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Close to Home

A brutal killer with a bloody sense of revenge terrorizes the affluent Chicago suburb of Ravensburg. First the well-scrubbed teenage "girl next door" is found dead, her corpse provocatively posed alongside a busy thoroughfare. The body count climbs as the town's young and handsome activist minister and his older, married, minivan-mom lover are found mutilated in her locked suburban home. Close to Home is a tour de force through the wholesome appearances and sordid realities of a town voted "the best place in America to raise a family." Emotionally battered PI and former profiler Jonathan Kraag must tie together cases hot and cold, racing to get inside a murderer's mind before the killer adds the town's children to his growing extended family of victims.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

T.A. Stone

    Head Writer for Crime Scene (www.crimescene.com) award-winning author and screenwriter T.A. (Todd) Stone is the author of the Digital Literature Institute Best of Fiction Winner and 2002 INDIE Mystery Winner CLOSE TO HOME, the NY Times Review of Books acclaimed military techno thriller KRIEGSPIEL, the war novel of today's heroes THE BEST DEFENSE, and a contributor to the best-selling ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING, THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE. His articles regularly appear on the web and in nationally known writers' magazines such as Writers Digest. His anticipated book on writing, NOVELISTS BOOT CAMP; 101 Ways to Take Your Fiction from Boring to Bestseller, is a Writers Digest Book Club Featured Selection. An avid motorcyclist, Stone is a former Army Ranger and military parachutist. He is a member of the Author's Guild, Mystery Writers of America, EPIC (the Electronically Published Internet Connection), the National Writers' Union, the Crime Writers' Guild, and is a graduate of his local Citizens Police Academy. He can be reached attoddwrites@yahoo.com


"Either he was born with a real gift, or he studied and worked so hard that you think he was born with a gift, or both. It doesn't matter. What matters is, the book is excellent by any standard I can come up with."

Michael LaRocca, author of Vigilante Justice

5 Daggers

"I loved everything about this book. The characters-especially John- the speed of the action, and the no-holds-barred investigation into a seemingly pristine small town which, underneath its slick veneer, is teeming with adulterous secrets, police departmental intrigue, and murder. I read this book without stopping; I literally could not put it down. I can't remember ever being this completely riveted by a murder mystery; my husband said the same thing. This book truly deserves all the accolades sure to be heaped upon it, and more. Watch for the name T. A. Stone. If anyone is destined for the NY Times bestseller list, this author is. "

Beth Anderson -- All About Murder Reviews

"Author Stone has done his forensic homework for Close to Home, and it shows. This intriguing and often surprising novel weaves elements of police procedurals, psychological thrillers, and the occasional hardboiled snappy patter to produce a satisfying, engrossing read. This isn't fluff, campers; there's substance between these covers. You'll put it down after the riveting climax and make a note to look for the next installment from T.A. Stone."

Richard Helms, author of the acclaimed Pat Gallegher series of hardboiled mysteries Joker Poker and Voodoo That You Do.

THE WOMAN he had chosen to die was washing her hair.

He waited for her just around the corner of the doorway that separated bath from bedroom, his back pressed against the wall.

She sang lightly to herself as she showered. He silently mocked her, mouthing the words, imagining what would come next.

This will be really cool.

The pipes creaked as she turned the water off. He heard the shower door slide open, then the soft swish of thick terry cloth rubbing on soft skin. He heard the electric roar of the blow dryer, smelled hot hair, tasted fear and anticipation and triumph.

This will be great.

The machine clicked off. Bare feet padded on the carpet. In his right hand he held a steel rod two feet long and five pounds in weight. He raised the bar, felt its grip, its size, and its balance.


She turned the corner. Her eyes grew wide with shock and fear. He grinned as terror arced across her face and froze her in place. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out.

He brought the rod down fast and hard.