katschleich would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Salvation Station

By katschleich All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Other


Three story lines come together at the climax of Salvation Station, delving into the themes of murder and revenge as well as religious faith and the inherent dangers in accepting religion blindly as truth. Linda Turner is the lead detective assigned to the case of the three homicides at the parsonage. When the case goes unsolved, obsession grips Linda in her desire to solve this haunting crime. In St. Louis, Ray Williams, a preacher on local cable, meets a mysterious woman in Susannah Baker, who initially appears to be the answers to his prayers to keeping his program on the air. Ruth Perkins, an elderly long-time follower of the program, trusts that the Reverend Ray may be able to save her only daughter Emma’s troubled marriage. As the months turn into years, Linda finally gets the break she’s needed from St. Louis detective, Malachi Johnson, investigating three homicides similar to the parsonage murders. Linda agrees to participate in an under-cover operation to solve the murders she can’t forget. The answers she finds reveal crimes more ruthless than she could have imagined and land her in Reverend Ray’s congregation befriending a murderer.

Chapter 1

Lincoln, NE Monday, May 13, 2002

University Place Disciples of Christ Church

Linda Turner had been a homicide detective over 10 years, but this crime scene was still a shock. “Half a dozen murders was considered a bad year,” she mused carrying a steaming Starbucks latte toward the scene. She remembered that the last time three dead bodies had turned up in the city, the deaths had been ruled a murder-suicide. But this was no murder-suicide. These bodies had been discovered through an innocent act: an inquisitive dog burrowing deep into the flower garden behind his new home and bringing its master a gruesome prize.

“Morning, John,” she said as the cop guarding the area raised the yellow plastic “Police Line - Do Not Cross” crime tape as she slipped through. “I hear the dog of the owner found the bodies.”

“Yeah, he’s new in town, the pastor of University Disciples of Christ Church,” John offered. “He made the 9-1-1 call.”

“Oh, the poor guy. What a welcome.”

This was all the information Detective Linda Turner had on this breezy May morning, the smell of freshly turned soil and blooming flowers mixed with a stench she knew all too well. Behind the neat, limestone house, the flower garden had been cordoned off, evidence flags and numbered photo markers dotted the soil with yellow. A crime scene photographer finished documenting the shocking scene, and the coroner directed forensic experts gingerly extracting human remains from beneath the black earth. Fragile from decomposition, body parts lay on blue plastic tarps spread over the grass, human jigsaw puzzles waiting to be solved. Even in their fetid state, Det. Turner recognized that two of the bodies were that of small children.

Linda turned away, her free hand covering her mouth. “They’re practically babies. Oh my God.”

It had happened before, but the horror of innocent children being murdered always had the same effect - Linda couldn’t stop until the depraved killer was found and convicted. She didn’t have any of her own – investing 110% into her police career, but was a favorite aunt. Linda saw the faces of her nieces and nephews, all under the age of ten.

The back door swung shut with a loud bang, snapping Linda into the here and now. A familiar figure strode towards her. Tall and lean, Captain Clyde Dale was a 30-year veteran of the force. In his gray felt Stetson with its bull rider brim and high crown, hand-tooled cowboy boots, fitted suit and tie, Clyde might have stepped out of another, more genteel era.

“Three bodies discovered so far. I was just about to you call you,” Clyde offered, meeting her just off the cement patio.

“Came as soon as I got the message,” Det. Turner replied with the slightest smile. Laconic was one of Clyde’s most endearing traits – there was never any doubt he’d get right to the point. “I see two of the bodies are small children. You can’t get much more heinous than this.”

“True. If it weren’t for the Rev. Martin’s very big and curious dog named Kris Kringle, it might have gone undetected. According to the Reverend, Kris is always dragging home road kill or what have you. This morning Kris took to digging in the flower garden and brought his master a human leg.” Clyde turned toward the house. “Rev. Martin followed his dog out here,” tracing the pastor’s path in one smooth motion ending at the garden, “where he discovered more human remains. At which point, he called 9-1-1.”

A strand had come loose from the ponytail securing her blonde hair and Linda casually brushed it aside. “Any idea yet who they might be?”

