Scream in Silence (Marti MacAlister Series #8)

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Overview

Beloved for both her complex mysteries and her fascinating main character, African-American female cop Marti MacAlister, Eleanor Taylor Bland is "one of today's most talented mystery writers" (Booklist). Now Marti is newly married, juggling domestic bliss and a blended family, when an arsonist/bomber shatters the peace of their sleepy Chicago suburb. Suddenly Marti and her partner Matthew "Vik" Jessenovik are working overtime to investigate a series of crimes that appear victimless—until a woman's charred body is...

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Overview

Beloved for both her complex mysteries and her fascinating main character, African-American female cop Marti MacAlister, Eleanor Taylor Bland is "one of today's most talented mystery writers" (Booklist). Now Marti is newly married, juggling domestic bliss and a blended family, when an arsonist/bomber shatters the peace of their sleepy Chicago suburb. Suddenly Marti and her partner Matthew "Vik" Jessenovik are working overtime to investigate a series of crimes that appear victimless—until a woman's charred body is discovered in the smoking ruins of a vacant house. There's no time to lose as they race to find a sociopath who has them in his sights—as he graduates from backlot blazes to wholesale homicide, in search of the ultimate thrill....

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Absorbing...hair-raising...A generously layered novel." —Publishers Weekly

"A highly suspenseful read that keeps you turning the pages. Ms. Bland tells her tale with great warmth and the reader not only gets caught up in the mystery but the personal lives of Marti and Vik, making them as real as your neighbors." —Romantic Times

Library Journal
Mystery's first African American female homicide detective joins partner Matthew Jessenovik in tracking down a deadly arsonist and bomb-maker in suburban Chicago. Now juggling a new husband in addition to her kids, Marti MacAlister feels the pressure. A fine procedural. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312974947
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/2001
  • Series: Marti MacAlister Series , #8
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 4.26 (w) x 6.82 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One


Det. Marti MacAlister parked as close as she could to thearea where the bombing had occurred. It was a dark night inan isolated part of town. Dense stands of burr oak andbushes sheltered this part of the road where it ran along thenorthern perimeter of the Lincoln Prairie Municipal Airport.Branches overhung the street lamps, and few and far between,the houses across the street were further isolated bytheir distance from the road. Just ahead, red and white lightsflashed, blinked, and whirled. No fatalities, the dispatcherhad told her, just a mailbox blown all to hell. Just a mailbox—butdamned close—not just to some small jets, butalso to their fuel source.

    Marti rolled down the window as her partner, Matthew"Vik" Jessenovik, approached the car. Vik was four inchestaller than her five-ten. He had lost weight during his wife'srecent illness, and at 145, was twenty pounds lighter thanshe was. Almost fifty, he was nine years older than her.

    "Vik, what have you got on?" He was wearing a lightweightovercoat over what looked like pajamas.

    Wiry salt-and-pepper eyebrows almost met across thebridge of his nose. He had a tendency to lean over and lookdown at people. Marti called it his vulture look; his craggyface and his beak nose, broken long ago, brought those birdsto mind.

    "Marti, some idiot set off a bomb thirty feet from the airport.For some reason, that sounded important. What tookyou so long to get here?"

    She ignored that. After being a widow for more than fouryears she hadremarried four months ago and Vik was stilladjusting. Lately his remarks seemed to imply that shemight not be giving the job enough priority. Maybe he wasright this time. She and Ben had been right in the middle ofsomething.

    "What have we got?" she asked.

    "There wasn't much damage. I don't know if that's becauseit was a small bomb or because the mailboxes are outhere by the road and away from the houses. I guess we'llfind out more about that when the bomb squad and the ATFare through. If they can tell us. The property owner is out oftown. Only one neighbor heard anything." He pointed towardthe only house with lights on. "There are half a dozenhouses along this part of the road, with about a half a mile ofundeveloped land behind them. I haven't talked with thepeople who reported it yet—I was waiting for you—but Iwoke up everyone else. So far, nobody up late; nobody outlate. From the looks of it, they're not your average nosytypes. As far as I can tell, everyone has gone back to bed.You'd think they would at least have some outdoor lights on.Maybe they don't want the pilots to mistake the street for arunway. Oh, apparently there is one barking dog—belongsto that house back there." He pointed to the house to the leftof the blown-up mailbox.

    "Why isn't it barking now?"

    "The neighbors wondered about that too, but they weremore pleased than concerned. Barking is definitely not encouraged,although I don't know why else anyone wouldwant a dog."

    Marti stifled a yawn. She glanced at the clock on thedashboard: 11:57. "What time did the call come in?"

