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Black and White Truth: The Syndicate-Born Trilogy, #2

Black and White Truth: The Syndicate-Born Trilogy, #2

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Black and White Truth: The Syndicate-Born Trilogy, #2

ratings:
3/5 (1 rating)
Length:
328 pages
4 hours
Released:
Oct 24, 2016
ISBN:
9781622531479
Format:
Book

Description

In a world of varying shades of gray, the truth is always in black and white.

"Absolutely one of the best I have read in quite a while." ~ Stephen Steiner

Seventeen years after The Syndicate trial, Jason Knettle sets out to write the shocking true crime novel on the group that ruined so many lives. With the help of a new source, he uncovers a frightening truth—The Syndicate is back... and more dangerous than ever with a new leader at the helm. The group will stop at nothing to prevent Jason from letting the world know the truth.

As the dead bodies of people connected to the trial start to pop up, Jason is called upon to do battle with his own person demons and be the hero. Can he save the day, or will The Syndicate succeed in burying the truth once and for all?

"K.M. Hodge got me hooked with Red on the Run. I LOVED the characters in the first book and was kind of mad at the ending (it's good, I just get attached to fictional people) so I was excited to read this book and see what happened with everyone. Black and White Truth is even better than the first book!" ~ Kristy Young

EVOLVED PUBLISHNG PRESENTS the second book in the award-winning "The Syndicate-Born Trilogy," an exploration of what happens when one well-placed group possesses too much power, and how it affects those who just get in its way. [DRM-Free]

Books by K.M. Hodge:

  • "Red on the Run" (The Syndicate-Born Trilogy - Book 1)
  • "Black and White Truth" (The Syndicate-Born Trilogy - Book 2)
  • "True Blue Son" (The Syndicate-Born Trilogy - Book 3)
  • "The Sally Ride Chronicle" (The Syndicate-Born Trilogy - Book 4 - A Prequel)

More Great Thrillers from Evolved Publishing:

  • "Forgive Me, Alex" by Lane Diamond
  • "The Oz Files" Series by Barry Metcalf
  • The "A Point Thriller" Series by Jeff Altabef
  • The "Zoe Delante Thriller" Series by C.L. Roberts-Huth

Released:
Oct 24, 2016
ISBN:
9781622531479
Format:
Book

About the author

K.M. Hodge grew up in Detroit, where she spent most of her free time weaving wild tales to spook her friends and family. These days, she lives in Texas with her husband and two energetic boys, and once again enjoys writing tales of suspense and intrigue that keep her readers up all night. Her stories, which focus on women’s issues, friendship, addiction, regrets and second chances, will stay with you long after you finish them. When she isn’t writing or being an agent of social change, she reads Independent graphic novels, watches old X-files episodes, streams Detroit Tigers games and binges on Netflix with her husband. She enjoys hearing from her readers, so don’t be shy about dropping her a line.


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Black and White Truth - K.M. Hodge

Copyright

www.EvolvedPub.com

~~~

BLACK AND WHITE TRUTH

The Syndicate-Born Trilogy – Book 2

Copyright © 2016 K.M. Hodge

Cover Art Copyright © 2016 Mallory Rock

~~~

ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622531477

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-147-9

~~~

Editor: Sue Fairchild

Senior Editor: Lane Diamond

Interior Designer: Lane Diamond

~~~

PUBLISHER’S NOTE:

At the end of this novel of approximately 63,585 words, you will find two Special Sneak Previews: 1) TRUE BLUE SON, the author’s third novel from The Syndicate-Born Trilogy, and; 2) AN AMERICAN FAMILY by Jackson Baer, another crime drama we think you’ll enjoy. We provide these as a FREE extra service, and you should in no way consider it a part of the price you paid for this book. We hope you will both appreciate and enjoy the opportunity. Thank you.

~~~

eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

~~~

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

Books by K.M. Hodge

THE SYNDICATE-BORN TRILOGY

1 – Red on the Run

2 – Black and White Truth

3 – True Blue Son

4 (A Prequel) – The Sally Ride Chronicle

~~~

THE BOOK CELLAR MYSTERIES

1 – Walker Texas Wife

2 – Texas & Tiaras

