Done in One: New Excerpt

Done in One by Grant Jerkins and Jan Thomas is a psychological thriller that takes a look into the mind of a SWAT sniper and the toll that a growing list of sanctioned kills takes on a person (available January 13, 2015).

One bullet equals one kill.

For SWAT sniper Jake Denton, the bullet casings he saves as grim reminders of his “kills” are beginning to add up. His wife, his department-ordered psychiatrist, and even Jake himself are all beginning to question just how these sanctioned kills are affecting his mental health. Nobody wants him to end up like Lee Staley, his mentor and ex-partner—now out on permanent psych leave, drinking himself to death, and the prime suspect in a series of shootings that have paralyzed Northern California.

Jake doesn't believe that Staley’s guilty, but since their job has taught them to kill, how easy would it be for his friend to cross over to the other side? How easy would it be for him?

On every police force in the country, there's a SWAT sniper going about his daily life, acting like an average cop, until the moment when the call comes in. Then they become a hostage’s last hope and a criminal's worst nightmare. To some, they are silent heroes—to others, silent killers.

Prologue

White. Nothing but white. Stretching to the horizon in every direction, infinite and limitless and as full of potential as an unpainted canvas or a child’s soul—pure, clean, unsoiled. But that will change.

The boy and the man, dark figures, break through the snow. It has a quarter-inch crust of ice on top, while the powder underneath yields to the energy of youth and the substance of maturity. It comes to the man’s calves, just deep enough to be above the tops of his boots. The powder falls inside where it melts. But his icy sodden feet do not bother him. He is a hard man. He would think nothing of asking his wife to fetch his old flush-cut pliers from the toolbox to snip off a frostbitten toe. She has done this for him three times over the hard years of their marriage.

The snow reaches to the boy’s thighs, and he finds it hard to break through the crust. But he does not walk behind the man, following a path that had been broken for him; he prefers to forge his own way, to walk beside his father, not behind him.

Because of the depth of the snow, the boy has to hold his rifle unnaturally. Sometimes he holds it high at his side, under his armpit, or slung over his shoulder, or even raised two handed above his head when he feels in peril of stumbling. It is a bolt action .22 caliber. Purchased used last spring for the boy’s tenth birthday from the gunshop in town. “It’s time,” was what his father had said to him. It was a monumental thing. By far the most significant event of his short life. It was not the rifle itself—even though the rifle was the physical manifestation of it—that was so monumental. What was significant was that, although it was inferred, this was the only praise he had ever received from his father.

It’s time.

The man had even paid extra for a small 3 X 9 scope to mount on it, and his father did not spend money on frivolities.

The boy obsessed over the rifle. He had it for three days before he ever discharged it. His bedroom was located in the oldest part of the house—the nucleus from which more modern additions grew. He spread a white towel over the wide gaps in the quarter-sawn white oak flooring laid down by his long-dead grandfather, bearers and joists visible underneath, and he took the weapon apart, amazed at how few parts it consisted of and how easy it was to put them back together. He wiped dirty black grease from the internal pieces and returned them to place with fresh light coats of 3-in-One Oil.

The stock was constructed from a solid piece of walnut, dark stained. The butt plate was of checkered black plastic and was held on by two pan screws. Stamped on the blued steel barrel were the words Revelation—Model 120 Western Auto Supply Co. CAL. .22 L.R. His father noted that other than the brass dot front sight, it was the exact same rifle as the Marlin Model 60, but priced less and therefore a good deal. It was lovely. It was his. It was proof that his father believed in him.

The .22 was not really appropriate for the objective of today. The .22 was for target shooting and small game hunting. It was for squirrels and rabbits and blue jays. But he had not shot any of those things. He had not killed any live thing. Not yet. Just cans and bottles and pictures torn out of a magazine. He was a good shot. Natural born. A few words of safety had been spoken, but his father had not yet instructed him in the art of shooting. The art of killing.

Still, while the cartridge chamber is empty, the brass inner magazine tube that rests flush to the barrel is full with fifteen rounds, each LR cartridge extracted from a compact red, white, and blue Mini Group CCI box, carefully fed in by the boy before they left the house. But the boy does not yet know that his father is going to instruct him to squeeze the trigger today. And the father does not yet know that he will tell his son to do so. Their minds and their intentions are as infinite and limitless as the snow. And as prone to corruption.

