posted on January 10, 2022 by Mike Krentz

“DEATH IS UNDERRATED”

So says the mysterious narrator of the prologue to my new thriller, ANGELS FALLING, which launches January 10, 2022.

The ritualistic murder of a Catholic archbishop scrambles the lives of Pete Sullivan, an ex-seminarian criminal profiler; Gabriel Valentine, a renegade priest cult leader; and Maria Santos, the former nun they both desired, now a forensic psychologist. Ruptured personalities engage in a tangled crime drama with religious, cultural, relationship, and familial conflict.

In the following excerpt, Pete and Maria find themselves assigned to the task force investigating the archbishop’s murder. They haven’t seen each other in over twenty years when they parted ways under black clouds of disgrace:

Maria looked at Pete, eyes wide, but said nothing.

Pete reached out a hand. “Long time no see.” He cringed inside at his triteness.

She left his hand hanging in the air, stepped away from the doorway, and turned down the hall. Pete fell into stride next to her. He reminded himself that she’d never known his past feelings for her.

After walking ten steps, she stopped and turned to him, her face a frozen mask. “When I saw you at the cathedral, I hoped I was mistaken.”

Conflicting emotions stormed inside him. Twenty-some years contracted to minutes. Maria looked the same as he remembered, and different. The beautiful girl-nun he’d cherished had become a mature, attractive professional.

“I must go.” She turned to walk toward an elevator.

“Wait.” The word had escaped his mouth without clearing his brain first. She slowed, hesitant. Pete caught up with her. “We should talk.”

Maria stopped and faced him. She swept a strand of black hair off her face, swallowed. “No need,” she said. “I won’t be on the task force.”

Pete’s heart jumped. “Why not?”

“They don’t need both of us. I have an active clinical practice . . .” Her words trailed off.

He tilted his head, squinted at her. “This case is so bizarre; the task force will benefit from both our expertise.”

She looked at the floor, shoulders slumped.

“Is that the real reason, or do you not want to work with me?”

She pursed her lips, looked at him askance, shrugged.

“Can we discuss it?”

Maria stared past him; forehead wrinkled then smooth. “Okay, but . . .”

Pete led her into the empty room. She left the door open. He turned to face her. At six-five, he was almost a foot taller, so he stepped back to not appear threatening. At the same instant, she took a step back.

Pete fumbled for words. “I’ve never heard you speak English.”

She looked away. “One of many things I had to learn.”

“You seem to have done all right since . . .”

“Thanks to a wealthy physician and his family that took me in as their own.” Her guarded eyes scrutinized him. “You seem okay.”

“Yeah. Long road back, but, you know, poco a poco.”

Maria looked past him, nodded. “De veras.”

They stood apart, neither speaking, neither moving.

. . .

Pete broke the silence. “How do we work together on this case?”

“Not sure we do.”

He tried a smile. “Don’t say the case doesn’t interest you.”

Her tone lightened; her eyes bright. “Like none other in my career.”

“What would it take to convince you to stay on it?”

Maria looked away. “I don’t know.”

“I get it. It will be a challenge, given our history.”

“So long ago. I’d gotten over it.” She gazed at him, eyes sincere. “The last couple of hours have been like a return to hell.”

“Yeah. For me too.”

She looked away.

Pete blurted the question foremost in his mind. “Gabriel?”

Her face clouded over. She shook her head. “Yes, Gabriel.”

“Did you see him that night?”

“Long story. Not for now. Probably for never.”

Another long silence. This time Maria broke it, posture at once erect, eyes making solid contact with his. She reached out her hand. “Okay. We work as a team, share information, coordinate input; and the past stays in the past.”

Pete shook her hand. “That works.” He smiled. “Thank you.”

They left the room and walked toward the elevator. Pete said, “I’ll see you at the autopsy?”

Maria did not hesitate. “Sure.” She preceded him into the elevator.

 

ANGELS FALLING is available in Kindle and paperback from Amazon.

Check out my interview in the January issue of “The Big Thrill” from International Thriller Writers.

One reader who comments will win a signed copy of ANGELS FALLING and a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card!

 

Mike Krentz

Mike Krentz

Mike Krentz writes medical suspense, psychological thrillers, and military fiction featuring complex characters. His medical suspense novel, DEAD ALREADY, transports the reader into the stressful environment of emergency medicine, where life battles death amid terrified screams, plaintive whimpers, and shouted orders; where fallible humans strive to postpone death, restore life, or eliminate misery. These would-be heroes sometimes fail. They suck it up and move on to quiet a frightened child, relieve pain, straighten a broken limb, repair a laceration, or reassure the worried well. What evil might lurk amid such chaos? His psychological thriller, ANGELS FALLING, is in press for publication by TouchPoint Press in late 2021. The ritualistic murder of a Catholic archbishop scrambles the lives of an ex-seminarian criminal profiler, a renegade priest cult leader, and the former nun they both desired. Shakespeare, Poe, and Donne add commentary. Mike’s MAHONEY & SQUIRE SERIES, under contract with TouchPoint Press, portrays the lives of servicemen and women, their challenges, and interactions; and their wounds—physical and emotional—that evolve into professional and personal conflicts more daunting than combat. Can essential human relationships survive such brutal demands on hearts and souls? Born and raised in Arizona, Mike earned a classical degree in English from the University of San Francisco, a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and a Master of Public Health Degree from Johns Hopkins University. Following a civilian career as an emergency physician, Mike rededicated his professional life to serve America’s Navy and Marine Corps heroes and their families, and to honor their sacrifices in defending our freedom and way of life. His last active-duty assignment was as 7th Fleet Surgeon on board the flagship, USS BLUE RIDGE. After retiring from the US Navy, Dr. Krentz continued his service as a consultant supporting the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center. Upon completion of that mission, he returned to his earliest life passion as a full-time writer.

https://mikejkrentz.com

Mike Krentz Contest

Mike Krentz is giving away a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card to one winner and signed advance copies of ANGELS FALLING to two additional winners.

Enter Here

5 thoughts on ““DEATH IS UNDERRATED””

  1. bn100 says:

    nice excerpt

  2. Colleen C. says:

    Wow this sounds really interesting!

  3. Carol Cox says:

    Wow! This is gonna be good!

  4. GB says:

    Very intriguing beginning, enjoyed reading the excerpt.

  5. Amber says:

    I’d like to read more…great giveaway and thank you for your service; you’ve achieved a lot!

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