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Luck and Judgment: Luck and Judgment Private Investigator Crime Thriller Series, #1

Luck and Judgment: Luck and Judgment Private Investigator Crime Thriller Series, #1

Автором Solomon Carter

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Luck and Judgment: Luck and Judgment Private Investigator Crime Thriller Series, #1

Автором Solomon Carter

Длина:
245 pages
3 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Nov 8, 2016
ISBN:
9781536568769
Формат:
Книге

Описание

JUDGMENT IS COMING… Enter Roberts and Bradley

Gail Everett wants justice from the corporation who destroyed her father’s life. But this mega-corporation looks squeaky clean. A courtroom will never find against them. But there are many kinds of justice…

Everett turns to private investigators Eva Roberts and Dan Bradley for help. She gives them a file received from her father’s deathbed and the PIs begin to unpick a dark mystery of the recent past. But the file is in hot demand... When violent gangsters close in Eva and Dan discover the case is seriously deadly.

Beautiful young women are murdered on the streets. Friends are divided. Blood is spilled. Are gangsters behind the murders  or are they the work of a psychopath? The writing is on the wall wherever they look.

Full of deadly danger, snappy dialogue, mystery, twists surprises and thrilling action, this complete novel will satisfy readers of all private investigator mysteries and fans of the Long Time Dying series. If you love Christopher Greyson, Lee Child, Robert Crais, Ian Rankin and great crime thrillers, you will love Luck & Judgment.

Roberts & Bradley in Luck Judgment -

The Private investigator crime thriller series

LUCK & JUDGMENT  - Book 1

TRUTH BE DAMNED – Book 2

THE SHARP END – Book 3

DON’T GO GENTLY – Book 4

Издатель:
Издано:
Nov 8, 2016
ISBN:
9781536568769
Формат:
Книге

Об авторе

Author of the Long Time Dying series, Solomon Carter grew up with crime and has worked around crime throughout his career. Born under a good sign, Solomon got lucky and didn't get addicted to crime or the lifestyle so easily available. Born in Southend, Essex, Solomon lived in South London, enjoying the sights, sounds, smokes, drinks and eats available for several years before coming back to Southend to write books and change the world. it's a big job, but someone's got to do it. Solomon lives in Southend with writer wife and children Batman and Black Canary, aged 3 years and 6 months respectively. Interests: staying sane in a hectic town on a seriously crazy world. Keeping the faith. Helping others do the same. Enjoying nature. Drinking neat scotch, sometimes vodka. Works out. Runs. Eats chocolate. Acts tough. Isn't that tough. Strong. Determined. On a mission. A writer since childhood, fascinated by the good and bad in all of us, a witness to how crime and addiction affects families from the inside out, and a believer that people can change if they really really want to. An alumnus of Goldsmiths College, London, on a mission to deliver entertainment, excitement to readers all over the world on the one hand, and to live the most authentic, inspiring and free wheeling adventure that life has to offer along the way. Join me for the ride. It's going to be fun. The Long Time Dying series brings an electric love affair into explosive contact with crime in the streets of Essex and London. Eva Roberts and Dan Bradley are ceaseless in pursuit of their quarry... Pick up the Long Time Dying series today.

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Luck and Judgment - Solomon Carter

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Prologue

Warm Dark Mist

Coloured flashing lights blinked and rolled through the spectrum, making the people on the dancefloor look like drawings in a flicker book. Artificial smoke hissed from the DJ’s stand, filling the dance floor with faintly choking mist. The revellers whooped and cheered and pretty Sandra Purnell smiled. The twenty-nine-year-old brunette stopped dancing and flicked her hair, her eyes catching hold of the slim young man on the other side of the dance floor. As if he felt her eye, he looked at her. A smile blew across his face, then faded away. The shy type, perhaps? Not long ago, Sandra had been shy too, but things had changed a lot since then. It was amazing what a little money could do for one’s self esteem. Sandra picked up her champagne glass from the ledge behind her. The DJ had been watching her - she felt his eyes on her bare back as she sipped from her glass. But the DJ at Club Voltage wasn’t her type. She would have been impressed once. But she was older now, wiser, and she knew what she wanted.

You think he’s interested? said Annie, sidling up beside her. Sandra handed her the fancy bottle.

Maybe. Here. Finish this, said Sandra.

Are you sure?

Of course. There’s plenty more where that came from.

Annie shook her head and smiled.