They come to a barbed wire fence, which because of the bright morning sun reflecting off the ice crust, is not visible until they are upon it. The man lays his Ruger on the frozen rind (it slides two feet across the gently sloping ice before it stops) and plunges his hand through the snow at the foot of the fence. His fingers find the bottom strand of the rusty wire and lift it up. He uses his other hand to sweep away the snow, creating a burrow for the boy to wiggle through. Once the boy is safely on the other side, the man raises his long legs and scissors himself across the top of the fence, both of their rifles held at his side.

The father’s rig is a Ruger No. 1S Medium Sporter. The checkered walnut stock is solid and substantial. While the bluing of the barrel is worn in places from regular care, there is not a hint of corruption. Many men (he knew because he had heard them say it) found the Medium Sporter—particularly with the addition of a scope—too heavy to carry comfortably for long distances, but he did not. The chamber held a single round. A .45-70 Government, Federal Fusion cartridge. Soft point with a fused lead core. It would just about knock down a building. Recoil was not an issue. And there was no magazine to the Ruger. A single shot was all you got. That was sufficient. It otherwise tempted prodigal ways. Sloppiness. Brutality. He was not a brutal man. He disliked suffering. Could not abide it. Animal or human, he just could not abide suffering.

The man did not say much to his son, did not offer him a great deal of fatherly instruction, but when he took the boy hunting he usually spoke aloud after he fired his weapon—never before. He prided himself (although he would never admit to that sin) on killing with a single shot. Done in one is what he said after squeezing the trigger, but really he was saying it for the boy to hear. That was the instruction. Done in one. It was Godly.

And it was always true.

Until today. Until this morning.

He wants to do better by the boy. Must be getting older and softer he reckons. But the boy is getting older, too. It’s time. Time to be a better father. To teach his son the hard lessons. Because life was hard. It was goddamn hard. It was hard like the sheep blood and entrails he’d kicked snow over this morning. It was hard like the anger he’d felt at losing another one. Had the anger altered his shot? Of course it had. He knew better than to shoot with emotion. Anger was the only emotion he indulged in. And he regretted it. Life was hard.

Now on the other side of the barbed wire, the man and the boy take stock. The boy’s eyes have become acclimated to the white glare. Before, they had been moving too fast, and the glare had been too great for him to see anything but white. Now he could see the tracks his father had been following all along. Shadows where the snow was disturbed. And the shadows conceal traces of something even darker. Something red.

He had never witnessed his father miss his target before. Yet of course he did not miss, he had hit what he was aiming at, but he had failed to kill with a single shot. And that was the same thing as missing. He knew his father was mad. Mad about missing and mad about losing yet another of his sheep. To the same predator. It was in the way he’d kicked the snow over the torn apart animal.

His father squats down beside him, and this disturbs the boy, because his father is not a man to hunker down with a child. But he does. And the boy looks off in the distance in the direction the man’s thick, rough-hewn finger is pointing. He doesn’t see anything. He tries and he wants to see, he so much wants to see, because he wants to be the good son. He wants to reward his father’s lowering of himself to his level. To earn it. But he knows better than to try and fool the man. He knows not to nod or otherwise acknowledge what he does not really see or understand.

But then he sees. It comes into focus. He nods without looking at his father, and it is in the act of not looking at him that the father knows it’s true. The boy sees.

Off in the distance, merging into the horizon, is the wolf.

The gray wolf.

It’s time.

Dark figures, they pursue.

 

Chapter 1

In seven years or so, Deputy Maddox Brinkley would be known amongst his Cameron County Sheriff’s Office peers as “Mad Dog” (shortened from “Mad Dog on the Brink” Brinkley), for the proclivity to violence this job would awaken in him. But that was in the future. Tonight the mad dog was just a puppy. It was only his third night of active duty, and he was as green as spring grass. A tall, skinny young man, the only fat on him was in his baby pink cheeks.

He was riding the night-darkened summer streets of Vista Canyon with his FTO—Field Training Officer—Donovan Carpenter. Vista Canyon was just east of Folsom and its fabled prison, and fell squarely into the jurisdiction of the Cameron County S.O.—the Sheriff’s office.

