Riley slid to the edge of the booth, pulled another business card from her back pocket, and pressed it into Sandy’s hand. “Just in Did you miss this excerMary Burton THE SHARK cover image hi res 4-28-16pt from The Shark? It’s the final of four that have appeared on Forensic Fridays that I’ve been “re-sharing.” I’m hoping those who missed them will have a chance to enjoy these “Shark Shorts” the second time around.


Virginia state trooper Riley Tatum and former FBI agent Clay Bowman searach for an at risk missing person with in this excerpt from The Shark, the first of my The Forgotten Files novels.

“I can help you, Sandy.”

“Don’t worry about me,” she said, sliding from the booth. “Just find Cassie. She has a chance to get out.”


“I have your number.”

“Then give it to another girl who needs help.”

“You lived on the streets, didn’t you?”

Riley dug a twenty out of her pocket, set it on the table, and placed her untouched coffee cup on top of it. “What makes you say that?”

“A vibe. Like you get what it’s like. No judgment in your eyes.”

“I been a cop for eight years. I’ve seen my share.”

“A lot of cops see.” She texted a message on her cell phone. “Few understand.”

“Lucky, I guess.”

“See you around, Lucky.”

Riley watched the girl push through the front door and cross the lot outside. She moved toward a dark truck, spoke to the driver, and climbed inside the cab.

Never in Riley’s career had she wanted to see two people behind bars or dead more than she did Darla and Jax. Jo-Jo might not ever testify against Jax, but he’d broken enough laws, including evading the police and possession of drugs in his car, to get him some time in prison. A prison sentence would give her the time to build a human trafficking case against him.

Outside, she walked toward the parking lot, watching as Bowman stepped away from his vehicle. He wore a dark sports coat over his white shirt and dark pants, but when a flap of wind caught the edges of the jacket she glimpsed the weapon at his side.

“What did she say?” he asked.

“There’s a motel about twenty miles east of here.”

“You want to check it out?”

“I do. If we don’t find Cassie, I’ll call Sharp.”

“Let’s go.”

The first forty-eight hours in a missing persons case were the most critical. Didn’t seem like a case could go cold so fast, but the best leads vanished with the ticking clock. She didn’t want to rely on Bowman, but she wanted to stack the odds in her favor. She didn’t want to lose this hand. “Okay.”

“I’ll be right behind you. If we get separated, wait for me.”


Originally shared 5/27/16  in my Forensic Friday post “The First 48 Hours.”

 The Forgotten Files return this November with The Dollmaker .
Mary Burton THE DOLLMAKER cover image hi-res 5-4-16