Read an Excerpt
Cold Case Justice
By Janice Cantore, Erin E. Smith
Tyndale House PublishersCopyright © 2016 Janice Cantore
All rights reserved.
THREE WEEKS EARLIER
"PLEASE STATE YOUR name for the court."
Abby had to admit to almost feeling sorry for the woman sitting before the judge today. Less than a year ago, Kelsey Cox had retired as a deputy chief after a thirty-year, trailblazing law enforcement career. And here she was in a prison jumpsuit, no makeup, bad hairstyle, and looking so painfully thin, Abby winced. She also sported what looked like a fresh black eye. Someone in jail had most likely recognized her as an ex-cop. Abby wondered if that was why Kelsey insisted on the fast track for her confession. If so, she understandably wanted to get out of the city jail and into a state facility, where there were fewer chances of being recognized. She was set to confess to murdering and then concealing the body of Buck Morgan, Abby's father, more than twenty-seven years ago.
Yeah, Abby thought, I almost feel sorry.
Cox cleared her throat. "Kelsey June Cox." She stared at the microphone she spoke into, seemingly oblivious to anyone else in the judge's private chamber. This had been one of Kelsey's demands — along with the plea to speed up the process and have her hearing as soon as possible — that she be able to give her statement in private, with only a few people present and no questions except from the judge. All in exchange for a mere fifteen-year sentence.
Sure, I'm getting a confession, Abby thought. But why do I feel as though in our effort to close this, we've dealt away justice — real justice?
She looked over at Walter Gunther, Long Beach's police beat reporter. She'd fought to have him here in a simple demonstration of petulance. It was one battle won in a lost war. As glad as she was that he was in her corner, she wished it were Luke Murphy by her side, giving her support.
"Please proceed with your statement, Ms. Cox, about what occurred on the night of June 16, 1988."
After a sip of water, Cox began. "On that night, I left work late, after 10 p.m., and returned to my home on Granada, in Long Beach, to hear two men arguing." Her voice was thin and reedy, not the same one Abby remembered barking orders when Kelsey Cox was a supervisor in patrol.
"I shared the home with Gavin Kent. He was a fellow officer and my fiancé. I recognized him as being part of the argument, but it was only when I stepped out onto the patio that I saw who the other person was. It was Buck Morgan." She paused to take a drink of water. Her gaze flickered briefly to Abby, then back down to the mic.
"Was Buck Morgan an acquaintance?" the judge asked.
"Buck Morgan was known to me as one of the owners of a restaurant that had burned down, the Triple Seven. The fire had occurred two nights previous, and it was assumed by everyone that Morgan had died in it."
"Did someone die in the fire?"
"We found three bodies. At the time we thought them to be Buck Morgan, his wife, Patricia, and Luke Goddard, their cook."
The judge scribbled some notes.
"When you stepped out onto the patio, did the two men see you?"
"No, uh ... I mean, I think Gavin saw me, but I was behind Buck."
"What was the argument about?"
"I only caught bits of it — it really didn't make sense, and like I said, I thought Buck was dead, and that concerned me. What if he had faked his death? It occurred to me that he might be a killer; he might have killed his wife, the cook, and set the fire ..."
Abby was almost up out of her seat. Beside her, DA Drew gripped her hand, and Walter shook his head. Face hot, heart pumping, Abby slowly settled back into her chair. For the first time Cox steadily looked her way, expression blank.
Abby fumed. Gavin Kent was the one who burned down her father's restaurant, killed her mother. Of course her father had a reason to be arguing with him. What was it Kelsey was going to confess to? A bad hair day and taking it out on Abby's dad?
The judge cast a frown Abby's direction and then nodded for Cox to continue.
"I didn't really know what to think, or what was happening, but I could see that Buck was trying to get Gavin to go somewhere with him. Fearing for Gavin, I moved in behind Morgan."
"Did you have a weapon?"
"I'd left my duty weapon in the house and I didn't want to waste time by going back to get it. I grabbed a shovel — we were having work done in our backyard and there was one handy. Morgan was getting more animated. Gavin was vulnerable — he'd hurt himself and was not 100 percent."
"How had he hurt himself?"
"Helping with the yard remodel."
Abby could not hold back a snort. Gavin Kent had been wounded in a gunfight, shot by her father, after Buck had wit- nessed Gavin kill Abby's mother. Her dad then killed the drug dealer Gavin had brought with him. After that he ran out of ammo and had to flee the restaurant for his life.
Another angry glance from the judge, and she forced herself to nod an apology.
"What happened then?"
"I just reacted. I saw Morgan move toward Gavin, and I swung the shovel and hit him in the head as hard as I could."
