Authors: Vincent Zandri
Private Investigator Dick Moonlight returns
to chase down a cop gone bad in the next installment of author Vincent
Zandri’s clever and cunning Moonlight series.
hit some turbulence. Sure, his bar burned to the ground; his significant
other, Lola, left him for another man; the private eye business is
slow; and his evenings are now spent with his new pal, Jack Daniels. But
turbulence—in a plane, going down fast, and he’s
waking up handcuffed to an FBI agent. How he got there is a little
fuzzy, thanks to the sliver of a .22 caliber hollow-point bullet lodged
in his brain.
Once on the ground, and after a few bumps and
bruises, things become clearer and more dangerous. Thinking he’s been
brought to FBI headquarters for drunk-dialing the IRS, Moonlight learns
that he’s got some unfinished business: his last case, which had him up
against Russian mobsters in search of a zip drive loaded with government
exactly closed. The cop who was supposed to deliver
the goods to the FBI went rogue, bringing along a crooked agent and
Moonlight’s ex, and now he’s out to sell the hardware to the highest
bidder. The FBI wants Moonlight’s help in tracking down the trio—all the
way to Florence, Italy—and wooing Lola into handing over the zip drive.
He’s just going to have to outwit, outrun, and outshoot the Russian
thugs who have their own big plans for the zip drive, and for Moonlight.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Text copyright © 2012 by Vincent Zandri
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Published by Thomas & Mercer
P.O. Box 400818
Las Vegas, NV 89140
This bitter earth can be so cold.
I know I’m awake because my eyes are open and I’m looking down at my hands, which are handcuffed. Funny how I don’t remember going to sleep in the first place.
Turns out I don’t remember boarding a plane either.
But I know I’m on a plane because when I shift my focus from my handcuffed hands to over my left shoulder and out the window, I see nothing but friendly blue sky resting atop an endless sea of the fluffiest white cotton-ball clouds you ever did see.
For sure I’m flying.
I. Am. Flying.
Thirty thousand feet above solid ground, inside what looks to be an Airbus. A US Airways–owned and –operated Airbus. Or so says the color-coded, impervious-to-puncture/sudden-impact/water-and/or-fire-damage, floatable, plastic-coated safety manual stuffed inside the conveniently located seatback pocket directly in front of me.
Or maybe I’m just dreaming.
Tell you what. I’m gonna close my eyes now. Go back to sleep. Wake up in my own bed.
I open my eyes.
Still flying. Not lying in my own bed. Not imagining things. Not dreaming.
Recap thus far.
I’m awake. I’m handcuffed. I’m flying. And it isn’t a dream.
Far as I can tell, I’m seated in the final row of the plane. The
seat, as my ex-wife, Lynn, used to call it whenever we’d take a trip together, which wasn’t very often.
The cheap seat.
At first glance, there appear to be no seat assignments in the final rows of this plane. But that’s not exactly right, because the seat directly beside my own has most definitely been assigned. To say the guy occupying it is bigger than me would be like saying the Super Bowl is just another meaningless pro football game.
Dude’s so big he fills the narrow seat entirely, some of his excess bulk oozing over onto me. I’m not talking fat blubber here. I’m talking sheer, thick, hard muscle mass. The hand that’s attached to the wrist to which my right wrist is cuffed is bigger and thicker than both my hands put together. And I’m no lightweight. I’m a weight lifter. I can bench press two hundred and sixty-five pounds ten, sometimes fifteen times in a row. Clean. None of this bouncing it off your chest cavity shit like all the high school meatheads do. But this Sherman tank of
a man makes me feel about as rough and tumble as your average hopeless anorexic.
Like I already said, the half dozen rows of seats up ahead of me are unoccupied, as are the starboard rows to my right. A thick gray curtain is draped across the entire midsection of the cabin, as if to afford me the utmost privacy. Or it could be that the back rows have been closed off to the general law-abiding public due to my presence. But I can’t imagine why in the world that could be.
I’m not a criminal.