BONESHAKER

Missing. Gone. Vanished.

 

A nurse from a Buffalo hospital punches out at midnight, then disappears, leaving an abandoned car in the parking lot. Four days later, the investigation falls to detectives Mark Bennett and Salvatore DeAngelis. Despite August’s heat, the case is ice cold — no suspects and no clues.

 

Meanwhile, on a sweltering afternoon, patrolmen George Pope and Bobby Bennett respond to a routine domestic call, encountering a drug-addled mother in conflict with a father trying to do right by their infant daughter. The legal system offers clear-cut answers, but how should officers respond when the law is flawed?

 

As Mark Bennett struggles with his investigation, a woman appears in the detective bureau carrying his dead father’s tie clip. They were once good friends, she claims, although Bennett has never heard of her. Now she asks a favor...

 

The second installment in a series, Boneshaker is crime fiction inhabited by gritty characters who grapple with gray areas, explore the past, and tread staggered pathways between right and wrong.

 

The second installment of the Buffalo Crime Fiction Series

No Frills Buffalo

$12.95/ e-reader $4.99

Chapter 1

 

 

    A distant rattle shook him to life.  Mark Bennett’s eyes opened to darkness.  Shadows of his dream edged away, slithering down a sinkhole.  He lay on his back, mouth dry, cheeks starched like hardened plaster.  He had just experienced something vibrant, but the thought muddied.  What remained was emptiness, a vacant box.  The memory vanished.

    Nearer now, the phone rang.

    The digital clock beside him read 2:03.  He reached blindly for the receiver on his nightstand, cupping it to his ear.

    “Bennett,” he breathed.

    “MB?  Thank God you’re there.  I need a favor.”

    Sal DeAngelis.  At 2:03 in the morning.

    “What’s up?”  Bennett’s voice sounded out of breath, even to himself.

    “I find myself in a phone booth in Angola,” Sal said.  His cadence was slow, words deliberate, more crisp than normal.  “I’m pretty sure I left my car at the Brick Bar and rode down here with two girls.  But just pretty sure.  Not really sure.”

    Bennett breathed deeply to still his confusion.

    “Not one hundred percent,” Sal continued.  “Eighty-five, maybe eighty-nine percent.  Ninety would be pushing it and probably a lie.”

    Bennett crunched lids together, then rubbed his brows.  “Okay Sal.”

    “So I can count on you?”

    “Count on me for what?”

    “A ride.  A ride would be divine.”

    The last thing he wanted to do was get out of bed and drive a half hour into the night.  “Where are you?”

    “Angola.  Didn’t I just say that?”

    “Where in Angola?”

    The pause was long, entailing several contemplative breaths on the other end.  DeAngelis seemed stumped.

 “That’s an intriguing question, filled with ambiguity.  Angola, of course.  We’ve established that.  This is a phone booth, with a broken pane near my left toe.  Beyond these glass partitions, I see an intersection with a flashing yellow light.  There are telephone wires and streetlights nearby. 

 

But street signs have not yet revealed themselves to me.”

    Bennett shrugged shoulders and tightened his neck muscles.  He knew Sal turned formal when he was drunk.  “How do you know it’s Angola?”

    “Just a sense, really.  Where else could it be?”

    Give me grace, Bennett thought.

    “So how did you get to the phone booth?”

    “Near as I can tell, I woke up here.  I came to leaning against the metal frame.  In fact, my shoulder is a little sore.”  Sal spat suddenly.  “Wait!  I see a Burger King.  Lights are off.  The establishment is closed, but it is a reference point.  It is definitely a reference point.  That is a Burger King fast food restaurant.”  Sal paused with earnestness.  “Do you think you could find the Burger King fast food restaurant in Angola, MB?  There can’t be more than one, am I right?”

     “Not likely.”

     “Exactly.  So if you find the Burger King fast food restaurant, I will be waiting in the nearest phone booth.  I will keep my eyes open in anticipation of your arrival.”

     Bennett exhaled and sat up.  Mid-August, and night was quiet.  Humid, sticky air pushed through the open window.  Against his will, he would drive twenty miles south of the city to pick up his drunken friend at a phone booth in a beach town.

     “Don’t go anywhere,” he muttered.  “On my way.  Half an hour or so.”

     “I should not think you will encounter traffic at this hour,” Sal reassured him.  “And MB?  It would really help if you brought me some pants.”

     Bennett shook his head.  “Pants?”

     “Yes, pants.  Trousers.  Britches, if you will.  I find I am wearing no pants.  The person who absconded with my pants was kind, however.  My wallet is tucked into the waistband of my underwear and all the money remains inside.  There were several dimes tucked in the change pocket, and these allowed me to dial your number.  So what could be a disaster has in fact turned into quite a blessing.  The only bad thing is that I find myself sans pants.”

 

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