The Killer in the Woods by Rick Van Etten

The Killer in the Woods

The Killer in the Woods by Rick Van Etten (A Robert Vance Novel Book 1)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.8 MB

Robert Vance is a magazine editor who works from home and lives in a house full of books. His neighbors think of him as a quiet, unassuming man. His passion for pheasant hunting with Preacher, his German wirehaired pointer, is typical of sportsmen living in the Midwest. But what isn’t so typical—and what his neighbors don’t know—is that occasionally Robert hunts something besides pheasants.
Robert hates bullies and injustice. When someone has a problem with either, he or she can hire Robert to make the situation right.
But Robert isn’t—in his own mind—just a contract killer. He lives by a set of rules that dictate who, where, and why he can kill. So when a well-meaning citizen discovers Robert’s latest target and winds up being charged with the killing, Robert must take steps to ensure the man’s freedom.

He had loaded the gun as soon as he had settled himself on the tree stand’s seat, 12 feet above the ground, and buckled his safety harness. At that time the buck was still a half mile away feeding in a field of standing corn and hadn’t heard the distinctive sound of the pump gun being racked to bring the first shell into its chamber.

Now, with legal shooting time only two minutes away and pre-dawn light just beginning to penetrate the dark woods, the man quietly sucked in a breath as he studied the buck below him. The wind was in his favor and the buck hadn’t scented him. The man tried to count the buck’s antler tines but there was not yet enough light for him to do so. Still, the man could tell from the size of the buck’s rack showing whitely in the faint light, and his enormous body, that this was definitely a trophy animal.

He could scarcely believe his good fortune. Though he was an accomplished hunter who had taken many fine bucks on this same land over the years, he had missed hunting the previous morning as he had spent it driving downstate from his home in Evanston, one of Chicago’s wealthier suburbs. A business commitment had kept him late the prior evening, and while he had hated missing the opening day of deer season, the meeting had taken precedence.

He had arrived in Macomb, county seat of McDonough County and home of Western Illinois University, shortly before noon yesterday and had eaten lunch at a restaurant near the university campus. He had graduated from WIU twenty-four years earlier so the trip was something of a homecoming for him; he hunted deer every year in neighboring Schuyler County on land owned by a farmer whose acquaintance he had first made when he was still an undergraduate.

After lunch he had driven around the town square and then out East Jackson to the Farm King store, where he stopped and bought two boxes of Winchester Supreme Elite XP3 sabot shotgun slugs. He’d laughed to himself as he made the purchase; the slugs came five to a box and he had brought four full boxes with him from home. That made a total of thirty slugs and he knew he would be unlikely to fire more than two or three at most. He was a superb marksman and usually killed his deer with one shot, only rarely needing a follow-up.

Still, he had felt good about transacting a little business in the community. Just boosting the local economy, he’d told himself.

When he left Farm King he returned to his vehicle, crossed East Jackson to the Hampton Inn and checked in. He used one of the wheeled carts from the lobby to move his luggage and gear to his room on the second floor. His shotgun, broken down and cased, he left in the trunk space of his SUV, a midnight blue Cadillac Escalade equipped with an extra alarm and security system.

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