“That’s where it gets interesting or sickening,” Clyde replied. “Rev. Martin moved into the parsonage about eight weeks ago, replacing the former pastor named Gregory Hansen, who’d left to pursue missionary work in Africa. Rev. Hansen was married and had two children. After the Hansen family moved, the missionary national office contacted the church concerned the Hansens had never arrived.”

Linda glanced toward the skeletal remains and the growing mounds of dirt from the excavated garden. “Did the church contact us or file a missing person’s report?”

“I’ll know that when I get back to the station,” Clyde replied, following her gaze. “In the meantime, we can start interviewing persons of interest, and I’ve already got two for you. Rev. Martin is very willing to cooperate and has agreed to have our people search the house and take prints. It’s a long-shot, but we need every possible piece of evidence. Besides talking with him, I’d like you to speak with the church secretary. Her name’s Darlene Jordan, and she has asked to speak with investigators.”

Linda removed a small pad of paper and pen from her jacket pocket, scribbling notes as Clyde spoke. “What about the neighbors and church members?”

“Let’s start with Rev. Martin and the church staff, then move onto the neighbors and parishioners. Anyone from those groups that contact us will also be of interest.”

“Captain Dale? Sir, there’s a reporter from the Journal Star asking to speak with you.” It was John, the strapping young uniformed officer keeping bystanders away from the scene.

“I probably need to provide the press with a preliminary statement,” Clyde told Linda. “We haven’t seen a case involving the murder of children in quite a while, so it’ll merit extra attention. I’ll see you back at the station.” Always the gentleman, Clyde tipped his hat and with John at his heels, striding towards the front yard to meet the press.

Cases like this were one reason Linda Turner loved her job. Sifting through the clues of a tangled mystery, discovering which pieces fit and which led to a dead end, then assembling that evidence into a case to catch the perpetrator and bring them to justice were what had made law enforcement so enticing. The fact that two of three bodies buried in the backyard of an unsuspecting resident were little kids made Linda think this case might be one of the most intriguing, but heartbreaking journeys of her career.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

William Elliott Kern: Whew. one telling his story, in the Bar, to his friend, who questions some circumstances that need clarity, The Confusion comes from a man, carrying his dead friend Chappies, while conversing with himself, and Chappies, and his alter ego......a broken mind, not yet forgotten..........The Author ...

Dee: It’s been two years since Lilly lost her best friend to a vicious random shooting. Now, after a prestigious university extends her an offer of study, she has the chance to start afresh and leave all her demons behind. But the last thing she expects is to meet Elliot. He's a criminal. She's hasn'...

MrsHickey: It was good, would make a good teen/young adult novel

Its Ahmed: I'm 21 years old and in these 21 years this is the first time and the first book I've completed reading and I feel proud that my first book was a complete package the story was so interesting that I couldn't resist reading the book in late hours I finished it in 3-4 days... Can't wait to read oth...

AudreyInAshes: I think this book is a really great modern-age thriller. The idea of the drug and its symptoms were explained generously, and while I did really enjoy this I just want to add that there is some mild gore and the killing of a pet (sorry to spoil, but I like to be prepared.) It is very interesting,...

SeanSavage: Good plot that moves fairly quickly. Time passage somewhat vague. but not indecipherable. Very good syntax, grammar and punctuation. The story flowed very well, however, the breaks between chapters and the time jumps tended to be slightly confusing at first. I could see where the author was going...

More Recommendations

Ariel: First book from the Author I've read, and am extremely impressed and very much satisfied that this story was a short-story, yet, filled with great writing, fantastic characters, and all I'd like is more, please. Malice, she is my favorite!!

Mary Abigail: I have always been a serious reader but reading romance has always been an outlet for me to be happy and this, makes me happy. It's entertaining with just enough drama and maybe a bit more - I do need more.

NRF: This was a very interesting story line, although the author did not go far enough in explaining the war and why some received special powers and some didn't. I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more of this author's writing.

CC-Lemon: Just read the first chapter. Love how the main character thinks and is conflicted over his wife and the trickery he uses on her.

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.

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

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.