Category Archives: Criminal Profiling

Cover Reveal for STOLEN

Hi guys!

I am thrilled to reveal the cover of my upcoming release STOLEN right here on Kiss and Thrill as well as on my facebook page. If you haven’t already, please jump over and find me on facebook so we can chat and please sign up for my newsletter on my website. I’ll post links below for my social sites as well as a preorder link  to STOLEN for those who are interested. I’ve also posted Chapter One below for those who want a taste of the story. Thanks for all your support and as always thanks for reading!

Carey

stolen-finalIs she missing…or a murderer?

When Laura Chaucer, daughter of a U.S. senator, vanishes from her college campus, celebrated FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in. Thirteen years ago, Laura and her nanny disappeared from her family’s Denver home. Laura was found alive, but her nanny wasn’t so lucky… and the killer was never caught. Laura could identify him—if only she didn’t have a deep, dark hole in her memory.

Now she’s missing again. Did the troubled young woman run away or has the kidnapper returned? As women who look eerily similar to Laura’s nanny begin turning up dead, the Chaucer family psychiatrist renders a disturbing opinion: Laura is unstable, a danger to herself and others. Who knows what terrible secrets lurk in the shadowy recesses of her mind? Cassidy and Spenser must solve one of the most infamous cold cases ever to uncover the answer: Is Laura a killer, or is a monster still out there, waiting to claim another victim?

STOLEN

Chapter One

 

Twilight

Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains

 

Consciousness was the enemy and Laura Chaucer its captive. No matter how badly she wanted to flee into a dark, unseeing void, the menacing chill of the knife pressed against her neck forced her to keep her chin high and her eyes open. As her pulse raged, pounding against the deadly blade, she wondered, horrified, if it was possible for her throat to slit itself.

If only her mind would drop into an abyss. If only she could crawl into a black hole and escape awareness, at least then she wouldn’t suffer. Cowardice dragged her eyelids shut.

Stop running away.

From deep within, a voice demanded she bear witness to her own death.

Like broken wings beating against a gale, her eyelids fluttered up. Evil had been swirling around her for as long as she could remember, but she’d never had the courage to face it. Now, in her last moments, she must find the will. Before she left this twisted world, she needed to know the truth.

Who are you?

The answer she’d been running from her entire life loomed right behind her.

But the knife prevented her from swiveling her head to confront the bastard. A defiant move like that would surely cost her whatever precious seconds she had left. His breath, warm on her cheek reeked of booze, its stench curdling in her already woozy stomach.

Careful not to move her head, she braved a glance down and noted a wood floor.

Where am I?

A candle nub flickered in the dark, its yellow light illuminating patches of dust caked on an uneven plank tabletop. Bare log walls surrounded her. Eager for more clues, she sniffed. The scent of rain and earth hung heavily in the air. He must’ve stolen her from her room and brought her to a cabin—a primitive one.

Who was he?

You know, the voice within insisted. Stop pretending you don’t.

“I-I don’t know anything,” she answered, as if he and her thoughts were one and the same. “P-please, just let me go.”

The knife slipped across her throat, leaving fire trailing in its wake. Blood, warm and sticky, dribbled down her chest. Her head became heavy. The room spun. It would be so easy to let her chin fall, to drift into blessed unconsciousness, to leave it all behind.

But that would mean dying the same way she’d lived: running from the truth.

It’s not too late. As long as you have one breath left, there’s still time to change your craven ways.

Watching the blood, already darkening from contact with the air, snake between her breasts, she took it all in, and a gasp agonized its way up her throat.

She was naked.

Bound around the waist, chest and ankles to a chair.

It all seemed so…unreal. But the scrape of splintered wood beneath her bottom, the shivers that wracked her body from the frigid air, told her this was no dream. This wasn’t another one of her ubiquitous nightmares.

If she closed her eyes now, she’d never wake up.

Her throat burned with the urge to scream. But sensing that might give him pleasure, she clamped her teeth together, stuffing her fear down deep. She inhaled a fortifying breath through her nose. Wiggled her freezing fingers. But when she tried to shift her arms into a more comfortable position, she found that they, too, were tied to the chair, just up to the elbows. He’d left her hands and lower arms free, giving her enough slack to cross her palms in her lap and cover herself. Tears of gratitude for this small kindness welled in her eyes.

