Release date: May 3, 2018
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
After evidence disappears from a police locker, a man who is accused of brutally raping a popular actor’s daughter, walks free.
Hired by the actor, private detective Dan Reno’s job seemed simple enough: discover who took the DNA, and why. Problem is, from the beginning of the investigation, neither Reno, the South Lake Tahoe police, nor anyone else have any idea what the motivation could be that see the thug, Duante Tucker, get away with the crime. Not even Reno’s best friend, fellow investigator Cody Gibbons, has a clue.
When Reno and Gibbons tail Tucker, they learn the rapist is linked to various criminals and a deserter from the U.S. Marine Corps. But they still can’t tell who would want him set free, and for what reason.
Things get murkier when Tucker visits an Arabic restaurant whose owners are suspected terrorists. Then Cody’s ex-boss, a San Jose police captain, is found to with Tucker’s sister.
The clues continue to build until Reno and Cody find themselves targeted, which tells Reno he’s getting close.
The forces of evil are running out of time, and the action reaches a boiling point before an explosive conclusion that reveals a sinister plot and motivations that Reno could never have imagined.
Hey guys, I’m so pleased to be a stop on the blog tour for Hard Prejudice today! I have an extract from the book to share.
By all accounts, Alex Newman’s life began in unfortunate circumstances and went downhill from there. Raised in lower-middle class white suburbia, he had dropped out of high school after his alcoholic parents divorced and embarked on a career as a small-time crook. His record was littered with shoplifting and petty theft collars, and along the way, he’d developed a particular fondness for rock cocaine. Now, at age thirty-four, he was a full-time addict. I’d learned of Alex Newman when his bail bondsman contacted me. Newman had skipped on a breaking and entering charge after his mother scraped together a five-thousand-dollar bond. Good son that he was, Newman flew the coop the minute he was released from lockup.
It didn’t take long to find him. He lived in an oversized camper shell bolted to the bed of a rust-bucket Toyota pickup. A dealer he’d burned for fifty bucks put me onto him, said he’d probably be parked in one of a few out-of-the-way places.
I spotted his rickety contraption sitting on the dirt shoulder of a dead-end road under a cluster of oak trees that partially hid the camper. Beyond the trees, the terrain dropped into a rock-strewn gully that led into the forest. Five thousand feet up, the pine-studded peaks of the Sierra Nevadas were resplendent in the midday sun.
The camper’s windows were taped over with cardboard. I got out of my rig and walked around the vehicle. No one was in the cab, but I could hear a faint tinkling of music from the camper. I went to the back door and jerked the handle. It was locked.
“Alex Newman, open up,” I said. When nothing happened, I pounded the door with the meat of my fist. “Open up, or I’ll bust it in.” I waited for a minute in the pleasant shade, until it became clear he hoped I’d just go away. It was a bad strategy but probably the best option he had.
As I returned to my truck for a crowbar, I heard scuffling and turned to see a man climbing from the gulley. Dirt coated the fronts of his blue jeans, his hollow cheeks were two weeks unshaven, and his long black hair looked stiff with grease. About six feet and a bony 160.
I ignored him and started back to the Toyota with the crowbar.
“What you think you’re doing?” he asked, his eyes wide and dilated. No doubt whacked on meth or coke.
“You friends with Alex Newman?”
“Damn right I am.”
“Stand back, please.” I swung the weighted end of the bar and punched a big crease in the aluminum door.
“Hey, you can’t–” he started, then the words became strangled in his throat. He froze for a moment, and I could almost hear his brain synapses misfiring. In his condition, any decision would likely be the wrong one. He confirmed it by coming up behind me and launching a roundhouse punch that was both ill-timed and weak.
I blocked it and cracked him in the nose with my elbow. His eyes went dull, and he sat down hard and held his dirt-caked fingers to his face. I pulled a plastic tie from my pocket, shoved him facedown into the ground, and cinched his hands behind him.
“You prick, you lousy bastard,” he moaned.
I left him lying in the dirt and swung the crowbar into the door again.
“Last chance, Alex. Open the goddamned door.” I waited a few seconds, then jammed the bar into the slot along the frame and jerked hard. The lock mechanism snapped, and the door flew open.
“Fuck you!” a shirtless man rasped, his head big over his scrawny white torso. Crouching, he thrust a lit blowtorch at my face.
