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Friday, 29 May 2015

An Excerpt from Scarecrows and Devils by T.A. Chase

Hello everyone. I’m here to give you an excerpt from my newest release, Scarecrows and Devils. ☺ I loved writing about Detective Ace Castle and Dulles, the fallen angel who might become more than a friend. I hope you enjoy the sneak peek and go to check it out. ☺

T.A. Chase
Copyright 2015


I'm Detective Ace Castle and I call the streets of Detroit home.

She's a faded queen, my city. Once she wore the gaudiest jewels and the most expensive designs. Now it's as though those outer trappings of success and prosperity hang tattered around her. Her crown is tarnished and her reign weak.

My city struggles to survive. Every hour, she loses more of her spirit. Yet there are people who still believe in Detroit, who love this deposed ruler with all their hearts, and I am one.

The day I took my oath to "serve and protect" the citizens of Detroit, I did so knowing how dangerous this job I chose could be. I will admit I never understood how dangerous until I stood face-to-face with a true monster and it was kill or be killed.

You readers may think it strange that I never knew about the "things that go bump in the night." I thought what I heard were fairytales and legends. Stories to scare children into being good. I should've realized that there's a little bit of truth in every story, even the most outlandish tales.

"What are you always writing in that notebook of yours, Castle?"

I shut the book before turning to meet the curious gaze of my newest partner. At thirty-eight, I should've either been promoted to lieutenant or retired, but here I sit, the senior detective on the squad and the one who always got the rookies.

"Beamer," I say, then cough. My pack-a-day habit plays havoc with my voice. "What was the first thing I told you when we met?"

The kid squints as he tries to remember. "No asking stupid questions."

"Right, and that was a stupid question. If I wanted you to know what I was writing, I'd have let you read it."

"Castle, you caught a floater in the river down by the Joe," the desk sergeant yells from across the room.

Sighing, I stand and tuck my notebook away. "Come on, kid."

He wrinkles his nose. "I hate floaters," he mutters as he tugs on his jacket before catching the keys I toss him.

I do, too, but I'm not about to tell him. He needs to see me as invincible, cynical or immune to all the shit our crappy world throws at us. I get the exact location, and we head out.

"The Joe" is Joe Louis Arena, home to one of hockey's most storied franchises--the Detroit Red Wings. Those ice warriors have been giving the people of this city hope for eighty-nine years, and even when the team sucked, the fans still cheered them on.

This isn't our part of town. Beamer and I tend to keep track of the dead over on the South side, so there's only one reason we were called out on this one. The floater's not human--or has been killed by some non-human.

While I'm a senior detective in the DPD, my unit isn't the one getting commendations and medals. To be honest, we're usually shuffled to the basement of police headquarters and forgotten until something weird happens, then we're called out. I still haven't figured out what Beamer did to get sent to my unit. He's not saying, which is a question I ask him often enough when I want him to stop talking.

We work other cases. Hell, with the rate of homicides rising in the city, the police use every possible officer they can. But when it's weird or unusual, I get dragged out to investigate. All because my first case at the police department involved a man murdered by a demon. There's no going back to a normal life after you've seen a man torn apart with nothing left to identify him except for one finger to get a print from.

The other guys jokingly call my specialty the 77th precinct. I usually ignore them, but sometimes I tell them to fuck off. It's hard making a joke about my job after seeing what I've seen.

As we arrive at the crime scene, I climb out of our sedan and glance around. Sometimes the killer hangs around when the police show up. They get a kick out of seeing us chase our tails. I bump Beamer's shoulder as we meet at the front of the car.

"Have one of the crime techs take pictures of the crowd," I tell him.

"Yes, sir."

I roll my eyes, hating his rather patronizing tone. "When you're done, come find me."

Ignoring anything else he might have to say, I jerk the collar of my trench up around my neck. It's cold here as winter begins to take hold in the city. The destruction and desolate feel makes it feel chillier than it should. Urban decay is slowly taking over this once beautiful city, breaking my heart a little at a time.

