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Inside Information [MultiFormat]
eBook by Michael E. Field

eBook Category: Suspense/Thriller/Mystery/Crime
eBook Description: Almost all criminals believes they are capable of executing the perfect crime while escaping detection and capture. A group of individuals believe they have devised the perfect plan to make a large profit of impending stock price movements. But due to an unforeseeable event, the plan is thrown into disarray and during an attempt to cover up their mistakes a police officer is gunned down and a witness killed. Detectives Greg Hawkins and Kathy Sear are assigned this investigation and almost immediately they realize this is not a simple break-in gone wrong but something much more elaborate. The more the Detectives investigate the crime the more elaborate the plan appears, with the mastermind of the plot willing to do anything to avoid detection and cover their tracks. Detectives Hawkins and Sear realize quickly they are in a race against time in determining the identity of the mastermind before evidence is destroyed and all links to the criminals are forever erased.

eBook Publisher: ebooksonthe.net/ebooksonthe.net, Published: ebook, 2010
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2010


3 Reader Ratings:
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Prologue

The old factory stood dark and silent, bathed in the eerie glow of a full moon, outlining the shadows against the flowing river behind. A small glimmer of light inside the building illuminated the main walkway running down the middle. On each side of the aisle, large wood tables sat covered with a mixture of undisturbed saw dust and piles of small wood scrapes.

An old man, bent after years of moving wood and pushing a broom, walked slowly down the aisle. He started at one end of the factory where he opened the first power box and threw the main switch. With a loud clank one-quarter of all the factory overhead lights went out for the last time, casting that side of the factory floor into darkness. The man closed the metal door over the switch with a bang and slowly moved to the next power box where he repeated the same move.

Ralph Meade started working at the lumber factory nearly half a century earlier, before he finished high school. After high school he stayed on, slowly but surely working his way up the employee seniority list, if not the corporate ladder. He held employee number one, a position he'd held for the last fifteen years. When asked when he would stop working he would reply with a sly grin, a twinkle in his eye. "When we close the lumber factory, I will be the one turning out the lights and locking the door." Ralph now finished his work at the factory much as he had started it--pushing a broom, sweeping up the saw dust and bits of scrap wood.

The lay-offs started as business slowed and when they continued everyone figured the end was near. When the final word came down most all of the work force was let go, with just enough retained for close-down operations and maintenance.

Everything with any value was sold; only the tables and some odd bits and pieces of machinery remained. All repairs and up-keep halted and complete close down activities started.

Ralph walked in a clockwise pattern and sealed the doors with locks as he came to them. He trudged to the back and worked his way forward, turning off the bank of power and lights in each control box.

At the last switch next to the front door, he turned around for one more look at the dark factory that stretched over a hundred yards in length, or almost one-hundred fifty years, depending how you looked at it. He let out a sigh, flicked the last power switch, and stepped into darkness of the autumn evening.

Ralph locked the front door, climbed into his car, and drove the last two hundred feet to the front gate. He stopped the car just outside the gates, swung the gate closed and looped a thick heavy chain through the fencing and around the main support poles.

He double checked the lock to make sure it clicked closed then climbed back into his car and drove away without glancing in the rear view mirror.

* * * *

Chapter 1

Richard Woods strolled up the walkway that connected the airplane to the main terminal building. The artificial hallways were either bitterly cold or deadly hot, and they always angled uphill or down and tilted slightly to one side. No matter how many airports he passed through, the walkways were all the same.

His flight to Chicago arrived on time, and he was greeted by cold spring weather. Easily thirty or forty degrees colder than Atlanta, he thought. Earlier that afternoon, he could have walked around without a suit jacket, but now he wished he had his lined trench coat.

Richard was worn out from three days of business meetings, bad hotel food, and preparing reports for the home office. A familiar tightness settled in his back, a symptom that popped up when there was a storm in the area. On the approach to O'Hare, the plane experienced the type of turbulence that told him the storm would arrive soon.

All he wanted was to be home. His original schedule had called for him to leave Atlanta late the next morning but the business meetings had gone better than expected, and an agreement had been reached late in the afternoon. He had not even had a chance to call his wife to let her know he would be coming home early, and judging by the time of arrival, she would be asleep by the time he landed. Normally, he would have taken the train into the city and then a cab home, but not tonight. Tonight it would be cab all the way.

Richard climbed in and gave the driver his address. He closed his eyes and let his head drift back, resting it against the seat cushion, and for the first time in a couple of days, he let his mind wander.

He thought of his wife, Dana. They had met in their second year of college and nature took its course after that. She was what every man dreamed of: a striking blond with an incredible body, a face that belonged on the cover of a fashion magazine, smart, and with a career ambition that complemented his type-A personality.

