{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Susan Woods Claridge would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Candy Shop

By Susan Woods Claridge All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Thriller

CHAPTER 1

It was close to midnight when Special Detective, Rocco Sterling, squealed the tires of his black Hummer, cutting across traffic and whipping into the strip mall parking lot. At the rear of the mall, he leapt from his vehicle and made a beeline for Lieutenant Barkley and Officer Peters who were standing alongside a rusted out dumpster.

“Is it what I think?” Rocco asked, pulling a small flashlight from the pocket of his black, pleated slacks, while stepping atop a milk crate and shining the light into the dumpster.

“Depends on what you’re thinking,” Lieutenant Barkley grunted, adjusting his belt and maneuvering his pants up and over his beer gut. Barkley was in his late fifties and both his physique and enthusiasm for the job had seen better days.

Peering into the dumpster, Rocco grimaced. Not again. It was exactly as he had feared. There lie an attractive African American woman with her throat slit, her left ring finger severed and a single flower pinned to the front of her shirt.

“Third one this month,” Lieutenant Barkley snorted. “So if you’re thinking we’re dealing with one sick, serial killing SOB, then it IS what you’re thinking.”

Rocco shook his head, narrowing his dark brows. “Who found the body?”

“Three kids who said they climbed into the dumpster, looking for donuts,” Barkley explained with a snort, as if the idea was inconceivable.

“I remember doing that. We used to call them Dumpster Donuts,” Office Peters interjected.

“That’s gross,” Barkley groaned.

“They’re still fresh,” Peters defended. “They just didn’t sell during business hours so as soon as they were thrown away we’d climb into the dumpster and retrieve ’em.”

“Yeah, well, you grew up in the ghetto,” Barkley sneered. “Out here in the suburbs we bought our donuts like every other upstanding citizen.”

Peters bit down on his lip. If he hadn’t been the new kid on the force he might have dropped Barkley right then and there.

Climbing down from the crate, Rocco shined the flashlight along the outside of the dumpster and across the pavement. “I want the entire area printed and a DNA analysis on everything you find,” he ordered.

“We’ve done that with every victim and every crime scene,” Lieutenant Barkley objected. “We’ve never been able to find anything other than a trace of Lye used to burn off all of the victim’s fingerprints. That is, except for the finger that’s missing. This killer is clean and careful.”

“Do it again,” Rocco demanded.

“But…”

“Do it again!” Rocco seethed, whirling around to face Lieutenant Barkley. “Are you going to be able to follow my orders or should I get someone else for this case?”

Officer Peters’ eyes widened as they maneuvered their way from Barkley to Rocco and back to Barkley. It was obvious that he had never witnessed Rocco’s rage firsthand, though he had certainly heard the stories. Rocco Sterling had a reputation that superseded all others. He was the best detective in the city; maybe even the country and he had yet to fail at solving a murder case. He was known for becoming so intensely involved in his work that he would occasionally lose touch with reality. “If you want to find a serial killer, you have to think and act like a serial killer,” Rocco gritted, taking a step closer to Barkley and leaning into his face. “You have to live and breathe like a serial killer. You get it?”

“Yeah, I got it.” Narrowing his eyes, Barkley raised his chin in a slight upward nod.

Rocco headed back to his Hummer in long strides. Stopping just before opening the driver’s door, he turned to Peters. “Oh, and I used to eat Dumpster Donuts too,” he said, shooting Barkley a sarcastic grin and then directing his attention back to Peters. “Bear Claws were my favorite. Finding a Bear Claw meant it was going to be a great evening.”

“Right on,” Peters blurted and nodded his head enthusiastically. “I was a Long John man, myself.”

Barkley sneered.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

M. Drewery: I did think I would be reading just another Atlantis archaeological adventure story when I came across this book. However I think it's fresh and very different to other approaches to the same historical mystery. The first chapter drew me in brilliantly. I'm not great at spotting technical writing...

Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

mindushree1402: It was really amazing.... I was not able to put it down..... just beyond awesome... no wonder writers do play with words... amazing storyline.... addictive too... I was so used to it that even when I'm not reading it story was continously streaming in my mind.... good job... I really liked that f...

Deleted User: (A review in progress). I like this. It's sparse, gritty and atmospheric - reminiscent of the classic Golden Age of American detective fiction of the Thirties. I've only read the beginning, but I'll definitely be back. This writer knows their stuff and has done their homework on detective work. T...

Atractivo Sumit: The story is an amazing blend of what we call natural, plain romance along with subtle emotions and interesting twists. The plot is so beautifully interwoven.

CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...

Tavis Ryan King: "What Happened to Charlie Carmine" is a fabulous mo-gee-toe cocktail fuelled midget orgy of psychology, fantasy and sarcasm. I laughed out loud when reading this novel so many times it made the London commuters I shared space with look at me with curious disdain - and I did not care.The protagoni...

smile4me: Exciting page turner. I was barely able to put it down to go to bed. I can usually figure out the twists before they are revealed but not this time! Such a thrill to be surprised. I can hardly wait for the follow up!!

nikole carr: After starting and stopping several books tonight, this book caught my attention from the very beginning and i stayed up until 6 a.m. to finish reading. The plot has many twists and the sexual scenes keep it interesting, too. im a florida native so the Caribbean location is fun to read about. th...

More Recommendations

Jordan Young: *ALERT FOR POSSIBLE SPOILERS* Where to start? I don't know how to sum up this review, this story was absolutely sensational. Brilliant. Flawless. I loved every single bit of this story, it is truly amazing. I read this story in fifteen hours, it is magnificent. I loved everything about it, the p...

Ali Albazaz: I started reading "Caged" few hours ago and I'm on chapter 7 now. Caged is definitely one of the most addictive stories I've ever read. Thank you so much for writing this novel.

Rachel Mc Donald: This was an awesome book a real page turner couldn't put it down . The characters all had a good back story . I love these kind of books and would read it if you decided to write a follow up book . Excellent work

NRF: I love this story, it has a little bit of everything in it, mystery, adventure, murder, innocence, love and a surprise twist that will leave you hungry for more! Great read! NRF

Althea Kerr: This is a tale that is all too familiar to South African readers having lived through a war era on our borders and beyond. It is obviously autobiographical as the mind under duress is so detailed and real. It has fantastic suspense if a bit disjointed - perhaps that is the fear and loneliness com...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.