Jack Sharp is Back in the newest mystery novel by Scott McPherson. Jack’s life is finally getting back to normal a year-and-a-half after his harrowing encounter with Jacques Levant in A Step Ahead of Death. Though injured, Jack was ultimately victorious and Jacques Levant was the one retreating from the scene with a bullet wound in his leg.
Now Levant wants his revenge and he won’ t be satisfied with simply getting back at the doctor.
Detectives Samuelson and Sweate have their hands full with a baffling case of a serial attacker. They have a witness who saw one attack, but there is a problem. He is a Korean War veteran, living with his daughter. No one has figured out why, but he hasn’t spoken in three years.
Witness in the Window will be published in January 2015. Want to be one of the first to read Witness in the Window? Sign up now for to receive updates and information by email. Haven’t read A Step Ahead of Death? Start with Witness in the Window or purchase A Step Ahead of Death here.
Enjoy the following sample chapter from Witness in the Window.
Witness in the Window A Jack Sharp Novel by Scott McPherson
Friday April 17, 2009
Two worlds manifested themselves before him as he sat facing out over the familiar landscape. What he saw depended only upon whether his eyes were open or closed. His life seemed to have culminated in the duality that presented itself each day.
With his eyes wide open, a feat that only occurred intermittently throughout the day, he could make out many details. For instance, he knew that one house had four windows that opened up and down and two windows that cranked open. He had thought that a house should have one style or the other, but these days who knew? The sidewalk had twelve separate cracks in it, and in one place a large piece of concrete had worked its way loose and left a gaping hole causing an occasional jogger to stumble. He had watched the little tree grow from a single spindly twig to the point where its first bright white blossoms graced the springtime scene. Yet he couldn’t really remember how long he had been in this spot.
When his eyes closed the world shifted on its axis. Joy filled his heart. Colors were vibrant. He was strong and moving, dancing, laughing. There was Mary Anne, his girlfriend then his wife. Her beauty still took his breath away. They were so happy. He loved this world. He wanted to stay in it, but it always moved so quickly from place to place and scene to scene. There was no way to grasp it, to hold it down. Laughter and anguish mixed themselves up from time to time, and when it became too painful all he had to do was open his eyes. The world that had been his reality washed away, and he once again saw the dark world of night through the window.
Wayne could just make out the trees against the slightly lighter night sky. A pale-looking band stretched before it as well. That was the bike path which connected to other paths leading all the way to downtown. There were no lights along the path and, at night, this area was in deep shadow from the looming trees. The backyard of the house ran right up to the path and Wayne could see the swaying motion in the tops of the cottonwoods against the sky caused by the wind. His eye detected movement from one side and as he turned, slightly, he could tell that a jogger was approaching, despite the late hour. Only mildly interested he watched the figure. Suddenly another dark figure seemed to separate itself from the shadow of the woods beyond. This larger person moved quickly toward the jogger and appeared to collide there on the bike path. Wayne saw them as they appeared to struggle. They both went down and merged with the ground. The smaller figure tried to get away, but was caught again.
Abruptly light flooded the back yard as two sets of yard lights flared on from motion detector switches. Wayne could now clearly see what was taking place. A big man had one arm wrapped around a still-struggling smaller female, the jogger. His other hand covered her face. He had stepped off the path, but must have moved just right in order for the yard lights to come on. The man had turned his face, in surprise, toward the house. At that moment the woman managed to grasp the ski mask which covered his face. The man, now fearful at being revealed, struck her hard, with his fist, then let go of his quarry. He fled to the tree line and disappeared from view.
Wayne was surprised and found himself feeling anger. Yet unable to say anything all he could do was rattle around in his chair. He banged the arm rest. He kicked the foot rest.
“Dad? What’s the matter?” Teresa asked moving into the dining room from the hall. It was late and she and her husband Ben had been getting ready for bed. By now her father was usually in his own bed. Seeing how agitated he was, though, she laid a calming hand upon his shoulder. She noted, too that the yard lights were on. “Did you see an animal or something?” She asked this almost humorously. On other nights deer or raccoons had triggered the lights. Then she spotted the prone figure near the bike path. “Oh my!”
Grabbing her cell phone she dialed 911, and then she called back down the hall to her husband. “Ben! Please come here.”
Ben appeared in moments, puzzled by the urgency in Teresa’s voice. Teresa pointed out the back window, but now the lights had gone off. She explained what she had seen and Ben responded, “Okay. I’ll go check it out. The lights will come on when I go out the back door, but you watch from up here. Keep the 911 operator on the line, okay?”
“Good idea,” she said, then spoke into the phone. “Did you hear that ma’am? My husband is going out to check on the person.”
Ben didn’t wait for any response, but dashed down the steps to the walk-out basement, thankful that he had not changed into his pajamas yet. It was chilly outside, but he didn’t take time to put on a jacket. Ben was nervous, but not frightened. He expected to find someone who had become ill or fainted. Perhaps it was an older man who had suffered a heart attack. If that were the case he would have Teresa come down. Her medical expertise, as a hospital-based internal medicine specialist, would be critical.
Ben opened the sliding doors and stepped out onto the patio. The lights came on as he moved toward the path and he could clearly see the person lying there. He saw now that it was a woman and she was wearing a running suit. There was reflective material on the sleeves and legs. As he approached the woman began sitting up appearing dazed. She looked directly at Ben and began to scream.
Ben put up a hand and said in his most calming voice, “It’ll be okay. I’m not going to hurt you. I live here and will get you help.” She quieted some, but began sobbing and whimpering.
“Are you hurt?” Ben asked moving more slowly toward her.
The young woman sniffed and shook her head, tears streaming down her face. She hadn’t said a word to Ben, but scooted a little away as he stepped closer.
Ben stopped and motioned to his house. “My wife is in that window,” he said. “If you look you can see her watching. She’s a doctor. Do you want her? We’ve called 911. It’s going to be okay.”
The young woman relaxed noticeably once she spied Teresa in the upstairs window of the home. Her face was clear in the reflected yard lights. She said, “I was . . . just out jogging. I come here once in a while. Nothing like this has ever happened.” She wiped her eyes with her sleeve and sat up straighter. The woman glanced back toward the wooded area. “Are you sure he’s gone?” Her breath was ragged, but she seemed stronger.
“He must have run away when the lights came on. That’s one reason I had them installed. It is too dark along the trail.” Ben got to within about six feet of the woman and sat across from her. He did not approach any closer, nor did he attempt to touch her. “I don’t know much about police business,” he began, “but I think you will have to sit there until they get here. Any evidence he may have left could be on your clothes. Are warm you enough?”
As if noticing the temperature for the first time she shook her head and he could see that she was shivering. Ben took out his cell and called his home phone hoping Teresa would pick up. “Honey, this woman was attacked by someone on the bike path. She seems okay, but she’s cold. Can you ask the operator if we can take her inside? If not can we get her a blanket?”
Teresa did as he asked and he saw her move away from the window. In a few moments she appeared at the sliding door carrying a blanket. At the same time he heard sirens approaching. Ben rose and moved toward his wife. He took the cell phone from her and returned to the house to meet the police. Teresa carried the blanket to the shivering woman. Smiling she said, with gentleness in her voice, “Hi. I’m Teresa. I’ll stay with you as long as you need me.”