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He entered the autopsy suite passing the heavy wooden sign next to the door. It said, “Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae”. Once before when Jake had been here, he had asked for a translation of the Latin words and was told, “This is the place where death rejoices to teach those who live.” He was anxious to learn and he hoped Holly would be anxious to teach. He had high hopes that they could learn something, anything that would lead them to the murderer. Two men were waiting for him as he donned a surgical gown and protective eyewear.

Holly’s body was already lying on the shiny, aluminum dissection table. The table, a little more than waist high, was edged with an aluminum channel to allow blood and fluids to drain away from the body. The room was uncluttered and glaringly bright. It was a stark reminder of the lifelessness of the cadavers stored in the drawers along the wall. Soft music played from a radio on the counter in contrast to the harsh reality of the body lying motionless on the sterile looking table. Jake was always impressed with the clean up after an autopsy, the table always looked totally fresh and unused in time for the next patient. And there was always a next patient to fill the spot. That supply never seemed to end.

Dr. Ramos, the pathologist in charge of the lab, explained that one of his residents had already taken care of Beth, the charred corpse, early in the morning. He would complete his report and get it to Jake as promptly as possible. The first-year-resident assigned to assist Ramos with this autopsy was looking ever so proper in his starched white lab coat and was nervously readying a number of quart-sized jars for organ tissue samples to be sent to the lab for toxicology tests.

The doctor donned clean gloves before adjusting his goggles. “Pretty messy scene last night, huh?” Ramos spoke with ease, almost as if he was chatting with a familiar friend over a card game. Well into his sixties, the study of body parts and what they could tell you about how a person lived and died had always fascinated the doctor. He was well accomplished in his field and his word was highly respected in all the circles of investigation and trial. The doctor lived by the words on the door and truly believed that the dead rejoiced in communicating with him.

Although it was Ramos’ responsibility as Medical Examiner to pen all final autopsy reports, in recent years he had often allowed younger pathologists and first and second year residents to perform the more mundane procedures. He was personally overseeing this autopsy on Holly as a favor to Jake and to help speed along the findings and bring closure to his investigation. Dr. Ramos had the utmost respect for Jake Carlson, he had always been a man of his word who always sought the truth and justice for the victims. Ramos also got a special kick out of Jake’s interest in the autopsies and his own regard for listening to what the dead had to say.

It was a shame, mused Ramos that Jake hadn’t chosen medicine as his career, but then again, he was very good at what he did. If he weren’t so good, he never would have made it to the rank of Commander, especially as early as he did. Carson had certainly been a few years younger than his two most recent predecessors had been when they earned their titles. In the good doctor’s opinion, if that old goat sitting in the Chief’s chair ever decided to retire, Jacob Carson would probably find himself heading up his department.

Jake sighed. “Yeah. Unfortunately, with all the people who responded, all the trampling through the place, I can’t shake the gut feeling that we missed something.”

A crime scene should remain undisturbed, victim’s bodies should remain where they’re found, there shouldn’t be any bloody footprints belonging to rescuers. While so many of the EMS and fire personnel were careful not to disturb any more of the scene than they needed to, it had been impossible to maintain the complete integrity of the scene. Too many shoeprints to get anything clean, too many clothing fibers left by responding police and rescue workers, and the fire department destroyed evidence as it put out the fire.

It made Jake feel more than a little guilty and certainly sinister that he would have preferred no survivors that had to be removed from the cabin. Of course he wanted survivors, he corrected his thoughts silently, he just wished they had all been outside of the cabin when they were found. “Now we’ll have to waste time getting shoeprints and all from everyone who was there.”

“I’ve already begun my external examination. We’ve recorded the height and weight, her clothing and the general appearance.” The girl had been dressed in a torn, gauzy white shroud similar in shape to a judge’s robe, or graduation gown, and it had emphasized her youth.

