The Big Adios

Because we all go a little crazy sometimes… meditations on all things noir and hard-boiled.

In a shameless act of self-promotion, here’s a sample chapter of my werewolf thriller Blood Moon Fever. In the novel, FBI agent David Goodwin isn’t having a good month. Sent on a manhunt after escaped felon ‘Hard Time Jake’ Griffon, he finds he has bitten off more than he can chew as he moves from the wooded Northern California wilderness to the mean streets of LA in pursuit of a man who has become something beyond human.

During Griffon’s bloody prison break, something happened in the woods of the Modoc Forest. Something inhuman. Something evil. Something terrifying.

Now, as the full moon prepares to rise over the City of Angels, Goodwin must piece together elements of a puzzle involving a fugitive on the run, a crooked lawyer, a violent drug cartel, and a string of bloody corpses left in the wake of an ancient terror now awake and hungry for fresh carnage.

Below is a sample chapter…

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Goodwin sped through the night, weaving in and out of traffic as Chiha gripped the dashboard tightly, his face expressionless.

“He will be gone before we get there.”

Goodwin kept his eyes on the road, scanning for gaps between the cars as he blew past.

“Probably good. Forgot my silver bullets, anyway.”

“That is part of your mythology. If you shoot him in the head or heart, he will die the same as you. The type of bullet is not important.”

“You can be killed like that?”

Chiha considered.

“It is not easy. On your own, he will kill you before you even get to fire. He is as intelligent as you, but faster and stronger than you can imagine. But even a pure blood can be killed if wounded badly enough. We heal faster and can survive wounds that could kill a man, but we are mortal.”

“So you can kill him?”

“Yes, as he can kill me. But neither of us will get the chance to kill the other if we cannot find him. In the forest, I can track him anywhere. In this city … it is more difficult. I cannot find him without you.”

Goodwin pulled a hard right from the far left lane, leaving the squeal of tires and angry honking of horns in his wake.

“We’re stuck with each other, then.”

“It would appear so.”

***

Goodwin pulled up sideways in front of the Sons of Leather. Police cars and two ambulances blocked the right lane. Officers were questioning bar patrons and keeping onlookers at bay in the flashing red lights. A large man dressed in a shirt emblazoned with the bar logo sat on the curb while a young paramedic tended to a gash on his head while a patrolman took notes.  Goodwin listened in as he approached.

“I wouldn’t believe me either, man. But you didn’t see his face. Ask anyone, man.” He swept his arm to the shell-shocked witnesses huddled in groups on the sidewalk. “He jumped backwards on the bar like a fuckin’ cougar, then jumped halfway across the fuckin’ room. An’ his face … it fuckin’ changed, man. There some new drug on the street? ‘Cause whatever it is, count me fuckin’ out.”

The paramedic and the cop exchanged glances.

“C’mon guy. You got a concussion.” He helped the bouncer to his feet. “We’ll get you checked out, okay?”

Goodwin looked at Chiha. The paramedic walked the bouncer to the ambulance and helped him inside. Goodwin walked over to the detective, holding up his ID card.

“Special Agent Goodwin. This was Jake Griffon?”

“We don’t know exactly. The description that was called in fits, but then we show up and we got wits giving us conflicting descriptions of his face. All we know is the guy was leaping around the bar like Superman, took out three guys, jumps on the bar, then hightails it out the back door. One in the morgue, two in the hospital. We got cars combing the area looking for him.”

“How long’s he been gone?”

“Maybe twenty minutes.”

“Shit. Clothes?”

The detective flipped back a few pages in his notebook.

“Jeans. Sweatshirt. Baseball cap. No one’s sure of the colors. You know how it goes.”

“Thanks.” Goodwin turned to leave.

“Sure. One other thing though.”

Goodwin turned back to him.

“People think he was on some new kind of drug. Not just because of how he moved, but because his face … shit, I don’t believe this myself.”

“What about his face?”

“They said his face was … rippling. That’s their word, not mine. Rippling like waves. Fuckin’ crazy, huh?”

Goodwin said nothing, grabbing Chiha by the arm and steering him towards the bar.

“He ran out the back about twenty minutes ago. The cops have a rough description and are looking for him. From what they told me about his movements and energy, he’s probably sprinted to the city limits by now.”

“No. He will be tired.”

“What?” Goodwin asked, pulling him to a stop.

“When he becomes angry or frightened, he has already begun to change. But after, he will be weak. He will feel sick almost to the point of death. He may be close by, hiding until his strength returns. If we find him soon, he will be easier to take.”

“That’s great, but if the cops get to him first, they won’t know what they’ve got.”

“Take me into this building where he was fighting.”

“Why?”

“I can track him.”

“This is the city. There won’t be any tracks to follow.”

“I don’t mean footprints.” The irises of his eyes grew slightly larger, and his nostrils flared.

“Fine,” Goodwin hissed and steered him towards the bar.

Inside, a forensics unit was busy searching for evidence, anything that would positively identify Griffon as the instigator of the violence earlier that night. The band’s equipment was still on stage, the instruments laying where they had been dropped in the panic that set in once Griffon, if in fact it was him, had let loose. Goodwin steered Chiha to the bar.

“According to the witnesses, he jumped up on here before fleeing out the back. Apparently, he’s not too…”

He trailed off, staring open-mouthed at Chiha, who lowered his head a few inches off the bar top. He took a long, slow breath in through his nose and held it. From the other side of the room, the forensics people stopped what they were doing to stare. Chiha exhaled and moved towards the back door.

“I know,” he said.

“Know what?”

Chiha didn’t acknowledge the question, moving purposefully to the door. Goodwin followed as he pushed open the door and walked into the dark alley behind the bar. Chiha paused, holding up one hand. Goodwin stopped, opened his mouth to repeat the question, then closed it. Chiha slowly rotated his head from right to left, bent at the knees, and squatted on his haunches.

“You know what?” Goodwin asked again, irritated.

Chiha stood to his full height and peered into the darkness at the east side of the alley.

“It was him. I know which way he went.”

The back door banged open and one of the forensic team stepped into the alley.

“Who the hell are you guys?”

Goodwin held up his ID.

The man looked at the ID, then to Goodwin, and finally to Chiha.

“I know you’re a fed, but that guy sure the hell isn’t. What’s he…”

“He’s with me. Get back inside and do your damn job. Every minute you waste asking dumb questions, Griffon gets farther away.”

The forensic man blustered, “Yeah, but he isn’t supposed to be in here.”

Goodwin strode up inside his personal space, jamming the ID under his nose.

“This tells you all you need to know. The Bureau’s running this one, and I don’t have time for lab geek bullshit. I said he’s with me. Now get the fuck back inside.”

The forensic man stammered and blushed, then retreated back into the bar, no doubt headed for one of the detectives.

“I hope you know the hell what you’re doing,” Goodwin said as Chiha walked off down the alley and into the night.

Thanks for reading. Blood Moon Fever is available as a paperback on amazon or on kindle. https://amzn.to/2CZNKuy

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