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Empty Minute: A Murder Mystery

Empty Minute: A Murder Mystery

Автором Rod Kackley

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Empty Minute: A Murder Mystery

Автором Rod Kackley

266 pages
3 hours
Apr 23, 2020


 PI Ron Delaney's prized Corvette has been t-boned by a speeding blonde, he's fallen in love with a woman half his age and now the Russian mob's after him.


Corruption. Conspiracy. Caviar.


Hired to solve the murder of a Kentucky politician, Ron and his buddy, Casey, run headlong into an organized crime network and an ex-Soviet general who's running a family in the Russian Mafia.


But turning back is never an option for these Vietnam vets. 

Ron has promised the dead politician's mistress he'll find out who killed the man she loved, no matter who gets hurt.

Empty Minute: A Murder Mystery is a fast-paced, hard-boiled crime action thriller that revolves around a murder mystery ripped from the pages of shocking true crime stories.






Apr 23, 2020

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Rod Kackley is an award-winning journalist and author, living and writing, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.

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Empty Minute - Rod Kackley



UNSEEN FORCES CAN WORK against your innermost thoughts about life and death. Life goes on and on, from day-to-day, from minute-to-minute.  The minutes add up to the years of your life. 

My father said sixty-seconds could change your life or the future of mankind.  He also said that the same minutes compare to a shot of Kentucky Bourbon whiskey.  If you drink too many shots, you will never know if you were the one that emptied the bottle.

I was just getting into Lexington, and I felt like going to the office and taking a little nap.  I had a good weekend in Cincinnati and went to a ball game with an old college buddy.  We hit the gambling boats after the game, and I came out a couple of hundred ahead on the crap table. 

A good weekend, but now my mood had changed. Monday morning traffic in Lexington is murder.  The town has out grown the road system. Actually it’s changed in more ways than just roads that are backed with cars and trucks.

The Horse Capitol of the world had become a white-collar town, filled with nerds and millennials.

Computer techies, insurance agents, hospital administrators and University of Kentucky academics dominate the city.  A traffic jam filled with those people is the last thing I needed. I’d been up all night and was dead tired.  So, I took a shortcut through the residential streets to my office. 

But even that turned out to be another headache.

Cars were parked bumper to bumper on both sides of  Canvas Street with old two-story brick and limestone houses lining the street, each holding a dozen or more students. 

While I was thinking again about how nice a shot of bourbon would taste, I saw a white SUV, a flash of blonde hair, and then heard a crash. 

The next thing I saw was a bright white light. 

Am I dead?

No, laughed an ER doctor. It’s my light, not the Lord's.  Just follow the light with your eyes. 

After she clicked off her penlight and I was able to refocus on the land of the living, I raised my eyebrows and asked, What the fuck?

You were in an accident, and I think you might have a mild concussion, the nameless doctor with beautiful auburn hair said.

My rattled brain focused enough to recognize the typical hospital emergency room, the smell of grain alcohol and disinfectant, and this young, red haired, gray-eyed woman I would not have been surprised to find in Heaven if I had died.

You just relax, she said. I’m Dr. Rice, and we're waiting for your x-ray results. I’ve put four stitches in your forehead.  The nurse will clean you up, and I’ll be back in about twenty minutes.

The nurse wasn't bad, either. She was a big-boned gal with a look in her green eyes that showed a real zest for life and a body that should have been XXX-rated even in her starchy, white uniform. 

I just thought she'd make a great dominatrix in one of those movies that teenagers and old men like when she said, This might sting a little Mr. Delaney.

Talk about staying in character!

OW! A little my ass! 

Oh come on now, that didn't hurt that much, did it?

Why do nurses always say that?  Well, at least she had a half-smile on her face, and her cute little tongue peeked out of her full red lips after this nurse said it.

How long have I been here, and how do you know my name?

About thirty minutes. We got your name off your GI dog tags, Red said without asking why I never cut the tags off. I obviously was older than draft age.

