Authors: E. H. Reinhard
Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Police Procedurals, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Serial Killers, #Crime Fiction
E. H. Reinhard
Copyright © 2016
All Rights Reserved
This book is a work of fiction by E. H. Reinhard. Names, characters, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Locations used vary from real streets, locations, and public buildings to fictitious residences and businesses.
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: An Agent Hank Rawlings FBI Thriller, Book 4
Dead bodies are being found all over Miami. Agent Hank Rawlings has had his sights set on this vigilante serial killer for months. When a husband and wife are found murdered, their bodies accompanied by letters confessing their past crimes, Hank and Agent Beth Harper immediately leave for Florida.
In Miami, the vigilante’s actions are on the tips of everyone’s tongues. With the killer targeting only criminals, some of the public believe the man’s actions to be justified.
With the help of a local agent and a familiar Miami Police lieutenant, Hank and Beth must weed through the evidence to close in on their killer. With each passing moment and each new piece of evidence, the killer’s list gets shorter, and the true reason for his murders becomes clear.
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Tim sat behind the wheel of his van with the dome light on, his face in a folder he’d compiled notes in, an old police file sitting below the folder on his lap. He ran one finger down the page of notes in his hand for the umpteenth time. The man the notes were on, Glen Scobee, had been a suspect in the killing of his wife some ten years earlier. Scobee had conveniently been out of town while his wife was murdered in a botched home invasion. She’d been shot in the chest three times at close range, and the only valuables taken from the house were those on her person. No charges were ever brought against Scobee—never enough evidence. However, Tim knew a few things the original investigators hadn’t.
Tim glanced at the clock on the dash: 2:28 a.m. He clicked off the van’s interior light, tossed the folder in his hand and the file on his lap onto the floor where the passenger seat would normally be, and he stared down the block at the front door of a house. From Tim’s surveillance, he knew Glen would be appearing from the ten-year-old single-story terracotta-roofed home inside of the next ten minutes. Mr. Scobee always spent his Tuesdays the same way—at the house of his girlfriend, with whom he was having an affair, until around two thirty in the morning, when he would be picked up by a taxi, return to his work to retrieve his car, and then head home to the woman he married shortly after the first wife was killed.
From the corner of his eye, Tim saw the taxi pull up and park at the curb in front of the home. Tim started the van, left the neighborhood, and made for Scobee’s house, ten minutes away.
Tim entered Scobee’s neighborhood, found the large colonial house on the acre-plus of land, killed his headlights, and pulled up the long driveway. Tim looked at the clock again—a quarter to three. He knew Scobee’s wife, Rachael, was in a wine-induced slumber because he’d been watching her earlier. Tim glanced at the house as he crept past the front—the place was pitch-black inside. The flicker of a television in the front window wasn’t present, as it had been earlier. He drove past the garage doors at the far edge of the home and made a left into the grass along the side of the garage.
After driving forward a car length, Tim parked in the grass next to a three-foot pygmy palm tree, gloved his hands, and stepped out. He glanced over at the tree line of live oaks blocking his vehicle from view of the nearest neighbors. Tim grabbed his small canvas bag filled with his gear from the back of his minivan and walked toward the service door at the rear of the garage. He set the bag down, knelt, and unzipped it. From inside, Tim grabbed the pistol that belonged to the homeowner, stuffed it into his waistline, and fished his hand back into the bag for his bump key. He placed it in the door’s lock and pushed it in, feeling each tumbler until the key was pressed into the last one.
A noise broke the silence. Tim froze and looked off into the darkness to his left. An armadillo or opossum rustled about at the base of the oak trees. Tim dismissed the critter and took his rubber mallet from the bag. He grabbed the door handle and twisted it as he hit the key with the mallet—after three tries, the knob turned. Tim placed the key and mallet back into the canvas bag, removed the small LED flashlight, draped the bag over his shoulder, and entered the garage, closing the service door at his back.
He flicked on his flashlight. A newer luxury sedan sat parked in the garage space closest to the door leading into the house. Tim walked around the car’s front, pulled the pistol, and approached the door. He grabbed the knob, placed his ear next to the door, and listened. No sound came from the other side. Tim twisted the doorknob and entered.
Tim knew the layout of the home, having been inside a few times over the last few months. He used the flashlight to find his way to the living room. The last he’d seen Rachael Scobee, she was passed out on the living-room sofa in front of the television. Tim stood behind the couch—the television off, the woman not present. He found his way through the house and upstairs to the master bedroom at the end of the hall. He pushed the half-open door the rest of the way open, reached inside, and flicked on the light. Standing in the doorway, he saw brunette hair draped over a thin woman’s face on a pillow on the far side of the bed.
The woman, Rachael Scobee, cracked open her eyelids and squinted as if trying to focus. She rolled to face the other direction in bed and pulled her red comforter up over her head to block the light. She mumbled something.
“Look at me,” Tim said. He stuck the gun into his waistline and dug through his pocket for what he’d brought with him. His gloves made it hard for him to grasp the pair of wedding rings.
“You’re an inconsiderate asshole,” the woman said.
Her voice was groggy. Tim didn’t know if that was from being wakened or from the two bottles of wine she’d consumed prior to passing out on the couch earlier.
“I’m not Glen,” Tim said. “I’m here to judge you for past crimes.”
