Category Archives: Sketch Of a Murder

Information about the book Sketch Of a Murder

Sketch Of a Murder

The Avenger eludes three police departments and leaves a trail of mutilated bodies. Hot-tempered Sergeant Nita Slowater must catch the killer.

Nita clashes with her superior, Lieutenant Michael Williams, from day one. What’s with the man? She remind him of his ex-wife or is it something deeper?

Tension mounts as the body count rises.

Then the Avenger communicates with Dawn Samira. Forced to be liaison with the pushy, lesbian reporter Nita’s in no mood to play nice. A reporter got her best friend killed.

The only bright spot in Nita’s life is her unlikely friendship with a homeless, black artist, Molly the Pack Lady. Buried within the pages of Molly’s sketchpad, lies the key to the killer’s identity. Will Nita find it before an innocent man becomes the Avenger’s next victim?

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Reviews on Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent experience in literal works. This title easily earned it’s place among my shelves., January 21, 2014
JesterDev (Pueblo Co.) – See all my reviews
I found this title to be a bit off from my usual genre, but I was looking for something different and I found it.First, a little about the writing style. Quite interestingly enough the story comes alive with detailed, precise yet synoptic details that set the scene. The words flow quickly but in such a way that the reader is falling through the sentences with an easy comprehension. Overall very well written and the flow of words are precise and to the point without being too wordy.It’s too easy to give away subtle details that can lead to a spoiler when discussing the story. I will suffice to say that I found there to be many twists and turns, some rather powerful moments that connect us to the main character, Nita. Overall I think it’s worth the price of admission. Grab yourself a comfortable seat because once you pick up this book you’ll find yourself unwilling to put it down.An excellent experience in literal works. This title easily earned it’s place among my shelves.

5.0 out of 5 stars Thrill of the Chase!, January 21, 2014
When I first started reading Aya Walksfar’s Sketch of a Murder, I didn’t know fully what to expect. It’s a book with a frightening premise, not because there is a murderer killing people, but because of the reason the murders are committed. We’ve all seen the news stories of the rapist or murderer escaping punishment because of who they knew or who they could hire as an attorney and it’s something that most of us are truly disgusted by in our legal system. In Sketch of a Murder, Aya’s character The Avenger, helps open up the door in our own minds and gives us a peek at the darkness that lies within all of us. The part of us that would justify the torture and murder of another ‘human being’.
With characters that are diverse and more than a little complex, Aya’s book takes us into the investigation and into the lives of these people. Each member of the Special Crimes Team has a past, be it a lack of ability to stay within the confines of the law, or the flaunting of the political negotiations that must often accompany standard police procedure. I felt I could relate to Lt. Michael Williams’ desire to get at the truth regardless of what it took to get there. I understood Nita Slowater, the strong willed female detective with a good heart and a passion for the people in her life, a woman who won’t take crap from anyone, including her superiors.
A great story involving characters you come to care about, in a struggle against an adversary who seems to be two steps ahead of them the whole way. It’s an all-round good read for those who enjoy the thrill of the chase and the twists and turns of a murder mystery.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great New Writer Who Knows Her Stuff!!, January 7, 2014
pwindsinspirations (Colo. Rockies, United States) – See all my reviews
Damsels in distress. You will NOT find it here. What you will find is a very strong independent woman who can hold her own. She came alive for me and I felt as if I could see through her eyes. Her boss, Michael Williams a no nonsense kinda guy that I would love to have my back in any situation. Every character in this book has personalities that are rounded, real and made me feel I was right there with them.
I do not want to give away any part of this suspenseful book. But if you want more than a book to read just to pass the time, one that involves you in every twist and turn and keeps you guessing, this is that book! I loved every bit of it and recommend it highly.
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, December 31, 2013
A strong plot and well developed characters makes for a very good read. If you like murder, suspense and intrigue this book is for you.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a 5-star murder mystery, November 17, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
Aya Walksfar has done it again! This is an engaging story with believable characters and a well-thought-out plot. I love stories with strong female characters and this is a good one.

Review by booklover

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a 5-star murder mystery November 17, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
Aya Walksfar has done it again! This is an engaging story with believable characters and a well-thought-out plot. I love stories with strong female characters and this is a good one.



