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Shadows On Iron Mountain

Author(s): Chuck Walsh

Thomas Jordan, a hardnosed detective from Knoxville, is called in to investigate the disappearance of Kara Lisle, who was abducted from a cabin in the remote backwoods of East Tennessee. As the search begins, local fishermen find the body of Patricia Darby floating in nearby Doe Creek.
 
As Jordan scours Iron Mountain to find Darby’s killer, as well as locate Kara, he finds himself immersed in a world where laws of another kind exist. He discovers a land cold and calloused, its inhabitants untrusting. As the body count rises, he finds the only way to bring the killer to justice is to enlist the services of one of Iron Mountain’s own.

Excerpt


Jason stirred, awakened by the sound of breaking glass. Lying on his side, facing the wall, he sat up on his elbow and looked about the room. He rubbed his hand through his hair and yawned. “Baby, you rearranging the furniture in there?” he called out.
 
A faint cry answered him. He hopped from bed and quickly slipped into his jeans before walking down the hall. Once in the kitchen, he noticed shattered glass on the floor. The refrigerator door was open.
 
“Kara?”
 
The door to the porch was open and the wind brushed against his exposed chest when he looked through the screen to the backwoods behind the house. “Kara?” He opened the screen door and glanced to the side of the house by the trashcan. He hurried back into the kitchen, and closed the refrigerator door. “Where are you?” he called out as he walked down the hall.
 
Confused, he went to the front door to see if she was retrieving something from the car. Moving around to the back of the cabin, he stopped in the cold of the room, hearing nothing.
 
“Hey, this isn’t funny.” He returned to the kitchen through the porch door. “Baby? Kara!”
 
The silence of the cabin surrounded him.
 
He burst through the front door, checking the car again. He looked down the narrow driveway. Nausea rushed through his gut. His body rotated, searching, listening, breath heavy as he panted, small wisps of pale white coming from his mouth. He pushed the thumb of his right hand into the palm of his left, rubbing in a circular motion as though he were trying to remove the skin. He always did that when he was confused; when he was worried.
 
Circling the cabin, the thick woods unfamiliar. “Kara!”
 
He sprinted up the driveway and called out again. “Kara” echoed through the trees before dissipating into the air, as was his confidence that he’d spot her walking along Shady Valley. The curves of the mountain highway were tight, bending in either direction, limiting his view.
 
“She’s okay, he said softly. “She’s okay. God, let her be okay.”
 
The breeze turned bitter. Clouds gathered, turning the horizon above the towering trees into a hovering, opaque ceiling. Standing in the middle of the slender dirt road, he looked for signs of movement. The rustle of the wind stirred the forest, all about him a dizzying landscape of random movement. The isolated activity surrounding him left him lightheaded. He ran his hand through his sweat-laced hair, and his eyes welled with tears. Should he run? North or south?
 
He bolted back down the driveway. Ferns pushed against the rugged mountain floor as the wind roared in sporadic waves like an angry sea around him. The treetops rattled above him like the bones in some ancient burial ground.
 
By the time he made it back into the house his body was shaking, a combination of fear and bitter cold against his bare upper body. Looking once more throughout the cabin, room-by-room, hoping she was playing some sort of evil joke on him.
 
His phone was on the small nightstand beside the bed and he dialed 9-1-1. “Son of a bitch,” he yelled as he noticed it had no signal. He slipped on a sweater and found his sneakers by the rocker. His wallet and keys were on the nightstand as well and in a moment he was out the front door.
 
The car bumper scratched a knotty maple as he backed the car out of the driveway. Once on Shady Valley, he whipped his head left, and then right. Which way? Where should he go? He struggled to breathe, and opened the door, vomiting into yellow grass lining the roadside. Fighting to breathe as he got back in the car, wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his sweater, he spun out so quickly the car narrowly missed a row of mountain laurels on the side bank.
 
Pulling onto Highway 47, he turned left, and looked about for something—anything. The trees and mountain laurels formed shapes and figures, making him think he spotted her everywhere. He sped toward Johnson’s store half blinded by the vision of her looking into his eyes as she sat on his lap just minutes earlier, her tears after they’d made love a confirmation that she loved him with her entire being.
 
He smashed the top of the steering wheel with his fist. Why did he not awaken when she did? He should have been by her side, clinging to the soft aroma of her perfume.
 
He fishtailed into the lot of Johnson’s store, jumped out of the car, leaving the door open. Once inside, he found the three men occupying the same positions they’d held earlier.
 
“My wife’s disappeared,” he yelled as he ran to the counter.
 
“What’d you say?” the man asked, sitting as before on his stool.
 
“My wife. She’s gone.”

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 9781771551199
Genre: Thriller
Date Published: 09/08/2014
Publisher: Champagne Books

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