Rogues Contest during the FWA Conference

That’s right, as Dorian stated in her last post, Georgie Mae and I (or our alter-egos) will be at the 2013 Florida Writers Association Conference this weekend in Lake Mary, FL! Georgie Mae and I are Royal Palm Literary Awards finalists for a stage play that we co-authored, so we’re extremely excited about the prospect of winning. Regardless, we plan on having an incredible time this weekend. We can’t wait to reunite with Dorian and our other writer friends. And hopefully we’ll bump in to Marty during the weekend as well.

Dorian also mentioned a possible Rogues contest during the conference, so here it is:

Below is a photo of someone wearing a Yoda mask. During the conference, approach one of the Rogues and answer one of the following two questions: A) Who is modeling the Yoda mask? B) What is the plot significance of the Yoda mask in our group novel, The Method Writers?

Answer one of these two questions correctly and win a free autographed hardcover copy of the Rogues group novel, The Method Writers!!! Prizes are limited to the first three people who answer one of the two questions correctly, so don’t delay!

David

Who's behind the mask??

Who’s behind the mask??

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Guess Who’s Coming to Town?

MW Cover - latest 72

No, it is NOT Santa Claus. Well, at least not yet. But it’s almost as good!

With the annual Florida Writers Association conference in Lake Mary coming up, I heard that my good buddies Georgie Mae and David Haas are going to be up for an award!!! So, you’d better believe I’m going to be there come Saturday!

Marty’s not going to be able to join us – he’s off being a terrific dad, but we know he’ll be there in spirit … and I even heard that Georgie Mae has been out looking for a Halloween Costume that will knock your socks off. We might get a picture here later this week.

And we’ve even discussed maybe a little contest for our followers!  Track us down! Hope to see you there!!!

MORE TO FOLLOW…

Dorian


GONE ROGUE…

Logo_2in_72dpiTravelling at the speed of light has its consequences. Recovery requires down time. Rest. Relaxation. Time to re-discover goals, dreams and abilities. Time to make new plans, new time lines, new friends and associations. We’ve discussed the possibility of a sequal to The Method Writers since so many readers have sent us AWESOME comments and reviews.  Time will tell.

While we’re off for now, we wish everyone of our readers, fans and followers, the very best Christmas, Hanukah, Ramadan, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, or whatever winter holiday you celebrate. And a truly awesome 2013, as well. One that is full of awe and wonder and miracles, both large and small.

Be well, stay happy and remember to follow your dreams.  Just pace yourself! If you need to contact any of us, refer to the ABOUT US tab to get to our individual websites and emails.  We’d love to hear from you!

 

Nancy Q./Dorian N.

http://www.NLQuatrano.com

 


COLD AS ICE – Conclusion

I called Elise at the hotel. I was secured in my office; the officer assured me the ex was still safe and sound. And asleep. I asked her to have Elise call me in the next half hour.

            When the phone rang, I braced myself as I hit the speaker button.

           “If you haven’t called to tell me I’m free to go home Mickey, you should just hang up now.”

            “Sorry, Elise. I called to get some answers. The nasty part about being involved in murder, even remotely, is that everything about everyone gets investigated.” I heard an intake of breath on the other end of the line.

            “I want permission to access your bank records. Some interesting facts have been brought to light.”

            “Like what?” she hissed.

            “Like your arrests for prostitution and fraud. You neglected to mention those to me. Ever.”

            “So? You were a cop for god’s sake. You didn’t ask, and I didn’t tell. Those things were misunderstandings, anyway. I didn’t do much time. You knew damned well I wasn’t an angel.”

            That was true enough. From the first time in the back seat of my Monte Carlo it was evident that Elise was no novice. Hell, the sex was always so hot – not to mention interesting – that I didn’t even care.

            “Fair enough. Anything else you omitted, Elise?”

            “You know, if you want my permission to look at my finances, you’d better change your tone, Mickey. I don’t know what you’re inferring, but I don’t like it.”

            “I don’t need your permission, Elise. My partner is getting a court order in case you decide not to cooperate.”

            “On what grounds?” she growled. She’d learned a few things during the years she was a cop’s wife.

            “On the grounds your name was found in a murder victim’s check book.” I filled the silence with a smirk. The woman was finally speechless.

             “That’s impossible,” she offered weakly.