    "A little after eleven."

    "Maybe we should check on the dog first." She got herflashlight out of the trunk.

    They found a small mixed breed under some bushesabout fifty feet from the house. The dog was lying in athicket, like it had been tossed there.

    "It looks like its neck was broken," Vik said.

    Marti shivered and looked away. People who harmed animalsdisturbed her.

    "Think we should tell them about their dog?" Vik asked."The place is dark. It looks like they've gone back to sleep.Maybe the people who reported this can tell them in themorning. After all, they're neighbors."

    "Whatever. It can wait." She didn't feel much like breakingthe news either. Pets were like children to a lot of people.


Yellow tape marked off the area where the explosion had occurred.The mailbox had been attached to a post that wassunk into the ground near a long gravel path leading to thehouse. All that remained was one jagged shaft of woodpointing upward. There were indentations on the hard-packeddirt where the force of the explosion slammed piecesof metal and wood into the ground, but nearby bushes andtrees were undamaged. Marti had worked a car-bombingcase when she was on the force in Chicago. She was gladthere were no bodies this time. This one hadn't done muchmore damage than a large firecracker.

    "Hell of a place for a bomb," Vik said, gesturing in the directionof the airport. "Too many corporate jets hangaredthere. Too many politicians flying in and out. It could besome fool playing a joke, or an irate neighbor, or somebodywho's ticked off with one of those corporations."

    "Or one of those politicians," Marti said. It was warm forthe end of April. Spring had come with quiet rain and a slowgreening. The mailbox in front of the house next door hadpetunias planted at its base. A light wind ruffled her hair. Sheunbuttoned her jacket. Too bad Vik couldn't take his coatoff. Pajamas. This had to be his first experience with a detonatedbomb; they did respond to calls reporting threats occasionallyand she could remember him talking about one thathadn't gone off.

    "Just what we need," Vik said. He kicked at the dirt. "Innovation,creativity, stupidity. If this was some damned foolprank ..."

    "And if it wasn't?"

    "Come on, MacAlister."

    "Nobody's home, Vik. Why do you blow up a mailboxwhen nobody's home?"

    "So they won't get hurt?"

    "Then what's the point?"

    "How the hell do I know? You think this was political?"

    "We'll have a better idea of that when we see the day'sflight list."

    "Dammit, MacAlister, this is Lincoln Prairie, Illinois, notBelfast or Nairobi. We don't have any terrorists here. Noskinheads, no neo-Nazis, no paramilitia."

    "No?" she said. "Like hell."

    This bomb and a fire earlier this evening, both without injuriesor fatalities, along with a drive-by Saturday night withno injuries, made her uneasy. There was such a thing as toomuch luck. It tended to come in bunches—like trouble.


There was a light on in the den when Vik pulled into thedriveway. Mildred was waiting up for him. She must havehad a good day. More and more now the days were good.MS wasn't fatal, at least that's what the doctor said. But itleeched away so much of her life. He could remember howshe had loved to ice skate, and dance, and take long hikes inthe woods. Now she couldn't walk more than ten minuteswithout her legs becoming weak. And, over time, therewould be more changes, more restrictions. Now it was a justa walker, perhaps soon it would only be a cane, but one dayit would be a wheelchair.

    He let himself into their home and walked toward thelight. His den was now their bedroom. As he walked, heheard the thump of Mildred's walker, and before he reachedthe doorway she was coming into the hall to greet him.

    "Matthew!"

    In his mind's eye, she was always the girl he'd married.When she smiled, the years fell away and she seemed asyoung as a bride.

    "Moja serca," he said in Polish, going to her. "Mojaserca." My heart.


* * *


He listened to the police band on his CB until daybreak.What a stroke of luck, finding that old book in the secondhandstore. He had been looking for something to add to hisWorld War I and II collection. All he could see was the spinewhen he pulled it from the shelf, Bombs Away. He almostput it back when he saw the condition it was in, but the diagramscaught his attention. Step-by-step instructions formaking all kinds of bombs. He had to wear latex gloveswhen he handled it because the cover was so soiled it musthave been handled by many people. The pages were dog-eared,and wrinkled and stained where someone had spilledcoffee. It wasn't until he called the publisher to order anotherand was told it was no longer legal to own that he realizedhow valuable it was. That was two summers ago.Now, after assembling everything he needed, he had builtand detonated his first bomb.


Excerpted from SCREAM IN SILENCE by ELEANOR TAYLOR BLAND. Copyright © 2000 by Eleanor Taylor Bland. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2001

    Good Read

    I have read all of Mrs. Bland's book and this one is a good as the rest.

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