Played to Death

Scott Drayco Mystery Series

Book 1
BV Lawson
399

A Shamus Award Finalist and Named Best Mystery in the 2015 Next Generation Book Awards

A body in a rundown Opera House.
A missing manuscript
A dark family secret. 


Still suffering nightmares from a case that ended tragically, brilliant freelance crime consultant Scott Drayco considers retiring from crime solving altogether. When a former client bequeaths Drayco a rundown Opera House in a Virginia seaside town, he figures he'll arrange for a quick sale of the place while nursing his battered soul in a peaceful setting near the shore.

What he doesn't count on is finding a dead body on the Opera House stage with a mysterious "G" carved into the man's chest. With hopes for a quick sale dashed and himself a suspect in the murder, Drayco digs into very old and very dangerous secrets to solve the crime and clear his name. Along the way, Drayco must dodge a wary sheriff, hostility over coastal development, and the seductive wife of a town councilman - before the tensions explode into more violence and he becomes the next victim.

EDITORIAL REVIEWS:

"Lawson uses the gothic features of the abandoned Opera House to great effect, creating an atmospheric background for the crimes and the solving of them, all of it accompanied with music that's almost like another character. The pace never sagged and it kept me enthralled." - Long and Short Reviews

"Lawson's book was so good, I read it twice from beginning to end...The citizens of Cape Unity are as diverse and multi-layered as any person living in the large cities, and Lawson portrayed them splendidly." - Reader's Favorite Reviews

"The storyline here is nicely structured, and creatively ties together two murder mysteries, which occurred decades apart. The small town setting is ideal, the lead character engaging, and the supporting cast interesting and diverse. Overall, a solid start to this series." - Omnimystery News

"
A nice tight mystery in a realistic setting. Totally enjoyable." - Terrie Farley Moran, national bestselling author of the Read 'Em and Eat Mystery Series

Category Keywords:  free, freebie, vigilante justice, crime fiction, FBI agents, murder, private detective, suspense, mysteries, thrillers, mystery & detective, private investigator series, detective novel series, literary mystery, murder mystery series,  serial killers, small town mysteries, vengeful, mystery series, thriller books, crime books, suspense books, best mystery novels, J.A. Jance, Tana French, Louise Penny, Karin Slaughter

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About the author

Author and journalist BV Lawson's award-winning stories, poems and articles have appeared in dozens of national and regional publications and anthologies. A four-time Derringer Award finalist and 2012 winner for her short fiction, BV was also honored by the American Independent Writers and Maryland Writers Association for her Scott Drayco series, with the debut novel, Played to Death, a Shamus Award Finalist and named Best Mystery in the 2015 Next Generation Book Awards. BV currently lives in Virginia with her husband and enjoys flying above the Chesapeake Bay in a little Cessna. 

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4.4
399 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
BV Lawson
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Published on
Jul 12, 2014
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Pages
278
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ISBN
9780990458203
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Private Investigators
Fiction / Thrillers / Crime
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The sequel to the Shamus Award-nominated PLAYED TO DEATH

Crime consultant Scott Drayco is in the middle of a thorny case in Washington, D.C. involving murder victims who were all wheelchair-bound. Then, out of the blue, he gets a worried call from a friend on Virginia's Eastern Shore about an attack on an innocent disabled girl.

Working once again with Sheriff Sailor and Deputy Nelia Tyler, Drayco discovers almost everyone believes the girl's attack was an accident. But he begins to suspect otherwise when he crosses paths with a badly disfigured man and the man's enigmatic Goth son, as well as one of the smoothest and most dangerous figures Drayco has encountered in his career.

Meanwhile, his conflicted feelings toward the soon-to-be-divorced town councilman's wife, Darcie Squier, continue to simmer under the surface and threaten to undermine his focus and cloud his judgement. But he's well aware he needs to keep his faculties razor-sharp if he's to solve the riddle of whether the cases in D.C. and the Eastern Shore are linked - or is he dealing with not one monster, but two? 