            “That’s what I thought. But I’m looking right at it. A quarter of a million dollars and you’re calling me for money? What was the money for, Elise? You gambling again?”

            “My life is none of your business. And my attorney says I don’t have to stay in protective custody if I don’t want to, so I’m leaving. You are out of time with me, Mickey Holmes.”

            “You are no longer in protective custody, lady. You’re the suspect in a murder investigation which means you’re now under arrest.”

            I hung up the phone when I heard the knock on the hotel room door. Elise would be on her way to the Ocean County Sheriff’s office, if only for a few hours. I hoped it would buy me the time I needed to get more answers.

***

            I pulled up to Joseph Oberhauser’s house and parked to the side of the large oval. The snow from the other night had been cleared. Cobblestones dried in the sunlight. I rang the bell.

            “Detective,” Joseph said, taking my hand in his. “I knew we’d meet again. How are you doing with the investigation?”

            “That’s why I’m here, Joseph. Some confusing things popped up.”

            “What can I help you with?”

            I smiled and pulled off my coat. Although I wasn’t happy in the shirt and tie, I played the part for this man. “Who are you, Joseph?”

            His smile only faltered a second. “You know who I am.”

            “Sure, I know who you are now. Who were you twelve years ago?”

            “I’m sure I don’t know what you are asking, Detective. Do I need my lawyer? Am I under suspicion in the death of my wife?”

            “The husband is always a suspect. But my job is to put profiles together on everyone in the case. My research on you starts eleven years ago. Can’t find any family business or any family at all for that matter. We did locate a Joseph Oberhauser, but he’s been dead almost sixty years. Know anything about that?”

            Joseph’s robust color drained from his face but he remained silent. He got up and poured himself a brandy, then sat down on the couch across from me.

            “You are going to have to come to the station to have your fingerprints processed, Joseph. We need to account for all the prints in your wife’s car. We’ll find out who you really are anyway.”

            The good Reverend Oberhauser stood up and walked across the Alice in Wonderland floor and reached for the door.

            “My attorney and I will be there, this afternoon, Detective. Until then, you and I are done talking.”

***

            Just as I’d cleaned up the last of my lunch and tossed the brown bag in the trash basket, Patrolman Knight stopped in. “My report, sir.”

            I took it and thanked him, but he stood uneasily in the doorway. “Anything else, Officer?”

            He nodded, shifting his hat in his hands.  “Yes sir. I saw the pictures of that woman. I know her.”

            I smiled. “A lot of people know that face, son. Daphne was a professional model for years. You’ve probably seen her on magazine covers or television.”

            “No sir, that’s not it. I saw her here. Just a few weeks ago.”

            I stood up. “Are you sure, Knight? You saw her here in the station?”

            “Yes sir. She was sitting outside in the waiting area when I came in with a transport. When I went back out front to see if she was being helped, she was gone. Nobody else had seen her. I thought maybe I’d imagined the whole thing.”

            “Thank you, Knight. You’ve been a big help.”

            The young man left my office, and now I had even more to chew on. As they often do, the puzzle had more pieces than I originally suspected. Cyrus appeared next.

            “Safe to come in?” she asked, not waiting for my reply.

            “What do you have, partner?” I pulled out a fresh notepad and got ready to jot down more questions.

            “Elise Holmes has quite a portfolio. She’ll be able to retire long before you can.”

            “What was the last deposit amount and when?”

            “A hundred thousand dollars. The large dollar deposits don’t go to her bank account. They go directly into an investment account.”

            “Is she using a fund manager or picking her own stock?”

            “About half of it is stock. A publicly held corporation known as In God We Trust, Inc.”

            “Damn. And let me guess, J. Oberhauser is the CEO.”

            Megan smiled and the room lit up. I almost told her she should do it more often, but comments like that ended many a career these days. “Not exactly,” she said.

            “Then who?”

            “Daphne Oberhauser.”

***

            I sat in the observation booth while Megan Cyrus interrogated Elise. I watched with admiration as she came right to the point.

            Elise didn’t blink an eye when confronted with her growing fortune or her association with the dead woman’s company.  Her attorney sat quietly by her side, taking the occasional note and nodding yes or no to indicate reply authorization.