Maybe he of the knife had a tiny, shriveled semblance of a heart.

He proved he did not by dragging the jagged blade across her neck again—a shallow retracing of its former path that produced exquisite pain and more hot red blood. The need to cry out shook her body so hard the legs of the chair rattled against the floor. Then he pressed the knife’s point into the hollow of her neck—that spot that ought to be reserved for a lover’s kiss. It was as if this monster could not decide whether he wanted to kill her with a long, decimating swipe or by a swift, stabbing impalement. She didn’t know whether he was deliberately prolonging her agony or working up his nerve.

A spasm of fear knotted her toes. Her vocal chords trembled from the impossible effort of restraint. Finally, she opened her mouth, releasing a hysterical noise.

He wanted to hear her scream? Let him hear her laugh instead. Her pulse bounded harder against the blade, but she no longer feared the consequence.

Whether he revealed himself to her or not, she suddenly didn’t care. It didn’t matter who he was. It only mattered who she was. Relief flooded her entire being, drenching her in joy.

Her death would be a victory.

Because it answered, once and for all, the question that had haunted her since the age of eight.

She was not a murderer.

Preorder  STOLEN: Amazon Barnes&Noble iBooks

Follow me and sign up for my newsletter:

FACEBOOK  WEBSITE TWITTER 

Today Only!

Fallen-high-resWow. I’m so excited to tell you that Amazon has selected FALLEN as today’s flagship Kindle Daily Deal. The e-book will be on sale for 99 cents. I’m not exactly sure what “flagship” means, but I love the sound of it! It’s giving me the tingles all over. So in case anyone hasn’t had a chance, but would like to try a Cassidy & Spenser novel, this is a good opportunity.

I’ll post a buy link and a blurb for FALLEN below.

But first, in other news, many of you have been asking when my next Cassidy & Spenser is coming out. I thank you so much for your interest and encouragement! I have to admit that for a while, I struggled with book four. At a certain point in a series, it becomes difficult to make a story fresh and fun to tell. For me, that was book four.

Now all that has turned around. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on STOLEN (set to release next Valentine’s Day) and it is coming together in the most amazing way. I really love the story! In fact, it just might be my favorite Cassidy & Spenser to date. It’s a little different from my previous books, in that you’ll be meeting a very strong third character. She’s a victim who turns detective and takes control of her destiny. Cassidy & Spenser reach a big relationship milestone in STOLEN…but that’s all I’m saying about that.

Advance Readers Wanted

Thank you all so much for being faithful friends and readers! Would you like to read my books before they are released to the public? A limited number of advance e-copies of my books are available in exchange for an honest review. If anyone would like to become an advance reader for me, just drop me a line at Carey at CareyBaldwin dot com. You’ll need to be able to read in e-book form and be willing to post a review shortly after release.

FALLEN

A body just fell from the sky onto Hollywood Boulevard. When a beautiful prostitute is dumped onto the Walk of Fame, FBI profiler Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in to solve one of their most baffling cases yet. The media’s dubbed him the Fallen Angel Killer–a crazed murderer who’s leaving the bodies of high-priced call girls in Los Angeles tourist traps.

The killer has raised the stakes, demanding that a mysterious celebrity publically admit to his sinful secrets–or he’ll dispose of his latest kidnapped escort. With every “john” the team exposes in their search for Celebrity X, another Hollywood secret is revealed and another charmed life is left in ruins. With time running out, Spenser and Cassidy will do anything to find the twisted serial killer…before another innocent woman winds up the next grotesque tourist attraction.

Amazon   

What It Takes to Be an FBI Profiler

Guest post by ELIZABETH HEITER

liz2Getting inside the heads of the country’s most depraved serial killers, arsonists, and terrorists. That’s the job of an FBI profiler, and my heroine, Evelyn Baine, has been working toward the job since she was twelve years old and her best friend was abducted. Now, more than eighteen years later, Evelyn has been part of the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit for almost two years. She’s seen some of the worst of society, and the drive to find out what happened to her best friend Cassie is what kept her going through the long days and the challenging cases.

