by Rae Scott
Publisher: Page Publishing
Release Date: November 3, 2022
Tropes: Vigilante justice/ Victims no one will miss/ The one you least expect
Themes: Good vs Evil, Life or Death
Heat Rating: No heat
Length: 188 pages/ 60 000 words
It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Fear not those who are innocent, for I shall cause you no harm. I seek out only those who have yet to pay for their sins. Fear me if you have no remorse, for I am the Reaper, and I will ensure that you reap what you have sewn.
The serial killer known as The Reaper is loose on the streets of Norfolk. Its victims have two things in common: They have each hurt a child but served little to no time in jail for it and none of them regret their actions.
Detective Mel Tanner is close to retirement when she is assigned to investigate a murder that leads her in a hunt for the serial killer known as The Reaper. As a seasoned homicide detective of fifteen years, she now finds herself jaded and unfeeling to the atrocities that she has had to witness every day.
When rookie Detective Nat Petrov lands her dream assignment, to work with the best Detective in Norfolk, she is thrown headfirst into The Reaper’s perverse sense of justice. The Detectives race against the clock as body after body turns up with the signature Grim Reaper tarot card, each life ended in a way specifically designed for the individual victim. Will the detectives be able to catch a twisted serial killer before time runs out or will The Reaper exact revenge in a way more personal than anyone could have ever fathomed?
Michael watched with a sense of foreboding as the masked figure in the black cloak stood looking down at the various items on the table, fear of the unknown beginning to take hold of him. A thousand thoughts and images ran through his mind as he tried to work out the reason for why he was there on that table, but as hard as he tried, he couldn’t come up with a single explanation for his circumstances. He tried to figure out who his captor might be, but the only name he could come up with was the Grim Reaper, because that’s what his captor looked like. The Reaper came back and held a card in front of his face with its left hand. It was a three-by-five-inch tarot card, and on it was a picture of the Grim Reaper. Michael felt the color drain from his face. The Reaper pulled the card away and with its right hand, held up a laminated newspaper clipping for him to read. Michael Fitzpatrick received a six-month sentence for the beating death of his then-girlfriend’s six-year-old son. Questions on the mishandling of evidence dropping the charges from murder to child abuse.
His stomach dropped. “I did my time for that,” he said, his voice shaking with dread. Out of nowhere, his captor’s fist came swinging down hitting him square on his nose. The sound of his nose breaking resonated loudly in his ears. Instantly his eyes began to water, and blood began flowing down his throat. He tried to turn his head so he could spit the coppery-tasting substance from his mouth, but the Reaper held him still, forcing Michael to swallow the thick fluid. The Reaper slowly shook its head from side to side. Fear of repercussions should he move kept him still and motionless even when his captor went back to the table again.
When the Reaper returned, he was shown another news article. This one detailing all fifty-three injuries the boy had sustained by him during a drunken rage. While he read the article, tears spilled from Michael’s eyes in earnest as he finally realized that he wasn’t going to get out of this room alive. Again, his captor went to the table, returned the news article, and came back to look down at him with its unblinking gaze. It held the Grim Reaper’s card up to him again, only this time it showed him the message that had been written on the back of the card. Swallowing several times to clear the blood from throat, Michael read it out loud, “Fear not those who are innocent, for I shall cause you no harm. I seek out only those who have yet to pay for their sins. Fear me if you have no remorse, for I am the Reaper, and I will ensure that you reap what you have sown.” Michael looked from the card to the Reaper, tears flowing down his cheeks as he begged for his life. “Please, no. I did my time for that. I would never have hurt him if I hadn’t been drunk. It wasn’t my fault. She knows how I am when I get drunk. She should have kept him quiet and away from me.”
The Reaper placed the card on Michael’s chest and shook its head. With its other hand, the Reaper slowly lifted up a ball-peen hammer, holding it in front of Michael’s face so he could see it, the intention clear.
“Please, no. I’m sorry,” Michael sobbed, frantically pulling against his bindings as panic began to take over.
The Reaper slowly turned and walked around the table until it was standing next to Michael’s right knee. As the hammer was steadily raised over its head, the Reaper looked down into Michael’s eyes.
He didn’t feel the wetness pooling around him as his bladder released nor the pain of the restraints as they cut into his already raw and bleeding skin. The only thing he felt was pure unadulterated terror. “No, please! You don’t understand!”
The Reaper tilted its head, the hammer still hovering high in the air over Michael’s knee and placed one black-gloved finger to its mouth. Shhh. It said as the hammer came down hard, shattering his kneecap.
About the Author
Born in New England, Rae Scott spent her childhood hiking, fishing, and enjoying the outdoor life inherent to the area. This love of adventure led her to travel the world in a quest to discover new and exciting things, feeding her thirst for knowledge and creativity that she now draws on for her books. In between her travels, she can be found on her porch in Virginia with her family coming up with new ideas as to where their next adventure will take them.