I don’t know how you do it.

Sandra smiled with pursed lips. The money was her business, and no one else’s. Not even dear little Annie. And Sandra didn’t need to think about that tonight. She wanted to think about the man on the other side of the dancefloor, and how she would make him hers. She planned how to play it. To lure him in with more glances until he made his move? To dance in his direction and bump into him? But the champagne in her veins had made her impatient.

What’s the time, Annie?

The little blonde Annie always had a phone in her hand. Annie glanced at the screen and shouted eleven-thirty over the music.

Time to break the ice, said Sandra. Her heart beating fast with excitement, Sandra stretched her spine tall, held her head high and walked across the dance floor. Not long ago, she would have wasted a whole night in waiting. But not now. She emphasised the swing of her hips and hoped the dress she’d chosen for the night would do its job. Most of the local girls couldn’t afford anything like it. It was a new Macy Anderson number, strapless, low on the chest and high at the hemline, in a shimmering silvery-red.

The slim young man looked better the closer she got. Square jawed, bright eyed, with short brown hair and a glow which told of physical strength. There was promise there and also innocence. He was much younger than she had imagined. Maybe too young. But then again, she’d been learning that age was no barrier - to anything. Even if he was ten years younger than her, she wouldn’t have cared. If he was lucky, tonight she would make his year. Maybe his decade. Sandra wondered if he could read her thoughts. No wonder he looked shy.

Sandra passed him by and leaned close to his ear, I was going to buy a drink...

The young man turned and his eyes found hers. His eyes smiled but he floundered so she spoke for him.

You could keep me company at the bar, couldn’t you?

The young man’s eyes widened like someone had told him he’d won the top prize in lottery he hadn’t even entered. If you like...

He looked around at his friends. They looked younger still and looked at him with half-jealous, half-conspiratorial expressions. They gave him sly smirks of encouragement, as if she couldn’t see them, but Sandra didn’t care. She turned away towards the green-blue light of the bar, knowing he would follow. People parted to allow her through. Men looked at her with hungry eyes. She reached the bar and laid her sparkling purse on the glass counter. A tall barman with spikey hair ignored the drinkers waving their twenty notes like flags, and aimed straight towards her.

Another bottle of champagne? said the barman, a sparkle of flirtation in his eye.

Yes, and whatever he wants... Sandra looked around, expecting the young man to be at her side. But he hadn’t made it. Her eyes roved across the heads of the crowd behind her. Plenty of eyes looked at hers, but she ignored them. Sandra knew what she wanted and she intended to get it. There he was. The young guy had walked towards the far end of the bar. She watched him looking around for her. How the hell did he manage to lose her? Okay, so maybe he wasn’t very cool, but he still looked the part, all right.

I’ll be back in a minute... said Sandra. She turned away and pushed through a crowd of boozy breath and leery grins until she reached the archway recess at the far end of the bar, then looked around for him. The kid was distinctive - like a male model. But she couldn’t see him. Sandra turned right and looked into the bright area where people sat when they were too drunk to dance. At the back of the recess, she saw the fire exit door was open. Unusual, she thought. She caught a hint of movement disappear outside through the fire exit door, as if she had missed him by a fraction. Sandra smiled to herself. The kid wasn’t as shy as he looked. As Sandra walked into the recess, she caught sight of Harry Malvern, her old boyfriend, looking pink eyed and bloated in the corner. With a twinge of embarrassment, she walked past him as quick as she could, straight out into the darkness and cold. Autumn was turning into winter. The freezing air scorched her naked skin. Sandra wrapped her arms around her chest and looked down the side alley into the blackness. She heard the clanking of beer barrels and the crashing clatter of beer bottles being dumped in the shadows up ahead. But she was sure she’d seen him... just a little further. She knew it would be worth it. Maybe he was around the corner. Goosebumps covered her body in a wave but the drink kept her brave, along with the hope for a kiss and something more. At the back of the club Sandra passed another open door and glimpsed a barman at work, heaving metal beer barrels as fast as he could. Silently, Sandra stepped on to the corner and turned past it. There he was! A lithe male figure with a square jaw lingered in the shadows, leaning back against the wall.

