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130 pages
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Description

The second novel in the PI Jim Keegan series.

A reclusive millionaire hires PI Jim Keegan to look after her interests, she is currently hidden away at the legendary Chateau Marmont hotel. All Keegan has to do is humour her, keep her important papers in his office safe, and make weekly checks of her LA properties, but within a week she goes missing. Keegan suspects her ne’er-do-well young nephew of murder—but all the evidence he can find is circumstantial, and there’s a good chance the kid will get away scot free.

‘Valley of Shadows is an excellent blend of the golden era of crime fiction and sharp modern plotting that reminded me of Poirot, Sam Spade and Columbo all in the one character of Jim Keegan… The plot in Valley of Shadows is a corker.’ Linda’s Book Bag

‘With a clever sense of humour, Paul Buchanan has put together a solid mystery that is engrossing, entertaining, and engaging. Fans of the genre will not be disappointed!’ TheJoyousLiving.com

‘Unforgettable, page turning… this crime novel should be on all our book shelves’ @bookandstitch

‘I thought Valley of Shadows was terrific’ The Book Lover’s Boudoir


Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 15 juillet 2021
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781800319400
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0550€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

Legend Press Ltd, 51 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6HJ
info@legendpress.co.uk | www.legendpress.co.uk
Contents Paul Buchanan 2021
The right of the above author to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data available.
Print ISBN 978-1-80031-9-394
Ebook ISBN 978-1-80031-9-400
Set in Times. Printing managed by Jellyfish Solutions Ltd
Cover design by Simon Levy | www.simonlevyassociates.co.uk
All characters, other than those clearly in the public domain, and place names, other than those well-established such as towns and cities, are fictitious and any resemblance is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. Any person who commits any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.
Paul Buchanan earned a Master of Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Chapman University. He teaches and writes in the Los Angeles area. The first PI Jim Keegan novel City of Fallen Angels was published by Legend Press in 2020.
For Heidi Lup and Lyle Wiedeman, fellow members of the Order
CHAPTER ONE
K EEGAN PULLED OFF Wilshire into the north parking garage of the Ambassador Hotel. It was a Thursday night, coming on eight o clock, so there were only a couple of cars in front of him waiting for a valet. That was a good sign, in his opinion; the Cocoanut Grove wouldn t be too crowded. The place had never appealed to Keegan. It was too kitschy-all those fake palms and the gaudy red bunting and the hopeful tourists craning their necks to see who was coming in through the door. It was old Hollywood at its seediest: overwrought, caked with makeup, and ready for its close-up.
But he couldn t avoid tonight s gathering, much as he would have liked to. The party was a send-off. Old Mike Donovan was pulling up stakes and moving out to Arizona. Donovan was one of Keegan s old cronies, so here Keegan was. Sure, he was arriving at the party more than an hour late, but that was his prerogative.
When he got to the front of the line of cars, he put his MG in neutral, pulled up the parking brake, and left it running. He grabbed his herringbone blazer from the passenger seat as the young valet jogged over. Keegan got out of the car, straightened up, and pulled on the jacket. The valet tore off the ticket stub and handed it to Keegan, then he tucked the other half under the windshield wiper.
Keegan slipped the stub into the inside pocket of his jacket. He could hear distant orchestra music carried to him on the cool late-September air. The tune was something sultry and sleepy, a slow-dance number. The valet got in the car and put it in gear.
Keegan rapped on the window. Hang on, he told the valet. I forgot something. He went behind the car and popped the trunk. The new putter was angled across the spare tire and the rusty jack. It was a Wilson club; the best one he could find without having to go too far out of his way. Mrs. Dodd, Keegan s secretary, had wanted the gift to look a little more festive, so she d insisted on tying a red ribbon around the shaft before Keegan left the office that night.
Mrs. Dodd had seemed a little too happy to hear that Keegan was finally spending a night out. She was of the opinion that Keegan would be in a better mood if he had more of a social life. In her unsolicited opinion, it wasn t natural for a man Keegan s age-fifty-four-to stay holed up in his hilltop bungalow every night of the week. It was too remote, too lonely. He needed to get out more, make a few new pals, maybe find himself a girlfriend. Her enthusiasm when he d told her he was going to Donovan s send-off party had made him wish he d never told her.
Mrs. Dodd s bow was a little squashed down on one side now-but Donovan wasn t the type for frills. The gift would do nicely. He grabbed the club, slammed the trunk, and headed towards the hotel carrying the putter tucked under one arm.