PRAISE FOR BV LAWSON'S SCOTT DRAYCO SERIES

"Lawson uses the gothic features of the abandoned Opera House to great effect, creating an atmospheric background for the crimes and the solving of them, all of it accompanied with music that's almost like another character. The pace never sagged and it kept me enthralled." - Long and Short Reviews

"Lawson's book was so good, I read it twice from beginning to end...The citizens of Cape Unity are as diverse and multi-layered as any person living in the large cities, and Lawson portrayed them splendidly." - Reader's Favorite Reviews

"The storyline here is nicely structured, and creatively ties together two murder mysteries, which occurred decades apart. The small town setting is ideal, the lead character engaging, and the supporting cast interesting and diverse. Overall, a solid start to this series." - Omnimystery News

"A nice tight mystery in a realistic setting. Totally enjoyable." - Terrie Farley Moran, national bestselling author of the Read 'Em and Eat Mystery Series

Category Keywords:  vigilante justice, crime fiction, FBI agents, murder, private detective, suspense, mysteries, thrillers, mystery & detective, private investigator series, detective novel series, literary mystery, murder mystery series,  serial killers, small town mysteries, vengeful, mystery series, thriller books, crime books, suspense books, best mystery novels, J.A. Jance, Tana French, Louise Penny, Karin Slaughter

A mysterious music puzzle. A murdered co-ed. Sinister secrets.

Three years ago, Scott Drayco left the FBI after an incident involving his partner, Mark "Sarg" Sargosian. Now a freelance crime consultant, Drayco often helps law enforcement on cases, but he never imagined his estranged former partner would turn up on his doorstep, pleading for Drayco's help. A co-ed at an elite Washington, D.C., private college has been murdered, and the victim's friend - Sarg's own daughter Tara - might be the next target.

The killer left behind a puzzling music code at the crime scene, and Drayco soon learns he has two things in common with the murdered girl - a music background and synesthesia. The case takes an even stranger turn after a second murder and a second music code, with signs pointing toward a possible ritualistic killing. Then, Drayco himself starts receiving coded messages . . .

PRAISE FOR BV LAWSON'S SCOTT DRAYCO SERIES

"Lawson uses the gothic features of the abandoned Opera House to great effect, creating an atmospheric background for the crimes and the solving of them, all of it accompanied with music that's almost like another character. The pace never sagged and it kept me enthralled." - Long and Short Reviews

"Lawson's book was so good, I read it twice from beginning to end...The citizens of Cape Unity are as diverse and multi-layered as any person living in the large cities, and Lawson portrayed them splendidly." - Reader's Favorite Reviews

"The storyline here is nicely structured, and creatively ties together two murder mysteries, which occurred decades apart. The small town setting is ideal, the lead character engaging, and the supporting cast interesting and diverse. Overall, a solid start to this series." - Omnimystery News

"A nice tight mystery in a realistic setting. Totally enjoyable." - Terrie Farley Moran, national bestselling author of the Read 'Em and Eat Mystery Series

Category Keywords:  vigilante justice, crime fiction, FBI agents, murder, private detective, suspense, mysteries, thrillers, mystery & detective, private investigator series, detective novel series, literary mystery, murder mystery series,  kidnapping, serial killers, small town mysteries, vengeful, mystery series, thriller books, crime books, suspense books, best mystery novels, J.A. Jance, Tana French, Louise Penny, Karin Slaughter

What if a large part of your past turned out to be a lie?

Crime consultant Scott Drayco is already in the middle of a possible career-ending legal battle when word comes that his mother, who disappeared 30 years ago, is very much alive — and charged with murder. With Drayco’s father washing his hands of the matter and police convinced the woman is guilty, everyone tells him he should just walk away from the case and let the chips fall where they may.

Except, Drayco finds he can’t leave it alone and is obsessed with uncovering the truth: Is his mother really a killer? Where has she been all these years? And why did she suddenly leave her husband and children to vanish without a trace?

Investigating the murder victim’s colleagues, Drayco learns there are plenty who wanted the man dead, including a shadowy stalker who seems to have a mysterious connection to Drayco’s mother. As he wades hip-deep into secrets, lies, and cons, he begins to question if the case is all just part of an elaborate scam ... where the only one being fooled is Drayco himself.

NOTE: This is a sequel to book #3 in the Scott Drayco series, Dies Irae, which should be read before Elegy in Scarlet if you want to avoid spoilers!

