"Tiffany Christina Lewis is a new to me author, and I’m going to start this review by telling you, The Michael Taylor series is a MUST read series. Seriously, I loved it from the first page. I read both books in one afternoon and can’t wait to read more!" Heather Martin, Goodreads
El Jefe (#3)
In this third installment of the series, Detective Michael Taylor of the Oakland PD has a decision to make: Should he begin an investigation against his corrupt lieutenant?
After being given a file of evidence against him, Michael is expected to act. He knows that after multiple attempts on his own life, opening this investigation would put himself, all of his loved ones and his partner Det. Alex Jamison in danger.
As Michael contemplates the case, he and Jamison get a late-night call to the residence of Mia McDowell, who is found assaulted and murdered. Although it initially looks like a breaking and entering, Michael can sense something isn’t right. Just as his momentum rises, Lt. Bruce Vega, the corrupt supervisor in question, arrives on the scene. As the two come head to head, Michael removes himself from the situation only to find that he has fueled Lt. Vega’s fire, and he is now under a month’s suspension.
Now Michael has to make some choices: will he investigate Lt. Vega and risk everything or will he do nothing and risk losing himself?
The 20-something year old sat straight up. It should have been a hard task, considering he had just been pummeled in the face repeatedly. He was bleeding from his broken nose and practically drowning in the waterfall of blood rushing into his panting mouth. What is the first aid protocol for a bloody nose? Head up? No, head down—to prevent choking on your own blood.
He was doing great keeping his head down. It was easy because every time he lifted his head, he was punched. His head bobbed back on his neck and then his chin came back to rest on his chest. He was still sitting up straight, however. As bad as he wanted to slump over and roll into a ball, he couldn’t. He was attached to his high-backed chair with rope all the way up to his shoulders, wrists bound to the arms.
He also couldn’t escape his torture chamber. Lit by nothing more than three hanging lights, the room he was in was the size of a classroom with a dirt floor and no windows. He had been brought there blind folded and he couldn’t see a way out of the room to his safety.
This young man of a proud upbringing had been in and out of trouble as he grew up, but at that moment he felt like he was in the worst trouble of his life. He felt like he was shaming his mother, again, and maybe for the last time. He felt all of her hard work trying to raise him, spending all her money to send him to a private, Catholic school, and all her tears meant nothing now. He had failed her again.
The man beating him was 30 years his senior. Lean and strong, the attacker stood with no shirt on. His slacks were pressed with a crisp crease, and his dress shoes were clean. His muscles rippled as he cranked his arm back and slugged his victim again. He shook his hand after bringing it back from the collision. He was conditioned to take the pain of recoil from his punch. Nevertheless, he dunked his hand in a large glass bowl full of ice water sitting on a long banquet table. He left it there for an uncomfortably long time, the blood rinsing from his fist and slowly turning the water pink. He watched the young man flicker in and out of consciousness. When their eyes met, the abuser spoke in Spanish.
“When I was your age, I was in America. I was humble, hard-working, and smart.” He continued to linger near the table, hand in the bowl. The glass was covered in condensation and the 20-something could imagine how cool and refreshing the water could be, if his blood weren’t in it.
The water was North Pole cold, but the elder didn’t mind. He looked down the table and smiled. “I was working my way up in power, thinking on my toes and making connections.” He removed his hand.
“Why?” the captive croaked.
“Why what?” the elder roared, irritated by the interruption. He clinched his fists to bring his anger down. “Be specific.”
The young man didn’t respond. The attacker rushed forward and clenched his victims bruised and swollen face between his cold, wet hands.
“Why what, Carlito?” he asked in a placid tone.
Carlos was terrified as the abuser pulled his head forward. When their foreheads touched, he grimaced in pain.
“I know what you want to know,” he comforted, “but you will never understand why.” He stood, releasing his young victims face. He clenched his fists and struck him in the nose again.
When he noticed his victim was losing consciousness, he stopped and began observing him.
“I’m in control of your destiny now. Don’t try to die on me.” The elder turned back to the table and iced his hand. “I have a meeting to get to, so I guess we should finish up.”
He waited for his fist to become numb. Carlos moaned awake and coughed up blood.
