The Gold in Their Eyes Marco Flynn Mysteries Book 3 by Christopher Clouser Genre: Mystery
Marco Flynn has returned to his home town for a fresh start. Now he’s a full-time parent to a pre-teen son, Jacob, and has asked Tara to marry him. He tries to start over by getting a normal nine-to-five gig.
Marco accepts a job working in the administration for the newly-elected mayor of Indianapolis. Before the ink dries on the contract, a new drug fills the streets . Along with that, a series of murders sweep through the city with the ringleader making a personal threat toward Marco’s family. Marco takes it as a personal challenge to solve the crime even if it compromises his new job, or his life
Marco attempts to protect his family no matter the costs. Even if that means harm will come to him, either physical or emotional. He will do anything to prevent a repeat of the tragedies he has seen over the last few months repeat itself. His sacrifice is worthwhile if it means his family, and the city, are safe.
After riding the elevator up to my floor, I walked past the closed offices while the hint of air freshener and bad sushi filled the air. When I reached my door, an awful odor hit me with a left jab to the olfactory senses. I first thought of spoiled food, but this scent made three-day-old tuna comparable to a field of wildflowers and questioned myself on what I left in the office during my last visit a few weeks prior. The unlocked door waved another red flag when I grabbed the knob. All the warning signs screamed danger, and I was a sitting duck without my handgun.
“I’m coming in! Don’t shoot!” Like an idiot, I rushed in without calling security. I played the odds, assuming they would have shot me when I walked up to the door if they were going to kill me.
I barged through and found a naked body on the floor. No one else greeted me and I called 9-1-1 to request IMPD before checking out the body. From this distance, the rigid and unclean corpse showed no blood stains or wounds. Unsure if the decay or defecation smelled worse, I opened a window and wondered how a body ended up in my old office.
No scuff marks from the body being dragged appeared when I examined the hallway. Unless a weightlifter delivered the body, one person did not carry this horse of a man. The guy on my office floor weighed roughly 350 pounds with just socks and a trench coat resembling torn cellophane around a twinkie. Logically, the body arrived after 5 pm, or the culprit risked being seen by some of the other office building tenants. I just missed them.
My brain formed a theory of how the body got into my office; prompting me to visit the freight elevator and hit the call button. The elevator car arrived and opened to reveal several marks and smears on the floor. The material left behind was for the crime lab to determine, but my brain speculated on its disgusting origin. The faint sound of my office phone ringing from this distance pierced the silence, and I ran back to catch it on the fifth ring.
A pause rose from the other end. Then my mystery caller opened his yap. “I assume you got my congratulatory gift for the new opportunity.” The disguised voice hinted at a Latino accent behind an audible technical deception.
I put the call on speaker and hit the record feature on my cell. “And who are you? I should thank you for the bag of shit you left on my doorstep.”
The person laughed with a snort at the end. “You don’t mince words. I’ll make this quick to prevent tracking this call. This city offers much fuel for my fire, and that gentleman is a sample of the coming flame, Mr. Flynn. Get ready.”
The line went dead. I dialed *69, and it gave me nothing. After I hung up, I returned to examine the body. As I leaned over the corpse, a familiar voice called from the hallway: IMPD’s Lieutenant Gus Stein, my best friend and future best man at my wedding.
“Jesus, Marco. You haven’t even got your first paycheck and you’re already turnin’ over dead bodies.”
Considering we had been friends since our college baseball days, he received some leeway. I replied, “Did the security guy check you in?”
“Get a copy of his log before you leave. The register might have the fake name of whoever brought this dead fish up here.”
Gus leaned over the man. “Ripe. I’ll give him that.”
“Why are you here?”
“Just heard the report and recognized the address as your office. The crime lab will be here momentarily.”
On cue, the crime lab folks left the elevator and walked down the hall. The lead tech yelled, “Touch nothing!”
The Young & The Wicked Marco Flynn Mysteries Book 2
Marco Flynn is fresh off a case that was bigger than anything he could imagine. To take a break, he and his girlfriend, Tara, travel to Seattle to spend the holidays with his son, Jacob.
From the start of the trip, Marco makes life miserable for the bad guys. During the flight, Marco breaks up a kidnapping. Then, once he reaches Seattle, is drawn into a child abduction case as a contractor for the FBI, his former employers. When Marco begins his investigation, he finds the kidnapper may be related to his ex-wife’s boyfriend, talk about a tough conversation. It becomes apparent that something is amiss at the Bureau as Marco unravels the mystery.
Marco attempts to keep his professional and personal lives separate as he goes between his ex and his girlfriend, while developing a deeper relationship with his son. Then every parent’s worst nightmare occurs and the case turns into a race against the clock as Marco Flynn tries to track down his prey in a city he does not know.