I dodged the blue flame and swung the crowbar. It banged into the canister with a loud ping, and the torch fell from Newman’s hands. He scrambled back, but I reached forward, snatched him by his greasy hair, and yanked him out of the camper. His knees hit the ground hard, and he tried to get up and run, but before he could, I kicked him in the ribs, the blow just enough to take his wind. He fell on his side and stared up at me with pleading eyes.
“Party’s over,” I said, and slapped a pair of cuffs on his wrists. I looked into the camper, where his crack pipe lay smoldering amid a slew of beer bottles, porno magazines, and dirty ashtrays. Propped against one of the bottles was a syringe.
“Let’s go,” I said. I pulled Alex Newman to his feet and pushed him toward my truck. When we got there, I sat him in the front seat and chained his wrists to a D-link installed in the passenger seat floor.
Hunched over, he looked up at me. “I was gonna clean up. I was gonna get a job.”
“Tell it to the judge,” I said, watching the skinny, long-haired dude stagger to his feet and jog off, his hands cinched behind him. I shut my truck door, called 911, and asked South Lake Tahoe PD to send a tow truck. Then, I called the bail bondsman and told him I’d recovered his fugitive. Alex Newman didn’t have much to say after that. I supposed he knew the routine.
The parking lot was packed when we arrived at the police complex. I parked in a red zone and led Newman to the side door for booking. While I waited for the jailer, my eyes wandered out the window to the courthouse across the street, where there was some sort of commotion. At least a hundred people were assembled on the lawn, holding signs, their voices a low rumble.
Once I’d signed the prerequisite paperwork and they took Newman away, I walked out toward the courthouse. A van from the local television station had pulled up, and a woman with a shoulder-mounted camera was filming the gathering. I stopped on the sidewalk at the edge of the throng. The crowd included men and women of mixed ages. In front of me, a group of younger guys wore deck shoes and polo shirts tucked in their jeans, and two who were probably related had tan faces framed by tousled blond hair. One turned, and his profile made me think of country clubs and sports cars.
How bizarre, I thought.
South Lake Tahoe is not a large town – and not a place where I’d ever seen an organized protest. People visited here for the casinos and to ski or hike or go boating on the lake. The permanent residents made a living catering to tourism, for the most part. The most controversial local issues usually involved nature preservation, which rarely resulted in serious debate.
The front doors to the courthouse building swung open, and two lawyer types in dark suits stepped out, followed by a young black man flanked by a pair of uniformed officers. The volume rose to a shouting level as the crowd pressed forward, their signs thrust in the air.
“You’re a rapist!” a woman’s voice near the front of the pack yelled, and everyone began screaming and waving their fists and signs.
And then, a loud male voice shouted, “We’re gonna take you down!”
I felt the remark reverberate through the crowd, and the hostile energy shifted to high gear. The mob began closing in on the five men, who were trying to follow a path to two squad cars waiting at the curb.
The young black man was tall, his hair razor cut close to the scalp, his dark face shiny in the sunlight. He wore a red necktie, and a blue tattoo crawled up from beneath the collar of his dress shirt. His eyes were half-lidded, and his gait was jaunty, and though his face was an island of black in a sea of white, he surveyed the threatening horde with seeming indifference. No doubt he was from an inner-city ghetto, I surmised. Probably split his time between dealing drugs and performing gymnastics on a basketball court. Sure, it was a racial stereotype. But being politically correct isn’t a big priority in my job.
A balding man in slacks rushed at the suspect but was intercepted by a cop. The black man smirked and widened his eyes in mock fear. In a second, three more guys from the crowd leaped forward, and the cops pulled their billy clubs. In a panic, the lawyers tried to run, but one was shoved to the ground. A young man from the crowd took a billy club to the head, and blood streamed into his eyes. He swung wildly and hit one of the cops flush in the mouth.
From the courthouse entrance, Sheriff Marcus Grier and two deputies burst from the doors and sprinted into the melee. They started pulling and pushing their way through the mass of humanity, but, as if by plan, a cluster of about forty people surrounded the cops and closed in until the officers could no longer move. I saw Grier’s face one moment, his mouth wide in a silent shout, and then, he was gone.