Now, after the first two books in my Profiler series (HUNTED and VANISHED), Evelyn has done it. She’s solved the case of her career and finally resolved Cassie’s case. It’s brought her some closure…and also some doubt. Finding Cassie has been the driving force in her entire life, and now she wonders: does she still have what it takes to be an FBI profiler?

SeizedIn SEIZED, my brand new release, Evelyn isn’t sure. To make matters worse, her boss has been punishing her for some of the rule bending she did on Cassie’s case by assigning her BS assignments. The latest is a trip into a remote area of Montana, to interview a convicted bomb-maker. When fellow agent Jen Martinez approaches Evelyn with a request for a profile of a local cult, Evelyn sees it as her chance to finally do her job again…and to see if this is where she still belongs.

But things quickly take a dangerous turn in SEIZED. Martinez has been insisting the Butler Compound is more than it seems – that the FBI is missing a serious threat there. But the BAU has already evaluated them as a simple group of survivalists, looking to stay off the grid, but not a concern. When the group takes Evelyn and Jen hostage, everything changes.

Inside, trapped with group of anti-federalist white supremacists, Evelyn (who’s biracial) is in danger from the start. But she soon realizes Jen is right – this group is more than just a threat to her life. She thinks the group is planning a deadly attack and only she can stop it. The problem is, she’s never been more unsure about whether she can still do her job as a profiler. If she’s right, she has to get word to the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team agents surrounding the compound.

She’s secretly dating HRT agent Kyle McKenzie, and she knows she can get a message he’ll understand, telling them to breach the compound. If she does and the FBI comes in, she knows she’ll be the group’s first casualty. If she doesn’t, the group could unleash a surprise attack that will shatter the country.

To learn more about SEIZED and AVENGED (my new Profiler short story releasing a chapter a day for free), visit my website at elizabethheiter.com. You can also follow me on Facebook at elizabeth.heiter.author and Twitter at @ElizabethHeiter.

Thanks for joining us, Elizabeth! Readers get your copy of SEIZED today: AMAZON  iBOOKS  BARNESandNOBLE

Why We’ve “Fallen” for Carey Baldwin

Today I’m speaking with my blogmate and “Best Books of 2014” author, Carey Baldwin. Carey’s book, Judgment was just named a Daphne du Maurier finalist and her newest book, FALLEN, debuts this week! Going with the theme of things that fall, I had a few questions for Carey.

Diana: How many times have you “fallen” in love?

Carey: I don’t really know how many times I’ve fallen in love, but I do believe that we have the capacity to fall in love an infinite number of times. Of course, I had my schoolgirl crushes- I can even remember feeling lovesick in the first grade. I wanted to call the object of my affection and invite him for a play date, but then my aunt explained “Girls don’t call boys.” I was six! Thank goodness times have changed.

But the real loves of my life are deep and many. My husband, my children, my parents, my friends, my patients…Life would be so sad if we were only allotted one love, I think. But, Bill, honey, don’t misinterpret, there’s no “hall pass” in your future! 🙂

Diana: What do you think makes a girl fall in love or you “fall” in love.  

Carey: Intimacy. I think the more I get to know the “real” side of someone, the more likely I am to love them. Okay, let’s be honest though. A hot body never hurt!

Diana: Have you ever “Fallen: from a height? What was your worst fall?

Carey: Luckily, I haven’t yet had a truly bad physical fall. And I’m not afraid of heights, though I’m cautious. I love experiencing the thrill of that grand view you get from the top of a mountain, or a zip line. I think my favorite “fall” is the Tower of Terror at California Adventure. There’s something thrilling about a taking a dive when you know you’re safe. And that’s partly why I like to read and write thrillers.

Diana: How does the theme of Fallen people balance with redemption in your book? We have those that fall from grace, from windows, and into love — how do they, or do they, all find redemption in your book?

Carey: Great question, Diana! I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but I will tell you that one person who could be considered “fallen” by most standards, triumphs over not only fear and the evil that’s pursuing her, but also over her own shortcomings. She finds out she is a lot stronger and braver and more unselfish than she ever knew.

Diana: Here’s the blurb from Fallen. I can tell you, it’s a fast-paced, can’t put it down, kind of read with characters you’ll remember long after you finish.

