Authors: Mike Markel
Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Police Procedurals, #Women Sleuths
Deviations: A Detectives
Seagate and Miner Mystery
Copyright © 2014 by Mike
All rights reserved. No
portion of this novel may be duplicated, transmitted, or stored in any form
without the express written permission of the publisher.
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investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison
and a fine of $250,000.
This is a work of fiction.
All characters, events, and locations are fictitious or used fictitiously. Any
resemblance to actual events or people is coincidental.
The Detectives Seagate and
Miner Mystery series:
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For many years, Leonard
Woolsey had been a faithful and committed member of the Montana Patriot Front. When
the Reverend Barry needed someone to teach a weapons or tactics class at a
rally, he knew he could turn to Leonard Woolsey. And when the Reverend Barry
needed someone to break some windows, tag some buildings, or rough up some
brown-skinned people who perhaps did not realize they were frequenting the
wrong clubs, he thought first of Leonard Woolsey. He knew that Leonard Woolsey
would never disappoint him, never disrespect him, and never place his own
ambitions before the goals of the Montana Patriot Front.
But the Reverend Barry was now almost eighty. He
was tired. He no longer authorized even the most modest missions. For the last
three years, there had been no public rallies or parades, no flyers under
windshield wipers, not even a candidate for a school board. Instead, the old
man sat in his drafty little cabin in the meadow at Lake Hollow, writing his
little articles on notebook paper and mailing them off to be typed up for the Montana
Patriot Front newsletter and website. Age had defanged the Reverend Barry and
was draining the lifeblood of his organization.
Leonard Woolsey was a patient man, but now he was
out of patience. He had requested authorization to carry out a mission against
Dolores Weston. He had laid out the case against the Montana state senator. She
had accepted money from a pharmaceutical company from New Jersey, a company
that was researching stem cells to be used for human cloning. In exchange for
the money, Senator Weston had sponsored legislation that gave enormous tax
breaks to the pharmaceutical company to open a major facility right here in
Rawlings, Montana. The papers had been signed and the blueprints drawn, and
construction was about to begin.
But the Reverend Barry and the timid sycophants
who surrounded him refused to authorize a mission to take out Senator Weston.
It would be risky, the Reverend Barry said. There would be a federal response.
There would be consequences. I’m sorry.
And the Reverend Barry sat in his drafty little
cabin, writing his little articles.
And Leonard Woolsey decided to proceed on his own.
Yes, he thought, there will be consequences.
Being a careful man, Leonard Woolsey devoted
considerable thought to the mission. His first impulse was simply to eliminate
her. Doing so would send the appropriate message to the Reverend Barry and his
inner circle. And Leonard Woolsey was confident that eliminating Dolores Weston
would entail little personal risk. He would set up outside the perimeter of her
ranch, which sat majestically on thirty acres at the end of a private road
adjoining a city park. There were no other houses within hundreds of yards.
With his Weatherby deer rifle and his laser scope and bi-pod, she would be an
easy target from two-hundred yards. Even two-fifty.
However, eliminating Senator Dolores Weston would
be insufficient. The Reverend Barry would know who had done it and why, yet
nobody else would. People would see it as another senseless murder. The public needed
to understand that her death was anything but senseless. The broader mission of
the Montana Patriot Front would not be advanced unless the public understood exactly
why it was necessary.
In short, she could not simply be murdered. She
needed to be assassinated. Only an assassination would force other legislators
and the public to confront her sins. Once those sins were made public, America
could begin the conversation that would lead to the revolution, which would
sweep away the traitors and save God’s chosen people. Leonard Woolsey was
certain of it, and he was a resolute man.
He had no doubt he could grab her, get her in his
truck. His only worry was that he might be identified afterward. There was CCTV
everywhere, in the shops, on the sides of buildings, hanging on traffic-lights.
The statehouse would be crawling with them: near the metal detector at the main
entrance, in the hallways, the individual offices. And cameras. Put two college
girls at a table at a Starbucks, out came the cell phones. There was no way to be
sure he didn’t appear in someone’s photo.
He had no illusions that he was invulnerable, that
he was too smart to be caught, that everything would go according to plan. When
you’re forty-two years old, you know better. And therefore you need to plan
He understood the importance of disguise. He had a
cowboy hat, aviator sunglasses. He would wear a long-sleeve western shirt. He
would shave off his mustache and trim his sideburns. He had an old set of Wyoming
plates he had grabbed off an abandoned car in Casper six years ago.
He would lure her out of her house. He did his
research, which wasn’t difficult since every magazine in the West printed on
shiny paper had a story about Dolores Weston, about how well she was holding up
after her husband’s death, how living in her five-thousand-square-foot ranch
couldn’t make up for the tragic loss. He was disgusted but not surprised by the
articles, one more hypocritical than the last. A few hundred solemn words about
how money can’t buy happiness, then four or five pages of color photographs displaying
the beautiful things money indeed can buy: the infinity pool, the home theater
seating twenty, the gourmet kitchen with zinc counters and wenge-wood accents,
the climate-controlled barn, with its twelve horse stalls (four Arabians, six
Thoroughbreds, two Morgans), and its adjoining paddock and ring.