“Shit,” I said. Grier was my friend and a decent guy. Of course, he sometimes was an asshole, but what cop isn’t? I fought my way to where the crowd had pinned the policemen down and started throwing people aside. A woman clawed at my face, and someone punched me in the kidneys. I saw Grier again and made eye contact, and I’d almost reached him when five helmeted officers stormed into the mob. Within a minute, the protesters disbursed, and I saw the tall suspect duck into a squad car along with the suits. The car took off with a screech, and the cops scanned the remaining people, uncertain whom, if anyone, to arrest.
Grier put his smashed cap back on his head and blew out his breath. “I know people are pissed, but I didn’t expect this,” he huffed. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“Not much, besides coming to your rescue.”
“Don’t overrate yourself.”
“I’m good at that, I’m told.”
“Go help her,” Grier said to one of his deputies, pointing to an overweight woman with mussed makeup sitting on the grass and holding her ankle. As soon as the deputy left, a pretty, fortyish lady in tight jeans and jogging shoes walked to where we stood and pointed a red fingernail in Grier’s face.
“Where’s the justice?” she said. “That’s what I want to know.” She stomped her foot like a petulant child, her large breasts bouncing under her top. “Where’s the goddamned justice?”
Grier straightened his collar and crossed his arms below where a button had been torn from his shirt. Behind his back, fellow cops sometimes referred to him as a black Pillsbury Doughboy. Grier battled his weight on a daily basis, but his natural physique would not be denied its puffiness. His arms were too thick for his shirt and looked ready to blow out the seams, and his gun belt rested on a thick paunch that rose from his crotch. His ass was like a medicine ball, and his cap sat high on his jumbo-sized head. We weighed about the same, and I was five inches taller than him.
“Yeah, I know, you’re just like all the other dipshits running our fucked-up court system,” the lady went on, her eyes ablaze. She waved her arm, and the large diamonds on her fingers flashed like glittery weapons.
“I’m sorry you feel that way, ma’am,” Grier said.
She pulled her blonde hair away from her face. “I’ll convey that to Lindsey Addison. I’ll let her know the whole South Lake Tahoe Police Department is really sorry.”
“Blame the courts, not the police,” I said, and instantly wished I hadn’t.
“Who are you?” she snapped.
“Dan Reno, private investigations.” I tried for a smile and handed her a business card.
She looked at my card for a brief moment, then folded it lengthwise and thrust it at me. “Tell you what, Dan. Stick it up your ass.”
The next morning, I woke late to an empty house. I had driven Candi, my live-in girlfriend, to the airport in Reno the night before. She was off to visit her folks in Texas for two weeks. I walked to my kitchen in sweats and a T-shirt and started a pot of coffee. Candi had moved in almost a year ago, and people were starting to ask if we planned to get married.
When the coffee was ready, I poured a cup and went out to my deck to read the paper. Candi had given my modest home a makeover – new furniture, paintings, and such – but I preferred the scenery outdoors, especially on a warm, sunny morning. I pulled my picnic table out of the shade cast by the huge pine tree in my yard. The grass surrounding the tree glistened silver in the early sun, which was already high over the mountains that rose from the alpine meadow behind my back fence.
Before I could take a sip, I heard my cell ring in the house. I set my cup down with a sigh and went back inside. “Investigations.”
“Yes, Dan Reno, please,” a woman’s voice said.
“You got him.”
“My name’s Cassie Longfellow. I work for Ryan Addison.” She paused for a long moment, long enough for me to sense she anticipated a certain type of response. Like, Oh my God, you mean the Ryan Addison?
Instead, I said, “Who?”
“Ryan Addison. The actor.”
“Oh, right,” I said. Grier had mentioned him the day before. “Wasn’t he in some movies?”
“Mr. Addison’s been in many movies, as well as a leading TV series.”
“He was in one of those reality shows, right?”
She gave a little gasp. “Absolutely not,” she said, frost edging her voice.
“Sorry, I don’t watch a lot of TV.”
“Apparently not,” she sneered, as if it was an insult. “Mr. Addison would like to meet with you this morning. Can you be here in an hour?”
“He’d like to discuss hiring you.”
I walked back outside into the warmth of the sun and brushed my foot at a scattering of pine needles on the deck. “Where?”
She gave me a local address. “Don’t be late,” she said.
The internet hasn’t revolutionized detective work by any stretch, but it’s a convenient way to find information on people, especially those with a public persona. Sitting at the metal army surplus desk in my spare bedroom office, I Googled Ryan Addison, and the first hit provided a complete summary of his career, and then some.
