BOOK DETAILS

The Killer Who Hated Soup

The Killer Who Hated Soup

by Bill A. Brier

ASIN: B0746V13D2

Publisher Black Opal Books

Published in Mystery & Thrillers/Mystery, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

The Internet? Never heard of it. Smart phones? Who you kiddin’? We’re talkin’ 1956.

Energetic and eager to make his mark on what Time magazine called the next great boom town, Bucky Ontario leaves his Louisiana home and hops a bus to Defiance, Oklahoma, a town not particularly averse to murders, just the embarrassment of them.

While helping his friend, Kindra search for a ring that once belonged to her dead mother, Bucky is told: “Find the baby, find the ring.”

Sample Chapter

Prologue

Defiance, Oklahoma, December 1956

The girl tore through the woods with her baby.

Ignoring her bleeding feet, she raced until she slipped on loose leaves and crashed into a shrub, dropping the newborn. Stunned, she lay still in the biting cold and heard her father yelling and bursting through the brush behind her. She snatched up the wailing baby and held her hand to its mouth. Dashing through undergrowth that tore at her bare legs, she broke through onto the road leading to the highway, hesitated, turned, and threw herself across the open stretch and into the shrubbery. She clawed through thick, thorny blackberry bushes, trying to protect the baby as she moved through the brush. She came out onto a narrow path that she knew would lead back to her hiding place in the burnt-out hollow of an oak tree.

Weakening now, she sucked in air with a loud, rasping noise. Her muscles ached, her legs trembled. She heard her father fighting through the blackberry bushes, and with her remaining strength, she flung herself forward.

She reached the oak and scrambled inside. Pulled up her nightshirt, pressed her baby’s mouth to her nipple, and tried to quiet her own breathing. Minutes later, her heart still pounding, she heard the crunching sound as footsteps approached, then stopped.

“Come on out, Marybeth. I know you’re in there.” His voice softened. “Everything’s okay.”

She peered through tangled branches into the starry sky. “You’ll take my baby.”

Darkness swept across like a curtain. Hands reached in and wrenched the infant from her grasp.

“No. You’ll give it away.” She scrambled from the tree and clawed at her father’s shirt, reaching for her baby held beyond her grasp.

“God will forgive you, my daughter.”

Chapter 1

January 1957

Bucky grabbed his coat and camera, mounted his motorcycle, and headed toward the Chrysler dealership. The cold air stung his face like porcupine pricks, and it felt electrical. He loved the outdoors and he loved Defiance. It was his kind of town—a town primed for growth. A town where folks were friendly and waved to one another. Where they drove fast in town to show off their cars or pickups and slow on the highway to save gas. Where a cashier would start a detailed conversation about anything from paving sidewalks to building racetracks when someone only wanted to buy gas and enjoy a Nehi pop.

Bucky stopped before his reflection in the showroom window. He pulled a comb from a back pocket, and, with bent knees and an upward turn of his wrist, set his blond hair into a front curl. He blew warm air into his cold and tingling hands, removed the lens cap from the camera hanging around his neck, and padded into the dealership.

He drifted among the cars, pausing to examine a grille or three and run his hand across slick leather seats. Would he ever be able to afford cars like these? Right now, he couldn’t pay for a new motorcycle. His gaze fixed on the eggshell-tinted Plymouth Fury. He backed up, lifted his camera, and clicked off a shot, then sauntered into the sales office, aware that the owner, Cal Alsop, had been watching him.

Alsop jumped to his feet with a grin that flashed dollar signs. “Good morning, sir. I see you have an eye for fine cars.”

“That’s why I’m here.” Bucky threw out a hand. “My name’s Bucky, and I want to sell them for you.”

Alsop’s smile dropped like the price of last year’s Chrysler Imperial. “Well, now, I…I. What’d you say your name was?”

“Bucky, Bucky Ontario.”

Alsop cocked his head and squinted. He had a square jaw, black hair neat and trim. Seemed young, barely over thirty. About a decade older than Bucky, and with an inch more height, which put him at six feet. “Now I recognize you. You work at Gustafson’s Grocery.”

“Not anymore. I, um…I was fired.”

“Fired! That’s hardly a recommendation, then, is it?” Alsop sat down. “You might as well have a seat.”

Bucky swiftly did so in case Alsop changed his mind. He sat straight, his hands on his kneecaps. He really needed this job—the vital next step in his dream of someday becoming the town mayor, a man of influence and value.

“Mr. Gustafson offered to promote me to manager, but when I told him I couldn’t accept the position because now that I was twenty-one—my birthday was last week—I’d be quitting soon. So he fired me. You see, I never intended the grocery business as my life’s work.”

Alsop rubbed one hand on the back of the other. “Is that so?”

“It was a stepping stone to what I really want.”

“Mind closing the door?” Alsop withdrew a cigar from a humidor. “Don’t want the smell to chase away any lady customers.” He struck a match on the side of his desk near a picture of a blonde with a sparkling Doris Day smile. Bucky recognized her from the grocery. “You saw the sign in the window and figured you’d like to sell cars?”

Bucky’s heart fluttered with hope. “Mr. Alsop—” Bucky felt his Louisiana accent kick in. “—it’s more than that. Working at the grocery, I got to know the townspeople and establish myself—I’m pretty sure—in a good light. Now I need to move on. Selling your cars on commission will make me a businessman, not just a salesman.”

A faint smile crossed Alsop’s lips. He sat back and puffed. “Tell me more.”

“There’s money to be made selling cars. Next to houses, cars are people’s most expensive purchase. On average, they’ll buy a new one every three years. Take that Belvedere.” On a roll now, Bucky pointed to the showroom. “Quad headlights, dual four-barrel carb. Your Fury beats the pants off GM’s Corvette and leaves Ford’s T-bird coughing dust. I don’t know about your agency, but nationally, Chrysler sales are down this year—due, of course, to lousy marketing and ineffective sales strategies. Fact is, Chrysler makes cars with style and quality.” Bucky placed both hands on the desk and leaned in. “Cars I can sell.” If only Alsop let him.

Alsop twirled his cigar ash into a piston-shaped aluminum ashtray and smiled, but didn’t look too impressed. “What’s your idea of an effective sales strategy?”

“Statistically, eighty percent of new car sales come from repeat customers or referrals. If I consider every customer a friend, he won’t forget me. Volume’s the second thing. The trick is to sell more cars than just one at a time.” With the weak point of his argument coming up, he gazed at his shoeshine. “Haven’t figured exactly how, but I will.” He met the man’s gaze. “How about it, Mr. Alsop, what do you say?”

Alsop leaned back, squinted again and puffed his cigar. Bucky studied his face, unable to read a reaction. Finally, Alsop stood. “We’ll do a trial basis. You sell three cars next week, and the job’s permanent. But I warn you, it won’t be easy.” He extended his hand. “Be here at ten o’clock Monday morning. You’ll work with Sam, an old timer. Been selling cars since the Depression.” Alsop scribbled something on a pad and handed the note to Bucky. “Here’s my home address. If you’re free, drop by this evening. I’m throwing a little party for my shop foreman, Will Chambers. He’s just returning to work after having surgery.”

“Sure, I know Will. Thanks, Mr. Alsop. I’ll be there.” A new job and an invite to the boss’s house the same day. This was going better than he had even hoped! His chest swelled with pride and happy anticipation.

Continues...

Excerpted from "The Killer Who Hated Soup" by Bill A. Brier. Copyright © 2017 by Bill A. Brier. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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