I would have shaken my head if it didn't hurt so much. I still had the luck of the Irish.  Two tours in Vietnam and not a scratch, and here I am in the hospital after almost being killed by a blonde driving a domesticated tank. Red gave me a big smile and took my insurance card to accounting.

My wallet was starting to hurt. I knew I'd get a bill for my co-pay that would be more than enough to pay for services received.  The inflated difference goes to the medical managers who do nothing but tell the doctors to do nothing for the patient but get them out on the street as soon as possible. 

Now, who is this headed my way? This place is like Grand Central Station. Suddenly I feel worse. He’s looking straight at me. A tall guy, he's wearing a wash-and-wear suit that's seen plenty of the latter but none of the former.  Straight off the rack from J.C. Penney is my bet.

I know a cop when I see one. 

Captain Delaney, he said, I’m Detective Ed Jacobs, and I’ve got a few questions for you.  Well, Ed you can call me Ron since I’ve been out of the service for twenty years now, I said right back to him. Hey, how did you know I was a captain? My rank was not on my dog tags.

I ran your serial number through the FBI's database, Mr. Delaney.  Your two silver stars and the Medal of Honor are very impressive.

Compliments I don't take so well, so I let that sit for awhile, while I wondered when my new buddy was going to get to the point.

Something tells me there is more to this meeting than meets the eye, Ed. Have you got the woman who broadsided me?

Ed wanted to be the one asking the questions, not the other way around, so it was his turn to let me stew for a minute.

The woman who hit you was leaving the scene of a crime, he finally said.

Well, no shit Sherlock, I thought.

I know that Ed. Hit-and-run was a felony the last time I checked.

You're not wrong, there, Ed said. But, that’s not the crime I’m talking about, Ron.

Deciding he wanted to draw out the suspense, Ed paused, looked around and found a plastic chair he could pull close to my ER bed that was more like a cheap folding lawn chair.

Your girlfriend was leaving a murder scene from the house at the end of the driveway where she hit you.  I’m hoping you can give me a description of her, or her car and the license number.

Since that was the most Ed had said all day long, he stopped and waited for me to take my turn.

My dad would have called this one of those empty minutes, and I knew I had to fill it. 

Ed, it was a new white SUV  I think it was a Tahoe or a Yukon.  She had long blonde hair, and her face is a blur.  Her front bumper I remember. It was damn near in my face.

Then I thought about my Corvette. I bought it in 1967, my freshman year in the University of Kentucky.  I’ve babied that car all these years and had the engine rebuilt twice. 

Where’s my Corvette, Ed?

We’ve got it downtown. Forensics is trying to get paint samples from it. We should be through with it by tomorrow.

How bad is the damage? 

Not too bad.  The door is shot, and the side is cracked.

I couldn't believe the damage was so light. Ed must have been reading my mind when he said, "She hit her brakes about fifteen feet from you before the t-bone. 

You are lucky she hit the brakes, he said in another of Ed’s Sherlock moments. 

If she hadn't, she would have gone right over you in a vehicle that heavy.

Was I the only eyewitness?

Now Ed was more interested. Not surprising. After all, Detective Jacobs was a cop, not an insurance adjuster. He leaned forward in that little orange plastic chair and said, The only other witness is downstairs with a .45 caliber slug between his eyes.

And now I was a lot more interested. After all, I'm a private investigator, not a victim.

Who is this dead guy? I had to ask. 

Ed settled back in his chair, and said, He’s not just a guy, he was going to be the next governor of this state, or that’s what the latest polls said.

Christ, I said, sitting straight up my head ringing like one of the big bells at Notre Dame in Paris. But I didn’t let it bother me. You mean Big Bill Corman?

The one and only.  I’ve got two squads of officers downstairs holding back a mob of reporters from every major news agency in the U.S.

Just as I went silent with the effort of trying to take all this in, my green-eyed, auburn-haired  angel of a nurse came in doing what we used to call the quick-double time in the military. 

