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The Tenth Nail

Nate knelt beside the dead girl. This wasn’t his first homicide, it wasn’t even the first dead prostitute he’d investigated. It wasn’t the first strangling death he’d been assigned to. But, this one bothered him.

Maybe it was her youth, she appeared to be in her early twenties. Maybe it was her looks, as death had yet to rob her of her beauty. Maybe she reminded him of his own daughter, Lizzie, who was only a few years younger. Maybe it was something else entirely.

The big detective looked over the body, careful not to touch or disturb her. He had one of the best crime scene technicians, Winston Rawls, and he did not want to make his job harder.

“Look at her fingernails,” Rawls observed from the other side of the body.
“What about them?”
“Most of them are broken and some are torn free of the quick. Some are missing.”
Nate slowed his visual scanning of the girl and focused on her hands. Rawls was right, the nails were ragged, broken, and torn. Some of her fingers ended with just the bloody fingertips.
It made his injured finger hurt. Maybe this was why this murder haunted him from the start.

The girl’s hands were bagged in plastic to preserve evidence that hopefully was there. Gently, Nate lifted a hand, holding it on his open palm. He looked at the girls eyes, that looked down and away from him.
“I don’t know what happened that led you to this place. I don’t know why you chose to live the life you did. But you deserved better than this.”
Rawls looked at Nate with an expression that asked, “What are you doing?”
Nate glanced at the technician and then focused again on the girl’s hand.
“I promise you, I give you my word, I will find who ever did this to you and I will bring him to justice. I will hold him accountable for this. Rest assured.”
Gently, as if he didn’t want to wake her, Nate lowered the girl’s hand to the pavement. He stood and Rawls stood with him.
“Do you want to tell me what that was all about?”
Nate studied the bearded tech, “I made her a promise.”
“Nate, you and I both know solving the death of a streetwalker is one of the hardest crimes to solve. Unless she was killed by her pimp, or another girl jealous of her, the doer is a complete stranger. There’s just not enough to tie the two people together.”
Rawls shook his head, “You’ve worked more of these than I have. You know how difficult this is going to be.”
Nate looked at Rawls, placed a hand on the technician’s shoulder, “I made her a promise.”
He turned and walked from the alley, giving the technician a controlled wave, “See you at the morgue.”

The Tenth Nail is the story of a homicide detective obsessed in finding the killer of a streetwalker. It is fast paced, with well developed characters and a twist at the end most will not see coming.

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Finding and Convicting the Killer

Kwen D. Griffeth Author Interview

Kwen D. Griffeth Author Interview

The Tenth Nail revolves around a homicide detective Nate and his new partner Manuel as they work together to solve the murder of a beautiful young woman. Where did the idea for this novel come from? 

I spent several years in law enforcement both as a civilian and military. I carry a deep pride and love for the officers of today and respect what they have to survive. Much of that challenge is to survive the emotional impact of witnessing just how ugly and cruel people can be to each other, day after day. I don’t think the story of the true impact this has on officers has ever been told. Over my years in law enforcement I witnessed too many officers die emotionally. This death could be seen through sexual affairs, abusive drinking, physical violence, reckless behaviors, and even stealing. A quick tally to illustrate this is I knew five officers who died while “on the job.” Two of them died in the line of duty, and three of them died by their own hand. The Tenth Nail is an attempt to introduce the stress of being a cop to those who don’t know.

One of my primary goals when I write a story is to get the reader emotionally involved. Via, the victim of this book is introduced as a common street walking prostitute. A kind of victim that is easily forgotten relatively quickly in our society. In these days of limited budgets and overstretched manpower, she represents the kind of crime that is soon to be a cold crime if not solved in the first few days. Nate, the lead detective assigned to the case, shares a private moment with the dead girl and due to a shared injury promises her he will bring her killer to account for her death. This sets up conflict from many directions. The fact is, if it’s not another girl, who killed her, or her pimp, the odds of finding and convicting the killer of a prostitute is difficult, at best.  The department wants Nate to shelve the case to free him to handle cases with a higher possibility of solvability. Manny, Nate’s new partner, and new to homicide, wonders if he should request another training officer. The more he is pushed to release the case, the more resistant Nate becomes.  He refuses to break the promise he made to the dead girl.

