The first case of PI Walthenson – “A Case of Working With the Jones Brothers”

This case has everything, red herrings, jealous brothers, femme fatales, and at the heart of it all, greed.

Coming soon!

PIWalthJones1

An excerpt from the book:

 

When Harry took the time to consider his position, a rather uncomfortable position at that, he concluded that he was somehow involved in another case that meant very little to him.

Not that it wasn’t important in some way he was yet to determine, it was just that his curiosity had got the better of him, and it had led to this: sitting in a chair, securely bound, waiting for someone one of his captors had called Doug.

It was not the name that worried him so much, it was the evil laugh that had come after the name was spoken.

Doug what?  Doug the ‘destroyer’, Doug the ‘dangerous’, Doug the ‘deadly’; there was any number of sinister connotations, and perhaps that was the point of the laugh, to make it more frightening than it was.

But there was no doubt about one thing in his mind right then: he’d made a mistake.  A very big. and costly, mistake.  Just how big the cost, no doubt he would soon find out.

His mother, and his grandmother, the wisest person he had ever known, had once told him never to eavesdrop.

At the time he couldn’t help himself and instead of minding his own business, listening to a one-sided conversation which ended with a time and a place.  The very nature of the person receiving the call was, at the very least, sinister, and, because of the cryptic conversation, there appeared to be, or at least to Harry, criminal activity involved.

For several days he had wrestled with the thought of whether he should go.  Stay on the fringe, keep out of sight, observe and report to the police if it was a crime.  Instead, he had willingly gone down the rabbit hole.

Now, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, several heat lamps hanging over his head, he was perspiring, and if perspiration could be used as a measure of fear, then Harry’s fear was at the highest level.

Another runnel of sweat rolled into his left eye, and, having his hands tied, literally, it made it impossible to clear it.  The burning sensation momentarily took his mind off his predicament.  He cursed and then shook his head trying to prevent a re-occurrence.  It was to no avail.

Let the stinging sensation be a reminder of what was right and what was wrong.

It was obvious that it was the right place and the right time, but in considering his current perilous situation, it definitely was the wrong place to be, at the worst possible time.

 

It was meant to be his escape, an escape from the generations of lawyers, what were to Harry, dry, dusty men who had been in business since George Washington said to the first Walthenson to step foot on American soil, ‘Why don’t you become a lawyer?” when asked what he could do for the great man.

Or so it was handed down as lore, though Harry didn’t think Washington meant it literally, the Walthenson’s, then as now, were not shy of taking advice.

Except, of course, when it came to Harry.

He was, Harry’s father was prone to saying, the exception to every rule.  Harry guessed his father was referring to the fact his son wanted to be a Private Detective rather than a dry, dusty lawyer.  Just the clothes were enough to turn Harry off the profession.

So, with a little of the money Harry inherited from one of his aunts, he leased an office in Gramercy Park and had it renovated to look like the Sam Spade detective agency, you know the one, Spade and Archer, and The Maltese Falcon.

There’s a movie and a book by Dashiell Hammett if you’re interested.

So, there it was, painted on the opaque glass inset of the front door, ‘Harold Walthenson, Private Detective’.

There was enough money to hire an assistant, and it took a week before the right person came along, or, more to the point, didn’t just see his business plan as something sinister.  Ellen, a tall cool woman in a long black dress, or so the words of a song in his head told him, fitted in perfectly.

She’d seen the movie, but she said with a grin, Harry was no Humphrey Bogart.

Of course not, he said, he didn’t smoke.

Three months on the job, and it had been a few calls, no ‘real’ cases, nothing but missing animals, and other miscellaneous items.  What he really wanted was a missing person.  Or perhaps a beguiling, sophisticated woman who was as deadly as she was charming, looking for an errant husband, perhaps one that she had already ‘dispatched’.

Or for a tall, dark and handsome foreigner who spoke in riddles and in heavily accented English, a spy, or perhaps an assassin, in town to take out the mayor.  The man was such an imbecile Harry had considered doing it himself.

Now, in a back room of a disused warehouse, that wishful thinking might be just about to come to a very abrupt end, with none of the romanticized trappings of the business befalling him.  No beguiling women, no sinister criminals, no stupid policemen.

Just a nasty little man whose only concern was how quickly or how slowly Harry’s end was going to be.

© Charles Heath 2019

 

Writing about writing a book – Day 6 continues – will it ever end?

Having finished a first draft of the words to fit the last plotline, while this is still bouncing around in my head, I need to keep the plot going.

That means I have to find a way to make Bill more interesting.  I’m not saying getting shot is just another ordinary event on another boring day at the office, but it needs something to lift into the reader’s consciousness, and want to see where he’s going to go with it.

