Home :: Mystery/Thriller :: Falcon's Bend Case Files, Volume I (The Early Cases) (ebook and print) by Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler (Mystery/Police Procedural Novellas)

Falcon's Bend Case Files, Volume I (The Early Cases) (ebook and print) by Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler (Mystery/Police Procedural Novellas)

Falcon's Bend Case Files, Volume I (The Early Cases) (ebook and print) by Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler (Mystery/Police Procedural Novellas)
(17 reviews)  

Bugs: A partially digested body is found in the oxidation ditch at the Falcon's Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant. Was it an accident...or is new Falcon's Bend Investigator Pete Shasta facing his first murder?

Broken Wings: Just 2 months ago, a runaway daughter Keith Pierce never knew he had landed on his doorstep. Seventeen years earlier, Keith Pierce had a brief, intense affair with a woman on the lam. When Keith returns to Kat's hometown of Falcon's Bend to find his daughter's mother, he discovers that Kat disappeared shortly after giving birth to Quinn. Investigator Pete Shasta solves a decade and a half old missing-person case that's about to turn into murder.

Obsessions: A newborn baby is stolen from Falcon's Bend Community Hospital's maternity ward...and Lt. Pete Shasta's only lead is to the Liace Adoption Agency, which set up the open adoption of the unmarried mother's baby. Case Representative Lisa Mercer is as suspicious and defensive as she is beautiful. Pete finds himself breaking the cardinal rule of investigation--never get emotionally involved with anyone even remotely associated with a case. With a kidnapper who seems to believe there's nothing left to lose and potentially everything to gain, and his own uncontrollable feelings for Lisa, Pete's about to learn just how dangerous obsessions can be.

Blind Revenge: For the first 3 years of her life, Lindsay Bronwyn had nightmares about a witch who wanted her eyes. Nineteen years later, those nightmares have come true when she's found murdered on her kitchen floor, her eye sockets empty. Falcon's Bend Investigator Danny Vincent faces the supernatural to get at a chilling flesh and blood truth.

Fixated: Someone has been following new Falcon's Bend citizen Risa Nitzberg for the past few weeks. Victor Brooks, her neighbor from across the street who's become fixated with Risa from afar, steps in when Risa's creepy stalker decides to get up close and personal.

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Falcon's Bend Case Files, Volume I (The Early Cases) (ebook and print) by Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler (Mystery/Police Procedural Novellas)
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5 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Readers Favorite
Mar 28, 2013
Pete Shasta is a vulnerable, believable, likable police inspector. He is the kind of book cop you really want to get to know. And get to know him you do in the five tightly crafted crime tales that comprise FALCON'S BEND CASE FILES, Volume I (The Early Cases)-a smooth, easy read. Wiesner and Spindler's clear, short, targeted descriptions put me right into the picture (including, memorably, even the sewage treatment tanks). The authors have fashioned the people of Falcon's Bend in such a way that they appear so real. Their human natures, clearly delineated, give credence to the fact that such awful things happen in such a nice place. Under the protection of Inspector Shasta, this book is a safe and cozy way to experience them.
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Lighthouse Reviews
Feb 15, 2013
5 beacons!

