Copp In Shock, A Joe Copp Thriller (Joe Copp Private Eye Series)

BOOK: Copp In Shock, A Joe Copp Thriller (Joe Copp Private Eye Series)
13.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub





Don Pendleton



A Joe
, Private Eye Novel

by the creator of

The Executioner: Mack Bolan Series


Reviews of Don Pendleton’s Joe
, Private Eye Series


“Pendleton is the master.”


Publishers Weekly:
“Reads like an express train...a throwback to the vintage
years...Pendleton knows how to keep us turning pages.”


St. Petersburg Times:
“Pendleton has a great new character in
His style is fresh, the pace is brisk, and there are enough twists to please any mystery fan.”


Library Journal:
“Pendleton, author of the long-running paperback Executioner series, shows in his first hardcover that hardboiled writing can be insightful as well as action-packed.”


Milwaukee Sentinel: “Pendleton is a master of action and dialog and ‘
’ is a taut detective story.”


“Action filled...
is a likable tough guy...An exciting, satisfying read.”


Flint Journal:
“Pendleton proves again he is the equal of Mickey
when it comes to the hard-boiled mystery.”


ALA Booklist:
“This is the real thing, the hardcover debut of the author of the perennially popular ‘Executioner series’...the charm of the Executioner books.”


Arkansas Gazette:
Intriguing...believable...Pendleton’s got a good story to tell.”


Books by Don Pendleton



The Executioner, Mack Bolan Series

The Joe
Mystery Series

Ashton Ford Mystery Series


Fiction with Linda Pendleton



Comics by Don and Linda Pendleton

The Executioner, War Against the Mafia


Nonfiction Books by Don Pendleton

A Search for Meaning From the Surface of a Small Planet


Nonfiction Books by Don and Linda Pendleton

To Dance With Angels

Whispers From the Soul

The Metaphysics of the Novel

The Cosmic Breath






in Shock

Copyright © 1992 by Don Pendleton, All Rights Reserved.

Published with permission of Linda Pendleton.

Originally published by Donald I. Fine, Inc

ISBN: 1-55611-287-4


First Kindle Edition, February 2010

Hardcover Edition, Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1992

Harper Paperbacks, 1993

BackinPrint/, Inc., 2000


This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogues are products of the author's imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Cover design by Linda Pendleton and Judy Bullard




For my beautiful and courageous wife, Linda—


and for my good friends, J. Douglas
and Lillie Diamond—


who between them brought me through a serious illness and helped me find the words again.
This book could not have been possible without their loving support, encouragement and rich humor during a very difficult period.


My gratitude forever,





"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing."

—Edgar Allan Poe,
The Raven


"For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face."

I Corinthians 13:12


"Indecision immobilizes.
A cop really has no choice but to step forward out of the darkness and shake hands with fear.
A good cop does something, right or wrong— even if through a glass darkly—and hopes that he was right."

American Private Investigator




In Shock




"Do you know
who I am?"

The guy kept asking me that question over and over and to tell the truth I wasn't interested in the answer. I'm sure the guy meant well. I wasn't trying to give him a bad time but it just didn't seem to have any relevance.

So I asked him, "Do you know who you are?"

He replied, "Let me put it another way. Do you know what my job is?"

He seemed like a nice enough guy, but boy, was he screwed up. He didn't know who he was and he didn't know what his job was. I really didn't want to hurt his feelings, but at this moment I was beginning to get a bit aggravated about all this so I said, "To tell the truth, guy, I'm not real sure right now who I am either, so don't feel bad. What can I do for you?"

This gave the guy a little bit of a chuckle as he replied, "It would be quite a thrill right now if you could just tell me who I am."

Well, that was okay with me, whatever turns you on. "Would it really make your day if I told you you're a dead ringer for Louie XIV?"

"Am I?"

"Not really, but I thought maybe it would liven things a bit for you. What'd you have in mind?"

That gave him another chuckle. 'This is University Medical Center and I am Dr. Hansen. Do you know why you are here?"

I said, "Not unless it has something to do with these banshees dancing inside my skull. You're my doctor, huh?"

"Yes, I'm the staff neurologist. But tell me, do you know what a banshee is?"

This guy was loaded with "twenty questions." I told him, "Last I heard, the banshee is a spirit wailing at the approach of death. But don't take that literally, I don't ... or should I? What's happening with me, Doc?"

He said, "You had a small gunshot wound."

"How small?"

"Bad enough to jangle your head a bit. You have been out of it for the last five days. These are the first coherent words you've given me since you came in here. Do you understand what has happened to you?"

Suddenly this gave me an almost overpowering sense of inexplicable sadness. "Not really," I replied. "What is going on with my head?"

"You had a severe concussion, and also lost quite a bit of blood, but you got off easier than it may feel to you right now. No vital damage—you were just grazed by that bullet—it's the concussion and some brain swelling that has given you most of the problem. That could be causing you some confusion, but it will pass. You could be out of here in a few days—as soon as your confusion clears up."

That sounded like good news to me except that I really

didn't feel all that confused. Of course I had no memory of being shot and knew nothing about any of that. A crazy thought occurred to me at about that moment. I asked the doctor, "Do you know who I am?"

The doctor showed me a startled look and replied, "Can't you answer that question for yourself?"

"Maybe, but I asked you first."

"Do you have some confusion about that?"

"You're the one who's asking all the questions. Are you confused, Doc?"

That was good for another laugh. "We can settle the question real easy. What is your name?"

As a matter of fact, I was not sure that I could answer that. It was not that I did not know my own name, but it was just as though my mind was playing games with me and couldn't quite come up with the answer. I knew the answer, of course, it was just eluding me for a moment. I know that I wasn't hitting on all my cylinders, but I kept expecting all that to come into focus and it just wasn't doing so. It is weird when you feel as if you need to look into a mirror to remember who you are, and let me tell you, it scares the shit out of you to realize that you might look into that mirror and not even recognize the face gazing back. And that is about where I was at.

