OF JUSTICE by LIS WIEHL APRIL HENRY Copyright © 2012 by Lis Wiehl and April Henry. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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