The Gold in Their Eyes
Marco Flynn Mysteries Book 3
by Christopher Clouser
Marco Flynn has returned to his home town for a fresh start. Now he’s a full-time parent to a pre-teen son, Jacob, and has asked Tara to marry him. He tries to start over by getting a normal nine-to-five gig.
Marco accepts a job working in the administration for the newly-elected mayor of Indianapolis. Before the ink dries on the contract, a new drug fills the streets . Along with that, a series of murders sweep through the city with the ringleader making a personal threat toward Marco’s family. Marco takes it as a personal challenge to solve the crime even if it compromises his new job, or his life
Marco attempts to protect his family no matter the costs. Even if that means harm will come to him, either physical or emotional. He will do anything to prevent a repeat of the tragedies he has seen over the last few months repeat itself. His sacrifice is worthwhile if it means his family, and the city, are safe.
**Releases on 6/13/23!!**
After riding the elevator up to my floor, I walked past the closed offices while the hint of air freshener and bad sushi filled the air. When I reached my door, an awful odor hit me with a left jab to the olfactory senses. I first thought of spoiled food, but this scent made three-day-old tuna comparable to a field of wildflowers and questioned myself on what I left in the office during my last visit a few weeks prior. The unlocked door waved another red flag when I grabbed the knob. All the warning signs screamed danger, and I was a sitting duck without my handgun.
“I’m coming in! Don’t shoot!” Like an idiot, I rushed in without calling security. I played the odds, assuming they would have shot me when I walked up to the door if they were going to kill me.
I barged through and found a naked body on the floor. No one else greeted me and I called 9-1-1 to request IMPD before checking out the body. From this distance, the rigid and unclean corpse showed no blood stains or wounds. Unsure if the decay or defecation smelled worse, I opened a window and wondered how a body ended up in my old office.
No scuff marks from the body being dragged appeared when I examined the hallway. Unless a weightlifter delivered the body, one person did not carry this horse of a man. The guy on my office floor weighed roughly 350 pounds with just socks and a trench coat resembling torn cellophane around a twinkie. Logically, the body arrived after 5 pm, or the culprit risked being seen by some of the other office building tenants. I just missed them.
My brain formed a theory of how the body got into my office; prompting me to visit the freight elevator and hit the call button. The elevator car arrived and opened to reveal several marks and smears on the floor. The material left behind was for the crime lab to determine, but my brain speculated on its disgusting origin. The faint sound of my office phone ringing from this distance pierced the silence, and I ran back to catch it on the fifth ring.
A pause rose from the other end. Then my mystery caller opened his yap. “I assume you got my congratulatory gift for the new opportunity.” The disguised voice hinted at a Latino accent behind an audible technical deception.
I put the call on speaker and hit the record feature on my cell. “And who are you? I should thank you for the bag of shit you left on my doorstep.”
The person laughed with a snort at the end. “You don’t mince words. I’ll make this quick to prevent tracking this call. This city offers much fuel for my fire, and that gentleman is a sample of the coming flame, Mr. Flynn. Get ready.”
The line went dead. I dialed *69, and it gave me nothing. After I hung up, I returned to examine the body. As I leaned over the corpse, a familiar voice called from the hallway: IMPD’s Lieutenant Gus Stein, my best friend and future best man at my wedding.
“Jesus, Marco. You haven’t even got your first paycheck and you’re already turnin’ over dead bodies.”
Considering we had been friends since our college baseball days, he received some leeway. I replied, “Did the security guy check you in?”
“Get a copy of his log before you leave. The register might have the fake name of whoever brought this dead fish up here.”
Gus leaned over the man. “Ripe. I’ll give him that.”
“Why are you here?”
“Just heard the report and recognized the address as your office. The crime lab will be here momentarily.”
On cue, the crime lab folks left the elevator and walked down the hall. The lead tech yelled, “Touch nothing!”
The Young & The Wicked
Marco Flynn Mysteries Book 2
Marco Flynn is fresh off a case that was bigger than anything he could imagine. To take a break, he and his girlfriend, Tara, travel to Seattle to spend the holidays with his son, Jacob.
From the start of the trip, Marco makes life miserable for the bad guys. During the flight, Marco breaks up a kidnapping. Then, once he reaches Seattle, is drawn into a child abduction case as a contractor for the FBI, his former employers. When Marco begins his investigation, he finds the kidnapper may be related to his ex-wife’s boyfriend, talk about a tough conversation. It becomes apparent that something is amiss at the Bureau as Marco unravels the mystery.
Marco attempts to keep his professional and personal lives separate as he goes between his ex and his girlfriend, while developing a deeper relationship with his son. Then every parent’s worst nightmare occurs and the case turns into a race against the clock as Marco Flynn tries to track down his prey in a city he does not know.
The short and curvy brunette wore a stiff-looking uniform, a dark blue pencil skirt, with a light blue blouse. Though appealing, the uniform was obviously a size too small. Probably an agenda on the airline’s part, or the only issued uniform they sold her ten years and two kids ago. The woman spoke with a soft southern accent that comforted children. My guess, she hailed from somewhere between Bloomington and Louisville.
I wagged my finger to draw her close and to tell her softly. No one else needed to overhear my suspicion. A plane full of panicking people was a bad idea.
She bent over a little. Catching a whiff of her perfume, something with cinnamon, I imagined the scent of homemade snickerdoodles.
“I don’t want to alarm anyone, so I wrote this note. Read it and if I’m out of line I’ll shut up the rest of the flight.”
She took the paper and nodded. “I’m glad to help, sir.”
The attendant walked to the front of the plane. I watched as she read the note. She slowly turned her head back to me and gave a subtle nod.