I told the doctor, "Sure I know my own name and it will come to me in just a second. Who tried to snuff me?"

"Sorry, Joe, that's out of my field. Don't you know who shot you?"

No, I did not know at the moment who shot me, but the Doc had just given me the clue I had been searching for. It was like stepping out of the darkness into a sunlit day. "I'm Joe
," I told him. "I'm a private eye. I've got to get out of here. Where are my clothes?"

I tried to get out of bed and almost fell on my face. Dr. Hansen gently wrestled me back onto the bed and said, "Not so fast, Joe. One step at a time. We need to get you a little stronger and your head a bit clearer before you go dancing out of here."

Hansen was really a nice guy and obviously he was trying to help me, but I needed to get my own head back together. I was glad when he went away and left me alone. I wanted to get a look into a mirror and see for myself what was happening with me. That was a mistake. I didn't like what I saw in the mirror. There was a bandage twisted about the right side of my head that looked ominous as hell, also some small scratches along the bridge of the nose. Someone with no barbering skills had given me a lousy haircut, exposing naked scalp around the bandaged area, taking my sideburn with it. I could handle that, no big deal except that it just didn't look like me. What I was having trouble with was that I didn't feel like myself. I felt clumsy, confused, detached; everything had a sense of unreality. I guess what I am trying to say is that I did not feel threatened or challenged by any of this, almost as though it really didn't matter, and that is just not like me. I am not sure that I knew who Joe
really was, and the strange thing is, I think that a part of me didn't even care about that.

Even so, I think I was having something like an identity crisis at some unconscious level that only surfaced now and then.

Two homicide cops showed up while I was engrossed in that introspection. I did not feel like talking to those guys. I was still buzzing a little in the head and not at all sure that I could handle an intelligent conversation with them.

I had known one of these guys in the past so it was not a totally cold interview. They were polite and maybe even a bit sympathetic about my situation. I had worked with Bill Andrews shortly before I left the Sheriff's Department and went into business for myself as a private cop. I had not known Tony
but apparently the guy had heard stories about me and seemed friendly enough. I had no reason to be coy with these two
I was just having trouble recalling the incident.

Andrews asked me, "Who pulled the trigger on you, Joe?"

I told him, "This is going to sound weird, but all I know about it is what the doctor told me, which is next to nothing. I'm hoping that you guys can help me with that."

Andrews replied, "All we know is that you called 911 and asked for help."

"Where was that?"

"Your pad."

added, "Your place was a mess, Joe. Blood all over the place. Where's your gun?"

"Hell, I don't know. I don't usually carry a piece unless I'm working. Maybe it's here. Check my personal belongings."

said, "It's not here, Joe. Where do you think it might be?"

"Must be at home then—or maybe it's in my car."

"Not there either," Andrews said. "It'll turn up. What do you know about Martha Kaufman?"

"Don't think I know the lady," I told him. "Is it important?"

Andrews replied, "Could be. The name rings no bells for you?"

"Not for me. Is she pretty?"

"Maybe she was—until someone blew her apart with a Smith & Wesson .41

I said, "That's a rare piece. That's what I carry."

Andrews replied, "Yeah."

I said, "Wait a minute—that's why
asked about my..."


I said, "Oh, shit. Are you guys trying to tell me it was my gun..."

Andrews told me, "Not officially, Joe. But you'd better get your act together here, and quick—the D. A. may not be as sympathetic with your situation as we have been."

"Thanks," I said. "I'll straighten this out as soon as I get my head back together."

"Do it quick, Joe," Andrews said quietly.

The two deputies gave me restrained smiles and walked out.

So what the hell did all this mean? I have played these same games myself during a police investigation so I knew that those two had not been toying with me despite all the friendly smiles and soft words. These guys were conducting a homicide investigation, no question about it, and they had come to just pass the time of day with me. The warning from Bill Andrews was clear and to the point. Apparently I was in trouble and it seemed that I didn't even know why. But that was a friendly warning from Andrews and I would be a fool to disregard it. I had to get out of that place and put my mind back together my own way and in my own time. Which meant that I had to do it right now.

I got dressed and was slipping into my shoes when this six-foot-five black orderly came into my room. He shot me a look of surprise and said, "What you doing, man?"

"I'm getting into my clothes," I told him. "Do you have a problem with that?"

"They're not mine. But look at you, man, you're falling all over yourself. Are you sure you know what you're doing?"

I told him, "No, but I've got to get out of here, I have a hot date. How do I get out of this place?"

The orderly said, "You can't even walk, man. Come on, get back in bed."

I told him, "You're a Brother. I'm in deep trouble. Help me find a taxi... or show me the way out of here."

"It's my job, man. You trying to screw me up."

"No, Brother. It may be your job, but it's my life that's on the line."

The big black man was having a problem with this. He said, "It's your ass, man. Second door on the right, take the stairs. Shit—you'll never make it."

"I'll make it," I assured him. "What's your name? I'll make this up to you."

The black man said, "Shit," with a disgusted look and took me by the hand. He practically carried me down the stairs and bundled me carefully into the backseat of an idling taxi. I'm no lightweight myself; I tip in at about two-sixty, with a height of six-three, but this guy was handling me as if I were a baby. "Good luck," he said gruffly.

His name was James Jefferson. I caught it from his name tag as he was tucking me into the taxi. "Thank you, James. I'll be getting back to you."

"Shit," he said and hurried away.

I meant it, though, and I would not forget James Jefferson. I think maybe he saved my life.



BOOK: Copp In Shock, A Joe Copp Thriller (Joe Copp Private Eye Series)
13.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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