Located just north of Boston, Nashua, New Hampshire, is known as a quiet city—until a series of violent murders makes front page news just before Memorial Day weekend. The brutal killings leave citizens terrified, and the NH State Police respond by bringing in an experienced investigator.

Detective Sergeant John Osborne is an abrasive but competent state trooper from the major crimes unit. Osborne immediately butts heads with Detective David ...

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Located just north of Boston, Nashua, New Hampshire, is known as a quiet city—until a series of violent murders makes front page news just before Memorial Day weekend. The brutal killings leave citizens terrified, and the NH State Police respond by bringing in an experienced investigator.

Detective Sergeant John Osborne is an abrasive but competent state trooper from the major crimes unit. Osborne immediately butts heads with Detective David Boyle, his liaison to the Nashua police department.

Both men begin investigating the grisly murders, which seemingly happened with absolutely no apparent connection except for the killer placing a white pillowcase over the victim’s head and tying the end of it off in a knot around the neck.

As if the killer didn’t want to see the victims face, the skull is pummeled rendering them unrecognizable. Nothing is as it seems as both investigators clash every step of the way. Their own personal dislike and inter-departmental hostility for each other threatens to jeopardize the investigation. Ironically, both of them might actually be closer to the truth than they realize upon learning of an eerily similar crime committed in Maryland the year before. In fact, the killer has already decided that one of them must become the next victim.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781458211101
  • Publisher: Abbott Press
  • Publication date: 9/19/2013
  • Pages: 398
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt



Abbott Press

Copyright © 2013 Christopher Murphy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4582-1111-8


The sound of struck skull is indescribable. That first melon thud when the pipe connects releases such a thrill, adrenaline fueled joy, that each whack that follows comes faster and harder only to try to recapture this feeling. James Ronan's skull being the object of obliteration maybe made that feeling even better, knowing that greasy mullet would soon resemble road kill, a public service had probably been done this evening. The publicity of this victim would bring the memory of James Ronan to many minds, but very few would miss him in a sorrowful sense. No, more would ponder "wow, I knew that scumbag would get it sooner or later, but I'da guessed he'd be floating up from the Merrimack with a needle in his ahm."

James Ronan. Who was he? James or Jimmy to the people who knew him was a local guy who just went from job to job. He was called Jimmy by those who liked him, and by those who didn't. The "didn't like him" crowd definitely out numbered the group that did like him. It didn't really matter though. Jimmy was a decent guy until he drank and that was most of the time. He alienated enough people and it seemed that he was the type of guy who would never change and would never leave the city where he was from. He was born in Nashua, went to school in Nashua, worked in Nashua, and he would die in Nashua. Such was the cycle of his life.

Jimmy was one of those guys who couldn't escape the 80's. His black mullet and thin mustache time capsuled him in the glory days of high school. He stood a lanky six feet tall, had a crater face that could grease a frying pan and was not a very physically imposing person. He blended in with all the other big hair band fags in his Def Lepard and Van Halen t-shirts. At 37 he was still living with his parents in the room above the garage on Concord Street. The once grand Victorian neighborhood housed many Jimmy's and their aging disappointed parents.

The fleeting idea of potential for their son had vanished years ago when the drinking and series of petty arrests began, and they had since resolved into quiet understanding that their only son had followed the trench of white trash. Occasionally Jimmy would stumble upon some tramp stoned or drunk enough to follow him to his room above the garage, but beyond that fumbling sticky 90 second encounter, he had never actually had a relationship to call his own. This probably was a good thing since Jimmy fit the Lifetime TV stereotype to be a misunderstood-slut-beater or crazy-chain smoking-stalker or whatever the white trash womanizing trend was that week.

Within the old Wellston Tannery Mill where Jimmy worked was a horrible clean up project. The contaminated riverbanks and grounds around the building were full of dyes, chemicals, various pollutants, and the asbestos that had been shedding away from the old building. The hazardous waste removal bill was going to be high. Once the poisons were identified within and around the building they would be eventually removed but a lot of work internally needed to be done first since the mill closed in the early 1970's and had been host to, homeless vagrants, gangs and crack heads since. Who better to hire for this shit job than guys like Jimmy Ronan, guys who just didn't care. He would be paid cash and throw around the title of "Independent Contractor" even to the "yah rights!" laughing in his face at the bars. Doing these odd jobs nobody in their right mind would do was the only way Jimmy would make any money. He made enough for the bars, for his dime bags, for the 4 cinder blocks he dreamed to hold up some wicked awesome '89 Firebird he would one day restore, but not enough to find his own place to live.

As Jimmy worked alone inside the old brick mill he was reliving a few nights ago, his most recent arrest and giggling to himself until he remembered the mess he became after falling on his face. With the heat rising up his dirt caked sweaty neck, he decided it was his right to file a complaint against the police. Dollar signs flashed before him and he was nodding and muttering to himself over all the intelligent arguments he would give the judge, swaying everyone to sympathize for his victimization. It didn't matter he was beyond wasted, being the asshole townie tossing chairs in the bar and then puking in the decorative palm by the door.