            Her attorney allowed the questions to go on for twenty minutes, then stood and piled notes and pencils into her briefcase. “My client has answered your questions. She bought stock in the company of a good friend. That’s not illegal. She has not traded nor obtained that stock illegally. Do you intend to file some charge against her? If so, let’s get on with it. If not, we’re leaving.”

            Megan stood and faced the seasoned lawyer. “If we can put your client at the scene, we’ll be charging her with murder, Counselor. I recommend you get the facts from her now.”

            The lawyer pulled on her overcoat and laughed. “Witnesses? In a raging snow storm? I doubt it. However, if you are interested, my client does have a suggestion.”

            Megan headed for the door, but remained cool, aloof. “And that might be what? That her ex-husband did it?” Elise laughed with glee, and I grit my teeth.

             “Don’t be silly. Daphne’s husband did it.”

            “Counselor, you may not be aware, but a second woman’s been murdered. By ice pick, no less. The next door neighbor of your client. Think the good Reverend killed her too?” Megan pulled open the door. “We’ll be in touch. Don’t go on any trips.”  

***

            I entered the conference room to speak with Joseph Oberhauser and his attorney. I was waiting for the fingerprint information to come back. If he’d been arrested any time in the past twenty years, we’d get a hit.

            We shook hands like civilized men and took seats. The lawyer indicated, for the record of course, that his client had come in of his own free will and would cooperate in any way he could. He was after all, grief stricken and desperate to find his wife’s killer.

            “Joseph, can you think of any reason why your wife would have been here in the barracks a couple of weeks ago?”

            “I’m sure I have no idea. I didn’t know she was.”

            “How much do you know about your wife’s life, Joseph? I was surprised to find out you’d entrusted your earthly gains to her.”

            “It’s purely at matter of corporate structure, that’s all. Daphne was the CEO, I was the CFO. George here,” he said, nodding toward his lawyer,” is on the board, too. He’s the Secretary and Legal Advisor. It’s all quite legitimate, I assure you.”

            “We’ll see. I’m waiting for the financial statements, now. Even privately held companies must provide them for investors, right?”

            The lawyer spoke up. “Of course, but you are not an investor, Detective. You could of course, obtain an Annual Report.”

            I smiled. “Yes, I could. But my ex-wife is an investor, isn’t she, Joseph?”

            “I’m sure we have many investors, Mr. Holmes. I don’t know about your ex-wife.”

            Megan appeared at the door and signaled thumbs up. Then she slipped me a piece of paper. My knees almost gave out. I turned to his smug counselor.

             “Counselor, let me introduce you to Otto Josephson. ”

***

            I had nothing to hold Josephson on, since name and career changes aren’t illegal, and I couldn’t prove his religious movement was a fraud. However, I did intend to have the IRS take a good look at his books, and warned his attorney to make sure the man stayed around.

            I headed for the Captain’s office where I found my partner waiting for me. I dropped into the remaining chair, the tension in my six foot tall frame emphasized by a killer headache. “Well, I don’t know what we’ve found except a lot of people playing a lot of games.”

            “I’ll say,” Megan muttered, looking at the Captain. He nodded.

            “What’s up with you two?” I asked warily. “Another murder?”

            “No, no more murders. But we did Elise’s fingerprints when she came in. Her name is not Elise Kenney.”

            “Sure it is. We had to have raised seal birth certificates when we got our marriage license. I saw it.”

            “Yeah, probably paid for by Otto Josephson. So much cheaper than divorce.”

            “Spit it out, Cyrus,” I growled.

            “Elise Kenney Holmes is really Lisa Needham. Wife of Otto Josephson.”

            Damn. I’d married a prostitute and a bigamist. Nice going, Holmes. At least she isn’t a murderer, I thought to console myself.

            “Should I continue?” asked Cyrus in her clipped, chip-back-on-her-shoulder tone of voice.  

           I didn’t bother to answer since the question was rhetorical. She handed me a copy of the marriage certificate issued by the City of Las Vegas.

            “Bergen County Sheriff’s office got a lead. A neighbor saw Daphne at Elise’s house last Friday afternoon. Also saw the other victim come out of the house. Looked really upset.”

            I leaned over and settled my elbows on my knees. I was so tired every muscle in my body ached. Did Daphne kill Marge? Did Josephson kill Daphne? How the hell did we prove anything? The snow storm had eliminated the crime scene and most of the forensic evidence. Elise’s fingerprints would have been in Marge’s house, but Daphne’s shouldn’t have been. Unless, unknown to me, they’d all become friends…

            “You know, I have no idea where to go with this. I’m going home. I’m going to bed for eight hours, and in the morning I will try to sort it out.”

