A brutal serial killer is loose on Cape Cod and Jack’s wife is a possible target. He has to keep his wits about him to solve this. Calculation by Steven P. Marini. Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, other fine eBook vendors and Gypsy Shadow Publishing at:
Is there a serial killer on the loose on Cape Cod?
Multiple, bizarre murders are taking place in Dennis, MA, Detective Jack Contino’s new town. But they all have different signatures. One looks like a MOB execution, another is a brutal knifing, yet another is the shooting of a businessman. The killer evens has his sights on Jack’s wife, Natalie. Somehow MOB boss Tommy Shea, Jack’s longtime nemesis, comes into the picture. He often does. What is his link to these events?
Jack can’t get rattled, but his nerves are getting frayed. He’s never had so much at stake in a case. He and his colleagues, including old pal Leo Barbado, get on the trail and must put the pieces of this puzzle together.
Word Count: 66000
Pages to Print: 217
File Format: PDF
Price: $4.99 /2.95 /3.60 //$13.99?
I hate these damn, freakin’ places, condos, condos, condos. The Cape is supposed to have quaint little cottages in quaint little villages, here and there. La,la,la. Saw the wife and kiddie leave, so now it’s just you and me, booze man.
I’d seen death like this before. Thirty plus years of police work in Boston gave me plenty of experience. Now I was with the police department in Dennis, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, the place Patti Page sang about, Old Cape Cod, quaint and quiet, with salt air everywhere. It was the late 1970s and I was still a cop, only now I was trying to take it slow and ease my way into retirement soon. This had all the markings of a Mob hit. They don’t get creative. When the Mob wants to execute somebody, they don’t have time to make a ceremony out of it. They usually have someone the victim trusts and lets the killer get close. Then, the killer turns the tables on the target, the ultimate betrayal of trust. This one fit the profile.
The guy took a single bullet to the back of the head in his West Dennis townhouse, shattering the peaceful October Sunday afternoon he was enjoying while his wife and small daughter were out. His body lay on the kitchen floor by the counter. It was a small kitchen, with yellow appliances against a light green wall. A guy could stand at the range and spin around to be at the sink. There was a bottle of Scotch and two glasses with ice on the counter near him, spoiled by blood spatter.
I got the call while off duty at home with my wife, Natalie. We were cleaning house when Sergeant Jim Pearson called me. My home is in West Yarmouth, so it took me about fifteen minutes to get to the scene. I looked around the kitchen and surrounding area with Jim while the forensic techs did their thing. Pearson was my right hand on the Dennis PD, a smart twenty-year man. He was about six foot-two and built like a linebacker, a good man to have beside you if things got rough.
“What have you got on him, Jim?”
“He’s Robert Schroeder, thirty-three years old, owner of West Dennis Liquors on Main Street. I’ve been in there myself and chatted with him a little. He’s owned the store outright for a couple of years, after buying out his partner. That’s what he told me once. His wife was out when it happened. She and her little girl came home and found him. Fortunately, she was able to block her daughter from seeing this. She’s with a neighbor next door. Mom is in the master bedroom with Officer Karen Orlando.”
“Speaking of neighbors . . .”
“Some officers are questioning people now,” said Pearson.
“Good. I’ll talk to the wife, if she’s up to it.”
“She’s okay with that, Jack. I spoke to her briefly and told her she’d have to talk to you, too.”
“Fine. While I see her, check on the officers canvassing the neighbors.”
Anne Schroeder was sitting on the bed when I came in. She held a handkerchief to help her wipe back tears. I asked Officer Orlando to remain.
“Hello, Mrs. Schroeder, I’m Detective Jack Contino. I’m in charge of the investigation.”
She looked to be in her early thirties, a very good looking woman, and was well composed, considering what had just happened. She seemed small and frail, but when she spoke, there was strength in her surprisingly deep voice.
“Yes, Detective, Sergeant Pearson said you’d need to talk to me. I understand. I want to help any way I can to catch whoever did this.”
“I’m very sorry for your loss, Mrs. Schroeder. I know this must be very hard for you, but I need to get as much information as I can quickly. If, however, you need some time, I understand.”
“No. That’s okay, Detective. Go ahead.”
I don’t know how people in her situation can do it. Somehow they pull it together, for a while, anyway.
“Did your husband have any enemies that you know of?”
