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“I'll Sleep When You're Dead is a haunting tale of vengeance and its toll. It is both thrilling and tender. The domestic scenes are every bit as gripping as the action sequences. E.A. Aymar weaves a touching tapestry loaded with surprises.”
- Michael Sears, author of Black Fridays, winner of the Shamus Award for Best First Novel
Tom Starks has spent the three years since his wife’s murder struggling to single-handedly raise their daughter, Julie, while haunted by memories of his dead spouse. When he learns that the man accused of her murder, Chris Taylor, has been released from prison, Tom hires a pair of hit men to get his revenge.
But when the hit men botch the assassination of Chris Taylor, Tom is inadvertently pulled into their violent world.
And now those hit men are after him and his daughter.
Set in the DC, Baltimore and northern Virginia triangle, I'll Sleep When You're Dead is a thriller about assassins, one man’s search for vengeance, and also parenting.
But mainly vengeance and assassins.
And it’s available now through Black Opal Books. Click the links above to order your copy.
A short prequel to the novel, When the Deep Purple Falls, featuring original artwork and photography by Angela Del Vecchio and Janet Bell, is available for $0.99 from Amazon.com.
CHAPTER 1: Just Fall
I was going to kill someone later in the afternoon, so I canceled classes that Monday and spent the morning on the couch, watching crappy television judge shows and trying to keep calm.
I took a long shower at eleven then, at noon, drove my truck out of Baltimore and toward D.C. The sky grayed as I headed around the curves of the Beltway and, eventually, thick rain splashed against the windshield. You could never tell what November weather was going to do. Neither Baltimore nor D.C. had real seasons. It was always too hot or too cold, buried in snow or heat, running back and forth between extremes like rats or people who believe in politics or religion.
I finally reached my destination, a neighborhood in Falls Church, Virginia. I slumped down in my truck and slipped on sunglasses and a black baseball cap. It was probably obvious that I was trying to disguise myself—completely defeating the purpose—but I didn’t want to take the chance of getting spotted.
An hour passed, then another, and my nervousness rushed ahead of my impatience. Light rain bounced off my windshield. I reached over to my small gym bag on the passenger seat and touched the edge of my Glock 30. I touched it every few minutes to calm myself down, even if petting a loaded gun wasn’t the smartest idea in the world.
Using it probably wasn’t too bright, either, but Chris Taylor was out of prison. Three years ago, he’d been sentenced for killing my wife, Renee Starks.
“I haven’t talked to her in years,” Chris Taylor protested after his arrest.
I, myself, in a daze, was one of several people who’d even told the police that, to my knowledge, Renee and Chris hadn’t spoken since their brief relationship in college—so brief that she barely ever mentioned him. But his initials were on the baseball bat found in the bushes near her naked body and so were his fingerprints. He was given a life sentence, but released in three years when a retrial cast enough doubt on his conviction to overturn it.
Renee was so palpable—even now, such a presence, that sometimes I lost myself in thoughts of her. Sometimes I felt her return, like she was sitting here in the passenger seat of my truck, looking at me with her wide brown eyes, one hand brushing bangs away from her face.
‘What are you doing, Tom?’ she asked.
“Trying to kill this guy.”
‘How are you going to do that?’
“I’m going to wait until he’s alone then shoot him.” I paused. “That’s not much of a plan, is it?”
Renee shook her head. ‘You were never good at planning things. That was one of my complaints about you.’
“You know,” I said, “you’re awfully critical for a dead chick.”
A door slam startled me. I peered out my window and, through the hedges, watched an elderly woman emerge from the house with a man I didn’t recognize. But I remembered the woman. Chris Taylor’s mother had been tall and delicate with long, black hair—which was now short and gray. Throughout the trial, she bore a constant expression of determination on her face. Now her face was old and pained, droopy as a melted candle, all signs of her previous determination gone. She looked like a shrunken version of herself.
Chris Taylor came out of the house behind them.
End of excerpt.