The gray-haired doctor motioned that he was once again turning on the tape recorder to dictate his findings. “We have multiple lacerations and avulsions of both breasts, while there was profuse bleeding, no arteries or veins were compromised. This appears to be a non-fatal injury.  There are also severe contusions and rope burns circling both wrists and ankles, these appear to be consistent with a struggle. There was no evidence of tissue samples under the victim’s nails. Some light bruising around the mouth and laterally on both cheeks are in conformity with the type of gag the police report described.”

“The pattern of the lacerations and the tearing of the breasts seem to have been done with a common variety garden tool. We are comparing the markings to some of the hand tools found at the scene.” The abandoned tool shed was located at the perimeter of an old farm that had been sold to a developer for new housing. Like most of the suburbs, active farms and open land was giving way to an increased population.

Dr. Ramos removed the thin white sheet that had covered the young girl’s body. “I noted the absence of any body hair on the trunk, including the pubic area. She seems to have been freshly shaved. There also appears to have been vaginal bleeding.” He gently inserted a speculum into the cadaver’s vagina and adjusted the light behind him. Jake was impressed with the respect Dr. Ramos showed in his handling of the young victim’s remains.

“There appears to be several lacerations and contusions along the inner membranes. My impression is that a hard object penetrated the victim, possibly something jagged. I am going to swab the vaginal canal for any evidence of fluids.” If any semen was present, then the DNA would be run through the computers.

Remembering that Julie had told him about Andrew Larkin telling her he had sex with Holly, Jake made a mental note to have Larkin called in for a DNA sample for comparison. He watched as several swabs were bagged and labeled for the lab. He spotted a small amount of a white chalky substance on the side of Holly’s knee. “Doc, what’s this?” Jake pointed making sure not to touch and contaminate the body.

“I don’t know.” Ramos walked around the table to Jake’s side. “Only one way to find out.”  The doctor scraped the white substance with a cotton swab and dropped it into another plastic specimen bag to send to the lab.

Dr. Ramos finished his examination of the outer body. Then he picked up a shiny knife and cut a large Y-shaped incision into the girl’s chest with a sharp, long blade and separated the fractured ribs that were not uncommon after CPR compressions. Since dead people didn’t bleed, there was only minimal oozing along the incision.

After cutting the cartilage that held the remaining ribs to the sternum, Ramos folded back the skin to expose Holly’s heart and lungs. “This girl was a heavy smoker.” He directed Jake’s attention to the less than pink lung tissue he had just sliced into. “Her heart is somewhat enlarged and shows some signs of cardiomyopathy,” he looked up at Jake to explain, “that’s a muscle weakness.”

“After the heart is weighed, I’m going to have some tissue samples sent to histology. Since the police report indicated that there had been cocaine use reported, I’ll ask them to look for some amounts of Benzoylecgonine in her body.” Benzoylecgonine was a telltale and lasting ingredient found in cocaine, an element that sometimes could be found up to a few weeks after its use in a person’s bladder.

The examination continued with an ongoing litany for the tape recorder. Ramos indicated that, since the girl’s stomach was nearly empty, death had been several hours following her last meal, possibly a full day or more. The information bothered Jake, but he wasn’t sure how important it was or not. Larkin had indicated meeting the girls in a bar, Jake figured they’d have ingested at least drinks, pretzels or popcorn. If she had been a frequent cocaine user, that could explain why she hadn’t eaten recently.

“She appears to have a small needle puncture in her antecubital fossa,” the doctor pointed towards the crook of the girl’s right elbow. “But there are no track marks or other visible punctures to suggest any illicit needle drug use.”

A little bit more than two hours after Jake had entered the room Dr. Ramos and the resident had returned the bulk of the organs to Holly’s body cavity and the resident was busy sewing up the Y-incision. Various samples of tissue were packaged and on their way to the lab for study. “Based on my initial examination, the apparent cause of death was cardiac arrest. Contributing factors would include an enlarged and weakened heart and severe blood loss.”