At least I didn’t get kicked off the plane… yet.
The other attendant finished her rounds and wheeled the drink cart to the back of the plane. Within seconds, that same attendant pushed the snack cart to the front of the coach section. Another small package occupied the same position as the prior package. A repeat incident was not a coincidence. Something was amiss.
I watched the cart like a hawk until noticing the attendant at the front. She played with something that looked like a flip-phone my parents owned at one point. She probably sent a message to the captain and convinced me the right thing had been done.
My attention shifted back to the cart, and the package disappeared. Damn. I had no idea what the package contained or who took it. My ego distracted my brain and forgot to pay attention to the most important thing on the plane, never learning my lesson.
Someone snagged the package and probably for nefarious means. My left hand shook a little until I got my nerve back.
I threw concern over my mysterious behavior out the port window and wiggled around in my seat to get glimpses of the people between me and the snack cart. After estimating where the person sat based on when the respective package disappeared, I narrowed the suspects to four people, now labeled as one through four in my head. They all sat on the aisle with easy access to the cart and the attendant.
Tara noticed my weird actions. She leaned over and whispered, “What’s wrong?”
Tara almost literally scared the crap out of me. I didn’t notice her movement as she broke my concentration on the problem in front of me.
Calm was required in my response to her, especially in her current state.
“Probably nothing, but something weird is going on. I’ve seen two items taken out of the carts after they passed by people. The attendant didn’t hand them to anyone. Someone reached in and took them.”
I attempted to console Tara while keeping my voice in a hushed tone. Her gorgeous eyes and pretty face made focusing on the task difficult.
“Stay alert and stay behind the seat in front of you. But don’t act too weird.”
“Oh, like you?” She fired a well-deserved barb of sarcasm.
Tara leaned closer to the window, shrinking her physical profile to be as small as possible. This did little to calm her nerves, but the distraction drew her attention away from the plane, her fear of flying, and the bouncing wing.
As the snack cart passed, I hit the call button a second time to signal the same attendant.
The attendant looked at me with contempt this time. She glanced at someone back and to the left of me. She did not want me to notice the guy a row back and on the other side of the aisle shift in his seat.
I assumed it was the U. S. air marshal assigned to this flight. There was less than a one percent chance an air marshal boarded this flight. With those odds we should be playing the lottery. Then the realization that getting kicked off this plane was a possible reality occurred.
As The City Burns
Marco Flynn Mysteries Book 1
Marco Flynn is working to make his home town of Indianapolis safe. In the process he stumbles across a dead body. The problem is she has been dead for two years and Marco attended her funeral. At the same time Marco's brother drops another case on him that implicates the Mayor in some illegal activities. The more Marco investigates he finds the two crimes have much more in common and may be linked to something even more dangerous. All of this as the city deals with increased protests and violence. Marco must decide if he wants to walk away or try to save the city he loves before it all falls down around him.
I expected this day to begin much different. The frigid canal water, cold from the prior night’s unseasonably low temperatures, blurred my vision, filled my ears, and froze my arms. The first day of autumn should not be this cold. The chill and remaining darkness were the least of my dilemmas.
A mural of a girl blowing bubbles was my compass in the early morning dawn. The image my lighthouse, a beacon, as I pulled a limp body to the side of the man-made waterway. The slight undercurrent and the inability of my cargo to help made it doubly difficult to get back to the cement border. My mouth kept going under as I paddled to the side and my torso slowly succumbed to the icy temperature. My sock-covered feet slipped on the algae coated slope and I wondered if success was possible. Then I felt the edge and knew safety was within reach.
“Hold on! Don’t die!” I yelled over my aching shoulder through the crisp, frosted air as I stretched my arm for the solid masonry, a stark contrast to the liquid muck with which I grappled.
My mind drifted for a second knowing I was safe. Then water splashed my face and provided a shock to bring me back to reality. Adrenaline granted me a boost of energy. My left hand grabbed the concrete block that mocked me with the words “NO SWIMMING” as I pulled with my right arm to drag the body closer to the edge; my muscles burned from the strain. I climbed out and got on my knees, scraping them on the concrete as a dribble of blood mixed with the water. After the taxing exertion, the real challenge of extracting the body from the water remained. My eyes opened to see the blurred image of the underside of a bridge.
My hearing returned as cool fluid drained from my ears. Police sirens blared, reminding me that I called 9-1-1 before jumping into the green water.
My mind returned to the nonresponsive body. I grabbed the nearest arm and leg and utilized all my strength to lift the person, complete with waterlogged clothing, over the cement curb. I leaned back and pulled a second time to complete the job. The cement grabbed the skin beneath my shirt and peeled it from my torso as I slid across the rough surface. After removal from the water, the drenched body covered half of me.
I scrambled from underneath and prepared to start CPR. The shadow of the bridge overhead kept daylight from corrupting the scene. Death did not want the promising daylight stepping on her turf.
I cataloged the steps in my mind from training several years before: check for a breath, clear the airway, pump the chest thirty times, and finish with two breaths. One look at the face told me it did not matter. This person died long ago and was beyond hope. I checked for a pulse anyway and confirmed my suspicion.
The sirens closed in on my location. I heard one car skid to a stop on the bridge overhead when the tires squealed to a halt.
Christopher Clouser lives in the Indianapolis, Indiana area and pursues writing speculative fiction in his free time. His family consists of his wife, two children, and one grandchild. He has written sixteen books that include fantasy, science-fiction, mystery, and sports history while contributing to several others, along with multiple articles. He also has spoken to many local and national organizations on creative writing and the career of Perry Maxwell, a noted American golf course architect.