E-book Publisher: Maine Desk LLC
Release date : 8 July 2008
ISBN : 978-0-9817464-7-0
Paperback Publisher: Cheyenne Publishing
Release Date: April 2009
Amazon Kindle: L. A. Mischief
Amazon: L. A. Mischief
Blurb: In L. A. Mischief, a fast-paced novella that details the early months of the relationship between David Eric Laine-a LAPD Homicide Detective, stubborn, proud, and barely out of the closet and Christopher Bellamere, blonde, smart, out and proud. As the story opens, David is struggling to find the balance between his intense feelings for Chris, the urges of his newly liberated libido, and the demands of a job where bodies pop up on an all too regular basis. Chris faces his own set of challenges, including helping his best friend cope with his ongoing grief after the brutal murder of his lover. Life events conspire to bring David and Chris together while at the same time keeping them apart-will they be able to push their way through and find a common ground for happiness and their shared love?
TUESDAY, 7:10 AM, FOREST LAWN MEMORIAL GARDENS, GLENDALE AVENUE, LOS ANGELES
THE SUN WAS just coming up over the headstones, heavy mist flowed between ghostly sycamores, eucalyptus trees, and stately Cyprus. Martinez looked around the cemetery and shuddered. For the first time since David had known him his partner crossed himself, proving you could take the man out of the church but not the church out of the man.
"Don´t like cemeteries?"
"Don´t like knowing all those worm feasts are under my feet." Martinez grimaced. "It doesn´t bother you?"
David shrugged. In truth he didn´t think about it. David looked around the manicured lawns and carefully cultivated flower beds. "Nat King Cole is interred here. So´s Sam Cook." David doubted if Martinez even knew who that was.
"And Lucille Ball. And Spencer Tracy. Who doesn´t know that?"
"Singer. Don´t worry about it."
Martinez grunted. They spotted the pair of unis who had been dispatched after the 911 call. Earlier that morning distraught teens had gone into the memorial garden on a Halloween lark and found a real world horror.
Up a gentle incline, they passed one of the dozens of faux Greek mausoleums gracing the ornate grounds. The coroner was already there. The photographer struggled up the slope, his heavy camera in tow. Overhead a red-tailed hawk climbed with the rising air and circled, looking for something small and tasty. In a nearby sycamore a flock of starlings complained.
The body had been laid out on a grassy patch between two nondescript grave markers, directly south of an ornate cross with the name Roderick N. Parker, b. Jun 15, 1966, d. Oct 31, 1994. David noted the date on the cross.
"Last night." He was deliberately ignoring the body at this point. Until Lopez was done he wanted to concentrate on the surroundings. They might give some context to the reason the body was there, and not under a freeway overpass on the Grapevine. "Significant?"
"Halloween always brings out the kooks," Martinez muttered. "Some kind of ritual?"
David frowned. He finally let his eyes skate over the mutilated form on the nearly bloodless grass. He didn´t need the ME to tell him death hadn´t occurred here. Not enough blood. Ritual? Please don´t let that rumor start.
Every few years stories of devil worship and ritual sacrifice would surface and a kind of minimal hysteria would erupt, take over the voracious media only to fade away when the glamour and shock had faded. The dead stayed dead and no cloven-hoofed demons were ever summoned forth to wreak havoc on a jaded populace.
He shot a quick glance around and wasn´t surprised to see the press had already started to arrive. A van from channel 5 unloaded a crew and he could hear the reporter´s commands to the cameraman who slung his equipment around to capture the activity.
David signaled one of the unis, a gray-haired two striper. "Let´s get a screen in place, Sergeant. Preserve our scene as much as we can."
There was a flurry of activity as a second outer perimeter of crime scene tape was strung up to ensure the integrity of the scene. David got up to speed on what the unis had found on their arrival. Not much. Three distraught teens who were now sitting in the back of the patrol car awaiting the detectives´ attention, a mutilated corpse and no visible weapons. No insect activity either. All signs pointed to the corpse being recently deceased and dumped.
They´d have to wait for the ME to give a more accurate time of death. Once they had that they could start looking at the how and the where. It might even get them a who and a why.
"Let´s go talk to our witnesses."
David and Martinez retraced their steps and approached the black and white shop where three scared, white-faced teens huddled together in the back seat. David signaled the trio to follow them. The portable command center had arrived and they led the trio into the RV, shutting the door from the prying eyes and ears of the press.
After noting the time, their rank and the names and ages of their three witnesses David went first. What were they doing in the cemetery? What time did they enter the gardens? Did they see anything they would say was suspicious? Who spotted the body first? All routine. David had few doubts the teens weren´t involved. They were guilty of nothing more than trespassing and being unlucky.
The trespassing issue was in the hands of the Forest Lawn managers. The unlucky part was something they would have to deal with on their own.