As the Crow Dies (An Asheville Mystery Book 1) by Kenneth Butcher
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.4 MB
A bookish police detective and his roller derby star partner investigate a quirky mystery involving superintelligent animals, military conspiracy … and murder. When a body is found in the River Arts District of Asheville, North Carolina, the man on the case is police lieutenant Ira Segal, recently returned to semi-active status after being shot in the line of duty. Segal, who carries Elmore Leonard paperbacks as security blankets, isn’t sure he’s up to investigating a murder, and neither is his partner, military veteran and local roller derby star Sgt. Dinah “Dinosaur” Rudisill. Segal discovers that the victim worked for the mysterious start-up company Creatures 2.0, which trains animals to acquire uncanny capabilities. Creature 2.0’s eccentric founder, Francis Elah, has gone missing, and no one can find him, not even Elah’s top client, the Office of Naval Intelligence. As Segal and Rudisill investigate the murder and Elah’s disappearance, they meet the bizarre animals Elah trained, including a raccoon who rolls cigarettes, pigeons who follow a priest to church, and a superintelligent crow who keeps bringing evidence to the detectives’ attention. When the trail leads to a shadowy military contractor, more murders, and a threat to national security, Segal and Rudisill don’t know who to trust and face a dangerous confrontation.
She came up and nudged him to announce her arrival. He looked away from the TV and leaned to whisper in her ear. “They killed bin Laden,” was all he said, and they both looked up at the screen again.
Dinosaur Rudisill reached over and picked up Segal’s coffee. “No shit,” she said, and took a long drink, not taking her eyes from the screen.
The announcement from the president did not elaborate on details of the operation, which was something that would have interested Dinah and probably everyone else in the room. She waited another minute until the president finished and walked away from the camera. She thought that was odd, the way the camera stayed on him as he disappeared down the hallway. It stayed on him a long time, as if the TV producer was just as hungry for details as everyone else and hoped the president would turn around at the last minute and say, “Oh, by the way …” But of course, he didn’t.
Dinah took another drink of Segal’s coffee and said, “Osama’s not the only one that died last night.”
For the first time that morning, he turned and really looked at her. He appeared to be waiting for her to continue. His blue eyes seemed fully in focus, although they still held a tired look as well. He had that combination of brown hair and blue eyes that made a few ladies at the other tables glance his way from time to time. Women more frequently took him for a college professor than a police detective, an impression that sometimes served him well.
“Good coffee,” Dinah said and gave him an innocent smile.
She watched him look at her with a frown of indulgence. “I’ll get us a couple to go, and then you can tell me what’s going on,” he said.
While he went to get the coffee, she finished off his first cup and the last half of a vanilla glazed doughnut as well. She looked at the TV, but the commentators had no further information to share. They just picked apart the president’s delivery.
Segal returned with the coffee. She watched him and saw no sign of a limp. His hands were steady holding the cups. She also saw him frown when he realized his doughnut had disappeared.
When they got to her car, she watched Segal set the coffees on the top and clear a place to sit. He picked up the gym bag and a sweaty uniform from the seat and a pair of roller skates from the floor. He placed everything carefully in the backseat, handling them as objects commanding respect and reverence. That was Segal’s way.
They drove through downtown Asheville, then down Chicken Hill and into the River Arts District.
“Where are we going?” Segal asked as they reached the bottom of the hill.