The Scott Drayco mystery series has been honored by the American Independent Writers, Maryland Writers Association, named Best Mystery in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and been a finalist for the Shamus and Silver Falchion Awards.

The complete chronology of the Scott Drayco series for reading in order is:

Played to Death
Requiem for Innocence
Dies Irae
Elegy in Scarlet

Praise for BV Lawson’s Scott Drayco Series:

“BV Lawson has created a memorable character in Drayco, a concert pianist turned FBI agent, turned crime consultant. He also has the fascinating condition of synesthesia, which not nly adds a mysterious depth to his character it is integral to the plot.”  – Big Als Books & Pals

 “... Kept me guessing until the very end. I’d recommend this book to experienced mystery readers who enjoy wrestling with skillfully placed hints that don’t easily reveal their secrets.” – ong and Short Reviews

“The storyline here is nicely structured, and creatively ties together two murder mysteries, which occurred decades apart. The small town setting is ideal, the lead character engaging, nd the supporting cast interesting and diverse.” – Omimystery News

“Now this story was close to brilliance ... The writing was fluent and the story intriguing, and I loved the end.” – IHeartReading Reviews

“Lawson’s book was so good, I read it twice from beginning to end...The citizens of Cape Unity are as diverse and multi-layered as any person living in the large cities, and Lawson ortrayed them splendidly.” – Reader's Favorite Reviews

“A nice tight mystery in a realistic setting. Totally enjoyable.” – Terrie Farley Moran, author of the Read ’Em and Eat Mysteries

Category Keywords:  crime fiction, FBI agents, murder, private detective, suspense, mysteries, thrillers, mystery & detective, private investigator series, detective novel series, literary mystery, murder mystery series,  serial killers, vengeful, mystery series, thriller books, crime books, suspense books, J.A. Jance, Tana French, Louise Penny, Karin Slaughter

Can a piece of music be cursed?


When a young marine biologist is found dead of suicide, his father can't believe he took his own life and hires crime consultant Scott Drayco to prove it was murder. But what of the strange song found with the young man's body—the same song linked to a piano sonata that led to a wave of suicides in Hungary in the 1930s?


As Drayco digs deeper, he finds even more unusual aspects of the case not easily explained: the victim’s missing cellphone; his “Gang of Five” friends and their interest in the Akashic Records spiritual philosophy; and the gun used by the victim that was mysteriously stolen from a friend’s car.


Drayco fears a tragic incident from his own past may be clouding his objectivity. After all, the facts point to suicide, case closed. But when Drayco starts suffering from depression himself after playing the sonata, can he really be sure of what’s real and what’s imagined?


The Suicide Sonata is the fifth installment in the acclaimed Scott Drayco mystery series, a finalist for the Shamus, Silver Falchion, and Daphne Awards.


PRAISE FOR THE SCOTT DRAYCO SERIES:


"Worth putting on your reading list." - The Library Journal


"Lawson's protagonist is greatly compelling." - Publishers Weekly Booklife Prize


"Lawson’s book was so good, I read it twice from beginning to end." - Readers Favorite Reviews


The complete chronology of the Scott Drayco series for those who enjoy reading in order is:


Played to Death

Requiem for Innocence

Dies Irae

Elegy in Scarlet

The Suicide Sonata


Sign up for BV Lawson’s Mysteries in Crimetime newsletter at bvlawson.com and receive a FREE ebook!

‘I honestly can't give this book enough praise… without doubt being added to my top ten of 2018… an absolute must read… I couldn't put it down.’ A Booking Good Read, 5 stars

 

As he watches his daughter turn the corner and out of sight, he hears the shots. He’d know that sound anywhere. He shouts her name. Silence. All he can do is run.

 

It’s been five years since Zac’s daughter was murdered. Her killer was never found. Now he’s back working as a detective for the Metropolitan Police, and he’s more determined than ever to bring the city’s killers to justice.

 

When a man is found brutally murdered in a rundown south London shop, all fingers point to the highly intelligent and manipulative Darian Wallace. He’s just been released, and two years ago the victim helped send him to prison.

 

Still grieving, Zac knows it will take everything he’s got to catch this dangerously clever killer. But just as he feels he’s getting closer, he realises all is not quite as it seems and makes a devastating personal discovery.

