Books by "J.S. Cook" (20)

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They say you shouldn’t meet trouble halfway, but Inspector Danny Quirke never has to worry about that. Trouble always finds him.

When a house fire rocks his small town of Kildevil Cove, Danny’s inquiries into the house’s mysterious inhabitants prompt the dispatch of Inspecteur Blaise Pascal from Quebec.

Pascal arrives in perpetual ill humor, but he’s an expert on this particular family. If anyone can determine whether this is a missing persons case or something more sinister, it’s Pascal. 

Pity he doesn’t want to share.

Danny’s cop instincts say Pascal’s secrets are the key to solving this case. But before he can untangle that mystery, a local fishing trawler hauls up a dead body, and a murder victim is found eviscerated on his bed, a grisly message painted on the wall in his own blood. Are these deaths related to the house fire? Who is the message for? And can Danny find the culprit before they carry out the last act of their sinister plan?

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Dark Souls

Kildevil Cove Murder Mysteries | Book Four

There’s trouble brewing in the cold waters of Kildevil Cove, and this time Danny Quirke may be hard put to stop it.

Due to his suspected association with his former boss’s human trafficking organization, Danny has been demoted and is no longer in charge. To make matters worse, he’s broken up with his partner, Tadhg... who may be in serious hot water himself. But then a faceless killer begins targeting Kildevil Cove’s most vulnerable, and Danny can’t refuse when his new boss asks him to take the case.

When Danny pulls a hypothermic young woman out of a small boat in the middle of a blizzard, she whispers a cryptic phrase about a man with no face. But who is he? What is his connection to the murders? And how is Danny going to solve the mystery while he’s the subject of an investigation that could end his career?

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Dark Tide

Kildevil Cove Murder Mysteries | Book Three

A Kildevil Cove Murder Mystery

They say it never rains but it pours. Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Inspector Danny Quirke would have to agree.

First someone murders a vulnerable Kildevil Cove man and dumps him in an abandoned well. Then the body of a sex-trafficking victim washes up on a nearby beach. Danny has to get to the bottom of both deaths, but with few leads and little support from his superiors, he’s spinning his wheels in a mud pit of a case. Vital resources go missing, witnesses disappear, and suspects proliferate.

Each step toward the truth brings him two steps back. Help comes in the form of Scottish investigator Martin Belshawe, but he may not be who he says he is, and someone in the highest echelons of the Newfoundland Constabulary is lying to Danny. Even Danny’s lover, Tadhg Heaney, whom he looks to for emotional support, seems to know more than he should about the shady characters who keep popping up in the investigation.

With time running out, Danny must decide who, if anyone, he can trust—before the sex traffickers claim their next victims. But on an island, there's no escaping the tide.

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Dark Mire

Kildevil Cove Murder Mysteries | Book Two

A Kildevil Cove Murder Mystery

You never know what trouble will rise from the bog.

When the body of an unidentified woman is found in a Newfoundland bog, Inspector Danny Quirke must scramble his team of investigators to find her killer. But what initially seems like a straightforward case soon becomes mired in a tangled web of lies and deliberate obfuscation.

With the strange mutilation of the body—one eye gouged out completely—evidence seems to lead to a fringe religious group with bizarre beliefs. But while the pathologist indicates mushroom poisoning as the cause of death, Danny thinks circumstances point to something more sinister—especially when he begins to receive anonymous messages with links to horrific pictures of damaged human eyes.

Three more bodies join the first, with seemingly nothing to link them but a little girl in a yellow party dress who flits in and out of the mystery like a creature from the old legends. Then an old friend from his childhood reappears, and Danny is forced to confront uncomfortable truths about his own nearest and dearest.

On an island, everyone is a suspect…

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Dark Water

Kildevil Cove Murder Mysteries | Book One

A Kildevil Cove Murder Mystery

They say trouble comes in threes. Detective Danny Quirke is already mourning his wife and mired in an internal investigation that will likely spell the end of his career. Now he must return to the Newfoundland fishing village of his youth to bury his abusive grandfather. At least his three are up. Right?

Then the bones of local boy Llewellyn Single, drowned thirty years before, wash up on the beach, and secrets Danny thought were buried forever rise violently to the surface. Only two people know what really happened: Danny Quirke and his former best friend, millionaire Tadhg Heaney.