He had spent his early acting years in supporting roles and B-class movies. Ten years ago, he had played his first leading part in a film about a man struggling through a divorce, when his daughter is kidnapped for ransom. The movie was a minor success and led to a role as an FBI agent breaking up a Wall Street Ponzi scheme. That role resulted in an Oscar nomination for best actor. After that, he was in a sitcom I’d never heard of and also starred in a string of films, none of which I recognized, except for a pretty decent cowboy flick. I’d seen the movie and thought Addison played a convincing tough guy.
The summary also contained a long paragraph about Addison’s personal life. He’d had three wives, and his divorces were scandalous messes, complete with public accusations of infidelity and sexual peccadilloes. Addison had apparently also developed a booze problem, which culminated in two drunk driving busts, the second photographed by paparazzi who had followed him from a bar. The pictures of Addison grabbing his crotch and waving his middle finger during the arrest were published in leading gossip magazines. Rather than hurting his career, the incident gained him a cult-like notoriety. In his last two movies, he had played quirky, counterculture characters, and the critics had reacted favorably.
As for his family, Addison had a son and a daughter from his past marriages. His daughter, Lindsey, was the alleged victim in the rape trial that had resulted in the protest at the courthouse. Also notable was Ryan Addison’s father, Troy Addison. He was an old-school actor who had made the transition to politics in the 1990s. Now seventy-five, the senior Addison was a senator in Arizona.
I would have read more, but I still had to shower and shave. I did so in a hurry and put on a fresh pair of jeans and a blue, wrinkle-free shirt I favored because I hated ironing. Before leaving, I opened a can of food for Smokey, the fuzzball cat Candi had brought home last winter. Then, I backed out of my driveway and drove through the neighborhood out to Highway 50, the main drag of South Lake Tahoe. I turned right, toward the California-Nevada state line, two miles east.
Ten minutes later, I accelerated up a steep, curvy road, past a number of expensive vacation homes. At the end of a cul-de-sac was the most impressive of the bunch – a modern Tudor in dark wood, probably five thousand square feet, with a massive river-rock chimney presiding over its peaked roofs. I drove down a long driveway columned by fifty-foot Italian cypress and parked near a stone walkway leading to the front door.
As I walked toward the tiered porch, I paused to take in the expansive view from the top of the hill. The entirety of Lake Tahoe dominated the valley – twenty-two miles north to south and twelve miles wide – the water a deep, sparkling blue. There were only a few wispy clouds in the sky, and I could see clear across the lake to Tahoe City, where streaks of snow still clung to the granite peaks above the town.
“Ahem,” a voice said.
I turned to see a young woman standing in the doorway. “I’m here to see Ryan Addison,” I said.
The woman wrinkled her nose. She was slender and wore her dark hair up. “Yes, I know. I called you.”
I climbed the porch steps.
“You don’t look the part,” she said.
“What part is that?” I asked.
“I thought detectives wore suits.”
“You ever try chasing a guy in a suit?”
“Is that what you do? Chase guys?”
She glanced away with a bored roll of the eyes and a curled lip, as if I’d said something stupid or mundane. Her expression looked practiced and was probably something she’d developed to let the non-celebrity class know their place. I guessed she thought that was an important part of her job.
“Follow me, please,” she said.
I did so without comment. She wore a dress and heels and had no ass to speak of. We walked down a marble floor hallway to a tall, paneled door. She knocked twice and pushed the door open just enough to stick her head in.
“The private investigator,” she said.
“Well, let him in, goddammit.”
She gave me a final, dubious glance, then opened the door wider.
“Dan Reno?” the man said. He sat on the edge of an elaborate hardwood desk, his hands crossed in his lap, as if posing for a photographer. One leg was straight and the other was bent at the knee to reveal an ankle-high suede boot. His beige pants were of a thin material, bunched tight around his crotch.
“It’s Reno, as in no problemo.”
“No problemo, huh? All right, Dan! I like you already.” He hopped off the desk, grabbed a chair on wheels, and pushed it in my direction. The room was lined with bookshelves, and a large window offered a view of a forested canyon. He walked behind me to where Cassie was still standing and watching us. “Thanks, dear,” he said, and closed the door on her. Then, he turned and offered his hand.