The woman ripped the blankets away, snatched her eyeglasses from the nightstand beside her and turned toward Tim. She brought the dark-rimmed glasses to her face and pushed them up her nose. “What the hell!” she said. She leapt from the bed and put her back to the wall—taking the comforter with and clutching it in front of her. “Who the hell are you? What do you want?”
Tim tossed a pair of gold rings onto the bed—a bridal set of an engagement ring and a matching wedding band. “I’m here to judge you. Then, when your husband comes home from his date with his girlfriend, he’ll be judged as well.”
“Judge me? Get the hell out of my house!” she yelled. “I’m calling the cops!” She went for the phone on the nightstand.
“I wouldn’t do that. You touch that phone, and us talking is over. I go straight to the shooting you part.” Tim pulled the pistol from his waistline and pointed it at Rachael.
She stopped moving.
“Now, grab those rings from the bed and confess.”
She held her hands up and froze in place.
“The rings on the bed. Pick them up,” Tim said.
“Rings?” she asked.
Tim motioned toward the bed with the gun.
Rachael scooped the pair of rings from the bed and stared at them in her hand. “Where… Um, what are these?”
“Don’t play stupid,” Tim said.
“But I got rid of these a year or two ago.”
“It takes me a while to make my rounds. It just so happens your number finally came up. Now, the rings, you’re familiar with them?”
“I can explain,” she said. She looked at Tim, her face covered in guilt.
“So you do recognize them?” Tim asked. “Explain how you pawned a bridal set from your husband’s first wife—a wife that was killed in a home invasion where her wedding and engagement rings were stolen.”
“Um, they weren’t stolen. It was insurance fraud,” she said.
“Is that the story you want to stick with?” Tim asked. “Insurance fraud? Let me make this a little more simple for you because I don’t think you actually understand what is taking place here. Your only job in the next few minutes is to confess to your crimes. Your husband’s first wife was murdered in a home invasion, and Glen was supposedly out of town while it happened, yet somehow he got the wedding bands to commit insurance fraud? I already know you’re guilty. You have no defense. All that remains is your confession and sentence.”
“Sentence? You can’t prove anything,” she said.
“Proving it is not my job. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t already know. So was it you that shot her? How did it go down exactly? You see, I know you two were already seeing each other when his wife was shot. You have a photo album downstairs. There are photos of you two in it that are dated the year before his wife was murdered.”
“My husband will be home any minute. We have a gun. He carries it.”
“See, I know that also isn’t true. Lying to me will get you nowhere. And speaking of his gun, which is normally in the nightstand beside the bed, does it look like this?” Tim turned the pistol he held sideways so she could get a look at her husband’s weapon. “And I know exactly when Glen will be home. He just left his girlfriend’s house about twenty minutes ago. The taxi that picked him up will take him back to the dealership to get his car, and then he’ll be home a few minutes after three.” Tim glanced at the alarm clock on the nightstand. “We should expect him in maybe seven minutes or so. Let’s cut the bullshit now and get back to the matter at hand.”
“He doesn’t have a girlfriend. He plays cards with his coworkers on Tuesdays.”
“No, he sleeps with a woman named Alice Schipper on Tuesdays. Then after the taxi cab drops him off at his work, he gets in his car and drinks some booze and smokes a cigar on his way home in an attempt to make you think he was doing what he said he was—playing cards.”
Rachael was quiet for a moment. “Alice? She’s one of my closest friends.”
“Appears that your husband is equally as fond of her,” Tim said. “I’ve watched them.”
The woman scowled, saying nothing.
“Anything else on your behalf before we get this taken care of?” Tim asked.
“Taken care of? What does that mean?” she asked.
Tim rolled his head to the side. “Attractive, but not very bright are you? Okay, listen carefully now. I’m going to judge you and hand down my sentence for you being involved in the murder of the former Mrs. Scobee.”
Rachael stood quiet for a moment. “Wait. You’re who they’ve been talking about on the news. Some kind of sick vigilante.”
“Sick? No. I right wrongs—a personal quest in honor of a loved one,” Tim said. “Some could argue that I’m a hero for what I do.”
Rachael stared at him, and then the waterfall of words came as had happened with many before. “It was Glen. I didn’t know until after. I had no part in the killing itself. Glen had it all planned out with his brother, Greg. Greg is the one who shot her. Glen paid him twenty-five thousand to do it.”
“Aha. There we go. Though I must say, you seem to be fairly well informed for supposedly not being a part of it. Withholding that kind of information”—he waved his finger at her—“is going to affect your sentence.”
“I swear I didn’t know. Greg pawned the rest of her jewelry out of state. I’ll tell the cops everything.”
“I’ll make sure the authorities know. I want you to write down your confession.”
“What?” she asked.
“Write it down. Put it on paper exactly as it happened. There’s a notepad and pen in the nightstand if I’m not mistaken.”
“No there’s not.”
“Why don’t you check?”
The woman reached down and slid open the small drawer. She removed a notepad with an attached pen and looked back at Tim in confusion.
“I like to be prepared,” he said.
She took a step backward to her position standing at the bedroom wall and began writing. Tim watched her progress while keeping an ear open for the sound of the husband entering downstairs. The woman finished before any sounds of Glen’s return could be heard.