* * *
Abby left the courthouse angry and frustrated. She remembered when she was a kid in foster care, in the weeks right after her parents' murders, filled with anger. She used to pound big rocks into smaller rocks and pretend she was pounding the people who had murdered them. It had been a long time since that anger — rage, really — had surged so completely through her. A rage that made her want to pound something — or someone. What Kelsey called a confession was a farce.
A social worker back then had given Abby a Bible verse from the book of Deuteronomy. It took years before six-year-old Abby completely understood the verse, but when she did, it became a lifeline and something that eased her anger. "He gives justice to the fatherless and widows ..."
"Hey, Abby, hold up."
She stopped and turned. She'd tried to ignore Gunther but wasn't angry enough to make the old guy chase after her. Besides, he wasn't the one who infuriated her.
"Trying to give me a heart attack?" He caught up to her, breathing hard, bending over, and putting his hands on his thighs to catch his breath. "You stormed out of there and made the judge mad," he said after he straightened up. "Hope you don't have to try any cases in front of him right away."
"I don't know what I expected in there. I didn't want a trial any more than the DA did — too risky with the shaky evidence we have — but somehow what Kelsey had to say just didn't sit right with me. She wanted my dad to be the bad guy, threatening Gavin Kent. And Kent is the man who killed my mother!"
Gunther raised both hands. "Calm down. I'm on your side here."
Abby took a deep breath, glancing around the street in front of the courthouse, at the people coming and going. This was the place where people came for justice, she thought bitterly. On one level she knew she had no right to be so angry. She had more answers now about the murders of her parents than she'd had a year ago.
After Gavin Kent killed her mother, her father fled, thinking that by doing so he'd saved Abby, that Kent would leave her alone. But Kent still burned the restaurant down to destroy evidence, nearly killing Abby and killing an innocent cook, Luke Murphy's uncle. Her father had come out of hiding to try to take Kent to the police, but Cox killed Buck Morgan before that could happen. Then she buried him under tons of concrete in her backyard, where he'd lain hidden for all these years.
Now, at least, there would be one person in jail, sentenced for part of the crime. Abby had hoped Kelsey would finally point the finger at the person responsible for ordering the massacre at the Triple Seven restaurant: California's First Lady, Alyssa Rollins. But after hearing Cox's self-serving confession, it stung like a thousand bee stings to Abby's heart that Alyssa effortlessly slipped through every crack and avoided judgment. She was the real killer, and she would stay free.
She looked at Gunther. "I know you are. This is just aggravating."
"Well, step into my office." He pointed to a street hot dog vendor. "Let me buy you lunch and we'll talk about it."
In spite of everything Abby laughed. "Yeah, that used to be Asa's favorite place to take me for lunch too." Her old partner Asa Foster had been the one to introduce her to the crusty reporter Gunther. "But he did it because he was cheap."
"I resemble that remark," Gunther said with mock insult.
"Thanks for the offer, but I've got some training to get back to, for the cold case squad. Rain check?"
"Sure." He stepped close. "I'd still like to pick your brain about the Triple Seven someday. It's not settled in my mind, and I don't think it's settled in yours either."
Abby cocked her head and shrugged, then continued on to the parking structure.
She'd thought all of this had been settled in her heart and mind a long time ago, but it wasn't, she realized. I doubt that it will ever be settled. I'm that orphan talked about in the Bible. God is supposed to give me justice. Will he ever deliver?
Excerpted from Catching Heat by Janice Cantore, Erin E. Smith. Copyright © 2016 Janice Cantore. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The last book in the Cold Case Justice series includes heart-stopping action, tangled webs of deceit, overwhelming intimidation, and boatloads of excitement with some surprises added in for good measure. The only reason I put the book down before finishing it was because I had to eat, sleep, and take care of daily responsibilities. Otherwise I would have read straight through. At least I did not have to worry about forgetting what I had already read when I had to lay it down for a period of time because it was simply too good to forget. The author has done an outstanding job of continuing to build on the tension, suspense, and anticipation from the beginning to the end of the series. This book picks up where the last one left off. I have enjoyed the interaction between Detective Abby Hart, PI Luke Murphy, and retired police officer Woody Woods. They make a super team of investigators. I appreciate that the author is not bashful about including characters who are willing to share their faith without being pushy about it. Those around them know where they stand and respect them for their beliefs. The romance is low-key, which works well for me. I admit that I like some romance in a Christian novel. With this author, I can count on it being clean and respectable. I feel comfortable recommending this series to anyone who appreciates Christian suspense.
