What do we know
This: Six women gone.
Gone could be voluntary.
They were taken.
Things move quickly.
“The Red Hand,” the fourth book in the Frank Nagler Mystery series can be ordered TODAY.
My thanks to the Imzadi Publishing team. Some people have published a hundred books. I’m very proud of my four. Thanks to all for your support. More to come.
Here’s the link to order a copy: : https://www.amazon.com/dp/1944653198/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_H1ZgDbQJB259V
Also here’s a link to the trailer created by Anita Dugan-Moore of Cyber-Bytz.com for my publisher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ_SROHO88c
A sample from “The Red Hand”:
Nagler walked. Shook out the official chatter, the empty theories,
the “we need to find an answer” talk. Walked into the solace of the
humming Ironton streets.
An answer to what? People can leave, even an old lady with a bad
hip. There’s too little here, he thought. Too much space to fill, so we fill
it with what we don’t know; we guess.
The meeting with Foley produced some information. Nancy
Harmon’s sister from New York had called the department in January
when a fellow doctor had called her to inquire about the locked office.
The postal service reported the mail had piled up in her post office box,
and a number of patients reported to the front desk their concerns about
An officer was assigned, the door was rattled, neighboring homes and
businesses were questioned, the mail was retrieved. And none of that
information made its way to us, Nagler thought. Why? Maybe the officer
who knocked on the door was let go in the job cuts, he thought. Did his
job, filed a report, now stuck in a cubbyhole somewhere, and he’s gone.
Foley also had said the cab company had called in February to report
Felice Sanchez missing when she didn’t come back to the garage at the
end of her shift; her empty cab was discovered two days later, and she
was found dead in the Wilson Hotel two days after that.
Jamie Wilson’s boss had called police the day after she went out for
a late lunch and never came back, Foley reported.
All these pieces had never been connected because there was no
reason to connect them. Three deaths about six months apart. They all
seemed to be singular, random events: People die, get killed. Sometimes
no one is caught.
Yet, Mulligan had said all the deaths were connected.
Why are we holding on to that key evidence?
And a second, unsettling thought: Why did Foley keep all this to
Nagler walked then paused at the train station site where Joan Chen
“Could we have stopped the killer and saved you?” he asked himself
Then another disturbing notion: Who gains by your death?
Nagler had collected the lists, the timelines, the reports and absorbed
the theories and understood that these deaths would not be solved inside
the four walls of the police station.
But Mulligan’s charge remained: An experiment in death. An
experiment. Chemicals dumped into a glass vial, bubbling away,
releasing a gas; a test. Can I get away with one? How about two. Then
three. Testing methods, weapons. If I make it look random, will it take
longer for them to catch on? What should I leave to tell them who I am?
Because the scientist does want recognition, after all. A little at a time.
So Nagler walked.
Martha’s worried face hovered as he had lain on the bed; her soft
hand brushed his brow and cheek. “So much to worry about,” she had
said. “Give that worry to me.” No, he had thought. Can’t give it to you.
And then she had kissed him, warm lips lingering, and in that instant,
Walked. In the heated, dusky hours of midweek. Ironton streets
bustling, shouting, sweaty dancing.
Past the shuttered factories, windows wired, glass broken, spider
webs of debris.
He walked seeking ghosts, clues, understanding.
Are you hiding in these shadows, your face a smear on the light, an
echoed voice? Are you following, spying, choosing, jumping?
I know these streets, grew up on them, chased friends down narrow
alleys; waited as unsmiling mill workers trudged limping, smear-faced,
back from the dark, factory hollows; listened as the wind slammed
through broken windows, through thin coats, under collars.
I know how misery turns the smiles on kids’ faces. Know how the
darkness can descend, stealing hope.
But I don’t know you. Don’t know you.
Yet, Nagler thought.
Walked. Asked. Who knows; who among us knows? Knows why.
Past the dark coolness of bars, doors open, the blast of cold from air
conditioners pushing against the sidewalk heat, dry and burning, leaking
jukebox sounds, the clinking glasses of afternoon loneliness.
Past the grumbling train station, soot covered seats, paint chipped,
broken slats, an old lady clutching two shopping bags. An eastbound
train grinds in, a whoosh of open doors, feet flat on metal stairs, slapping
broken concrete, riders step from shade to glare and shield their eyes
with a folded newspaper. A horn blast, squeaking metal wheels, then
rolling, ground shaking, then silence.
Past the dry river bed, leaning wearily on the hot metal Sussex Street
railing, head down, squinting against the watery glare cast from the last
pools hidden in dry rocks and sand. Water so low from lack of rain,
the banks had hardened, browned and cracked. He thought of Marion
Feldman. We would have found you by now.
Walked, called out, voice raw. Demanded; waited.
Past the stoops, the blocks of neighborhood stoops; old men with
straw hats and beer in brown bags, women in long, colored loose skirts
yanked thigh high and waist-tied blouses yelling at kids with soccer balls
to watch for cars; grandmas and diapered babies rocking in a corner of
shade, sweat on soft cheeks, the sighs of innocence.
Nagler walked. Are you all safe in your friendly groups? Will your
laughter protect you?
Peered into alleys seeking a shadow, down sunbaked streets,
looking for a face, squinted into flashing sunlight shining off shifting
windshields; into the wreckage of industries past, arched hollows in
brick walls, birds flapping in gritty shade, plywood slathered doorways,
dripping, softened to paper.
Are you hidden in the darkness, or standing in plain sight?
Walked; stared, seeking the soul of the city, ear tipped for a voice;
questioned, waiting for a whisper. Lives on hold. A table seat empty, a
question hanging, unanswered; space left where someone should be.
When do I begin to figure all this out? When do I begin to feel I’m not
running behind anymore? When does this make sense?
He leaned over the railing of the Sussex Street bridge and let his
mind drift like the river of dark water that floated without logic around
the rocks on the banks, that curled and spiraled, and with each pass,
ground away one more infinitesimal layer of stone, making sand, the
tiny destruction of something solid.
He knew he needed to push the confusion aside, to ask again: What
do we know?
This: Six women gone.
Gone could be voluntary.
They were taken.