The short and curvy brunette wore a stiff-looking uniform, a dark blue pencil skirt, with a light blue blouse. Though appealing, the uniform was obviously a size too small. Probably an agenda on the airline’s part, or the only issued uniform they sold her ten years and two kids ago. The woman spoke with a soft southern accent that comforted children. My guess, she hailed from somewhere between Bloomington and Louisville.
I wagged my finger to draw her close and to tell her softly. No one else needed to overhear my suspicion. A plane full of panicking people was a bad idea.
She bent over a little. Catching a whiff of her perfume, something with cinnamon, I imagined the scent of homemade snickerdoodles.
“I don’t want to alarm anyone, so I wrote this note. Read it and if I’m out of line I’ll shut up the rest of the flight.”
She took the paper and nodded. “I’m glad to help, sir.”
The attendant walked to the front of the plane. I watched as she read the note. She slowly turned her head back to me and gave a subtle nod.
At least I didn’t get kicked off the plane… yet.
The other attendant finished her rounds and wheeled the drink cart to the back of the plane. Within seconds, that same attendant pushed the snack cart to the front of the coach section. Another small package occupied the same position as the prior package. A repeat incident was not a coincidence. Something was amiss.
I watched the cart like a hawk until noticing the attendant at the front. She played with something that looked like a flip-phone my parents owned at one point. She probably sent a message to the captain and convinced me the right thing had been done.
My attention shifted back to the cart, and the package disappeared. Damn. I had no idea what the package contained or who took it. My ego distracted my brain and forgot to pay attention to the most important thing on the plane, never learning my lesson.
Someone snagged the package and probably for nefarious means. My left hand shook a little until I got my nerve back.
I threw concern over my mysterious behavior out the port window and wiggled around in my seat to get glimpses of the people between me and the snack cart. After estimating where the person sat based on when the respective package disappeared, I narrowed the suspects to four people, now labeled as one through four in my head. They all sat on the aisle with easy access to the cart and the attendant.
Tara noticed my weird actions. She leaned over and whispered, “What’s wrong?”
Tara almost literally scared the crap out of me. I didn’t notice her movement as she broke my concentration on the problem in front of me.
Calm was required in my response to her, especially in her current state.
“Probably nothing, but something weird is going on. I’ve seen two items taken out of the carts after they passed by people. The attendant didn’t hand them to anyone. Someone reached in and took them.”
I attempted to console Tara while keeping my voice in a hushed tone. Her gorgeous eyes and pretty face made focusing on the task difficult.
“Stay alert and stay behind the seat in front of you. But don’t act too weird.”
“Oh, like you?” She fired a well-deserved barb of sarcasm.
Tara leaned closer to the window, shrinking her physical profile to be as small as possible. This did little to calm her nerves, but the distraction drew her attention away from the plane, her fear of flying, and the bouncing wing.
As the snack cart passed, I hit the call button a second time to signal the same attendant.
The attendant looked at me with contempt this time. She glanced at someone back and to the left of me. She did not want me to notice the guy a row back and on the other side of the aisle shift in his seat.
I assumed it was the U. S. air marshal assigned to this flight. There was less than a one percent chance an air marshal boarded this flight. With those odds we should be playing the lottery. Then the realization that getting kicked off this plane was a possible reality occurred.
As The City Burns Marco Flynn Mysteries Book 1
Marco Flynn is working to make his home town of Indianapolis safe. In the process he stumbles across a dead body. The problem is she has been dead for two years and Marco attended her funeral. At the same time Marco's brother drops another case on him that implicates the Mayor in some illegal activities. The more Marco investigates he finds the two crimes have much more in common and may be linked to something even more dangerous. All of this as the city deals with increased protests and violence. Marco must decide if he wants to walk away or try to save the city he loves before it all falls down around him.
I expected this day to begin much different. The frigid canal water, cold from the prior night’s unseasonably low temperatures, blurred my vision, filled my ears, and froze my arms. The first day of autumn should not be this cold. The chill and remaining darkness were the least of my dilemmas.
A mural of a girl blowing bubbles was my compass in the early morning dawn. The image my lighthouse, a beacon, as I pulled a limp body to the side of the man-made waterway. The slight undercurrent and the inability of my cargo to help made it doubly difficult to get back to the cement border. My mouth kept going under as I paddled to the side and my torso slowly succumbed to the icy temperature. My sock-covered feet slipped on the algae coated slope and I wondered if success was possible. Then I felt the edge and knew safety was within reach.
“Hold on! Don’t die!” I yelled over my aching shoulder through the crisp, frosted air as I stretched my arm for the solid masonry, a stark contrast to the liquid muck with which I grappled.
