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Blood Runs Cold

Blood Runs Cold

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Main Tropes

  • Police Procedural
  • Chase Scene
  • Personal Connection
  • Conflicted Cop
  • Redemption Arc
  • Supernatural Elements


When a family member is brutally murdered, Lieutenant Jim DeLong must confront his past and risk his future to solve the case. But how far will he go to protect his estranged brother?

After a life-altering event, Lieutenant Jim DeLong has managed to put the pieces of his life back together, focusing on his work and family. But when he is called to the scene of a murder, he discovers the victim is his sister-in-law. His estranged brother’s return forces DeLong to face the painful memories he’d thought he’d buried years ago.

As DeLong navigates the murky waters of police procedure, he must also confront the secrets of his past. He’s determined to solve the case and make amends, but will his loyalty to his family prevent him from getting justice?

If you enjoy the thrill of a classic police procedural with a twist of psychological drama, then the Jim DeLong Mysteries are perfect for you.

Buy now to choose between family and the law.

Intro to Ch. 1

The sky was still murky from the heavy storm the night before, the dew lingering in the early morning air. The leaves on the trees sagged toward the ground, droplets of water rolling to the earth. The crisp spring air brought enough of a chill to require a light jacket. It seemed almost perfect for the occasion for which Lieutenant Jim DeLong parked his car.

He released an inward groan when his new dress shoes sank in a soft spot on the grass, then scraped off the mud as he stepped onto the concrete. He drew in a breath and pushed it out, letting the smoke from his cigarette evaporate into the air. DeLong tossed it onto the ground, thinking it was time he quit. Lately, his wife had been hounding him about it, and in all honesty, smoking was a nasty habit.

Surveying the premises, he noticed the police cars scattered in the area, lights glistening against the puddles.

One officer searched the inside of a mustard-yellow Kia, dusting for fingerprints. Another pulled a light blue dress with frills on the bottom from a Dillard’s bag. He made a comment that his daughter would love the dress. When he spotted DeLong nearby, he cleared his throat and returned the dress to the bag.

DeLong paid little attention to him as he noticed the caution tape blocking off the back of the building leading to the river.

He made a beeline in that direction, pushing through a small crowd of bystanders trying to see what was happening. A man was taking videos with his cell phone. As he neared, DeLong heard an officer request that he put the phone away. Reluctantly, the onlooker muttered something underneath his breath, slipped the phone into his pocket, and took a small step backward, frowning at his companion by his side. When the officer focused his attention on another onlooker, the young man retrieved his cell for more videos.

Slipping underneath the tape, DeLong scanned the area. To his left was an officer standing near the building’s entrance, speaking to a young couple. The woman’s breathing was erratic, her face white. Her long, dirty blonde hair clung to her skin and her velour outfit. The man kept his right arm wrapped around her waist, drawing her near to his chest as he responded to the officer’s questions.

“Hey, Jim.”

DeLong glanced sideways to see Jeffrey Newman, his lead Crime Scene Investigator, walking his way.

It had been a while since DeLong last saw Newman. His wife had given birth to a premature baby girl, so he had taken his leave to take care of his family. Three weeks ago, DeLong received a text that they were expecting a second baby.

“Jeff,” DeLong acknowledged, “how’s Christina and the baby doing?”

“They’re good,” Newman said, his expression stoic. “Her sister came into town a few days ago to help while I’m working. Christina’s worried about this pregnancy since we almost lost Sara during labor.”

“Sam’s available if you need anything,” DeLong offered.

Newman smiled. “Thanks. Remind me to show off photos later.”

The gleam in his eyes was unmistakable. DeLong was happy for his friend, but still envious. After months of trying and running tests, he and his wife realized a second child wouldn’t happen. He found it frustrating that a couple like the Newmans could try for so long to no avail, and then it happened back-to-back. And then there was Samantha, getting frustrated at her own infertility. As an only child, she wanted their daughter to have a brother or sister to enjoy.

But the doctors informed them last week it wouldn’t happen.

“What do we have?” DeLong forced himself out of his daydream.

“The couple over there,” Newman nodded toward the man and woman DeLong saw earlier, “were running along the trail. They spotted something in the water, went to check, and found the body.”

“Any ID?”

“No. No ID, no purse, no phone.”

“Could it have been a robbery gone wrong?” DeLong asked as they made their way to where the crime scene was sectioned off.

Newman sighed. “I don’t think so, Jim. You’ll see why.”

The body was discovered at the Augusta Canal, which was part of the Savannah Rapids Pavilion. Depending on the time of day, the trail circling the Savannah Rapids was busy.

The trees were full of luscious green leaves, the creek to the side, whispering, showing its white teeth as it powered against the rocks.

All-in-all, it was a peaceful area, and now murder only darkened it.

DeLong took notice of the building he’d walked by before meeting with Newman. Reporters had arrived, forcing their way through the crowd of bystanders. He was sure cameras were rolling, but the officers were doing well in keeping anyone from crossing the tape.