~~~

Save the Date

~~~

www.KMHodge.com

~~~

What Others Are Saying about K.M. Hodge’s Books:

~~~

Red on the Run:

A wonderful book! The characters are heroic and flawed and broken, and about 1/3 of the way through the book, I was hooked... rooting for them to overcome, rooting for them to have a happy ending, and scared to get to the end in case it wasn’t a happy one. Ms. Hodge has crafted an interesting tale of suspense amid a beautiful love story. You don’t know who to trust, so you are suspicious of everyone. I can’t wait to read her next book. ~ Melinda McIntosh, Author of A Bit of Tickle for the Mind

~~~

Red on the Run:

Domestic abuse and addiction can be pretty tough topics but K.M. Hodge delivers in a debut novel that is fast-paced and very suspenseful. I wanted to keep reading and I enjoyed this novel to the end. Looking forward to future books in the series! ~ Gail Olmstead, Author of Jeep Tour and Guessing at Normal

~~~

Red on the Run:

Absolutely fantastic! Move over Baldacci. Prepare for competition from this new author! Spellbinding—hard to put down. Had me captured from chapter one through the end! ~ Patrisha Ehlert

~~~

Red on the Run

This book is so much more than a simple thriller. It’s fast-paced, with a plot that will keep your wheels spinning as you try to unravel the intricacies. But it is also a book not afraid to delve into the deeper side of characters and address tough issues. A super enjoyable read, its complexities only add to that. Pick this up for a weekend read—you won’t want to stop once you’ve started. ~ Nella M.

FREE GIFT

Thank you for picking up a copy of Black and White Truth, book two in my Syndicate-Born Trilogy. As a way to thank my amazing readers, I have a FREE novella available to all my subscribers. As soon as you sign up for my newsletter, you will receive a free copy of my 1970’s suspense novel, Summer of ‘78. Take a trip back in time with Susan Evenbright, a young woman who fits the victim profile for a serial killer that is killing young redhead girls in Texas. Can the FBI agent assigned to the case, catch the killer and keep Susan alive?

