Monday, December 21, 2009

The Secret Keeper excerpt by Dorien Grey

In Dorien Grey's The Secret Keeper, PI Dick Hardesty returns! He listens with polite interest to his partner Jonathan's stories of his days working for 90-year-old multimillionaire Clarence Bement, helping the old man tend his garden. But when Bement is found dead, an apparent suicide, Jonathan is adamant that the old man would never have killed himself, a theory also held by Bement's grandson, Mel Fowler.

When Mel hires him to investigate, Dick learns Bement's lawyer also died mysteriously barely a week before Bement. He finds himself immersed in a world of greed and familial dysfunction, searching for a missing new will, and Jonathan becomes the target for someone who believes the old man entrusted him with a secret Jonathan is not aware he has.

The Secret Keeper
Zumaya Publications, LLC (December 10, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1934841420
ISBN-13: 978-1934841426


“You know, I’ve been thinking. Maybe now’s a good time to make a trip back to Wisconsin to see your dad and your sisters.”
We’d talked several times about his desire to take Joshua back to visit family. He hadn’t been back since he came to us, and while he spoke to his grandfather and/or aunts every month or so, Jonathan didn’t want them to become just voices on the phone.
“You deserve a little time off,” I said. “You said the other day that work was a little slow at Evergreen. Your boss would probably be willing to have you take some time off. You’ve got some vacation time coming, and now would be a perfect time to go, while you don’t have any freelance jobs.”
He was quiet for a few moments, thinking. “It would be nice to go back home for a while,” he said at last. “I’d like you to meet my family.”
I smiled. “I’d like that, but I think I’d better stay around and hold down the fort. Besides, this is a family thing.”
“You’re family,” he said.
“I appreciate that,” I said, “but this will be your first trip home with Joshua, and I’d just be a distraction. I’ll go with you next time.”
“But it won’t be a vacation without you,” he objected.
“You’ll have another week coming,” I said. “We can all go somewhere together then.”
“Well, I don’t know. I just don’t like going anywhere without you.”
“I know, and I’ll miss you, too. But I definitely think you should go.”
The program resumed, and we went back to watching.
At the next commercial, he said, “Yeah, I suppose now would be a good time to go home. When do you think we should go?”
“The sooner the better,” I said. “How about this Thursday?”
He looked at me suspiciously. “The day after tomorrow? Are you serious? No way I could leave that soon! I have to clear it with my boss, see if Dad will be able to pick us up, pack, let the gang know. All sorts of stuff. Maybe Saturday, that way I won’t miss more work than I have to.” He turned
to face me full-on. “Something else is going on here. Tell me.”
He deserved the truth. My trying to protect him with evasions and half-truths hadn’t worked, and he was right to resent my trying.
So, I told him.
“Look,” I said, trying to appear as casual about it as I could, “if—and that’s a big if—you’re right about Clarence Bement’s not having committed suicide, that means somebody killed him. And if whoever did it knows you and Mr. Bement talked a lot, it’s not impossible he may think Mr.
Bement told you something he shouldn’t have.”
“But he didn’t!”
“You and I may know that, but the guy who called you to come out to a deserted stretch of road doesn’t.”
“So, it wasn’t a stone that broke my windshield.” It was more a statement than a question.
I shook my head. “Afraid not.”
“And if I hadn’t swerved to avoid that pothole—”
I reached over to take his hand, entwining our fingers.
“But you did,” I said, “and that’s what matters.” I squeezed his hand. “Look, we can’t be sure about any of this. The window could have been an accident and your being followed a coincidence.”
“But you don’t think so.”
“Hey, I’m a private investigator. I see bad guys lurking behind every tree whether they’re there or not. But just to be safe, I want to look into it further, and I’ll be able to do that a lot easier if I don’t have to worry about you while I’m doing it.”
“You’re doing it again.”
“Doing what?”
“Trying to protect me. I do appreciate it, but I really can take care of myself.”
“I know you can, Babe, and that’s not the issue. It’s not even a question of just you and me. We have Joshua to think about now, too. Just in case there is a real problem here, we can’t let him be involved. I can’t help but worry about you and try to protect you—that’s what I’m here for. So humor
me. Look on it as my being selfish—by protecting you, I’m protecting myself. You’d do the same for me.”
He smiled. “Of course I would. But I’d try not to be so obvious about it.”
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1 comment:

Victor J. Banis said...

As always with Dorien's work, absolutely delicious - a nice bon-bon too for Christmas.