Danny and Tadhg have been bitter enemies for years. But when Danny is accused of Llewellyn’s murder, he needs Tadhg’s help exposing the truth—before those who believe he is responsible get their revenge.

After all, on an island, nothing stays secret forever….

 

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press as Wind and Dark Water, March 2020.

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Durant  l’hiver glacial de 1891, alors que la nation est encore sous le choc de la crise bancaire de Baring, l’inspecteur Philemon Raft revient d’un congé sabbatique involontaire, et se retrouve chargé de résoudre l’enlèvement de Miriam Dewberry, une jeune fille de bonne famille. Projeté dans un milieu sordide où les classes supérieures se livrent à des investissements honteux, de l’autre côté de l’océan, pour engraisser leur compte en banque, Raft se retrouve perdu sans son compagnon, le constable Freddie Crook. Loin d’offrir son aide, l’élite cherche à tout prix à empêcher Raft de découvrir la vérité au sujet de la malheureuse victime de cet enlèvement, Miriam Dewberry… qui n’existe peut-être même pas.

Bientôt, Raft découvre que son vieil ennemi, le maître de l’hospice, John Gallant, est de retour à Londres. Gallant n’a pas avoué ses ambitions, mais il en sait assez pour ruiner la carrière de Raft, et peut-être même sa vie. Raft tente de résoudre cette affaire grâce à sa perspicacité habituelle et étrange, mais d’autres forces plus sombres sont à l’œuvre. Londres est encore terrifiée : c’est le Londres de Whitechapel, de Jack l’Éventreur, le Londres de la pauvreté, de la saleté et du désespoir, où s’engager dans la mauvaise allée pourrait envoyer Raft tout droit à la morgue.

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Enjoy J.S. Cook’s best mysteries, with a side of lust and romance, in this collection. In But Not for Me, gangster boss Nino Moretti rescues beautiful mob accountant Stanley Zadwadzki from a rival, but the consequences may cost them any chance at a relationship. In A Little Night Murder, insurance investigator Frank Boyle may have escaped from danger once with help from detective Sam Lipinski, but a new investigation is turning up trouble once again. In Come to Dust, Inspector Philemon Raft is set adrift among the deceitful ton of turn-of-the-century London, trying to locate the kidnapped Miriam Dewberry. In The Lovely Beast, Jacob van Willingen is on a mission to exterminate the evil Caleb Donnithorn, but things aren’t quite what they seem to be at this Romanian castle. In Skid Row Serenade, novelist and war hero Tony Leonard visits his estranged wife only to find her beaten to death. On the run, he decides to fake his own death, with a little help from private investigator Edwin Malloy.

 

See excerpt for individual blurbs.

But Not for Me previously published by Dreamspinner Press, March 2013 Cover Art by Aaron Anderson aaronbydesign55@gmail.com A Little Night Murder previously published by Dreamspinner Press, September 2013 Cover Art by Catt Ford Come to Dust previously published by Dreamspinner Press, November 2013 Cover Art by Maria Fanning The Lovely Beast previously published by Dreamspinner Press, July 2014 Cover Art by L.C. Chase http://www.lcchase.com Skid Row Serenade previously published by Dreamspinner Press, August 2015 Cover Art by Aaron Anderson aaronbydesign55@gmail.com

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Billionaire inventor Chase Gordon has just turned forty—and everything in his ordered little world is going to hell in an Hermès bag. His acerbic English butler Juliet Lavish has decided to retire. The humanitarian church founded by his late parents has suddenly gone broke. In Honduras. In the middle of the jungle. Lastly, NYPD detective Brian Schrade wants to use Chase’s palatial mansion to hide Walter Godfrey, a newspaper reporter who might know something about a recent rash of mob-related business deals. Part of the deal is the conniving, misanthropic Alec Pratt, son of a local newspaper mogul and unapologetic police informant who just might have a teensy-weensy crush on Brian Schrade.

But Walter isn’t safe, not at Chase’s residence or anywhere else. His too-frequent forays into the city—against Brian Schrade’s advice—make him a target, and his strong attraction to Chase Gordon is setting him up for some serious heartbreak. When Chase goes to Honduras to investigate the state of his family’s failing fortunes, there's more trouble: Chase has been set up for kidnapping.

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When Feldwebel Horst Stussel is murdered in Jake Plenty’s Moroccan brothel, local police chief Nicolas Renard suspects Jake’s involvement in the crime. Renard has loved Jake since their service in the Legion Etrangère during the Great War, but in this era of concentration camps, gas chambers, and the infamous pink triangle, his love for the American dare not speak its name. 

