Published: Presale, August 1 / Release Date: September 12
Publisher: Tirgearr Pubishing Company
Something evil has taken root in Ashland, Oregon. And with it, an uneasy feeling sweeps down on Detective Winston Radhauser. If someone doesn’t intervene, that evil will continue to multiply until the unthinkable happens.
While on vacation with his wife and their newborn son, Detective Radhauser receives a call from Captain Murphy--a high school kid has been branded with a homophobic slur and is hospitalized in Ashland, a small town known for, and proud of, its diversity. And this is only the beginning. White supremacy, homophobia and racism are one thing. But murder is something else.
Radhauser will do whatever it takes to find the perpetrators and restore his town’s sense of safety. With such hostile opposition, can he succeed and will justice be done?
After dropping his family off at the front door, Detective Radhauser parked Gracie’s car in the garage, then jogged up the driveway’s incline to the barn to check on Hunter. As soon as he walked through the double doors, he sensed something was wrong. It was way too quiet. The hairs on his arms stood upright and his cop instinct kicked into gear.
Radhauser stopped in the doorway and surveyed the barn. The center aisle had been raked clean of footprints. But Hunter’s plaid jacket still hung on its peg outside the tack room, the gloves he’d used to stack hay bales jutting from its pocket. Radhauser called out his name.
He called again.
The silence was a ticking heartbeat.
He walked slowly down the center aisle of the barn, stopping to check each stall as he went.
When he reached the last one on the right-hand side, the stall Gracie used for short-term clients’ horses, Radhauser found Hunter face down in a bloody patch of sawdust. The back of his head was split open and bits of brain matter splattered on the wooden stall walls. Dried blood crusted in his black curls. Radhauser’s vision blurred.
Hands shaking, he grabbed onto the stall gate to steady himself. His breath came in uneven gasps. Radhauser closed his eyes for a moment, unable to take in such a horrible vision. The humming inside his head sounded like flies buzzing—white noise on steroids, as if his brain couldn’t tune out what didn’t matter. Everything mattered.
He opened his eyes and swallowed back tears. The sounds that came out of him were animal like and as old as the world itself. There was no language big enough to embrace this much loss.
A moment later, the contents of his stomach rose. He turned toward the arena and puked in the doorway. When the retching was over, he wiped his mouth with his handkerchief, covered his face with his hands and sobbed.
About the Author
Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She has been writing poems and short stories since she could hold a pencil and was so in love with writing that she became a creative writing major in college.
Prior to an early retirement which enabled her to write full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. It was there she met her husband, Andreas, one of the deans in the University of Arizona's Medical School. About five years after their marriage, they left Tucson to pursue their dreams in 1991--purchasing a 35-acres horse ranch in the Williams Valley in Oregon. They spent a decade there. Andy rode, trained and bred Arabian horses and coached a high school equestrian team, while Susan got serious about her writing career.
Through the writing process, Susan has learned that she must be obsessed with the reinvention of self, of finding a way back to something lost, and the process of forgiveness and redemption. These are the recurrent themes in her work.
After spending 3 years in Nashville, Susan and Andy now share a quiet life in Grants Pass, Oregon, with her growing list of fictional characters, and more books than one person could count. When she isn't writing, Susan enjoys making quilts and stained-glass windows. She says it is a lot like writing--telling stories with fabric and glass.