There had been a time-about a decade ago-when Keegan would have called Donovan a friend . Maybe even a good friend. For years, Keegan had covered the crime beat for the Los Angeles Times . But-long story short-he got fired and had to come up with a new career. He applied for his PI license. A month or so after that, Donovan s pension maxed out at the LAPD, and he retired as vice detective.
The two of them had been little more than acquaintances up until then-the cop and the crime reporter. Donovan, a middling detective at best, had never rated much column space, and Keegan had rarely written about him. But in those uncertain months of fresh unemployment, neither man quite knew what to do with himself. They d spent a lot of time together: afternoons at the Santa Anita Park racetrack, a couple of fishing trips to Arrowhead, too many nights sipping bourbon at the downtown dives on West Fifth Street. But then things had begun to fall into place. Both of them got their PI licenses. They were working men again, and everything changed.
In those early days, they d talked about maybe going into business together: D K Investigations-or K D-they never got far enough to even agree on a name. The idea of a partnership was chimerical at best. Both men knew, deep down, that whatever camaraderie let them sit on adjacent stools at the Frolic Room bar wasn t nearly enough to make them compatible as business partners. Then there was Donovan s work ethic. At the LAPD, his efforts had always been second-rate, sloppy, full of excuses. He d never risen through the ranks so far as Narcotics, let alone Robbery-Homicide. No detective worth their salt should still be working vice by the time they retired.
The truth was, Donovan wasn t terribly bright. The only thing that had kept him from getting fired was his good-oldboy demeanor. He was a glad-hander, always ready to pay for a round and to laugh at a joke, no matter how many times he d heard it before. The man was quick with a slap on the back, but he was painfully slow on the uptake. Everyone around him had covered for him, picked up his slack. A partnership with Keegan would never have worked. Donovan couldn t have been trusted to carry his share of the weight. It wasn t long before they had a falling out anyway-something about a spousal abuse case that came Donovan s way; Keegan couldn t quite remember the details anymore, just the nagging sense that Donovan valued a paycheck over any other moral consideration. At any rate, the two of them had drifted apart.
Keegan had set up his office downtown on Sixth Street, among all the bus routes and foot traffic. Donovan had landed over in Santa Monica, where his well-heeled beachside clientele from the Palisades drove Silver Clouds and Coupe de Villes- if they couldn t afford a chauffeur to drive the cars for them. Keegan eked out a living with divorce and insurance fraud and the occasional skip-trace. Donovan got fat doing corporate background checks and finding out whether the banker s daughter s new beau was a gold digger.
K EEGAN WAS ON the concrete walkway to the Cocoanut Grove s entrance now, and the orchestra music inside had shifted to something more upbeat. There was a welcome nip in the evening air, now that summer s bleary heat had loosened its grip. Keegan checked his watch. It was a little after eight, so the party had been going more than an hour now without him. With any luck, he could put in an appearance, bestow his gift on old Donovan, and slip back out when the opportunity arose. When he looked up from his watch, he saw Louis Moore striding out through the Grove s brightly lit archway, headed in his direction. Keegan glanced around, half wishing for somewhere to hide.
Lieutenant Moore. Of course he d have been invited to Donovan s send-off. He was still the LAPD s golden boy, after all-the black pioneer cop Keegan had so often championed in The Times as he rose through the ranks. Moore was as close to a local celebrity as a working cop could hope to get-and tonight he was the last man Keegan wanted to see.
Jimmy? Moore called out, grinning. Is that you? He picked up his pace.
It was just Keegan s luck. If he d arrived a few minutes later, the two of them wouldn t have crossed paths. Keegan slowed his stride. He took the golf club out from under his arm and gripped it with one hand. Lou, he said coolly. He d managed to avoid the Lieutenant for almost a year now. He would have happily stretched the interlude another decade.
Moore stopped walking when Keegan got close to him, blocking the walkway, so Keegan had to stop too. The two men stood facing one another. Jaunty orchestra music lent the moment an incongruously upbeat soundtrack. The Lieutenant was still tall and lean, but he d put on a little weight in the months since Keegan had last seen him. His hair was going a little gray at the edges now too. The effects of middle age were finally starting to show.
Where have you been hiding yourself? the Lieutenant said, holding out his hand for Keegan to shake. He seemed genuinely glad they d chanced upon one another, which made Keegan feel at an even greater disadvantage.
Here and there, Keegan told him. He gave the other man s hand a shake, as quick and perfunctory as he could make it. But I guess I didn t hide well enough. With his left hand, he swung the golf club up, so he could hold it in front of him with both hands, a kind of barrier between them.
The Lieutenant looked Keegan over. You re looking well, he said.
You re looking well fed, Keegan told him.
The Lieutenant grinned amiably and gave his belly a rub. The wife s way ahead of you, he said. Got me

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