            A commotion in the hallway caught our attention.  Trained to react quickly to shouting  voices, the three of us dropped to the floor, pulled our guns and belly crawled to the door. I opened it a crack. Then a little further. Most of our coworkers were behind furniture, judging by all the hands on the floor in my field of vision.

            I made it across the hallway to an interview cubicle. I could hear Elise. Josephson was gasping for air. I rose up on my knees, Cyrus beside me. I whispered in her right ear. “I’m going closer. Maybe I can talk her down.”

            “She’s not only a killer Mickey, she’s gone over the fine line. She may not hear you.”

            I looked her in the eye. Some of this was my fault. I hadn’t had a clue and I should have. “I have to try,” I growled before I darted to the desk closest to the commotion. I could make out Josephson lying in a pool of blood, his attorney’s arms around him. A letter opener stuck out of his chest.

            “Elise, talk to me. It’s Mick.”

            She cackled and held the dispatcher’s gun to her attorney’s graying head. “I know who you are. You’re a piece of shit. You never thought I was good enough for you. Well, you were right, weren’t you?”

            I lowered my weapon in hopes she’d lower hers. At least nine other guns including a shotgun were aimed at her. If she got me, she and the attorney would be toast. The attorney and I would be collateral damage. Like Marge. And Josephson. And maybe even Daphne.

            “Tell me why, Elise. You killed the other four before Daphne, too, didn’t you?”

            “Got your attention, didn’t it, Mr. Supercop?” The lady lawyer gasped as Elise jerked her head back even further. “No one has ever thought I was good enough. Well, the almighty preacher can just explain this to his Maker. We were going to be rich. Then he runs out, changes his name, leaves me in jail and marries a model who better suits his new image.”

            I moved a few steps closer. “Why Marge, Elise? She was your friend.”

            She nodded, the heavy handgun wavering in her hand. “I know, but she walked in the house when Daphne was trying to get me to take the quarter mill to get lost. Marge was making me crazy about how I should go to the police. She was going to go for me. Thought she was helping.” A tear coursed down her cheek.

            I dove and dropped them both to the floor, slapping away the Glock in the process. Troopers of all ranks, size and sex piled on. When we were untangled, Elise was in custody, the attorney was in the arms of the Captain and Otto Josephson was as dead as his beautiful Daphne.

            Megan Cyrus was visibly shaken as she stood at my side. “She’s the coldest woman I’ve ever seen, Mike.”

            “Yup,” I said as I turned toward my office. “Cold as ice.”

THE END

Did you know that in addition to the Ebook and hard cover of The Method Writers and Fictitious Fiction,  the paperback edition will be available in time for Christmas??? Stay tuned for more on that – and keep an eye out for that Kenny Black fella if you haven’t bought YOUR copy yet!!  See you in two weeks.

NLQ


COLD AS ICE – Part 5

            “I know, Elise, but this is for your good. You want to become the next corpse on this guy’s list? It’s possible that could happen, you know. You need to calm down.”

            I held the phone away from my ear so I could retain my hearing. She ranted at full steam about her freedoms and how unfair it was that someone was after her when I was the bastard. I had no defense that would work with her, so I just waited her out.

            “I can’t come up there right now – I have to work this case. You’ll be fine. The officer with you will see that you have all you need.”

            She switched to whining which was almost worse than the screaming. However, I knew her well enough to know she was about out of energy. “I know. I agree it stinks. Just try and be patient a few days, okay?”

            I closed the phone and wished for coffee, too drained to go find some. The desk phone rang and I hit the speaker button without opening my eyes.  “Holmes.”

            “Mick, I just spoke to the Bergen County coroner. The Myers woman was killed in exactly the same way as the Oberhauser woman. That prompted me to do some trajectory studies. You want to come take a look?”

            I declined and Bill forged on. “Killer is left-handed for sure. Thrust measurements indicate the probable weight is between one forty and one fifty pounds. The entry wound is almost straight in. I’d have to say killer is about the height of these women. Around five foot seven or eight, maybe.”