Abby Hart has a keen sense of justice as she works cold cases. However, the one that plagues her most is personal. Can she and PI Luke Murphy prove the governor's wife was behind the fire that killed Abby's parents and the restaurant cook twenty-seven years ago? Janice Cantore shows her knowledge of humanity in Catching Heat. Cantore's various characters, from police to homeless people in a camp to political leaders to "grunts," are multi-dimensional. Showing various facets of her character's personalities allows the characters to control the story, creating twists and turns with their unpredictable actions. As the reader, I feared along with Luke for Abby's ultimate sanity and wondered how wise it was for her to pursue so personal a case. One thing I was thankful for, was enough back story that I wasn't lost as I had read book one, but not book two. Book three picked up well, and was tightly written. Very engrossing! Recommended for those who like police procedurals and romantic suspense. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Bookfun. I have voluntarily left my own, unbiased review.
Catching Heat by Janice Cantore is the dramatic conclusion to the Cold Case Justice series—Drawing Fire and Burning Proof. Janice Cantore’s experience as a police detective adds realism and a unique perspective to the plots. Detective Abby Hart and P.I. Luke Murphy team up on a newly formed task force to solve the cold case of a murdered co-ed. With the help of Robert Woods, “Woody”, a retired police officer, they travel to San Luis Obispo to investigate. Their proximity to the hometown of California’s First Lady is a bonus opportunity to find proof/information on the person that they suspect is involved in the Triple Seven fire 27 years ago—the fire that caused her parents’ and Luke’s uncle’s deaths. Intriguing characters, exciting twists and turns with non-stop action deliver a satisfying ending to a riveting series. Suspense coupled with romance guarantee a worthwhile read. I highly recommend this novel that I received through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
Catching Heat was hot, hot, hot. It took me a short time to catch on to the plot but once I did, I couldn't put it down. The characters were very interesting, the plot was loaded and I was intrigued throughout. Detective Abby Hart with years of police experience, was put on a task force to solve a cold case murder. On the force with her is PI Luke Murphy. They have been friends for a while and both have an unsolved cold case murder in common. Abby's parents and Luke's uncle were all killed and she is obsessed with the Triple Seven fire. The cold case they are assigned to involves the murder of a high school student. As they delve into this case they are also asked to help look for a fugitive that has been hiding for years after murdering his two sons and attempting to murder his wife. Working on these two cases, with the Triple Seven in the backs of their minds, brings some interesting witnesses along with suspense and danger. The Governor and First Lady are deep into Abby's suspicions as being involved in the Triple Seven murders and she's determined to prove it somehow. With all three of these cases to look into, how will they all be solved, or will they? I get great enjoyment in reading these books by Janice Cantore. Having worked as a police officer for over twenty two years, she can write with knowledge that only her background experience brings. I received this book through Bookfun and was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise.
Being a retired police officer, the author writes authentic, suspenseful stories that her readers cannot put down. This story is no different. Detective Abby Hart, after 27 years of searching for the proof that the California governor’s wife was the mastermind in the death of her parents, gets a new lead while working on another case. She and PI Luke Murphy were assigned to investigate the cold case of a murdered college student which took them near the town where that particular first lady grew up. This allowed them to do some digging on the side regarding the case that was close to their hearts. The author suggests many questions as the reader continues through the book. How and where will a breakthrough take place? Who is the real killer and can it be proven. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery.
This is book three in the Cold Case Justice series. This is a great series and even though you can read them as possible stand alone books, you will miss a lot and may be a little lost in this novel, if it is your first. Plus now that it is all wrapped up what a great series to grab all three and read. Start with Drawing Fire, Burning Proof then Catching Heat. Janice Cantore does a great job at developing her characters and her descriptions. Her chapters are written from different characters throughout the novel and it takes a sentence or two to figure out who some chapters are about. There is a lot going on in this novel and I would not call it an 'easy' read, you do need to be paying attention. Detective Abby Hart is a police detective on a special cold case squad. When a cold case takes her close to where she may be able to find information on her parents murder. Will it consume her, lead her into more trouble or finally be the answer to so many questions. This novel is full of suspense, mystery, romance and much more. I enjoy reading books by Cantore and look forward to many more.
Janice Cantore’s novel, “Catching Heat” is an edge of your seat thriller! Janice Cantore is one of my favorite inspirational suspense authors, and she didn’t fail me this time. “Catching Heat” is the third in the “Cold Case Justice” series. This follows the same main characters, but you don’t have to read Books 1 and 2 to understand what is going on. This story follows the story of Detective Abby Hart. Abby is still trying to find out who really killed her parents. She thinks it’s the governor’s wife, but she is still trying to prove that. While she is working on this with her PI friend, Luke Murphy, she gets a new cold case. This cold case will help them in their investigation of the governor’s wife as the location was where she grew up. As Abby and Luke are working on these cases, Abby comes into some dangerous situations. This story has a few twists and a little romance along the way. If you like inspirational suspense novels, I highly recommend this book. "I was given the book by Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and here is my honest review."
