The Night Watchman

The Night Watchman

4.3 37
by Mark Mynheir
     
 

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Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game–until a barrage of bullets ended his career…and his partner’s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a

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Overview

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game–until a barrage of bullets ended his career…and his partner’s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case–to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth–at any cost.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“With dialogue so realistic that it sounds like crime scene dictation, Mynheir renders a flawed, emotionally haunted, staunchly decent protagonist in retired detective Ray Quinn. The reader cannot help but root for him to defeat his personal demons. The warmth of this story rings true and feels deserved.”
–Anthony Flacco, screenwriter and author of The Hidden Man and The Last Nightingale

“What a rare pleasure it is to discover a suspense novelist as talented as Mark Mynheir–an elegant writer who tells stories about the world of law enforcement that only an insider possibly could. The Night Watchman is a powerful, fast-moving tale with rich characters and some great twists.”
–Joseph Finder, New York Times best-selling author of Power Play and Paranoia

“With stakeouts, fake-outs, and shoot-outs, The Night Watchman is a terrific crime story. Well written, well plotted, and extremely well done, Mynheir delivers a compulsively engrossing thriller that bears comparison with Michael Connelly and John Sanford.”
–W. L. Dyson, best-selling author of The Shefford-Johnson Case series and Shepherd’s Fall

“Riveting, revealing, rewarding–classic Mark Mynheir! In The Night Watchman, Mynheir has created an intricately woven thriller with a worthy mystery, gut-clenching suspense, and a compelling protagonist, Ray, who has lost everything, including hope and faith. Yet Ray dares to seek answers intentionally buried, and in doing so, he finds himself…and offers us insights into ourselves. Author to author, I say, ‘Bravo!’ Reader to reader, I say, ‘Don’t miss this book. It’s loaded with insightful gems!’”
–Vicki Hinze, award-winning author of Kill Zone and Lady Justice

The Night Watchman delivers high-stakes suspense, the perfect amount of police intrigue, and characters so real they walk off the page and into your soul. This is a story that will keep you awake all night and stay on your mind long after you’ve placed this novel on your keeper shelf.”
–Amy Wallace, author of Enduring Justice

“Mynheir’s real-life experience shines through in his creation of new hero Ray Quinn–a hard-edged, never-say-die detective with leathery wit, unable–or unwilling–to quite give up on life. The Night Watchman is an intense read you won’t put down until the last page.”
–Tosca Lee, Christy-nominated author of ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Silver Award Winner Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve

“What a ride! In a novel rich in both plot and character, Mark Mynheir has given us a classic noir crime novel. Ray Quinn, the night watchman, may be broken in body, but his mind and heart refuse to quit. A must-read for mystery fans.”
–Gayle Roper, author of Fatal Deduction

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590529355
Publisher:
The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/05/2009
Series:
A Ray Quinn Novel Series
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Just after I of my pickup truck, the two men stalking me had emerged from the shadows and then trailed me though the parking lot.

They lagged behind me about fifty feet. I slowed my pace, not that I wasn’t as slow as a tree slug already, to see if they would overtake me or hang back.

They hung back. Not good.

Any human at a normal pace should have passed me by now. I could feel their eyes punching holes in me, waiting for the right time to move.

Since I wasn’t up for dealing with any problems, I stepped it out as best I could. With a new-and-improved plastic pelvis and hip, along with tenmonths of physical therapy, I should be able to hobble a little faster. No such luck.The cane and gimpy leg would only go so fast. Grandma Moses on a pogo stick could hop circles around me.

Using the rearview mirrors on the cars parked along Lake Avenue, I kept tabs on my new friends without being too obvious, a little trick I picked up when I worked undercover.No need to give them more of an advantage than they already had.

The big one, a black kidmaybe twenty years old, wore a white wife-beater muscle shirt and black jean shorts. Mini-dreads jetted from his head like a frayed ball of yarn.The other kid, probably the same age, was an anemic white with a tattoo sprawled on his neck and a shaved head that glistened under the streetlights.

With each glance I caught, they feigned like they were talking to each other, but I could sense they were planning to pounce. And why not? I was an easy mark—a crippled guy negotiating the Orlando streets alone at night. One more block to go until I was at work.

Eleven months ago I would have enjoyed this game of cat and mouse. But then I would have been the cat, a big hungry one ready to swallow those thugs like the rodents they were. I hoped they were just playing a game.

I stole a furtive glance behind me, and my tails were nowhere in sight. I stopped and shifted all the way around.Gone.Must have headed up an alley.Maybe I was just losingmy mind.Hadn’t been out much lately.