Dr. Ramos let the resident finish sewing the cadaver closed and preparing the body for release while he went to wash up. “So Jake, are you up joining me for lunch?

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It was 1985 and the little town I loved in was horrified at the murder that captured newspaper headlines. The site of the murder was just a few minutes from my home.

Using my EMT skills, I used to work in the infirmary of a local summer day camp in those years. Every day, as I drove to work, I went past the driveway leading to the smokehouse where the victim’s body had been burned beyond recognition. The police caught the murderer and the trial replaced the actual murder headlines.

But each time I passed the mailbox at the end of the crime scene driveway I was filled with an unease, there were nights when the horror at what had occurred there just wouldn’t leave my mind and I would lay awake staring at the ceiling.

When I wrote Final Sin I used a mental image of the crime scene that had haunted my town and I developed a different crime, a crime that included a body that had been set on fire. But that is where the similarity ended…

… Deputy Sheriff Commander Jake Carson has his hands full with the investigation of a brutal multiple homicide, a troubled son and a vindictive ex-wife when he meets young, free-spirited paramedic Julie Jennings. He is immediately drawn to her and finds himself unexpectedly falling in love. Julie finds herself just as drawn to him. When Julie becomes the subject of an obsession, it puts both of their lives in extreme danger… Romance…danger…adventure…suspense…another great Chelle Cordero novel sure to grab readers from many genre!

Final Sin was an Honorable Mention in the
Fiction Category of the 
2010 NY Book Festival 

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Final Sin is available in Print, E-book & Audio

Now Available in Spanish and German translations!

Book Discussion Packet

Die Letzte
von Chelle Cordero

Die Letzte Sünde
von Chelle Cordero
Deputy Sheriff Commander Jake Carlson hat alle Hände voll zu tun … er ermittelt in
einem brutalen Mehrfachmord, sein Sohn hat Probleme in der Schule und er selbst
hat eine rachsüchtige Exfrau am Hals. Er trifft die junge, freigeistige
Notfallsanitäterin Julie Jennings. Als Julie zum Objekt einer Obsession wird,
schweben sie beide in Gefahr …
Für Matt und Julie hatte ihr Dienst begonnen wie viele andere. Sie wurden zu einem kleineren
Verkehrsunfall gerufen, zu jemandem mit Schmerzen in der Brust und zu einem
Krebspatienten, der zur Behandlung ins Krankenhaus musste. Viele der
Gemeinschaften im Norden des Staates New York hatten Notfalldienste unter
Vertrag, um dem bestehenden Rettungsdienst unter die Arme zu greifen und auf
medizinische Notfälle zu reagieren. Ob bezahlt oder nicht, der qualifizierte
Dienst schickte immer Rettungsassistenten, die mit den meisten Notfällen
umgehen konnten. Wenn die Notfallsanitäter ausgesandt wurden, machten ein
weiteres Paar Hände und Infusionen oft den kritischen Unterschied.
Dieser Notruf kam über Funk für ein Brandopfer, also war keiner der Polizisten,
Feuerwehrmänner, ehrenamtlichen Rettungshelfer oder Sanitäter darauf
vorbereitet, was sie in diesem abgelegenen Werkzeugschuppen vorfanden. Von
außen wirkte das ergraute Holz friedlich genug, und das eine kleine Fenster war
schmutzverkrustet. Julie dachte nicht, dass sie unter normalen Umständen den
Schuppen eines zweiten Blickes gewürdigt hätte. Aber das hier war alles andere
als normal. Niemand hatte mit der Horrorszene im Inneren gerechnet.
REVIEW (English
Cordero Delivers!
Chelle Cordero strikes a winning combination of romance and suspense in this medical crime
thriller. Detailed research and characterizations coupled with a break-neck
pace create a hard-to-put-down-read.
 Kathy-Diane Leveille


