This novel was written in 2011 under my alternate penname Leo Croix. I planned on making it the first in a new series but never got around to it. Now I think it's time to revive that idea ...
Danny Monk is an investigator for the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI), a former U.S. Naval Intelligence officer and Secret Service special agent, unwaveringly committed to justice. And no one, no matter how powerful, will stand in his way or stop him from finding it.
Helena Vail is a controversial upstart candidate for the governor's office who many see as a bright hope for Alabama's future, while others see her as the destruction of all they hold dear. Alabama is no stranger to bare-knuckles politics or the political violence that sometimes accompanies it, but as the second decade of the 21st Century begins, the Yellowhammer State would like to leave its checkered past in the past and forge a new path toward the future. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to let that happen. And some are even willing to kill to see that it doesn't. Enter Alabama's top troubleshooter, Senior Special Investigator Danny Monk.
Danny Monk was a patient man, and in his line of work, that was a good thing. Patience and stamina, and an ability to amuse himself with very little outside influence.
He was in Birmingham at the moment, had been there for three days now, following up on a tip from an informant. A registered sex offender from Montgomery had gone missing two weeks ago, missed a scheduled appointment with his parole officer and a session with his court-ordered shrink. Deputies from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office had been dispatched to his listed residence to check on him, make sure he wasn’t dead, etc., but they didn’t find him, and none of his neighbors, three other registered offenders in the group, could say that they had seen him at all in the last week. Not a good development.
Raymond Gilbert Cowls’ victims of choice were girls between the ages of eleven and fourteen and he had been known to be rough with them. He’d served a seven-year sentence in the state pen—should have done a lot more—and was supposed to be under close supervision. But with state budget cuts and less caseworkers to supervise more offenders, things slipped through the cracks. Raymond Gilbert Cowls should not have been one of them.
Danny Monk is a senior special investigator with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, officially assigned to the Major Investigations Unit, but in reality acting more as a statewide troubleshooter for the Bureau’s assistant division chief, Captain Russell Rowland. When Rowland was notified that Cowls was missing and read the highlighted file, he immediately pulled Monk from a case he was working on up in North Alabama and told him to do whatever he had to do to locate Cowls fast. That was a ten days ago.
Now Danny Monk was pretty sure he had just found Raymond Gilbert Cowls, and was ready to pounce as soon as he had confirmation.
THE AMERICA’S BEST INN AND SUITES hotel in the Roebuck neighborhood of Birmingham is located just off I-59 North on Parkway East, set on the same lot as a Waffle House restaurant and across the street from a Super Center Wal-Mart. Danny had been told by a usually reliable informant that Raymond Gilbert Cowls was staying in one of the hundred rooms at the hotel, although he did not know which one.
The first thing Danny did after receiving this information was to call the hotel and ask to be connected to Cowls’ room, but was informed that there was no one by that name staying there. Of course, this didn’t mean the tip wasn’t valid, it just meant he might not be staying under his own name. Which meant he wasn’t that stupid. Too bad.
Danny didn’t believe he had enough evidence to get a judge to sign a warrant giving him authority to go door-t0-door in the hotel to find out if Cowls was in fact staying there, and the hotel would probably be reluctant to allow such a search without one. So this left him with but one option: Surveillance!
Thus the patience, stamina, and the ability to amuse himself with very little outside influence. And it looks like all three just paid off because as Danny sat in his dark colored SUV in the far south corner of the rear parking lot of the hotel on a cold mid-November night, he observed a lanky gentleman with stringy blond hair and a half-assed goatee coming down the stairs from the third floor and going to the ice machine in a small room behind the lobby. The parking lot was very well lit near the building and Danny had no problems making out the man’s features, and comparing them with the photographs on his phone.
No doubt about it.
He’d located Raymond Gilbert Cowls.