“I’m Ryan Addison.” He was a shade under six feet and wore an untucked denim shirt that didn’t hide the barrel-like thickness of his torso. His blond hair was without a hint of gray and fell over his ears onto his tanned neck. Around his blue eyes, the skin was taut and smooth, but elsewhere, it was grainy, as if his square features had been blasted with sand. I had not checked his date of birth, but I’m pretty good at guessing age. I pegged Addison at fifty-five.
We shook, and his hand was rough and dry and almost as big as mine. He gave a good squeeze and held his eyes on mine for a long moment, then he squeezed harder. I didn’t quite know what to make of that, other than to guess he wanted to impress me with his physical strength, even if he was nearly twenty years my senior.
I sat, and he went behind his desk and scooted forward in a leather executive’s chair.
“My daughter’s name is Lindsey. I take it you’ve heard about the results of her trial,” he said.
“I was at the courthouse yesterday. I heard the man accused of raping her was found not guilty.”
His eyes flashed and locked onto mine. “It was a travesty of justice,” he said, his upper lip raised to show his teeth. “The evidence was overwhelming. I’d like to hire you to look into it.”
“What’s there to look into? The jury declared the man innocent.”
“I don’t give a shit what the jury said. My daughter was brutally raped.” He stood and peered down at me. “Listen to this,” he said. “There were three things that happened during the trial. First, an eyewitness changed her mind on stand and said she didn’t see a thing. Then, a second witness disappeared and is still missing. And third, the DNA test results, which proved the son of a bitch was guilty, vanished. The DNA was in police custody, then it was gone. What do you think of that?”
“It sounds like the witnesses were coerced, and someone was paid off to lose the DNA,” I said.
Addison threw up his arms as if pleading to the heavens. “Thank you. Thank you!” He came out from behind the desk, his face dark with a crazed intensity. “I want you to find out who is protecting this rapist – and why. I want you to bust it wide open, and I want to see justice done.”
I looked past him at the rows of books covering the wall behind the desk. They looked like collector’s sets, probably unread. “Mr. Addison, no matter what I uncover, it’s unlikely the defendant would be made to stand trial again. I’m not sure–”
I stopped in midsentence when the door flew open, and a young woman burst into the room. She had a freckled nose, round eyes, and a mouth smudged with lipstick. Black stretch pants clung tightly to the curve of her hips, and under her pink T-shirt, a sports bra flattened her breasts into a band of flesh around her chest.
“I was raped!” she shrieked. “That fucking gorilla did it and laughed at me!”
“Lindsey, honey,” Addison said, rushing to the woman. “Please, you mustn’t–”
“It was like getting fucked by an ape! I can’t wash the stink off of me. His thing was black as wet rubber and like something on a horse!”
His face pooled with color, Addison tried pushing his daughter out the door, but she grabbed the frame. “Rudy!” Addison yelled.
“He fucked my ass and tore up my insides, and I can’t even go to the goddamn bathroom anymore!” Her face was flushed red, and her voice had hit a hysterical pitch.
“Rudy, get over here!” Addison dropped his shoulder and tried to push his daughter through the door, but she held fast.
“Give me a gun, and I’ll kill him! I swear I’ll shoot his dick off!”
A young fellow, one I thought I’d seen at the courthouse, came from behind Lindsey, peeled her fingers from the doorframe, and pulled her out of the room. Before Addison shut the door, I caught a glimpse of his lady assistant, her smug demeanor gone, replaced with an astonished and mortified expression.
Fumbling with the doorknob, Addison locked it, then walked with slumped shoulders back behind his desk. We listened to Lindsey’s screams and sobs become faint. Addison sat and placed his hands on his temples. After a long pause, he said, “I’m sorry you had to see that.”
“I can come back later, if you like.”
When he looked up, his face was slack beneath his fallen eyes. “No, that’s okay,” he mumbled. “We have her in therapy. The shrink said she’s suffering from an unusual form of posttraumatic disorder. She has a compulsion to shout out in public, as if publicizing her experience will help her deal with it. It’s like a temporary case of Tourette’s syndrome.”
“It’s quite awkward, you understand.” He paused and then sighed. “I didn’t raise my daughter to be a racist. I’ve never heard language out of her like that. But I can understand her anger at that black man. Can you?”
“Yes. But there’s plenty of assholes of every race, white included.”
His face jumped, and his lips tightened over his teeth. “You know that from experience, huh?”