#Governor Andrea Marleton crossed her shapely legs and rested her long, elegant fingers in her lap. She cocked her head to one side and her long, auburn hair swung over her shoulder, framing one side of her oval face. Large, expressive dark eyes studied Lieutenant Michael Williams as he sat on the spindly-legged, antique chair. The only thing in the expensively decorated governor’s library that looked congruent with Mike’s rugged face was the books crowded together on the bookshelves behind him. She glanced at her wristwatch. 8 PM. Her choice of the library in the governor’s mansion was not be accident. The room radiated serious purpose. Mike was a serious man. In her opinion, too serious since his wife Emily died of cancer eight years ago and his police daughter was killed while saving a young girl’s life.

governor's mansion library

“Mike, let’s be reasonable. You are the logical person to head my Special Crimes Team. You’re a lieutenant and you have maintained the best clearance rate of any homicide #detective in the state of Washington, bar none.”

He carefully shifted in the chair as if afraid that any sudden movement might cause it to shatter. “I am being reasonable, Andrea. I’ve put in my years in law enforcement and it’s time to quit. I’m tired of butting heads with my superiors.”

She chuckled. “As I’m sure they are tired of butting heads with you since you have a knack for doing exactly what you planned to in the first place.” She uncrossed her legs, clasped her hands between her knees and leaned forward. “That’s why this is perfect for you. You answer to no one, except me.” She sat up straight and put her hands out, palms up. “What could be more perfect?”

“Time at home with my son.”

All joviality faded from her face, leaving only the look of determination that her political opponents so dreaded. “I need you to head the team, Mike. Harvey Realto was not only the wealthiest landowner in #Washington State, he was also a big contributor to my last campaign.” She held up a delicate hand when he started to interrupt. “That isn’t the real problem.” She bit her lip, a habit she’d been trying to break. “It’s come out that several months ago he beat a young man who worked on his ranch so badly that the boy will carry several facial scars for the rest of his life. The boy was gay. I didn’t know he was like that, Mike.  You know I don’t hold with that kind of bigotry.”

Mike grunted and glared at her. “Told you that you needed to vet your contributors, Andrea.”


“Gregory Whitehall is an incompetent ass.”

“Yes, well.” She sighed and settled against the uncomfortable back of the settee. “He’s a necessary evil. Mike, I’ve gone to bat for you….”

“That was because you owed Eleanor Hastings, big time.”

She threw her hands up in the air. “What will it take to get you to accept? Yes, so far this monster has only murdered two men, both who arguably deserved what they got and worse, both wealthy men who used their positions, power and money to sidestep justice for crimes we all know they committed. But, Mike, what happens when this vigilante doesn’t get the full story before he strikes; what happens when he goes after someone who was perhaps falsely accused? Do you really want an innocent man’s death on your conscience when we both know the best hope we have is for you to head a team whose only goal is to stop this maniac?”

She knew she’d scored when he began rubbing one hand over his hair. Like her lip chewing, it was a telling gesture.

He stood and paced over to the bookshelves, ran a thick finger along the books’ spines. When he turned back to face her, his heavy features were set and she knew whatever he demanded she would have to concede or he would walk away.

“I’ll head your Special Crimes Team, Andrea, but there are conditions. It’s my team. I don’t care who you pick, but they answer to me; not you. No jurisdictional boundaries to stall my investigations. When a case meets the criteria for my team, the other jurisdictions hand over the case; I head it and let them know how they can assist. One crime scene unit on-call for us. If they’re at another scene, too bad. Put it on hold for a different unit. Lab work we need goes to the head of the queue. No special considerations for politicians or wealthy people. Even if I decide I want to investigate you, no one will try to strait-jacket me, got it?”

She nodded, sensing that he wasn’t quite finished.

“Top of the line equipment. Computers, cell phones, digital cameras, whatever we need in technology. You can scrimp on the office furniture.”

When he jammed his hands in his front pockets, she knew he’d finished with his list of demands, nothing she didn’t expect. “I can agree to all of that, Mike. The only thing I want in my control is the media. Let Gregory handle the media. The man is an ass, but he’s the best PR person I’ve ever seen. I swear he could make people believe it’s the dead of night at high noon.”

