Long Way Down - Collin Wilcox - ebook

Long Way Down ebook

Collin Wilcox

0,0

Opis

A John Doe murder spurs Hastings to confront the leader of a Satanic cult. For homicide lieutenant Frank Hastings, the day starts with an assassination attempt. During a rally in San Francisco's Civic Center, someone takes a potshot at the governor, sending the whole of downtown into chaos. Once he has taken control of the scene, Hastings chases down the gunman - a Mexican immigrant with a political bent - and captures him after a tense standoff. Miraculously, no one is killed. But Hastings's long day is just getting started. He's barely had time to catch his breath when the call comes in from Noe Valley, where an unidentified man has been found dead on a nude model's floor. All signs point to a simple case of death by jealousy until a second killing upends the investigation, setting Hastings on a collision course with the charismatic leader of a Satanic cult. For this homicide lieutenant, saving the governor will have been the easy part.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
czytnikach Kindle™
(dla wybranych pakietów)
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 270

Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS



Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-one

Twenty-two

Twenty-three

Looking for more suspense?

Cover

Begin Reading

About the Book

A John Doe murder spurs Hastings to confront the leader of a Satanic cult.

For homicide lieutenant Frank Hastings, the day starts with an assassination attempt. During a rally in San Francisco’s Civic Center, someone takes a potshot at the governor, sending the whole of downtown into chaos. Once he has taken control of the scene, Hastings chases down the gunman - a Mexican immigrant with a political bent - and captures him after a tense standoff. Miraculously, no one is killed. But Hastings’s long day is just getting started.

He’s barely had time to catch his breath when the call comes in from Noe Valley, where an unidentified man has been found dead on a nude model’s floor. All signs point to a simple case of death by jealousy until a second killing upends the investigation, setting Hastings on a collision course with the charismatic leader of a Satanic cult. For this homicide lieutenant, saving the governor will have been the easy part.

About the Author

Collin Wilcox (1924–1996) was an American author of mystery fiction. Born in Detroit, he set most of his work in San Francisco, beginning with 1967’s The Black Door - a noir thriller starring a crime reporter with extrasensory perception. Under the pen name Carter Wick, he published several standalone mysteries including The Faceless Man (1975) and Dark House, Dark Road (1982), but he found his greatest success under his own name, with the celebrated Frank Hastings series.

Long Way Down

A Lt. Hastings Mystery

Collin Wilcox

 

BASTEI ENTERTAINMENT

 

Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany

 

For the original edition:

Copyright © 2013 by The Mysterious Press, LLC, 58 Warren Street, New York, NY. U.S.A.

 

Copyright © 1974 by Collin Wilcox

 

Project management: Lori Herber

Cover adaptation: Christin Wilhelm, www.grafic4u.de

Cover design by Michel Vrana

 

E-book production: Jouve Germany GmbH & Co. KG

 

ISBN 978-3-95859-593-4

 

www.bastei-entertainment.com

 

All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this e-book or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

This book is dedicated to

Jean Muir,

in partial payment of a

big creative debt

One

“DO YOU WANT TO flip for it?” I pointed to the lunch check.

Friedman shook his head. “I couldn’t afford to lose. My wife, the family treasurer, has me on a budget. For the first time since I’ve been married—twenty years, for God’s sake—I’m on a budget.”

“Then we’d better have thirds on the coffee. There’s no charge.”

He snorted ruefully, at the same time signaling for the waitress.

“What’s the reason for the budget?” I asked.

“The reason,” he answered, “is that my number one son has suddenly decided that he’s no longer interested in retreating to the hills and building a sod hut and raising organic food. Instead, he’s going to be a big-time agronomist. So he wants to go to college. This is February third. College begins September seventeenth. The tab, I figure, is almost six grand a year, everything in. So I’m on a budget.”

“Can’t he work?”

Again he snorted. “Last summer, when it looked like he was going to turn hippie for sure, we promised him that if he went to college, he wouldn’t have to work his way through. Or, more like it, Clara promised. I just went along.”

“I’ll bet.”