You really are a dark horse, aren’t you honey? said Sandra, stepping forward with a big smile. The shadow shifted up from the wall, turned and stretched out his hand. Sandra was willing. Her hand moved towards his, but the smile on Sandra’s face dropped away. She shook her head, not understanding. A pistol with a long barrel glinted in the faint green light of a fire exit sign. The shadow pulled the trigger twice. A puff of warm dark mist filled the air with each burst and Sandra Purnell dropped to the cold damp concrete. When her body settled, her glassy eyes looked to the sky. Blood pooled around the side of her head. The faint hint of a beautiful smile was frozen on her lips. The shadow moved away without fuss or hurry.

One

The Worst Possible Time

Eva Roberts thought she was the kind of woman who didn’t suffer fools, but Dan Bradley had been her business partner and lover for more than a decade, and somehow she still hadn’t killed him. In the time they had been together Dan had been on endless wild goose chases and dangerous flights of fancy. A while back Dan had even ended up imprisoned for a whole year for falsifying evidence against a genuine bad guy. Long story. And Eva ran the business pretty well without him. But wild man Dan soon inveigled his way back into her life. Yeah, she loved him, she needed him, and at the same time he drove her totally crazy. His hair-brained schemes had almost gotten them killed more than once. And yet they were still alive, still together, making a living in their private investigations office in Essex, offering to help all comers no matter what their problem. These days they couldn’t afford to be fussy.

The screen on Eva’s mobile phone showed a missed call and a voicemail. She picked up the phone and pressed it to her ear. The quirky voice of wise old man Jim Greer came to life. Greer was no more than past client, but when she’d bumped into him a week back Eva had revealed too much about their financial troubles. The old man had been calling her ever since with ideas for potential new clients, but each one had come to nothing.

Hello, Eva. It’s Jim again. Look. I was thinking. If your agency work is drying up, why don’t you come and work for me here in Rendon. We could always make good use of someone with your analytical skills and logical thinking. Before you say no, think it over. There’s a good girl.

Greer was an effervescent little man in his seventies. He was only trying to help. But there was no way Eva could bail on her life’s work to become an office flunky. Until recently, they had been able to be choosy with their work. But the easy money from the company in Kent had been switched off. The internet banking on Eva’s laptop screen showed their accounts were in a serious mess. As she stared at the accounts, she caught a glimpse of her own reflection. Long, straight, red hair flowed down to her shoulders. She had pale green eyes with an almost melancholic aspect set into a beautiful, slender, serious face. Yesterday Eva had turned thirty-three and Dan had taken her to the fancy seafront restaurant in Chalkwell. She’d winced when she’d seen the bill, while Dan grinned and handed over the plastic like he was King Midas. Thankfully the card wasn’t rejected. A hundred and fifty’s worth of fish dinner and fine wine never tasted so good, or felt so expensive.

As Mark, the new young intern, walked past her desk, Eva turned the screen away and minimized the banking page. The kid placed a steaming mug of fresh filter coffee on the edge of her desk and smiled, and she felt bad for being sneaky. The kid had come on board only a couple of weeks back, and he was trying hard. The best part was he didn’t even cost them a penny. As an intern on a government scheme, a grant covered his wages for the entire first year. The plan was they’d be able to afford him by the end of a year. But right now, Eva wasn’t so sure.

Cheers, Marky boy, said Dan as the kid offered him a coffee. Dan grabbed the mug and drank down a third without even looking. His face screwed up and he swallowed with a grimace.

That’s damn hot! said Dan.

Do you see, Mark? said Eva. With observation skills like these, we should have lost Dan to the intelligence services a long, long, time ago.

Dan put his coffee down and looked up from the tablet he’d been scanning while young Mark walked around the office tidying up, like a cleaning maid. Eva noticed. The kid was bored. Right now they didn’t have much work for him because they barely had enough for themselves. When the money had been easy they spent it freely, buying Dan a new car, paying for living expenses and replacing their office kit, while always believing the next big job was around the corner. But it never came. And now the retainer had finished at the worst possible time. And there was no way they could complain. Forbrace had been generous, and they hadn’t done any work for him in months. It was just lousy timing. But at least the computers were nice and new, the coffee pot worked, Dan had a new ego-mobile, and Eva had some classy-but-understated new suits. Look on the bright side, she told herself.

Those intelligence agencies couldn’t afford me, said Dan. Besides, you know what I think of them.