She was a little out of breath, but that didn't stop Red from saying, Dr. Rice said we could cut your losses.  He wants you out as soon as possible.  It seems the front lobby is full of your fans.  Here is your insurance card. Oh, and you have a call from your secretary. She's on line four.  The phone is right behind you on the wall. 

Red ran out as quickly as she had come in, leaving me disappointed, since I never got her phone number. But, what the hell. I did have something else on my mind, right now. My auburn-haired fantasy would have to wait.

Instead I turned to my new best buddy with a badge.

Ed! How in the hell did you let the media know about me? 

I don't know how it happened, Ed said with a shrug of his shoulders, but I know these reporters pay off for leaks in the department. I’m going down to the lobby to get you an escort for getting out of here.

After making sure Ed got his fat, detective ass out of my room,  I picked up the phone.

Is this you, Ginny?

"Yeah, boss, I’m on my cell phone.  I’ve been driving around the hospital for the last ten minutes trying to find a place to park.  Are you okay?

Well I got steamrolled by an SUV maybe driven by a killer, but yeah,  Ginny, I am okay.

No kidding, boss. The story's already online. Wanna hear it?

Can I stop you?

Ginny didn't bother to answer that question. Guess she figured I wanted to be rhetorical.

I quote, Ginny said,  Kentucky private detective involved in the political murder of the century.

Oh, God. Stories like that on the Web weren't going to make this any easier.

Ginny, listen carefully.  Drive to the loading dock behind the hospital in about five minutes.

Be there or be square, see ya boss.

Ginny came on board with me about twelve years ago.  She started out part-time to work her way through college.  She could have bypassed all the books. Ginny was so right for the business that I put her in charge of the office. 

Now, she is almost a silent partner, but never she's never silent. And I'm glad she isn't. Ginny is smart and outspoken. I don't know what I would do without her.  She has the knack of knowing what I want, without me asking.


I KNEW DETECTIVE JACOBS was going to be pissed, but there was no way in hell that I was going to face a mob of reporters and live TV cameras.  So, I swiped a white doctor's smock at the emergency room's exit and slipped it on after ducking into the freight elevator. 

I got to the loading dock without running into anyone resembling the media. The overhead door was open, and I could see Ginny’s blue Volkswagen pulling up to the end of the ramp.  I jumped off the edge of the dock and started toward the VW.

Home free, I thought just as I felt a hand on the back of my arm. 

Mr. Delaney, Mr. Delaney! I’m Linda Sue O’Neill with Channel 2 News.  Can you identify the killer?

Linda Sue? I always liked her. Seemed hot on TV, but now her camera man suddenly was right in my face.  He made a bad mistake by bumping into me.  I gave him a quick elbow which caught him directly under the armpit.  His camera went straight up, and he went down like a sack of potatoes. I opened the door to Ginny’s car as the camera shattered against the concrete.  I slammed the door hoping Linda Sue’s fingers were not in the crack.  Like I said, I always thought she had potential. But even the sexiest woman can turn into a problem child.

As Ginny put the pedal to the metal, I turned to see Linda Sue screaming what I thought sounded like, Son of a bitch. 

Ginny, that reporter is going to be a pain in the ass. 

Why is that boss? 

She was smart enough to know that I would go out the back door, and she has red hair.

What does the red hair have to do with it? 

It means she’s Irish, and Irish women are the most persistent, hot-tempered women in the world. 

How do you know so much about Irish women? 

My mother was one.

I had to get my thoughts together.  After telling Ginny about the morning, I started thinking about my mom, who died when I was twelve years old, and how much I missed her. When I was growing up, I spent my summer vacations with Dad. 

He was a well-known attorney throughout Kentucky. They called him the Horse Lawyer. 

He practiced law in Lexington for over thirty-eight years.  Most of his clients were guys who owned Thoroughbreds and racetracks, along with just about anyone associated with horses. 

Dad was probably one of the first specialized lawyers before that term came into being. He loved horses and was an expert on anything related to Thoroughbreds and racing. 