We watched the waitress pour our coffee. Friedman’s large, swarthy face was sunk deep into his jowl-mashed collar. His eyes were pensive, his full lips thoughtfully pursed.

“You know,” he said, “I’m just now—at age forty-six—finally beginning to figure out what it really means to be a Jew. Like, it’s a Jewish thing that the oldest son’s got to have the best. He’s got to amount to something. So to Clara, there’s no question about Bernie going to college if he wants to go. No question at all. Literally, she’d wash floors, if that’s what it took. And she wouldn’t think she was making a sacrifice, either. It’s just something that you do, that’s all. It’s expected. It’s a—a cultural reflex.” He was staring down into his coffee, blinking pensively. For the first time since I’d known him, Friedman seemed unaccountably diffident, telling me what it meant to be Jewish. Normally, Friedman coasted easily above most men’s frailties. On the job, I’d often seen him make life-or-death decisions without the slightest hesitation. If something went wrong—if someone died—he didn’t flinch from the decision’s responsibility. Friedman always managed to seem imperturbably right, even if he wasn’t. Yet now, talking about his family and his religion, he seemed strangely vulnerable.

I didn’t want to probe too deeply, but neither did I want to slight his confidence by changing the subject completely. I decided on a compromise. “Were you the oldest son?” I asked.

He sipped the coffee, grimaced at the taste, and put the cup down. “No, I was number two. My older brother, Leonard, went to dental school. He now makes about seventy-five grand a year. In Beverly Hills, naturally.”

“So you got aced out of college.”

“Well—” He hesitated, then looked up, measuring me with a shrewd sidelong glance. His deceptively soft brown eyes were once more inscrutable: seeing everything, revealing nothing. His voice settled into its accustomed accents—lightly bantering, ironic, dry. “Well, the fact is that I went to a seminary for a couple of years.”

“You mean you …” In spite of myself, I realized that my mouth was hanging slightly open.

“That’s right, poopsie. I was meant to be a rabbi. By your stupefied expression, I can see that I never told you.”

“But what—I mean”—I shook my head, frowning as I lamely framed the question—“what happened, anyhow?”

“What happened,” he answered, “was that I got stage-struck. Which is something I know I never told you. I got hooked on amateur theatricals while I was in the seminary, and my studies suffered—considerably.”

“I’ll be damned.” I gulped down the last of the coffee, staring at him over the cup rim.

“I guess,” he continued on the same wry, breezy note, “that I must be in a confiding mood. It’s probably the shock of that six-grand bite for college. My life is passing in front of me. And after all, we’re co-lieutenants. So if I’ve got to confide in someone, it might as well be someone of equal rank. I can’t very well bare my—”

“What happened when you got stage-struck?”

“I dropped out of the seminary and went to Hollywood, of course. In those days, however, I was slim and suave and eager. Or, anyhow, I thought I was suave. But my agent touted me as a character type, which I suppose I was, since agents are always right. Anyhow, I probably had as much talent as the next guy. But talent isn’t nearly as important as the pure and simple thick-skinned tenacity it takes to keep your eight-by-ten glossy in circulation long enough for some jerk in a casting office to remember your face when a part comes up. Which is to say years.”

“Were you in any movies?”

“As an extra, sure. And I had five words in a Gary Cooper Western. Six words, if you count articles. ‘Look out!’ I shouted. ‘He’s got a gun.’ Whereupon I dived behind the bar—and into showbiz oblivion.”

“You quit?”

“I faced facts. It was in the early fifties, and Hollywood was suffering through one of its numerous recessions. I spent two years floundering around in that recession, plus the year and a half I spent getting my six-word speaking part. Most of the time I was a short-order cook. So finally one day I just gave up. I just said screw it, and I came to San Francisco and got a job—as a short-order cook, naturally. But I knew what I wanted, after three and a half years of those Hollywood unemployment lines.”

“What did you want?”

