Short Story Thriller: A Deadly Path

Nothing wrong with a hike that you want to take with your son … especially when you’re not ephpjqxBlPAMxpecting it to become a short story thriller, joining our growing list of stories you’ll find on our crime books page.

But, alas, that’s what happens when Detective Jake Sharpe pulls his son Darrell away from his video games and takes him on a hike into the foothills above Los Angeles. Along come Tom Stone and Andrew on the jaunt to see a waterfall.

The boys get into some tussles and after Stone leads Andrew on up the path Jake tells Darrell that he knows a shortcut and they can beat Stone and Andrew to the waterfall.

What happens next is what you don’t want to miss in this story inspired by the trails that weave their way into the shadows of the San Gabriel Mountains, where the crevices are perfect for hiding all sorts of surprises.


We’ll be releasing A Deadly Path in a couple of weeks and we wanted you to have the opportunity to enjoy it for free, by signing up for the Tom Stone Detective stories newsletter. Click here on this link and you’ll see a page that looks like this:

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We’ll reveal the cover soon. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt:

Darrell was a good kid. He did his homework, hung out with friends at the mall, and didn’t take drugs. He just had that I-know-everything-and-I-don’t-care attitude, making the gap between Jake and his son about ten times wider than the canyon walls surrounding them.

“Aren’t we there yet?” moaned Darrell. “How much farther?”

“Not too far. Just enjoy it.” Jake undid his pack and pulled out a bag of trail mix. “Want some?”

“No thanks.” Darrell reached in his and grabbed an apple.

“I didn’t bring you here to torture you,” Jake sighed. “I thought we might have a nice time together.”

“Yeah, I know, Dad.” Darrell looked around.

“You guys begged to come here when you were little.” That was another world and another era.

“It’s cool.”

Jake put on his pack. “Glad to hear.”

“It’ll be cool to see the falls,” mumbled Darrell.

Suddenly, Jake had an idea. “Want to have some fun?”

“Sure, whatever.”

“We can beat them to the falls,” said Jake, smiling.

“How? They’re already ahead of us.”

“I know a short cut. It has some steep parts but it’ll save a lot of time.”


“Can you imagine their faces,” laughed Jake, “when they show up, we’re already sitting there?”

“Yeah, that’d be fun. Let’s do it.”


“Hopefully Andy won’t want to look for his stupid gold,” said Darrell.

“Be easy on the kid.”

“He’s just so, you know, retarded.” Darrell wrinkled his face in disgust.

“That’s not nice.” Jake headed up a clearing to his right, squeezing between boulders and on to a little used path.

“I know. He’s just too goofy.” Darrell followed along trying not to scrape against the rocks.

“So were you at his age.”

“No way.”

“He’s doing so much better. Just a couple of years ago he wouldn’t even go to a park.” Jake hurried his pace. “It’s partly his age. It’s partly what happened to him when he was little. But he’s growing up and doing better. Mostly.”

Andrew was a puzzle, one of the many thousands of kids who grew up with abusive families and were then put into foster care group homes. But Stone met him during a Christmas toy drive and decided he’d give him as much exposure to a family as possible.

“You and mom talked about that, huh?”


“Taking in a kid like Andrew.”

“We did. We’ve wanted to help where we can, but our house is full with you guys. I know you can’t understand how good you got it, Darrell.”

They climbed up a steep grade. It was just a few more bends to the falls and Darrell got excited about getting there first and surprising Stone and Andrew. They went down to where the canyon widened into a clearing and several tall trees were clumped together like an oasis.

“Hey, didn’t we go this way when I was a kid?”

Jake agreed. “We actually did. And we all played hide and seek.”

Pop, pop, zing. The sound of a bullet that Jake knew all too well whistled off a rock behind them. “Down.”

“What the—?” Darrell panicked.

Another shot rang out and dust rose just a couple of feet away. Jake scrambled behind a boulder and pulled Darrell with him.


And, in the meantime, we’ve had some fun reviews for our latest novel Tom Stone: Day of the Dead, available on Amazon.

6x9_TS-DOD-FullCoverWrap-151wordsThis is a fast paced page turner with suspense that starts at the beginning and keeps building right to the end. Action all the way through it is a great read.

Tom is the main character and is a dedicated detective determined to get the bad guys and he works well with Jake. He is a friendly man and has a good relationship with his ex wife.

Angel is the opposite but there is something about him that is likeable even though he is someone that definitely shouldn’t be liked.

So what we have here is a fast paced, action packed thriller with well defined complex characters. It is well written and a very gripping read. Highly recommended for readers of Crime Fiction.

Thanks for reading and check back for updates.

Btw, Follow us on Goodreads

Don Simkovich

Lon Casler Bixby


Crime thriller short story in progress

After launching our crime thriller novel Book 3 Tom Stone Day of the Dead this month, we’re penning a short story that peeks into the dangers lurking in the foothill canyons near Los Angeles. An excerpt is below. Any guesses where this pic was taken? Hint: Don snapped it  near his home, and it’s a favorite spot of his for hiking.

Eaton Canyon flowersJake takes his son Darrell to get outside so the father and son duo walk toward a waterfall (another hint about where the picture was taken, for those of you familiar with the foothills around LA). Tom Stone and Andrew are along for the … fun?


Hmm … It was a fun story to write with the family clash and the surprise in the canyon. It also brings up one of the tougher social topics facing cities like Pasadena (another hint about the picture) and others in So Cal.

It’ll be out soon–of course, we’ll let you know.

Get the word first when you sign up for our enewsletter by clicking here and landing on a page that looks like this —- ok, we’re still perfecting things:

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Enjoy this brief excerpt. For our novels, visit our Crime Ficion Books page.

A hike with just Darrell seemed the perfect thing to do early on a weekday morning in the summer. The trails were empty and this particular canyon had its own natural seclusion. Jake had scheduled time off so he could spend the time with his son and Stone had decided to join along with Andy. The canyon with its fortress-like walls and waterfall spilling into wading pools was a place for adventure. But Darrell was miserable and not even trying to cover over the fact.

Andrew was zigzagging, pulling on tiny tree branches and snapping them, whistling past Darrell’s face.

Darrell waved his hands. “Come on, man.”

“Andy,” Stone beckoned to the boy about fifty more yards up the trail. “Climb the rock with me.” A boulder had a crevice running through it.

“Oh, wow.” Andy shouted and scrambled up the opening.

Darrell stopped and took a breath.

Jake was annoyed. “You tired again?”

“No, I’m not tired again.”

The canyon walls narrowed and they faced a line of boulders that created a blockade on the right. The trail zigzagged left, leading through the stream.

Darrell studied his options. “I don’t want to get my shoes wet.”

Jake looked at his son’s feet. Unbelievable. He was wearing Air Nike’s that were less than two weeks old. Jake and Tasha had agreed to pay half and Darrell, complaining, washed friends and families’ cars to earn the other half.

“I don’t want to wear old shoes.”

Jake wanted to just—but he didn’t. He clenched his jaw. What was it with kids? Or his own kid? “There are times you just got to wear old shoes.”



For free Ch 1 previews of our crime thriller novels click on the titles and go to the Amazon page:

Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas

Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights

Tom Stone: Day of the Dead