“Before I moved to America, I studied boxing. I was born in Mexico City. My mom took me and my siblings to live in Tepito after my father abandoned us. That fucking coward. When I was twelve, I met Carlos Zarate. You know, the famous boxer.” He smiled staring off at the memory, then became stoic. “Well, I won’t lie. I didn’t meet him. He passed us in the streets during a parade in his honor. I knew I could be a better fighter than him, so I started practicing, watching bouts on TV in the local cafes and beating the shit out of the neighborhood kids.” He laughed a little. “I was the best boxer in Tepito at that time.”
He pulled his hand from the water and curled his fingers into a fist.
His victim shuddered.
The elder put his hand back in the water. Still speaking in Spanish, he continued. “I never went pro. Never had a chance to beat the shit out of Zarate. With his record, though,” he laughed, “I would have been destroyed. He was the greatest.” He pulled his hand from the ice bath again and shook off the lingering water. He walked down the table and looked over his tools.
Gold, silver, platinum, and titanium were just a few of the metals represented. Each shiny item had the standard four holes needed for the fingers to slide inside. Brass knuckles were a standard bad guy item, but these were extravagant. From knife to gun attachments and everything in between, the collection was grim to those who had to face it. His favorite was the corkscrew model. The silver piece had a single four-loop corkscrew on the plate, and it was angled perfectly for plunging into soft areas of the face and body. Although it was his favorite, he had never used it. The ones he used most were those with the gold-plated spikes. He had them in small, medium, and large and that day, he felt medium would be the best.
He slid on the weapon and turned to his victim. The young man saw his fate. He closed his eyes and as the spikes entered his face, he prayed for a swift death.
After an uncountable number of punches, he was dead. His face and head were mulch on the dirt floor and his neck had been shredded. The elder slipped off the knuckles and dropped them in the bowl. He was covered in blood. He rinsed both of his hands and dried them on a pristine, white towel from the table. He pulled his phone from his pocket and started a call.
“Yes, I’m done.” He hung up the phone and a team of four men came into the dank room. He wiped the blood from his chest and arms as best he could and slipped on his shirt as the men cleaned the mess, packed the weapons, and removed the dead body as fast and efficient as a NASCAR team.
“Did you get anything?” one of them stopped to ask him.
The killer slipped on his sports jacket. “Of course not. That kid had no sense and apparently, no power in the organization.” He headed for the door. “But he was an excellent warm up.”
Oakland Police Detective Michael Taylor is faced with another gruesome case: a dead man with no eyes and lips sewn shut.
After catching a grisly Bay Area serial killer, Michael is hit on all sides by change. He starts his investigation with a rookie detective for a partner, his love life is in turmoil, and the pressure at the PD is mounting as the newly minted partners receive a second case that is being pressed as a priority. Michael, the consummate loner, has to manage all of his new relationships, keep his wits and juggle the demands of the PD as he tries to get justice for his victim.
Just as the tag team start to hit a stride, the murder attempts start to pile up and Michael is in the crosshairs. The duo must work fast to defend their victim and save Michael’s life.
Jane and Mark were in love.
As they strolled up the Cleveland Cascade, the sun was setting behind them. The orange light shimmered on Lake Merritt and the windy, winter breeze whipped at the trees. Jane and Mark held hands tight as they climbed the 139-step ornamental stairway.
Mark broke free and tickled Jane’s side. She buckled with laughter and yelled for him to stop. He smiled and hugged her tight. They touched their soft lips together. The couple took a moment to look out at the lake and both let out a great sigh. The view was breathtaking. Oakland California was a city of daily, revolving weather changes, but that night was especially cold.
The couple stood for some time, watching the sky darken as the sun continued to set. Mark let go of Jane and gently tugged her further up the stairs. They came to a spot where the stairs parted and made way for an area full of foliage. They sat on the base of the set of stairs on the right and embraced again. Mark rubbed Jane’s arm to warm her, as her thin windbreaker flapped a bit against the wind. They whispered quiet words of love to one another, sitting in peace, just the two of them.
Until they heard a thud.
Jane jumped in shock and Mark tightened his grip on her to show her he was there. Next, they heard feet dashing towards them. They sprung up from their seat as a figure speed pass on the other side of the foliage. Mark wanted to yell out, but instead just watched the character take the stairs like an Olympic sprinter until he landed on Lakeshore Avenue and made a sharp right towards Grand Lake.
They didn’t know how to react at first, but then in a whisper, Jane spoke. “What was that?”