            I listened and jotted some notes. “I’m back to thinking we may have a female killer here, Bill. This info’s good, but I need more. I’m going to call Bergen County. Keep me posted, buddy.”

            The speaker went quiet and I got up to pace. I think better when I’m pacing for some reason. My email gong clanged. I wandered over to stare at the screen. An on-line message flashed. From Joseph Oberhauser.

            I typed back. “Good afternoon, Joseph. What can I do for you?” A moment’s pause.

            “I have a question for you, Detective. Do you have a moment?”

            “Sure. Go ahead.” I crossed the office to close the door.

            “I was going through the desk drawer tonight to find the checkbook to pay the funeral home for Daphne’s buriel.”

            “I’m sorry, Joseph,” I keyed.

            “I know Detective. And I, for you.”

            My cop radar went nuts. “How so?”

            “Do you know an Elise Holmes?”

            “Why do you ask?” I hedged, trying to swallow around the lump in my throat. What the hell had she done now? Now it was my turn to wait before putting my fingers back on the keyboard.

            “Do you?” he typed.

            “Not any more. We’ve been divorced for almost a year. How do you know Elise?”

             “Oh, I don’t know her, Detective. But apparently my wife did.”

            “What makes you say that?” I swiped my palms on the knees of my slacks.

            His reply flashed across my screen. “Daphne handled the finances. In the drawer is a birthday card, obviously made out to her lover. There is a carbon duplicate of a check made payable to Elise Holmes. For two-hundred-fifty thousand dollars.”

            I sank back my chair. Lovers? A quarter million dollars? What the hell was going on?

            “Detective? Are you there?”  I reached for the keyboard, but my hands were disembodied. This was like something from the Twilight Zone. None of this could be true.

            “I’m here, Joseph,” I replied. “Confused as hell, though.”

            Someone knocked on my closed door but I ignored them. I waited to see if Joseph had anything else for me.  

            “Will you need these for your case, Detective?”

            I blew out a long sigh and wished the answer was no, but of course it couldn’t be. “Yes, I will. Please put them in a plastic bag, and I’ll have them picked up from you. Thank you, Joseph.”

            “I’m sorry, Detective. We will speak again, I’m sure. Goodbye.”

            The dialog box went blank and he was gone. I looked up to find Megan Cyrus stationed in front of my desk, Glock on her hip, coat slung over her shoulder.

            “Where do we start?” she asked in her smoker-husky voice. I shook my head.

***

            I’m assigned to the Toms River State Police barracks. The good thing about that is that it’s in Ocean County where the Sheriff’s department has one of the best crime labs in the country. The downside is Toms River is a long way from Bergen County.

            I left my partner to research the Oberhauser’s and get as much background on Elise Kenney Holmes as possible. I apparently didn’t know the woman at all.

            It took me two hours to reach the county courthouse and find the coroner on Marge’s case.  He pulled out the file and photos and pushed them in my direction. “Since you had the first murder, you’re a primary on this investigation. The County boys said to cooperate.”

            I looked at the photos. Poor Marge. A bright, energetic woman in her early thirties who thought everyone deserved to have a friend, even Elise. It’s always tougher to look at crime scene photos when you know the victim personally.  I swallowed the knot in my throat.

            “Do you think a woman could have done this?” I asked Amos Schultz without preamble.

            The coroner brushed his dark brown mustache with his index finger. “Sure. A pretty pissed off woman, but the height and weight of your perp could be that of a woman. Of course, it could just as easily be a slight man.”

            I pulled out some photos of my own. “This is Damien Harbinger. We were really close to nailing him last time – would you have any records on him?”

            He took the photo and left the room. Five minutes later he was back. “I’ve asked Paula to run it through the data bases. We may learn something.”

            We discussed the file and findings for another hour. A tall, dark-haired woman with glasses popped into Amos’ office and dropped a report on his desk. Without a word, she vanished.

            He picked up the report and scanned it. “Well, if it was Harbinger last go around, it isn’t him this time.”

            “Why not?”

            “Take a look.” He handed me the report and leaned back in the chair.

            Harbinger, arrested, tried and convicted of child molestation in Texas, had been murdered while in the prison exercise yard. Over a year ago. Damn. 

            “Can I keep this?” I asked as I stood up. He nodded. I put everything in the folder he’d given me when I arrived. We shook hands and parted company at the door.