No mention of the pharmaceutical company. Nothing
about stem cells, about cloning. Nothing about which people would be cloned. Nothing
about what she had done to get her money. About what selling herself made her.
She lived alone, after her husband died out at
their estate on Maui. But there was little chance she would be alone in the
house. There would be one or two people in charge of the horses. A housekeeper
and a cook. And she had three adult children, all of them successful and
prosperous. They were spread out across the country, but they were capable of
just dropping by, especially since their father died only a few months ago.
They would be concerned about how their mother was coping.
Leonard Woolsey decided to reconnoiter the ranch.
He put the Wyoming plates on his truck and drove to Discovery Park, a hundred
acres of rolling foothills, walking paths, and cheat grass a mile south of her
gate. He carried a backpack and a walking stick. Standing atop the tallest
foothill, he listened to the silence and made certain he was not being
observed. He wandered off the path and walked toward the Weston ranch.
Close enough to study the ranch through his binoculars,
Leonard Woolsey surveyed the large steel electric gate at the entrance. He did
not see a camera, but professional-quality security cameras are smaller than a
coin and virtually invisible. His eyes followed the herringbone pattern of the
pavers, two lanes wide, tracing a gentle curve a hundred yards, leading up to
the garage and the main entrance of the house.
It was flat roofed, modern, constructed of dusky Montana
stone and ten-foot high floor-to-ceiling windows. The glass mirrored the sky
and the sun, making the house recede into the hillside. He couldn’t see in, but
she could see out, which Leonard Woolsey assumed was intentional.
But he wouldn’t need to get inside. He saw a sign
from Montana Security just off to the side of the flagstone steps leading to
the wide double doors at the entrance. He looked for cameras but didn’t see any
there, either. The inside would have a professional security system. But if she
wanted to see what was going on outside the place, she would choose large, visible
cameras, the purpose of which is less to record who is outside than to encourage
them to stay outside.
Leonard Woolsey went home to think. There was no
way to eliminate all risk. Still, it was a chance he needed to take. He asked
himself if he was willing to risk his freedom—perhaps his life—on this mission.
He spent three days thinking about his
responsibility. It needed to be done, and there didn’t seem to be anyone else who
would do it. Yes, he concluded, he would do it. He would do it.
And when he had made that decision, a considerable
burden lifted off Leonard Woolsey’s shoulders. His mind was clear and sharp,
his spirit focused. He was ready.
He used a throwaway phone to call her at her home.
He was the president of a wind-turbine company in Wyoming, he said, interested
in talking with her about setting up a facility in Montana. He mentioned that he
was impressed by the legislation she had sponsored last session about tax
breaks for companies that create jobs. He asked whether she would be interested
in sitting down to talk with him. He would be more than happy to offer generous
considerations if she could help him understand the process.
That was all it took. “Generous considerations” was
the magic phrase. He wasn’t sure whether he had heard that phrase before or it had
just popped into his head. But its meaning was very clear to her. Yes, she
would be delighted if he stopped by. Of course, she’d be excited to meet him.
And wind energy was such an important initiative. She would be thrilled.
And now she sat in Leonard Woolsey’s pickup, her
hands pinioned behind her back by the plastic strips that the police use when
they run out of cuffs. She was crying, her whole body shaking, asking him over and
over what she did, as if she did not understand. And what he was going to do to
When she asked him if he would take money to let
her go, his right hand came up so fast she didn’t see it, his knuckles tearing
into her left eye.
She screamed in pain, doubled over, appeared to
lose consciousness for several moments.
It was a still, clear May night, the temperature
near sixty. It would drop another ten or fifteen degrees by midnight. The sun had
already sunk beneath the wide western horizon, leaving only a warm orange glow.
Faint, tiny stars were beginning to appear. Soon the sky would darken to a
brilliant purple, revealing millions of pinpricks of light. Sunsets always made
Leonard Woolsey a little melancholy. The end of the day always meant that a
part of him was dying. But not tonight. He was fully alive tonight.
They were parked at the Prairie Industrial Park, a
new development out near the hospital. Seven buildings were up and running,
with a dozen more under construction.
He gazed around him at the piles of rebar and
lumber, a couple of bulldozers, a pile driver, a leveler, generator trailers,
three blocky construction trailers. The equipment sat still, the crews having left
Leonard Woolsey got out of his pickup and walked
over to her side. He opened her door, pulled her out. She was making noise,
crying and screaming. “Shut up,” he barked, holding her up, and she complied.
His eyes scanned the area, full of construction debris, scraggly weeds, crushed
foam coffee cups. He saw what he needed. He let go of her, and she collapsed
onto the ground. He walked a few steps, bent down, and picked up a brick lying
on the hard-packed dirt.