FTO Carpenter was known as “The Builder” but other than playing off his surname, Brinkley didn’t yet know why they called him that. Maybe it was because he was as big as a building. He really was. That big. Maybe he’d misheard and “Building” was what they called him. The man was a fat, doughnut-eating stereotype. And a smoker. Brinkley hated cigarette smoke. The first night, Carpenter had fired up a Winston 100 right in the patrol car, cracked his window wide enough to maybe slide a sheet of notebook paper through, and said, “Mind if I smoke?” Brinkley had not seen him without a lit cigarette dangling from his lips since then. The guy was a heart attack waiting to happen. Each night, thirty minutes before the end of their graveyard shift, Carpenter pulled the cruiser into a U Wash It and vacuumed up the pastry crumbs and shot three doses of a deodorizer called Ozium into the vehicle’s interior. The stuff worked pretty good, because it completely obliterated the burned tobacco odor. Brinkley wished he could figure out how to get the odor out of his uniform without washing it every night.

The Builder or The Building, or whatever the fuck he was called, pulled into a Jiffy Kwik just off Green Valley Road. This was the third convenience store they had stopped at this shift. Maddox sighed. To himself. Not out loud. He still had a hell of a long way to go before he became a mad dog.

The vehicle rocked as Carpenter climbed out of the driver’s seat and into the pool of illumination thrown by the store’s lighting. There were no other cars in the parking lot. It was only 9:30, but Vista Canyon tended to roll up its sidewalks once the sun set. The asphalt lot was still radiating heat it had absorbed during the day.

Carpenter turned back to the patrol cruiser and asked, “Need anything?”

“Pack of smokes,” Maddox said.

“Thought you didn’t smoke.”

“They’re a gift. For you. Christmas in July.”

* * *

Fucking punk, The Builder thought, as he navigated the bright aisles of the Jiffy Kwik. Getting a mouth on him. “Christmas in July.” Needs a lesson. Maybe take him to patrol the Sierra Nevadas. Out to Camptown, six-toe country, after dark, where they’d tell him, “You got a purty mouth.” Teach him how to use it. Get all James Dickey on his ass. Fucking punk. Teach him to fuck with The Builder.

When he thought of himself, which was often, The Builder thought of himself as The Builder. He liked it. He knew the punk was working up the nerve to ask him why they called him that. What he’d told all the other punks he’d broken in over the years—when they worked up the nerve to ask—was that he couldn’t tell them the story behind his nickname until after they’d proven themselves. The truth was that he’d made it up himself and worked it into conversations to get it set in people’s heads. “They know better than to fuck with The Builder,” he’d say. And sooner or later someone else would repeat it. And Donovan “The Builder” Carpenter was thus born.

He felt like a burrito tonight. Something healthy. He knew all those doughnuts and Debbie Pies were making him fat. He was trying to do better. A burrito was just the thing. Lots of protein. Healthy.

They had some under a heat lamp next to some hot dog wieners going round and round in a rotisserie contraption like exhausted hamsters on an exercise wheel. But it all looked too old, too tired, so he pulled one from the freezer case, an Amy’s Organic Beans & Rice Burrito—organic was very healthy—and tossed it in the microwave set up near the coffee. While it was being zapped, Carpenter scanned the store.

There was a monitor mounted above the sales counter, right over the cashier’s head, that showed the closed-circuit security feed. It flashed different perspectives from the various cameras posted around the premises. Carpenter wholly endorsed such systems because they were not only a good deterrent to crime, but often proved essential in solving crimes later. He watched it beam an image of the deserted gas pumps outside, then the area behind the store, then an empty aisle inside the store, then it showed Carpenter himself standing in the hot-food area. He couldn’t believe how fat he had let himself get. This is no way for a Field Training Officer to carry himself. My God, I’ve let myself go, he thought, and looked away from his image. Which was a pity. Because if Officer Carpenter hadn’t looked away, he would have seen the live feed from the camera mounted directly above the cash register. And in that image he would have seen that something was very, very wrong in the Vista Canyon Jiffy Kwik. In fact, if Carpenter had not averted his eyes from the monitor, he almost certainly would have lived through this night. But he didn’t. And the legend that was The Builder would be bleeding out on the Jiffy Kwik floor in just five minutes.