 

Zac has a choice to make – risk letting this killer escape or watch his daughter’s murderer get away again…

 

An absolutely gripping thriller for fans of Mark Billingham, Peter James and Lee Child. Bring Her Back is one fast-paced thriller you won’t be able to put down.

 

This book was previously published as The Murder List

 

What readers are saying about Bring Her Back:

 

‘Wow… What a brilliant debut. A fast paced, captivating thriller that will have you hooked throughout. What an opening to this story! Poor Zac! … made me keep reading, kept me intrigued.’ Between the Pages Book Club

 

‘A fast-paced, action packed and exciting novel … if you like Tania Carver, Stuart MacBride or Jane Casey then you must read this!’ Goodreads Reviewer

 

‘Exhilarating… a pacy and tense ride... hugely gripping and exciting… If you enjoy dark crime thrillers with plenty of suspense and intrigue then I highly recommend this book.’ Hooked From Page One

 

‘Brilliant...  I absolutely loved… Addictive reading… You can’t tear your eyes away … I was totally gripped… Absolutely blew me away… One of my top reads of 2018.’ Ginger Book Geek

 

‘Amazing! Gripping from start to finish, with spectacular writing, pacy and tense, this book is nothing short of a masterpiece, carefully crafted to transport and mesmerise. A sublime story from one of the best new crime writers of today.’ Renita D’Silva 

‘A very cleverly written police procedural novel with lots of twists and turns to keep you gripped, reaching an explosive finale!  I look forward to the next book of the series!’ Stardust Book Reviews

 

‘This book had me from the opening pages, it kicks off with you holding your breath, by the time you finish it, you needed an oxygen tank. OMG. Wow. I can see this becoming another of my must-read detective series. I love discovering new authors, and this is certainly one that's been added to my 'must read any future books' list.’ I Love Reading

 

‘A very gripping book indeed and there are a heap of twists and turns in this story. I very much enjoyed the relationship that Zac had with his wife and I found myself wanting to try West African cooking as well. I can't wait until the next book in the series comes out.’ Goodreads Reviewer

 

‘An exciting read with plenty of twists and turns. I like a good police procedural so I loved those aspects of the novel where the search for Darian marries modern policing with instinct and experience. They don't always get it right but it makes for fascinating reading as it seems a very realistic portrayal of modern policing.’ Goodreads Reviewer 

The sequel to the Shamus Award-nominated PLAYED TO DEATH

Crime consultant Scott Drayco is in the middle of a thorny case in Washington, D.C. involving murder victims who were all wheelchair-bound. Then, out of the blue, he gets a worried call from a friend on Virginia's Eastern Shore about an attack on an innocent disabled girl.

Working once again with Sheriff Sailor and Deputy Nelia Tyler, Drayco discovers almost everyone believes the girl's attack was an accident. But he begins to suspect otherwise when he crosses paths with a badly disfigured man and the man's enigmatic Goth son, as well as one of the smoothest and most dangerous figures Drayco has encountered in his career.

Meanwhile, his conflicted feelings toward the soon-to-be-divorced town councilman's wife, Darcie Squier, continue to simmer under the surface and threaten to undermine his focus and cloud his judgement. But he's well aware he needs to keep his faculties razor-sharp if he's to solve the riddle of whether the cases in D.C. and the Eastern Shore are linked - or is he dealing with not one monster, but two? 

PRAISE FOR BV LAWSON'S SCOTT DRAYCO SERIES

"Lawson uses the gothic features of the abandoned Opera House to great effect, creating an atmospheric background for the crimes and the solving of them, all of it accompanied with music that's almost like another character. The pace never sagged and it kept me enthralled." - Long and Short Reviews

"Lawson's book was so good, I read it twice from beginning to end...The citizens of Cape Unity are as diverse and multi-layered as any person living in the large cities, and Lawson portrayed them splendidly." - Reader's Favorite Reviews

"The storyline here is nicely structured, and creatively ties together two murder mysteries, which occurred decades apart. The small town setting is ideal, the lead character engaging, and the supporting cast interesting and diverse. Overall, a solid start to this series." - Omnimystery News

"A nice tight mystery in a realistic setting. Totally enjoyable." - Terrie Farley Moran, national bestselling author of the Read 'Em and Eat Mystery Series

