Inside Out Michael Taylor Book 1
by Tiffany Christina Lewis Genre: Crime Fiction
Detective Michael Taylor, of the Oakland PD, is the lead on a horrific serial killer case. For six weeks, he has been cleaning up mounds of the killer’s mess. Bodies of men have been found chopped up and left, skin down, for display. Michael, mysterious to many in his department, is desperate to solve this case.
Michael’s only form of stress relief, Candy, a stripper employed at a San Francisco club, begins to show genuine interest in him and they form a relationship a midst all the chaos that is Michael’s life. Between interviews and police reports, Michael makes time for her.
Candy, more commonly known as Vanessa, gets tangled in Michael's case as things unfold. A killer’s desire for retribution leaves her a victim of crime. Vanessa has to use her wit and charm to keep a killer at bay as she leaves bread crumbs for Michael to follow. The lovers must survive a serial killers plot for vengeance while practicing trust and loyalty throughout.
The man stood up from his squatting position on the floor and wiped his head with his forearm. Blood smeared across grotesquely. The big man, breathing heavily, held his hands on his hips effeminately. He smiled as he looked down at his work.
“All done,” he said, dusting his hands together.The motion was futile. He could not remove the blood from his hands just by brushing them against each other. He was a creature of habit, so the hand motion served as more of a finishing statement. He didn’t intend to literally clean his hands. He had done this motion so many times, after his work, that it was just… a thing. Besides, his right hand was cut, so without some first aid, the bleeding would continue.
“Gotta go,Bob,” he said. The man began to gather his tools. A small saw, hammer, and chef knife were first into the bag. Then he untied Bob’s wrists’, wound up the bloody rope, and put it into the bag. Next was the vial of tranquilizer and needle. He grabbed a plastic bag filled with his trophy and tucked it into the side pocket of his bag. Lastly, the man grabbed his extra-large flashlight and turned it off. He slipped it into the bag and moved to the doorway. He looked back at the dead, bloody pile of human flesh, muscle, and bones. The man smiled and tipped an imaginary hat.
“Thanks for a good time.” He left the room, closing the door behind him.
Michael Taylor stood outside the abandoned house.This Friday afternoon the Oakland, California sun was being lazy, letting the clouds win their daily battle, overcasting the sky. It was an even 66 degrees that day in May, which lent well to standing outside for hours. The police officers swarmed like bees on a tulip – in and out of the house, up and down the driveway. Michael just did what he knew best – observe. While everyone else frantically tried to gather things, Michael learned through observation. There was not much evidence to gather outside, but Michael could see the bloody footprints. He wondered who would be brazen enough to leave the house and get into their car without cleaning themselves up first. The killer, as usual, had gone unnoticed. Only the stench of death drew attention. The neighbors called it in that morning and this was body number six.
Michael had been thinking about those footprints for six weeks. Every time he arrived at the scene of another murder, he saw those footprints. He sighed and went under the police tape, grabbing the first officer in his path.
“This is what we’re used to, yes?” he asked.
“So get everyone out of here. I need CSI and you, that’s it.” Michael ordered as he walked away and entered the house.
Michael was mysterious to everyone at the precinct. He was stoic at best and preferred to work alone, so no one knew much about him. He was the best detective on the force, proving himself with a long list of quickly and accurately solved cases and everyone wanted to be around him, but he was very guarded. As the old adage goes, women wanted to be with him and men wanted to be him. Michael was tall and handsome, well built, smart, and determined. His caramel brown skin was flawless. He had copper eyes shaped like half-moons and thick lips. He wore his facial hair in a goatee and mustache and kept his hair cut low and conservative with occasional waves.
Michael preferred to wear a button up dress shirt with a tie and slacks every day. He only wore a jacket on extremely cold occasions and his slacks were always black. Unlike his counterparts who stuck with the usual white shirt and dark tie, Michael was more daring in his shirt and tie selection. His shirts ran the range from blue to black, shades of red, and even purple. Those who thought he was a straight shooter were often thrown for a loop when he pulled out his pink shirts. Michael was feeling green that day, with a black tie, his favorite black slacks, and matching shoes.
The officer cleared the scene and entered the house after making a call for CSI. He caught up with Michael. “DetectiveTaylor, are you sure you want me? I’ve never helped before. Are you sure you don’t want to ask Officer Jamison?”
“Did the other officers try to make you think they were special? I pick the first officer I see. That’s you. Now get ready to write. Is CSI on the way?”
“Excellent. What’s your name?”
Michael led Officer Watterson through the house.Using his nose as a guide, he found the body in the back. The rotting flesh waiting for them was no surprise to Michael. He quickly entered the room and approached the body. Officer Watterson peeked into the door, and when he saw the mound of flesh he stopped short and gagged.
“Here’s a mask.” Michael pulled the mouth and nose masks from his pants pocket. He handed one to Officer Watterson and then put one on himself. The smell was overwhelming without something covering their noses. They could still smell the odor of death, but it was bearable with the mask.
Officer Watterson entered and began taking notes.
