J.J. Cagney ~ An Artifact of Death ~ Blog Tour / Teasers / Excerpt


A botched execution. A reverend on the run. Can she solve the mystery before she’s caught in the crosshairs?

Reverend Cici Gurule went to the sacred Chaco Canyon in search of a sign. She’s been offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a megachurch, but taking the position would mean abandoning her Southwestern home and the man she’s grown to love as much more than a friend. She’s so caught up in her thoughts that she doesn’t realize when she stumbles upon a group of heavily armed operatives on the verge of an execution.

Soon, Cici’s dodging bullets and scaling mesas with the mysterious man she saved from certain death. With a little help from her twin sister’s ghost and restless ancestral spirits, they venture deeper into the maze-like rocky terrain. But her new companion’s deadly aim makes her wonder if she can afford to trust his side of the story.

To make it out of the canyon alive, Cici must unearth the true story behind the man and a sacred Navajo artifact before the next bloodshed on sacred ground is hers.

An Artifact of Death is a standalone novel in a series of high-octane mystery thrillers. If you like fiery heroines who break the mold, top-secret missions, and colorful depictions of the American Southwest, then you’ll love J.J. Cagney’s action-packed adventure.

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Sam pressed on the gas again. The suspension and chassis would be way out of alignment after this trip, but he didn’t care if he was able to bring Cici home.


Jeannette sighed as if in defeat. “Fine,” she said, her voice flat. “You want on? You go. It’s a suicide mission,” she continued. “The special forces who are going to be on that aircraft are supposed to bring in the operatives. By any means possible. You don’t have their level of training.”


Sam sucked in a breath, the first full one he’d managed since Jeannette dropped the information on his desk yesterday afternoon.


“What you fail to understand is I’d rather die with her,” he said, his voice steady, “or die trying to save her.”


“Your funeral,” Jeannette said on a sigh, but she opened what looked like a request page on her satellite phone. “You’re sure?” she asked.




Jeannette stared at him for a long moment. She looked back down at her screen.


“You never felt that way about me,” she murmured.


“Did you expect me to? Want me to?” Sam asked, an edge of anger building along the words as he spoke.


“No.” Jeannette sat for a moment. “But someone…” She sighed, a harsh dispelling of disappointment. Then, before Sam had to reiterate his request, she began to type.


Could well be he’d asked Jeannette to sign his death warrant. With a jolt of surprise, Sam realized he was okay with that. But he planned to bring Cici home alive.


No, he wasn’t special ops—had never served in the military. But he’d worked on a special task force in Denver that focused on the worst criminal scum and the group’s extensive training echoed that of the Army Ranger School program. Sam knew this because the former instructor was a special team commando and Sam’s best buddy in the group. Over the years Sam worked with Clint, they’d spent a lot of time talking and reenacting everything from city warfare to terrorist attacks to hostage situations.


Sam went back over all the knowledge he’d gleaned—scant though it was. His real-world experience was limited to simulations, which offered a controlled encapsulation of all the shit that could go wrong.


He gritted his teeth, clenched the wheel, and stepped on the gas, rocketing them forward once again.


One way or another. Sam planned to bring Cici home.



Missed A PILGRIMAGE TO DEATH and want to catch up?


About A PILGRIMAGE TO DEATH (A Reverend Cici Gurule Mystery Book 1)

When Cici discovers a body in the forest, she’s shocked to realize the victim’s wounds are identical to the ones that killed her sister a year ago. Now she’s embroiled in the takedown of a massive criminal operation, and the stakes couldn’t be higher…

“A wholly absorbing gumshoe tale elevated by an extraordinary detective” (Kirkus Reviews starred review).

Someone murdered her sister. And shot her dog. The killer won’t stop until she’s dead, too.

Cici finds a dead body while hiking in the Santa Fe National Forest. The situation deteriorates when she discovers the victim bears similar stab wounds to those that ended her twin sister’s life a year ago.

Then, her identical twin sister infiltrates her dreams.

All of a sudden, Cici and her dogs must dodge arrows, bullets, and even a demon truck—all while she grapples with the knowledge that her sister was on the trail of a deep-rooted criminal operation. Worse, her twin’s death was much more sinister than a random act of violence.

Now, as she follows the clues her sister drops in her dreams, the criminals want Cici out of the way. Permanently.

A Pilgrimage to Death is a high-octane thriller. Fans of Ruth Ware, J.D. Robb, and Angela Marsons will love Alexa’s Padgett’s new edge-of-your-seat novel.

Add A PILGRIMAGE OF DEATH to your Goodreads list here!

Get your copy of A PILGRIMAGE OF DEATH now!

✦Amazon https://amzn.to/2KJ87fJ
✦iBooks https://apple.co/2ND0Pkb
✦Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2NEBKW0
✦Kobo http://bit.ly/2zsi9Q7


About J.J. Cagney

With a degree in international marketing and a varied career path that includes content management for a web firm, marketing direction for a high-profile sports agency, and a two-year stint with a renowned literary agency, award-winning author Alexa Padgett has returned to her first love: writing fiction.

Alexa spent a good part of her youth traveling. From Budapest to Belize, Calgary to Coober Pedy, she soaked in the myriad smells, sounds, and feels of these gorgeous places, wishing she could live in them all—at least for a while. And she does in her books.

She lives in New Mexico with her husband, children, and walk-loving Great Pyrenees pup, Ash. When not writing, schlepping, or volunteering, she can be found in her tiny kitchen, channeling her inner Barefoot Contessa.

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