            I was on the Garden State Parkway, aptly named since you are mostly parked in traffic when you are on it, when Cyrus called. I pushed the button for the hands free speaker.

            “When you going to be back here, Holmes?”

            “At this rate? Some time before my forty-fifth birthday. Why?”

            “We have a lot to go over. And you aren’t going to like any of it.”

            I sighed. What the hell? I didn’t like any of the rest of this case. Why should I be surprised now?

***

            Putting aside her strong feminist instincts and not biting my head off for suggesting dinner, Cyrus met me at The Grill for something to eat. It had been a long time since breakfast for me. We ordered, and over tall colas, we compared notes. I ticked my findings off first.

            “How well did you know your wife before you were married?” She led with a right upper cut.

            “Not very, I’m afraid. We met in a jazz club that I frequented. She was lovely, willing and quite smart, so when we weren’t in bed, we could actually have conversations that were challenging.”

            She let my sexist comment slide. “What happened?”

             “You doing a profile on her or me?”

            “You each relate to the other. Need to know both, don’t I?”

            Of course she was right. A recent grad of the FBI academy for law enforcement members, Cyrus knew she was on the scent.

            “I worked a lot of hours, spent a lot of time alone. Elise needed company as well as money to keep her in a manner she wanted to become accustomed. She took up gambling and sleeping around. I wasn’t happy about either hobby to be honest with you.”

            “How long before you caught on?”

            I sat back to let the waitress put our orders on the table in front of us. “Almost four years. We split up for a couple of months, tried to put it back together once. Our divorce was final eleven months ago.”

            “I read the divorce decree. You were pretty generous.”

            “I didn’t want anything. She wanted the house – I still help pay for it. She can manage the rest, even though she says she can’t.”

            “Okay. Well, aside from her financial records which she hasn’t consented to let me see, I’ve got about as much as I could find. Did you know she’d been arrested?”

            I almost spit my Greek salad in her face. “Arrested? When? For what?”

            “Prostitution. About six months before you two were married. Hope you got tested.”

            I was speechless. Who’d have thought I should run a background check on my future wife? Now I was wishing that I had. “That the only time?”

            “The only one in NJ. Seems she’s been picked up in Vegas, too. Apparently she was running a scam of some sort out there. She was busted with a guy named Otto Josephson. Got six months for that one.”

            “You’re a thorough investigator, Cyrus. The bad guys don’t stand a chance.”

            “By the look on your face, neither do the good guys.”

            I washed down my food with soda. “What do you have on Oberhauser?”

            She shrugged, took a bite of her chicken sandwich and chewed a few times before swallowing. “He was tougher, believe it or not. Info trail doesn’t even really start on him until about eleven years ago. Where did you say he got his money?”

            “He claimed it was a family business of some kind. Nowadays, he makes his money selling God to people who watch too much television at three in the morning. “

            “I couldn’t find anything in industry or any of the business directories on Oberhauser until he became a minister. Found a marriage announcement to a Lisa Needham. No record of death or divorce that I could find. Nor could I validate the marriage.”

            “Where were they married? Someone would have records.”

            “Vegas.”

            “Aha. Well, the marriage may have been real or not; annulled maybe when everyone sobered up?”

            “Maybe. But if he was married to Lisa Needham and never divorced her, then his marriage to Daphne would be null and void. And how would it look for the good minister to be a bigamist?”

            “Wouldn’t look very good, that’s for sure. The donations might slow down a bit if that got out, I guess. Good work, Cyrus.”

            We finished our meals and paid the check. I sat over coffee to think before I headed for home. “Can you get any proof of that marriage? I’d like to have a big stick in my pocket when I call on Joseph Oberhauser.”

            “I don’t right now, but I’ll have it for you by tomorrow if it exists. I promise.”

            I was sure she would.

Conclusion….December 7


COLD AS ICE – Part 4

This guy had a signature that nightmares were made of. “Why her? She doesn’t fit his old MO at all. ”

            “He’s been out of action for five years. Maybe his MO has changed. Maybe he’s been locked up someplace and learned new tricks? I have no idea. However strange it is, he’s got your new business cards and he’s connected to you somehow. This guy knows you better than you know him.”