Dusk began to creep up on the old Tannery as Jimmy worked and strategized how to blow up his police brutality claim. Lost in thought, he hadn't noticed his co-workers shuffling out. Only a few lights operated inside and it was getting hard to see. Some ambient light began to show through the dirty windows from the streetlights outside and it was suddenly oddly quiet, so quiet he could tip his head by the cracked window and hear the rush of the Nashua River as it fed into the Merrimack under the hum of commuter traffic. These old mill buildings were constructed of stone and brick walls and wooden 2x4 boards. Old piping was everywhere along the walls and ceilings. Along the east wall, which ran along the river, was where Jimmy was working. Old electrical junction boxes with obsolete wiring and vacuum tubes were being pulled out to make space for all the new electrical conduits scheduled to be installed during the fall.

Walking swift and sure a solitary figure silently approached the room where Jimmy was in. Dressed in dark clothing he was slightly camouflaged in the darkening mill. He looked around ensuring that nobody else was working inside, nobody but Jimmy. Through the dirty windows the parking lot even showed the only thing left now was Jimmy's blue 10 speed chained to the light post. Before crossing the threshold to the room where Jimmy worked, he quickly pulled the latex gloves over his hands. The powder inside of them slightly puffed out from around his wrists after they snapped on. They fit snuggly and would serve the intended purpose. What was left of the dim light was fading fast and Jimmy was gathering his thermos and acid washed jean jacket. The killer had been watching for some time, studying the day-to-day work habits of Jimmy and his co-workers. He spent many hours observing the route to the mill Jimmy took and where inside he worked. During working hours the killer would don the coveralls of the day laborers to better observe, be close to his target, giving him a rush of adrenaline. He had studied Jimmy long enough and tonight was the opportunity he had been waiting for.

It had all been nearly too easy, the killer entered the mill through a side entrance by cutting the lock. This would keep him from being noticed by any vehicles passing by the front of the mill or by anyone who might be loitering outside in the main parking lot. With all the noise Jimmy was making it was easy to know exactly where he was. Up on the third floor was a perfect place to do it. It was isolated, deserted, and Friday night. With luck Jimmy wouldn't be found for a couple of days. It was perfect.

As Jimmy was kicking his mid-morning break, lunch break & afternoon break beer cans into a pile he realized someone was standing nearby. The person stayed in the shadows just outside of the doorway enough for Jimmy to see the outline of him and not much else. There were lights were behind the person and they were obscuring his face.

"Shit man!" said Jimmy quickly, "You startled me." With a bit of a smirk on his face he threw his jean jacket over one shoulder and wiped a bit of sweat from his forehead with his right arm sleeve, thermos in hand.

"What's going on?" said Jimmy as he tried to see who was hovering there, silent. Jimmy was squinting and bent forward just a bit to try to see, but the person wouldn't respond to him.

"Hey.... Hello!" Jimmy shouted, this time Annoyed at the reluctance of the person just standing there, "Yo, dude what's the matter?"

Still, the person stood there almost defiantly, not responding and not moving.

"All-right-what-the-fuck?" demanded Jimmy who was clearly put off by this person and started to step forward, "What the fuck do you want?" Jimmy started to step forward to get a look at who ever this was mocking him.

Jimmy was about ten feet away when the person standing there lunged forward like a cat. Before he could do anything the killer's gloved right hand was around his throat squeezing it with almost inhuman strength. The thermos dropped and rolled across the floor, the jacket fell in a pile as Jimmy reached up with both hands to remove it, but before he could pry the fingers loose the right boot of the stranger kicked him in the lower abdomen with such force Jimmy crumpled to the floor into a fetal position. There was no scream, no sound, the wind was knocked right out of him. His face was beat red and he gasped for air. His eyes bulged out of his head. This agony kept him down and all his energy went into rolling onto his right side. Jimmy tried to look up, to see the face of the ass-clown he was going to beat later on when suddenly something struck the left side of his head.

There was the sound. The killer relished it, held his breath, held the moment. Jimmy was totally disoriented by the pain. White light flashed behind his eyes. His hands fell to the floor and he closed his eyes just a bit, but another blow to the same spot closed them for good. Jimmy was down. The killer let the ecstasy run through his limbs and then retrieved a white pillowcase from his left pocket. The pillowcase was carefully placed over Jimmy's head and the bottom of it was twisted and then knotted around his neck. Jimmy lay there motionless, feeling as though an eternity was passing. The killer watched, and after about a minute or two Jimmy started to groan slightly. The killer grasped his metal pipe in his right hand while he stood over Jimmy. The pipe was a metal Re-bar (reinforced- bar) approximately 24 inches long. The pillowcase started to slightly move as Jimmy tried to lift his head.

"Goodbye Jimmy," he said, "You piece of shit." With that the stranger struck him again in the head. Again and again he followed that up with several more brutal strikes. The sickening sound of a skull cracking filtered inside the old office within the Wellston Mill. The pillowcase was soaked in dark blood and brain matter. The killer continued over and over until he felt he was striking soft melon with a spoon. Silence again filled the mill, only the sounds of the killers steady breathing hung in the stuffy air and outside life went on as normal.