www.kmhodge.com/Subscribe

BONUS CONTENT

We’re pleased to offer you not one, but two Special Sneak Previews at the end of this book.

~~~

In the first preview, you’ll enjoy the First 3 Chapters of K.M. Hodge’s TRUE BLUE SON, the third book in The Syndicate-Born Trilogy series, picking up where BLACK AND WHITE TRUTH leaves off.

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

YOU’LL FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

THE SYNDICATE-BORN TRILOGY at Evolved Publishing

In the second preview, you’ll enjoy the First 2 Chapters of the critically acclaimed crime thriller/family drama, AN AMERICAN FAMILY by Jackson Baer, the first book in the An American Family series.

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

YOU’LL FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

AN AMERICAN FAMILY Series at Evolved Publishing

Table of Contents

Copyright

Books by K.M. Hodge

FREE GIFT

BONUS CONTENT

Table of Contents

Dedication

BLACK AND WHITE TRUTH

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Epilogue

Special Sneak Preview: TRUE BLUE SON (Book 3)

Acknowledgements

About the Author

More from Evolved Publishing

Special Sneak Preview: AN AMERICAN FAMILY by Jackson Baer

Dedication

This book is dedicated to my mother and my Grandma Johnson, who both instilled in me a love of reading from a very early age.

Prologue

Love makes a man do stupid things.

It once made me believe I could go up against the Lex Luthors and Bruno Mannheims of the world with just the power of my words to slay them.

The problem with that is I’m not a man of the hour. Nope, I’m just a bumbling fool—Jimmy Olsen singing the blues.

The truth is, being a hero is one of those things that sound great on paper. After all, they save the day and get the girl, but when you aren’t the Man of Steel it doesn’t quite work out that way.

Seventeen years ago, my best friend and the one-sided love of my life, Katherine, got me caught up in an investigation that led to the most scandalous trial of my lifetime. Senators, FBI agents, police officers, and wealthy businessmen were convicted and sent to prison for a long time.

Only a handful of people know about the part I played in making this happen, which is okay. Even now, the demise of The Syndicate is publicly credited to the real hero, Superman flying in to save the day, and getting the girl—except he was shot and killed on the courtroom steps.

My anonymity won’t last for long, though. When everything’s said and done, Jason Knettle is going to be a household name, and it’ll be all because of her. In the days leading up to her death, she gave me the go-ahead to write her story—the story. I took it and ran with it—like I always do—but I should’ve known better. Everything about her was dangerous.

I’m compelled to tell it—the truth; the story no one else felt brave enough to tell.

Stupid.

The Syndicate wanted the world to forget they ever existed.

Never underestimate powerful men and their desire to maintain their thrones.

When I first took on this project, I thought I was assuming all the risks. It’s safe to say I haven’t learned from my mistakes because here I am, a middle-aged man chasing after the bad guys, with a typewriter as my only weapon. Weeks, maybe months, have passed since that fateful day when I first took up this futile cause. I’m not really sure anymore, as the days and weeks have begun to melt into each other.

Today, like any other day, I work until the point of exhaustion, my cramped, trembling fingers stumbling along the keys, causing the hammers of the ancient typewriter to swing up and stamp the slug metal type against the ribbon. I only stop typing long enough to tip back the bottle of single malt Royal Lochnagar, relishing a mouthful of the burning liquid, though the bite on my raw throat makes me grimace.

The words are starting to blur together. I’m tired, or maybe I’m just drunk. It’s hard to think as the pain in my gut worsens. The doctor said I’m not supposed to be drinking anymore, that it could kill me. It would be just my luck that I’d drink myself to death before I’m even done with the work, but there’s no stopping me now. Apparently, I lack the fortitude necessary to face this challenge sober. Maybe later, if I survive this ordeal, I’ll give sobriety a go, but until then, I don’t see any other way to go forward.

She would be disappointed in my falling so far off the wagon. It hurts to think about her, but her smell still lingers on my clothes and on the bed we shared together. She needs me to stand tall and save the day. They’re out there, and people are depending on me to come through, because lives are on the line, for fuck’s sake, and Superman is nowhere to be found.

Today Jimmy Olsen is the best hero the world can hope to get.

Chapter 1

Shockoe Slip

Richmond, Virginia

June 14, 2025

11:00 PM

~~~

It’s all my fault, Tim thought as he stumbled down the haunted cobblestone streets of Shockoe Slip. At eighty-seven years old, he’d outlived his wife and two daughters. His son, and only remaining child, had been released from prison seven years ago, but their relationship was almost non-existent. His boy served a ten-year sentence for the conspiracy to murder his twin sister—among other things.

It’s all my fault.

She never outright blamed him for it all going south, but he knew from the look in her eye that she’d blamed him.

He looked up at the familiar homes of this street, which he so often wandered at odd hours of the night, looking for forgiveness, redemption, and maybe, if he was honest with himself, trouble.

Tonight he hoped the late night stroll might bring him some clarity. The death of his daughter four days prior brought back the insomnia, a nuisance that had plagued him on and off for years. Her funeral would occur in a little over twenty-four hours.

Should I go or am I going to make things worse?

Even though they had made peace with each other years ago, he still got the impression he wouldn’t be welcome.

So far, his late-night stroll had failed to provide the answers he hoped it would, so he started back towards home. The sound of heels clicking on stone quickened behind him.

My past is catching up with me.

When the crack and whine of the gun discharged, shattering the quiet of the night, he, at last, found some rest.