Bugs: After reading about the aerators cutting the victim to ribbons, it was like the tiny hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention. Broken Wings: The ending in this story is so twisted, I had to do a double take on it...wow! Intense. Obsessions: This story will have your adrenaline racing as Pete scurries through every obstacle in his path. Blind Revenge: This story had me tossing in the covers and at times still feeling for my eyes. Fixated: Okay, for sure, anyone in a chat room even briefly should be extra careful. Murder is usually the start of the investigation for Pete Shasta and Danny Vincent but not without a bit of desire, retribution, betrayal, and atonement. In this anthology there are five stories that will quench the thirstiest mystery readers. The whole series surrounding Detectives Pete and Danny are fascinating; not to mention fast-paced and loaded in emotion that will have you spellbound. Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler are such great collaborators. They take a story and turn it into a piece of art. Their suspense chillers are so cleverly dazzling that it leaves the reader eagerly anticipating the next installment. Their writing is so driven that it leaves the reader with the story still refreshed in their mind days later. This is a collection of stories that readers should not miss. The plots are so well developed with enormous twists and turns that leaves the reader rapidly turning pages to the end. A good mystery always leaves the reader delighted but an even greater mystery full of bone-chilling suspense leaves the reader completely satisfied. Once you read one of Ms. Wiesner and Ms. Spindler's books, you just can't stop! Five mystery suspense tales that leave you breathless until the crime is solved. I really enjoy their style of writing. If I could I would give this anthology a ten, it is so incredible!
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The Romance Studio
Feb 15, 2013
5 hearts!
This is a great set of five stories involving a couple of detectives in the small town of Falcon's Bend, Wisconsin. Pete Shasta and Danny Vincent each take a starring role in the mysteries whether working alone or with one another. The stories fill in background for some of the circumstances mentioned in DEGREES OF SEPARATION, Book 1 of the Falcon's Bend Series. In "Broken Wings" the authors tell a well crafted and emotional tale of Keith Pierce and his daughter Quinn. Keith only knew Katerina Fulton for a few torrid days of romance at a music festival. Until the feisty teenager showed up on his doorstep he didn't know a child had resulted from the affair. Cynthia Fulton, Kat's sister, is also searching for her. Their stories put Detective Pete Shasta in search of a missing person, possible murder victim, while coping with his failing first marriage. This is one of those heart wrenching but hopeful novellas that really shines with the authors' gifted characterizations and dialogue. Who would kidnap a newborn baby boy? Pete has to answer that puzzling question in "Obsessions". The answer is elusive but with Pete Shasta on the case we know there'll be an answer. He and his friends on the Falcon's Bend police force unravel all the twisted details until they find the right culprits. The added details about Pete's instant attraction to his wife Lisa are great as he struggles with obligations, rules, and the call of his heart. It doesn't seem like the order in which you read this book or Book 1 of the series would make too much difference. Personally I adored the first book of the series and was thrilled to see this one come out. It seems like it could be a stand alone anthology if you read it first.
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Feb 15, 2013
4 1/2 stars!

Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler produce a firm foundation for their full length Falcon's Bend stories. After reading these short stories, the reader will want to get to know the members of the Falcon's Bend Police Department better. These authors know how to keep the reader interested from the first page to the last. I cannot wait to find out what new adventures await the Falcon's Bend Police in the full length books that will be released shortly. I look forward to reading them.
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Once Upon a Romance
Feb 15, 2013
4.25 stars!

"Bugs": I thought this story was a great way to get to know Detective Pete Shasta and some of the townsfolk of Falcon's Bend. "Broken Wings": This was a very intense story, especially towards the end. While I thought I had this one figured out, it did give me a few glitches on the way to the ending. Keith Pierce is incredibly funny as he tries to figure out what to do with a teenaged daughter whom he doesn't know. Just the byplay between them is enough to make you roll on the floor. If you have teenaged daughters or if you know any teenaged daughters, you'll love the teen attitude. "Obsessions": While I spent my time focused on the missing baby and who could have stolen her, Lt. Shasta is starting to have feelings (in a romantic way) towards a suspect. It added another layer of depth to the story and made Lt. Shasta a little more real to me as a reader. This was my personal overall favorite from the book--although the next two stories had me gripping the edge of my seat. "Blind Revenge": This was the most chilling story in the book. I read it right before bed and had trouble sleeping. We don't know Lindsay for long, but the ramifications of her death and her nightmares just don't stop. Could it be the new lover she just met on the night of her murder? If not, than who could have killed her?? Each twist takes you a step deeper into the unknown and the ending will knock your socks off. "Fixated": Wow! I would say that Ms. Wiesner and Ms. Spindler really hit their stride in the last half of the book. This story was wild and crazy. Without giving away the ending (which was a surprise and a half), I was stunned. You'll be amazed at the reality of this story. It's one of those things that really could happen--even to you. Risa and Victor's budding romance is just icing on the cake of this story. Hang onto your hat and enjoy the ride. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I'm looking forward to more mysteries/suspense stories from Falcon's Bend. I thought each story touched a different part of me as a reader. I was able to associate in unique ways with each of the situations and characters... I think Ms. Wiesner and Ms. Spindler have a great collaborative future together.
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Sample Chapter


A Falcon's Bend Series Short Story

Summer 1994

A partially digested body is found in the oxidation ditch at the Falcon's Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant. Was it an accident or is new Falcon's Bend Investigator Pete Shasta facing his first murder?

"Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat but ye have not enough...and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put into a bag with holes."
~from Haggai 1:6, Holy Bible (King James Version)

The coffee station in the center of the Falcon's Bend Police Department was surrounded by cops when Pete Shasta left his office reluctantly at nearly five p.m. He'd come in early today--his day off. Anything to avoid having to face his wife the morning after. His back was stiff from another night on the couch. Hiding out in his office all day hadn't done it any good. He'd tried calling Donna in the early afternoon--not even sure himself why, exactly--but he'd been almost relieved when there'd been no answer. What could he say that he hadn't already said a million times and she hadn't already twisted into something else entirely, just as many times?