The building was out of view of where DeLong and Newman were heading. If anyone saw anything, then they were likely running or walking along the trail.

As they neared, DeLong observed the body of a woman lying in the water. She was roughly five foot six, wearing a black t-shirt. Her arms and legs had deep gashes and bruises. It appeared as though she had put up a good fight.

Her jeans were ripped, but DeLong wasn’t sure whether it was a fashion statement or a result of the struggle. Since she still wore her jeans, he assumed she wasn’t sexually assaulted, but he wouldn’t know for sure until the coroner performed the autopsy.

DeLong made his way toward the water and kneeled by the body, taking in the strong fragrance of sunflower and mud. She lay on the ground, her legs and arms askew, a red handkerchief placed over her face.

No, it likely wasn’t a robbery. If the murder was random, they wouldn’t have bothered covering her face. It was always possible the couple who found the body did. He made a mental note to find out.

Hand marks were visible on her arms, telling him someone had grabbed onto her tight. Her neck had discoloration as though her killer had strangled her.

After slipping on latex gloves, DeLong removed the cloth and found his victim’s head facing the dry land. Dried blood clung to her skin from a deep wound on the side of her head. He glanced around, wondering if the weapon remained at the scene.

He inspected the handkerchief, noting the gold flowers design and the words “love always.” With care, DeLong folded the handkerchief and placed it in an evidence bag.

During his time on the police force, he had seen many ways for a murderer to kill his victims. It always troubled DeLong, knowing human beings had such disrespect for life. A part of him thought he needed to get out of the game. But when he analyzed crime scenes, he wanted nothing more than to find justice for the victims.

DeLong brushed the wet blonde hair with care from the woman’s face.

He let out an angry curse.

He angled his head to the side, snapping his eyes shut, then forced himself to turn back with a daunting sigh.

Her too-familiar face was pale and bruised, almost to the point of being unrecognizable. Her eyes closed to the world.

“You know her?” Newman’s quiet concern was clear.

Pulling back, DeLong rose, finding himself unable to take his eyes away.

“Yeah,” he said, his voice dry. “I know her.”

Newman waited a few beats before he opened his mouth to speak. However, DeLong wasn’t in the mood for questions he didn’t want to answer. So he turned away and headed to where the witnesses stood.

As they walked toward the couple, the coroner went down the steps to retrieve the body.

The young woman had stopped crying, though her lips quivered and her eyes gleamed with tears. She still clung to her friend for support.

“I’m Lieutenant Jim DeLong,” he said. “Can you tell me what you saw?”

“We were running on the trail when we saw her.” The man’s face revealed no angst, yet his voice betrayed him.

“Do you come here often?”

He nodded. “Every morning, we run five miles.”

“Did you see anything or anyone out of the ordinary? Maybe someone seemed nervous, angry?”

“No. We didn’t see anything until we saw her.”

“Who spotted her first?” Newman asked.

“I-I did.” The woman’s voice was timid, her eyes hollow. “She was just laying there. So still.” She shivered and leaned in closer to her companion, who wrapped his arms tighter around her body. A small sob escaped her lips.

“Did you put this handkerchief over her face?” DeLong held the evidence bag for the couple to see.

“No,” they said in unison.

“Can we go now?” he asked. “I should get her home.”

DeLong nodded as he reached into his jacket pocket for his business card. “We’ll contact you if we have any more questions. In the meantime, if you need anything, or remember anything, call me. It doesn’t matter how big or small.”

As the couple walked away, one of Newman’s investigators called out from the wooded area.

“I think I’ve found something!”

DeLong and Newman jogged to where the investigator kneeled. Overgrown tree branches partially hid him. The investigator donned a pair of latex gloves and reached underneath a shrub for a large gray rock.

DeLong made his way over, Newman following close behind.

“Look at this. Could be a murder weapon.”

The rock was smooth and covered with a dried red substance. The investigator opened the kit he had placed next to him and pulled out the Luminol and a cotton swab. He rubbed the dark stain and dropped the clear liquid onto the swab. They watched as the color turned pink.

Next, the investigator dusted the rock and captured a partial print. After gathering all he could from the evidence he found, he packed it away.

DeLong looked around the canal, deep in thought. They still had to confirm the blood on the rock belonged to the victim, and a partial print wouldn’t reveal much. But, it seemed they already got lucky. Most other evidence would likely have been destroyed because of the heavy overnight rain.

As he glanced around the premises, DeLong felt a slight surge of hope amid his churning stomach.

Newman cleared his throat to get DeLong’s attention.

“You wanna tell me how you know the victim?”

A few heads bobbed their way, and DeLong motioned for Newman to follow him. What he wanted to say, he wanted to keep private.

Even though he’d eventually have to come forward and tell the whole story.

But until then, it’d be a secret among friends.

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