“I wanted the dullsville security of Civil Service,” he answered promptly. “I didn’t ever want to apply for another job. So when the police exam came up, I took it, even though I never actually could see myself putting the arm on anyone. But I passed the exam, by God. Brilliantly. So it came down to a choice of either cooking some more, or becoming a cop—or maybe a life-insurance salesman, or something. So I became a cop. Whereupon I got married and started to put on weight. My agent, it turned out, was right: I was a character type. Which for a homicide cop is the only type to be.” He glanced at his watch, grunted, then signaled the waitress. “I’ve got to get back. The governor’s going to speak in less than an hour.”

“What’s that got to do with you?”

“Didn’t I tell you? No. I’ve been put in charge of his security. For today, you are in sole charge of the homicide squad. You and the captain, that is.”

“Is the governor in town?”

“Of course he’s in town, you noodlehead. He’s speaking at the Civic Center on welfare reform. That’s his newest gimmick, you know: welfare malingerers. The campus radicals have served their purpose, headline-wise. And coming down on the hippies isn’t a very good political move, because almost everyone has a hippie or two at home, as who should know better than me. So now his eminence is bearing down on welfare chiselers.”

“I hope you enjoy the speech.” I counted out my share of the check.

“Christ, I’m not going to the Civic Center, if that’s what you mean. I can’t stand all that political mumbo jumbo.”

“I thought you were in charge of his security.”

“This is the age of electronics, Lieutenant. For the entire day, I’ve got Tach Seven, clear channel. Nothing is too good for the governor.”

“So you’ll be in the office all day.” I smiled as I got to my feet. Friedman’s fondness for settling his impressive bulk into his oversize swivel chair was well known. As the junior homicide lieutenant, with less than a year on the job, I normally went out into the field while Friedman stayed in the office, calling the shots, hassling with the reporters, and placating the brass. It was an arrangement that suited both of us.

As we approached the checkstand, the cashier beckoned to me, holding up a telephone. I gave the check and my share of the money to Friedman, then took the call.

“This is Culligan, Lieutenant. I didn’t get you up from the lunch table, did I?”

“No, we’re just finishing. What can I do for you?”

“Well, I’ve got an unidentified Caucasian male. Looks like he’s about forty or forty-five. He was well dressed. He was killed last night, probably—knifed. The location is a real run-down apartment, one of those storefront jobs. I’ve been here about an hour. Sigler is here, too, and the lab crew and the M.E. Everything is under control, but I thought I should check with you before they move the body. I mean—” He hesitated. “I mean, the victim’s well dressed, like I said. He didn’t live here, and he doesn’t look like he belongs here. So I thought I’d call you.”

“What’s the address?”

“436 Hoffman. Right near Elizabeth.”

“All right. I’ll get Canelli, and we’ll be there in twenty minutes. Do you need anything?”

“No, sir. Everything’s under control, like I said.”

“Good. I’ll see you in twenty minutes.”

Two

I SNAPPED MY SAFETY belt, turned on the radio and nodded for Canelli to get under way. Typically, he narrowly avoided our first potential hazard: a huge reinforced concrete pillar that helped support the Hall of Justice. Canelli had been driving for me about three months. My purpose in choosing him was to shape him up, if possible. Canelli’s work habits resembled his driving habits. He seemed to skirt disaster constantly, yet never actually collided with anything. Friedman had been right when he’d observed that Canelli was an Italian schlemiel. Canelli would never shape up. He’d never look like a cop or act like a cop or think like a cop. He would always be a slob, Friedman contended—always a bumbler. Still, a cop who doesn’t look like a cop can be a valuable tool, properly used. And Canelli was content to be used. He was both amiable and willing. He was also lucky—incredibly, invariably lucky. Maybe his luck derived from his improbable appearance. He weighed two hundred and forty pounds, shambled when he walked and blinked when he was puzzled. He perspired profusely and frequently sucked at his teeth while he searched for a word. His suit was always wrinkled and he never crushed his hat the same way twice. His face was round and swarthy, like Friedman’s. And his eyes, in fact, also resembled Friedman’s: soft, brown, and guileless. Yet there the similarity ended. Friedman’s innocence was carefully contrived: a deceptively wide-eyed mask that had served him well for many years. Canelli’s innocence was genuine. He was the only cop I’d ever known who could get his feelings hurt.

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!