"What the hell you doin' here on a Saturday, boss man?" Patrol Sergeant Jeff Chopp demanded while the group parted to allow Pete access to the coffeepot.

"Overachiever," Dennis Lambert teased.

Pete had been hired as an investigator--the only one at the moment--only six months earlier. In that time, he'd spent more hours in his cramped little office at the station than in his own home. Another one of Donna's frequent complaints.

Pete's father, a life-time patrol officer, was looking at him, and Pete didn't have to face him to know he was worried. He understood Pete's personal situation only too well. Amazing how a person could be scarred by something so deeply in childhood only to make the same damn mistakes. His parents' marriage had been a nightmare Pete had wanted to escape any way he could. He couldn't say his own marriage was any different.

From the room off to the left, dispatch center, a phone rang. Most of them turned that way.

"How long you been holed up in that office?" Chopp continued in on Pete a second later. They'd know what the call was about soon enough.

Pete grimaced at the thick, burnt-smelling coffee he sipped. "I had some cases," was all he said. The sludge-for-coffee--and Pete's reason for holing up--just made his hollow, acidic stomach feel worse. He wondered if he had an ulcer. Twenty-two years old and already he was stressed to the point of an ulcer.

Tammy Allan came out of Dispatch. "We've got a dead body," she said, and everyone immediately forgot Pete's personal problems.

Falcon's Bend was a small town in west-central Wisconsin. Most deaths were by natural causes, and that was everyone's assumption for this one.

"Tom Kreager called it in. He's the manager of the wastewater treatment plant. One of his workers fell in an oxidation ditch. He's dead."

"He say who it was?" Lambert demanded, his expression agitated. "My cousin Shawn works there."

"It's Bill Lexmark. You better get out there right away."

"Did Tom seem to think it was an accident?"

Tammy nodded. "Yeah, he seemed to think so."

"Okay. Just in case, I want you to call DCI in Madison and put 'em on the alert, Chopp. We might need 'em." While Bill's death probably was an accident, the Department of Criminal Investigations was three hours away. If they had a murder on their hands, Pete wanted a unit ready to dispatch here on the double. "And call Cora. Tell her to meet us out there."

Cora Kingsley was the county corner.

"Dad, Lambert, you'll come out with me and Chopp."

* * * *

The Falcon's Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant was situated toward the far north side of town on a large lot with a long, dusty, snake-like road leading up to it. The plant was completely surrounded by a chain-link fence with barbed wire topping it.

They had quite a few calls about kids trying to break into the gate, vandalizing, and littering the area throughout any given year, but especially in the summer. Because of the area, cloistered away from the general population the way it was, the plant was an ideal place for kids to come out, drink, and raise hell.

The gate stood open. In front of the closest building, there were two trucks parked. One of them had the plant logo on the door. The other was a beat-up old Ford.

A short, stocky older guy was leaning against the company truck. He wore a three-piece suit and shiny black shoes, which were marred with brown splatters. He straightened as they approached.

"Tom Kreager, manager of the plant," Chopp told him from the passenger's side of the unmarked investigative car Pete had been given when he was hired. "Can't say I've ever seen him dressed up, so I could be wrong."

Pete grinned. He'd met the guy around town, though he didn't know him well.

Tom explained that he'd been at a wedding reception and had planned to do a quick run-through here before heading back to the party. Pete re-introduced himself and the rest of his men while Tom nodded. Hands were shaken all around.

"Where is he?" Pete asked.

"Back ditch. I don't know anything about procedure, but if I could've gotten him out myself, I would've. Tried but I couldn't do it myself, damn it. Seein' him in there…hell, it ain't right. Well, you'll understand when you see." Pete figured Tom's attempts to get his employee out had resulted in the brown splatters on his suit and shoes.

The little Pete knew about wastewater treatment plants had mostly come from the times he'd been out here for teenage trouble-makers. He couldn't help noticing the place seemed to have fallen into disrepair this time. The other times he'd been here, the extensive lawn that covered fiveacres had been mowed at least. Now the grass was overgrown.

As he followed Tom, he noted the half-dozen pole sheds and round white domes, and near the back of the property, a silo-like tank and an open pole shed with concrete walls four feet high. Inside it were piles of what looked like manure.

"You usually work weekends?" Pete asked as they passed a particularly smelly area.