Eva didn’t reply. She didn’t want to hear another stock tale of Dan’s conspiracy theories. She’d heard them all before. She looked at him and saw his face was still boyish, not even a hint of grey in his thick brown hair. Neither did his brown eyes show any sign of weariness from the wine at the fish restaurant. She didn’t know how he did it, but he always looked fresh. Dan stayed quiet for a moment, watching her. She could feel him reading her mind.

Maybe, he wasn’t totally oblivious to their problems after all.

You know what we need to do?

What?

You and me need to get some of this action. Something serious is going down. Look.

Dan stood up and laid the tablet on Eva’s desk. There was an image of Basildon’s Club Voltage on the screen, with some police ‘do-not-cross tape’ dragged across the front doors.

The young woman’s murder had been all over the local news. A twenty-nine-year-old woman had been shot in the head – twice – at the back of the famous nightclub. The photograph showed a pretty young woman in the prime of life. The death was frightening because it seemed so meaninglessness. A pretty local girl been killed like that on a night out. Why? Eva couldn’t understand it at all, but in the last few months the world seemed to have become a brutal place where anything was possible. Being innocent was no guarantee for a safe, long life.

I don’t get it, said Eva, looking up at Dan.

This is a big deal. That girl was enjoying a night out, having fun with her friends, then some bastard shoots her in the head. That doesn’t happen. Who knows, this could be the beginning of something bad. A serial killer or something.

You’re a ray of sunshine today, aren’t you?

Hey. Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just saying if we find something which leads us to the murderer, that could be the making of our business. Think of the publicity.

Eva waited for the punchline. It didn’t come.

I don’t think so, Dan. She watched Mark hovering at the back of the office by the little kitchen. The kid would have an opinion, even if he wasn’t sure he could express it. It was time to give him some wings.

What do you think, Mark?

Dan turned and looked at the kid. He shrugged. It sounds like it could be a high profile case. But is that the kind of work you want?

It sounded like the kid had a brain which was going to come in pretty handy around here.

You’re right, Mark.

Right? Why is he right? What did he even say? said Dan.

"Is it the kind of work we want? Eva stood up, folded her laptop screen down, and grabbed her handbag. The answer is no. Do you know why?"

Dan made a tiny shrug of his shoulders.

Because that murder is going to be a big police case. Not ours. And besides, we’d be doing it for free. We can’t do that. Especially now. That’s crazy.

It’s called using your initiative, Eva. Chutzpah. Think of it like free advertising. The clients would come pouring in after that

"Dan, if this guy is a serial killer like you suggested, do you really want to put any of us up against that...? For free?"

And what about justice, Eva?

Justice will still be served. This guy will get exactly what is coming to him. And it will happen without us. We need work that pays, and we need it now.

Eva turned away from the desk and headed for the door of their shopfront office.

Where are you going? said Dan.

I’ve got a meeting. A possible client. Keep your fingers crossed.

Do you need any company?

No. Not for this one. I’ll fill you in later.

Eva walked out of the office leaving Dan looking a little confused and hard done by. Maybe she’d been too harsh. The finances were getting her down, and Eva needed Dan to contribute with some real ideas, not pipe dreams. She’d make it up to him later. But now it was time to work - and make it count.

Two

The Importance of Earnest

Gail Everett was a woman who looked weary. Her eyes were blue and watery. Her hair was brown, but turning grey and pulled back tightly from her forehead. They met inside one of the town’s main coffee shops, and Eva was careful to select the seats tucked at the back by the toilets, where they could enjoy some kind of privacy. Eva made sure to ask what type of coffee Gail wanted, and didn’t even squirm at the price when the woman ordered something large with an extra shot, cream, and syrup.

As soon as the introductions were over, Eva got straight to it. She wanted to seem as direct and professional as possible. Right now, every job counted.

So, Mrs Everett. Tell me how we can help.

The woman paused and looked down at her coffee. Then she lifted up her handbag, opened it, and pulled out a cardboard file which was curled at the edges from being squashed in the bag. She laid it on the table, pressed it flat, and then ignored it.

It’s about my father, Miss Roberts. He’s not a well man.

Eva nodded and aimed for compassion.

I’m sorry to hear that.

Oh, he’s been very ill a good long time. Some people, people without manners or any feelings might describe him as a vegetable. Those are not words I would ever use, but I need to convey how bad he seems these days. He’s lived a long life, Miss Roberts. He’s elderly now. But his condition has nothing to do with his age.

No? said Eva.

"No. He’s been like this since the nineties. Only he’s getting so bad now, I fear we are coming to

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