Mill Creek Malice by C. G. Haberman

The animal stench triggers Dawn’s gag reflex. The constant grinding of stone on stone irritably attacks her frayed nerves, and abruptly stops. Odd scratching sounds echo in her half-conscious state. She pulls herself into a sitting position and stares at a cage door. She gasps at the thing peering into her eyes.

A year before CJ Hand arrives as the new instructor at Loess Hills Community College the former professor inexplicably disappears. With the case going cold local law enforcement officers seek help. Investigators run into problems with the strange case involving native plants, and seek CJ’s expertise.

CJ is thrust into a world of pharmaceutical collusion when he finds the rare plant in question, but he also discovers an old ammunition box. When he opens it a nightmare begins. A geocache note inside written in a riddle, places him in the grip of matching wits with a killer. Key to the investigation, and the game, are–a small reptilian creature and the rare plant.

The new General Education Dean adds to CJ’s mental and physical anguish, suggesting the violation of his teaching contract. The summer class begins in two weeks and CJ has a choice to make: stop his part in the investigation or resign from his contract.

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