Tuesday Sampler: The Scavenger’s Song by Sara Marie Hogg

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Tuesdays Sampler features an excerpt from The Scavenger’s Song, a horrific crime thriller from the imagination of Sara Marie Hogg.

As one reviewer said: Sara Marie Hogg has chosen what at first seems to be a mundane set of crimes and develops it into a well developed crime thriller.

The Story

The Scavenger’s Song introduces us to ace homicide detectives, Angus

Carlyle and Skeeter Sherwood. The Austin PD is stumped by numerous disappearances of young women in a seedy, neon-lit area downtown. The scavenger is doing his chilling, evil deeds, but no bodies can be found. Until they can produce bodies, technically, no homicides have actually been committed. One day the disappearances end. Where is the serial killer? His absence lasts for over ten years. When the scavenger finally sings, Angus and Skeeter are confident the case is arriving at its conclusion.

Now what did he do with the bodies? Bones begin presenting themselves in

the most macabre ways. The scavenger’s method of disposing of the human evidence is not to be believed. Along the twisted, torturous path, Angus is maimed and Skeeter is almost destroyed. Can they claw their way back up to be productive and sharp once again? Let’s hope so–a whole new series of murders is occurring right under their noses and they are probably the only ones who can make the madness end. Good detective work, hunches, psychics, long shots, the words of a bug man–they must hurry.

Time is running out.

The Sampler

Silas had parked himself at a dumpster behind one of the local restaurants.  He glanced about to make sure no one was observing him.  He hoped one of his old potato chip delivery uniform shirts, with his name “Silas” speed-stitched to the left breast pocket, made him look like he was there in some official capacity, anyway.  When he had a goodly number of female cockroaches in the coffee can, he put the plastic lid on it, got in his truck and drove for home.

*   *   *

Nelson, perhaps a little more jumpy than usual, noticed a small dark movement on the floor in his peripheral vision.   He spun around.  Cockroach!  He raised a beefy leg to stomp on the creature, then, corrected himself.  He lurched to the cabinet and got a margarine tub with a lid, then moved as quickly as his pudgy appendages would let him, to capture the insect.  He examined it closely—a female with the egg case intact.  He put the lid on his impromptu container.  When he saw that his landlord, Silas, had arrived home, he marched over with his collection.

Opportunity knocks!  Silas could barely contain his glee.

“I have got a cockroach problem over there.  You got any cockroaches?”

“I haven’t seen any, here.” This was the terse reply from Silas.

“I killed some more last week.  Look!”  He removed the lid to the margarine tub.  He displayed his collection to the landlord as the undeniable scent of disintegrating cockroach wafted upward.

“Is there some time you will be away?  I will schedule an exterminator.”

“Do they have to come inside?”   Nelson did not like his stuff viewed by others.

“I think they do—if you want them taken care of by a pro.”

Nelson was thinking about how much work he would have to do to make his place viewable by others.   “I don’t get it — all these years and never a cockroach until now.  How’s this coming Wednesday?”

“Okay, I will line one up.  If I could have a roach, I will show the exterminator what species, or whatever, he is dealing with.”

Nelson was very put off.  After leaving Silas, he partially disassembled some of his planes and carried them up the ladder to the attic portion of the cottage.  He carted some of his other equipment to the back of his Suburban.  That will have to do.

On Wednesday, an exterminator van for “Goin’ Buggy?” pulled up to the landlord’s  house.  He rang the bell.

“I just want the cottage treated for ants only.”  Silas commanded.  “You know, piss ants.  Is that possible?  I may change this soon but for right now, just tiny ants, and I want this kept confidential, between me and you.”

The technician nodded and did not offer any argument.  He was used to handling this customer and the sometimes strange requests.  He knew landlords to often do strange things to save some money.   He always got his payment.  That was all he really cared about.

“I’ll go let you in and you just ring the doorbell here when you are finished,” Silas instructed.  “I’ll go over and re-secure the place for the tenant, then.”

When the exterminator had finished, and before he locked the cottage, Silas went inside and placed several small objects where he knew they would be noticed.  He closed the door behind him, returned to the main house.  Then he waited.

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