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Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Ravishing by D. J. Manly

Joe left the police force to set up his own private investigation agency after working homicide on a series of ten unsolved murders, the victims all young men who frequented the cafes during the Beat generation. The last victim, Joe’s lover at the time, hit too close to home. And just when Joe believed he was getting close to solving the case, the murders stopped.

Joe never expected to find the killer, so he left the police force, defeated. But now, four years later, a young man walks into Joe’s office with an interesting story about those murders, stories Joe can’t quite believe until he begins to see things more clearly.

Jeremy wants Joe’s help, he’s scared, and unless he can get Joe to believe him, the murders are going to start all over again. Yet the question remains—by whom?

Genres: Gay / Nostalgic Contemporary (1950s-Era) / Mystery / Detective / Suspense / Thriller / Paranormal
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (19k words)

Read a short excerpt...

...I grabbed a glass and emptied the rest of the bottle into it, deciding I’d close my eyes for a spell. The radio droned in the background. They were talking about Cuba and Castro, who was now at the helm. Guess I wouldn’t be smoking many Cuban cigars.

I didn’t hear anyone come in, so when I heard someone say my name real soft-like, my eyes flew open, I lowered my chair onto all four legs with a thud and put my hand on my gun.

The young man in my office looked as startled as I was. He backed into the corner and raised his hands. “Don’t…shoot me.”

When my pulse began to return to normal, I took a gander at the figure clinging to the wall. He looked like a kid around nineteen, but something told me he was older than that. He was pale, his blond hair almost scraping his slight shoulders, and as he propelled himself away from the wall and came forward, his large blue eyes had me reeling. I was a sucker for blue eyes.

“My name is Hanson, Jeremy Hanson.” He looked around as if someone were chasing him. He leaned forward. “Are we alone?”

“Yeah,” I said. “You look spooked. Have a seat.” I noticed his hands shaking. He clutched the arm of the chair as he lowered himself. I got up and poured him some water from the pitcher Doris had left on the sideboard. I handed it to him. It was probably warm but it was wet. He didn’t seem to mind.

He nodded his thanks and took a few swallows.

I retook my seat and waited for him to speak.

“You were a policeman a while back.”

“A while back. If you’re trying to find out my qualifications—”

“I know your qualifications. I do my homework.”

“What’s this about?”

He lowered his voice and leaned forward. “The ravishing.”

Something in my gut knotted. How could he have known that? No one except those admitted to the crime scenes knew those words. “Look, if you’re writing a story, that boat has sailed. I had nothing to say before, and nothing to say now.”

“What if I told you”—he swallowed—“I know who he is?”

“I’d say you were hallucinating. Unless you were an eye witness and didn’t come forward, then you are an accessory to—”

“He showed me everything.” Jeremy ran a hand though his unruly blond hair.

“I see,” I said with a sigh. This kid is one sick puppy.

“That’s what people think,” he nodded.

I stared at him. “I don’t follow. What people think about what?”

“You said I was one sick puppy and I’m not a kid. I’m twenty-six. Your initial assumption that I look younger than I am was correct. You’re a good cop.”

“I’m not a cop anymore.” Had this kid read my mind?

“You were. You were lead investigator on that case, and you were the only one who really gave a dam.” His eyes flew to the open flask sitting on my desk. “He knows you haven’t forgotten. I see that he’s right.”

“What is this, some kind of a joke?”

“No joke. I started with these dreams a little while ago. They come almost every night, one after another, ten in a row. Then they stop and begin again. He’s ready to start again, another ten murders. He’s just biding his time.”

“Look, the details of those murders are, for the most part, readily available. You read about it like everyone else and they influenced your dreams. Try reading something lighter… an Emily Bronte novel will do the trick.”

“But you forget, there were some details not divulged to the public.”

I waited. I wasn’t sure where he was going with this but I knew from experience there were a lot of nuts in the New York City mix. This one looked like a real crackerjack...

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