Chilling Serial Killer Book: Dead and Buried

serial killer books

Dead and Buried: A Serial Killer Book

If you can’t get enough of serial killer books, psychological suspense, crime thrillers, or dark horror, you just struck gold (even though it’s speckled with blood). Whether you prefer “Silence of the Lambs” or the Criminal Minds TV series, you’re a lifer. We know you. You even profile your creepy neighbor – the one who buried something dark and bulky in his backyard.

Readers call the Darkwater Cove serial killer suspense series the most chilling thrillers on Amazon. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Darkwater Cove is the brainchild of Dan Padavona, author of the bestselling Wolf Lake thriller series.

But even if you’re already a fan of “Darkwater Cove,” we bet you haven’t read “Dead and Buried,” the chilling prequel to the series. Yes, there is another Padavona thriller waiting to give you sleepless nights. And if that isn’t reason enough to get you excited, the author offers “Dead and Buried” for free.

To whet your appetite, we are bringing you the first two chapters of “Dead and Buried” to read today. At the end of this article, you’ll have a chance to download the e-book.

Seriously. No strings attached. Well, maybe a few strings to prop up the body.

But hurry. This offer won’t last long.

Ready to start reading?

Free Thriller Dead and Buried

Chapter One


Agent Darcy Gellar examines the dead girl on her laptop screen. Age twenty-three, Marcy Abraham had her entire life ahead of her before the serial murderer known as the Full Moon Killer butchered her along the North Carolina coast.


Darcy pulls up a second picture and zooms in. Abraham’s eyes appear doll-like, haunted. Blood spray soaks her face and shirt where the murderer swiped a knife across her throat. Like all the serial killer’s victims, Abraham wears a vile branding on her neck—a deranged smiley face, the mark of the Full Moon Killer.

In her third year with the Behavior Analysis Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Darcy Gellar has never encountered a murderer this violent. He’s impossible to catch, a ghost haunting the eastern seaboard from the southern Virginia border to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Though she has theories of who the Full Moon Killer is, they’re vague. A chalk outline of the man’s true identity.

Paging through the murder photos makes her tiny office at the end of the hall seem darker. A window looks out upon Quantico, Virginia. She concentrates on the sunshine glinting off windshields in the parking lot before the crime scene photos pull her back to the screen.

At thirty-eight years, Darcy is a bright star among the BAU’s profiler ranks with a preternatural knack for tracking serial killers. Her brunette hair drapes over her shoulder, the locks tied in a ponytail. Her eleven-year-old daughter, Jennifer, has taken to wearing her hair like Mom. A picture of Jennifer and fourteen-year-old Hunter adorns her desk, Hunter with one arm wrapped around his sister while he displays a first-place distance running trophy. Beside the picture of her children, another frame holds an image of Darcy and her late-husband, Tyler.

Her next breath comes heavy and leaves a void in her chest.

“Why did you have to leave so soon?”

Darcy rubs her eyes and peers at the blue sky out her window, remembering long mountain hikes with Tyler, their future together limitless and full of promise. Until it vanished.


This photograph shows Abraham sprawled along the cove. Her legs splay unnaturally. The killer dumped her on the sand after murdering her elsewhere, probably inside his house. His propensity to leave his victims along the shoreline might point to the killer’s fixation with water and waves. Oceans hold religious and symbolic meaning. Rebirth, cleanliness, purity of the soul.

Yet the theory doesn’t sit well in Darcy’s stomach. This is about showmanship. He wants the world to see what he did. And what better place to dump his victim than paradise?

As she zooms in on the photograph, studying the pattern of footprints on the beach, searching for some clue she missed when she took the pictures, a figure fills the doorway. She glances up at Eric Hensel, her partner for the last two years. The senior agent wears his blonde hair clipped short, a quarter-inch longer than military grade. He’s lean and fit for forty-eight and moves with an athletic grace his cohorts rarely display. Dressed in designer shoes and slacks, he already looks the part of a future manager.

“More photos,” Hensel says, plopping two folders stuffed with crime scene pictures on her desk. “Did you catch up to Janelle DeLee yet?”

Darcy shakes her head.

“Another email this morning and a promise to call when she has more time. I feel like I’ve played email and phone tag with this woman for over a week now.”

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Darcy and Hensel interviewed Marcy Abraham’s close friends and family, then moved on to her office workmates. No, Marcy hadn’t complained of a stalker and never mentioned strange phone calls in the dead of night. No jealous ex-boyfriends. Marcy hadn’t dated since college. Janelle DeLee and Marcy often ate lunch together when business was slow at the office. DeLee had been out of the state for training when the murder occurred, and Darcy had yet to catch up to Abraham’s co-worker.

“It’s probably a dead end,” Darcy says, tapping a pen against her palm. “If anyone harassed Abraham at work, someone at the office would have mentioned it by now.”

Hensel folds his arms and leans against the jamb.

“Except DeLee was closer to Abraham than the others were. Abraham might have confided in DeLee, if she was worried about a stalker, or wanted to get out of a sketchy relationship.”