What he chose to look at rather than the monitor was the sales clerk. The cashier, a greasy, long-haired punk, was up front, behind the counter, ignoring Carpenter. It used to be that when an officer of the law came into an establishment, he was waited on. He was treated with respect. Owners and staff were grateful that the officer had chosen their establishment to patronize and thus make safer with his or her presence. Not anymore. Not these days. No sir. Not only was the cashier pointedly ignoring Carpenter, the greaseball was thumbing through a porno mag. A Hustler. Or maybe it was High Society or Swank or Barely Legal. It was all trash. The point was that even from back here, Carpenter could see pink. Full-on beaver shots. Not womanly mounds of dense pubic hair like back in the day (which admittedly was a little too wild and wooly even back then) but slick-shaved extreme close-ups that seemed more clinical than erotic. And with the Internet, who even paid for porn anymore? Couldn’t you get it for free now?

The microwave beeped at him, and Carpenter pulled the burrito out, tossing it from hand to hand like a, well, like a hot burrito. He wrapped it in a napkin to insulate it. He poured himself a large cup of coffee, but it looked awfully black to be their light blend. He lifted the cup to his nose and took a whiff. It smelled burnt and sour.

He called up to the guy at the counter, “Hey, how old’s this stuff?”

The greaseball did him the courtesy of looking up from his skin mag and said, “’Bout an hour. It’s still some good.” Then his head dipped back down to the matter at hand.

Probably studying to be a gynecologist, Carpenter thought.

He could have poured it out and grabbed some of the blueberry or cinnamon or pumpkin spice or vanilla nut brew they had on tap, but Officer Carpenter considered himself to be something of a coffee purist. And even though there was no way this brew was just an hour old, he would still rather have regular joe, old and funky, than the flavored crap. Calling this swill an hour old was complete BS. But he wasn’t going to push the point. He was ready to go. He needed a smoke. He figured he would have a Winston and sip his coffee while he drove. The cigarette would go a long way to masking the sour taste of the coffee. Then he would eat the burrito—the organic burrito, he reminded himself—then have another smoke, because he always liked to light up after a meal.

He dosed the coffee with real sugar—that artificial stuff could give you multiple sclerosis—and powdered creamer, put one of those little cardboard collars on the cup to keep it from burning his hand, and headed to the front to pay up.

He put his bounty on the counter right next to a photo layout of a young woman. A photographic study that he bet the young woman prayed her father would never see. It wasn’t the pornography that Carpenter objected to—to each his own as far as he was concerned—it was the fact that the guy felt comfortable just paging through it like it was Reader’s Digest or The Christian Science Monitor. Well, it wasn’t. And he was going to say something about it.

In fact, Officer Carpenter decided he was going to get in the guy’s face. Maybe scare him a little bit. He was going to lean right past the register and into his space. And if Carpenter had actually done that—leaned over the counter—he surely would have seen the girl on the floor behind the counter. The girl on the floor was the real cashier. And Carpenter would have seen the tears streaming from her bulging eyes. He would have seen the greaseball’s boot planted square in the girl’s stomach. And he would have seen the Glock 9mm that had been dangling from the greaseball’s right hand the entire time his left hand had been thumbing through the skin magazine.

But Carpenter didn’t see any of that. Even if he had, it wouldn’t have saved his life. It was too late for that. In any case, he never leaned across the counter and got in the guy’s face. Something caught his eye. Diverted his attention. It was a big glass water tower that set atop the sales counter. Bubbles gurgled up from the bottom, and a sign on the contraption invited customers to drop in quarters for a chance of landing one in the shot glass at the bottom to win a prize. It was all for charity, supposedly, but who knew for sure where the money really ended up?

Carpenter loved games of chance. Was a sucker for them. He and the missus loved to steal away to Vegas or South Lake Tahoe every now and again. Or hit up one of the half dozen or so Indian casinos in the greater Vista Canyon area and foothills. He considered himself a player. So he just couldn’t resist giving this game a try. He dug into his uniform pocket, pulled out a quarter, and fed it into the slot on top.

* * *

Out in the patrol car, rookie Deputy Brinkley wondered just what in the hell was taking his FTO so goddamn long. He’d just about had it with the constant stream of convenience stores. How long did it take to grab a pastry and a cup of java? For Christ’s sake. But for now, Brinkley would keep on keeping it to himself. It was a six-month evaluation period, and then a year’s probation during which he could be terminated without reason. It was best not to make waves. After the evaluation, he would either be assigned a partner and an urban patrol zone, or he would become a single-man unit assigned to one of the vast, sparsely populated areas within the county. Six-toe-country. Camptown.

