After a murdered partner, a cheating wife and a lost job in Houston, Nick Sibelius sets up a private investigation business in a small Texas town hoping to find some peace and maybe, himself. When two lovers disappear and a fisherman turns up dead, he finds himself drawn into a web of crime and deceit involving MaryLou, a beautiful woman with a mysterious past; Junior, a failed farmer whose best intentions seem to always result in a dead body; and Barry, a sociopathic dentist turned illegal toxic waste entrepreneur with a violent right wing agenda. When the felon who killed Nick’s partner in Houston joins forces with Barry, Nick must not only stop the toxic waste dumping while finding his client’s missing daughter, but keep from being killed in the process. In the end, MaryLou’s dark secret will either save him or kill him -- whichever comes first.
A banging startled him awake. Nick lifted his head off a stale, damp pillow case, the bed creaking as he sat up. Three fifteen. He slipped on some shorts and checked the safety on his Glock. The banging continued, which in his trailer sounded like Thor hammering on his head.
He shouted, "Who's there?"
Nick didn't know a Reverend Anderson since he had no desire to step through the transom of a church anytime soon. This had to be the same guy who called. Why would a minister go to this much trouble to wake me up? He held the gun behind his back, opening the door to a large black man, six foot four, dressed in tan slacks, a green polo shirt and shoes with a shine that reflected the light from inside Nick's trailer.
"Did you call earlier?"
"Yes, that was me. I need to speak with you urgently."
Nick slipped the gun behind a cushion of the built-in seat by the door. "As I told you..." He searched for the man's name.
"Reverend Anderson. I'm the paster of Victory Church in town."
"Yes, mister...Reverend Anderson. Like I said, we can talk during normal business hours."
Nick reached to close the door.
"You shut that door and you're condemning my little girl to God only knows what."
"Trust me, Reverend. It can wait until the morning." Nick pushed the door closed, but Anderson stiff armed the door open. "You don't want to go down this path, Reverend."
"I've heard what people say about you."
"So I'm the talk of the town, eh?"
"They say you're rude, arrogant and a drunk."
"Well you can tell them to kiss—"
"And that you get it done." Anderson took a step forward, placing his large frame in the doorway. "Is that correct, Mr. Sibelius. Do you get it done?"
"It's Nick. And yeah, I suppose I do." He breathed a weary sigh. "Do we really need to talk about this right now?"
The Reverend stared at him. Nick eased away from the door, nodding toward the trailer's interior. Anderson took the two steps through the opening of the trailer, ducking to avoid banging his head against the doorway.
Nick said, "I take it I'm not going to get rid of you until you tell me what's crawling up your ass, right?"
"Yeah, that's right, Nick. I need your help."
Nick looked to the right at dishes piled in the sink, empty bottles on the counter and the remains of last night's dinner still sitting on the table, and then left, to a pile of dirty clothes and towels. He grabbed a barbecue stained paper plate off the table, folding it up and placing it in the trash under the sink. "So what's this burning issue?"
"It's my daughter. She's missing."
Author InfoRichard Hacker has been writing most of his life, and professionally, in support of his work in management consulting, public speaking and training in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. In 2009 he moved, along with his wife, from Austin to Seattle, shifting his professional focus from business consulting to writing fiction full time. Wanted by authorities for smuggling Texas BBQ across state lines, he now writes and lives in Seattle. His writing has been recognized by the Writer's League of Texas and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. As a judge in literary contests such as PNWA and ChicLit, he enjoys the opportunity to give writers honest critique to move their craft forward. In addition, he is the science fiction and fantasy editor for the Del Sol Review, an online literary magazine.
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