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Fear grips the citizens of a small community when they learn illegal drugs are flowing into their area, and a murderer is at large. Detective Lanny Boone moves to lure the criminal elements into the open by setting himself up as a target. He can bring them to justice … if he survives.
“He’s dead, Lieutenant.”
A patrol officer and I were standing outside the local family medical clinic. I looked at my watch. 8:00 a.m. School buses, carpool parents and commuters were beginning to clog the streets. I live about a mile from the clinic and had just showered and dressed when I got the call. I came straight up. The patrol officer was here when I arrived.
“Cause?” I said.
“Appears to have been shot.”
“Not long ago. His arm was warm when I felt for a pulse.”
“Get some patrol officers up here to cordon off the area and to control the traffic.”
“They’re on the way, Lieutenant. Ambulance, too.”
“Crime scene guys? Coroner?”
“On the way.”
“Let’s take a look inside.” We walked to the door.
“Are you limping, Lieutenant?”
What irony. I’d planned to drop by the clinic this morning to have Doctor Wayne Bowen take a look at my foot. Bowen was a semi-retired family physician who worked three hours a day, three days a week. I was told that he came in early. I thought I’d try to see him before he began seeing his regular patients.
“Sure you’re all right, Lieutenant?”
“I’m all right.” Thing about being in law enforcement is that you aren’t allowed to work if you’re sick or injured.
Three nights ago I’d gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the kitchen for a glass of water. I’d done it a hundred times. When I walked through my living room, I accidentally kicked the coffee table. Banged the little toe on my left foot. Hurt like crazy. The darn toe should have been well by now.
The patrol officer and I went inside the clinic. The lights were on in the waiting room. Cushioned chairs sat along three walls. Magazines were neatly arranged on the two tables in the center of the room. No one was at the receptionist’s desk. The receptionist’s name was Kat Roberts. It said so, right on the brass nameplate on the desk.
A screen-saver played across the monitor on Kat’s desk. A box of donuts sat beside the monitor. I smelled coffee. Someone had been here.
“How many entrances to the building?”
“Two, Lieutenant. Front entrance, and a door on the side near the back.”
I used my elbow to push open the door that led into a hallway. To the left was a lounge, the door open.
“In here, Lieutenant.” The patrol officer motioned to the lounge.
I stepped inside. A man wearing a bright yellow jacket was lying on a couch, facing away from me. Strands of hair reached spider-like across the top of his head. A red spot the size of a dime was on the scalp among the strands. A streak of red coursed its way down from the spot, giving the appearance of an upside down exclamation mark. I felt for a pulse. There was none.
“Who discovered the body?”
“Kat Roberts. She’s next door at the drug store.”
“Did you talk to her?”
The officer shook his head. “Couldn’t. She was pretty hysterical.”
As we were returning to the waiting room, a woman burst through the front door. At first she looked to be in her mid-forties. An athletic figure and long legs took ten years off that. Her smeared mascara made her dark eyes look even darker. She wore the right amount of jewelry and gave off a faint aura of expensive perfume. She was one of those women southern men were wont to describe in three words: awfully good looking.
“Ma’am, you can’t go in there.” A patrol officer was right behind her. She’d apparently slipped past him.
“It’s all right, officer,” I said. “I’ll take care of it.”
He nodded and went back outside.
She made for the hallway. “Oh my God, no.”
I blocked her path. “Ma’am.”
“It can’t be. It’s a mistake. It’s all a mistake.”
“Ma’am,” I said, “you can’t go in there.”
“I’ve got to see about him. He’ll be all right.”
“Are you Kat Roberts?”
Ben Douglas is the author of several books of nonfiction and numerous newspaper and journal articles. His popular mystery, Finding Elmer Lee, continues to bring praise from all who have read it. Douglas’ three children having flown the nest, he lives with his wife, three cats and a hound dog in Madison, Mississippi where he is at work on another Lanny Boone mystery.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 300
Paper Weight (lb): 12.6
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