When three young boys stumble into Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s life one night during a winter storm, they claim they’ve seen a dead body by the swing sets of the Columbia County Elementary School. After he investigates, DeLong sees no evidence, not even a body. But were the boys telling the truth?
With the help of his oldest friend and mentor, former Naval investigator Russ Calhoun, DeLong sets out to find whether Manny Grimes is alive or dead. The further away he gets to the bottom of the mystery, the closer he comes to realize that his own life is falling apart.
Delving deeper into the murder of Manny Grimes, Lieutenant DeLong begins to unravel, losing his sense of control, falling into old temptations he spent years to overcome. Will he be able to move past his own demons and untangle the web of lies before it’s too late?
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“We don’t have the time to go searching for a missing person that hasn’t yet been reported missing.”
Captain Stewart had listened intently to DeLong’s story before shaking his head in annoyance.
“But, sir,” DeLong protested, “the kids reported him at the school and—”
Though he already knew the answer, Stewart asked, “When you investigated, did you see Grimes at the school? Or any evidence that corroborated these children’s claims?”
“No,” DeLong admitted.
“I’m sorry, Lieutenant, but I’m not going to allow you to run around town, searching for a man that more than likely got out of Dodge. I don’t appreciate the fact that a member of my team,” Stewart jabbed a thumb toward his chest, “entered another person’s home without permission. And convinced a civilian to do the same.” The captain glared from DeLong to Calhoun and back again.
“Captain Stewart,” Calhoun put in. He had been seated quietly, listening as the lieutenant recounted once again what had happened the day before. Now he rose to put in his two cents. “I believe that something happened to Grimes. I went to his house on my own accord. Everything Jim just told you, I stand by. Something happened to this man. We have a duty to find out what. Captain, if we come up with nothing, or we find out we’ve been chasing our tails, then I’ll eat my jacket.”
Stewart narrowed his eyes in Calhoun’s direction and crossed his arms. “You think this is funny, Calhoun? I would have thought better of you than to be involved in a wild goose chase. Entering a man’s premises without a warrant? I should throw the book at you.” He glared at DeLong again. “Actually, I should throw the book at both of you.”
He sighed and leaned back in his chair, uncrossing his arms and linking his hands behind his head. He continued to glare between the two men.
“All right,” he said after minutes passed. “DeLong, I’ve known you long enough to know that ninety times out of a hundred, your instincts are sound. You want to search for the man, then fine.” He held both palms in the air, then slowly lowered them flat on the desk and leaned forward.
“But do not, I repeat do not, do anything that would require a warrant until you have probable cause to actually get a warrant. Keep me posted. I’ll give you two days to either find Grimes or hard evidence that he is actually missing. Two days. That is all.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you, Captain,” DeLong said with a satisfied nod.
“Yes, thank you,” Calhoun echoed.
“I have to run out for a little while,” the captain said with a sigh. He rose, straightening his shirt uniform. “Try not to waste too much of my time. Or yours.”
“Yes, sir,” DeLong acknowledged as he left the office.
“Where do you want to start?” Calhoun wondered, trailing after him.
“I suppose we should go back to the schoolyard,” DeLong said, halfway out the door. “Maybe between the two of us, we’ll find something I overlooked when I first looked around.” Outside, DeLong blew into his hands to warm them. “Honestly, I just wanted to get out of the station a little bit. But I didn’t want to go home. Sam has me sleeping on the couch these days. Anyway, I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for. The body wasn’t there. The snow we had would have destroyed most, if not all the evidence.”
At the truck they slid inside. DeLong adjusted the heat as Calhoun set the gear in motion. “I just want to be sure we’ve covered all our bases.
Then let’s go back to the Walkers’. I want to know more about Jonathan Walker’s friendship with Manny Grimes.”
A young woman has been murdered at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion and Lieutenant Jim DeLong realizes at first sight this case will be the most difficult one of his career. DeLong is immediately swept into the memories of his childhood and dark secrets he’s longed to forget.
The victim is his sister-in-law, and old thoughts he’s fought to delete will be resurrected whether DeLong likes it or not. He and his brother have been estranged by unhappy times in their youth. With no clear motive, DeLong questions his ability to remain objective.
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Equipped with a professional writing degree from Augusta State University, Angela Kay is a southern lady who spends her days and nights dreaming up new ways to solve dark murders of normal people.
Angela Kay was one of 23 across the United States to win a 2009 playwright contest for her one-act entitled “Digging Deeper.” Because of this, she was able to spend a week in Atlanta at the Horizon Theater Company.
She lives in Augusta, Georgia with her crazy calico, Maggie.