Someone was in the market for murder. After 10 years of drifting in and out of Emerson Ward's life, it looked as though Jessica Pearson was there to stay. But only a few hours after her arrival, a bullet crashing through a window kills her, and Emerson's dreams as well. An accident, the police say, but Emerson knows better. Someone wanted Jessica dead; now he wants to find out who, and why. The place to start? Jessica's suitcase stuffed with cash and stock-transaction receipts.
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Everyone at the small upstate New York college where Emerson Ward is teaching for a semester is shocked when the body of a student is found hanging from a tree in the nearby woods. Just days before he died, Bob Marter tried to tell Emerson about something evil going on at the school, but backed down before he went any further. Now Emerson is convinced that this was no suicide...someone wanted Bob dead.
When your life is at an all-time low, how can it get any worse? Emerson Ward finds out one steamy August morning when the phone starts ringing too early to be anything but bad news. Before the day is over he learns that a good friend is missing, another is hospitalized after a brutal beating, his phone is tapped, and the woman he loves is leaving him. In an attempt to lend a hand to all who need it, one thing leads to another, and before Emerson knows it, he’s up to his neck in dirty dealings and danger to match.
Chicago freelance writer and reluctant sleuth Emerson Ward is shocked when his friend photographer Brady "Puppy" Barnes is shot and killed. Puppy had asked Emerson to investigate some missing gems stolen from his studio and now Emerson suspects a dirty insider is responsible for both the theft and the murder. Going undercover, Emerson soon discovers a hornet's nest of suspects and more than a few motives for murder.
How do you live without someone who’s been part of your life for 20 years? Jack Holm begins to find out when his wife doesn’t return to their suburban Seattle home after shopping one day. Her absence is not unusual, given her flight-attendant’s job, and it’s a respite from recent marital discord, so Jack feels relief, not worry. But when a day goes by with no word, then another, Jack, his teenage daughter and 10-year-old son do worry.