The Deadliest Sins
Jack Murphy Thriller #7
“Reed writes as only a cop can.” —Nelson DeMille
Jack Murphy Won’t Back Down
The headlines scream the ghastly news of an abandoned truck filled with murdered immigrants. Detective Jack Murphy and his partner Liddell Blanchard are on the case. They’ve got a lone survivor, rumors of a witness, and the feds getting in their way. Jack’s gut tells him there’s a connection with a local killing—and the bloodshed is far from over. He’s going up against a butcher who commits the unspeakable in the name of protecting America. Some say the worst crime is to look the other way. Jack Murphy only looks for justice . . .
The “Coyote” sat in the booth, drinking stale coffee, eating a crust of cherry pie, and writing in a five- by nine-inch ring notebook. He had to record his thoughts, his feelings. That’s what his shrink said. His shrink was an a**hole, but at two Benjamins a session Coyote didn’t want to waste the advice.
The gray-haired waitress shuffled over in dirty house shoes. She was wearing faded gray sweat pants and a shirt with stains and smudges of flour.
“Coffee?” she asked.
Coyote looked around the shabby café. It was narrow, with a six-foot counter on one side and two ramshackle booths on the other—one of those had duct tape holding a leg together. There were no other customers. The varnished seat of the booth had turned to a gummy residue, but the top was worn smooth. Mounted in one corner of the ceiling was a defunct surveillance camera, its wires disconnected and hanging. The coffee in the bottom of the carafe was black and thick as syrup. She calls this drain cleaner coffee?
He was polite. “No,” he said. His voice was gruff, deep for a man barely five and a half feet tall. He was wearing a charcoal-colored Burberry coat, black leather gloves, black Western Stetson, crisp white shirt with imitation-pearl snap buttons, creased blue jeans, and Western boots. He wasn’t a big man by any standard, but only a few men had made the mistake of seeing him as “small.”
The woman said, “Closing in five.”
He ignored her as her shoes scuffed across the stained black-and-white tiles. He dug deep in a pocket and pulled out a crisp twenty-dollar bill. He slid the twenty under his cup and read what he’d written so far:
I’m tired. Tired of everything and everyone. People disgust me. Food doesn’t taste good. No happiness anywhere for me. I see people pretending to sing, their words full of hate and anger and violence. They dance with faces showing hate and confrontation. What are they so unhappy about? Why do they want to disrespect everything they got for free? They won’t work. They think they can be rich and happy taking drugs. They dishonor their parents and each other. They fight from a safe distance with texts and computers and phones. Cowards.
Everyone is out for themselves and the only thing they can agree on is that their elders were wrong, racist, or homophobic. They don’t see why “elders” always talk about the past, about the lessons that took a lifetime to learn. They are confused about who they are, who anyone else is, angry that their elders didn’t give them more. Why should they take any blame or responsibility?
This is where my mind goes when I’m on the road. Alone, thank God. My dreams are visions, premonitions of things to come. Slackers, drug addicts, and alcoholics, irresponsible, arrogant pretenders surround me. They have created a world where they matter. They don’t. If the last three or four generations were wiped from the face of the earth, we wouldn’t notice. They contribute nothing. They do nothing. They want everything. They’re using my air.
“Time,” the old woman said.
Coyote got up. He couldn’t wait to leave. The smell of putrid coffee mixed with the odor of fried onions was enough incentive to go. He walked out the door, his boots crunching on rock salt. He pulled his coat tighter against the frigid air, looked down the street at the car with the fogged-up windshield. The a**hole had made Coyote wait. Coyote respected that.
He tugged the coat collar up around his neck and face. He pulled a cigarette from inside his jacket and lit it. Holding it between his lips, he slipped his hands into his pockets and turned down the alleyway.
Sergeant Rick Reed (Ret.) is a twenty-plus-year veteran police detective. During his career he successfully investigated numerous high-profile criminal cases, including a serial killer who claimed thirteen victims before strangling and dismembering his fourteenth and last victim. He recounted that story in his acclaimed true-crime book, Blood Trail. Reed spent his last three years on the force as the Commander of the police department’s Internal Affairs Section. He obtained a Masters Degree and upon retiring from the police force, took a full-time teaching position with a community college. He currently teaches Criminal Justice and writes thrillers. He lives in Evansville, Indiana, with his dog, Belle, and his two cats, Hannibal and Clarice.
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