When sadistic Nazi officer Major Danzig, a fanatic who excels at the arts of torture and interrogation, comes to Maarif, it isn’t because of the Feldwebel. He is in search of Christophe Picard, Resistance leader and Jake’s former lover. Danzig will stop at nothing to uncover Picard’s whereabouts, to find him and destroy him, and in so doing, strike a fatal blow against everything Picard stands for.

With an Allied invasion of North Africa mere days away, Jake and Renard must combine their wits, cunning, and courage to help Picard escape to America and freedom. In the midst of war and struggle, the two men are drawn into the fight of the century—and each other’s arms. 

2nd Edition
First Edition published by ManLove Romance Press, 2009.

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In the tradition of novel noir, nothing is ever quite as it seems.

Novelist and war hero Tony Leonard sees private investigator Edwin Malory being mugged outside a seaman’s mission in downtown Los Angeles, so he takes him home and gives him clean clothes and access to a hot shower. It doesn’t take him long to discover Malory was hired by wealthy industrialist Linton Vanderbilt Stirling, the father of Tony’s estranged wife, Janet. The reason for this is simple: Tony’s father-in-law suspects him of drinking away his daughter’s personal fortune.

On a whim, Tony drops in on Janet one night and finds her naked, dead, and tied up, her skull beaten in. Horrified, Tony flees the scene, knowing that as her husband, he is the number one suspect in the killing. He sees only one way out. He needs to fake his own death.

And who better to send his “suicide note” to than Edwin Malory.

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Oasis of Night

Heartache Café | Books One and Two

Heartache Café: Books One and Two

The Second World War touches Newfoundland in unprecedented ways, throwing spies and patriots together inside Jack Stolyes’s Heartache Café.

Heartache Café

American expatriate Jack Stoyles embarks on a self-imposed exile to St. John’s, Newfoundland. With good reason, Jack calls his place “Heartache Café.” He's content—until Samual Halim walks into his life.

When a constable goes missing, Jack finds himself caught between a manipulative woman, a corrupt cop, and a sabotaged work site.

Valley of the Dead

When Egyptian diplomat Samuel Halim enters Jack’s Heartache Café, Jack’s life changes forever. Then Sam disappears along with the code key to decipher a Nazi radio command that will set Rommel’s troops in motion, leaving Jack with nothing but a fragmented phone call.

In the teeming heat of Cairo—a city rife with romance, secrets, sex, and danger, where no one is who he seems and violent death waits around every shadowed corner—it’s up to Jack to find the new love of his life and deliver the code that will change the course of history. But as Sam’s secrets come to light, there’s more at stake than the tenuous relationship forming between the two men.

2nd Edition
First Edition of Valley of the Dead published by Dreamspinner Press, 2013. First Edition of Heartache Café published by MLR Press, 2009.

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South Carolina lawyer Calvin Amos is confident he can gain Thomas Basinger his freedom on appeal. Thom was convicted of a murder during an armed robbery gone bad. But Basinger’s case proves more difficult than Cal anticipated, and the battle he assumed he’d win turns into a devastating failure. Remorseful over the personal defeat, after Basinger is executed, Cal throws himself out of his office window.

Bizarrely, the fall doesn’t kill him. Even stranger, Thom Basinger rings Cal’s doorbell looking for a job. Both men are drawn to each other. Before long, the two forge a unique, heartfelt connection that transcends the boundaries of life and death.

Calvin Amos always imagined himself in possession of some great love or other. He didn’t know he had to die to find it.

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The year is 1934, and disgraced federal agent Nathan Devereaux is escorting convicted felon John Banks to visit his dying mother. Banks is despondent, miserably ill with a heavy cold, and unenthusiastic about traveling by plane. It isn't a responsibility Devereaux wants, but something about the prisoner’s plight resonates with him.

Devereaux charters a plane to Wisconsin, hoping to get there before Banks's mother breathes her last. But a routine journey swiftly turns into a sojourn in hell when a violent winter storm forces the plane miles off course, and Banks’s seemingly bad cold turns out to be diphtheria.

Stranded many miles from the destination, Devereaux must find a way to save Banks's life without compromising the mission. Like Banks, Devereaux has secrets of his own, and the scope and purpose of his mission don't quite square with the stories he tells. Making matters worse, he is the only one standing between Banks and certain death, but even a federal agent can do only so much—especially an agent with blood on his hands.