Mike narrowed his eyes, and for a moment she thought he might balk. “Whitehall can have the media,” he held up one blunt-nailed finger, “unless I feel that it interferes with my investigation. At that point, I will do whatever I feel is necessary, understood?’’

A smile slowly spread across her lips as she stood. He met her in the center of the conversation area and they shook hands over the antique rosewood table. “Understood.”

As he put his hand on the doorknob, he twisted his head and peered over his shoulder. “Andrea, I don’t doubt that you’re sincere about wanting to catch this killer before someone dies who shouldn’t, but I also know if he can’t be caught in a timely fashion that you won’t hesitate to throw me, and my team, to the media wolves.”

She didn’t respond as he stepped out and quietly closed the door. Above everything, she was a political animal, and sometimes that called for distasteful sacrifices. He understood her too well, and sometimes, she hated him for it.


or visit Author AYA WALKSFAR at:

The above photos of the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia, Washington and the Library in the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia, Washington are from the Washington Governor’s Mansion Foundation at  Many thanks to this great non-profit, non-political organization for all of its efforts toward preservation of Washington State’s heritage.



SKETCH OF A MURDER  (excerpt from Book 1 Special Crimes Team)

#murdermystery by #AyaWalksfar


Dr. James Benning sat at his usual table near the west wall of O’Toole’s Bar and Eatery on Fifteenth. It was eight o’clock on the evening of April 29th. He forked up the last of his New York cheesecake, topped with real strawberries and hand-whipped cream, then leaned back in the brown, padded leather booth, and sighed contentedly as he sipped his coffee. Pure Kona coffee flown in from Hawaii.

It’s over. Ding-dong the bitch is dead, and I’m finally free! He smiled, stood up, tossed some bills on the table, and strutted out of the restaurant. He took a deep breath of the warm night air and strode toward the lot where he’d parked his BMW.

Now to shut up that bitch, Christina Ryan. Really burned her ass that no one could prove I was anywhere near Carkeek Park when Rebecca was beaten. Stupid bitch would still be alive if she’d gotten the abortion, like I told her.   

He spotted the white paper stuck under his windshield wiper while still four stalls from his vehicle. “Damn solicitors. Should be a law to keep them from sticking papers on other people’s cars,” he muttered. When he got to his car, though, he realized the white paper was a business-size envelope. Frowning, he pulled it from beneath the wiper blade.

Meet me at Carkeek Park. You know the place. The same place that you left Rebecca bleeding and dying. Alone. At midnight. I have something that belongs to you. How much do you think the tabloids would pay for the scoop of the year? Mayoral Candidate Murders Ex-Wife.



The half moon threw watery, silver light on the black ribbon of the packed dirt path. Head up, shoulders back, Benning entered a tunnel formed by newly leaved trees.


His steps dragged to a halt. Head tilted, he listened. A twig. That was just a twig breaking. But…. Brows furrowed, he turned in a slow circle.

Big-leaf maples loomed overhead, shaggy with small ferns sprouting like wayward clumps of hair in the bends of moss-covered tree arms. Tall bushes grew profusely along the path. More ferns, some three feet tall, grew in wild profusion among the trees.

Nothing. Probably a dog stepping on a dry twig. Enough dogs and twigs around here! 

Pace a little faster, he walked a few feet when he heard it. A rustling. Like someone sneaking through the bushes next to the trail. He stopped, peering from one side to the other along the pathway. “Okay, bitch, come on out. Quit playing your fucking head games.”

The pale green needles of a conifer entwined with the darker green needles of Douglas firs. He stared for a long minute, trying to see through clumps of wiry-limbed bushes heavy with white berries.

Nothing. He gave a half-hearted shrug and then spun with military sharpness, quickly moving out again. A squirrel. It’s only the rustling of a gray squirrel.

“Bitch probably won’t show. Wait until I get a hold of her, she’s going to wish she’d never gotten involved,” he threatened in an undertone.

A breeze soughed through the trees, young leaves whispered to each other. Somewhere a truck roared to life. The rumbling of its engine, muted by the thick vegetation, sounded far away. A shiver ran down his spine.



He’d never felt quite so isolated. “Almost there. Just around that curve then I’ll see if she shows. I want this done. Fucking bitch better show.”  Unconsciously he hunched his shoulders. Embarrassed by his own weakness, he began to turn to look behind him.

