New Police Mystery for Review: A Leprechaun’s Lament by Wayne Zurlbooks for review, Featured — By Dorothy Thompson on July 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm
A stipulation of the Patriot Act gave Chief Sam Jenkins an easy job; investigate all the civilians working for the Prospect Police Department. But what looked like a routine chore to the gritty ex-New York detective, turned into a nightmare. Preliminary inquiries reveal a middle-aged employee didn’t exist prior to 1975.
Murray McGuire spent the second half of his life repairing office equipment for the small city of Prospect, Tennessee, but the police can’t find a trace of the first half.
After uncovering nothing but dead ends during the background investigation and frustrations running at flood level, Jenkins finds his subject lying face down in a Smoky Mountain creek bed—murdered assassination-style.
By calling in favors from old friends and new acquaintances, the chief enlists help from a local FBI agent, a deputy director of the CIA, British intelligence services, and the Irish Garda to learn the man’s real identity and uncover the trail of an international killer seeking revenge in the Great Smoky Mountains.
You can visit Wayne online at www.waynezurlbooks.net.
I think about the little guy often. Murray McGuire looked like a leprechaun. He played darts like a pub champion and drank stout like a soccer star. If you worked for the city of Prospect and found problems with a piece of office equipment, Murray would work tirelessly to remedy your troubles.
But after I interviewed him for thirty minutes, I could have cheerfully strangled the little bastard.
Thanks to Murray, I‘ll always look over my shoulder with a modicum of trepidation. I have dreams about a beautiful redhead I could do without. And I remember an incident best forgotten every time I see a turkey buzzard.
For days, I thought of Murray as the man who didn‘t exist.
At 3:30, just before the shift change, I sat in my office, sport jacket hanging behind the door and feet up on my desk, while I read over some of the paperwork that makes a small police department go around. Stanley Rose stuck his head in the doorway and rapped his knuckles on the jamb.
“Hey, boss, I just wanted to say thanks for arranging a promotion ceremony. My wife and kids are excited about being on TV.”
“My pleasure. Come on in.”
Supervising the three police officers assigned to do the background investigations was Stanley’s first job as a soon-to-be sergeant. At six-four and 235 pounds, the ex-LAPD street-crime cop, took up a large portion of the guest chair in front of my desk.
“We’ve got a problem,” he said. “Bobby’s having a hard time with the work on Typewriter Murray.”
“What could go wrong with Murray? He’s lived up the street for almost thirty years.”
“In a word, everything. Big problems with this guy. Bobby got faxes back on most of the inquiries he sent. The high school Murray listed never heard of him. He gave us a bad driver’s license number. He’s got no mortgage, no credit cards. The credit bureaus say he’s never applied for a card, a loan, or life insurance. The most Bobby could find is a local checking account with about a hundred bucks in it. Nobody knows him but us and the Army. There’s no trace of him before 1975. He’s a phantom.”
“Let me see your paperwork,” I said.
The top pages were his application and a brief personal history. I thumbed through and saw that he listed a six digit driver’s license number. Tennessee licenses have eight.
“Did you run him through Department of Safety? Maybe he just put down the wrong numbers?”
Stanley shook his head. “No license. Never had one. Never applied. Never registered a car. Just like everyone else we’ve checked with, they never heard of him.”
“He’s got some balls driving a city car without a license. Have you or Bobby spoken with him yet?”
“Bobby’s been talking with him, but Murray’s got no answers. What do you want to do?”
“Crockett’s going off duty now, so tell him to stop in tomorrow morning. What’s in Murray’s Army records?”
He handed me a few additional sheets of paper.
“Let’s see if he has an honorable discharge,” I said.
“Yeah, he got an honorable after three years, 1975 to ’78. Then a couple short-term mechanic’s jobs, a nighttime business school in Knoxville, and finally his job here. We’ve got nothing but his word about what he did before that. And he’s got none of the usual stuff everyone else on the planet has.”
“Whose bright idea was it to do these investigations anyway?” I asked.
“Nobody likes a smart sergeant, Stanley.”
Link to trailer: http://youtu.be/7K8FWsh7-sg
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If you would like to review A Leprechaun’s Lament, please fill out the form below or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife(at)gmail.com. Please mention which date would work for you. Wayne is also available for interviews and guest posts.
Deadline for inquiries end July 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!
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