by Michael Walsh
GENRE: Mystery, with minor romance
All Detective Matt Conley ever wanted was to raise a family in Ocean Park with his stunning and ambitious wife Lisa. When a corpse is found in his church, Matt begins a journey that reveals corruption and decay in his city and deceit in his marriage. As he searches for the murderer of a local businessman, a gang war erupts for control of the city’s drug trade, and the body count rises. With his reluctant new partner, Detective Lloyd Kendricks, Matt weaves his way through the puzzling connections between street gangs, politicians, bikers, and a private kink club.
Will their unlikely alliance be enough to return Matt's beloved hometown to its halcyon days? And will he find the faith he needs to rebuild his crumbling marriage?
She put her hand over his and he felt electricity, and fantasized her saying, ”Let’s forget this bullshit, Matt. How about a nooner?”
“Lisa, there’s something I’ve got to tell you about—ˮ
“I heard about the murder in St. Amby’s,” she interrupted.
He nodded. “Two days ago. I need to give you a heads up about what happened. Eddie and I were called to investigate—”
“Your priest friend must be freaked.”
“Father McCarrick acts like he’s in charge, but I know when he’s upset. Talks like he’s high on helium. A guy named Victor Rodriguez was the vic, Puerto Rican with a big insurance business. Insured most of the Hispanics in Ocean Park.”
She leaned forward, looked interested, concerned, caring, which made him think about . . .
Unselfishness.“Marriage is not all about you, Matt. Think about your wife.”
“Congressman Conley,” he said. “That has a ring to it, Lisa. Think you have a chance?”
She flattened her hands on the desk and hunched forward as if sharing a secret. “Special elections are always tough and I’m fighting an incumbent, but I’m polling in first place, Matt. Ahead of Congressman Diaz. Lots of rumors around his extracurricular activities. Nasty stuff. Kinky sex.”
“Are they true?”
“I have no idea.” She winked. “But my campaign manager—Bill McNulty—takes every opportunity to remind voters.”
Ambition—that’s certainly a candidate for the cause of our troubles. Lisa is married to me and a couple of careers—Essex County prosecutor and aspiring politician.
“If you got in, it’d be great for Ocean Park. You’d help turn it around.”
She wrinkled her nose. “Bill says Marblehead and Swampscott are the key towns—places to build a political career. Do you remember Bill? You met at the District Attorney’s Christmas party.”
“I think so. Skinny guy, porn star mustache, wimpy handshake. Kind of a pretty boy.”
Jealousy? Be careful. He imagined Larkin wagging his index finger and shaking his head in warning.
The corner of her mouth twitched and she squinted mischievously. “Bill and I don’t shake hands and I haven’t seen a lot of pornos, Matt, so I really can’t compare. He’s pretty trim, though.”
“Lisa, let me tell you about that night in the church.”
The hollow door to her office swung open. Bill McNulty strode in and threw Monday’s Ocean Park Gazette on her desk. The paper scattered, tumbling as if he’d brought a windstorm. Lisa sat upright, hands folded, elbows planted on the edge of the desk.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Michael Walsh attended Boston University, where he became a staffer for the Daily Free Press and earned a degree in journalism. His first professional job was at a public relations and advertising firm, writing press releases that appeared in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and New England Journal of Engineering. He later became a technical writer, writing and editing jet engine manuals for General Electric Aircraft Engines. GE relocated him to Cincinnati and Florida, where he currently resides. He’s written and studied fiction for years at BU, the University of Cincinnati, and now Jacksonville, where he won the First Coast Writers Festival short story contest and had work published in the UK’s Twisted Tongue and Askew Reviews. He’s an active member of the Bard Society, Florida’s longest-running writers’ workshop.
His five novels and dozens of short stories, most of them richly-layered mysteries, take place in New England. Mike and his wife Jean live in Florida with their three sons.
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