Monday, February 28, 2011

Bermuda Heat excerpt by P A Brown

Bermuda Heat by P A Brown,#4 in the L.A Series

A letter. A secret. A tragedy. David's mother told him his father died when he was born. His mother lied.

David Eric Laine always believed his father had died in Vietnam before his birth. His mother remarried and he was adopted by his stepfather and grew up knowing Graham Laine as his only father. Forty years later, a letter arrives and David finds out everything he thought was a lie.

Bermuda Heat
MLRPress (February 2011)


Chapter One

Saturday, 9:20 am, Rigali Avenue, Atwater Village, Los Angeles

The brown Ford squealed when it failed to take the corner at sixty. Instead it threw up streamers of dust as it bounced across a gravel verge into an empty parking lot. Martinez cursed as his partner, LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine took the same path, their unmarked Crown Vic blowing out whatever shocks might have been left in the aged vehicle when they screeched onto the lot after the fleeing Ford. Martinez reported their twenty and called for backup, then hung on as David maneuvered ever closer to the other car's rusted out bumper.

David ignored everything but the Ford and the two Pinoy boys they'd been closing in on for days. Since somebody stomped a Temple Street Trese boy to death and put all the Asians on edge, ready to stomp back, it was paramount they be stopped. David and Martinez were working with the local gang cops to try to stop it before it got bloody.

They'd spotted Sokun, the leader of the Pinoy's at a liquor store on Brunswick five minutes ago, the chase had been on. David figured they would try and double back, make a break for Rigali. But then a whoop and a new cloud of dust announced their backup had arrived. A black and white roared in, lights and siren on full code three.

What Sokun did next startled David. Instead of braking and coming around, the brown piece of crap's laboring engine roared, tires spat gravel and the car lunged forward. The fence protecting this section of concrete river was old and worn through years of neglect and abuse. Twisted by the elements and vandals, repaired repeatedlly, it inclined at a fifty degree angle, sagging as though tired of trying to hold out the world.

The Ford slammed into it at a good twenty miles per and snapped off the single metal pole pole, puncturing the radiator and killing the engine. There was a tortured shriek of metal on metal, sparks flew from underneath the battered vehicle. The engine rattled to a stop.

Both doors flew open. Sokun and his passenger bailed. The passenger, who David hadn't been able to ID, headed north. Sokun scrambled over the battered remnants of fence and vanished over the lip of the cement trough.

"Oh, tell me he did not just do that," David muttered.

Martinez growled what might have been a reply before he too was out the door and hot on the trail of the passenger, along with a young, female uni. David bolted after Sokun. The other uni followed.

David always figured he was in shape. He ran nearly every day with Sergeant, the Doberman he and Chris had adopted three years ago. Legs pumping, he slowed only long enough to clamber over the chain link and he was off, half skidding, half running down the angled concrete wall, avoiding chunks of broken wall, hot on Sokun's ass.

It was long after the last winter rain. The bed of the river was little more than a few scummy patches of rainbow hued water and scattered weeds that had broken through the concrete and clung to life amid the detritus of a city. He dodged a shopping cart, abandoned with a broken front wheel. A black garbage bag split open, spilled its reeking contents down the slope. A pair of fat gulls took flight when Sokun raced toward them. They squawked and protested as they flew south toward the distant smog-shrouded basin.

Ahead of him and losing ground fast, Sokun clearly didn't do any recreational running. He stumbled over broken concrete and his leather loafers were not designed for top speed flight. David closed the distance between them. Behind him the uni was gaining ground.

"Stop, asshole!"

Not surprisingly, the asshole in questions ignored his orders.

David came up on Sokun's left side. The Cambodian gang leader threw one wild-eyed look over his shoulder and tried to dodge right. David body checked him and the two of them went down. An elbow caught David's chin and he kneed Sokun's kidney, missed and caught him square in the groin. The younger man folded with a groan and rolled onto his side, holding his bruised crotch in both hands. At least until David wrenched them behind him and cuffed him. The uniformed cop arrived seconds later and stood over the downed pair, one hand on his duty weapon, his other on his baton.

David sat on his haunches, his butt resting against Sokun's legs. His arms over his knees, panting as he stared across at the graffiti tagged wall on the other side of the river.

"I'm getting too old for this," he muttered as Martinez appeared at the top of the concrete wall, his own prisoner looking as worse for the wear as David felt.

The uni pulled Sokun to his feet as David rose and dusted his linen pants off. "Get him out of here," he said and climbed up to join Martinez. He watched the two uniformed officers, one who barely looked old enough to be out of middle school lead their prisoner away and shook his head.

Sokun cursed in Cambodian and English.

"Either they're getting younger or I'm getting old."

Martinez clapped him on the back. "It ain't us, ese."

"God, I hope not." David scrubbed his hand through his shaggy hair. Together they trudged back to their Crown. He threw a glance back at the Ford, doors still open, water leaking out from underneath.

Martinez grunted as he eyed the messed up Ford. "Well, look at it this way. At least the asshole didn't try to make a run for it down there in that." He stared balefully down the concrete slope. "That would have been a real circus."

"More like the Indy 500. Better call a tow truck." David shook his head and did his best not to think about it. "Get a warrant for that thing, too."

He put his hand on the still warm hood of their city-owned junk heap. He climbed in behind the wheel. "Might be time to trade this thing in, too. Call the motor pool. See if we can't get this one put out to pasture." He slotted the key in and fired it up. It grunted but fired on the first try. Barely. He met his partner's gaze. "Ever think it might be time to hang it up yourself?"

"What? And give up all the excitement? Not to mention the respect and love we get."

"You left out the fabulous pay check."

"I guess I did kind of forget that. Come on. Let's go down and book these mutts. At least earn some of those big bucks."

A second black and white rolled onto the lot and Sokun was loaded into it. The two shops rolled back out onto Rigali, followed by David and his grinning partner.

"Another fine day on the force."

"Hey," Martinez said. "We'll look back on this someday and remember all the fun we had."!Brown
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Victor J. Banis said...

Ah, Pat's usual excellent prose - and a great opening scene, btw. You already know what kind of ride you're in for.


C. Zampa said...

A new adventure with my favotire characters, one of my all-time favorite authors.

I hope P.A. Brown never runs out of adventures for David Eric Laine and Christopher Bellamere.

Two men who are written so well I feel I know them intimately.

Can't wait to read this new addition, Pat.

Congratulations on the release!