SEASON OF SACRIFICE by Bharti Kirchner is the first in a new Seattle-based mystery series introducing feisty PI Maya Mallick…
During a morning stroll, Maya sees two women set themselves ablaze in front of the temporary residence of the visiting Chinese foreign minister. She’s even more shocked to recognize one of them: Sylvie Burton, a brilliant Tibetan-American scientist, who is the adopted sister of Maya’s best friend. An onlooker says that the two women are martyrs, protesting the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Yet, with so much to live for, why would Sylvie end her life in this horrific way?
Here’s an extract from the first chapter…
The chanting continued, the chorus ascending and then dramatically descending, sounding cruel and evil. A second woman came forward, pivoted and faced the assembly. Taller than the first, she was also dressed in a white shroud, with a similar garland around her neck. Maya saw only the woman’s bright eyes above her veil, eyes that looked familiar. They reminded her of Sylvie, a dedicated malaria research scientist and the sister of Maya’s best friend. Sylvie had been adopted from a Tibetan refugee camp in Darjeeling, India, when she was still a baby. Her bloodline could be traced to a Tibetan royal family. But Sylvie, who didn’t have a political bone, wouldn’t come to a street rally. She’d rather be cooped up in her research lab for a twelve-hour day.
And yet, Maya’s chest tightened. She called out, ‘Sylvie?’
The chanting stopped for an anxious moment.
With a sweep of his hand, Sunglasses Man gave the second woman the go-ahead. She took a few shuffling, mechanical steps, unsteadily assumed her place beside her companion and gazed up at the mansion.
With his thumbnail, Sunglasses Man ignited a pair of red-tipped wooden matches and handed one to each woman. After uttering a few instructions, he backed away to a safe distance. The women accepted the tiny, playful sparks as if in a trance.
‘Don’t!’ Maya screamed.
SEASON OF SACRIFICE is out now in the UK and will be published in eBook, and in hardback in the USA, on 1 September. For further information, please visit our website here.