Category Keywords:  vigilante justice, crime fiction, FBI agents, murder, private detective, suspense, mysteries, thrillers, mystery & detective, private investigator series, detective novel series, literary mystery, murder mystery series,  serial killers, small town mysteries, vengeful, mystery series, thriller books, crime books, suspense books, best mystery novels, J.A. Jance, Tana French, Louise Penny, Karin Slaughter

In this prequel novelette to the novels Dies Irae and Elegy in Scarlet, crime consultant Scott Drayco and “the world’s most diminutive defense attorney” Benny Baskin find themselves on the Eastern Shore of Virginia fighting for the innocence of Baskin's client, who's jailed for the murder of his business partner. Against the backdrop of the Wallops Island rocket launch facility, Drayco soon discovers that the motive for the man's murder might just be out of this world.

The Scott Drayco mystery series has been honored by the American Independent Writers, Maryland Writers Association, named Best Mystery in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and been a finalist for the Shamus and Silver Falchion Awards.

The complete chronology of the Scott Drayco novel series for those who enjoy reading in order is:

Played to Death
Requiem for Innocence
Dies Irae
Elegy in Scarlet

Sign up for BV Lawson’s Mysteries in Crimetime newsletter at bvlawson.com and receive a FREE ebook plus BV book updates, crime fiction news, giveaways, and more!

PRAISE FOR BV LAWSON’S SCOTT DRAYCO SERIES:

“BV Lawson has created a memorable character in Drayco, a concert pianist turned FBI agent, turned crime consultant. He also has the fascinating condition of synesthesia, which not only adds a mysterious depth to his character it is integral to the plot.”  - Big Als Books & Pals

“The storyline here is nicely structured, and creatively ties together two murder mysteries, which occurred decades apart. The small town setting is ideal, the lead character engaging, and the supporting cast interesting and diverse. Overall, a solid start to this series.” - Omimystery News

 “... Kept me guessing until the very end. I’d recommend this book to experienced mystery readers who enjoy wrestling with skillfully placed hints that don’t easily reveal their secrets.” - Long and Short Reviews

“Lawson’s book was so good, I read it twice from beginning to end...The citizens of Cape Unity are as diverse and multi-layered as any person living in the large cities, and Lawson portrayed them splendidly.” - Reader's Favorite Reviews

“Now this story was close to brilliance ... The writing was fluent and the story intriguing, and I loved the end.” - IHeartReading Reviews

“A nice tight mystery in a realistic setting. Totally enjoyable.” - Terrie Farley Moran, author of the Read ’Em and Eat Mysteries

 Category Keywords:  crime fiction, FBI agents, murder, private detective, suspense, mysteries, thrillers, mystery & detective, private investigator series, detective novel series, literary mystery, murder mystery series,  serial killers, vengeful, mystery series, thriller books, crime books, suspense books, J.A. Jance, Tana French, Louise Penny, Karin Slaughter, Carl Hiaasen

Divorce a husband, lose a career …grapple with a murder.

TV journalist Elizabeth “E.M.” Danniher will tell you she committed two sins — she didn’t stay young, and she made an enemy of a powerful news executive — her ex. She used to break national news. Now her top story as the “Helping Out!” reporter at dinky KWMT-TV in Sherman, Wyoming is getting a defective toaster repaired.

Tough, funny and determined, Elizabeth wrestles with isolation, keeping a professional edge, and an evolving self-image. Is Wyoming — the land of cattle, cowboys, tumbleweeds, and fewer than six people per square mile — her new home or a road to permanent obscurity?

Soon she’s in a battle of wills with ex-football player turned journalist Mike Paycik, who sees her as a handy rung on his career ladder. And there’s the matter of a deputy sheriff—missing or murdered? Elizabeth finds herself investigating at the insistence of a girl who’s set on proving her father’s innocence. Not that enigmatic rancher Thomas Burrell makes investigating easy.

But Elizabeth won’t fade to black without a fight, no matter how final some might want to make her Sign Off.

Don't miss any of Elizabeth Danniher's Caught Dead in Wyoming adventures:


Sign Off

Left Hanging

Shoot First

Last Ditch

Look Live

Back Story

Cold Open

Hot Roll

Reaction Shot (2020)


What people are saying about SIGN OFF:

“This is one of those books that you want to stop everything to read while hoping it never ends.”