Die Letzte Sünde Links
Also Available
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Foto von Mark Engelman
Chelle Cordero schreibt Geschichten voller Leidenschaft und Spannung. Vanilla
Heart Publishing hat neun Cordero-Romane veröffentlicht: „
Bartlett’s Rule”; „His Lucky Charm”;
„Within the Law”; „Courage of the Heart”; „Final Sin”; „Hostage Heart”; „A
Chaunce of Riches”; „Common Bond, Tangled Hearts” und „Hyphema”.
Sie arbeitet
derzeit an ihrem zehnten Roman und verspricht ein weiteres, actionreiches
Abenteuer und eine herzerwärmende Liebesgeschichte. Chelle hat den Großteil
ihres Erwachsenenlebens sowohl Romane als auch Sachbücher geschrieben und
arbeitet seit Beginn 2008 mit Vanilla Heart Publishing zusammen.
Ihre Bücher haben viel Beifall erhalten, unter anderem: „Bartlett’s Rule“ zählte zu Carolyn
Howard-Johnsons zehn besten Büchern 2009, „Final Sin“ war unter den ehrenhaften
Erwähnungen in der Romankategorie des NY Buchfestivals 2010 und wurde für den
Pushcart-Preis 2009 nominiert. „Hyphema“ gewann am 9. Dezember 2011 die
Abstimmung zum besten Bucheinband auf der „Shades of Love“-Webseite, „A Chaunce
of Riches“ gewann den D. Renee Bagby-Leserpreis für das beste erste Kapitel im
April 2010 und „Hostage Heart“, „Final Sin“ und „A Chaunce or Riches“
erreichten die Top Zehn in der „Preditors‘ and Readers‘“-Umfrage 2009. Chelle
war auch unter den „50 großartigen Autoren, die man gelesen haben sollte“ 2010,
herausgegeben von The Author’s Show.
Chelle Cordero unterhält einen Autorenblog auf und einen
Werbeblog auf Ihre Webseite bietet Informationen zu all ihren Büchern und Auftritten. Blogger und die Presse sind jederzeit in Chelles Medienzimmer auf willkommen, in dem herunterladbare Fotos und andere Informationen zur Verfügung stehen.
Chelle lebt mit ihrem Ehemann Mark und ihrer Familie im Nordosten der USA. Sie haben zwei
erwachsene Kinder: Jenni (& Jason) und Marc (& Trish). Sie teilen ihr
Heim mit drei schelmischen und verwöhnten Katzen, von denen eine Chelles
Schreibtisch zu ihrem Stammplatz auserkoren hat. Chelle ist als freiberufliche
Journalistin für mehrere Publikationen tätig – ihre Artikel erscheinen
regelmäßig in Nordamerika und sie schreibt als eine Rettungssanitäterin im
Staat New York eine monatliche Kolumne zu Themen der Rettungsdienste im Staat
New York in den „First Responder News“.
Translator for the German Editions
Katharina Klamt
Katharina ist Übersetzerin und versucht sich in ihrer Freizeit an der
Schriftstellerei. Ihr erster Roman soll 2016 fertig werden, aber sie wird stets
von Kurzgeschichten abgelenkt. Ihre Karriere als Übersetzerin begann in der
Videospielindustrie, in der sie ihre Leidenschaft für Videospiele mit ihrer
Liebe zur Sprache verbinden konnte. Wenn Katharina nicht gerade ohne Vorlagen
Figuren von fragwürdiger Qualität häkelt, spielt sie gerne RPGs und
Strategiespiele oder liest, besonders Fantasy, Thriller und humorvolle Bücher.
Katharina is a translator and aspiring writer, currently attempting to
finish her first novel but constantly distracted with short stories. Her career
as a translator started in the video games industry where she could combine her
passion of gaming with her love for language. When Katharina’s not busy messing
up crochet figures without patterns, she enjoys playing RPGs and strategy games
or reading, especially fantasy, thrillers and humorous books.


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