“I believe you. But somehow, it’s not much of a comfort.” His expression shifted again, and his eyes looked brittle as puddles of thin ice.
“How long ago did the attack happen?” I asked.
“Two months, now.” He straightened in his chair and blew out his breath. “Let’s talk specifics. I want to hire you, effective today.”
“You’re asking me to look into something that could involve police corruption. I’m not sure what I can do for you. It’s a damn uncertain thing.”
“I know it is. Uncover what’s going on and bring me justice, and I’ll double your pay.”
I raised my eyebrows.
“Bend the law, break it, I don’t care. I’ll pay you to do whatever it takes.”
“Breaking the law is not part of what I do,” I said.
Addison smiled. “You’re a lousy liar.”
“I’ve seen your résumé, Dan, and you have a hell of a track record.”
“I’m connected in Washington.”
“Your father the senator, huh?”
“He’s very unhappy about what happened to his granddaughter. I’ll leave it at that. Anyway, I read your FBI file last night. Impressive stuff.”
I shifted my weight in the chair and rubbed a spot on my jaw. I was aware the FBI had compiled a dossier on me. But I’d never seen it.
“You’ve killed nine men.”
I was silent for a moment before I said, “Self-defense is no crime.”
“It beats the alternative, right?”
“You’ll take the job?” he asked.
I stared at Addison, who seemed to have fully recovered from the embarrassment of his daughter’s outburst. I stood and walked over to the single window in the room. My relationship with the South Lake Tahoe PD was something I managed carefully. Marcus Grier was the top cop in town, and he cut me a fair amount of slack. This dated back to three years ago, when I’d been responsible for the demise of a corrupt elected official who’d fired him. After Grier was rehired, he knew he owed me. But I didn’t take his latitude for granted. Our relationship had a certain balance to it. An attempt by me to uncover corruption in his department could easily screw up a good thing. It would be much more difficult to make a living in Tahoe if I put myself on Grier’s shit list.
Still, though, it was hard to pass on the offer of a double rate. Especially given that my phone wasn’t exactly ringing off the hook with work offers. South Lake Tahoe is not a big city, and if I passed on this job, I might wait a month or two before my next shot at a payday.
“Let me sweeten the pot for you,” Addison said. He pushed his chair back from the desk and sat with his legs crossed. “Duante Tucker is the name of the scumbag who raped Lindsey.” He pulled open a drawer and set a four-inch thick folder on the desk. “These are the trial transcripts, complete with all the prosecution’s interviews and so on.”
I came back to Addison’s desk. “How’d you get this?”
“It was brought to me by courier this morning. Tim Cook, the DA, was plenty pissed about giving it up, but pressure was applied.”
“Your old man?”
Addison nodded, then uncrossed his legs and fixed me with a deliberate stare. “Take this case. And if Duante Tucker ends up dead, I’ll pay you a hundred grand.” He reached into the same drawer from which he’d produced the trial folder and placed four bundles of fresh bills on the desk. “Cash,” he said.
“You think I’m a hit man?”
“Not at all, Dan. You’re a licensed private investigator and bounty hunter. But criminals have a tendency to wind up dead when you’re involved. Your record speaks for itself. It’s simple as that.”
I shook my head. “We need to get something straight. I provide a legitimate service. I don’t operate outside the law. If you think I’m some kind of rogue agent, you’re wrong.”
Addison raised his hands in a placating gesture. “I understand completely. I’m simply offering to hire you for the purposes we discussed. Legit and aboveboard.”
“Then put your cash away.”
“As you like.” He returned the packets of crisp notes inside his desk.
“I accept your offer, then,” I said, watching him shut the drawer. “Excluding the part about killing anyone. I’ll bring a contract back this afternoon. I expect to be paid weekly for my time, including expenses.”
“Excellent.” He rose and shook my hand. “By the way, this home belongs to Sam Aldon, who produced my last film. He’s been gracious enough to offer it to my family and me for the summer. I’ll be either here or at my home in Beverly Hills for the next two months. In early October, I’m leaving for Europe to begin a new film.”
“I hope to have this matter resolved well before then.”
“Good.” We began walking toward the door, then he stopped. “Oh, there’s one more thing I forgot to mention. I’ve also hired another person to work on this. Because Duante Tucker lives in San Jose, I felt it would help to have an investigator based there involved. I understand he’s someone you know.”
I tried to keep my face blank, but I felt my brow crease.