Excerpt from The Storm Murders by John Farrow, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Storm Murders

The Storm Murders Trilogy (Volume 1)

by John Farrow

The Storm Murders by John Farrow X
The Storm Murders by John Farrow
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  • Published:
    May 2015, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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ONE

Sudden on the windshield, the sunlight was blinding. As the squad car emerged from a canyon formed by towering dense spruce onto a broad plateau of farmland, the officers inside the vehicle snapped down their visors. Wild gusts sculpted fields of fresh powder into rhythmic waves overnight, but as the storm passed the wind ceased. No trace of movement disturbed the distant view to the horizon, a seamless ocean of white lying perfectly still as though arrested at the moment of a tidal shift. Plows made a pass, yet the road remained slick with a glimmer of snow. The two cops fumbled for their sunglasses, neither for effect nor from any sense of police propriety, but the reflection off snow on a clear day under a cold snap in February created a brilliance more luminous than any summer's noon.

The man riding shotgun scanned the horizon. He daydreamed of distant destinations, all south. His driver, silent also, remained intent on the soft shoulders as he slowed for a turn and steered up a long drive last cleared before the storm's advent. Uniformly white, the road proved difficult to distinguish from its ditches. No tire tracks guided them to the farmhouse a half-mile in from the county highway.

A pale green two-story cottage ascended into view, its peaked roof adorned by gables. Nary a cloud in sight. White furnace smoke slipped from the chimney into a cerulean sky. Window frames were outlined in black trim, in contrast to the frilly lace curtains inside. The color of rust, the front door stood out.

A serene, innate peacefulness personified the dwelling.

The car pulled up behind a battered blue pickup that, half-buried by snow, was not readily identifiable. The men experienced the rapt peace of the place and braced themselves to feel a bone-brutal cold the second they bullied the doors open.

"The road to hell," postulated the uniformed officer in the passenger seat, "is paved—well, why don't you tell me with what?"

"Asphalt?" The driver raised his voice above the blast of the car's heater.

"Dude, it's a real serious question."

The rookie sighed, then obliged his partner. "Good intentions." He knew he'd be wrong. Even when he was right his partner would change the premise of the question to make sure that he was wrong. His way of trying to be a useful instructor.

"In the real world," the more senior cop remarked, "maybe. In our world—"

"Our world's not real?" The rookie shut the motor off. Dead silence.

"Hyperreal," the veteran said.

"What's that supposed to mean?" He left the keys in the ignition.

"More real than real. Beyond reality."

"So it's not good intentions, in our world, that buys you a ticket to hell?"

"Good intentions will fuck a cop over, that's true, but it's not the worst thing. Dude, the worst thing is hesitations. In our world, the road to hell is paved with a long series of gee whiz, let-me-think-about-this-for-a-second hesitations."

"So we should get out now," the junior cop concluded. He was a smartass.

Thirty-one, the elder of the two was a five-year vet. The driver was twenty-three and confident, not only a rookie but as keen as a razor and possessed of sharpened ideals to match. The men stood in the frigid air. The car doors remained ajar, as if frozen in place by the shock of the cold.

Nothing moved. Even the smoke seemed still, painted onto this pristine canvas. Usually they worked in the countryside, but both cops were city boys who commuted to the job. The depth of this unrelenting stillness unnerved them.

"Fucking quiet," the older one whispered, his voice scratchy in the dry air.

"Fucking cold," the younger remarked. He could deal with the quiet.

Their breath was visible. Against the side of the barn stood a tractor, the steel blade of its plow gleaming in the sunlight. The reflection blinked on their dark green glasses.

Excerpted from The Storm Murders by John Farrow. Copyright © 2015 by John Farrow. Excerpted by permission of Minotaur Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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