I used to love the Orlando nightlife, the clubs and things to do; the pulse of the city at night energized me. It had changed so much in a short amount of time. Faster, meaner, a stranger to me. Like I was living on a different planet. I had grown up here, not long after Mickey scurried in, back when Orlando was more of a cowtown.
Now it’s a big city plagued with big-city problems.

As I approached the corner of Lake and East Jackson,Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumber raced around the corner right in front of me, both out of breath.They must have sprinted down the alley behind the store to cut me off just before I reached the intersection.

This wouldn’t end pretty.

“Hey, old man.”The ugly white kid checked up and down the street, like felons do when they’re preparing to do something monumentally stupid.

His buddy invaded my personal space on my left. “How about some spare change?” he said with an accent, maybe Haitian.

“Don’t have any change.” I eyed possible escape routes, though escape wasn’t likely in my condition. And I couldn’t count on anyone to help me, or even to notice, for that matter.On this corner, in a city of over two hundred thousand people, I was on my own…as usual.

“Then give up your wallet, or I bust your head like your leg is.”

The black kid pressed in on me.

“Okay.Okay.” I held upmy right hand while leaning more on the cane with my left. “I’ll give you my wallet. Just don’t hurt me.”

“Hurry up!”The white kid spit as he spoke, clenching his fists at his sides. “I ain’t got all night.”He was the alpha dog of the two.

If they were going to attack, he would lead.He needed to be tamed.

I reached back with my right hand, brushed past my wallet in my back pocket, and slipped my hand up into my waistband. I let go of the cane.The brass handle clanked as it bounced off the concrete, echoing around us.Huey and Dewey beaded in on it, drawing their attention down for the second I needed.

I unsnapped my Glock 9mm from its holster, then drew it to eye level, settingmy night sights on the white kid’s forehead. A stupefied look crossed his face, which must be a regular event for him. He wasn’t so alpha dog now.

“The leg’s busted, scumbag, but my finger works fine.” I gritted my teeth and leaned forward. “You wanna test it out?”

Both raised their hands. “We’re just playin’ around,man.”The black kid glanced toward his partner, who peered down the barrel of my pistol.

“I’m not. You got ten seconds to run before I call the cops.Ten. Nine.” They were half a block away before I hit five.

Retired cops can legally carry guns, even if they’re medically retired. At least I had that going for me. If not, I’d have been a quick lunch for those creeps. I thought about calling Dispatch and reporting it, but something told me my new friends would think twice for a while before robbing someone again, and I didn’t relish the idea of being listed as a victim again on an incident report with my old department.

I slid the pistol into its holster at my back, then snapped it in. I combed my fingers through my hair. The May air was thick and still. The adrenaline surge from the game with my buddies wasn’t all bad. For the first time in a while, I felt alive, energized.Too bad it would die down soon.

My cane lay on the sidewalk, which shouldn’t have been a big deal. But everything was a big deal these days.

As I stood without support, I felt like I was balancing on a dry, cracked twig ready to snap at any moment, sending me crashing to the concrete.My own legs were under someone else’s spell, because they certainly didn’t obey me anymore. I used to be able to roundhouse kick a heavy bag so hard it would bend in half. Now I had to mentally prepare to bend over and pick up my cane so I wouldn’t fall on my face like an idiot…or worse, a helpless child.

I shouldn’t have been too worried, though. Me and my physical terrorist—Imean, therapist—Helga, had been working on this. Her name really wasn’t Helga, but I liked to call her that. A linebacker- sized woman with viselike man hands, sweet Helga and I would rendezvous three times a week—whether I wanted to or not.
(If I didn’t go tomy therapy and doctors’ appointments, I didn’t get my medical retirement checks.) I imagine Helga’s former job was as an interrogator in a Russian gulag somewhere deep in Siberia, slapping, twisting, and pounding confessions from the prisoners.

I’ve cried out for mercy more than once on her medieval torture table.

I drew in a deep breath, then exhaled as we practiced. I eased down, shifting all my weight onto my left foot while rolling my right foot on its heel, stretching it out. Throbbing bolts of pain fired up my leg then my spine, like multiple shots from a Taser. I wobbled as my fingers brushed the cane, as if I were petting the head of a snake. My middle finger caught the lip of the hawk-bill handle, then drew it into my hand. I stabbed the tip into the concrete and pressed myself up.What a production.

As I righted myself, I took a second to compose, the nerve endings in my lower half signaling their dismay and rebellion. I checked my watch. If I was gonna make my shift as the night watchman at Coral Bay Condominiums, I’d have to hustle. I’d hate to lose my new job. But then again, I didn’t have much respect for someone who’s never lost anything.

