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Black Rain [Secure eReader]
eBook by Vincent Alexandria

eBook Category: Mystery/Crime
eBook Description: Kansas City detective Joe Johnson is a passionate family man, and a loving husband and father. But on the streets, he can go toe-to-toe with the toughest gangsters. Joe is also fiercely loyal to his fellow officers; so when FBI agent Cheryl Chase makes a distressed late-night call, he's ready to respond without hesitation. Cheryl's working undercover, trying to bring down a ring of dirty cops who've found murder a great way to handle business. But Joe's partner and wife are strongly against him getting involved--especially with a woman who nearly cost him his marriage before. Now Joe's got to face his most dangerous case yet, and it will take every skill he has to infiltrate, outwit and bring down the psychopathic ringleader if he and Cheryl are to stay alive and make it back home.

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Kimani Press, Published: 2007
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2007

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Chapter 1

A gust of cold October wind outside my window whips through the bare trees and stirs paper and debris on the sidewalk. As I stare out the window, I can't help but compare the frigid air to the souls of some people. Criminals. The ones who've committed heinous crimes and don't care about the trail of destruction their acts leave behind. I try not to let my cynical thoughts rule my mood and I turn my attention back to my cluttered desk.

The steam is still rising off my cup of coffee and, appreciatively, I take a sip. With my free hand, I rifle through the pile of papers on my desk for the telephone number of a recent informant, but I can't find it. I glance over at Vernon's desk, which sits directly across from me and see several piles of neatly stacked papers. Vernon Brown has been my partner for fifteen years here at the homicide department of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department.

"Vernon, did you take the number for that informant, Marlon Jackson off my desk?"

Vernon looks up from the morning paper and raises one eyebrow as though I'm bothering him. "Joe, yesterday you asked me to call that guy to make an appointment for this morning. Well, I did it like you asked. I told him we'd meet him around nine-thirty at the crime scene where he helped us nab that bastard Barry Franklin for killing his kid and burying him in the back of the house."

"Great. We also have to make sure we pay him for the information, so we need to get five thousand bucks from the commissioner to pay him for coming forward. He's expecting his money today."

"All taken care of."

"Wow, you mean, you finally did something I asked before I had to nag you about it? Go figure," I say, jokingly.

"I took care of the money yesterday. I got it right here in this envelope." He retrieved the envelope from his desk drawer.

"Terrific. His testimony will seal that creep's fate for life. I can't believe he buried his own son in the backyard of his house. We're just lucky that Mr. Jackson was squatting in the abandoned house behind Barry's and saw the whole thing," I explain.

"It also was luck that he called us and spilled the beans about what he saw," Vernon states.

"Let's hold back on the sainthood for this guy, because he did ask for the reward money before he told us anything," I remind him.

"Joe, the guy was not a drug addict or anything. He just fell on hard times. You can't blame him for wanting his due. This money can change his life a little. It might even get him on the right track."

"I hope it does. I know without him, we would have never closed this one so quickly." It also helped that the commissioner made this case a high priority. The district attorney wanted us to come out to Barry Franklin's house and meet the crime-scene guys to do a walk-through. This would ensure we had nailed all the details. "It's important that this is an airtight case before it gets to the court system," I remind my older partner.

Vernon gives a nod of his graying head and throws up his hand to stop any further conversation so he can enjoy his morning coffee and paper. Vernon is a stickler for being aware of what's going on in the news. Every morning he reads our town's three daily newspapers.

I still find it hard to shake the details of the case from my mind. In all my years on the force, I never understood why people hurt kids. I have kids of my own and even on a bad day they make me smile and laugh. I can't see how a kid could push a parent to kill them. It couldn't possibly be the child's fault. The fact is, there's some sick-ass people in the world.

Rising to my feet, I stretch my full body then walk over to Vernon's desk and snatch the paper from him, just to piss him off. "Vernon, my kids asked if you and Gertrude would like to go to the circus with us tonight."

Vernon frowns and raises his eyebrows in a warning manner. "Why you got to play so damn much, Joe? I can't tonight, but you tell the kids Gertrude and I will take them for ice cream on Sunday. We'll pick them up around one or two after church. Now, if you don't mind, can you please give me back my paper before I have to taser your ass?"

"Vernon, why are you always threatening me with violence when you know I can whip you with my eyes closed? Anyway, this is not just any circus, it's the Univer-Soul Circus. Run by black people. It's always a great show," I explain as I hand him back his paper.

"I know who they are. I caught their commercial on television. Gertrude's parents are coming over for dinner tonight, so we're booked for the evening, and her parents always look forward to our dinners. So my hands are tied and your eyes would be closed if I wasn't in a good mood because I could have knocked you out," he says, laughing as he opens his paper and puts his cigar in his mouth.

We finish our coffee and head out of the downtown-precinct office and take Paseo Avenue up to Forty-Third Street. We hit Paseo and pass 18th and Vine where the Negro League Baseball and Jazz Museums are, along with the historic Gem Theater. This area was bustling with black businesses from the thirties through the late fifties. Many famous people—Satchel Paige, Louis Armstrong, Sonny Liston, Ella Fitzgerald, Hank Aaron, and other entertainers and sports figures—came to have a good time and be welcomed with open arms during a time of segregation in Kansas City. Even though many years have passed, truth be told, some parts of Kansas City still are segregated.

Copyright © 2004 by Vincent R. Alexandria.

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