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The Blood Red Indian Summer: A Berger and Mitry Mystery (Berger and Mitry Mysteries Book 8) Kindle Edition
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
WHEN SHE HEARD THE floorboard creak outside her bedroom door, Des dove for the loaded SIG under her pillow, instantly awake. A prowler. A prowler had broken into the house. It was 4:02 A.M. according to her digital bedside clock.
“Coffee’s ready, Desiree,” a voice called to her through the door.
It wasn’t any prowler. It was the ghost of Buck Mitry.
Des stashed her weapon back under the pillow, breathing in and out. She’d slept with it there for years. Felt safe with it there. Happiness was a warm gun. But she’d have to lock it away from now on because she did not, repeat not, wish to blow his fool head off. It merely felt that way sometimes.
“Desiree, are you up?”
“I am now, Daddy.” She flicked on her bedside light and fumbled for her heavy horn-rimmed glasses. Reached for the covers that she’d thrown off in the night and pulled them over her. Her room was warm even with the windows wide open. It was freakishly balmy for late October. An official Indian summer, the weathermen were calling it. “Come on in.”
Buck Mitry came on in. He wore a fleece-lined jacket over a V-neck wool sweater, plaid shirt and wool slacks. He was always cold these days, no matter the temperature. He’d lost weight since the surgery. The lines in his face were deeper and made him look ten years older to her.
“Daddy, it’s four o’clock in the morning.”
“You said you wanted to get up early. But if you’d rather sleep…”
“No, this is great. We’ll have a chance to sit and chat for three hours until the sun comes up.”
His lower lip began to quiver. “I-I’m sorry.”
“No, I’m sorry. It’s fine, really. I’ll be up in a sec, Daddy.”
Not that this meek stranger was her daddy. Her daddy was deputy superintendent of the Connecticut State Police—the highest-ranking black man in the history of the state. A fierce, six-foot-four-inch hard-ass known as the Deacon. The Deacon was feared by everyone. Including his only child, who was the resident trooper of bucolic Dorset, the historic jewel of Connecticut’s Gold Coast. He was staying with her while he recuperated from quadruple bypass surgery. Doing real well physically. Getting his appetite and stamina back. His cardiologist felt he’d be ready to resume a light office schedule in another ten days. There was only one problem: He’d undergone such a radical personality transplant that Des hardly knew him. The Deacon she knew was strong-willed and demanding, a tower of strength. This Deacon was hesitant, emotionally fragile and listless. He didn’t do a thing all day long. Didn’t sleep at night. Mostly, he just stared at the television. He’d lost his edge. And if he went back to work in this condition his enemies inside of the Waterbury Mafia would kick his butt around the block.
Des wanted the old Deacon back. True, the old Deacon could make her crazy. But at least he was the Deacon who she’d always known and loved. This one was a stranger.
She padded naked into her bathroom and splashed some cold water on her face, gazing at herself in the mirror. She was an inch over six feet tall, long-legged, high-rumped and, these days, all ribs and hip bones. She’d lost six pounds in the past two weeks. That was her thing. When she was stressed she stopped eating. She returned to her room and put on a cropped T-shirt and gym shorts, her stomach in knots. There was that ghost out there prowling her halls. There was the “urgent” work thing that First Selectman Bob Paffin, an all-around dick, had insisted she attend this morning at eight o’clock. And then there was the situation with the man in her life. A biggie that practically had her jumping out of her skin.
Her cottage overlooking Uncas Lake was airy and open. She’d torn down several walls so that the living room, dining room and kitchen were all one big room. Ordinarily, she shared the place with Bella Tillis, the seventy-eight-year-old Jewish grandmother and fellow cat rescuer who’d been her neighbor back in Woodbridge when Des’s husband, Brandon, had left her. Bella was out on the West Coast for the month, attending the weddings of two of her nine grandchildren.
The coffee smelled good. The Deacon liked it strong and black. Her three live-in cats, Christie Love, Missy Elliot and Kid Rock, were noses down in their kibble bowls, thrilled that someone, anyone, was up this early. He poured her a cup, the mug practically disappearing in his hand. The Deacon had the hugest hands she’d ever seen on any man. He’d played first base in the Cleveland Indians organization before he’d joined the state police.
She went out onto the deck and sipped the coffee, gazing out at the blackness of the lake below. The air felt soft and muggy. It was supposed to hit ninety today. The Deacon sat down in one of the Adirondack chairs out there. Kid Rock immediately jumped into his lap and began kneading the Deacon’s stomach with his paws. The Deacon stroked him, sipping his coffee in stony silence.
“Are you going to repair that section of railing for me today?”