The dead body was in many pieces and stacked up like a mountain of red and white slaughter house trash. Bones and human muscle were the only things recognizable. Skin had been turned inside out so without moving some body parts, you couldn’t tell the ethnicity of the victim. Officer Watterson spotted the skull, or was it a patella? He decided not to write anything specific on that note. He just described what he knew he was looking at.
“Everything is the same here. Pile of flesh, footprints leading out of the room, nothing else.” Michael stopped short.“Wait, I’ve got hair. That’s new.” Michael slipped on some gloves.
Officer Watterson gasped. “Something new?”
“Yeah, we’ve never seen any left-over hair.Scalping is usually the first thing done. He takes the teeth too. I wonder what it means that he left this.” Michael squatted down to the floor and picked up the hair. He looked at it, closely. “This could be the killers, but I doubt it.There would have had to be a fight, but he always uses tranquilizers.” Michael sighed and put the hair down. “At least we can quickly ID this victim, compared to the others.”
The CSI team entered the room.
“Same old, same old, huh?” one of the masked men said.
“Yeah. Except there is some left-over hair. Tag and bag, you know the drill. Watterson?” Michael stood up, “Is the coroner coming?”
“Okay, let’s search for evidence, even though I don’t think we’ll find anything. Watterson, look around upstairs and gather anything you find valuable.”
Michael walked all four walls of the room. There was nothing but blood splatter on the floor and up the walls. Michael stopped and looked at each drop of blood briefly. When he got near the door his game of duck duck goose gave up a runner. Every drop of blood was dark brown and dry, dark brown and dry, dark brown and dry, until… red. There was a drop of blood near the door that was not as oxidized as the other drops.
“Wh-who’s in here?” Michael shouted over his shoulder.
“Jones, Crantz, and Mercado,” one of the men said.
“Mercado, I will bet you a hundred dollars that this is my killers’ blood.”
Juan Mercado almost broke into a sprint. He bumped into Michael and looked over his shoulder.
“Oh shit.” Juan ran back to his case and grabbed a handful of swabs and collection tubes. He quickly returned to the door and took two swabs of the blood. When he stood Michael grabbed him by the shoulder.
“Take one more. Get it all.”
Juan did as he was told and when he came up for air he started to laugh. “Oh my God. This is it!”
“Don’t get too excited. Just get these items to the lab, now.”
Michael continued to check the bottom floor of the house for evidence. He met Officer Watterson at the foot of the stairs and let him know about the blood.
“That’s great! Hopefully we can finally nail this bastard.”
“Don’t get excited, we’ll have to get a DNA match in order for it to mean anything. Just get a report written and get it on my desk. I’ll let you know how it goes with the blood.” Michael headed towards the front door.
“Okay, but come on Detective Taylor, this is good news.” Officer Watterson said to Michael’s back.
Michael stopped and looked at the officer. He smiled. “Yeah, good news.”
Michael entered his Crown Victoria and drove back to the station. He wanted to finish his report early. He had someplace to be that night. He zoomed through traffic and parked in his favorite spot on the street. His unmarked vehicle was black and he had no problem entering the precinct from the front door.
Michael made his way to his desk, nodding his greeting to each person who acknowledged him. When he sat down he was immediately interrupted.
“New evidence!!” a woman bellowed.
“Yes.” Michael said without looking up. “Exciting.”
“Doesn’t sound like you think so.” The heavy set woman stood next to Michaels’ chair and put her hands on her hips.
“I just don’t think the killer is that careless. After six weeks of chasing, why would he just leave his blood?” Michael wondered, looking up at the detective.
“Well honey, I hope he was careless. You need it.” She smiled and turned to leave. “The lieutenant is ordering dinner. You want something?”
“No, I’m leaving as soon as I’m done with this report.”
“Yes, it’s Friday. Michael never sticks around onFriday’s,” she said, teasing. She bounced to the next occupied cubicle and promptly started up a new conversation with her fellow detective.
Michael smiled and jumped in to his report. He had to be done by 7:30 p.m. or he might miss the show.
Michael Taylor Book 2
Oakland Police Detective Michael Taylor is faced with another gruesome case: a dead man with no eyes and lips sewn shut.
After catching a grisly Bay Area serial killer, Michael is hit on all sides by change. He starts his investigation with a rookie detective for a partner, his love life is in turmoil, and the pressure at the PD is mounting as the newly minted partners receive a second case that is being pressed as a priority. Michael, the consummate loner, has to manage all of his new relationships, keep his wits and juggle the demands of the PD as he tries to get justice for his victim.
Just as the tag team start to hit a stride, the murder attempts start to pile up and Michael is in the crosshairs. The duo must work fast to defend their victim and save Michael’s life.
Jane and Mark were in love.
As they strolled up the Cleveland Cascade, the sun was setting behind them. The orange light shimmered on Lake Merritt and the windy, winter breeze whipped at the trees. Jane and Mark held hands tight as they climbed the 139-step ornamental stairway.
Mark broke free and tickled Jane’s side. She buckled with laughter and yelled for him to stop. He smiled and hugged her tight. They touched their soft lips together. The couple took a moment to look out at the lake and both let out a great sigh. The view was breathtaking. Oakland California was a city of daily, revolving weather changes, but that night was especially cold.
