Immediately after college, I went to work for 3M Company in sales. Not finding the corporate world to my liking, I left 3M and took a job in banking. I liked that even less and entered the Graphic Arts Industry. I loved it and worked in the pre-press (lithographic) industry for over fifteen years. Sadly, the industry no longer exists, replaced by digital cameras and computer programs like PhotoShop. In addition to all that, I’ve been a soldier, a freelance journalist, a bartender, a seller of designer cakes, as well as owner of a painting and decorating company. On the off-chance that none of my paying jobs managed to offend you, I also play bagpipes in the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band.
All my books are stand alone, read them in whatever order you like. I hope you find them enjoyable page turners, filled with the sort of oddballs we’re curious about but prefer to keep at a distance. None of my characters will be saving the world from terrorism, international banking conspiracies or coups to take over the government. Rather, they inhabit a world just below the surface of polite society, characters with one foot on both sides of the law, and serving not so much as examples, but as warnings. Thanks again for taking the time.
No one is surprised that dysfunctional PI Dev Haskell ends up in bed with his latest client. But he hasn’t the foggiest notion she’s just signed him up with the Russian mob. Their ‘special’ relationship quickly finds Dev at odds with local police and an FBI task force investigating human trafficking. In the process of getting answers Dev places himself on both sides of the law. He’s shot, beaten, car bombed, and used as a human shield all in the name of justice, at least as he sees it.
Sitting at The Spot I decided it might be time for a little Come-to-Jesus chat with my client, Kerri Mathias. I didn’t necessarily mind looking into things that were on the far side of the law, but it would be nice to know what I was getting into before I got into it. I didn’t like surprises in my business.
“Let me talk to Kerri, please.” I added the please as an afterthought.
“She’s busy right now. Perhaps I could share a few items of interest that might allow you to broaden your horizon…” she said, a couple of telltale hisses in her pronunciation.
“Da’nita?” I guessed.
“Who this? Wilson, is that you?”
“No, actually it’s me, Dev?”
“Dev? Oh, Devil, how you been, baby?”
“Thanks for your concern. I’m doing just fine.”
“Look, I’ll have Kerri call you back. Unless, like I said, you might want to broaden your horizon, you know.”
“Sweet of you, Da’nita, but I need to get hold of Kerri. If you can just have her call me that would be fine.”
“You sure? I could show you things that…”
“No doubt you could. I appreciate your effort. But I just need to talk with Kerri. Okay?”
“All right, if you say so. I’ll give her the message. She’s got your number?”
“Yeah, she does. At least I think she does. You got a pen? Let me give you my number just in case.”
I gave Da’nita my number, then hung up, and tapped my fingers on the bar wondering what next. I didn’t have to wait long. My phone rang before I had another sip of beer. As always I attempted to read the incoming number and as always, failed. I was going to have to get a pair of cheaters.
It was Kerri. I thought I could smell her perfume through the phone.
“How are you, Dev? Have you found Nikki?”
“Amazingly no, I haven’t. At least not yet. But I’ve come up with a lot of questions. Can we get together and go over some things?”
“What kind of things?”
I wasn’t going to get into anything with Kerri while I was in The Spot bar. And I certainly wasn’t going to get into anything with her over the phone. I like to watch people when they lie to me.
“Just some general background info that might speed things up. Can we get together tonight?”
“I wish we could but I have, ahhh, an appointment that will probably be late.”
I didn’t need any detail on the appointment.
“How about breakfast tomorrow?” I asked. I thought I detected the slightest pause.
“Yes, I guess that would work.”
“You just tell me where and when,” I said, trying to hide my surprise.
“You know Bon Vie?” she asked.
It took me a moment, but I did. It was almost within sight of my front porch and didn’t have a bar, which may have explained my pause. Other than McDonalds, I don’t frequent many food establishments without a bar.
“Yeah, sure, perfect. What time?”
“Noon would be best,” she said.
“Yes, twelve o’clock, noon. Does that work for you, Dev?”
“It does, I’ll see you there.”
I hung up and phoned Aaron to check on what he had found out on Kerri’s car. I ended up leaving a message.
A few beers later I thought about dinner and then after dinner. Fortified by the beer I placed a couple of calls and ended up leaving messages at both numbers. I wasn’t exactly feeling like Mr. Popular.
I woke up sometime after three the following morning. Bourbon and a book will do that to me. I’d been sleeping in my favorite reading chair, which was great for reading and not the best for sleeping. My body felt like a bent piece of plumbing pipe and I stretched and groaned on the way to bed. My joints sounded like a bowl of Rice Krispies; snap, crackle, and pop.
I stumbled out of the bathroom sometime after nine in the morning and noticed the message light blinking on my phone. The first voicemail was from Pam, one of my attempted post-dinner dates from the night before.
“Hi. Look, Dev, thanks for the invite, but I really wish you wouldn’t call me… umm… ever again. I’m very happy with my life now that you’re not in it, and I would prefer that I never, ever hear from you. Hope everything is going okay. Bye.”
I pushed the delete button and made a mental note not to offer Pam the opportunity to enjoy an evening of my witty comments followed by mad, passionate debauchery. Which was screwier, Pam’s message or my calling her in the first place?
“Hey dipshit, you there? Call me I think I got something that might interest you. Grab that photo you showed me too, will you?”
It was Aaron. I called him back, left a message in response to his, then padded into the kitchen and made some coffee. He phoned back a minute or two later, just as I was pouring my first cup.
“Christ, you sound barely awake. You keeping banker’s hours over there? How soon can you meet me?”
“I’m just finishing up a meeting,” I said.
“Yeah, right. Look, get dressed and meet me at the morgue in thirty minutes. I got something for you.”
“The morgue? That doesn’t sound good.”
“Don’t forget to bring that photo with you. See you there,” Aaron said and hung up.
I poured my coffee into a travel mug, sipped as I got dressed, topped the travel mug off and headed out the door.
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