My mind drifted for a second knowing I was safe. Then water splashed my face and provided a shock to bring me back to reality. Adrenaline granted me a boost of energy. My left hand grabbed the concrete block that mocked me with the words “NO SWIMMING” as I pulled with my right arm to drag the body closer to the edge; my muscles burned from the strain. I climbed out and got on my knees, scraping them on the concrete as a dribble of blood mixed with the water. After the taxing exertion, the real challenge of extracting the body from the water remained. My eyes opened to see the blurred image of the underside of a bridge.
My hearing returned as cool fluid drained from my ears. Police sirens blared, reminding me that I called 9-1-1 before jumping into the green water.
My mind returned to the nonresponsive body. I grabbed the nearest arm and leg and utilized all my strength to lift the person, complete with waterlogged clothing, over the cement curb. I leaned back and pulled a second time to complete the job. The cement grabbed the skin beneath my shirt and peeled it from my torso as I slid across the rough surface. After removal from the water, the drenched body covered half of me.
I scrambled from underneath and prepared to start CPR. The shadow of the bridge overhead kept daylight from corrupting the scene. Death did not want the promising daylight stepping on her turf.
I cataloged the steps in my mind from training several years before: check for a breath, clear the airway, pump the chest thirty times, and finish with two breaths. One look at the face told me it did not matter. This person died long ago and was beyond hope. I checked for a pulse anyway and confirmed my suspicion.
The sirens closed in on my location. I heard one car skid to a stop on the bridge overhead when the tires squealed to a halt.
Christopher Clouser lives in the Indianapolis, Indiana area and pursues writing speculative fiction in his free time. His family consists of his wife, two children, and one grandchild. He has written sixteen books that include fantasy, science-fiction, mystery, and sports history while contributing to several others, along with multiple articles. He also has spoken to many local and national organizations on creative writing and the career of Perry Maxwell, a noted American golf course architect.
What inspired you to write this book?
I knew when I started writing this series there would be three books and I had a good idea of the major thematic issues I wanted to tackle in this book. Also, I had a very specific character arc that I wanted to put Marco through in this story.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m currently working on a writing reference book, but that will be a long way off. My next fiction work will probably be a near-apocalyptic fantasy/sci-fi story that involves a people receiving the gift of superpowers from an unlikely source.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
One of the things I’m trying to build is a small shared universe centered around Indianapolis with some of my fiction. Tara, the female lead in this book, was in the first book of this series called Legends in Addington, but she wasn’t a good person in there. This series is a bit of a redemption story for her as well.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in the series?
Marco starts this series very much as a no-nonsense hard nosed detective. As the story continues, he starts showing his weaknesses until he realizes he’s just like everyone else and has his problems.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
This series really started as two separate ideas that failed to work. When I changed the viewpoint of the stories to run through the detective and the focus of the investigations, everything clicked.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
I just tried to make them as simple as possible. I didn’t put a lot of thought into the meaning of each name with the exception of one character named Mal Connett.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Overall, the development of mysteries and resolving them really grabbed my initial interest. The second and third books in the series became a little more thriller oriented and more character arc centric than I originally planned and that was new to me.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Marco Flynn is really the portrayal of the uber-macho guy we all want to be, the James Bond type of character. But as his story unfolds we see his flaws and get to understand that he isn’t that different from each of us. He also begins to understand that about himself and his desires change over his story to be much more grounded in family, love, and togetherness. His girlfriend Tara Harvest is a woman who starts out knowing what she wants and actually gets it pretty quickly in these stories, but knows this is her second chance and fights to hold onto it after having lost it once already.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
Each of the titles in this series tie into the thematic elements, but I also took a riff from the names of some old school soap operas. As the City Burns/As the World Turns, The Young & the Wicked/The Young & the Restless, The Gold in Their Eyes/The Days of Our Lives.
Who designed your book covers? I do all of my own book covers.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? No, when I finish my books they are almost always exactly what I want at that time. They really match up to my intent for that story.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Always listen to your early readers. I had a couple of things in this book that I thought would be neat to have, including a different ending. My readers were unanimous in not liking a couple of things and I shifted directions and it created a better story. If you get the right beta readers it can save your story from unintentional doom.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
It would have to be someone in their mid-thirties that has some life experiences behind them. I don’t have a specific actor in mind.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
I love the second half of the book as it is some of the better depiction of emotional struggle I think I’ve ever written. Marco really begins to understand what he wants in life and why and how close he is to actually achieving that. He really understands what he needs instead of what he initially wants out of his life.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I think Gus Stein, Marco’s best friend, is that perfect wing-man type of guy that you could have a good time with in just drinking a beer or going to a game.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
I try not to base my characters off real people unless there is a specific point I’m trying to make through that character.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I always have control. I might realize things as I’m writing that make more sense about characters but I’m in charge.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Not at this time.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Leather and campfire. It’s a comfort read that keeps you entertained.
What did you edit out of this book?
I had a different ending that I changed after feedback from my beta readers.
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would love to talk with the writing team of James S. A. Corey and learn how they went about writing that series and planning it out.
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