The couple stood for some time, watching the sky darken as the sun continued to set. Mark let go of Jane and gently tugged her further up the stairs. They came to a spot where the stairs parted and made way for an area full of foliage. They sat on the base of the set of stairs on the right and embraced again. Mark rubbed Jane’s arm to warm her, as her thin windbreaker flapped a bit against the wind. They whispered quiet words of love to one another, sitting in peace, just the two of them.
Until they heard a thud.
Jane jumped in shock and Mark tightened his grip on her to show her he was there. Next, they heard feet dashing towards them. They sprung up from their seat as a figure speed pass on the other side of the foliage. Mark wanted to yell out, but instead just watched the character take the stairs like an Olympic sprinter until he landed on Lakeshore Avenue and made a sharp right towards Grand Lake.
They didn’t know how to react at first, but then in a whisper, Jane spoke. “What was that?”
“I don’t know.” Mark cleared the lump from his throat. “Did he fall?”
“Wh-what do you mean?” Jane whimpered.
“You heard the thump before he came bolting down? Maybe he fell.”
“I hope he’s okay,” Jane said.
Quickly, the couple turned towards a new sound. A moan.
“What was that?” Mark asked. He moved towards the sound.
“No!” Jane shrieked, gripping Mark’s forearm.
“What if someone is hurt?” He spoke to her humanity. He looked at her with concern in his piercing, green eyes, and she relented. She released him and watched, gripped with fear, as he crept up the stairs.
Mark made it to the next landing where he saw a dark pile of shadows. He got closer and jumped when a moan rumbled from the pile. He pulled his phone, activated the screen, and pulled up his flashlight app. Mark had long hated his phone and never before had he wished for a Maglite so much. The shallow beam of light whisked over the pile and Mark realized he was right. Someone was hurt. He rushed over and assessed the situation.
“Are you okay? Hello,” Mark shouted as he touched and shook the side facing body.
“Mark?” Jane called from the bottom of the stairs. She was beginning to worry. Every second felt like an hour.
“Hey! Are you…” Mark called until he finally got the body turned towards him.
His shrill scream filled the air as he saw the face of the victim. Jane ran up the stairs faster than she had ever moved. She stopped short, a few feet from the scene. Mark stared in horror at a face with blood caked, empty and blackened eye sockets, and a mouth grotesquely sewn shut.
Tiffany has been writing since her adolescence.
Her passion for writing took a backseat to a career in Education as well as her personal education. Tiffany was honored to have work published for the first time in May 2011. Since then her work has been featured in many books and online publications. From fiction to non-fiction, murder to relationships, Tiffany's range as a writer is wide and deep. Crazy about killing, Tiffany's favorite genre to write is Crime Fiction.
Tiffany writes for readers and wants their full input as she creates her work. "It is my job to satisfy readers. Everything they say about my work is invaluable. I use it to make myself and my writing better."
Tiffany's hobbies include reading, Just Dance, and watching hours of ID Channel shows.
Inspiration behind Inside Out
Tiffany Christina Lewis: The inspiration for Inside Out really came “from the sky”. I had been writing short stories for a long time and all of a sudden I had a huge idea for novel length story. I made it a novella out of fear that I couldn’t write a full novel. Yes, authors have irrational fears too. The story of Michael Taylor, his lover and a ruthless killer was a literally an epiphany. Compared to the sequel, which released four years later, Inside Out was barely outlined or thought about in no great detail at all. I was able to write the book within 3 months because the ideas we just washing over my mind relentlessly. I had no control over it.
It all worked out! My editor was amazing, I still work with her to this day, and the book has been really well received despite the lack of serious planning that was involved with the completion of the project.
Inspiration behind Stitches
Tiffany Christina Lewis: Stitches has literally been four books in four years. I did three rewrites on this book. The inspiration for this story came “from the sky”, kind of like Inside Out. Or maybe, the inspiration came from my characters! I had been forcing a story that I hated. Nurturing negative relationships from the first book, skipping far into the future, and Michael just wasn’t interested in that. Ask any author: characters lead your books where they want them to go. I couldn’t lie to myself. Michael hated what I was doing to his life. I finally let the ideas I had go away, and once I did that, I got my story. I was again, able to write this book pretty quickly and after that, the ideas flowed like water. The dam broke. Books three and four in the series are already written.
What to expect from Tiffany Christina Lewis:
Tiffany Christina Lewis: After Stitches, I have book three and four written in the Michael Taylor series. They need to be edited and prepared for release. I would like them released this year but I will be realistic and make it a requirement to get book three released before the year is up, at the least. We will be opening an independent press to release the works and getting ready to start accepting queries from other authors.
I am also starting a new character! Alyssa Fairfield is a spunky, smart and determined private investigator with a troubled past. I love her! Her adventures will be a bit more romantic but there is still a good crime element. I’m also doing some blogging and potentially crafting a Wattpad YA Sci-Fi story with apocalyptic themes.
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