Urban Life

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Carve the Heart

Carve the Heart

The Jack Palace Series
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : crime, noir, urban life
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26 Knots

26 Knots

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : urban life
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Falconi's Tractor
Excerpt

Dom knocked on my door and asked me to come downstairs. It was the first time I'd heard him speak that day. He led me downstairs to the showroom, but I almost tripped on the last stair because the overhead lights had been turned off; only the red tractor in the window had light on it (and I noticed that the blinds had been drawn, something I'd never seen before) and there was candlelight coming from the middle of the showroom. Both desks had been pushed to the walls to make room for the four of us to gather around the candles. I thought we were going to say some prayers for mom, but that's not what happened."Dom and Gina, you already know about this, but Freddy, we wanted you to be part of this ceremony too," Small Carm said, his voice steady despite the flickering light giving him two sets of fish-lips. "Well, it was Dom, actually, who said you are old enough to take part and understand how serious this is." Dom nodded gently, like he was in church. "Today has been a real test for our family," he continued, "but I know we are strong enough to get through it." He then pulled out four items: a pin, a small paring knife, a wooden handle with three beaded strings attached to it, and an odd, rawhide necklace with two brown squares on either end. One square had old-looking script on it, and the other had a picture of what looked like a saint. He placed the necklace around himself so that one square was on his chest and the other was on his back, and then said to me: "You ever have a friend that you liked so much you pricked each other's fingers and became blood brothers, Freddy? Well that's what we're going to do here, and then we're going to promise something to each other, okay?"I just nodded dumbly.He then took the paring knife and cut X's into the palms of both his hands. He flinched but didn't say anything. Almost immediately, a little string of red pearls appeared on the clean tile floor, which soon turned into a puddle. Dom then held out his hands, but Small Carm cut an X into only one of his palms. He must've gone deeper, however, since Dom quickly sucked in some air as he watched the blood quickly curl around his forearm. Before I could protest on Gina's behalf, Small Carm switched to the pin and produced a tiny dome of red on one of her palms. He did the same to me: one little prick right in the centre."Now hold hands, everyone," he said, scanning all of our faces. He took Dom's bloody hand with his dripping right hand, and Dom took Gina's, and Gina took mine, but it was what he did with his left that was really weird. He picked up the wooden handle with the beaded strings and began striking himself on the back with quite a bit of force. Droplets of blood from his open wound were flinging through the air, hitting walls, windows and furniture."Our mother, Rosabella Falconi, is gone," he said in the same kind of tone I'd seen in horror movie séances. "But her love lives inside all of us, and we must protect and cherish that love. There has been scandal, and disrespect, but we must protect our proud family name. FALCONI."Thankfully, his voice then changed back to something more normal. "And the way to do this is by keeping her death a secret. Dom, Gina, again you already know this," he said, then turned his gaze to me, "Freddy, if anyone asks about our mother, you tell them that she has gone missing, and we are doing everything we can to find her....capisce?"

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Flights and Falls

Flights and Falls

A B.C. Blues Crime Novel
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
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Excerpt

Constable Ken Poole wasn’t at his station, and his desk was a mess. File folders in a slithering heap, Post-it memos stuck to other Post-it memos, a half-empty bag of nachos. Pens and bull-clips, and to top it off, a caped action figurine of some kind overlooked it all, hands on hips.
Still no sign of Poole. Dion’s eyes wandered from the action figure to the file folders, to the label on the topmost folder. It read, “Tony Souza.”
Souza was the mystery on everybody’s mind these days. Young, handsome, healthy, a new recruit on the North Shore and on the job for less than a month before taking sudden leave, right off the rail of a high bridge. Dion had been shocked by the news, and like everybody else, he wondered why the man had done it.
Jumped.
Back at his own neat desk, he dropped into his chair and tried to work. He couldn’t recall ever meeting Souza, and only knew his face from the photographs in the paper. Maybe he had seen the man in passing, a hello in the hall?
Curiosity drove him back to Poole’s desk. Using his knuckle, as if a light touch made the act less culpable, he lifted the folder’s manila cover, just to see, and clipped to the front leaf was a photocopy of Souza’s last words. One short paragraph.
Don’t worry about me. I have gone to a better place, it started.
At yesterday’s service, snatches of conversation had told Dion more about Souza than the eulogies did. Souza had broken from his family’s strict religious tradition, had shrugged off heaven and hell, simply wasn’t a church-going guy.
Dion read the rest of the note, and saw it contained anger: To mom and dad and Sonny, I’m sorry. To everybody else, I’m not. Sonny was Sonia, Tony’s sister. She had spoken at the service, saying her brother was much loved and would be missed. If she had any idea why Tony had ended his life, she hadn’t shared that knowledge. Nobody had.
Neither did anybody ask Dion to care — but how could he not? Death by suicide was always tragic. It was the crime that so oft en went unsolved. It was worrisome, too. What if the person had stepped into oblivion because they had stumbled upon the fundamental, bottom-line truth about the meaning of life, like a message in a bottle, and that truth was too awful to bear?
He shrugged. As pointless as it might be, he would go over the note in his mind for a while, as he lay in bed or ate breakfast or warmed up his car, trying to understand its incongruities. If Souza had found God, as the “better place” suggested, the discovery had not done much for him. Th e proof was in the fall. Souza blamed everybody but his immediate family for his unbearable pain, but Dion suspected that the everybody could be narrowed down to a somebody.
Still, Souza was not his brother, not his case, and none of his business, and his death would not haunt him for long. In these moments of pondering, though, he had to wonder if the new recruit blamed the force for his troubles. He wouldn’t be surprised.

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