Another exciting cold case for Abby Hart and her partner, Luke Murphy but will they live through this one! Abby learns "vengeance is mine" says the Lord! Janice has written another spell-binding suspense novel! You will wonder if Abby will taking too big a chance to see justice. I highly recommend Catching Heat to anyone who likes police suspense. I received my copy of Catching Heat from Book Fun (www.bookfun.org). This is my honest review of the book.
I really enjoyed this third book in the Cold Case Justice series. Abby and Luke work so well together and will hopefully end up together in the long run. Will Abby find proof that the Governer's wife was responsible for the death of her parents. This story moves along well and has a few ups and downs. I received this book from Tyndale Blog Network for a fair and honest opinion.
I absolutely love reading books authored by Ms. Cantore. She is a brilliant author who keeps me on the edge of my seat with all of her books. Catching Heat was no exception. Detective Abby Hart continues to be on the hunt for the person who was responsible for her parents’ murderers. Her parents were killed 27 years ago and this case is still open. Luke Murphy, Private Investigator, also is very involved in finding the killer. Together can Abby and Luke finally bring the killer to justice? What about their budding romance and feelings for each other? Will the person responsible for the deaths continue to try to eliminate Abby and Luke so they cannot be brought to justice? The person who is responsible for the Triple Seven Fire will be brought to justice, but at what price?? “Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Her twenty-two years of experience on the force lend authenticity to her stories.” Taken from the back cover of Catching Heat. Other wonderful books by Ms. Cantore are: Pacific Coast Justice Series: Accused (February, 2012), Abducted (August, 2012), Avenged (March, 2013) Critical Pursuit (September, 2013) Visible Threat (April, 2014) The Cold Case Justice Series: Drawing Fire (June, 2015), Burning Proof (March, 2016) and Catching Heat (September, 2016). Thank you for the opportunity to read this book. I received a copy of this book from bookfun.org in exchange for an honest review.
This is a story that was looking for to read and read it again and don't want to put it's down because all of the story is full of twist and keeping make the reader guessing what will be happening next and wondering all the time. The story of 27 years after the deaths to of Detective Abby Hart's parents, she's desperate to find the proof that will put the mastermild the governor's wife behind bars. This series inside this book is complete all the police-crime drama infused and basis of the faith that we all have in true life too. This book is very challenges to read even more when the Author are shape in every details of the action scenes and the complex the characters with a clearly a competent detective, an intelligent woman and compassionate partner plus the romantic. Janice Cantore bring all the experiences that she had from the Long Beach Police Department and transfer to this book and make it beautifully of the wonderful story. This is a one of the other kind of enjoyable of exciting to read and learn and to getting to know more about the investigation inside this book it much more to expend. I highly recommend this book for everyone to find out more excitement.
Catching Heat is book three in the Cold Case Justice series. I had read book one, but somehow missed reading book two. So, as I began reading Catching Heat I actually had a bit of catching up to do. I definitely recommend reading the entire series because the cold case that Abby and Luke are working on runs throughout all of the stories. But, since I had read book one, I was able to figure out and enjoy what was going on even though I missed a book. I think the author does such a great job of showing the reader how things are viewed from the police perspective. I really enjoyed that the story felt authentic. Another thing I really liked about Catching Heat was the great description of the various California towns that Luke and Abby were working in. Our family just visited some of these places this summer and as I read this book and the authors description of the scenery and weather, I felt like I was there again. It was fun! Reading about officers working on cold cases was very interesting and I appreciated seeing the challenges that the various cases they worked presented. I definitely enjoyed both books that I read from this series. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Detective Abby Hart is trying to solve the murder of her parents and trying her best to find proof that will put away Alyssa Rollins, the woman that she believes to be behind their murders, which are called the Triple Seven murders. As Abby Hart continues to work her parent’s case, another case comes up. A cold case involving a teenaged girl in the hometown of Alyssa Rollins. She teams up with PI Luke Murphy and they set about find out what happened to this college student. Did Alyssa know her? Were they friends? While investigating the college student, Abby decides to do a little digging int the Triple Seven fire. As Abby digs, she uncovers secrets that have been hidden for years. Abby stumbles into an explosive situation and her partner fears that she might become obsessive and that might prove deadly. Join Abby Hart and PI Luke Murphy as they attempt to solve these cases. Abby Hart is a very interesting character. I have not read the other two books in this series, but I intend to. This book is action-packed and fast paced. Pick up a copy today. Good Reading!!! I received a complimentary copy from Tyndale House Publishers for this review.