“If I have time,” he answered in a distant voice.
“You carpenters sure are hard to pin down. What are you going to do?”
“Same thing I did yesterday—sit here with my buddy and wonder what the point is.”
“The point of what, Daddy?”
Des felt her stomach clenching. “Have you thought about talking to that therapist your cardiologist recommended?”
He made a face. “I don’t deal with shrinks.”
“Maybe you should try. He said it’s real common for people to feel a sense of letdown after this surgery. Nothing to be ashamed of.”
“I’m not ashamed, Desiree. And I don’t need any help.”
“We all need help sometimes.”
“I’m done talking about this. I’m fine.”
“Sure you are,” she snapped. “We’re all fine. The whole fucking world’s fine.”
“Watch your mouth, young lady,” he warned her, flaring slightly.
She let out a gasp. “Well, how about that? I finally got a rise out of you. Maybe I ought to start dropping F-bombs more often.”
Instead, she went back inside the house before she totally lost it. Since she was up so nice and early she thought about spending some quality time with her sketchpad and a hunk of graphite stick. She’d been neglecting her portraits of murder victims lately. But she just couldn’t seem to focus on shapes and shadows while the ghost of Buck Mitry was skulking around the place. Instead, she went down to the gym in her garage and did three punishing circuits of twenty-four reps each with twenty-pound dumbbells until her muscles were popping and the sweat was pouring from her. Then she showered and got herself ready for work, which took her almost no time. Des kept her hair short and nubby and never wore war paint on the job. Rarely wore it, period. Didn’t need it. She had almond-shaped light green eyes, a smooth, glowing complexion and a wraparound smile that, in Mitch’s words, made Julia Roberts look like ZaSu Pitts. Whoever the hell ZaSu Pitts was. Des dressed in a summer-weight poly/wool blend uniform. Her necktie was the same shade of royal blue as the epaulets on her slate gray shirt. Her high gloss square-toed oxfords were black. So was the Sam Browne duty belt on which she holstered her SIG. Her big gray hat with its band of royal blue and gold waited for her on a table by the front door.
The Deacon was sitting right where she’d left him, his eyes on the water, Kid Rock dozing contentedly in his lap.
“I’m heading out now, Daddy. Have yourself a good one, okay?”
He said nothing in response. Didn’t so much as nod.
Des wasn’t even sure that he’d heard her.
* * *
Turkey Neck Road was one of Dorset’s choicest spots—a bucolic country lane of rolling green meadows and gnarly old trees set behind fieldstone walls that were centuries old. Long, winding driveways led to multimillion-dollar estates that looked out onto the mouth of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. Many of the estates had private docks. Turkey Neck was a slice of Yankee heaven. Incredibly peaceful.
Or it used to be. Des ran smack dab into the freak show as soon as she steered her silver Crown Vic off of Old Shore Road. Satellite trucks and news vans lined both sides of Turkey Neck. Camera crews from Connecticut’s local news stations, from ESPN and from a dozen assorted cable news networks and tabloid TV shows were crowded around the security gate outside one of those long driveways, along with a wolf pack of paparazzi, print reporters and celebrity gawkers. The gate was new. So was the eight-foot chain link fence topped with razor wire that surrounded the entire twelve-acre estate. A trooper from Troop F barracks in Westbrook was trying to keep the traffic moving along. Another was guarding the gate. The troopers were there at the request of First Selectman Paffin.
Des idled there in the standstill traffic with her windows rolled down, a tropical breeze wafting gently off the water. It was so warm out that it was hard to believe the pro football season was already half over. And what an unusual season this was for Tyrone “Da Beast” Grantham, the famously volatile superstar linebacker who’d been wreaking havoc on the gridiron ever since he was a fifteen-year-old gangbanger back in the mean streets of Compton, California. Da Beast, a six-feet-four, 240-pound meat-seeking missile, was the most dominant, fearsome middle linebacker in the National Football League. A perennial Pro Bowler who last year, at age twenty-nine, had signed a se...
David Handler's cleverly written whodunit...is a must read for fans of hilarious crime dramas.... The Blood Red Indian Summer is a whirlwind of hilarity, mystery, crime drama, and romance. It is best described by a one-word expression that is often used by Mitch Berger's dad, Chat: 'Sa-weet'. (Gumshoe) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- Publication date : October 11, 2011
- File size : 425 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 255 pages
- Publisher : Minotaur Books (October 11, 2011)
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B004XHZ48Y
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #318,881 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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However, Berger has yet to explain his tattoo to my satisfaction. And Minotaur Books needs to find someone else to edit Handler's novels. Throughout all of his novels the errors and omissions are annoying. David deserves better and so do his readers.