When Bruno Pedace learns that his investment banking partners are setting him up to take the fall for their own corrupt practices, he does what he has always done—run away. But the documents he takes with him put a target on his back. He changes his name and, for nine years, goes underground, until an assassin tracks him down in California and badly injures him.

Befriended by Janet Jenkins, a courageous woman who works in a battered women’s shelter, Bruno, for the first time in his life, with Janet’s help, fights back. He constructs an ingenious financial scheme to get payback for the crimes perpetrated by him, former partners.

      Essam went to the kitchen and removed a butcher knife from a rack. He returned to the living room, sliced the couch and chair cushions, and tipped over the television. In the dining room, he repeatedly marked the table with the knife and then shouted a huge “Yeah!” when he pulled the breakfront off the credenza and watched it crash to the floor.
Back in the kitchen, he went to work on the food, flatware, and dishes in the drawers and cabinets. He was about to topple the refrigerator when he heard a car motor and the crunch of tires.

Maybelle saw Janet’s Impala pull into the driveway. She tried to open the window, but it was painted shut. She banged on the glass so hard she thought it would break. But Janet apparently didn’t hear her. “What the heck are you doing?” she muttered. Get out of the car, she silently pleaded.

Janet kept the motor running while she and Patsy Cline finished the last part of Crazy: And I’m crazy for lovin’ you. She switched off the radio, turned off the ignition, and sighed because she didn’t know in what state she’d find her mother. She stretched out and grabbed her purse, opened her door, and planted her feet on the driveway. Then she remembered the package the man had given her. She reached back to get it when she heard her cell phone ring again. She moved her hand to pull the phone from her purse when there came a loud crash and a shower of glass landed on the car roof, on her legs, and at her feet. She yelped and felt her heart leap. She peeked up at the house. At that moment, her mother stuck her head out of the broken second-floor window, screamed, “There’s a man in the house,” and then tossed something that landed with a thud on the car roof and slid down the windshield onto the hood.
“My God,” Janet cried when she spotted her .38 revolver resting there. She dropped her purse in the driveway, rushed from the car, and snatched the pistol.

New Mexico homicide detective partners Barbara Lassiter and Susan Martinez returns in this third edition of the Lassiter/Martinez Case Files series.
Called in to investigate a mysterious death in a retirement center, Lassiter and Martinez find themselves entangled in a case that might very well involve multiple murders committed by a psychopathic killer. The deeper they go into their investigation, the more complex and dangerous the case becomes, threatening the lives of the detectives and their loved ones. Political and bureaucratic machinations within the detectives’ department and the involvement of organized crime only make their jobs more difficult.

Barbara and Susan drove to the Detention Center from BCSO headquarters and met Scott Matthews’s attorney, Jeff Burns, in the reception area. Burns had his client brought to an interrogation room. Barbara immediately noticed that Matthews’s demeanor and attitude had dramatically changed since the last time they’d seen him. He now seemed more frightened than angry. Seated next to Burns, he bent over at the interrogation table and stared at the cuffs around his wrists, secured to a metal loop in the tabletop.
“You ready to answer our questions?” Susan asked.
Before Matthews could respond, Burns said, “Remember what I told you. Be careful about what you say. Don’t volunteer any information. If I don’t like a question, I’ll say so.”
Matthews cleared his throat. When he spoke, his voice croaked. “Go ahead,” he said.
“You understand the charges against you?” Susan asked.
“Of course. I’m not stupid.” He scoffed. “Assault on a police officer. What a joke! I tripped. You know it as well as I do. You trumped up that charge just so you could put pressure on me. It’s my father’s death that you want to talk about.”
He’s smarter than he looks, Susan thought.
“Why’d you kill your father?”
Matthews sneered. “I would never have harmed my dad. I loved him.”
“What about the liquid nicotine we found in your medicine cabinet?”
His head came up. He stared at Susan with wide, red-rimmed eyes; his chin quivered. “I swear on my father’s grave that I don’t know how that bottle got into my house.” He snapped a look at Barbara. “How do I know you didn’t plant that bottle?”
Barbara’s eyes narrowed. “We don’t plant evidence, Mr. Matthews. And swearing on your father’s grave doesn’t mean much if you murdered him.”
Burns interjected, “Was there a question there, Detective?”
Barbara ignored him. “I guess your share of your father’s life insurance benefits would have solved a lot of your problems.”
Burns erupted with a shout: “That’s it. I’m instructing my client to not say another word to you two.” He stood and banged on the door for a jailer.
Matthews’s face had gone pale and his eyes leaked tears. Then he broke down and sobbed. He glanced from Barbara to Susan, who both now stood a couple feet back from the table. He appeared to want to say something, but his mouth wouldn’t seem to cooperate. Finally, he wailed, “My God, what have I done to deserve this?” He swallowed hard, dried his tears on his orange prison uniform sleeve, and looked directly at Barbara. “You’re so certain—”
Burns interrupted him: “Don’t say anything, Scott.”
Matthews ignored Burns. “You’re so damned sure that I killed my father, that the liquid nicotine was mine. You’re so blinded with the myth of my guilt that you’re going to miss finding the actual killer.”
The jailer arrived at that moment, unhooked Matthews from the ring in the table, and marched him off. As Burns turned to leave the room, he suddenly stopped, shot venomous looks at Barbara and Susan, and, in a firm, steady voice, said, “I’m going to sue you two, your department, and the county for false arrest, planting evidence, corruption, and anything else I can come up with. I hope you’ve got something else you can do besides pretending to be detectives.” Then he walked off. 




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