Welcome to the Kindle Dark Thrillers promotion, with 39 mystery, crime, suspense, and detective novels from our friends at BookFunnel and their authors.

Two FREE books, including my own THE TROUBLE, are both featured in this newsletter.

If you like cerebral detective novels that feature history, science, and super smart characters -- on both sides of the law -- you'll love THE TROUBLE. It is  free thru Thursday.


Roman Catholic priest Brenden Wryth has committed crimes against children again and again, devastating lives and slipping through the hands of police and prosecutors in two countries for over a decade!

But how?

Police in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, desperate to uncover Wryth's secrets, suspect accomplices, people in high places and low, helping this elusive man of the cloth evade justice.

But who is helping him?  And why would they do such a thing?

Only Fr. Wryth has ever known the answers to these questions. But now, someone else knows, too. And they're using religious history's most gruesome tortures to punish the people behind Wryth's terrible secrets. 

NON-FICTION NOTE: Wryth is based on real-life serial child molester Fr. Brendan Smyth. Click the link to read about him.

Here are some excerpts from The Trouble, which follows An Garda Siochana homicide detective Adam Kincaid and Catholic nun/forensic psychologist Jane Grey as they try to catch two serial offenders in two countries, one consumed with a bloody civil war known as the Troubles. Click the links for non-fiction historical notes.

Crucified like St. Andrew

Kincaid's first encounter with the All Saints Slayer, also known as the Crucifix Killer, occurred on a foggy morning in St. Patrick’s Park, about one hundred yards from the Church of Ireland’s cathedral. The year was 1968, the sun was rising, and Kincaid was a uniformed garda pursuing a single-minded quest, to one day join the Central Detective Unit, or CDU.

Up and down ladders, he and another garda lowered the X-shaped wooden cross, careful to keep the body from slipping through leather straps that bound the man’s wrists and ankles to each rigid arm.  

Crucified like St. Peter

“These wounds are pretty precise,” McDermott said. “Which is saying something with a scene this . . . elaborate.”

Kincaid looked at the victim’s left wrist and palm, below eye level in this upside-down configuration. “Nails?” he mused.

Tense moments between Northern Ireland and Irish Republic cops

“There’s already too much talk,” Constable Brugha said. “A garda, here.”

“A garda who tried to save my brother’s life,” Mattie said.

“Not meaning any disrespect to Sergeant O’Connell.” Brugha stared at Mattie, then at Kincaid. “But I’ve talked, too.”

“What do you mean, you’ve talked too?” Mattie asked.

“Just what I said,” Brugha explained. “We, none of us, has liked it much.”

A cold gripped Kincaid, a cold of vulnerability, an old feeling. “It doesn’t matter,” Kincaid said. “I’m fine here.”

“I’d expect it of some in our town,” Mattie said. “But not from you, Iain. Kevin—?”

“Sergeant O’Connell knew,” Brugha said. “He talked, too.” He looked at Kincaid. “I’m sorry, Inspector. But our countries are separate for a reason.”


Hints of a motive

“Father Kyle? He knew the child well. She danced at the seminary, for the retired priests, joined them for novenas to the Blessed Mother. Rode in the van to youth club outings now and again.”

“So he’s a pedophile?”

“Wouldn’t be the first. Brenden Wryth scandal hasn’t been outta the news.”

Navigating civil war

SISTER GREY DROVE THE cramped Ford Zephyr with her eyes up and her head down, lowered reflexively when the first helicopter buzzed overhead.

“You’re getting into the routine of things,” Kincaid said.

“And you’re not crouching low enough,” she said.

She raised her head when they approached a checkpoint, where a British soldier stuck his nose in the car demanding their business and any papers they might have to support it.


Variations on, “A garda? Here? Why?” were the most common questions Kincaid answered, some delivered with more seething than others.

“I lay in bed, hearing bombs or bullets somewhere,” Grey said as they continued onward. “The other sisters count them like sheep. The first question at breakfast repeats like the machine guns. ‘Who did we know was killed last night?’ They always know someone.”

Terror strikes a murder victim's funeral

Kincaid bowed his head but raised it when he saw Constable Mich Doherty out the corner of his eyes dabbing tears beneath her veil.

Behind her, up the damp dirt road along the greening hedge and the budding trees and the gradually-verdant valley, Kincaid saw men stepping out of a dull white van, boots, green sweaters, and camouflage, moving in a slow-motion trance.

He watched them go around the van, then saw the first barrel emerge.

He gasped to Doherty, “guns” and felt himself ramming O’Connell against the shoulder. “Guns,” he yelled, and saw the men running, boots stamping the ground as he ran from person to person gasping, not screaming.

“Go, go, go. Guns. They have guns.”

The bullets cut down first a violinist, then a neighbor, then another neighbor. Bullets hit the ground low and flew up and burst the cello as though a grenade had exploded from inside.

