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Ex-NYPD homicide detective Casey Bannister, thought he’d given up investigating murders when he retired to a small town in upstate New York. When the body of a prominent politician’s niece is discovered, Casey is reunited with his former partner and ex-lover. To further complicate matters, Shannon Danzinger is married to the leading candidate for Attorney General.
Casey and Shannon race to unravel the mystery, overcome resentment from local authorities and resist political pressure to solve the crime before the upcoming election. Of greatest importance, Casey and Shannon must prevent reawakened feelings from interfering with the search for the killer, before she becomes the next victim.
The two homicide detectives eased through the open door. They crept across the wood floor, down opposite sides of the musty warehouse, empty, except for Grace Costello and a thin man with a wine-colored birthmark on the side of his face. He leaned over the terrified girl. She sat sobbing on a chair, straining to stay away from him. The man had folded the girl’s arms behind her and taped them to the chair with duct tape.
Clutching a long knife with a serrated edge, the monster traced the dull edge of the blade along the girl’s quivering neck. Don’t look at us, Casey willed the horrified girl, as he and his partner sneaked closer. Seconds later, with tears streaming down her face, the teenager twisted her neck away from the killer and spotted Casey. Her eyes grew wide.
The man spun behind the girl, trying to shield himself from the detectives. The sharp blade of the knife flashed against the girl’s neck. His eyes darted around the room until he spotted Casey. A second later, he caught sight of O’Malley.
From twenty feet away, Casey could see sweat on the man’s face and eyes that blazed with rage and fear. He appeared capable of anything. They had found the Southside Slasher. “Let her go, Slim.”
“The name’s Jennings. You can call me Mr. Jennings. Show me some respect.” A bead of spittle dripped from the corner of the man’s mouth.
Casey and O’Malley aimed their weapons at the man.
“Put the knife down and step away from the girl,” O’Malley shouted.
They were too far away for a safe shot. Jennings had crouched down, his head pressed against the girl’s trembling face with the knife against her neck.
“Get rid of the knife,” Casey shouted as he took a step forward.
“One more step, the bitch dies.” The killer’s face contorted. He let out a shrill laugh that echoed off the walls of the room.
Casey glanced at O’Malley and froze. This was the first occasion he had seen his partner with his gun drawn in the six months they had worked together. O’Malley’s look of indecision worried Casey.
When Casey pointed his weapon, Jennings laughed again and the girl shrieked. The crazed man shouted. “Go ahead and shoot. I’m a dead man anyway.”
“We’re not the judge and jury, Mr. Jennings.” Casey tried to calm the man with a gentle voice. “We just make the arrest. Besides, you’re famous.”
Jennings seemed to relax, the knife not held as tightly.
“If you let her go, imagine all the pictures you’ll get in the paper and requests for interviews. TV, newspaper, you name it. With all this publicity, you’ll cop yourself a top-notch attorney who needs the press.”
The killer’s eyes darted between the detectives, as he appeared to consider Casey’s statement. His greasy hair matted against the girl’s wet face. Then Jennings ran a hand over his birthmark. “I ain’t gonna be no freakshow. Put your guns down. Me and the girl are leaving. It’s your choice, pigs.” Spit flew from Jennings’ mouth as he shouted. “You choose! Make your decision. Put your fucking guns down.”
When Casey nodded at O’Malley, his partner lowered his weapon and placed the gun on the floor. Jennings smirked and his head moved a fraction of an inch from the girl.
Casey eased his feet apart for balance. He began to lower his weapon. When Jennings grinned, Casey raised the gun and aimed it at the killer.
Through a multitude of debriefings over the next several days, Casey would explain that he had a safe open shot. But, when he aimed the gun at Jennings the second time, he knew he was farther away than he wanted to be. The man’s face was still perilously close to the girl’s head. Even if a shot proved successful, Jennings’ reaction might slice the girl’s throat.
I’ve lived nearly all of my life in Arizona and most of that with my wife of thirty-six years. We enjoy our eight grandchildren and our menagerie of animals including my wife’s dog Tinker who appears in my new novel, Ramblin’ Man. I love reading mystery and suspense novels, and love writing them. Because I find absurdity in just about everything, humor finds it’s way into my writing along with the chills.
Cuts Like a Knife by Michael Murphy deserves its name. It lays out the raw flesh of human experience. On the surface, the novel thrills with a fast-paced murder mystery involving the fearless detective, Casey Bannister, whose dry wit and angst about women make him lovable. On a deeper level the novel explores whether we can act honorably, whether we can trust each other, or more disturbingly whether there is any good in humankind to be found. Murphy’s answers by turns comfort and haunt. Cuts Life a Knife is a fine read, one I highly recommend. -- Toby Heathcotte, Author and President, Arizona Authors Association
Buckle your seat belt and brace yourself! Michael Murphy's Ramblin' Man is one hell of a ride! Murphy is the master of character development, handing us Bart Wheeler, one tough guy with a heart of gold and enough sex appeal to singe the pages while tossing in one irresistible, spoiled, rich heiress with more than a few surprises tucked inside her little pink purse! Murphy delivers it all! Bare knuckle fight scenes, nail biting suspense, knee slapping comedy and edge of the seat romantic tension reminiscent of the longing seen only on the television series, Moonlighting. Ramblin' Man is one wide open, fun filled road trip you'll never want to end. --Alisha Paige, Canyon Wolf Bride, The Wooden Nickel
An utterly charming read! In Ramblin’ Man by talented author Michael Murphy, Bart Wheeler has met his match when he crosses paths with a sassy self-indulged runaway heiress with Yorkie-Pom in tow. But not even an irate business tycoon, the FBI, a bogus kidnapping charge or a one-sided softball game can rattle this guileless dude. Murphy gives breath to an understated hero for our time. --Jordan Dane, Award-winning Avon Author, No One Heard Her Scream, No One Left to Tell
In Michael Murphy’s new novel Ramblin’ Man, Bart Wheeler, newly unattached, is enjoying an aimless journey cross country with his window down and his radio on, dining at the local greasy spoon, when a runaway heiress sashays into his life in a cloud of expensive perfume, a posse of FBI agents and private security thugs hot on her trail. Before he can finish his fries, Bart finds himself sharing the cab of his truck with a yappy purse-sized dog named Tinker and a red-head confection in pink designer jeans who believes chipped fingernail polish qualifies as a genuine emergency. Michael Murphy makes you like ’em all--even the dog. Murphy takes us around bend after unexpected bend as Bart and Samantha take the ride of their lives--on the long, twisted road to Apple Valley. You can almost smell the cheeseburgers. --Melanie Wells, The Soul Hunter, My Soul to Keep
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 322
Paper Weight (lb): 13.6
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