I went to the race tracks with him. We never missed a Kentucky Derby except for the two tours I spent in Vietnam.

Dad wanted me to finish law school when I got out of the service.

But I chose to be an investigator. I couldn't seem to get my head together after the war.  Most of my friends were Vietnam vets. We did a lot of drinking together and hung around in a local pub, The Wish-U-Well. You might say I had a drinking problem, a lot of us did.  Dad finally sat me down one night and rightly chased the guilt out of me. His health was getting bad, and he broke down in tears.  Dad knew about the hell I had been through, and the screaming nightmares that would wake him up in the middle of the night.  He was always there when I needed him.  I realized that I had to straighten out. I started working for Dad, doing all the investigative work. I loved my job. 

Dad died in the fall of 1988. I was at his side.  His last words were I’m not afraid to die because I’m proud. He was looking straight into my eyes with a smile as he passed on.

I was determined to devote the rest of my life to Dad’s pride.

I inherited Dad's old three-story office building on Nicholasville Road and went into business. 

I named my company Delaney Investigations Inc. and the business became very successful almost overnight.

Ginny and I pulled together a strategy based on the idea of giving lawyers a full information investigation service.  We do it all; we give them all the tools they need when they enter the courtroom.  Ginny worked with the people at the University of Kentucky to have our business accredited as a Para-Legal course.  The students are given hands-on learning experience and are paid to boot.  A lot of these kids have their sights on law school, so we set up a scholarship fund with the help of a lot of prominent Kentucky attorneys and judges.

My office has a ground floor garage with a remote control overhead door. We did not see any reporters in the front, as Ginny entered the garage.  Walking upstairs, we were greeted with what sounded like a surprise birthday party when we stepped into the main office.  Everyone was applauding, patting me on the back, shaking my hand and even hugging me.  Okay that’s enough, I appreciate your concern, I said. It was time to get down to business.

I want a lockdown. No reporters are allowed in this building.  I am going to get some rest, and we will have a meeting tomorrow 10:00 a.m. prompt.

Taking a breath, I paused, looked at the woman who had rescued me, and said, Ginny I’m going to crash.

Didn’t you do that already?

When I didn’t so much as smile at her joke, Ginny said, Don’t worry about anything, everything is under control. 

I took the spiral stairs up to my office apartment.  I could hear the chatter of Ginny and the gang as I shut the frosted glass door behind me.  I sat back in Dad’s old Hi-Boy recliner and poured a double shot of Lauder's Scotch in a rock glass topped off with a thimble of lime juice. 

The old regulator clock was ringing its sixth chime as I took a slow sip of my scotch, ending what had been one hell of a day.  But still, I kept thinking about that blonde hair. I had to have seen her face, but I seemed to have a mental block. It was the empty minute that somehow I had to fill.

I woke up to the sound of mourning doves cooing on my window sill.  I must have been tired. I didn’t remember falling asleep.  The clock was getting ready to chime six times, again.  I couldn’t believe I had slept for twelve hours.  Ginny must have taken off my shoes and covered me with an old horse blanket. I could remember Dad sleeping in this old recliner. He was right in saying it was more comfortable than a feather bed. 

But, the numbness had worked out of my forehead, and a little pain was in store.  I went into the adjoining bedroom and laid out a fresh set of clothes and took a hot shower.  The shower renewed my energy. I shaved the last bit of sagebrush of my chin and dug in the medicine cabinet for a large band aid to cover the nasty looking stitches. I usually took the morning ritual of shaving for granted, but this morning I took more time to study my face and was shocked to discover I was looking into my father’s eyes. Time had sculpted my dad’s son into an almost identical likeness of my father when he was the same age I am now, forty-three. That's the same age Dad was when I came home from the shame on me war.

We were very close and still hardly a day goes by that I don’t have some small flashback of something he did or something he said to me. 

My father was a genius when it came to common sense.  He never got technical in conversations. He kept his words simple and direct. He connected with

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