New Release: E-book: $2.99
by N. E. Brown
Publisher N. E. Brown Publishing Co.
New Release: E-book: $2.99
Solving crimes in the 1970’s wasn’t an easy task, but Detective Mark Wilder was the heartbeat of the Dallas PD, and murder was his specialty. When a body washes up on the banks of the Trinity River during a torrential rainstorm, all evidence gets washed away. Likewise, when other dead bodies are discovered at two other lakes in Dallas, rain curses the crime scenes. So, what do a clergyman, a drug dealer, a beautiful woman, and rain have in common? Could it be the Rain Man? Maybe, maybe not - Crime has no conscience.
Detective Mark Wilder’s toned, muscular frame filled the front seat of his 1972 Plymouth Fury. His head reached within an inch of the cloth top. After turning on the ignition, the growling roar of the engine matched the ferocity of the rain. A static frequency crackled through the speakers, and he reached for the mike.
“We have a one-eight-seven underneath the Trinity River Bridge off North Corinth Street.” The monotone voice of the female dispatcher spoke clearly over the radio.
Mark spoke into the mouthpiece. “Ten-four, this is badge eleven-seventy-eight. I’m on my way.” Mark put the car in gear, turned on his red overhead light and headed straight to the crime scene. As the lead detective in the homicide department of the Dallas Police Department, Mark was the first officer called when there was a murder.
Rain continued to beat down on the Plymouth, and Mark knew these conditions would make finding evidence a challenge. Less than a half hour later, his police car slammed to a stop alongside two other patrol cars. He grabbed his hat, unfolded himself from the front seat and stepped out of his cruiser into a large puddle of water. The rain came down with a steady force and seeped off the sides of his hat.
Several officers stood at the bottom of a steep embankment underneath the bridge. The rugged terrain and weeds slowed Mark’s pace causing him to slip and slide as mud sloshed onto his boots and pants. Reaching the bottom of the hill, he shook each of his long legs forcing some of the mud to fall off.
Mark walked past two uniformed officers who were taking statements from a couple of teenage boys. One of the officers nodded and motioned to a large piece of wet cardboard with a leg and arm extending beneath it.
Mark moved toward the body, made a careful inspection of the surroundings, and approached the crime scene, scanning the entire area. Pulling on latex gloves, he cautiously stepped closer to the cardboard and bent down. Using his pencil to lift one end, he looked underneath. A veteran detective, Mark still grimaced, and his stomach turned at the site of the corpse. Bile rose in his chest. He looked away and inhaled several deep breaths then removed a small bottle of menthol from his coat pocket. After placing a dab on his small finger, he touched it under his nose before turning his eyes back to the body.
Hearing voices, Mark looked up and saw his partner, Jack Williams, and the pathologist, Doctor Walter Hines, making their way cautiously down the embankment. They joined him and approached the scene.
The doctor put on a pair of latex gloves and bent down over the body. “It’ll be a while gentlemen. You’ll need to give me a little time here.”
Mark and Jack excused themselves and joined the officers speaking to the two teenage witnesses.
“This is Randy Jordan and Daniel Yates,” one of the officers said, as he handed Mark his notepad. “They stumbled upon the body and went back to their house and called it in.”
“We’ve already told these two officers everything,” Randy said.
“Yeah, and I need to go home. My mom will whip me if I’m late for dinner,” Daniel said.
Mark assessed their ages to be around fourteen. “We have a few more questions.” After studying the officer’s notes, he asked, “Are you certain you didn’t see anyone close to the scene of the crime?”
“No, sir.” Both boys answered in unison.
“We like to come down here after it rains and catch tadpoles. We weren’t here but a few minutes when we saw a foot sticking out from under that cardboard. At first, we thought someone was playing a joke, like mannequin parts. We got closer and realized it was a real person. We ran up the hill to the road as fast as we could, got on our bikes and went to my house to call the police,” the older boy said. “The police arrived just as we got back here on our bikes.”
“You aren’t planning to leave town anytime soon, are you?”
“Oh, no sir.”
Both Jack and Mark asked a few more questions. After determining that the boys could offer nothing more, Mark said, “You can go home, but we may have some more questions for you later, so don’t go too far.” The boys turned and made their way up the embankment.
The rain had slowed to a steady mist, and the dark grey thunderclouds appeared to be moving away. Mark and his partner followed the boys up the hill and made a thorough search of the area along the road. There were no signs of a struggle, no tire marks on the hard-packed shoulder of the road or its blacktopped surface. The storm had erased everything, leaving a water-stained surface the color of mahogany ink.
The two detectives returned to the crime scene and approached Doctor Hines as he evaluated the corpse, which was lying face down. The man was partially clothed in faded jeans and a tan, blue, and white western shirt. One bare foot was caked in mud. The other had been washed clean by the rain. The doctor motioned to his assistant to help turn the body over. Mark stepped back when the falling body splashed dirty water onto his boots.
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N. E. Brown is an award-winning author and has published over eight novels. Her lifelong interest in Texas history inspires her to create true-to-life fictional characters from the past. The Galveston, 1900, Indignities Series, is a six-book series that takes you on a journey through Texas history, as seen through the eyes of a young English woman Carson Chance, P. I., Over the Edge, and The Rain Man Murders are Mrs. Brown’s latest Romantic Suspense novels and place you in the crosshairs of solving crimes in the 1960’s and 1970’s in Dallas, Texas. She is currently writing book two in her Carson Chance series. Mrs. Brown lives in East Texas with her husband and continues to write historical fiction. She believes that life is an adventure, and behind every experience is a story that waits to become her next novel.