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Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game–until a barrage of bullets ended his career…and his partner’s life.
Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.
But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case–to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.
Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth–at any cost.
From Us To You!
In over twenty years of law enforcement, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some incredible law enforcement professionals who have provided much of the fodder for my stories. When I first started investigating violent crimes, I partnered with an edgy veteran named George Santiago, who had the decency to take me under his wing and teach me how to be a detective. I’m greatly indebted to his wisdom in those early years, especially his knowledge of interviews and interrogations, in which he is a master.
I currently work with some great detectives as well as godly men—Sergeant Ken Arnold and Detectives Ernie Diebel, Louis Figuroa, Mike Pusatere, and Steve Hill—who make up the Violent Crimes Unit. Rarely does one get the opportunity to discuss deep theological concepts while on the way to arrest a murder suspect. The Violent Crimes Unit allows me to do just that. Mike Pusatere also provided his proofreading skills and love of mysteries to this project, for which I’m grateful. Major John Blackledge and Chief William Berger have also been incredibly supportive in my writing and my police career.
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Excerpt - #1 of 5
The two men stalking me emerged from the shadows and then trailed me through the parking lot.
They lagged behind me about fifty feet. I slowed my pace, not that I wasn’t as slow as a tree slug already, to see if they would overtake me or hang back.
They hung back. Not good.
Any human at a normal pace should have passed me by now. I could feel their eyes punching holes in me, waiting for the right time to move.
Since I wasn’t up for dealing with any problems, I stepped it out as best I could. With a new-and-improved plastic pelvis and hip, along with ten months of physical therapy, I should be able to hobble a little faster. No such luck. The cane and gimpy leg would only go so fast. Grandma Moses on a pogo stick could hop circles around me.
Using the rearview mirrors on the cars parked along Lake Avenue, I kept tabs on my new friends without being too obvious, a little trick I picked up when I worked undercover. No need to give them more of an advantage than they already had.
The big one, a black kid maybe twenty years old, wore a white wife-beater muscle shirt and black jean shorts. Mini-dreads jetted from his head like a frayed ball of yarn. The other kid, probably the same age, was an anemic white with a tattoo sprawled on his neck and a shaved head that glistened under the streetlights.
With each glance I caught, they feigned like they were talking to each other, but I could sense they were planning to pounce. And why not? I was an easy mark—a crippled guy negotiating the Orlando streets alone at night. One more block to go until I was at work.
Eleven months ago I would have enjoyed this game of cat and mouse. But then I would have been the cat, a big hungry one ready to swallow those thugs like the rodents they were.
I hoped they were just playing a game.
I stole a furtive glance behind me, and my tails were nowhere in sight. I stopped and shifted all the way around. Gone. Must have headed up an alley. Maybe I was just losing my mind. Hadn’t been out much lately.
I used to love the Orlando nightlife, the clubs and things to do; the pulse of the city at night energized me. It had changed so much in a short amount of time. Faster, meaner, a stranger to me. Like I was living on a different planet. I had grown up here, not long after Mickey scurried in, back when Orlando was more of a cowtown. Now it’s a big city plagued with big-city problems.
As I approached the corner of Lake and East Jackson, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumber raced around the corner right in front of me, both out of breath. They must have sprinted down the alley behind the store to cut me off just before I reached the intersection.
This wouldn’t end pretty.
End of Day 1 Excerpt- More coming in tomorrow's email!
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