“Sign Off is a brisk, enthralling page-turner” – P.B. Ryan, bestselling author

“Colorful characters, intriguing, intelligent mystery, plus the state of Wyoming leaping off every page.” – Emilie Richards, USA Today Bestselling Author

“That was fun.”

“Be prepared for lots of twist and turns.”

“I read it in one sitting. I hadn't planned it that way, but just couldn't stop.”

“The characters were a mix of funny, sad, and quirky and were totally believable. There was just enough humor to lighten the story, but not to disrespect the seriousness of crime.”

What people are saying about the CAUGHT DEAD IN WYOMING series:

“McLinn's mysteries set in Wyoming are addictive. The writing is excellent, the twists and turns keep the brain engaged, and Elizabeth's wry commentary keeps a smile on my face.”

“E.M.’s internal monologues are sharp, snappy and often hilarious.”

"A terrific series with a western flair. . . . Great characters that you would want as your friends. Smart, funny, but not perfect."

“Hoping this series lasts forever!”


If you also like cozier mysteries, try Patricia's Secret Sleuth series:

Death on the Diversion

Death on Torrid Avenue

Death on Beguiling Way (2019)

Death on Covert Circle (2020)



If you like Patricia’s mysteries, try her romantic suspense:

Proof of Innocence

Price of Innocence (2020)


Ride the River: Rodeo Knights (includes scenes in fictional Sherman, Wyoming, and cameos from Caught Dead in Wyoming characters)

Read the first three books in the Shamus Award-nominated series that Library Journal called "worth putting on your reading list"!

Scott Drayco is a former classical piano prodigy turned FBI agent/private consultant who has chromesthesia (a form of synesthesia) and plays Bach to help him puzzle through cases others often don't want to touch.

The Scott Drayco Series: Books 1-3 includes the first three stories in the engrossing mystery series readers describe as “not a stereotypical detective” and "an extremely complex character." If you like a heart tugging mystery and thrilling suspense, then you’ll love BV Lawson’s bestselling series. Find out why over two hundred thousand readers have downloaded this entertaining series, and grab your copy today! 

PLAYED TO DEATH (Book 1)

Former piano prodigy turned FBI agent Scott Drayco is suffering nightmares from his last case as a private consultant. To add insult to injury, he's bequeathed an unwanted and rundown Opera House in Cape Unity, a down-on-its-luck seaside village where vacation homes were once a playground for the rich. His hopes for a quick sale are dashed when a new client with dreams of his own redemption is murdered in the Opera House, the letter “G” mockingly carved into his chest. Slowly, inevitably, Drayco is pulled into a tangled web of jealousy and betrayal that reaches across the Atlantic into some of the darkest days of human history. But will he be able to untangle the web before the tensions in Cape Unity explode into more violence and he becomes the next victim?

REQUIEM FOR INNOCENCE (Book 2)

Crime consultant Scott Drayco is in the middle of a thorny case in Washington, D.C. involving murder victims who were all wheelchair-bound. Then, out of the blue, he gets a worried call from a friend on Virginia's Eastern Shore about an attack on an innocent disabled girl. Working once again with Sheriff Sailor and Deputy Nelia Tyler, Drayco discovers almost everyone believes the girl's attack was an accident. But he begins to suspect otherwise when he crosses paths with a badly disfigured man and the man's engimatic Goth son, as well as one of the smoothest and most dangerous figures Drayco has encountered in his career.

DIES IRAE (Book 3)

Three years ago, Scott Drayco left the FBI after an incident involving his partner, Mark “Sarg” Sargosian. Now a freelance crime consultant, Drayco often helps law enforcement on cases, but he never imagined his estranged former partner would turn up on his doorstep, pleading for Drayco’s help. A co-ed at an elite Washington, D.C., private college has been murdered, and the victim’s friend, Sarg’s own daughter Tara, might be the next target. The killer left behind a puzzling music code at the crime scene, and Drayco soon learns he has two things in common with the murdered girl - a music background and synesthesia. The case takes an even stranger turn after a second murder and a second music code, with signs pointing toward a possible ritualistic killing. Then, Drayco himself starts receiving coded messages . . .
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