Mrs. Schroeder took a breath and paused a moment before speaking. She looked at me, then diverted her eyes, gazing toward the window across the large bedroom. The room was nicely decorated with a king size bed and matching cherry wood dressers, all new. The tan wall-to-wall carpet felt like a cushion under my big feet.
“Detective, my husband had a partner when they bought the liquor store five years ago. He was an old high school friend of Bob’s. Bob worked very hard to make his business a success, since it was always his dream to own his own business. Well, George, that’s his friend, George Brady, didn’t have the same energy for work and they didn’t see eye to eye about how to grow the business. Bob wanted to open another store after a few years, but George didn’t want to do that. He just wanted to enjoy the profits from the current store and live like he was on a permanent vacation. I guess you could say they had a falling out.”
“Did it ever get violent?”
“No, but they had some real shouting matches. I thought once that they were going to fight, but George slammed his fist against a wall at the store and walked out. The only solution was to buy George out, which Bob did two years ago. It meant selling the ranch house we had to get the money, but as soon as we sold it, Bob did the buyout. It drained our savings almost to nothing, but it was the only way. It was worth it, though. Bob hired an assistant to help him and a couple of part timers. I work there, too, part time when Janie, that’s our daughter, is in school. It’s been paying off and we moved into this condo unit seven months ago.”
“Who was working the store today, the assistant?”
“Yes. My God, he doesn’t know what’s happened. I didn’t think to call him. I’d better do that now.”
“Relax, Mrs. Schroeder, I’ll have some officers go over there and tell him to close up. Does he lock up the cash in a safe?”
“Yes. There’s one in the back room.”
“We’ll have him do that and tell him you’ll have to close the store for a while.”
“Thank you, Detective.”
She gave me the name of the assistant and I passed that on to Pearson, who sent an officer to the store.
“Mrs. Schroeder, do you have George Brady’s address and phone number?”
“I have that information in our address book, but I don’t know if he still lives there. He was in Harwich.”
She started to get up, but I suggested that I could get that information in a minute. I wanted to keep her talking.
“Did Mr. Schroeder ever have any other business dealings with people who he didn’t see eye to eye with?”
“No. He got along fine with the owner of the building and everyone else I know of.”
“I’d like to get the building owner’s name and information, too. Did your husband have any hobbies or activities that might have involved large sums of money?”
“You mean, like gambling, Detective? It’s a fair question. I’m not offended that you asked. No, he didn’t gamble. His whole life was his family and the store.”
I didn’t mean to insult her and was relieved by her response. “Of course, Mrs. Schroeder. I didn’t mean to imply anything.” I took a breath. “Is there anything else that you can tell me? Is there anybody else who might have a grudge of some sort against your husband?”
She shook her head, holding it high as she spoke, despite the tears.
“No, Detective. Bob was a fine man. He was kind and gracious to everyone.”
“Okay, Mrs. Schroeder, you understand that you can’t stay here now. We have to secure the crime scene, probably for a few days. Is there anyone you can stay with? If not, we’ll take you and your daughter to a motel at the town’s expense.”
“My sister lives in Sandwich. I’ve already called her, and she’s on her way.”
“Fine. Pack some things. Officer Orlando will help you. Your sister won’t be able to enter, so we’ll let you know when she arrives.”
“That’s all right, Detective.”
She eased her petite body off the bed and walked over to a closet and started collecting clothes. She wore tan Capri pants and a pale blue T-shirt. With white tennis shoes, she seemed to float across the floor. She turned back toward me and I saw her beautiful blue eyes, now tinged with sadness.
Other novels by Steven P. Marini:
A Jack Contino Crime Story
This vigorous, well-plotted crime concoction takes a straight-on look at the tangles and snares involved in stepping outside the “social contract,” and it’s a kind of morality tale without the classroom lecture. It’s pretty well done, too. The author has wisely limited his word count, so it feels just about right, and we’re left with the sense of an inaugural job well done.
--The Barnstable Patriot
A Jack Contino Crime Story
Author Marini again shows his mettle when it comes to creating a great storyline . . .”
--The Barnstable Patriot
Aberration takes off like a bullet with a cool hero: Jack Contino, a cop’s cop, who knows a thing or two about criminals, breaking cases and chasing down a cold one. You’ll find yourself rooting for him all the way. And if it’s the late 1970s you’re nostalgic for, you’ll feel right at home with this nifty mystery.