I study the graffiti decorating the support beams for the overpass, deciphering which gang owns the section of the city where the body has been found. I would have to go question them. Wincing, I shake my head. Dragons. Hamilton Lee's gang and one of the most vicious in all of Detroit. He's human, but I wouldn't doubt he has a paranormal or two hiding out within his ranks.

We grew up together, and I turn a blind eye to what he's done. He's killed men, and I know that, but there's no proof, and I won't risk my career to go after him. Not when he has the police commissioner and some very important people in the mayor's office on his payroll.

I'd take Beamer with me when I go to chat with him. My partner needs to know who the players are in town, not that I expect him to have to make deals with any of them.

"Hey there, Castle. Got another weird one for you," one of the uniforms calls to me as I approach where a few of them are milling about.

There's a lump close to the edge of the riverbank. At least someone had the decency to cover up the dead. That's not always the case, especially if it's paranormal in nature. The humans in the area tend not to see them as creatures to respect.

I think if they were to ever see a werewolf in full moon madness or a demon in the grip of their vocation, they would fear them, which could lead to respecting them. Or at least worrying that if they didn't, the being would kill them.

I have no such concern. I treat every creature I run across the same. Total indifference. I don't care whether they are human or paranormal. Whether they're a wolf, a demon or a dragon. They have as much right to live in my city as I do, but if they cause trouble for this place that I love, then they will be treated to my complete focus and a lot of people don't like when I pay attention to them.

"Tell us what you have so far," I order as I get closer.

Most of my fellow officers in the DPD have no real love for me. Nor I for them. Yet where I differ from them--I would back them in any situation. If one of them needs me, I will be there. I'm pretty sure none of them have the same thought about me.

The senior officer, O'Grady, glares at me for a minute, but I don't blink. He knows I won't budge until he tells me everything, and if I don't move, he's stuck at the scene until I let him go.

O'Grady huffs, then says, "A homeless woman swears she saw a guy dressed in a yellow suit dump the body at around three o'clock this morning. Then apparently he disappeared."

The younger uniform snickers. "Crazy broad is probably doing coke or meth. The homelessness is getting out of control around here. We need to round them up and ship them somewhere else."

I strike as fast as a rattler, twisting my hand into the front of his starched uniform and yanking him off his feet. Glancing down to read his nametag, I snarl, "Samuelson, get your ass out of here, and I never want to see you working another one of my crime scenes. You entitled little fucker. It's only by the grace of whatever higher being you believe in, that you have a job and aren't on the streets like the rest of these unfortunates."

O'Grady grabs my arm in an attempt to get me to let go. I shake Samuelson once before shoving him away from me. "Both of you get your ungrateful asses out of here. Beamer and I can handle this."

"Gladly. You're a fucking loose cannon, Castle. One of these days, there won't be anyone around to save your ass," O'Grady warns before dragging Samuelson back toward their patrol car.

"Another shining example of how to win friends and influence people, I see," Beamer comments, as he joins me.

"Fuck off, Beamer," I mutter, about to crouch down to uncover the body.

He touches my arm, then lets his hand drop. "Why do you act that way? He was only saying what most people think."

I surge to my feet before strolling over to the edge of the river. I stare across it at the Canadian coastline, yet I'm not seeing it. I'm seeing my mother sleeping in an alley, wearing dirty ragged clothes. Her hair's stringy and unwashed. She smells like garbage. There's nothing I can do to convince her to come home with me. She's lost in her own world, and while it's not the world I want for her, it's one that makes her happy.

"He's never known what it's like to suffer a loss so big it breaks you," I mumble, not caring if Beamer can hear me or not. "Both of them have always lived in a middle-class neighborhood with working parents who can hold a job and love their kids. They don't know what it's like to see your father drink himself to death, then watch your mom go off the deep end."

"Castle," Beamer says.

I dip my shoulder, avoiding his touch. I hate thinking about her and my old life. I dragged myself out the gutter to try to be a better person than I used to be. It didn't always work, and if I'm not careful, I'll be following my father into that early grave, soused with alcohol and cigarettes.


Scarecrows and Devils by T.A. Chase is now available at Amber Allure.

If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all, and that's multiple chances to win!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Awesome excerpt. I can't wait to read this one as well.