            That was probably what terrified me most. He’d always seemed to be a step ahead of me. Facing him scared me to death, and yet I’d been obsessed with catching him. Obsessed with making him pay for killing that young girl…

            But I hadn’t made it happen.  When we’d busted through the door to his cold water flat in South Trenton, all that was left was a note for me. In that same, meticulous handwriting he’d written: “I’LL BE BACK.”

            “You okay, Mick?” Bill asked quietly, pushing a cup of what he called coffee into my hands. I nodded, but didn’t trust myself to open my mouth. Years of psychotherapy down the drain with one dead woman and three little words. My nemesis had murdered four people before he suddenly disappeared. I’d celebrated by marrying Elise. Somehow a musky perfume like hers had been in the air at that run down apartment and I’d taken it as an omen of good things to come. A year for major errors, it would seem.

            I sipped the hot liquid and ran my fingers through my hair. “Okay. I’m better trained, have better resources and don’t have a family to worry about this time around. This time we win, Bill. I promise.”

            He nodded, knowing how painful the whole thing had been for me. The killer, who’d become the “Ice Man” to us, had almost destroyed my life. My very own Jeffrey Damler. Just what I needed.

            I stood and looked at Bill. “Can I have a copy of that report when you’re done? Today I’ll get clear to handle this. Tomorrow I start to track down Damian Harbinger.”

            He nodded and looked at me like an older brother who knew I was headed for a broken heart. “Promise me you’ll ask for help with this. You were way too close to the edge last time.”   

        “Sure, Bill. Don’t worry. But I’m going to get him. That’s a promise, too.”

***

 

            The Captain called me in, and I stood at parade rest before his desk. “Close the door, Holmes, and have a seat.”

            I sat in the chair, resting my left ankle across my right knee. “Yes, sir?”

            “Judging from this autopsy report and the evidence collected from the victim, looks like the Ice Man is back in town. Should I put someone else on this case?”

            My heart just about jumped out of my chest, but I kept the Captain from seeing it. “No sir, I want to work this case. I wouldn’t mind some help this time, though. The only thing that counts is that we catch him before he murders again.”

            I looked at him closely and knew I was already too late for that sentiment. The Ice Man had been a busy, busy man. I hung my head. “Who and where?”

            “Just before dawn, we figure. Your ex-wife’s next door neighbor.”

            “Not, Marge? Please, tell me it wasn’t Marge.” My resolve to stay professional oozed out through my slumped shoulders.

            “I’m sorry, Mickey. We’ve put your ex in protective custody, but she’s not happy about it.”

            “Tough. Does she know about Marge? Does she know how lucky she is to be alive?”

            “Doesn’t sound like she considers herself lucky about anything, if you ask me. Will your talking to her make any difference?”

            “Yeah. It would probably make it worse.”

            “Try. Next time she calls your cell phone, answer it. Get her calmed down.”

            I shook my head, but there was no use arguing with the boss. “What do we have on Marge’s murder?”

            “Ice pick to the throat and a few other places. Mutilated breasts. The killer’s one very angry fellow.”

            I ran the old files back through my brain like a worn out black and white slide series. “By the time the killings stopped last time, I wasn’t so sure our killer was a man.”

            “You did the work at Quantico, Holmes. You know women serial killers are few and far between.”

            “But not all together absent. And we both know this is personal. It’s connected to me, somehow.”

            Cap waved me toward the door and reached for the phone. “The press will be all over this Oberhauser murder. I expect the FBI will be sniffing around end of the week.” He picked up a pen and pointed it at my chest. “You be careful and take Cyrus with you. You’ll need a partner. A sharp one.”

            I closed the door behind me and wondered how the day could get worse. Ordered to talk to an ex-wife who would like to see an ice pick sticking out of my anatomy and enlisting a partner who had a chip on her shoulder like Mike Tyson. Damn.

To be continued….November 23


The Rogues’ First Friday Book Signing Event – Tomorrow Evening!!

The Rogues Gallery Writers will be at Anastasia Books on Friday, November 2 from 7 – 9 PM. Anastasia Books is located on 812 Kings Street, St. Augustine, FL.

The Rogues will be meeting and greeting our fans during this special First Friday event. We’ll also be autographing copies of The Method Writers. Refreshments and light appetizers will be provided, so please come out and eat, drink and be merry with the Rogues!

Suspense/adventure author, Ron Harrington, will also be present for this event.

We hope to see you there!


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