In the Blood by Tom Fowler

 In the Blood

In the Blood by Tom Fowler (The C.T. Ferguson Mystery Novels Book 9)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.8 MB

Tom Fowler was born and raised in Baltimore and still resides in Maryland. He is the author of the C.T. Ferguson novel and novella series, which are all set in his home city. At about age seven, polite young Tom wrote a “murder mystery” in which no one died.

C.T. Ferguson is shot and left for dead.
Will he live to solve his own attempted murder?
After wrapping up a routine case, private investigator C.T. Ferguson is gunned down and left floating in the Baltimore Harbor.
His police detective cousin Rich is frozen out of the investigation. No one thinks it was a random act of violence. It leaves two big questions.
Who did it? And why?
The answers will shake the Ferguson family to its foundation.

By the time I emerged from the shower, Gloria was already awake. I found her at the kitchen table with an empty coffee mug—one of the world’s saddest sights—sitting in front of her. I leaned down and kissed her before setting a pot to brew. It finished while I whipped up a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and turkey sausage. Gloria prepared a cup for each of us. I sipped mine before starting in on the food.

The same number which called me twice last night tried again now. For the third time, I silenced the call. “New client?” Gloria asked around a bite of eggs.

“I’m between clients at the moment. My preferred state.”

“It could be important.”

“Whoever it is has called three times,” I said. “I’m sure there will be a fourth.”

“When were the first two?”

“Last night . . . when I was otherwise engaged.”

Color spread across Gloria’s cheeks as she picked up a wedge of toast. “When did you wrap up your last case?”

I shrugged. “Two or three days ago, I guess.” Now seemed about right for a new one. I liked a little downtime between jobs. A difficult investigation might require a longer layoff. I finished eating, grabbed a bottle of water, and kissed Gloria goodbye as I walked out the door. I knew she had tennis practice later, so I wondered if I’d see her for dinner.

My office was in the CareFirst Building in Canton. When I first leased the space, a bank owned the deed, but we all got a new landlord before long. Since then, most non-medical offices moved somewhere else. I may have been the last holdout. They probably wanted to get rid of me, but my lease ran through the end of the year. Maybe they’d encourage me not to renew then. Other than leaving three goons bleeding in the hallway once, I’d been a model tenant.

Not long after I settled in behind my desk, my phone buzzed again. It marked the fourth instance of the same number calling me. I answered. “You’re a hard person to reach,” a man’s voice said. Annoyance dripped from his tone.

“Hard at work. What can I do for you?”

“I’m a small business owner . . . I run a shop in Fells Point. It’s not much, but it pays the bills. Anyway, a few days ago, some guy barges in and says I owe him protection money. I ask him what he’s protecting me from. He tells me everyone else out there.”

“I presume you declined to pay.”

“Yeah.”

“I’ve seen gangster movies,” I said. “Do I need to guess how it ended?”

“He used a bat and smashed a few things. Said he’d do worse if I didn’t pay him next time.”

“You get a look at this ‘nineties throwback?”

“Nah,” he said. “The prick wore a mask.”

“I guess he didn’t leave his name?”

“No, but he told me who he worked for.”

“Who?” I asked when it became obvious the caller wouldn’t tell me without prompting.

“Tony Rizzo,” he said.

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