***

Shockoe Slip

Richmond, Virginia

June 15, 2025

3:30 AM

~~~

Under the cloak of darkness, Detective Marianna Espinosa changed into her spare crime scene clothes. The distinct smell of a crime scene could linger despite the best efforts of several dry cleaners, so she always kept a spare handy.

Once dressed, she unzipped her cosmetic bag, pulled out a small tub of Vicks Vapor Rub, spread a thin film of it inside her nostrils, and shut her trunk. The CSIs teased her about it behind her back but she didn’t care. A nineteen-year veteran on the force, she loved her job and was good at it. So what if she couldn’t get past the smell.

The red and blue flashing lights of the crime scene called to her like a beacon.

Let’s get this show on the road. She looked both ways and crossed the street.

One of the uniformed officers held up the yellow tape of the secured crime scene for her to walk under. Detective. He greeted her with a tip of his hat.

Who’s the first responding officer tonight, Joe?

He motioned over the hill with the flick of his wrist to the officer hunched over a dead body. Lloyd, ma’am.

She strode toward the body splayed out on the street, the loud clip-clop of her shoes echoing through the early morning on the cobblestone, alerting others to her arrival. What do you have there, Lloyd?

The young officer, one of her favorites to work with, pulled out the notes on his pad. Ma’am, the decedent is an elderly white male with a single gunshot wound to the head. An anonymous call came into the station at 2330 hours. I arrived on the scene at zero hundred hours. At that time, the streets were deserted. A Glock 42 was found next to the body. It’s already been bagged. He tilted his head toward a numbered yellow tent marker. He didn’t have a wallet or any kind of identifying information on his person. We canvassed the immediate vicinity and none of the neighbors reported hearing anything unusual.

The Crime Scene Investigator on scene, a young woman whose name Marianna couldn’t recall, squatted down and placed the index finger of the dead body into a curved print reader attached to her tablet, and scanned his print.

She didn’t have to wait long. Detective, the DMV records show the decedent to be Richmond resident, Timothy Mitchel.

The tech didn’t appear to recognize the name, but Marianna did.

The tech regarded her with a quizzical arch of her brow. Do you know him?

Marianna nodded. Yeah, I know him. He was a part of The Syndicate trial years ago.

The tech shrugged off the news.

For Marianna, it struck a reminiscent chord. Her friendship with Katherine and Jason had pulled her into the case and had propelled her career forward especially after she’d taken Scott Mitchel, Katherine’s brother, into custody.

Questions began to nag at Marianna: Why did someone kill Mr. Mitchel execution-style now, seventeen years after the trial in which he testified against The Syndicate? Does this have anything to do with Katherine’s funeral today?

Marianna had promised to meet Jason there around five that afternoon.

It’s going to be a long day.

***

Hollywood Cemetery

Richmond, Virginia

June 15, 2025

5:00 PM

~~~

Jason sat crisscross on the bumpy ground. The brutal sun beat down on him despite the leafy shade trees scattered all over the cemetery. A fine sheet of sweat covered his face and his clothes clung to him like a second skin. His best friend, the love of his life, was lost to him forever.

In a matter of a couple of hours, he’d managed to drink three-quarters of his bottle of scotch. He slapped himself for good measure to test it out—numb.

Yep, I’m drunk, blotto. Blackout central is right around the corner.

At that moment, he was supposed to be standing beside the other mourners—ashes to ashes and all that shit. Instead, he was on the other side of the cemetery having a drink with Iron Dog, the famous Hollywood Cemetery monument.

I shou-ould be there, should n’ I, Iron? He took a long gulping swig of the scotch, belched up the contents of his stomach, and swallowed it back down. She’s just go-one.

His stomach, in turmoil after days of steady drinking, abruptly declared its displeasure. He vomited on the ground and the beloved monument, which stared blankly back at him. Aw shi-it, man, I... sorry. He thoughtfully wiped the contents of his stomach from the dog’s paws. Here, ‘lil buddy, have a ‘lil bit of the dog that bit ya. He poured some of the scotch near the dog’s muzzle.

When a hand touched him on his shoulder, he nearly jumped out of his skin. Jeezus!

Marianna.

J, what are you doing? She squatted down beside him on the one clean patch of ground.

Accepting my Nobel Prize. He hiccupped... hard. Wuz it looks like? he said before swallowing back round two of his stomach’s protest.

Maybe it’s time to go home and sleep this off. She grimaced and placed her perfectly manicured hand on his arm.

He shrugged her off. Get your hands off–a-me. I’ll go when I’m good ‘n re-eady. This time he wasn’t able to hold it back, and ended up vomiting all down his dress shirt and pants.

Jesus, Jason. Come on. I’m sending you home before you get arrested.

He didn’t protest as she pulled him to his feet, but didn’t exactly cooperate either.

You’re going to have to work with me here.

Fuck, she’s right. I need to go home.

He concentrated hard on putting one foot in front of the other as they made their way to the exit.

She held onto him tightly and pulled up an app on her phone with her free hand. I’m ordering you an Alphabet car to take you home.