Revenge is not on the cards because he has no idea who was shooting at him, or the fact at this time, it seems they, whoever they are, were out to assassinate Aitchison.

Why you ask.

There will be a reason, so sit back and relax, we’re not there yet.

 

Bill wakes up in the hospital and finds Jennifer there.  He remembers what has happened and realizes how lucky he is to survive.

After a period of recovery, Bill is questioned by Gator, the detective also now in charge of the shooting investigation, as, he tells Bill, there seems to be a connection between the two (obviously because it concerns the company Bill works for).

Bill cannot remember much of the detail of the earlier network outage and situation, but the import of Gator’s investigation is centered on the deaths of Halligan, Aitchison, and the attempts of both him and Jennifer.  I think we can safely say Jennifer was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Gator also reveals there are still problems with the computer systems at Transworld, a question of missing files, and a security breach.  He also advises Bill of Wiesenthal’s arrival and temporary management role.

(OK, a new character, Wiesenthal, he needs to be slightly sinister, and there for reasons that are not explained straight away.)

On the mend, and with time on his hands, Bill will have two new events to think about.

Firstly, and certainly not unwelcome, but a bit of a surprise is the continual presence of Jennifer.  He discovers that Jennifer has the same feelings for him and he has for her.

Secondly, and probably the more important of the two, and cause for concern, is the return of some of his memories in relation to service in the army during various engagements overseas, and one in particular.  Worse, he cannot understand why now, of all times, these particular memories should be returning.

He knew something bad had happened to him back then but was thankful that his mind had managed to keep it at bay for as long as it had.

But the nightmares become real, and the first of many plays out in his mind like a movie, where everything and everyone is in a surreal theatre production.  There he finally remembers what his mind has blocked for so long – that he was in a camp of sorts as a prisoner, and its something to do with his days in the Army.

In light of these memories returning, a Brigadier General pays a visit and explains the missing parts of his service life.  Why he did so Bill couldn’t immediately understand but didn’t question it.  Then Ellen conveniently visits him, laments his misfortune, and goes over the reasons for not telling him about his past (now that he’s remembered it) and wished him well for the future.

Before he leaves the hospital, Gator returns to tie up loose ends, that all that appeared to be sinister was not, and could be explained rationally.  It marked the end of his investigation, albeit a little too convenient Bill thinks but again says nothing.

He finally goes home with Jennifer.

Another dream – of the beginning of a lifelong friendship with ‘Brainless’ a fellow soldier, and someone he has known off and on since Army days, but who also had not alerted him to what he now remembered, also no doubt for a very good reason.

And the remembrance of the word Starburst – but he has no idea of its significance.

Well, that’s a lot to deal with, and will keep me writing long into the night.

And more people.

This story is starting to have a list of credits as long as the end of a movie!

NANOWRIMO Supplementary – Day 6

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There is something bittersweet about writing those fateful last two words on your manuscript, ‘The End’.

That’s because it’s not.  Oh, no.  It’s just the beginning.

However daunting the next phase of the writing process is, it’s a huge sigh of relief to finally finish the NaNoWriMo project for this year.

Then ending only changed a dozen times, the most recent version yesterday, when finally in possession of all the facts, we make discoveries that we really wished we hadn’t.

Certainly, the story lives up to the tentative book title ‘Betrayed’ though I’m not sure if I might use ‘Betrayal’ instead.  But a decision on that is a long way off.

Now it’s time to park the manuscript, at the moment running to over 80,000 words, more than I actually intended, and let it simmer in the back of my mind until the first edit next year sometime.

Having parked two or three other projects so I could concentrate on this, now I can go back and continue with my episodic stories, and, at last, find myself able to progress at least one.

But, let me say this, it’s a hell of a way to write a novel in a short space of time.

“Sunday in New York”, it’s a bumpy road to love

“Sunday in New York” is ultimately a story about trust, and what happens when a marriage is stretched to its limits.

When Harry Steele attends a lunch with his manager, Barclay, to discuss a promotion that any junior executive would accept in a heartbeat, it is the fact his wife, Alison, who previously professed her reservations about Barclay, also agreed to attend, that casts a small element of doubt in his mind.

From that moment, his life, in the company, in deciding what to do, his marriage, his very life, spirals out of control.

There is no one big factor that can prove Harry’s worst fears, that his marriage is over, just a number of small, interconnecting events, when piled on top of each other, points to a cataclysmic end to everything he had believed in.

Trust is lost firstly in his best friend and mentor, Andy, who only hints of impending disaster, Sasha, a woman whom he saved, and who appears to have motives of her own, and then in his wife, Alison, as he discovered piece by piece damning evidence she is about to leave him for another man.

