by Mark Dawson
Book 1 in the Atticus Priest series
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Four murders. Two detectives. One mystifying crime. A man from a wealthy family, Ralph Mallender stands accused of murdering his parents and siblings to inherit the estate. His wife hires former police officer and current PI Atticus Priest to find evidence her husband is innocent.
On Christmas Eve, DCI Mackenzie Jones is called to a shooting at a remote farmhouse. Ralph Mallender believes his father lies dead inside. When three more bodies are discovered, it’s clear a festive family gathering has turned into a gruesome tragedy.
At first, it seems like an open and shut case: a murder-suicide committed by Ralph’s volatile brother Cameron. Then new evidence makes Mack suspect the man who reported the crime is in fact the perpetrator.
But Mack isn’t the only one with a stake in the case. Private investigator Atticus Priest has been hired to get Ralph acquitted. That means unearthing any weaknesses in Mack’s evidence. Atticus is an ex-police officer turned private detective who seems to have quite the reputation and evidently knows how to get things done.
Irascible, impatient and unpredictable, Atticus has weaknesses of his own. Mack knows all about them because they share a past – both professionally and personally. This time around, however, they aren’t on the same side. And as Atticus picks at the loose ends of the case, everything starts to unravel in a way neither of them could ever have predicted…