A body just fell from the sky onto Hollywood Boulevard. 

When a beautiful prostitute is dumped onto the Walk of Fame, FBI profiler Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in to solve one of their most baffling cases yet. The media’s dubbed him the Fallen Angel Killer—a crazed murderer who’s leaving the bodies of high-priced call girls in Los Angeles tourist traps.

The killer has raised the stakes, demanding that a mysterious celebrity publically admit to his sinful secrets—or he’ll dispose of his latest kidnapped escort. With every “john” the team exposes in their search for Celebrity X, another Hollywood secret is revealed and another charmed life is left in ruins. With time running out, Spenser and Cassidy will do anything to find the twisted serial killer…before another innocent woman winds up the next grotesque tourist attraction.

For an excerpt, please click HERE.

Sign up for Carey’s newsletter here and connect with her on facebook here.

GIVEAWAY ALERT:

careybaldwinphotocropped

As a thanks to readers Carey is offering a $10 Starbucks gift card to one lucky commenter. Falling in love is risky. Tell us what would make you willing to take a chance on love?

Fallen: Cover Reveal

Fallen high res

I couldn’t be more excited to share the cover of my new book, FALLEN, with you guys! I have to say I think the art department over at HarperCollins did me a solid. This just might be my favorite of all my Witness Impulse book covers. I’m pretty excited about the book too! I had a blast writing it, and I learned all kinds of cool stuff- like how to make a wax statue. FALLEN is available for pre-order now. Here’s the blurb for inquiring minds (yes, this is a sneak peek too).

A body just fell from the sky onto Hollywood Boulevard.

When a beautiful prostitute is dumped onto the Walk of Fame, FBI profiler Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in to solve one of their most baffling cases yet.

The media’s dubbed him the Fallen Angel Killer – a crazed murderer who’s leaving the bodies of high-priced call girls in Los Angeles tourist traps.

Then the killer raises the stakes, demanding that a mysterious celebrity publically admit to his sinful secrets —or he’ll dispose of his latest kidnapped escort. With every “john” the team exposes in their search for Celebrity X, another Hollywood secret is revealed and another charmed life is left in ruins.

Now time is running out, and Cassidy and Spenser will do anything to find the twisted serial killer…before another innocent woman winds up as the next grotesque tourist attraction.

Barnes and Noble

Amazon 

Sign up for my newsletter

PS JUDGMENT, book one in the Cassidy and Spenser series, has been named a best book of 2014 by Suspense Magazine. I’m incredibly honored to have been included in that list. 

Need a Plot? Confessions of an Identity Theft Victim

ccsOh yeah. It happened to me a few months ago. It’s horrific, it’s ongoing and the system is set up to keep the thief’s identity a secret from you. No joke. If you’re looking for a plot, feel free to take these personal details of my life.

Confession #1: I never saw the Melissa McCarthy/Jason Bateman movie about identity theft. I can’t imagine how they made this life-altering, helpless violation humorous.

Confession #2: I’m one of those people who thought it’d never happen to me, so I’ve carelessly and freely given out personal information. I am Mrs. Casual about leaving my purse unzipped on my shoulder or plopping it in a shopping cart as I turn my back and bag tomatoes. In the game of chance, this was bound to finally happen. 

In this instance I’d stuck the open purse on the hook of a Tallahassee hotel trolley as my husband and I loaded suitcases from the room onto the cart. I never saw one hotel occupant or employee pass our room as we loaded that cart. No one shared an elevator down to the lobby. When I hoisted my purse again at the car I instantly knew, by the much lighter weight, that my wallet was gone. To this day I do not know how it was accomplished. But my debit card was used for gas half an hour later (while I was still tearing through suitcases and taking the room apart looking for the wallet.) Why did I not instantly assume it was stolen? Because again: that would never happen to me!

Confession #3: I didn’t know the meaning of real identity theft. Like most of us, I’ve had a credit card ‘used’ at a store in another state/country and the bank called asking if I was presently at that store. “No, I’m not,” I answered, outraged, “and the card is still in my possession.” That’s what I thought of as “identity theft.” And in my defense, you hear the term so often it loses it’s terrifying impact. Huge companies are inundated with breaches in their cyber security and the nightly news helpfully keeps us in a constant state of fear that our “personal information” has probably just been stolen.

