This is the 43rd Novella in the series detailing the life and career of Detective Joseph Lind. It is the 23rd story where Detective Shelley Anne Shields is partnered with Joe.
Detective Lind can't wait until the end of Winter for his 'booked' extended Holidays to more warmer parts in northern Queensland to begin. This sojourn ordered by DS Clive Butler as Lind is 'on the brink' after the trio of gruesome 'Kiddie Homicides' tests his very mettle. His and other members of the First Respondent Group.
He does not want to be involved in multiple Homicide Cases so close to his intended date of Leave. He hopes that he can leave his partner with a clean plate before he begins his Holidays.
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The Holiday "Coastal Strip" from Tweed Heads on the far north coast border of NSW through to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, is Australia's holiday "Capital."
This Holiday Mecca also draws a large demand for soft and hard drugs, the entire business controlled by three or four competing Bikie Gangs. They constantly challenging one another for a bigger share of the 'pie' and the warring factions are often at loggerheads that involve 'drive-by' shootings, damage to property, torching of Properties and Clubhouses and even death of members and family.
Into this cauldron comes a new-comer. A third tier Criminal Family from the western suburbs of Sydney. This triggers a vendetta that spans several years and the death of many of the participants, or so it seems to both the Queensland and NSW Police Forces who some will accuse, will sit back and wait until the Gangs kill each other of!
A vehicular explosion kills the elderly mother and only teen-age son of this low-grade Crime Family, leaving the daughter of the woman and the mother of the lad slain to conduct her own vicious revenge acts on the supposed perpetrators of the crime.
Detectives Lind and Shields are involved in a fatal vehicle accident. The two only shaken but kept in Hospital overnight as a precaution.
The death of two young lads and the dumping of their battered bodies has them scratching their heads, wondering what the connection is or if there is a connection between all parties and acts of violence involved. The death toll mounts slowly over the years, reinforcing the notion that death is for keeps and the warring parties only stopping when forced by premature deaths that leads to the extinction of one of the Bikie gangs on the Gold Coast.
"Joe? A minute, please."
I hated these types of requests from the Boss. It always spelt trouble or a difficult Case dropped into my hands. I stood at his doorway, thinking that in not fully entering his domain, I could dilute anything he may request...or even refuse it!
How ridiculous is that?
"Human Resources have just informed me that you now have twelve weeks of Annual Leave accrued. You should be taking your annual four-weeks' leave each year as it comes due. Hear me? It would seem Abbey may have been a bit lax in keeping on top of this aspect of personnel control..."
That made my hackles rise and I was about to step into his domain and defend Abbey's honour...until I realised that the old Boss had been gone for more than three years and it was now Clive's responsibility to keep on top of such things. He was trying to 'pass the buck' onto a person who was not present and could not defend himself. I opened my mouth to comment as such, but the word diplomacy flashed across my grey matter.
Prudence is knowing when to shut your bloody big mouth, some-one once screamed at me!
I couldn't for the life of me recall who it was!
I nodded my head sheepishly, accepting blame when I really thought none was due on my part.
Tact is always allowing the Boss to think that he is right on every occasion. I think the same person who has slipped my mind, may have also stated this as a jewel of knowledge, so he thought at the time...buggered if I could recall the obvious Statesman!
"Not on, Joe..." The Boss continued. "If you do not take it, you could lose it. Considering your recent...um...those three Cases involving Child Abuse and Homicides, I think you should consider some time off...no...I am ordering you to take at least six weeks off, understand? Your Time-off-in-lieu is also way over the accepted amount at twenty-two full days. Close to two hundred bloody hours! Bloody hell, Joe! You need to consider reducing that level, otherwise you could lose it...you know it's expected to be kept at sixteen hours maximum at any given time...two bloody days maximum! Hear me? I know that is hard to control, especially here in the Murder Squad when hours and standard shift hours can often be tossed out the window, but twenty-two full days? That is the most accrued by any of the guys on the floor! C'mon, Joe, you need to keep on top of it. Okay? It is your responsibility, hear me?"
"Boss? I can't afford to take..."
He held up a hand to stop me going any further.