Through the plate glass window, Brinkley saw his FTO finally waddle up to the sales counter. What would Carpenter do if he had to chase down a suspect? Surely there were some kind of minimum physical fitness requirements officers had to continue to meet. Surely. Oh well, he didn’t care. The training period was just six months. Then he would either be out on his own or partnered up with somebody long term. Someone of more modern habits he hoped. If he could just get through these six months. And was Carpenter still in there? How long did it take to pay for your shit and get out? Brinkley craned his neck to get a better look. Carpenter was doing something at the counter. It looked like he was putting coins into something. Was that a slot machine? For fuck’s sake.

* * *

Carpenter watched his quarter zigzag lazily through the water, buffeted by the rising air bubbles. It missed the shot glass by a wide margin. He considered breaking a dollar to try again, but thought better of it. It was time to go.

Well, maybe just four more. He pushed a dollar bill down the counter over to the clerk. Before he fed the first one in, he glanced up again at the security monitor mounted above the counter. The clerk couldn’t see it. It was strictly for customers to see. A deterrent. But Carpenter wondered if it was filming him putting quarters into this contraption. That wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

He divided his attention between watching his quarter saw through the water, and looking up at the monitor to see if he was being recorded. He saw the area outside the bathrooms, the pumps, the deserted back of the store, the coffee counter. Then he saw the view from directly overhead: It showed the cash register, the clerk, a handgun held at the clerk’s side, and, quite clearly, a girl lying on the floor at the clerk’s feet.

What he saw registered in Carpenter’s eyes. He knew that. He knew his eyes could have given him away. But what he didn’t know was if the clerk was watching him at the time. If the greaseball saw it register. Maybe, maybe not.

Carpenter sidled from the water tower back over to the register to indicate that he was ready to pay for his food. He grabbed a bag of Doritos from an impulse-purchase rack and added it to his bounty. Nonchalance personified.

“Quiet night?” he asked the guy. Easy breezy.

“Yeah. And I’m not complaining about it,” the guy said, playing his part just fine. And that made Carpenter believe that he would very likely make it out of here without having to draw his service revolver.

“I don’t blame you,” Carpenter said. “Not one bit.”

“Six-sixty-six,” said the clerk, but the register said five-eighty-eight. Carpenter didn’t call him on it, just pushed a ten-spot across the counter.

He gave some change back to Carpenter, who shoved it in his pocket without counting it because it probably wasn’t the right change anyway, and he just wanted out of there so he could call for backup.

Carpenter didn’t wait to be offered a bag. He took his coffee in one hand, Amy’s Organic Burrito and Doritos in the other, and turned to the door. Easy breezy beautiful.

Behind him, the clerk leaned forward over the counter and peered up to see what the cop had been looking at. His timing was much better than Carpenter’s. The monitor was displaying the clerk and the girl and the gun.

“Stop,” he said to the cop. No emotion in his voice. Calm. Easy breezy, some would even say.

Carpenter pretended not to hear. He pushed at the glass door. He was trying to push the door open with his hands full of food and hot coffee, when the normal thing would have been to turn around and push it open with his ass. But if he turned around, he couldn’t pretend not to hear the clerk.

“Goddamn it, I said stop.” Nothing easy and/or breezy about his tone now.

Carpenter stopped. He turned around to face the clerk. The clerk had his pistol pointed straight at the cop. Those synthetic polymer Glocks were all over Cameron County. A plastic plague. They were the Anti-Visa: Everywhere you didn’t want them to be.

“Christ,” was what the cop said.

The gunman said, “You should’ve thought about Christ before.” He pulled back and released the slide on the automatic. It was a single fluid yet crisp movement that put a live round in the chamber. It was a loud, attention-getting sound. Maybe not as attention-getting as a shotgun being racked, but it ranked right up there. It was a sound no cop ever wanted to hear.

“Do you know what it means to feel like God?”

Carpenter closed his eyes. He didn’t really want to see it coming. And it was coming. He knew that much. The guy was one of the crazies. One of the violent crazies. Do you know what it means to feel like God? What the fuck was that? It was crazy talk. Probably from some rock song. Probably playing on a continuous loop in the guy’s tweaked-out meth-burnt mind. Carpenter opened his eyes to face his fate, and there it was right on the guy’s t-shirt. A dreadlocked zombie, and the words do you know what it means to feel like God?

