QSFer AJ Sherwood has a new MM gay/bi paranormal mystery in the “Jon’s Mysteries” series: Jon’s Spooky Corpse Conundrum.
I’ve investigated some pretty strange cases in my life, but I have to say this is a first. A corpse—a murder victim—has gone missing during the middle of an investigation, and no one has any clue where it went. Psy is called in to clear the investigative team, make sure they’re not an accomplice. It’s a four hour drive outside of Nashville, to a place famous for being haunted, so none of us are particularly eager to go.
And then we arrive on scene and I see who we’re dealing with and I want nothing more than to turn around and go right back to Nashville.
This case is complicated and strange, and absolutely nothing is as it seems at first glance. Even with my eyes, it’s going to take some digging to get to the truth.
The men’s locker rooms were nicer here than most places, so I chose to shower and get changed before going home. Skylar wanted to come over today and do some sort of software update. Sometimes that was code for ‘I don’t want to be home, I want to hang out with you guys,’ and sometimes it really was a software update. I’d see shortly which way the chips fell today.
As I waved bye to Garrett, my phone rang, and I answered it with a smile. “Mom, perfect timing. Got some news for you.”
“Oh?” my mother answered brightly. “I’ve got some for you too. I’ll go first. Your brother just got approached by the FBI.”
I stopped dead in my tracks and belly-laughed. “So they caught him after all?”
“I thought Jon was joking when he told us about that, but they really were serious, weren’t they?”
“Dead serious. I mean, it sounded like a joke, but they really were impressed with Brandon. Well, okay, hopefully he has fun switching careers. If he gets to work with the same team I just did, he’ll have great coworkers.”
“He’s really been at loose ends with his old job and not happy with it, so this is a good change regardless. What’s your news?”
“Garrett wants to buy the house.” I continued my trek down the hallways, heading for my truck outside.
“Don! Oh, I’m happy about that, I know he’ll take good care of the place. Why didn’t he say so earlier?”
“Said he missed his timing. But can you call the real estate agent and tell her we have a friend who wants to buy the house? So she doesn’t accept offers from anyone else.”
“I will. And I’ll call Garrett too. It’ll be nice having him close.”
Garrett’s relationship with his own family was a little strange. They loved each other but didn’t seem to care if they stayed in contact. They could go a full year without saying boo to each other. Garrett actually had a better relationship with my parents than his own. He spoke to both Dad and Mom at least once a week.
“I’ll let you two handle that. I’ve got a teenage girl heading to the house.”
“Skylar? She hangs out with you two often.”
“Yeah. Crap’s been happening at school and she escapes the drama by hanging out with us. Which is fine, she’s a cool kid.” My phone rang again in my hand, that beep beepof another incoming call, and I pulled it away from my face to look at the screen. Jim. If Jim was calling me on a Friday morning, odds were something had gone wrong somewhere. “Mom, boss is calling me. Gotta let you go.”
“Sure. I’ll talk to you later.”
She hung up and I instantly accepted Jim’s call, pausing just outside the main doors to the rec center. It was a bit cooler now with the mid-October weather, and I enjoyed the light breeze that washed over my skin. “Hey, Jim. Tell me something good.”
“How about something weird?”He sounded both amused and intrigued.
“Hey, I’m good with weird too. What’s happened?”
“There’s been a murder in Sevierville. You know where that is?”
“Uh…east of Knoxville, I think?”
“You’re correct. About four hours from here. Anyway, the home owner died in his own bed, in a very famous haunted mansion.”
Chills raced up and down my nerves, goosebumps raising along my arms. I hated anything supernatural. I did not do ghosts. “I see where you’re going with this, and I’m not a ghost hunter.”
“None of us are. I don’t think the ghost did it, and that’s not why we’re being called in. The corpse has disappeared.”
I blinked, staring up at the bright sunny day overhead, which was the least likely weather for a ghost story. We weren’t close enough to Halloween for this crap either. “Wait. What do you mean the corpse disappeared?”
“I mean exactly that. I’m not clear on the details, but apparently only the victim’s daughter and people from the police department were in the house. They left the room for a minute, came back in, and presto!No body. They’ve torn the house apart looking for it, and still no idea. Now it looks like someone there absconded with it, and they can’t continue the investigation until everyone’s cleared.”
This made more sense now. “And they’re calling us in to prove who’s guilty and innocent, is that it?”
“That, and help them find the corpse. Every psychic closer to their neck of the woods is apparently unavailable. I was the seventh person the poor captain called, and he’s pretty desperate to get us over there and get the ball rolling.”
“Yeah, I bet. Okay, I assume we need to go there now?”
“You assume correctly. And pack a bag. We’ll need to stay there for at least two days.”
Four-hour trip there, work the case, stay overnight. And that was if we could clear things up quickly, which…yeah, I wouldn’t bet on that. Cases were never open and shut, not when we were involved. “Okay. I’m not at home, but I’ll swing by and grab Jon. We’ll be on our way in the next half hour. Text me the address of where we need to go.”
“Will do. You’ll probably beat us there. We need to grab the camera and other things. And I haven’t managed to reach Carol yet.”
“Copy that. We’ll see you there.” I hung up and immediately called Jon. It would be best to give him a head’s up, as I was still fifteen minutes out. He answered on the third ring. “Hey, babe? We got a job.”
“Today?”he protested in a near whine. “Come on, we’ve worked ten days straight! I had plans for you!”
“Well, now I’m upset. Fun plans?”
“I wouldn’t be upset if they were of the non-fun variety. So what’s happened this time?”
“We got a spooky corpse conundrum in Sevierville. And babe, I gotta tell you, this is one case I am NOT looking forward to.”
AJ Sherwood believes in happily ever afters, magic, dragons, good men, and dark chocolate. She often dreams at night of delectable men doing sexy things with each other. In between writing multiple books (often at the same time) she pets her cats, plays with her dogs, and attempts insane things like aerial yoga.
She currently resides in Tennessee with aforementioned cats, dogs, and her editor/best friend/sister/partner in crime.