“I don’t know.” Mark cleared the lump from his throat. “Did he fall?”
“Wh-what do you mean?” Jane whimpered.
“You heard the thump before he came bolting down? Maybe he fell.”
“I hope he’s okay,” Jane said.
Quickly, the couple turned towards a new sound. A moan.
“What was that?” Mark asked. He moved towards the sound.
“No!” Jane shrieked, gripping Mark’s forearm.
“What if someone is hurt?” He spoke to her humanity. He looked at her with concern in his piercing, green eyes, and she relented. She released him and watched, gripped with fear, as he crept up the stairs.
Mark made it to the next landing where he saw a dark pile of shadows. He got closer and jumped when a moan rumbled from the pile. He pulled his phone, activated the screen, and pulled up his flashlight app. Mark had long hated his phone and never before had he wished for a Maglite so much. The shallow beam of light whisked over the pile and Mark realized he was right. Someone was hurt. He rushed over and assessed the situation.
“Are you okay? Hello,” Mark shouted as he touched and shook the side facing body.
“Mark?” Jane called from the bottom of the stairs. She was beginning to worry. Every second felt like an hour.
“Hey! Are you…” Mark called until he finally got the body turned towards him.
His shrill scream filled the air as he saw the face of the victim. Jane ran up the stairs faster than she had ever moved. She stopped short, a few feet from the scene. Mark stared in horror at a face with blood caked, empty and blackened eye sockets, and a mouth grotesquely sewn shut.
Detective Michael Taylor, of the Oakland PD, is the lead on a horrific serial killer case. For six weeks, he has been cleaning up mounds of the killer’s mess. Bodies of men have been found chopped up and left, skin down, for display. Michael, mysterious to many in his department, is desperate to solve this case.
Michael’s only form of stress relief, Candy, a stripper employed at a San Francisco club, begins to show genuine interest in him and they form a relationship a midst all the chaos that is Michael’s life. Between interviews and police reports, Michael makes time for her.
Candy, more commonly known as Vanessa, gets tangled in Michael's case as things unfold. A killer’s desire for retribution leaves her a victim of crime. Vanessa has to use her wit and charm to keep a killer at bay as she leaves bread crumbs for Michael to follow. The lovers must survive a serial killers plot for vengeance while practicing trust and loyalty throughout.
The man stood up from his squatting position on the floor and wiped his head with his forearm. Blood smeared across grotesquely. The big man, breathing heavily, held his hands on his hips effeminately. He smiled as he looked down at his work.
“All done,” he said, dusting his hands together. The motion was futile. He could not remove the blood from his hands just by brushing them against each other. He was a creature of habit, so the hand motion served as more of a finishing statement. He didn’t intend to literally clean his hands. He had done this motion so many times, after his work, that it was just… a thing. Besides, his right hand was cut, so without some first aid, the bleeding would continue.
“Gotta go, Bob,” he said. The man began to gather his tools. A small saw, hammer, and chef knife were first into the bag. Then he untied Bob’s wrists’, wound up the bloody rope, and put it into the bag. Next was the vial of tranquilizer and needle. He grabbed a plastic bag filled with his trophy and tucked it into the side pocket of his bag. Lastly, the man grabbed his extra-large flashlight and turned it off. He slipped it into the bag and moved to the doorway. He looked back at the dead, bloody pile of human flesh, muscle, and bones. The man smiled and tipped an imaginary hat.
“Thanks for a good time.”
He left the room, closing the door behind him.
About the author:
The San Francisco Bay Area has created a dynamic writer with a great love for her home town and a passion for crime fiction, and her name is Tiffany Christina Lewis.
Tiffany has been writing since her adolescence and was honored to have work published for the first time in 2011. Since then her work has been featured in many books and online publications. From fiction to nonfiction, murder to relationships, Tiffany’s range as a writer is expansive. Crazy about killing, Tiffany’s favorite genre to write is Crime Fiction.
Tiffany writes for readers. “It is my job to satisfy readers. Everything they say about my work is invaluable. I use it to make myself and my writing better.”
“My style is a little Patterson and a little King. I love short chapters and grossing people out but the Detectives win at the end of the day. There is lots of gore when I can and I try my damndest to give those vivid details that make you grimace!”
Tiffany has received four degrees in Early Education, Business and Communications. Tiffany’s hobbies include reading, gaming with her family, and watching hours of ID Channel shows.