A serial killer on the loose, a woman being stalked, and a homicide detective who must find the connection between the two before she becomes the next victim.
He collects women. He imprisons them, plays with them, tortures them. Until they bore him. Then he removes a souvenir. They call him the Sandman.
Meagan McInnis is being plagued with late night calls, yet when she answers, no one is there. Then one night she makes a grizzly discovery in her own backyard.
The caller is silent no more.
Homicide Detective, J.J. Thomas, realizes Meagan is the key to finding the Sandman. Now not only must he protect her, but he must find the connection between Meagan and the killer before she becomes his next victim.
I’ve been asked where the inspiration for SANDMAN came from. Well, truth is stranger than fiction. It was November 3, 1998. I had gone away for the weekend to the mountains with a couple of friends from work. There had been rumors of snow, so we put the TV on immediately to track the storm. The minute the news came on, there was a story of a trucker who had walked into the police station, slapped a plastic bag on the counter and stated; I think you’re looking for me. The bag contained the severed breast of a woman.
As the weekend wore on, more information became available. They stated that the man had frequented a Karaoke bar in San Clemente. That perked up my ears. Five years prior, I had dated a guy who ran that Karaoke bar. I might have met this guy! Chilling.
After I got home, there was a message from my best friend. She asked if I had seen the story on the news and wasn’t that the guy I’d dated? I laughed. I’d never dated a Wayne. I would have remembered, that was my grandfather’s name. Then she told me his full name was Wayne Adam Ford, it hit me. I did date a guy named Adam, but he didn’t look anything like the guy on the news.
The Adam I knew was sexy, tall, fit and had a neatly trimmed beard that brought out his gorgeous deep green eyes. It had been the winter of 1993 and he wore flannel shirts with straight legged 501 jeans. I love that lumberjack look! *giggle* The guy on the news was heavier and balding. Of course, I hadn’t seen him in five years and people do change. But I still wasn’t convinced. My friend said that Inside Edition was doing a story on him that night.
So at seven o’clock I sat on my couch and waited. They started the segment with the exact same clip the news had showed all weekend. It was a slow motion shot of him entering a court room in an orange jumpsuit. But this time, when he turned to face the camera, I recognized those eyes. I burst into tears. It was him, it was the man I’d dated! My body trembled, then turned numb as I listened to the frightening tale. He was discharged from the marines for psychological reasons in the early eighties. In 1985 he was arrested for the rape and beating of a prostitute, the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. That’s when it occurred to me, he was already on the brink of insanity when I’d known him!
In 1994 he’d met a young girl at that same karaoke bar. They’d married and had a child. After the birth, he started to unravel. He’d become possessive, jealous and asked her to do strange things in the bedroom. She divorced him and took the child to live with her mother. He was refused visitation rights.
That was the catalyst that started his murderous rampage. He started picking up prostitutes and hitch hikers at truck stops along his route. He raped and
tortured the girls before he killed them, then sliced off a breast as a souvenir.
The camera panned to a trailer surrounded by woods alongside a river. The picture would have been beautiful and serene if not for all the cops parading in and out carrying evidence. They announced his freezer was full of body parts. It seems that one of his victims had her legs, arms and head amputated by an ax. Her torso was found bobbing in the water by a fisherman. They were still searching the Madd River for her head.
In a moment of hysteria, I remembered how overly dramatic the guy had been. If not for the fact that they’d found all that evidence linking him to those grisly crimes, I would have thought he’d confessed just to get attention. Maybe he did. The authorities didn’t know they had a serial killer. He wasn’t even a blip on their radar. So the only way he could get his fifteen minutes of fame was to turn himself in. But the joke’s on him, fifteen minutes is all he got. After all, have you ever heard of Wayne Adam Ford? It is said that there are approximately 50 serial killers active in the United States at any given time. So if in his sick twisted mind he thought he would be another Ted Bundy, or John Wayne Gacy, he was sorely mistaken.
The final twist to this already disturbing story is that I met Wayne Adam Ford on my birthday November 3, 1993 and he turned himself in on November 3 1998. After this revelation, I didn’t trust my instincts regarding men. I didn’t go on another date for over ten years. I’m still single to this day. I guess you could say that this has really messed with my mind!