No, I hate the automated shit, he spat as he talked. They’re taking jobs away from cabbies and bus drivers. It ain’t right.

Shut-up, Jason.

By the time they made it through the entrance gate, a car was waiting to take his belligerent, drunk ass home. Since it was all automated, he wouldn’t be able to annoy another human being. Maybe it was for the best, after all. The logistics of getting all of his uncoordinated self inside the vehicle proved to be a more challenging task than he had anticipated. Once he was safely inside, he gave the car the go-ahead to take him home.

Jason watched Marianna slowly disappear through the window, and noted a tear sliding down her cheek.

She doesn’t deserve this.

***

Terry stretched his arms over his head and rolled his neck—another boring shift almost in the books. The around-the-clock smart dust surveillance had started a month ago, when Jason started to cause a stink online. The dust—an innovation in nano technology—had revolutionized the spy world. Tiny computers the size of dust particles were now everywhere, monitoring everything and anything a person could imagine.

The poor sap has no idea how many eyes and ears are on him at any given time.

Since Jason made the announcement about the true crime Syndicate book, the watcher’s boss wanted to keep tabs on Jason and those around him.

Terry had been on the surveillance team for over a week, already sucked into the drama of it like some soap opera. He watched in interest as the whole drunken scene unfolded between the sorry son of a bitch and his girl in blue.

His shift was almost over, so he jotted down some notes and sent it off to the boss. He and a few other men that monitored the surveillance all felt that Ms. Habertone’s chihuahua, Millie, was more of a threat than Jason Knettle.

***

Charles MacAvoy’s Home

Danville, Virginia

June 15, 2025

8:00 PM

~~~

Charles sat back in the leather chair in his home office and wiped his hands over his tired face. Being a millionaire business mogul still required work—a lot of work. The markets were closed now and he’d finished answering all the emails requiring his immediate attention. In the dark, he pulled a worn photo of a young red-haired woman from the middle drawer of his desk—a photo of his ex-wife.

Today had been her funeral. The two years left on his house arrest sentence meant he couldn’t attend—couldn’t give his final respects. The crew that had filmed the ceremony this afternoon emailed him the file into his Dropbox, but work had prevented him from looking at it until now. Now, though he had the time, he couldn’t muster the courage to open it.

From his mansion on the hill, he could pretend she was still down there living a full and happy life. When her security team—the one he’d hired over seventeen years ago to watch over her— sent him their final invoice that morning, her death had finally become real.

***

Coat ‘n’ Thai Restaurant

Richmond, Virginia

June 15, 2025

11:00 PM

~~~

Chris’s heart hammered in his chest as he thought about being with his ex-wife again after so many years apart. After losing his mother and reuniting with his ex-wife, all in the span of two days, he felt as if he were on an out-of-control rollercoaster. As disorienting as the week had been, he was certain about one thing: he wanted to kiss his former bride again and again and again.

Her cheeks flushed and her eyes held a flirtatious twinkle. When his foot accidentally brushed against hers under the table, her hooded eyes rose to meet his, and she smiled.

He melted when she bit her bottom lip and looked away. He knew that look! A rush of confidence shot through him as he signaled for the check and settled the bill in record time.

Take me home, Chris. Ellie looked up at him through her downturned lashes.

His stomach flip-flopped in anticipation. Emboldened by her request, he reached for her hand as they stepped out of the restaurant and into the cool, summer night air.

He tugged her by the arm down an alleyway—a shortcut—toward the funeral home where his car was parked.

His patience ran out about halfway to the car and he pivoted on his heel to face her. Sandwiching her between himself and the cool brick of the building, his breaths became shallow.

She trembled. Her chin tipped up and she parted her lips for him.

When he kissed her, she moaned into his open mouth—driving him crazy. He held both her wrists up above her as his body molded to hers, until at last, breathless, he broke the kiss. Hey.

Hey yourself. Her saucy tone was nearly his undoing.

I remember this. He rested his forehead against hers and nuzzled their noses together. Touching her was like coming home. Ellie.... There was so much he wanted to tell her, to do to her.

Take me home, she said.

He took her by the hand and walked with purpose down the street to their cars. They laughed a

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