The Tenth Nail is a edgy crime novel that throws readers right into the action with a murder in the first pages. How did you balance mystery with answers with crazy twists?  

I grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels and I was determined to solve the case before the “great detective.” My mother and I watched hours of Raymond Burr as Perry Mason and we discussed the cases as the show progressed. To balance the mystery without giving the story away to soon requires work. Truthfully, I hope I got the job done.

Detectives Nate and Manny are entertaining and intriguing characters that I felt were well developed. What was your inspiration for their characters and their relationship?

Nate and Manny are combinations of several police officers I have known over the years. I admit that both carry a little bit of me in them, as I have been in both positions as senior and junior partner.  I wanted officers (in all cases) who represented more than just the stereotype of cops. I also expected the same from the other characters. One of my favorite scenes is when Manny arrives home after a day much too long and he is still adjusting to his first murder, his first victim, his first expose to Nate and all the rest. Selma, his heavily pregnant wife allows him to lay his head on her lap and stretch out on the sofa.  When he kicks off his shoes, she scolds him for wearing socks with a hole in the toe. To me, that is the center of the Tenth Nail, trying to balance extreme violence with complete love.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?

My next book is called Dead Men Walking and it is a continuation of the story of Nate and Clare. Several of the characters from The Tenth Nail will return though the are many new ones as well. The plan is to release the book by early summer.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Twitter

The Tenth Nail by [Griffeth, Kwen]“Nate knelt beside the dead girl. This wasn’t his first homicide, it wasn’t even the first dead prostitute he’d investigated. It wasn’t the first strangling death he’d been assigned to. But, this one bothered him.
Maybe it was her youth, she appeared to be in her early twenties. Maybe it was her looks, as death had yet to rob her of her beauty. Maybe she reminded him of his own daughter, Lizzie, who was only a few years younger. Maybe it was something else entirely.

The big detective looked over the body, careful not to touch or disturb her. He had one of the best crime scene technicians, Winston Rawls, and he did not want to make his job harder.”

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The Tenth Nail

The Tenth Nail5 Stars

The Tenth Nail, written by Kwen Griffeth is a novel that revolves around a homicide detective Nate Burns and his new partner Manuel Trujillo as they work together to solve the murder of a beautiful young woman, Via. Via is a prostitute and one night she is approached by a handsome man who lures her into an alley where she ultimately meets her demise. To avenge her death and find her killer, Nate and Manny, the dynamic duo, find themselves caught in a case that will twist and turn through good and evil and eventually lead to a mystery that will rock the core foundations of every police officer.

Kwen Griffeth’s edgy crime novel, The Tenth Nail, will have your heart racing in anticipation to find out what happens next as you are thrown right into the action with a murder in the first pages. A mix of crime, a dash of seduction and air of mystery, The Tenth Nail will fulfill your whodunnit fix and leave you eager for more. From prostitutes to police officers and the sweet life on a quiet farm to the busy strips on Las Vegas, this novel will take you on a whirlwind adventure of murder, integrity and seduction.

The character development is by far one of my favorite aspects of this story. Nate Burns, a strong man in both nature and physique is an honest family man who is determined to solve the murder of street walker, Via. He resembles something of a Texas cowboy, who loves his horse Babe, his wife and two children and demands attention and respect when he enters a crime scene. As the story develops you learn about his intriguing past that haunts his nightmares of today and the reader will slowly find the skeletons in his closet are indications of a man far more complex than you first expect.

At times I was disappointed at the integrity of characters and readers will question their belief that policemen are heroes and instead begin to realize that they too are people with their own set of complex beliefs and emotions. It gives you a taste of what many in our police force deal with daily and how they learn to become desensitized to some of the horrors that most ordinary folk will never encounter. Some of the events will leave other characters maturing into heroes and other characters developing into something more sinister.

One of my favorite lines in the story is when Nate tells Manny that fashion is “part biology, mixed with a little psychology, and spiced with sociology” as we all crave a little attention, even if it is just walking across a room. The entire novel is filled with ideas that encourage you to ponder about our world and where our own set of beliefs come from.

This novel is by far one of the most gripping stories I have encountered and Kwen Griffeth’s has an incredible ability to create a story that is riveting, entertaining, creative and leaves the reader gasping for more answers until the shocking end. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves a fast-paced thriller styled novel.

Pages: 382 | ASIN: B01JTU2AZ4

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