No movement or sound came from Jimmy. The killer didn't really know how many times he struck with the pipe. It didn't matter though. He did what he came here to do. He looked at the blood dripping down the pipe and at the pillowcase that crudely kept the splatter to a minimum. He calmly walked to the cracked window, cranked it open a few inches more and threw the pipe into the river. It hit with a splash and it was gone, sunk in about seven feet of filthy water. Such a small action, so small it would never be noticed or accounted for. Commuter traffic moved along on the road, but the flow wasn't very heavy at this point. Most of the weekend travelers were already home, some getting ready to go out, to live. The river flowed slowly, there was a breeze in the air and he didn't care if the pipe was found or not. If it ever was, it wouldn't matter. It wouldn't matter at all.

The killer stepped around the pool of blood and bag of mush that used to be Jimmy and strode out of the building as confidently as he had entered, turning off the lights as he went. The latex gloves were still on and he would be careful not to remove them until he was long gone. Soon the rats that populated this old mill would make their way into here and feast on Jimmy. It would cause an even greater mess and evidence collection would become difficult. The rats would eat him. As he stepped into the night air he looked around again to be sure no one saw him. The killer left the building and walked north away from the mill.

Monday May 24

Detective David Boyle had worked at Nashua PD for about 13 years. Working in patrol the entire time he finally came to realize that if he was to go anywhere he needed to branch out and gain some new experience. Boyle liked being on patrol because he enjoyed the freedom of moving around the city. He tended to work a particular sector which included the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) building along Route 3 near exit 2. Even though over the years he worked on a rotating shift which covered days and nights he got to know many of the residents and business owners who populated that area. He also got to know the feel of the area which in asking a cop they might not be fully able to explain it, but getting the feel for an area allows the police to effectively patrol and identify problems. The neighborhood in turn enjoyed his easygoing personality. He was very amicable and would always stop to talk to people. It was Community Policing at its best. Since Boyle now had to change out of his uniform and into a suit he hated it. He absolutely hated coming into an office full of cases dealing with trouble causing little bastards, taking lobby complaints about damage to personal property, thefts, and all that other petty bullshit. On top of that since he was the new guy in the office he caught most of the shitty little jobs. At least he didn't have the nightmare of being the Juvenile detective. Dealing with the frustrations of not being able to do much to these little hoodlums was enough to make him crazy. Dealing with the parents could be worse. They would actually defend their brat's behavior or they would blame the cops for picking on little Johnny or little Suzie. It was unbelievable. It was refreshing to find that occasional parent who would actually hold their kid or kids responsible. Those were rare occurrences, but when it happened it was great. His buddy Kevin Kimble was one of the Juvy Detectives, as they were called. Both officers were secure in their role and neither of them wanted to leave, so Boyle was grateful. He felt like he dodged a bullet. Boyle would do his time in Detectives and get back to patrol hopefully as a Sergeant. At least that was the plan.

Det. Boyle was an early riser who was ready to run or work out first thing. He liked to stay fit. Especially during the summer months in Nashua he got into numerous foot chases. Normally it was kids vandalizing something and those little buggers were fast, but he needed to let them know that they wouldn't out run him. Well some did and some didn't. Maintaining a trim physic helped him forget the thinness on top. Balding in his early to mid twenties was a sore subject, but now in his mid thirties it wasn't as bad. He got used to it and didn't try to fight it. At least he wasn't fat. He couldn't stand seeing some of the porkers in uniform. They couldn't chase down an old lady with a cane. It was always "The guy got around the corner and I lost him or he was just too fast." No it was really you're just fat and couldn't do your job. So just shut your month and accept it.

When he wasn't at work he was at home in Brookline, which bordered on Nashua. He lived in a nice new colonial style white house with black shutters and a red front door inside of a new development. He lived there with his wife Melanie of six years and their two kids Michael and Adam, who were ages five and two. They dated for almost four years to the day before getting married. It was a perfect match for both of them. The sun was starting to rise at 6:05 AM when he returned from his run. Finally stopping in front of his house after running four miles he was sweating profusely, but he felt good. He would walk for a few minutes to cool down before going back into his house. Once inside he would take a shower and get changed over. He always made sure the coffee was brewing while he ran and he could smell the aroma upon entering the house through the kitchen door located in the back. He had to go through the three-season porch built into the back of the house. The screen door creaked as he pushed it open. He had caught his breath outside and was still a bit sweaty when he entered. He kicked off his shoes inside the porch and they landed next to the pile of other shoes located near the door that entered into the kitchen. He sat down at the kitchen table and picked up his cat Pancake that was always hovering nearby when he came back in the mornings. Sometimes the cat was locked in the room of one of his kids. Before going on his runs he would usually let him out because he made a serious racket meowing to get out and would wake the kids up.

Excerpted from NASHUA by CHRISTOPHER MURPHY. Copyright © 2013 Christopher Murphy. Excerpted by permission of Abbott Press.
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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