Now I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. I never had a clue. The guy I dated was charming, handsome and had lots of friends. We dated only a short time. I questioned his relationship with his ex-girlfriend who was cooking him meals and leaving them in his freezer. He broke up with me because he said I had a suspicious mind. Funny, but I ran into him some months later and we went out to grab a bite to eat. That’s when he confessed he had to stop seeing her because he was still in love with her.
Now, when you read SANDMAN, you will find bits and pieces of these things in the story. I borrowed some facts from his case and mixed them up between the suspects so no one would be able to guess the killer’s true identity.
Sean climbed out of the water with his board under his arm. He dragged his hand down his face to brush the salt water away from his eyes. His breathing was labored; he’d gotten in a good workout today. He walked up the beach a good distance before he detected a strange odor. As he neared his destination, the stench invading his nostrils became more pungent.
I hope there wasn’t another damn sewage spill.
Soon he heard a strange buzzing sound. He stopped, brows furrowed, and concentrated on zeroing in on the exact location of the noise. Failing at this, he shrugged, and then continued up the strand. But with each step his uncertainty grew. The irritating cacophony had increased in volume.
Within seconds Sean found himself about fifty feet from where he’d left his gear. Before him lay a blanket of black that appeared to be moving. “What the fuck?” He hesitated, waiting for the synapses in his brain to start firing, before taking another step.
When he found no logical explanation, he gently rested his board on the sand and made his way closer until he stood directly in front of the sight. His hand cupped his nose. The stench reminded him of hard-boiled eggs gone bad. Very, very bad.
Okay, strike the moving blanket crack. It was more like a black cloud hovering over his belongings. Flies. He had an inkling that it was not the seaweed they found interesting. Something dead had washed up on shore and he was less than eager to find out what it was. A seagull? A fish? A seal? Whatever it was, it would not be pretty no matter how long it had been dead.
Slowly, he reached down to pick up his sweater with one hand, while the other reached for the strap on his backpack. The flies swarmed up for a brief moment, just long enough to reveal their prey, before settling back down into a dark writhing carpet.
An unintelligible sound escaped Sean’s lips. He gasped for air while instinctively taking a step back. He’d seen some hairy things in his life, but nothing even close to this. Icy fingers of fear raced up his spine; his heartbeat hammered in his chest.
Sean couldn’t look away even if he had wanted to. Some strange fascination took hold of his brain and wouldn’t let go. Systematically, his mind dissected the grisly scene before him.
Sticking out of the rolling mound of seaweed was a woman’s arm. It was stiff as a mannequin’s, extending skyward as if reaching to him for help. The mottled blue hand wore long red fingernails, two of which had been broken down to the quick. Seaweed was wrapped around her arm like a feather boa.
Sean’s gaze then locked onto another object protruding from the sandy grave: a leg that seemed to be severed mid-thigh, but closer inspection revealed that it was really half-buried. It too appeared tangled in the bubbly brown vegetation.
The foot, like the hand, wore a shock of bright red polish on its perfectly manicured toes, clashing with the bluish pallor of the flesh. His eyes grew wide at the sight of flies and sand crabs greedily devouring the soft tissue. He choked back bile.
The spell was broken.
Sean stepped backward so fast he tripped over his own feet and landed on his butt. He scrambled up and raced toward the shore. He couldn’t get away fast enough. He reached the water’s edge before collapsing to his hands and knees. His insides lurched so hard that he thought he would spew his stomach lining. Dry heaves continued long after his stomach had emptied. He collapsed on the sand, exhausted. A wave washed over him, but he hardly noticed.
About the Author:
Morgan Hannah MacDonald writes Romantic Thrillers-Not for the faint of heart. She has always been interested in writing and serial killers, but it wasn’t until she found she had dated one herself that a true writer was born. She belongs to Romance Writers of America’s San Diego Chapter, as well as the Kiss of Death Chapter. She resides in San Diego, California where she is busy working on her next novel.
Want to win a e-copy of Sandman? Let me know and I will enter you into the contest! Leave a clear way for me to find you if you win please. Open internationally! I will close this giveaway on the 29th at 11:59pm EST and announce the winner the next day! Winner picked by Random.org.