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Authors: Rob Cornell

Tags: #Mystery: Thriller - P.I. - Humor - Karaoke Bar - Michigan

Rob Cornell - Ridley Brone 02 - The Hustle (33 page)

BOOK: Rob Cornell - Ridley Brone 02 - The Hustle
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I’d been in and out all night, but the little drip of something-something through my IV had finally made the pain go away. For now at least. I hadn’t heard an official diagnosis yet, but I wondered if I would walk again. I didn’t know how bad the break was. It had felt like the worst leg breaking in world history to me.

I lay there, listening to my own breathing, catching whiffs of the blob on the plate—fish, maybe?—and dozed on and off until the prettiest detective I knew came to visit.

She didn’t ask how I was or bring flowers. I didn’t even get a chance to say hello before she spoke. “Better talk fast, Ridley, because right now we’re holding him for assault, but that isn’t going to keep him contained for long.”

I told her my theory, including the photograph putting Shawn at the scene.

“That’s it? That’s all you’ve got?”

“I think putting him at the scene right around the time of the homicide would be a good start. Sweat him out in an interrogation room. I practically had him admitting his guilt. You’ll pull a confession out of him and we can all rest easy.”

She sniffed, shook her head.

“I’d do it myself if I could, but…” I gestured down at my leg. “Indisposed at the moment.”

“I can see why Palmer loves you so much.”

“Oh, does he talk about me?”

“Rest easy. We’ll talk again soon.

The following day I got two pieces of good news. The first—I would indeed walk again, but would have to endure that atrocious torture they called physical therapy. The second—Shawn had cracked. Detective Shanks came to tell me herself.

“To all of it?” I asked.

“Not yet, but we’re getting there with the others.”

“How’d you do it?”

“I’m just that good.” She pointed at me. “You best remember that.”

“I knew it the second I saw you.”

An awkward silence ensued. Obviously, this match wasn’t meant to be. Not like I ever seriously thought it could. Still, it had been nice to dream a little. Made me realize it might be time to put myself out there again.

“Tell Palmer ‘hi’ for me,” I said. “I know he misses me.”

“Of course. He helped me convince the lieutenant to make a run at Wagner. Afterward he expressed his affection for you by promising, next time he saw you, he’d break your other leg to match.”

“That Palmer. Always a sweetheart.”

She smiled, held out her hand. “Take care.”

I shook her hand—her soft, beautiful hand—and felt a little pang as I watched her leave the room.

Chapter 33

I attended Eddie’s funeral—postponed due to the unexpected arrest of his next of kin—on crutches. The gray winter sky broke open and had let sun come out in his honor. Most of the ice and some of the snow had begun to melt. It was the day before Thanksgiving.

The ceremony was held in a small, non-denominational church on the south side. Not many attended. A few coworkers from the job he’d lost. None from the dealership where he’d worked as a porter. And, of course, not a stitch of family. Outside of his cousin in Arizona, he had no family left.

After the funeral, I hobbled my way out of the church, feeling morose as hell. I’d hired a limousine service to cart me around while I was Mr. Gimp, and the limo was parked at the curb when I came out. The chauffeur came around the limo and helped me down the steps and into the vehicle.

When he took up his post behind the wheel he asked where I’d like to go next.

“You up for a long drive?” I asked.

“Driving is my job. Long or short. All the same to me.”

So I gave him the address and he plugged it into the GPS device mounted on his dash.

I settle back in my seat, straight-jacketed leg out in front of me. The doc at the hospital had prescribed some pretty good drugs, but nothing could beat the IV drip. So my leg constantly had this internal ache that kept me from sitting comfortably, even in a plush limo.

I had him drive by the house. I couldn’t very well sit across the street in a parked limo without drawing attention. I didn’t want to draw attention. I just wanted to see the place for myself. The house my daughter lived in.

I don’t know what I hoped to accomplish with my drive by. I didn’t see anyone outside. The house itself didn’t look much different than its neighbors, especially with the snow covering much of the landscaping.

The driver didn’t say a word about my asking him to drive slowly past the address I’d given him. And he didn’t question or object when I asked him to circle the block and pass one more time.

The house looked exactly the same the second time by.

“Okay, let’s go home,” I said.

The driver nodded and headed back to Hawthorne.

On the drive home I couldn’t fight the feeling that I’d left something behind. It was like that creeping doubt you get when you leave the house and wonder if you remembered to turn off the stove. It didn’t take a genius to figure out why I felt that way. But I couldn’t do anything about it. Not yet. Maybe not ever.

After all this time, I finally knew where to find my daughter.

I had no idea what to do next.

About the Author

An accidental nomad, Rob Cornell grew up in suburban Detroit, then spent five years living in Los Angeles before moving to Chicago to receive a BA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College. He has traveled full circle, now living in rural southeast Michigan with his wife, two kids, and dog, Kinsey—named after Sue Grafton’s famous detective. In between moving and writing, he’s worked all manner of odd jobs, including lead singer for an acoustic cover band and a three-day stint as assistant to a movie producer after which he quit because the producer was a nut job.

For more information and to contact the author, please visit


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Books by Rob Cornell

The Lockman Chronicles

Darker Things (The Lockman Chronicles #1)

Dark Legion (The Lockman Chronicles #2)

Darkest Hour (The Lockman Chronicles #3)


Mysteries and Thrillers

Red Run

Last Call (A Ridley Brone Mystery)

The Hustle (A Ridley Brone Mystery)


Writing as Ella Scott

Sing Out Your Dead

(A Kristy Silver Show Choir Mystery)

Published by Paradox Publications

Copyright © 2013 by Rob Cornell

All rights reserved.


Cover design © 2013 Robert Flumignan

Cover image © Ultraone/Dreamstime


The Hustle
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

About the Author

Books by Rob Cornell

BOOK: Rob Cornell - Ridley Brone 02 - The Hustle
10.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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