Empty Places

Empty Places

by Martin Roy Hill


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The year is 1987. America is clawing its way out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Washington pursues illegal and unpopular wars in Central America. In the wealthy desert playground of Palm Springs, storefronts that once catered to the rich sit empty and shuttered. Crowds of bored rich teenagers in designer clothing entertain themselves with expensive cars and cheap drugs, while those less fortunate haunt darkened street corners, offering themselves for sale.

This is the country to which war correspondent Peter Brandt returns. Physically and mentally scarred by the horrors he's covered, Peter comes home to bury his ex-wife, TV reporter Robin Anderson, only to discover she had been brutally murdered. With the local police unwilling to investigate her death, Peter sets out with retired cop Matt Banyon to expose Robin's killer. They uncover a shadowy world of anti-communists, drug smugglers, and corrupt politicians, and lay bare old wounds-including Peter's deep guilt over his failed marriage. In a final, cliff-hanging struggle, Peter faces his own fears-and death in a dark and empty place.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781484058381
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 10/12/2013
Pages: 242
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.55(d)

About the Author

Martin Roy Hill is the author of the military mystery thriller, "The Killing Depths," and the award-winning short story collection, "DUTY: Suspense and Mystery Stories from the Cold War and Beyond."

Martin spent more than 20 years as a staff reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines, before becoming a military analyst specializing in battlefield medical operations for the Navy. His freelance credits include Reader's Digest, LIFE, Newsweek, Omni, American History, Coast Guard Magazine, Retired Officer Magazine, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion Section, and many more.

Much of Martin's freelance work involves historical topics, especially military history. He was a lead contributor to the 1995 WWII anthology, "From Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki: America at War," published by the Retired Officer Association (now called the Military Officer Association. He was also a contributor to the 2013 Civil War anthology, "Gettysburg: Three Days that Saved the United States."

Martin's short stories have appeared in such publications as Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Plan B Mystery Anthology, San Diego Magazine, and San Diego Writer's Monthly. His first book, "DUTY," was named the Best Short Story Anthology/Collection during the 2013 San Diego Book Awards (SDBA). "The Killing Depths" was also named a finalist for the SDBA Sisters In Crime Mystery Award.

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Empty Places 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite California TV Reporter Robin Anderson thinks she’s meeting a source that will take her career to the next level but he is there for far more nefarious reasons. When Peter Brandt, Robin’s ex-husband returns to California to bury her, he learns from his buddy Matt, a police officer turned private investigator that she was murdered, probably a planned hit. Whether it is his instincts as a war correspondent or looking at Robin’s solitary existence and seeing it mirror his own, Peter decides to do a little digging. In Empty Places we get to see the good side of reporting, albeit reporting in 1987, of hard-working reporters going after stories that matter. Martin Roy Hill did a fantastic job of keeping the tension slowly simmering throughout most of the story, then hitting the reader with a heavy dose of reflection at the perfect moment. Empty Places reads like a fast paced action-thriller. From the beginning as Robin hears Peter’s advice about meeting sources in dark empty places echoing in her head you know that something truly interesting is about to happen. As Peter seeks to unravel the mystery of his ex’s murder, we are taken on a wild ride filled with shady, rich people with ulterior motives. Martin Roy Hill created a gem of a character in Peter Brandt. His world weariness is so visceral you can feel it emanating from the pages, and his straightforward attitude made him easy to like. That same attitude also made it easy for those in his path to dislike him and seek to quiet him. The method of blending fiction with real life events was not only an incredible idea, but it added layers of potential suspects so when the who and the way are finally revealed it feels like a shocker!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was provided with a copy of Empty Places by the author through the GoodReads “Reviews Initiative” group in exchange for my fair and honest review. Robin Anderson, a journalist and aspiring news anchor, had been warned never to meet a contact in an out of the way place. But, defying better judgment, Robin agrees to a rendezvous in the desert dunes, a desolate location lit only by a three-quarter blue-white moon. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that, shortly thereafter, her body is found. We then learn that Robin left behind more than just her ex-husband, Peter Brandt, who, stationed as a journalist south of the border, is notified by wire to go to Robin’s funeral. Robin also left behind a tape—a tape that becomes sought after by both the murderers and by Peter as he tries to unravel Robin’s last days. Martin Hill has, in Empty Places, created a brisk paced mystery that will keep readers engaged from beginning to end. My favorite of the characters is Peter’s friend, Matt Banyon, who helps Peter to try to unravel events. I found him to be the most “fleshed out” of the characters and I “liked” him. Peter also is well drawn; he becomes more real as his guilt for having failed in his relationship with Robin grows (though his moodiness was a bit annoying at times—such as when he and Laurie stop at Zelda’s for a drink). My least favorite character and relationship—by far—was Laurie Hall and her relationship with Peter. I found Laurie to be sophomoric—which I believe Hill intended though, unfortunately, this left the story without a single strong, intelligent female figure. However, I found Peter to be sophomoric in his belief that Laurie was genuinely interested in him. For this reader, Laurie was too much, too fast, too—false. I would have expected Peter to have seen through her. Indeed, the “missing point” in my rating of this story is due to this “relationship” between Peter and Laurie.   Empty Places is filled with unexpected events and discoveries. Who is the mastermind behind Robin’s murder? What does it have to do with events of years past? Why are the police so contrary to Peter and Matt’s investigation? What role does the wealthy Carlos Tinnerman play? These and other questions will keep readers turning the pages of Empty Places until they reach the satisfying conclusion to this mystery.