The Other Child by Keith Houghton

 The Other Child

The Other Child by Keith Houghton (Maggie Novak Thriller Book 3)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 3.2 MB

I write about contrasts and opposites, like good versus evil and right versus wrong. My good guys are half bad and my bad guys are half good, pushed and pulled both ways along story lines that are split equally between denying truths and embracing lies. In the real world of my imagination, not everything is black and white. Sometimes it’s blood red.

A child’s life hangs in the balance . . .
When a prominent judge is found stabbed to death on Valentine’s weekend in what appears to be a crime of passion, homicide detective Maggie Novak knows she has her work cut out for her.
Bobby Russell is everybody’s favorite judge, and at first Maggie is hard-pressed to find anyone with anything bad to say about him, let alone someone harboring a hatred so deep that they will kill him over it. But as she peels back the layers of his life, and the eyewitness to his murder goes missing, Maggie is faced with the very real prospect that beneath the judge’s perfect surface deadly undercurrents lurk.
To uncover the truth, Maggie must first expose the judge’s darkest secret, one that reaches deep inside his private life and into the death of his daughter.
The race is on to find the star witness and to catch the killer. But will the scales of justice tip in Maggie’s favor?

The first rule of entering an unfamiliar property was to establish your bearings and acquire a good orientation in case a speedy retreat became necessary.

She waited for her eyes to adjust, knowing that switching on lights would broadcast her presence.

A large foyer resolved out of the gloom: an ornate staircase sweeping up to the second floor and tall archways leading to sitting rooms on either side.

She listened for sounds of occupation, for the telltale creaks and sighs that spoke of someone else in the house.

Other than the distant chatter of crickets, all was quiet.

The second rule of entering an unfamiliar property was to be systematic.

She tiptoed into the sitting room on her left, holding the pistol in front of her as she weaved through gaps between furniture. She could smell lavender and candlewax and the dusty smell of heavy fabrics. She glimpsed her own shadowy figure as she passed a long ornate mirror. Another archway led into a kitchen at the back of the house. White cabinets and black countertops. The soles of her running shoes squeaking as she rounded a large island. She caught her reflection in French doors and moved on into a dining room. A big chandelier dangling over an oval table. The scent of wood polish and paint. She came to another living room filled with soft furnishings and bookcases, finally coming full circle, back into the foyer and to the foot of the stairs.

She inhaled deeply and headed up the staircase, plush carpeting cushioning her footfalls.

The stairs led to a mezzanine landing that overlooked the foyer. Left-and-right corridors leading away on either side.

She listened again for sounds of occupancy, her nerves on edge.

It wasn’t like her to be tense; she’d snuck into countless other homes before tonight, not knowing what to expect or who might be waiting in the darkness. People didn’t take kindly to strangers poking around in their homes in the dead of night. Things could turn nasty in a heartbeat. This wasn’t her first rodeo. So why was she on edge?

Maybe it was the vodka; she hadn’t drunk enough.

She made a decision and went right. She checked the first room, then the next, finally coming to the master suite at the back of the house.

She paused in the open doorway, the hairs on the nape of her neck standing at attention.

There was someone here.

She could sense it.

She thought about switching on the light but knew it could put her at a disadvantage. She swept the gun first one way and then the other, trying to discern details in the dark.

A tombstone slab of bed lay in the middle of the room, the comforter gathered up in a heap, as though covering someone.

Sweat dampened her palms and she tightened her grip on the pistol.

With her heart thumping against her ribs, she stepped into the room.

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