“Or Abraham might have been another random victim. All we know about this killer is he likes them young. Girls in their teens to mid-twenties, pretty.”

“Doesn’t narrow it down. That sounds like a million different psychos in the database.”

He’s right. They’re no closer to catching the Full Moon Killer than they were twelve months ago. Which makes little sense. Darcy should be on his trail, not drifting further away. The Los Angeles Strangler case took eighteen days to solve. She learned the identity of the woman butchering old boyfriends outside of Cleveland in two weeks, and Darcy’s profile of the female killer could have passed as the murderer’s biography.

The Full Moon Killer murders a new girl on a predictable schedule, yet she hasn’t collected a fiber of hair off his head. How many years will she chase this ghost?

“Bring it back to basics,” Hensel says, sliding into a chair across from Darcy. “What do we know about our unsub?”

“Well, he kills during the ten days surrounding a full moon. Have we considered he’s part werewolf?”

Darcy grins when Hensel contorts his hands into claws and bares his teeth.


“In his thirties or forties. Serial killers murder inside their races, so the unsub is a white male.”

“All we need is one break. It’s a matter of time before someone comes forward.”

A ding pulls Darcy’s eyes to the computer screen. Checking her email, she pumps a fist in the air.

“Janelle DeLee wrote back. Cross your fingers that she finally has time to meet.”

“See? Our luck is turning around.”

As Darcy scans the message, her eyes drop.

“Bad news?”

“DeLee is in New York City until Friday.”

“What does this woman do? She’s never home or in the office.”

“Corporate sales, six-figure income. As much as I complain about not seeing my kids, it sounds like DeLee has it worse. What’s the point of owning a house if you sleep in a hotel every night?”

“Like the FBI, it’s the perfect career for singles.” Hensel checks his watch. “Hey, I told Meltzer I’d meet him for subs in the village. You want to tag along? My treat.”

Hensel displays a load of bills in his wallet.

“I have something to finish up. Maybe tomorrow.”

“All right, but you’re missing out. Tuesday’s specials are crab and lobster.”

Darcy screws up her face.

“I love lobster and subs, but that doesn’t sound like a happy marriage.”

“Suit yourself.”

He waves and disappears out the door. Darcy taps a nail on the mouse, considering if she should email DeLee and set a date for next week. The case grows colder by the day. Eyeing the time, she sighs. She’s running late again. Better call the sitter and beg Clarice to pick up Jennifer at school. By the time she finishes working, it will be too late for dinner. Good thing Clarice cooks better than most chefs in town. Clarice will save a plate for Darcy, but this is the third time in the last two weeks she’s missed dinner with the kids. Scrubbing her hand across her face, she fears the Full Moon Killer case will put her in an early grave.

Checking the lunar calendar, Darcy narrows her eyes. This can’t be right. It seems the full moon rose over the bay a week ago, but it’s been three weeks. A new cycle is beginning. It’s time for the Full Moon Killer to become active again.

As Darcy folds the laptop and slides it into her case, a shout from the hallway pulls her head up. Hensel jogs back to her doorway and taps his phone.

“Just got the call from Seagull Island PD. A fisherman found a body on the beach. Looks like our guy’s work.”
Darcy’s head swims. Instead of heading home, she’ll be on the first flight to Myrtle Beach.

And the next full moon is still five days away.

Chapter Two

The summer sun hangs low in the mirrors when Hensel brings the rented SUV to a stop behind a train of vehicles fighting to reach Seagull Island. As cars beep, the bridge opens its jaws. Sunlight blasts into the car, the old air conditioning unit battling to keep up. When the heat becomes too much to take, Darcy lowers the window. The salty tang of the Atlantic drifts through the SUV and blows her hair around. She takes a deep breath, wishing she was visiting the island under different circumstances—a family vacation with the kids, two suitcases and Hunter’s boogie board packed into the trunk.

To complicate matters, the babysitter can’t watch the kids past midnight. Darcy won’t be home until tomorrow at the earliest, and if the trail turns hot in South Carolina, it could be days before she makes it back. She wonders how the other agents handle family matters when they’re called away at the last second. Her cousin, Laurie, is in Virginia to visit and can watch Hunter and Jennifer. Unfortunately, Darcy can’t spend quality time with Laurie. They’d planned to get together months ago. Laurie scheduled vacation time in advance. Darcy is a heel for sticking her cousin with babysitting duties.

The bridge lowers, unclogging traffic. A station wagon with New Jersey plates cuts Hensel off and races ahead. The senior agent shakes his head with a wry grin.

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Seagull Island, South Carolina, is a garden spot for vacationers. Environmentally conscious signs encourage visitors and residents to protect native wildlife. Stores blend with the tropical flora. Painted in pastels, even the corner gas station looks more like an art gallery or vogue residence than a place to fill the tank and grab a week-old hot dog. As Hensel navigates the SUV onto the long and narrow bridge stretching over the water, Darcy feels as though she’s a ship afloat at sea, the breakers ripping past while the current pulls them toward the unknown.