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When former Indiana farm boy William Henry Rider goes on a bank robbing spree in Benedict Fouts's corner of Depression Era Illinois, it's up to Ben to bring him in. But Rider is no ordinary criminal. Famed for robberies that happen in the blink of an eye, Rider becomes a folk hero who steals from the rich and burns the mortgage papers of poor farmers teetering on the edge of financial ruin.

Intrigued to learn that Fouts has been assigned to his case, Rider approaches him in a darkened movie house with a unique proposition: “We’ll have ourselves a game of Cops and Robbers. I’ll run, and you catch me. The clock starts right now, Ben.”

Ben knows he’s the only one who can stop the Bureau from murdering Rider, but he’s soon struggling with another reason to chase the enigmatic fugitive.

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Veteran police chief Eli Gallagher doesn’t ask for much, but he does insist that his officers uphold the “serve” part of “serve and protect.” Conscientious young Deputy Stan Leach takes Eli’s motto to heart, maintaining a high standard of personal accountability.

When Eli’s long-distance boyfriend, Gilbert Nees, telephones from Philadelphia, Eli thinks he intends to further cement their relationship. Unfortunately, Gilbert’s news is anything but good. But Eli doesn’t have time to wallow, because a violent act results in murder in the small town of Morristown, Mississippi.

But as Eli and Stan uncover evidence, their personal lives begin to unravel. Stan, working closely with Chief Gallagher, grows increasingly attached to Eli and learns what it really means to be an advocate of justice.

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Jacob van Willingen arrives in a remote Romanian village aiming for a short visit. A member of the highly secretive Society for Psychical Research, Jacob has been charged with exterminating Caleb Donnithorn--but the society's intelligence about the reclusive nobleman is less than complete. As he studies his target, Van Willingen is drawn to Donnithorn, enthralled with the nobleman's alluring brides, three of society's most luminous geniuses gathered from the corners of Europe to create a fantastical machine: a resurrection engine that can capture a human soul at the moment of death.

Caleb Donnithorn represents everything that is evil in the world, but there is more to him than is initially apparent. What he knows about van Willingen is a truth so shocking it will shake the young scholar's world to its very foundations. Cast out from his friends and his beloved Society of Psychical Research, Jacob van Willingen will jettison everything he holds dear to remain with one whose love commands the highest price of all.

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In the frigid winter of 1891, with the nation still reeling from the Barings bank crisis, Inspector Philemon Raft returns from an involuntary sabbatical, tasked with solving the kidnapping of highly placed peer Miriam Dewberry. Thrust into a sordid underworld where the upper classes indulge in disreputable overseas investments designed to fatten their pocketbooks, Raft finds himself at loose ends without his companion, Constable Freddie Crook. Far from offering their help, the ton use every asset at their disposal to keep Raft from discovering the truth about hapless kidnap victim Miriam Dewberry—who may not even exist.

Soon Raft discovers that his old nemesis, the workhouse master John Gallant, has returned to London. Gallant doesn’t say what he wants—but he knows enough to ruin Raft's career and even his life. Raft tries to solve the case with his usual strange insight, but there are other, darker forces at work. This is a frightened London: the London of Whitechapel, of Jack the Ripper, the London of poverty, dirt and despair, where a right turn down the wrong alley could earn Raft a swift trip to the morgue.

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In 1942, Pearl Harbor has been bombed and the war is very much in evidence, but it would seem to have little to do with Frank Boyle, a respected Bronx born insurance investigator. He's a man who can keep secrets, and no one suspects that his boyhood friend—local mob boss Nicky Brooks—is his lover. When Brooks accidentally kills Frank's younger brother in a shootout, Frank must choose between his affair with Nicky and revenge for his brother's life.

After Frank betrays Nicky, police detective Sam Lipinski, a Bronx native who has long carried a torch for Frank, makes a move against the mob and lands squarely in the way of Nicky's plans. Sam smuggles Frank out of New York to keep him safe, and sets him up him in a small northeastern city. But there, a messy insurance investigation involving the Roarkes, who may or may not have killed their own mother for the insurance payout, places him in danger again. Dodging bullets, shady characters, and fallout from the war, Sam and Frank will need far more than luck on their side if they’re ever to see a loving future.

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