An Echo of Lies 3d cover

An Echo of Lies by John Schembra

An Echo of Lies 2 coversThe prospects for recovery for Officer Bob Kelly were not good. Shot twice during a traffic stop, the emergency room doctors had worked feverishly to save his life. Four weeks later, to the doctor’s surprise, Kelly walked out of the hospital and went home. He felt good–no pain, fully alert, and strong. Little did he know the terror and struggle that awaited him as the demon who possessed him took more control.

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5 stars! 5.0 out of 5 stars 5 STARS

Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2022

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An Echo of Lies is a supernatural thriller packed with suspense and action. Having shared it with my sons we all agree the book helped us to better understand what it would be like to deal with the demons of PTSD and the determined strength it takes to overcome them. Though the story ended well it left us with the feeling the demon is laughing and saying, “I’ll soon be back”. An Echo of Lies is an excellent read and we have already recommended it to others.


Chapter 1


Bob Kelly’s day started out normal enough. Up at five a.m., shower, shave, dress, breakfast, then off to the station to change into his uniform and get to roll call by six thirty.

He left the station to assume his beat duties, stopping along the way for coffee at a small café which had been around since the 1950’s. It was where all the cops met for coffee during their breaks, lunches, or dinners. The food was excellent, the staff friendly, and seemed more like family than café workers.

Halfway through his coffee he was dispatched to a minor injury accident on the south border of his beat. The day had begun.

The next four hours were quiet and Kelly merely patrolled his beat, making a few traffic stops and issuing three moving citations and one mechanical cite for a broken tail light. Halfway through his ten hour shift he took his lunch break at Burger King, his favorite fast food restaurant. It was turning out to be a very uneventful day.

He preferred working swing shift. It was the busiest time for the department. More traffic, more people, more action, and the shift seemed to fly by. He was on day shift due to the department’s policy of mandatory shift rotations. Every three months the officers were required to sign up, by seniority, for their shifts. They were allowed to sign up for the same shift again only twice a year to keep the most senior officers from hogging all the best shifts and days off.

Kelly hated working the graveyard shift. It was too quiet and he had a hard time sleeping during the day. He felt tired the whole four months of the shift. Another officer hated swing shift so Kelly gladly traded his graveyards for his swings. Life was good.

Forty-five minutes before his shift ended he was driving along one of the main streets of the city approaching an intersection. As he neared it with the green light, an older, beat up, rusting green pickup blew the red signal on the cross street and flew through the intersection, narrowly missing several cars. Kelly flipped on his emergency lights and siren and turned left, maneuvering through traffic in the intersection and accelerating to catch up to the offending vehicle. Five blocks later the truck pulled over. Kelly stopped his patrol car fifteen feet back from the truck and offset to the left. He radioed in his location and the truck’s license plate and exited his patrol car. Pausing for a moment, he looked the truck over and watched the driver for a few moments. Approaching the driver’s door, he checked the bed of the truck as he passed, with his hand on his pistol. He leaned down a little to get a better view inside the truck. He saw the driver was dressed in a dirty long-sleeve yellow t-shirt, and filthy, worn Levi’s. His face was dirty, as were his hands and fingernails.

“Good afternoon, Sir,” he said when the driver rolled down his window.

“Oh, hello Officer. Is there something wrong?”

“As a matter of fact, yes. Don’t you realize you ran the red light back there? You nearly hit several cars, and all the horns honking should have clued you in.”

“Ah, no, sir. Guess I wasn’t paying attention,” he replied, wiping sweat off his forehead with a dirty rag.

“I’ll need your license, registration, and insurance card, Sir.”

“Oh, man! You gonna give me a ticket?”

“Yes Sir, I am.”

“Shit! I can’t afford another ticket. I’m gonna lose my license,” he complained.

“I can’t help it, Sir. Now, I need your license.”

“Can’t you give me a warning?”

“Not in this case. License and registration please.” It was not a request.

Kelly kept his hand on his weapon as he was uneasy about the driver’s demeanor. He could smell the driver’s sour sweat when he leaned over to open the glove box. He wasn’t being argumentative or abusive, but he appeared very nervous, was sweating a lot on a cool day, and mumbling to himself. He kept looking around furtively while searching for his registration and insurance cards.

Kelly’s instinct was to call for a cover unit. As the driver was looking through the glove compartment, he retreated a couple of paces to give himself a clearer view of the driver. Kelly radioed a request for a “roll by” from another officer. Another unit acknowledged his request and replied he was several blocks away.

When he saw the driver hold the items out the window, he walked back up and reached for them. He noticed they were in his left hand, which almost never happened, and alarm bells went off in his head. He reached for the papers, and that was when he saw the driver raise his right hand, holding a gun.

Before he could react, the driver pointed the gun at him and pulled the trigger. Kelly felt like he’d been kicked in the face by a mule. He didn’t hear the shot, but the impact of the bullet knocked him back a couple of steps. He managed to stay on his feet and, by instinct and training, began to pull his pistol from the holster. He felt no pain at first and thought the shot had missed him, until he felt a warm wetness on his cheek. He realized it was blood running down his face. Time slowed down as he back-pedaled while drawing his pistol. He saw the truck door open and the driver get out in what seemed to be slow motion. He frantically raised his weapon to defend himself, but it felt so heavy and moved so slowly he feared he would not be able to return fire.

As the driver fully exited the truck and turned toward him, his gun in his hand, Kelly was still raising his pistol. He began pulling the trigger as fast as he could, hoping the bullets would stop the driver. He felt the gun buck in his hand and saw chips of asphalt erupt from the street near the driver’s feet where the first two shots impacted. He continued to fire as his pistol raised more and heard the driver cry out in pain as one of Kelly’s bullets hit him in the shin. As his pistol continued to raise, another shot struck the driver in the thigh. He saw flashes from the driver’s gun, but didn’t hear the shots. He felt an impact in his left forearm and, as the driver started to fall to the ground, another of Kelly’s shots struck him high on his chest. Kelly watched, continuing to pull the trigger, as the driver fell face down on the street. The rounds passed harmlessly over the driver’s body.

He felt the strength leaving his body as darkness crept over him. Unable to hold onto his gun, it dropped at his feet. Kelly didn’t feel the impact when he fell to the street.

An Echo of Lies Print Cover

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