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Damage Control by Timothy Gilbert

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Genre/Category: Crime, Thriller, Mystery
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Damage Control by Timothy Gilbert
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Synopsis

When a Mexican drug lord sets his sights on celebrity money manager, Peter Hansen, a quiet terror is unleashed across suburban New Jersey. As Peter's investment business morphs into a money laundering center for drug lord Julio Viola, friends, family and clients get caught in the wake.

Dr. Nick Johnson, Peter's good friend, is appointed to serve on a high profile heart drug study, and is flattered and eager to further his stagnant career. But Nick’s excitement turns to terror when Julio discovers the valuable inside information Nick has about the pharmaceutical trial and unwittingly makes it known to Nick that the cartel has no plans to let him live in the end. Peter helps his friend Nick plan to fake his death so as to escape from the cartel, while Peter is soon forced to worry about his own family once Julio's paranoia leads to several murders of Peter's employees and clients.

Will Julio deliver on his death warrant for Nick or will a celebrity client take vengeance on Peter for his lies? Once the money laundering outfit begins to unravel, Peter must act swiftly and harshly.


Excerpt:

Joe Costa stepped out of his cruiser and onto Willow Lane. He was a lead detective in the Chester County sheriff‟s office which serviced Lansdale, a bedroom community of the greater Philadelphia area.

Joe tried not to think about the stomach problems he‟d been having that morning.

The detective looked up at the Linder house. The nice looking brick structure highlighted a two columned front entrance partly obscured by three large oak trees filling the front yard. A grey SUV sat parked up onto the curb in the back of the driveway, and sticking halfway out of the open garage was a dark red sedan suffering from a beat up back end - all of which gave Joe the feeling that his hopes for a blissful morning on the can were about to be dashed.

“Okay, gentleman what do we have this morning?” Joe asked two policemen waiting for him on the front step of the home.

“Come on in. I hope you had a light breakfast,” remarked Officer Tom Lightman.

Joe stepped into the house, observing that the front door and lock were intact. There was no smell of blood to knock him over, but Joe definitely smelled gasoline.

“The victims are in the kitchen,” Officer Rudy Jenkins informed Joe.

The spacious front foyer to the home featured a winding staircase with an oriental runner lining the middle of the wood stairs. Joe glanced at the living room on his left and dining room on his right, both holding furniture that pointed to an annual income light years away from Joe‟s detective pay grade. The morning sun shone through the bay window in the living room and landing softly on the grand piano.

The gasoline smell came alive as Joe walked closer to the kitchen, which was positioned behind the front staircase, so he took a few seconds to reset his concentration. The doorframe to the kitchen entrance and the surrounding wall space had been torn to shreds, drawing Joe to run his fingers across the bullet entries. No small gun could have produced that kind of damage.

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Linder were each tied to a chair on the backside of the kitchen island. Their throats had been slit, while Harold‟s left pinky laid on the floor. The gasoline source blanketed Mrs. Linder, soaking her neck down and pooling at her feet. The Linders looked to be in their 50‟s.

Joe leaned in for a closer look: the large patch of hair missing in Mrs. Linder‟s head was just a few inches above her broken right eye socket, and her right hand fingernails had bloody skin on them, indicating severe scratching of the attacker.

“She must have put up a hell of a fight,” Joe said calmly, running his fingers lightly through Mrs. Linder‟s hair and finding a sizeable lump on the side of her head. Tiny glass pieces covered the Linders‟ clothing.

“We found another guy in this hallway.” Officer Tom pointed to the back hallway leading to the garage. “You should see the garage.”

Joe looked at Officer Tom in disbelief. “More bodies in the garage?”

“No, but the sedan is a quarter way out of the garage…its front doors are open, the keys are in the ignition and its rear end is smashed in,” Officer Tom stated flatly.

It must have been awfully loud when all of this went down. Maybe a neighbor heard, or, even better, saw something.

Faint laughter suddenly filled the house and the two officers looked at the detective. Another burst of laughter….from a woman… upstairs. They drew their guns, then fanned out.

Joe spotted the staircase in the kitchen leading to the back of the house and started his way up the stairs with his gun pointed upward to the second floor landing. The stairs led to a bedroom, bathroom and a closed door that Joe suspected was another bedroom. This part of the house was above the garage. Another two steps up led into another empty bedroom. Joe walked through this bedroom only to find Officer Tom in the main upstairs hallway. Officer Tom had checked all other rooms upstairs, so they headed back down to the closed bedroom door.

Officer Tom aimed the gun at the door and Joe fired it open. Two people under a white bed sheet looked to be on top of one another. A college-age young man looked out from the bed sheet, his face radiating complete rage over the ecstasy interruption. The naked young man, excited sky high, climbed out of the bed and pulled a golf club from underneath. He completely ignored Joe‟s loud announcement of who he and Officer Tom were. The next thing Joe knew, this kid started charging him with the club, and he might have clobbered Joe over the head were it not for Officer Tom shooting the ceiling as a warning. The young man halted, dropped the club, and looked over at the bed where the woman he was with hid under the bed sheet.