Out of the shroud of night, a solid piece of maple limb slammed into the side of his head.

Every Tuesday at six am, personal headlamp firmly strapped in place, Professor Lucy Holliswood jogged through Carkeek Park on one of the lesser-used paths. On this day, her pale cone of light flashed over something…something at the side of the path.

She had jogged this same route every morning for ten years on her way to The Happy Bean, her favorite coffee shop, just up the street from Art’s Supermarket. In all that time she had never seen so much as a discarded paper cup. She slowed to a near stop, peering at the dark object. What the…? A black leather loafer, toe perfectly aligned with the edge of the packed dirt of the path. Although the thickness of the salmonberry and Oso berry bushes obstructed her line of sight, she thought she saw…a pair of light-colored pants?

She crept forward. The second shoe, a long stride behind the first one, looked as if the owner had vanished mid-stride. A half-step farther along on the ground she found a pair of beige slacks neatly laid out. The dirt around them had been carefully brushed free of twigs and leaves. Crease still perfect, but ruined by the dirt on one knee as if the wearer had fallen.

Where in the Sam Hill is the man who owns these clothes?  They certainly aren’t what the homeless men wear. And why would anyone lay them out like this, so neatly? 

She pushed forward, arm held up to deflect the slapping branches. Her mother’s voice whispered in her mind, “Someday, Lucy, that curiosity of yers is gonna gitcha in trouble.”

Above the slacks, a white shirt laid flat, arms crossed neatly over the buttoned up front. An expensive-looking, pale gray tie lay on the ground above the shirt. The tip of the tie, lying an inch above the collar of the shirt, drew her eyes. Her eyes followed the straight line of the stretched out tie.

She barely captured the scream with her knuckles as she scrambled backwards.


The woods image:  Image courtesy of dan at




Dawn Samira, Investigative Reporter


Dawn stepped out of Jazmine Wheeler’s back door just as a yellowed maple leaf drifted from the nearby tree. Her eyes skipped over the colorful maple tree, drawn upwards toward the glacier glistening atop White Horse Mountain in the bright autumn sunshine.

With two coffee cups in hand, Jaz walked up next to her. She held one of the cups out. Dawn looked over at her friend, accepted the coffee and smiled before her attention returned to the mountain looming so close she felt as if she could graze her hand over the snow-mantled peak.


“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Jaz murmured then sipped the hot black brew.

“My stepdad used to say he and mom were going to buy a place somewhere in the #Cascadefoothills when he retired.” She sighed as a wave of loss washed gently over her. It had been so long ago that she’d last heard his voice.

Jaz looped an arm over Dawn’s shoulders and gave her a sideways hug. “You’re welcome here any time, you know that don’t you?”

She leaned her head against Jaz for a moment. “Yes, I know, and I really appreciate it.” She shifted away from Jaz’s supportive arm and sipped her coffee. “I think I find fall a melancholy time because it’s like nature is closing in on herself.”

Jaz cleared her throat, but her gaze remained fixed on the mountain. “Alicia loved #autumn. Said it was when Mother Earth reminded us to slow down and breathe in the beauty of each day. She said, it was often when we are on the verge of losing something that we become poignantly aware of each precious, fleeting moment.” She blinked hard. “Sometimes, I think she fought the cancer to try to give me a few more of those fleeting moments.”

Dawn swallowed the last of her coffee. “Amazing people that we’ve loved, and lost.”

Jaz twisted her head so that she looked steadily into Dawn’s eyes. “It took me a long time to understand what Alicia meant when she said, ‘love is never lost. It’s always there in your heart, ready for you to wrap it around yourself like a well-loved cloak, unless you stuff it in a closet, slam the door and try to forget it ever existed.'” She ran a hand through her long chestnut hair as she turned to the cabin door. Forcing a cheery note into her voice, she said, “Hey, I promised you the best omelette on this side of the Cascade Mountains.”

Dawn followed Jaz into the bright interior of the cabin, gently closing the door behind her.

Join Dawn as she delves into the mind of the #serialkiller, The Avenger, in Sketch of a Murder.  NOW AVAILABLE at

To view more images of Autumn on Jazmine Wheeler’s farm in the Cascade Foothills, go to: