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Authors: Jack Lacey

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery, #Retail, #Suspense, #Thriller

American Crow

BOOK: American Crow
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JACK
LACEY

presents

 

 

 

 
AMERICAN
CROW

 

‘For the missing…’

 

                                    

The moral right of
Jack Lacey to be

indentified as the
author of this

work has been
asserted in accordance

with the Copyright,
Designs and

Patents Act, 1988.

  

All rights reserved.
No part of this publication

may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form

or by any means,
electronic or mechanical,

including photocopy,
recording, or any

information storage
and retrieval system, without prior

permission in writing
from the author.

  

This book is a work
of fiction. Names, characters,

businesses,
organizations, places and events are either

the product of the
author’s imagination or are used

fictitiously. Any
resemblance to actual persons,

living or dead,
events or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

The American
vernacular has been employed in this book with specific words.

 

Cover art by
WinchesterWeb/A.J

 (
www.winchesterweb.co.uk
)

 

For more information on Blake
and the next Missing Series Novel:

www.jacklacey.co.uk

http://jacklacey.blogspot.com

 

 

 PRAISE FOR

 
‘AMERICAN CROW’

 

‘A humdinger of a
story from beginning to end!’

 

 

‘Blake is a
remarkable character...makes you want to get a tattoo and become a private
investigator!’

 

 

‘A road-trip thriller
where the good guy is almost as bad as the bad guy and the bad guy looks good!’

 

 

‘Jack Lacey has
birthed a great new hard-boiled character onto the scene!’

 

 

‘American Crow is a
gritty, fast-paced thriller that scorches though the pages…’

 

 

‘The new Jack Lacey
novel...just two words...READ IT!!’

 

TABLE
OF CONTENTS

 

Chapter One

 ‘precious’

Chapter Two

‘the call’

Chapter Three

 ‘the
meeting’

Chapter Four

‘henry and izzy’

Chapter Five

‘the photo’

Chapter Six


the crossing’

Chapter Seven

‘the fight’

Chapter Eight

‘watched’

Chapter Nine

‘uneasy alliances’

Chapter Ten

‘the activists’

Chapter Eleven

‘the body’

Chapter Twelve

‘bad ride’

Chapter
Thirteen

‘old friends’
 

Chapter
Fourteen

‘turned over’

Chapter
Fifteen

‘the forest’

Chapter
Sixteen

‘the sanctuary’

Chapter
Seventeen

‘lights’

Chapter
Eighteen

‘ghost town’

Chapter
Nineteen

 ‘black
mountain’

Chapter Twenty

‘the dance’

Chapter
Twenty-One

‘bad news’

Chapter
Twenty-Two

‘the compound’

Chapter
Twenty-Three

‘re-united’

Chapter
Twenty-Four

‘goodbyes’

Chapter
Twenty-Five

‘the
benefactor’

Chapter
Twenty-Six

‘unexpected’

Chapter
Twenty-Seven

‘the
basement’

Chapter
Twenty-Eight

‘an old
friend called death’

Chapter
Twenty-Nine

‘jackson’s
hollow’

Chapter Thirty

‘olivia’

Chapter Thirty-One

‘the film’

Chapter
Thirty-Two

‘homecoming’

 

    

Chapter One

‘precious’

 

Narbonne Plage. South of France.
Late September.
     

 

I
lay there motionless on the hot French sand, thinking about
the insanity of the last few cases, the enigma of those that remained unsolved…

Over the years, I’d come across every
damned sort working as a tracer. A decent percentage I’d brought back alive.
Now strangely, it was those missing parts of myself that I was trying to find,
and for once I realized, I couldn’t do the job alone.

Laura waved from the lilo she was
floating on and I waved back with a tortured smile. It seemed surreal that we
were finally hanging out, that she’d decided to pick up the phone on her
seventeenth birthday and ring her father.

Hell, Jackie and I were just a couple of
young punks when she came along unexpectedly. It was destined to fail the very
moment the test came up positive. It was like a run-away train without rails...

And that was where the dark irony lay I
thought. There I was travelling around the globe searching for people,
particularly kids, and I hadn’t been able to see my own flesh and blood.

I stretched out on the towel, closed my
eyes, then took a long deep breath and exhaled heavily, hoping to expel the
last decade of pain into the ether. It was good to have a break from
investigation and have a good enough reason to do it for once.

Work had been relentless recently, and
the last job, an extraction case in Australia, had been particularly draining.
When they did cults there, they did them in style that was for sure. It had
been touch and go freeing the last guy, physically then mentally.

The therapist Lenny used for
de-programming ‘dead-heads’ had sure earned her dough on that one. The guy was
like a lobotomized chicken when I finally got him to the safe-house in Sydney.

I chewed over my life again, like I’d
done countless times in some dingy hotel, in some dark backwater on a case,
wondering if I’d made the right decisions at the crucial times, whether I’d
fought hard enough for access in between assignments. Perhaps. But what else
was I supposed to do to bring in the money? Do something I hated for the rest
of my natural? Tracing and extraction work was in my blood, just like it had
been in my father’s before he’d disappeared. Being away for long periods was
all part of the game.

The heat eased for a moment as the sun
was engulfed by some lone cloud inching its way across the aquamarine sky. I
pushed up my shades and eyed the melee of splashing kids and paddling lovers
stretched out along the beach before me. Maybe life was going to finally
improve for once. They said life changed at forty, what about thirty-seven?

My gaze returned to the inflatable Laura
was straddling. She waved again, but this time wildly as if she was in trouble.
I waved back with both arms, laughing at her antics, thinking how she had that
same free-spirited gene as her father, then felt my stomach turn suddenly. Was
she joking?

I stared out across the water trying to
ascertain if I should actually be worried, then saw her body jolt forwards,
back, and fall face down on the lilo where she started convulsing violently.
She looked as if she was having a sodding fit, just like she used to as a
kid...but she took epilepsy tablets for that, hadn’t had an ‘episode’ in a
couple of years, Jackie had said before we left.

I stood up, staggered forwards then
sprinted across the burning sand towards the water, hoping it was just a wind
up, thinking of the stern words I was going to have with her when I realized
that she was just putting it on for my own benefit.

Twenty meters…fifteen…ten. I dived into
the sea and powered towards her as fast as I could. After a few seconds I
stopped and looked up to check my bearings. Now I could see an abandoned
inflatable directly ahead. It appeared as if she’d fallen in. If this was
indeed a joke I was going to tear strips off her when I reached her, the stupid
bloody girl.  

I willed myself forward with everything I
had, then heard the muffled screams of some kids nearby as I grabbed the empty
lilo and pulled it into my chest. A quick scan of the water revealed nothing
from above. Panicking, I gulped some air into my lungs then ducked beneath the
surface. Nothing again, not even a vague shape or dash of colour.

I blinked several times and stared
harder, then circled around in a wider arc, looking for a bright magenta bikini
that matched the wild streaks in her long blonde hair. I should be able to see
her, see something...

I turned and twisted in the murky water
then kicked downwards hard, instinctively veering to my right until a flash of
colour morphed into a faint outline, then Laura, suspended before me like a
ragdoll on strings, a few solitary bubbles escaping from her motionless lips.

Feeling sick with terror, I pushed
upwards again and took in some more air. Then I kicked down desperately,
wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her up to the surface, where I
tilted her head back and forced open her mouth.

‘Breathe, god damn it, breathe!’

Nothing. Her eyes were closed. Her face
like stone.

I slapped her face hard hoping to rouse her,
expecting her young face to burst into life suddenly and mock my
over-protectiveness. Nothing...   

‘Laura!’

No response.

I glanced at the anxious faces of the
swimmers circling around me then frantically made for the beach, halfway back
being aided by some beefy French guy, who helped haul her heavy body out of the
water and onto the sand.

I knelt down beside her and checked for
life signs then finding none, opened her airway and blew several desperate
breaths onto her purple lips before pumping her chest hard and steady.
One-two-three-four…

Nothing. Another couple of breaths.
One-two-three-four-five…

‘Come on Laura, breathe! For me, honey,
breathe...’

I was about to blow into her mouth again
when I felt a firm hand on my shoulder. I looked up. A stern-faced medic
beckoned me step aside. Someone had called for help, thank god...

‘Je suis son pere,’ I said, trying to
absorb the insanity of what was happening.

He nodded sharply then started to
administer some manual CPR while his colleague primed the defibrillator.

‘Please save her…’ I said desperately, as
his female colleague placed the pads against her chest and powered up the
machine.

Thump. Her limp body jolted into the air.

‘Live, damn you,
live!’    

Thump.

Nothing.

Thump.

No response.

One final thump.

The medic looked up and shook his head.

I’d lost her.

BOOK: American Crow
11.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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