Being a telepath, I should have seen the hell I was getting myself into…
I used to be one of the most powerful telepaths in the guild. That was before my drug addiction and before they kicked me out. But I’m not a bad guy. Now I help the Atlanta PD solve murders. And even though there are only a few people I call friends, I’d do most anything to keep their trust.
So when a judge asks me to help investigate a missing college kid, I’m down for it. No questions asked. No problem. But in this dark world, things are never easy and a favor is never just a favor. Turns out, politicians don’t like being murder suspects. And it’s bad to anger someone with more power than you. I thought I had nothing to lose… I was wrong.
Buy it today
Amazon US ebook (no print)
(links support the author)
Also available in Audio
At Audible and iTunes. Links coming soon.
Excerpt from Payoff
Billy Oden’s campaign office was on the bottom floor of a large post–Tech Wars concrete condominium building, next door to a dry cleaner and a pizza place. The signs in his window—OUTSTANDING ODEN, VOTE ODEN, and other uncreative examples of the type—were printed in garish colors and blocky fonts so large you couldn’t possibly overlook them.
The bell over the doorway rang dully as we entered. It was dim inside, the window largely covered by the signs, and it took a moment for my eyes to adjust. Long rows of tables filled the large room beneath another garish sign, each table filled with papers and people. In the back of the open space, maybe twenty feet back, a boxy office stood next to the restrooms. Its walls didn’t reach all the way to the ceiling, and its door closed with a click. The outside walls in the building, like most of the buildings built after the war, were three feet thick, and the acoustics as a result felt heavy and muted.
There was also a security guard, as was traditional for this kind of post-war building, a hefty guy with a large gun seated in an alcove eight feet away on the right wall. I wouldn’t be surprised if a huge concrete cover sealed up the building’s front every night; after the Tech Wars, people got paranoid, and for good reason. Why a politician had chosen this particular building with all its paranoia rather than the newer grown crystal open buildings told me something about his character.
As we walked in, a hawkish guy in a far too expensive suit punctuated an order to another, then stood up. He came over, his hard-soled shoes making hollow thuds on the floor. “How can I help you?” In his mouth, the standard words became almost a curse.
“DeKalb County Police Department,” Cherabino said, flashing a badge. “We’d like to speak with Senator Oden.”
He adjusted his cuff links. “Of course,” he said, in a tone that said anything but. “His earliest available appointment is tomorrow.”
“It’s in his best interest to cooperate with law enforcement. I’d like to speak with him now,” Cherabino said evenly, a kind of leashed expectation coming over the Link.
“Who are you?”
“Rafael Mantega, Senator Oden’s campaign manager,” he said smoothly. “And I’m afraid the earliest available appointment is tomorrow morning. I can offer you a slot at eight-thirty a.m.” He seemed pushy, and I wished I could read him to see why, but I felt nothing.
Cherabino held her ground. Finally she shrugged. “Put us down for eight-thirty then. But it will be here, not at the capitol.”
“Of course,” Mantega said smoothly. “Who should I attribute the appointment to?”
“Detective Cherabino,” I told him.
“I’ll make a note.” He smiled an empty smile, his eyes following us as we exited the door. “You have a pleasant day.”
In the steel-lattice-reinforced parking deck behind the building, I asked Cherabino, “Is it suspicious they won’t talk to us right away?”
“Could be. Probably Mantega’s just being an asshole, throwing his weight around.”
“You’re still going to run a background check on him, aren’t you?” I asked.
She stared at me, her car door half-open.
“Sorry, stupid question.”
©Alex Hughes. All Rights Reserved.