Hensel fiddles with the radio, settling on a contemporary rock station as he takes the exit.

“I could get used to living in a place like this,” Hensel says as he hums to the song. “Maybe find a condo overlooking the beach and spend my retirement fishing and walking the shore. Looks like paradise.”

Darcy squints at the police holding back the looky-loos on the beach.

“Looks can be deceiving.”

Despite the real life horror playing out on the sand, Seagull Island seems idyllic, a destination spot she’d expect to see on a postcard. Yet there’s only one road on and off the island. If the village is this busy on a normal workday, how do people react when a hurricane barrels up the coast? She couldn’t get used to this level of isolation.

It’s difficult traversing the soft sand in dress shoes. The beach grabs Darcy’s feet as the wind whips sand around. She can see the yellow crime scene tape flapping in the breeze as a crumpled form juts out of a dune fifty yards down the beach. Hensel flashes his badge at the detective pacing toward them. Fair-haired and lanky, the young detective hops over a drift and offers his hand to Hensel first, then Darcy.

“Glad you guys made it. I’m Detective Bradley Ferris, Seagull Island PD.”

“I recognize your voice, Detective,” Hensel says, patting the man on the shoulder. “We spoke on the phone. What do you have here?”

Ferris shoots a worried glance at the onlookers as three uniformed officers keep the crowd at bay.

“Surfer carried his board to the shore at seven this morning and saw legs sticking out of the dune.” Ferris nods at the body. “Says it looked like she fell from a star and buried herself face-down in the dune. We recognized the branding on the neck and tied the murder to the Full Moon Killer.”

“How long has she been here?”

“The M.E. estimates the girl has been in the sand for eight to twelve hours, but he thinks she’s been dead longer than that.”

“Makes sense,” Darcy says as she climbs up the dune, grabbing Hensel’s arm so she doesn’t lose her footing.

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“He kills the girls and brands them before he dumps the bodies.”

“Always on the shore in front of so many people?”

“He likes it that way. Makes him feel powerful, and I’m sure he gets a rise off the shock value.”

Ferris nods.

“The M.E. wants the body for further inspection at the morgue.”

“This guy leave behind any evidence?” Hensel asks.

“We found two sets of footprints leading past the dune. One belonged to our surfer, the other to the killer. CSI has been all over the scene. If this guy left a shred of evidence, they’d have found it by now.”

“Who’s the vic?”

“Cassandra Milton, age twenty-three.”

“Local girl?”

“Born in Charleston. Moved to Seagull Island last year. She worked for a tech firm called Everyware in the village center. We’re checking with workmates and family, trying to determine if she had boyfriend issues or experienced a run-in with a stranger.”

“You won’t find anything,” Darcy says. “Our unsub pursues strangers so we can’t link the murders back to him.”
The sea of uniforms part when Ferris leads the FBI agents up the dune. The smell is the first thing to hit Darcy—a salty carrion stench. Then she spies the body and freezes. A deep chasm extends across Milton’s throat. Blood stains her pallid flesh from the neck down to her belly. As though taunting her, the leering smile branded against her neck grins at Darcy. She turns away when a trio of crabs crawl over the girl’s legs. The scavengers already had a go at Milton, chewing into her flesh.

“I should have warned you,” Ferris says as a way of apology. “I’ve seen my share of dead bodies, but nothing like this.”

Hensel drops to one knee and takes a picture. Ferris moves his lips, but the words escape him for a moment.

“He removed her eyes,” the detective says.

Darcy bends down for a closer look.

“That’s new.”

“A break in the pattern?” Hensel asks.

“He’s escalating. Murder doesn’t satisfy him anymore. He needs to maim and disfigure.”

The detective’s head swings between the two of them as if watching a tennis match. Except for a few dark smears on the sand, Darcy can’t find much blood. Further proof the killer butchered his victim at another location and drove his trophy to the beach. Another detective snaps a photograph. People behind the human barricade raise phones and take pictures, recording the macabre scene.

Hensel cups a hand over his eyes and scans the crowd.

“And nobody saw this guy carry a bloody corpse across the beach?”

“He dropped the girl under the cover of darkness. We close the beaches at sunset. That doesn’t stop kids from sneaking in to party. But the patrol units chase them off.”

A sand-covered finger of land extending into the ocean creates a bay at the beach’s south end. Outside a marina, boats rock and sway as the tide ebbs and flows. Darcy slips her sunglasses on and points at the marina.

“Any boats come in after dark?” she asks.

The detective rubs his chin.

“A few like to night fish. We should check with the marina, find out if anyone docked before sunrise.”
After they document the scene, Darcy follows Ferris and Hensel down the beach toward the marina. She keeps glancing at the crowd, searching the faces for someone who stands out from the others. Serial killers tend to revisit the scene. Some can’t stay away during a police investigation.

Is the Full Moon Killer watching her from the crowd?

Ready to find out what happens next? Download Dead and Buried now.

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