People ran toward the house and O’Connell had his sidearm in both hands and was firing but Kincaid saw him fall. Mich Doherty’s head flew back as she spun around into a row of tall plantings near the house.

Kincaid was not armed that day.

The men were upon them now, shrouded in black ski masks, machine guns and pistols ripping the air, gunfire filling Kincaid’s nostrils with that smell, that firing-range smell, burning, sharp, unforgettable.

He grabbed Mich by both arms and dragged her around the house. He felt a sharp sting, another sharp sting, before he dropped. Through a haze of blood, smoke, and fire, he saw the white van spin mud and gravel and speed away.

He crawled over bodies, one man screaming in a way Kincaid had never heard, a woman’s strained puffs grasping air. He felt a hand grab his wrist. The cellist’s hand was cold but her gaze peaceful. Her grip relaxed and her gaze became a stare.

Big Clue: Ireland's Long Room starring as England's Westminster Hall

“Westminster Hall. Seat of English law. Site of many famous state trials where its vast size accommodated spectators. Sir Thomas More sentenced to death here for opposing Protestant Reformation and King Henry VIII supremacy over Church of England. Other notables sentenced at Westminster include Guy Fawkes for the “Gunpowder Plot”; Oliver Plunkett for the “Popish Plot”; King Charles I, for High Treason. The sentences often ended in gruesome executions.”

Kincaid stared at that last phrase. And another following it: “Westminster Hall is without a doubt the most solemn spot in all England.” – Sir Charles Oman.

He turned to panoramic pictures of the Hall’s “magnificent hammer-beam roof, the largest medieval timber roof in Northern Europe.” It was an “architectural masterpiece” commissioned by Richard II almost six hundred years ago.  “Giant oak beams supported by gargantuan buttresses span the hall eighteen metres, or sixty feet across. Wooden arches atop the beams hold the arched roof . . . The effect is one long room with not a single pillar in the center.”

Kincaid stared at the arched ceiling and the architectural drawings that conceived it.

One long room.

The somber wood, the darkness gazing from the floor. Twenty six oak angels held each beam upon their wings, and Richard II’s coat of arms in their hands.

One Long room. The detective looked at the light entering the front door and the windows above it. He closed the book, set it aside, and lay back, staring at the ceiling. He picked up his sketch pad.

One Long Room.

He called Sr. Grey after he finished the sketch.

Beheaded like Thomas More

“SIR THOMAS MORE, LAYMAN and philosopher.” Sr. Grey sat next to Kincaid’s hospital room bed, reading from an encyclopedia. “Sentenced at Westminster Hall. Here’s where it gets interesting.” She looked at the detective. “Still with me?”

“Get back in the saddle,” Kincaid said. “Isn’t that what the Americans say?”

“Right back,” she agreed.

“What if the horse won’t let you?”

“What if Hogan had said that?”

Kincaid wrinkled his eyebrows.

Two Mules for Sister Sara. But they were really donkeys.” Grey smiled. “I am a huge Clint Eastwood fan.”

“Haven’t seen it, I’m afraid. American films—”

“You remind me of Hogan,” she said. “He saves a nun from bad men and they side with the revolutionaries in a strange land.”

“And the nun falls in love with him?”

“That would spoil the story.”


Kincaid injured again, a convent bombed

Kincaid looked down at desk drawers, went to open one. A hurricane of glass, splinters, and plaster roared through the hallway.

The shock wave threw him out of his chair. He landed on the floor near Nic Cionnaith’s desk, as a fire alarm blared and stinging, burning dust fogged the air. The blast must have deafened him because he couldn’t hear and he was too disoriented to know why his leg was in newly-agonizing pain.

He pushed himself up on his forearms and struggled to crawl beneath the desk. Coughing, choking, gasping, Kincaid pulled a coiled cord and a handset flew off when the heavy telephone hit the floor with a loud clang. Kincaid dragged the phone toward him, pressed a plunger, heard a dial tone. He had no idea what he was calling in.


If you have read THE TROUBLE, perhaps via BookFunnel or StoryOrigin, please do leave a rating, review, or both on its Amazon page.  Ratings and reviews are the life blood of indie book sales; they do most of the heavy lifting yesterday's book and literary critics once handled, and they mean a lot to authors and readers.


The Trouble

‍Andi Drake is trying to figure her life out after a rough divorce when a stranger makes her an offer she can't refuse. She takes the job for the paycheck, but quickly falls in love with the vindication. The case's success catapults her into a business she didn't even know there was a need for.

With the help of her unlikely hacker acquaintance, the Dallas metro's rich unfaithful don't stand a chance.

Meet Andi at the beginning of her career with the case that started it all.





Thank you so much for reading!

Until next time,

Michael Martin
Visit my Amazon Page

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