Shattered by Death (A Jo Oliver Thriller Book 2)

Praise for Catherine Finger


Shattered by Death (Book 2)


"A modern day 10 Little Indians by Agatha Christie, Shattered by Death is a rollercoaster of twists and turns that will lead you to a heart-stopping end. Catherine Finger is proving to be an author to note as up and coming." --Sandra Brannan, author of the Liv Bergen Suspense Series


“In Shattered by Death, Catherine Finger takes us on a page-turning tale that keeps us riveted from beginning to end. With a crisp, clean writing style, Finger has crafted characters that stay with us long after we’ve finished the book. I can’t wait for another release from this stellar author, who has just joined my favorite writers’ list.” --Kathi Macias, author of more than fifty books, including Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year,
Red Ink



Cleansed by Death (Book 1)


"This skillfully crafted suspense story of a police chief tracking a serial killer will have you on the edge of your seat. Readers will root for Josie as she struggles to do the right thing, not only in her relationships, but as she searches for answers about God. Catherine Finger has crafted a feisty heroine in Chief Josie Oliver as well as a cast of fascinating support characters. Looking forward to Catherine's next book in the series." --Patricia Bradley, award winning author of
Shadows of the Past


"Move over Kinsey Malone, Josie is in the house! This police chief is not only a local leader, but respected throughout her community of coworkers, friends and good neighbors. She manages to overcome personal challenges while still putting the bad guy behind bars and reconciling her relationship with 'the magnificent being.'" --Elizabeth Martin Stearns, Waukegan Public Library


"As a pastor, I rarely see characters in books or on screen who wrestle with God in a way that feels like what I see every day. Cleansed by Death is the rare exception, a world where spirituality is real but not easy, where the tragedies and triumphs of life work together to form a cohesive whole. I recommend it to anyone who has wrestled with God... and loves a good mystery!" --Gary Ricci, Pastor of New Hope Christian Community Church in Round Lake Heights, IL





Copyright © 2016 Catherine Finger


All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.


All Scripture quoted is from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Cover design by Bookfly Design LLC.

Interior art by Chalfont House or in the public domain.


Published in the United States of America by HopeSprings Books, an imprint of Chalfont House Publishing.


Publisher’s Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously.  All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.




Paperback ISBN 9781938708749





My legs rolled out a rhythm of their own, commanding cross-country skis into one smooth glide after another through the quiet evening snow. A full moon glistened overhead. Samantha gave a happy cheer behind me, and I answered her with a girlish squeal of my own. My cheeks quivered with the force of the smile pouring across my face. I steered around a sharp corner and bent down into the wind, grabbing the snow with the tips of my poles to propel myself even faster down a short, steep hill. I slid to a stop and turned to watch Samantha’s descent.

I cupped my hands and yelled encouragement to my little bundle of spunky joy. “Alright now! You go, girl!”

She was a natural athlete. If everything went right and she was living with me full-time before June, I’d have to ask around to see if there were any camps I could enroll her in for the summer. She’d hate that, but it was a battle I was going to win. Just not tonight. Tonight we had the luxury of brilliant stars, a spectacular moon, and the noisy creatures of a perfect Wisconsin winter all to ourselves. Let the magic continue. Lord knew Samantha needed some magic in her life.

Her little legs pumped hard, netting her an impressive burst of unnecessary speed.

“Slow down, girl! You’re gonna wipe out!”

I was new at all this and was beset with worry over the slightest things. What would a regular mom do?
Is this normal? Do little kids take corners on cross-country skis at breakneck speed? Are you supposed to sit there and watch them as they flirt with danger, propelling themselves to a certain and gruesome death? How does the rest of the world even
this every day?  

“Watch me, Josie! Watch me!”

I gasped as she leaned into the corner and flew gracefully down the hill. She was heading toward me at a pretty good clip, and there was only one set of tracks forged into fresh powder. Milliseconds before careening into me, she jumped sideways, both skis aloft, stopping on the snow beside me.

Who taught her all that? She
a natural. I was going to have to find something more challenging than the four walls and three members of her current foster home between now and The Day if I was going to have any chance at all of harnessing her resilient, playful spirit.

“Josie?” Her face was aflame with happiness, and she wasn’t winded at all.

“Yes, darling?” My eyes teared up as I looked at her.

“It’s just that, well…”

Whatever fears swirled within, she was trying hard to share with me. Would I be successful at helping her banish them?

“Is this about the court appearance next Thursday, sweetie?” She was nervous about the review. Heck, my own stomach was full of butterflies. We were about to go in front of a judge who had the power to declare something God had already whispered, boomed, and burned into my heart: Samantha was my daughter. There were just a few more legal hurdles to clear in the adoption process.

What was she afraid of? Did she know something I didn’t?

Lamb’s eyes moistened. She stared at me, fidgeting in silence.

I stepped out of my skis and knelt beside her, sinking an inch or two into the snow, until I connected with the earth. I would do anything to be that solid earth, that sense of safety, that strong foundation, for her.
Lord God, pour out Your solid love through my hands, to her heart.

“I love you, Samantha. I know this is scary… and wonderful at the same time. And I feel it too. Mostly what I feel is so very happy to have you in my life and to get to be your mom.” I kissed her cheek and drew her into a hug. Breathing in her beauty was my elixir.
Thank you Mighty God. Thank you for my little miracle.

Her little arms wrapped around my sides, and I almost missed the gift of her fear revealed. “My forever mom?”

“Yes, darling. Your forever mom.”

We finished the last half-mile of the trail side by side. I smiled up at the sky and thanked God for bringing this amazing child into my life. The Paradise County Department of Children and Family Services sponsored weekly outings for foster students and their families. With the adoption less than a month away, my heart fluttered at the thought of being able to bring Sam home to
house. This was one of the last times I’d have to watch her board a bus and head back to her foster “brothers and sisters.”

I followed the bus back to Haversport, flashing the squad lights every now and then just to give Sam another reason to smile on the way home. The beauty of our time together carried me through the evening. Tomorrow morning’s schedule included what would no doubt be an unpleasant attorney conference call. One more mile to go before I sleep—and awaken to the new world of full-time motherhood.

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