Confession #3: After immediately canceling credit cards (right there in the hotel parking lot at 6am) I figured that’s all I needed to do. It never occurred to me any other harm could come from the theft. Oh, I was annoyed they’d gotten some Christmas gift cards I hadn’t gotten around to using. And now I was without my Sam’s card, AAA, driver’s license, car and health insurance cards…all inconveniences. But if they’d planned on shopping with my AX and 2 Visas they were in for quite a surprise! They had my debit card but not my PIN. Shrug. We got in the car and drove off. In hindsight, that was the biggest mistake we made. Driving away from the scene of a crime and not calling the Tallahassee police and filing a report. Never occurred to us because we thought we’d handled it.

Confession #4: I had no idea that once a thief has access to the information on your driver’s license, getting your social security number is a snap. Did they con a government official or hack into the social security system? I’m not stupid enough to carry that precious number out in public, and providing your social security is the only way you can apply for credit cards.

Confession #5: Because of the combined idiotic naiveté listed above, I was utterly shocked when Capitol One called me a few weeks later asking if I’d applied for their credit card.

And that’s when the real horror started.computer

The second I was off the phone my husband enrolled me in one of the 3 Credit Reporting Agencies (Equifax, TransUnion and Experain.) They have a service very similar to LifeLock. The customer rep immediately walked me through how to ‘lock down’ my social security number. If anyone were to use it from that moment forward it sends a red flag to the company to call me and ask if I just applied for a credit card.

Confession #6: I had no idea I could sign up for this service any day of the week, without an emergency like a stolen wallet. Small fee ($99) for 6  months of a watchdog service. You can even order them to alert you if your credit card balance increases by–you give them the $ range. Example: $200 increase triggers an email/text alert. (Happy Christmas shopping.)

Conveniently the 3 companies ‘talk’ to each other, so you pay one, but get information from all 3 immediately. There’s a link that lets you see all 3 Reporting Agencies lists of credit cards you have taken out in the last 3 years. (None, btw. Mine should have been a blank page.)

And this is what I saw: all within one day my social security and name had applied for cc’s to Target, Best Buy, Loews, Home Depot, Capitol One, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Northern Tool, T-Mobile and H.H. Gregg.

Conveniently, this link also provides toll-free numbers for each of these companies. Inconveniently, these numbers are not the Fraud Department. Fraud Dept numbers are also not listed on any of the websites.

Confession #7: I thought a 2-3 minute call per company would clear up each case. Uh…no. I think my fastest call to shut a card down was 20 minutes. Average was more like 40 minutes. Why? Because I’d get in the mechanical loop of ‘if I want ___ dept, please press one now.’ None featured a magical number to get the Fraud Dept. Inevitably I chose Customer Service. Spilled my sorry tale. Most put me on hold because they did not know what to do or say! Eventually they provided a different toll-free number. Sometimes it was right, sometimes I would be transferred several times before reaching the Fraud Dept. Sometimes, I would get disconnected and have to start over. On average I’d tell my sorry tale to 3 company representatives before I heard, “I can help you with that.”

Confession #8: When a Fraud Dept tells you they have nothing listed under your ss#, but the Credit Reporting Agencies have that company listed, do NOT assume the Credit Agencies are wrong. T-Mobile told me nothing showed up and reiterated this quite sharply when I argued that they were listed as a company being defrauded by someone using my name, address and ss#. What could I do but thank her and hang up?

It was the last of the companies I had to call that very long afternoon, and in exhaustion and frustration I gave up. But it preyed on me that someone was wrong…the company or credit agency. I called T-Mobile a week later and explained to another Fraud rep that I’d spoken to his colleague and she’d checked my ss# and seen nothing. Could he please check again? After looking up the ss# he said with resignation and dread: “Oh they got you all right. They got you good.” 4 T-Mobile phones and 4 T-Mobile phone numbers.

