Super excited to be taking part in Max Seeck’s #TheWitchHunter blog tour today! Huge thanks to Megan at Ed Public Relations and Welbeck Publish for the ARC and extract. I’m really looking forward to reading this novel and once you read the extract below, you’ll see why! First though, here’s a bit about the author and this book!
About the Author
Max Seeckdevotes his time to writing professionally. An avid reader of Nordic noir for personal pleasure, he listens to film scores as he writes. His accolades include the Finnish Whodunit Society’s Debut Thriller of the Year Award 2016. Max Seeck has a background in sales and marketing and loves to promote his works, and is fluent in English and German.
About the Book
WHEN THE STORY ENDS, THE HUNT BEGINS . . .
Detective Jessica Niemi is drawn into a high-profile investigation after the wife of a famous author, Roger Koponen, appears to have been killed in a bizarre ritual.
As more twisted murders occur in the coming days, it becomes obvious that Jessica is hunting a serial killer – one that is taking brutal inspiration from Koponen’s bestselling trilogy . . .
Has a devoted fan lost their mind, or is this case more personal?
The Witch Hunter Extract
“Hey there.” A man decked out in heavyweight blue police coveralls steps out from behind one of the vans and walks up to Jessica. “Officer Koivuaho.”
“Jessica Niemi.” She shows her badge, but her colleagues in uniform have already recognized her. She has caught a few of the nicknames in passing. Sergeant Sweetcheeks. Lara Croft. PILF.
“What happened?” Jessica asks.
“Goddammit . . .” Koivuaho takes off his navy-blue cap and rubs his bald head. Jessica waits patiently for the officer to pull himself together. She glances over at the house and sees that the front door is ajar.
“We picked up the call at 10:15. Taskinen and I were pretty close, so we were the first patrol to show up.” Koivuaho gestures for Jessica to follow him through the gate. She does, acknowledging the officers waiting near the van with a nod.
“What did dispatch say?”
“We were told that there was a suicide threat at this address.” Koivuaho says, as they step up onto the porch. A puddle of melted snow has formed on the flagstone floor of the entryway. The wind dies for a second, and Koviuaho continues: “The door was open so we went in.”
It is only now, under the bright porch light, that Jessica sees the depth of the fear in the husky man’s eyes. She curls and uncurls her aching fingers and allows her mind to form an image of the situation based on the little she was told a moment ago on the phone.
“So there’s no one else in the house?” she asks, even though she knows the answer is negative. Koivuaho solemnly shakes his head and puts his wool cap back on, pulling it down to his ears.
“We checked both floors. I have to say, my heart has never pounded so hard. Plus there was that damn music coming from the speakers.”
“It was, like, inappropriate for the situation . . . Too mellow.” Koivuaho hands Jessica the basic protective gear: gloves, face mask, a pair of disposable shoe covers. She bends down to slip the blue plastic booties over her black sneakers. Her holster slides a hair towards the floor.
“Where’s the body?”
“We tried to leave the place uncontaminated,” Koivuaho says, then coughs into his fist. Jessica brushes a strand of damp hair from her forehead and walks towards the picture windows giving onto the sea. She passes a powder room and the kitchen and enters the living room, where the walls are all glass. The emergency lights glaring through the enormous panes make the furnishings pulse blue in time to her heartbeat. The room looks far too much like an aquarium to be comfortable, but when Jessica sees the figure sitting at the head of the table, she abruptly stops assessing the room’s aesthetic dimensions.
Jessica pauses and tries to figure out why the woman sitting almost upright in her chair looks so incredibly unnatural. She takes a few steps closer and her stomach drops.
“Have you ever seen anything so creepy?” Koivuaho asks somewhere behind Jessica, but she doesn’t hear the question. The dead woman’s face is twisted up in a hysterical grin. Even her eyes are laughing. The expression is in utter contrast with that fact that this woman lost her life just a moment ago. She’s wearing a black cocktail dress, its most prominent feature a plunging neckline, and her crossed hands resting on the table. The table is otherwise bare. No phone, no weapon. Nothing.
“I felt for a pulse. I haven’t touched anything else,” Koivuaho says, and now Jessica turns to look at him. Then she warily steps up to the woman and leans in to examine the face distorted in an unnatural grimace.
“What the hell . . .” Jessica mutters in a voice so low that the only one who could hear her would be the woman, if she were still alive. Jessica glances down and quickly observes that the bare feet have been crossed underneath the chair, and a pair of matte-black Jimmy Choo spikes have been placed tidily on the floor next to the chair. Both the toenails and fingernails have been painted a glossy black.
The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck is published 17th September 2020 by Welbeck, priced £8.99, paperback original.