by Jeff Gunhus
When a secret webcam is found in the Georgetown bedroom of a murdered high-society call girl, everyone in Washington, DC wants the recording...especially the killer.
After a high-society call girl is brutally murdered in her Georgetown home, investigators find two cameras hidden in the walls of her bedroom. One has its memory erased, presumably by the murderer. The second is a webcam with an encrypted connection...and no-one knows who's on the other end. Whoever has the recordings has embarrassing leverage against some of the most powerful men in DC, not to mention a video of the murder showing the identity of the killer.
FBI Special Agent Allison McNeil is asked by beleaguered FBI Director Clarence Mason to run an off-the-record investigation of the murder because of the murder's similarity to a case she worked a year earlier. Allison knows the most direct path to apprehending the killer is to find the videos, but rumors that the victim's client list may include some of Washington's most powerful men makes her doubt the director's motives. As she starts her investigation, she quickly discovers that she's not the only one pursuing the recording...but that the most aggressive person racing against her might be the murderer himself.
“You OK, sweets?” came her dad’s voice behind her.
She stirred and glanced over her shoulder. Pat McNeil, a hard man who’d lived a hard life, stood shivering in the cold. Clutched in his big, heavy-knuckled hands, he held a knit cap. He held it out to her.
“You’ll catch something out in this,” he said. “Gotta cover your head.”
Allison got to her feet, took the hat and pulled it onto her dad’s head until it covered his ears.
“You’re right, you do,” she said. “I thought you were going to stay in the car.”
His eyes darted away from hers, that look of panic that broke her heart when he realized he’d forgotten something simple he should remember. He covered it up well. Too well. It was one of the reasons his diagnosis had come so late.
“Damned if I’ll stay in a warm car while my girl’s out here freezing,” he said.
Allison slid her arm into his and leaned against his broad shoulder. His false bluster disappeared and he put his arm around her, pulling her in tight.
“I’m sorry, sweets,” he said into her ear. “Really, I am.”
Buried in her father’s arms, she let go of the walls built up around her and let the emotions spill out. She stood there, clinging to her father, and cried.
Even as his disease robbed him of his memory, his heart knew his little girl was hurting and still needed her father. He held her tight as she sobbed into his chest, knowing that no force on earth would make him let go of her until she was good and done.
When she finally pulled back, he wiped the tears from her cheeks and smiled. “What do you say we rent some old movies from Blockbuster? I’ll make some popcorn and we’ll just hang out all day and get fat?”
She smiled through the pang in her chest. The Blockbuster near their house had closed years ago and they’d talked at length on the drive up about her upcoming meeting that morning with Clarence Mason; the one where she was half-certain she was getting fired for shooting Garret in the leg. But she didn’t mention any of this. She just slid her hand into his and walked him toward the car.
“Sounds good, Dad,” she said. “I’d love that.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jeff Gunhus is the author thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 100 on Amazon and have been Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists.
After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.
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