Tom turned back to him. "Me and my three employees alternate weekends. Not much to do on the weekends unless something's wrong, as you can imagine. But on our weekend to work, we're on call from Friday night to Monday morning. Then we work about an hour or two on Saturday and Sunday when it's our turn."

"So it was your weekend to work."

"Yeah, exactly," Tom said. "I'm in later today than I usually would be. My wife's nephew got married today. I couldn't believe it when I drove up to the plant and found the gate unlocked, standing wide open. Saw Bill's truck and wondered if he forgot it was my weekend to work. I went into the control building--"

"Control building?"

Tom stopped to point back the way they'd come. "When you came in. Building you parked in front of. That's the office and the lab. Control building."

"Okay. Go on."

"My office was a mess. Somebody went through my desk drawers. Pulled everything out. Even broke into the locked drawer where I keep the petty cash box."

"Was the cash taken?"

Tom nodded. "Yeah. All of it. I like to keep a hundred or two in cash on hand, but luckily I just got a bunch of office supplies Friday morning so there was less than twenty bucks in the box. I planned to replenish it Monday. I knew I better find Bill and figure out what the hell was going on here. I checked the headwork's building, front ditch and clarifier, the UV building, then the back clarifier and ditch."

"And that's where you found him?"

"Yeah, exactly. I still can't believe it. The aerators cut him to ribbons."

They entered one of the enormous pole sheds. On each side of the building was an over-sized door. All four of them were open.

"You usually leave the doors open?" Pete asked.

"In the summer, yeah."

Though the doors were all open and the lights were on in the building, it was dark, and Pete's eyes took a minute to adjust to it. Beneath his feet, the ground was covered with small tan rocks. He could hear motors running from near the center of the building. The smell was strange--musty, but not pungent like before.

The bulk of the center of the building was taken up by what he supposed was the oxidation ditch. It was an oval shape with concrete walls four feet high. In the middle of it on each side were two walkway platforms made of green fiberglass grating, and two huge domes that looked like oversized cans resting on their sides. Before he had a chance to ask, Tom spoke. "Those are the aerators. They're what did the most damage."

Pete followed Tom up to the walkways. The sound of the motors was louder, and he thought instinctively, This ain't gonna be pretty.

In the center of the ditch was a small island made of concrete, which the inner ditch flowed around. Pete looked around at the inner and outer ditch separated by a foot width, trying to figure out how everything worked here; and for a few seconds he didn't even see the body. The water was moving constantly, and the body was floating in the same clockwise motion. It was almost unrecognizable. Just as Tom had said, it'd been torn to shreds. The clothes were shredded, too, and the whole of it was covered in brown, foul-looking sludge. It was fast approaching one of the aerators.

"Ah, let's get him the hell out of there," Pete muttered urgently though the man was undoubtedly dead. He understood now the distress Tom had felt at not being able to get his employee out. "You got a pole? A hook? Anything we can use to hook on to him and pull him out?"

Tom nodded and ran down the platform to the other end and got a pole with a hook. By the time he'd returned, the body had gone through the aerator again. The sight, the sound...Pete wanted to close his eyes and cover his ears.

Tom handed them all gloves, which they pulled on quickly. Then between the five of them, they managed to hook the body and pull it out and onto the platform. Chopp and Lambert carried the body down to the ground and near the south door where there was more light. There they hosed the body off, which, if possible, made the remains even more gruesome.

"This is for sure Bill Lexmark?" Pete asked softly, pulling off the gloves.

Tom confirmed it in a heavy voice, "Yeah. It's Bill, one of my full-time operators."

Pete got out his notebook and pencil again. "When did you last see him alive?"

"Last night, just before I left. I needed to check one of the lift stations and I figured I might as well head home as soon as I was done there since it was close on to four thirty. We were attending the rehearsal dinner at seven thirty. I knew one of the other guys would lock up…whoever was the last to leave."

"You said you have three employees."

Tom nodded, seemingly grateful to look away from Bill's body. "Yeah, exactly. There's Bill. Shawn Lambert, who's a full-time operator, too. And Neal Pederson runs the lab. We hired someone to help out part time for the summer--mow lawns and other work we save up for summer help."

Pete raised an eyebrow. The hired help wasn't doing his job. "Did everyone work yesterday?"

"I was here all day. So were Bill, Shawn, and Neal. Joe didn't show up. Again."

"Joe--the summer help?"

"Joe Lexmark. He was Bill's seventeen-year-old nephew."

"I'm gonna need contact information for all your employees, including the kid."

"No problem, Detective."

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