It was over. Everything was over. And the last thought that went through FTO Donovan Carpenter’s mind was that Jiffy Kwik didn’t even sell skin mags. They were a Christian organization—beer, wine, cigarettes, condoms, rolling papers, and lottery tickets were all A-okay, but dirty pictures were anathema. So the crazy brought the magazine with him when he came to rob the store. He brought porn to a robbery.

Below the counter, the real clerk saw that the gunman’s attention was with the cop and took a desperate chance. She lunged under the weight of his leg and managed to sit up enough to sink her teeth firmly into his calf. She bit down hard. Like she meant it. Like she was a cannibal and today was Thanksgiving.

The gunman screamed and kicked the girl viciously.

Carpenter saw that God had granted him a reprieve. And yes, it was true, he had let himself go to seed, gotten fat and lazy and stupid. All true. But in the end, he was a cop. He had a cop’s instincts. A warrior gone to pot, but still a warrior in his heart. One of the good guys.

This was Carpenter’s chance and he knew it. He didn’t know why the gunman was startled and distracted, he just knew this was his chance to walk out of here a hero. Or at least alive.

Before his cup of coffee could hit the floor, Carpenter had hit the release on his holster and drawn his revolver while starting the trigger through its double-action cycle like he had done so many times before in training. When he got a sight picture, he completed the trigger pull and the weapon discharged. All of this in less than a second. He is a cop.

But he wasn’t fast or accurate enough. The gunman fired at the same time as Carpenter. Carpenter’s bullet went wild, as it usually did when he tried to shoot too fast, and the water tower exploded in a geyser of liquid and glass shards.

The gunman’s bullet went wide, too, and the glass door behind Carpenter shattered.

* * *

Brinkley’s head snapped up at the sound of gunfire. His mouth gaped. And all he could think was ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod.

* * *

In a very stupid move, Carpenter looked back at the shattered glass behind him. He was stunned. In all his years of police work, he’d managed to avoid being shot at. Until now.

He turned back to the gunman who was as much in shock as Carpenter. Bits of glass stuck out of the man’s bleeding face, and to Carpenter it looked like porcupine quills or that guy from the horror movie with spikes all in his face. Pinhead.

The clerk’s gun dangled at his side. His first chance squandered, Carpenter realized he now had another one. He raised his weapon and took a shooter’s stance. Just as he was trained all those years and pounds and cigarettes ago.

He had the upper hand. Except that his foot slid out from under him in the spilled coffee on the floor. He was going down.

But before he did, the gunman raised his Glock and fired. The bullet pierced Carpenter’s badge and slammed into his chest. It was like being hit with a sledgehammer. But his vest stopped the bullet from penetrating to his heart. The blow knocked the big man down, and he landed on his ass. Carpenter held on to his weapon and raised it to fire again, but before he could get off another shot, the shooter’s next round found the Achilles’ heel of his Kevlar vest. The bullet hit under Carpenter’s raised right arm, went through his armpit, entered his thoracic cavity, and ripped through both lungs.

Black coffee and deep red pulmonary blood ran together on the floor.

* * *

Brinkley was out of the patrol car. He crouched behind the open door of the cruiser, his weapon drawn. He was screaming into the police radio, his voice cracking like a teenager’s, “11-99! Shots fired! Officer Down! Officer Down! We need assistance!”

* * *

Thus did Officer Donovan Carpenter—connoisseur of convenience store coffee, devotee of the cigarette, defender of the doughnut, advocate of the organic food movement, hobby gambler, and tolerator of pornography—known far and wide as The Builder—bleed out on the white tile floor of the Vista Canyon Jiffy Kwik in Cameron County, California.

Later, it would occur to Maddox Brinkley that he never got the chance to ask his partner why they called him The Builder. And even though he checked around later, he would never find out how Carpenter had earned that nickname, because no one else seemed to know either. Or so they claimed. Code of silence.

Copyright © 2015 Grant Jerkins and Jan Thomas.

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Grant Jerkins is the prize-winning author of A Very Simple Crime, At the End of the Road, and The Ninth Step. He lives in the Atlanta area with his wife and son.

Jan Thomas has worked as a firefighter/medic, a role-player at a police academy, a weekly humor columnist and a screenwriter. She lives in Northern California with her husband, a retired law-enforcement sniper, and their two St. Bernards. Done in One is her first novel.

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