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A brutal killing on a cross channel ferry and the arrival of a jazz musician to perform in a sleepy seaside town.
Two totally unconnected events?
So thinks private investigator, Theo Stern. But sinister happenings indicate otherwise and Stern finds himself sucked into a threatening entanglement of intrigue and death.
The door displayed the sign â€˜PRIVATEâ€™ in gold lettering, and without a momentâ€™s hesitation Wallace rapped sharply with his fist. A voice from within called for them to come in. Wallace led the way, leaving Stern to close the door behind them.
Cooper sat behind his desk, a frown of confusion crossing his face at the sight of the two men. Wallace strode across the room, his hand out stretched. "Geoff,â€ he said brightly, a broad smile spreading across his face. "Reg Wallace, you remember, the Blue Mood? Nice to meet you at last.â€
Nodding, Cooper rose slowly from his seat. He took Wallaceâ€™s hand warily. "Yes, nice to see you too,â€ he said, his eyes flicking across to Stern.
Wallace caught the glance. "This is Theo Stern,â€ he said brightly. "Local PI and a good friend.â€
Yeah, right, thought Stern.
Cooper lowered himself cautiously back into his chair. "I didnâ€™t know you were coming, er, Reg,â€ he said haltingly. "You should have called, let me know. The receptionist down stairs? She didnâ€™t...?â€
"Oh, we didnâ€™t want to bother her.â€ Wallace grinned. "Theo here knew you were up here somewhere so I thought weâ€™d give you a bit of a surprise.â€
Cooperâ€™s eyes narrowed suspiciously, but after only a brief hesitation he half-heartedly motioned toward two chairs standing against the wall.
Wallace immediately shook his head. "No, we wonâ€™t sit down,â€ he said, his voice still bright. "Weâ€™re not staying.â€
Cooper shrugged and relaxed back into his chair, some hint of composure returning. "So, what can I do for you?â€
Wallace leaned forward, his palms flat on the desk, the smile suddenly dropping from his face.
"I just wanted to know why you fucked with my friends,â€ he said softly, his eyes suddenly steel hard.
Cooperâ€™s jaw dropped. "What... I donâ€™t know... What are you saying?â€ he stuttered.
"Oh I think you know what Iâ€™m saying,â€ Wallace growled. "Iâ€™m talking about Steve Arnold and the other guys in the band. They were all my friends, and for some reason you chose to play them for a bunch of suckers. You even managed to kill one of â€™em. I just want to know why.â€
"N-Now listen,â€ Cooper stuttered. "I never killed anyone. And you canâ€™t just barge your way in here and accuse me...â€
Stern stepped alongside Wallace. "Careful, Reg,â€ he warned.
Wallace held up a conciliatory hand. "Donâ€™t worry, Theo. Itâ€™s all under control.â€ He turned back to Cooper. "You see, itâ€™s just that Iâ€™ve got a little problem, Geoff. It goes like this. I know what you did; I just donâ€™t know why you did it. Thatâ€™s all Iâ€™ve come for. Thatâ€™s all I want to know.â€
The colour had completely drained from Cooperâ€™s face, and a tiny trickle of saliva glistened in one corner his open mouth. Now, no longer relaxed in his chair, he sat bolt upright, his white-knuckled hands gripping the edge of the desk. Stern, himself astonished at Wallaceâ€™s instant attack, dragged his eyes from Cooperâ€™s thunderstruck face and looked down at the little man by his side. Wallaceâ€™s expression was completely impassive, his eyes, unblinking, locked onto Cooperâ€™s face.
Cooper suddenly came to life. "You come in here, into my own office, and accuse me of the most outrageous...â€ He rose violently from the chair, sending it clattering against the wall. "Who the hell do you think you are?â€ He reached for the telephone, his finger pumping at the number. "The police will have something to say aboutâ€¦â€
"Yeah, you phone the law.â€ Wallace interrupted, his voice low, menacing. "And Iâ€™ll tell them a little story about a telephone call I received in the early hours one day last week. Woke me up it did, really annoyed me. That was until I realised who was calling.â€ A smile touched his lips, but only his lips. "Bet you canâ€™t guess who it was.â€
The words rang ominously threatening, and Cooperâ€™s hand froze over the telephone. He remained silent.
"No? Donâ€™t want to guess?â€ Wallace taunted. "Well, Iâ€™ll tell you. It was Ronnie Fox. And dâ€™you know what he told me? He told me t
A.W. Lambert was born and raised in south London, England. After completing his National Military Service he embarked on an engineering career in the British aircraft industry where he also became a qualified pilot. In 1992 he retired from industry to follow his two main passions: the playing of his favourite music, traditional New Orleans Jazz and Creative Writing. After studying with The Writerâ€™s Bureau, he built experience with success in magazine article and short story writing before moving to the field of full length Action/ Adventure. A Treacherous Past is his first published novel. He lives with his wife in North Norfolk, England.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 311
Paper Weight (lb): 13.0
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