They married a few years out of school and built their lives together while balancing their demanding careers: he became a communication systems salesman, and she an event coordinator. His job took him out of town too many days for his taste, but the monetary rewards helped make up for the nights they spent apart. And when he returned home, they always took time to celebrate as if they were newlyweds. Dana more often than not would take the lead in this department.

She had a sex drive and a stamina that never left him wanting more. He especially liked it when she dressed up in her little red teddy and heated the massage oil. Then she would lie down...

"I think we're here," the cabbie said, jolting Richard out of his dream. The storm had arrived in force as raindrops hammered the window glass. He paid the fare, jumped over a puddle, and trotted down the sidewalk to his old brownstone house.

Richard dug through his pocket for his key while the rain pelted his back. The house was dark which didn't come as a surprise given the late hour. Any noises he made with the jangling of his keys and opening the door were drowned out by the storm.

He closed the door behind him and turned the dead bolt, then let his eyes adjust to the dark. Dripping in the hallway, he closed his eyes and inhaled the familiar smell of antique, polished wood. Home again.

He put down his luggage and hung up his coat, debating whether to get a beer from the refrigerator or just head upstairs and put an end to a very long day. But then again, Dana might have alternate plans, depending on her work schedule the next day. A long and sustained yawn quickly settled that argument, and Richard wandered up the stairs.

He could just make out a dim light beneath the bedroom door once he reached the second floor hallway. The sound of quiet voices coming from the room usually meant she had fallen asleep with the television on again. Maybe he'd watch a late night talk show and then hit the sack. He quietly turned the doorknob but froze in place as he stared at the sight before him.

Two naked bodies intertwined on the mattress, thrashed before him. Barely visible from the flames of two small candles on the night stand, the fire flickered in response to the air being disturbed by opening of the door. Dana kneeled on the bed, her hands tightly gripping the brass railings of the headboard, her eyes closed, panting and groaning in pleasure. Her long hair clung to her back and forehead, drenched with sweat. The man positioned behind her thrust deep inside, matching her groans with his own, both oblivious to everything around them.

Richard stepped back into the hallway as he extended his arm to brace himself from falling into a large bookcase. As he steadied himself his hand came in contact with a stone gargoyle bookend.

At the same time, the grunts and groans coming from the room raised in volume and intensity, snapping Richard out of his daze. Rage swept over him and his fingers closed and tightened around the gargoyle. A primal scream began, deep within his core, tossing and turning before it erupted as he burst through the doorway.

The man gripped Dana's hips, holding in her in place as he emptied inside her. The release was so intense the man never heard Richard scream before the bookend crashed into the back of his skull.

Richard did not swing a second time as his attention focused on the red mist that exploded from the head and sprayed the wall.

Dana's lover collapsed as if he was a puppet that had its strings cut while his dead weight pinned her to the mattress, one arm slid off to the side and his body covered her back.

Dana's eyes flew open and attempted to absorb the nightmare that lay around her, the side of her face covered with blood.

Before she could say a word he stepped forward and swung with all his might. He struck her in the head and upper torso; over and over, losing accuracy as he exerted a primal brute force.

A few minutes later he stood over the bodies, sweat covering his face and dampening his shirt; gasping for air. His arm hung at his side, still gripping the gargoyle as the last bit of rage slowly drained from his body.

Wiping the sweat off his face with his left hand, he allowed the gargoyle to drop from his hand to the carpeted floor with a thud. He wanted to sit down but couldn't bring himself to touch the bed.

He spotted a pool of blood on the floor, directly under Dana's lifeless arm as it hung over the edge. A small stream of blood clung to her skin, following the edge until it reached the tip of her thumb. Every few seconds, a drop would fall to the floor and add to the growing puddle.

Richard finally tore his eyes away from the carnage. His gaze settled on a decorative pillow with their names and wedding date embroidered on the cover. Sadness washed over him as he picked up the pillow, clutching it in his arms as he sank down to the floor. A sadness at the realization of what he had done swept over him and he began to cry--not over the lives taken but the realization that the wife he thought he married had died long ago.

The marriage he treasured all these years had only been an illusion. Looking back he now saw signs that pointed to the situation he had walked in on this evening. There was nothing obvious like a love letter or even people calling and hanging up when he answered. Small signs that by themselves meant nothing but when combined, pieced together like a well-designed jigsaw puzzle.

The storm raged outside, rain lashing the window while an occasional flash of lightning illuminated the two bodies entwined in their death poses. Richard slid down, staring at the floor while his mind ran over the years of his life, his accomplishments as well as failures.

Hours passed before Richard decided his next course of action. He walked to the window, opened the drapes, and gazed into the night.

He stood in his blood-covered shirt and jacket and an idea began to take shape, twisting and turning until all the pieces came together.

Richard tossed the pillow on the bodies without a glance in their direction, walked out of the room and down the stairs. He paused at a closet and picked out a long, dark coat. Without a backward glance he stepped into the night, not bothering to close the door.


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