Can we trust what we see with our eyes or trust what we hear?

Haven’t we all jumped to conclusions at least once in our lives?

Can Alison, a woman whose self-belief and confidence is about to be put to the ultimate test, find a way of proving their relationship is as strong as it has ever been?

As they say in the classics, read on!

Purchase:

http://tinyurl.com/Amazon-SundayInNewYork

Sunday In New York

NANOWRIMO Supplementary – Day 5

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I’ve managed to come back from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (where I’m deeply immersed in another story) for long enough to continue writing the last few chapters of the NaNoWriMo project.

Today, I wrapped up Chapter 33 and went through the aftermath of the latest attack on the main character, with a little assistance from a new operative, and one I’m beginning to like more than I should.

I’m hoping this is not a bit-part player whose going to steal every scene she’s in.

Then it’s onto chapter 34 where we get to sit down and discuss what happened and why.  Sometimes we tend to overlook the obvious, and not realise that what seems too good to be true generally is.

And where the title of the book gets justified.

There’s more than one betrayal going on here, and it’s going to be a hard pill for one of the characters to swallow.

Writing about writing a book – Day 5 continues – The complications of life

I hate it when other characters are drawn in, and without a proper introduction, the reader gets confused.

Well, let me tell you, the writer can get confused too.

The introduction of Jennifer cannot go without the introduction of Ellen Bill’s ex-wife, and we have talked a little about her background before.

She has a role, one that will have a major impact later on, but every now and then she is going to appear, adding to the backstory between her and Bill.  There is no real animosity between them, their parting amicable because both knew it was time to end.

Bill’s problems were brought about his military service, and her father has a part to play in the story, though I’m not sure how to weave this in yet.  But it’s not so much what Bill remembers of his service, but of what he has forgotten, or more to the point buried.

That will eventually rise to the surface.

However, at this time, it’s still at the part where the narrator has to introduce Jennifer.

There are three distinct stages to this relationship between the two most important characters, and as it happens it’s Ellen unknowingly that brings Bill and Jennifer together,

 

Then Ellen, my estranged, and sometimes difficult wife decided she wanted a divorce.  I had no objection, and that was most likely the problem.  Perhaps she had expected me to fight for her, but she had made it clear, many years before, that she was no longer interested in preserving the marriage and was only keeping it up until our two daughters were old enough to fend for themselves.

That time had come.

I found myself in a situation where I needed someone to talk to.  I was not one of those people who made friends easily, nor did I spend much time seeking the company of other women.  I had my work, and it had been enough.

But Ellen’s request for a divorce, for some reason, had shaken me, and the day I got the phone call, Jennifer has bustled into my office as she always did, dumping the pile of log file printouts on my desk, and instead of leaving, perhaps she had seen my look of dismay, or more to the point, utter shock, and stayed.

It caused a slight change in our relationship.

 

I’m still working on it, but there will be more.

Or fewer words perhaps, after all, it’s only meant to be a brief introduction.

See how simple things become complicated, very quickly.

 

© Charles Heath 2019

In a word: Ghost

Have you seen one?  I haven’t.  Yet.

I’ve stayed in a few places where ghosts were purported to be roaming the passages at night, but apparently not the night I was staying.

And that’s something else that I have a problem with, why is it ghosts only come out at night, or is that just the perception I have hot from reading up on the subject.

Maybe my view of ghosts is somewhat stilted, after all, I think my first introduction to ghosts was watching The Centerville Ghost, a movie I saw on t.v. when I was very young.

You have to admit Hollywood’s perception of ghosts is quite interesting.

 

But…

Do you think they are real?  Do I think they are real?

I think I would have to be presented with some fairly solid evidence they exist, but perhaps not to the point of meeting one.

There are, it seems countless examples of ethereal forces, you know, wind blowing where there’s no wind or draught outside, room temperatures dropping for no apparent reason, knocking, rattling of chains, strange noises like low moaning.

 

And yet…

There are hotels you can stay in such as the Chelsea Hotel in New York, where it’s possible to run into Sid Vicious.

Sorry, not staying there any time soon.

Then there’s the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles where it’s possible to run into Marylin Monroe, who lived in room 229.

That could be an interesting encounter.

Another is the Westin St Francis in San Francisco where the actress Virginia Rappe died while attending a party held in Fatty Arbuckle’s room, Arbuckle’s room, who was later accused of assaulting and murdering her, and whose career tanked after the incident.

Her ghost is seen moving about the hotel tearing her hair out.  It seems all of the spectral activity occurs on the 12th floor.

 

Good to know if I decide to stay there.  I wonder if they have a 13th floor?

Perhaps in too old to be running the gamut of paranormal experiences, the old heart is not as strong as it used to be.