When young, single mother Hannah is found murdered by the banks of a twisting Oklahoma creek, her one-year-old daughter sleeping in a stroller near her body, the small town of Dead Woman Crossing reels in horror.
Detective Kimberley King, recently relocated from New York to Oklahoma, with her young daughter Jessica, can’t ignore the similarity of Hannah’s death to the case of Katie James, the woman that the town of Dead Woman Crossing is named after. Katie was murdered in front of her small daughter in 1905, on the banks of the same creek, and it seems that someone is drawing inspiration from the crime. Could this killer be a copycat?
But as she interviews suspects, Kimberley is met with blank faces and closed lips. In a small town, people won’t talk and when she pursues a promising lead, her own family turn their back on her. Kimberley isn’t afraid to ask questions, but when she receives a threatening note, she realises that, as a single mother to a young daughter, she might be putting herself dangerously in the killer’s sights …
A gripping, atmospheric crime thriller inspired by true events, about a town on the edge of collapse and a murder that shakes the community. Dead Woman Crossing is perfect for fans of Rachel Caine, Lisa Regan and Jane Harper.
Author Bio; Originally from Wisconsin, J.R. Adler currently lives in Ithaca, New York with her husband, Drew, and her English Bulldog, Winston. When not writing, you can find her reading, playing board games, travelling, and binge watching The Office for the umpteenth time.
As the tires slammed onto the hot asphalt, Detective Kimberley King instinctively positioned her arm in front of her sixteen month-old daughter, bracing her. Her sleeping child did not wake. Having been born and raised, thus far, in New York City with its constant squealing sirens and blaring car horns, it would take more than a rough plane landing to wake her resting cherub. A few of the passengers toward the back of the plane clapped when the tires were firmly planted on the runway. Kimberley couldn’t help rolling her eyes and shaking her head. Simpletons, she thought, but she quickly had to remind herself… simple was her life now. These were no longer the plain inhabitants of the flyover states, but rather they were now her neighbors, her new people. She would no longer be Detective Kimberley King, NYPD, but something quite different. In New York, she worked homicide, the worst of the worst cases, the things nightmares were made of, but where she was going, murders would be few and far between she presumed given the size of the town. As soon as she stepped foot off the plane, it would be official; she would now be the newest chief deputy of Custer County, residing in Dead Woman Crossing—a town named for its grizzly history of an unsolved brutal homicide. Perhaps Kimberley would feel more at home there than she thought she would. She believed she’d always be a New Yorker at heart and would cling to that as long as she could, but that wasn’t her identity anymore. She was now an Oklahoman. “Please be careful when opening the overhead bins as items may have shifted during flight. We hope you enjoyed your flight, and we thank you for flying American Airlines,” the flight attendant announced via the intercom. Immediately, most passengers rose from their seats as if the stewardess had given a powerful sermon rather than simple disembarkation instructions. Kimberley turned toward her daughter and unbuckled her. Jessica stirred awake, rubbing her sleepy eyes. Her face began to crumple as she adjusted to the unfamiliar surroundings, but Kimberley acted quickly. She knew that look, the look that signaled Jessica was about to throw a tantrum. Her daughter had seemed to learn in recent weeks that crying could be used as psychological warfare against her mother. Kimberley planted several kisses on the top of her soft head and pulled Jessica into her lap with a hug, quickly soothing her, before she erupted like a volcano full of tears. She had woken her daughter earlier than usual and opted not to put her down for a nap, all to ensure the plane ride had gone smoothly and it had. “Jessica, baby, we’re here,” Kimberley said, bouncing her little girl. Looking at her daughter was like looking in the mirror; she was the spitting image of Kimberley. Rich dark brown hair, vivid blue eyes, and pouty lips. Kimberley was thankful her daughter had taken after her and not her ex, Aaron, who looked like the poster boy for the Aryan race; blond hair, light eyes, fair skin. He was no longer in the picture. If she was being honest, he was never really in the picture, so she was happy Jessica didn’t serve as a constant reminder of him. She hoped she’d get her strong personality as well, instead of her father’s, who was more concerned about working out in the gym than taking care of his own child. When she told him she was moving out of state and that he could see Jessica as much as he wanted but would have to travel, he had responded with a shrug as if she had asked him something as simple as do you want bacon or sausage with your eggs? Motherhood had changed her, but fatherhood hadn’t changed Aaron. When she first had Jessica, Kimberley developed almost a sixth sense. It provided more than any police training had ever done for her. The instinct, many called maternal, translated well into her detective work. It made her notice everything, sense danger. Every situation, she could look at it and find a hundred different ways something could go wrong. Jessica changed Kimberley for the better. But with Aaron, fatherhood shone a light on his true colors: selfish, childish, and narcissistic. Kimberley quickly brushed the memory from her mind before it affected her mood, the roots of her life left behind trying one last time to pull her back into despair. She tied her long hair into a ponytail, readying herself to trek off the plane with half of everything she owned. Kimberley stood from her seat and lifted Jessica, her little legs wrapping around Kimberley’s petite, yet strong body. She was used to handling everything by herself, so grabbing her luggage from the overhead bin, Jessica’s diaper bag, and her tote bag all the while holding her daughter looked like a magic act to the untrained eye, but to her it was easy. Jessica tightened her arms around her mother’s neck and laid her head against her shoulder, letting out a soft coo. Kimberley smiled and kissed the top of her head while edging her way into the aisle. A middle-aged man with a bald spot the size of a grapefruit on the back of his head stood in front of her. He turned around and gave Kimberley and her juggling act a once-over. “Do you need help with any of that?” he asked, pointing to her bags. Kimberley’s eyes widened and her brow creased. She wasn’t used to others offering their help, especially coming from Manhattan. In New York City, people are just too busy to stop and help. They’ve got places to be, traffic to get through, subway rides to make, lines to stand in. Everything there is go, go, go. They’re not mean. They just don’t have the time to be nice.