by Zoltan James

An excerpt from CHAPTER 1. This completed mystery/thriller novel, set in LA and Denver, is currently seeking representation.

Los Angeles
Harley Kane was bent. Bent and too blind to appreciate the jazzy-Latin-hip-hop palette of Pico Union.

He roared his beater Vette to the curb and braked dead cold in front of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church on Pico Boulevard, the main drag between Santa Monica and downtown L.A. He bounded up the church’s broad white steps, two at a time. Behind him the pale blue twilight fought off the red-and-green neon signs blinking above the bars and drugstores.

He missed it all. Oblivious to the street’s fake and bake, her heartbreaks, and her danger.

Kane was out of uniform, nerves raw, jaw tight. On a mission. Personal. He didn’t give a shit about his car. This was his turf and soon as he delivered his message, he’d be gone.

He marched down the church’s center aisle, past the altar, and burst through a side door where Father Mario Gomez prepared for his Saturday evening mass. The small room was redolent of old cedar and incense oils. The half-dressed priest solemnly laid out his vestments on a long credenza, his back turned to the door.

Kane tossed an envelope onto the table startling the priest.

Father Gomez was younger than Kane by a few years, in his early 30s, with a full head of black curls. “What? What is this?”

“Open it.”

Gomez eyed Kane warily.

“Open it,” Kane said louder. Then he drew his gun, just for emphasis.

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