In the end the thief or thieves got away with $2,000 of goods by forging a check at Sam’s (who does not return canceled checks to your bank. I have to think the thieves knew that.) Over $2,000 at Home Depot because they applied for instant credit AT the checkout register. $47 worth of gas on my debit card (while I was still searching the hotel for the wallet.) No PIN needed if you’re using it as a cc. God knows how much T-Mobile ate. $2600 at H.H. Gregg, a store I’d never even heard of and they, like T-Mobile, do not show my ss# in their system still. But it’s listed on all 3 Agencies sites.

K&T meConfession #9: I figured the companies being defrauded and eating these charges would pony up information on the thief. Nope. Once in awhile the rep would slip up and give me an area code on the application. One actually felt sorry for me and told me the purchases occurred at 2 stores in Miami. 4 T-Mobile Welcome letters finally showed up in the mail with 4 phone numbers and they were Miami area codes. ALL companies ask if I’d called the Tallahassee police and opened a case file so they could add their information about the thieves. Oops. (We tried to report it weeks later and it fell on deaf ears.)

Confession #10: The easiest, most logical step to stop this was impossible. I called the Texas DPS to ask them to flag or cancel my license. She apologized and said there was no way to do that. There was actually nothing they could do to alert any companies or other states’ police departments that my license was being used for nefarious purposes. Her exact words were: “I’m sorry, you’ll just have to wait until the license expires.”

So if you are looking for a plot I give full permission to use my experience. You’ll need a character who has a specific world view in the beginning, (i.e., naïve-‘nothing like this will ever happen to ME’) then goes through the wringer and comes out at the end of the story an altered person. The theft occurred moving from Houston to southwest FL. I defy you to find my new hometown on any media site. Because any new personal information is now locked up, like my ss#. And my trust in my fellow man.

Criminal Profiling: Art, Science or Both?

brainWhen I set out to write my upcoming release, JUDGMENT, I knew I had a lot of research to do, since the male lead is an FBI profiler, and it’s very important to me for my stories to be as authentic as possible. So I read more than a dozen books on profiling and the FBI, attended the writers’ police academy, made myself a pest on the crime-scene writers’ loop, and interviewed my local law enforcement resources. Then, armed with my pre-research, I went straight to the source- the FBI- for fact checking. You may or may not know that the FBI has a bureau of public affairs that provides specific avenues for writers and other artists to help them get their facts straight. Pretty cool, I think.

The real profilers, or more accurately, criminal investigative analysts, are a dedicated and courageous group, comprised of some of the brightest minds in the FBI. Most criminal investigative analysts start out as field agents before moving on to profiling, so they have experience and street smarts that round out their analytic skills.

But contrary to popular belief, profiling didn’t start with the FBI. Many consider New York psychiatrist, Dr. James Brussel, to have created the first criminal profile. Dr. Brussel astounded the police and public by providing a detailed psychological and forensic portrait of a serial bomber who had been terrorizing New York City. Burrows used deductive reasoning, psychological theory, and crime-scene analysis to come up with a finely tuned description of the culprit. When the Mad Bomber was apprehended, he fit the profile well, reportedly down to the buttoned up double-breasted suit he was wearing. One might speculate that the profile was so accurate, there might have been a little magic mixed into the process.

Which brings me back to the question. Is profiling an art or a science? John Douglas (one of the first FBI criminal profilers) and others have now developed standardized analytic techniques and a classification system, based on both their experiences and on data gathered from the study of serial murderers. But there is no doubt that the scarcity of serial killers available for analysis and the retrospective and subjective nature of the case studies, create major obstacles to verifying the scientific validity of claims made by profilers.

Nevertheless, FBI profilers are highly sought after by law enforcement to assist in their most baffling cases. The proof of their value can be seen in their high success rate. What impresses me most about these intrepid men and women is their willingness to burrow deep into the darkest recesses of the human mind. I find both the profiler and the process fascinating.

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

In JUDGMENT, I hope to convey a glimmer of what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a criminal investigative analyst. I loved writing this book, and I hope you’ll enjoy the series. You can read an excerpt of Judgment or sign up for my newsletter at CareyBaldwin.com.

The human brain fascinates me. What fascinates you? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Manda Collins upcoming Christmas novella, ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS KISS on release day. Winner’s choice of e-book or print.Once-Upon-A-Christmas-Kiss

%d bloggers like this: