So, I meant to have this up yesterday but alas... Here is one of the books I'm working on this year. This section was published in my 'Unfinished and Incomplete' e-book and was chosen by my readers as the one I finish this year.
From Paper Dolls:
The cold rain collected in his collar as he stepped out of the department-issued sedan at the crime scene. He hadn’t been in this particular park after dark since high school, and that had been for altogether different reasons.
“Hard to believe it’s May, huh, Lieutenant?” The babyfaced rookie in the plastic rain slicker asked as he held up the crime scene tape to allow him into the area.
Jake Fahey slicked his longish black bangs out of his face and grunted in agreement as he signed in on the clipboard and proceeded down the game trail that had been laid out with bright yellow evidence flags starting where it diverged from the main path. He would have been more talkative, but three a.m. dead bodies were a job perk he’d just as soon never get used to.
It was a long walk down the trail to the aptly named Bloody River, and other than the occasional voice coming from the shore and the omnipresent sound of rushing water, it was a dark and desolate place. He emerged from the woodline on a stretch of riverbank that looked like it could be used as a beach in the summer. Wide river path, enough space to let the sun peek through the trees, it was a nice area, if he discounted the guy sitting on the park bench with two officers and some emergency light rigs surrounding him.
“Lt?” The officer who’d been kneeling next to the body rose to his feet when he saw him. “What’re you doing here? Where’s Gootee?”
Jake shrugged as he looked the body over cursorily. “He was on his way here when his wife called. She’s in labor.”
The grizzled late shift veteran broke into a broad grin. “Good for him! Mazel tov!”
“He’s having a much more exciting night than we are, I can tell you that.” Up until he’d gotten the phone call to come out, the only thing he’d had on tap was a pizza and a Phillies game he had on his DVR. Neither of which involved paperwork.
“No kidding, Lt. And bonus: he gets to stay dry.”
“Definitely.” Jake had been soaked to the skin pretty early on, and hadn’t really noticed that he was still getting wet, having long ago reached his saturation point. “So what do we have here?”
“Looks like an overdose, boss.” The younger man who’d been sketching out the scene piped up. “No needle in his arm, but blue lips, early rigor… he’s been here a minute but I don’t think this is more than that, really.”
“Okay, make sure you all take as many pictures of the scene as you can check for trace before it all washes into the river. I’ll send the ME’s guys down to collect him, and meet them at the morgue.” He turned to leave when something caught his eye under the bench. “You guys see this?”
When the tiny rag doll covered in mud came up between his gloved fingers, both officers looked perplexed. The older one shook his head. “Was that under there the whole time? I never saw it.”
“Me either,” the younger one agreed, shaking out an evidence bag for Jake to drop it in.
“I just happened to see it. May be nothing, but it was there under the body on the ground so...” He shrugged.
“My kingdom for a patch of dry land!”
Jake watched the gangly man in the grey trench coat pick and slip his way down the mushy hill to the crime scene. Matthias Neroli was the late shift coroner on duty. His job was to do the preliminary examination of the body on the scene before taking it back to the morgue and the pathologist. He was a nice enough guy, in the detective’s estimation, a little strange, but then, most of the people who worked around the dead weren’t exactly what anyone would consider garden variety normal.
“No such luck, I’m afraid.” He was as wet as he could be without actually being in the river, and felt true sympathy for the rapidly steeping legs of the other man’s scrubs. “Do you need anything before I go?”
“Eh,” the younger man shook his head. “I’ll take care of this gentleman and have the guys down for the transport now. See you back at the morgue.”
Jake passed the boys with the gurney on their way down to the riverbank, but he wasn’t truly interested in anything other than getting back to his car and getting someplace where the rain couldn’t find him to shake off the chill.
He stopped by the station for a quick change of clothes and then it was off to the morgue. When he pulled into the parking lot, he noted how deserted it was, except for a dark-colored, late model Audi sedan he didn’t recognize. He couldn’t help but smile as he read the plate, though. MEDXMNR, at least he knew he was in the right place.
After using his ID badge to buzz his way into the building, Jake was struck by how… dark it was. The corridor was dark except for the emergency lights, and the only actual light he saw was a halo around the doors at the far end of the hallway.
“This place didn’t need to be any creepier,” he muttered as he settled a hand on his holster and carefully made his way toward the light. He wasn’t the kind of guy to really believe in spooks and specters, but he’d worked in Homicide long enough to know in his soul that people could be the real monsters.
About halfway to the lighted door, he heard something that made absolutely no sense given the location and time of night.
When Jake pushed open the double doors and was hit by the one-two punch of bright, fluorescent light and loud… “Louis Prima? … and coffee?” Only one of those things made any kind of sense.
Coming this summer...