My name is Ray Quinn. Eleven months ago, I lost everything.

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Meet the Author

A detective with the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Palm Bay Police Department, Mark Mynheir investigates violent crimes and writes riveting Christian fiction. A U.S. Marine with a passion for martial arts and firearms training, Mark has worked on narcotics units, SWAT teams, and in a myriad high-risk situations. His novels offer a realistic glimpse into the gritty world of law enforcement and the rarely seen raw emotions behind the badge. Mark lives in Florida with his wife and three children.

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Night Watchman 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
adamblumer More than 1 year ago
I was honored to receive an advance copy of "The Night Watchman" and delighted to dig deep into this enjoyable tale of medically retired and physically broken homicide detective Ray Quinn. Right from the start, I knew something bad had happened to Ray, a loner in Orlando who hangs out in his apartment with his apparently only friend "Jim" (Jim Beam whiskey) and a poster of John Wayne that embodies the qualities of the father Ray, a foster child, has never known. He's a tortured soul whose existence is made more difficult due to the physical injuries he still suffers and the guilt he experiences over his partner's demise. To make ends meet, Ray works as a night watchman and whiles away his early hours doing Sodoku puzzles and sending his quirky sidekick Crevis Creighton out chasing after shadows. But the tedium quickly ends when Ray discovers the lifeless bodies of an unlikely pair, the pastor of Outreach Orlando Ministries and an exotic dancer. The deaths are ruled a murder-suicide, but the pastor's sister, Pam Winters, believes her brother was framed and asks Ray, who's initially reluctant, to look into the case. What follows is an enjoyable, fast-paced ride dominated by masterful writing, strong characterizations, an insider's look into the cutting-edge tools of detective work, and an exciting plot. The writing is sometimes comical, other times poetic, but always gripping. Most refreshing to me was the clever way the author wove in the gospel message through the e-mails of Jamie, the murdered exotic dancer. The novel is meaningful without being heavy handed. I especially appreciated the discreet and tasteful way the author handled the exotic dancer angle. This stellar performance by a masterful author of crime fiction kept me reading late into the night. You won't want to miss this one. I look forward to future installments in this exciting new series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Great Read. I have read all five of Mark Mynheir books and they are all good but this is the best of them. Ray Quinn is an interesting protagonist and the plot has many layers of complexities. Even with a somewhat dark atmosphere, Mynheir lightens up the prose with unexpected dialogue that keeps things from becoming too morose. After all, Ray Quinn has gone through very difficult times which has changed his life forever, but he comes out of it with a hopeful future. I hope Mynheir revisits Quinn in a future book.
purplerose75 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in the Ray Quinn detective series. I received the second book from one of my review programs, so of course, I had to read the first one...first. I don't usually review the preceding books in these situations, but I actually liked The Night Watchman better than The Corruptible, so I decided to post reviews for both. This is a "Christian" book, but Ray Quinn isn't the Christian. He's more of a smart-alec, stand-on-your-own, rogue ex-cop. His way of coping with the tragedies in his life is to spend quality time with his buddy Jim. That would be his best friend, Jim Beam. His partner at work, and eventually in crime-solving, is the over-zealous Crevis.(Hey, I just realized that rhymes!) This is a well-written book, and I love a mystery that isn't easy to figure out, but the best part of the book is the humor. I laughed my way through this book. There is a little sadness, as Ray shares about the death of his former partner, but that's a small part. And most of the humor is at Crevis's expense. Ray really isn't the nicest guy on the block, but Mynheir writes in such a way that you have to love Ray anyway.
Smilingsally More than 1 year ago
Written in a snappy first-person narrative, this novel presents a protagonist who grabbed my heart from the beginning. I love Ray Quinn! He's far from perfect; he's damaged--physically, psychologically, and spiritually--a retired cop who now earns his pay as a "rent-a-cop"--a night watchman. Perhaps he's so believable because the author is a police officer. The dialogue rings true, the action is lively, and the book is a must-read! Set in Orlando, Florida, this fast paced murder mystery is not at all typical. I found myself chuckling at some sections. Why, I even shed a tear! I guarantee, you won't feel as if you've read it before. The ending is far from predictable. I hope that I will have an opportunity to meet Ray Quinn in a sequel. Included is a reader's guide which makes the novel a good book club pick.
ReviewYourBook.com More than 1 year ago
Former Homicide Detective, Ray Quinn, was working as a night watchman. He had survived a violent shooting that killed his partner and put him out of commission. He hid his pain in a bottle. When a pastor and a exotic dancer are found murdered in the pastor room at the condo, the conclusion is murder/suicide or is it. With the help of the pastor's sister Ray is thrown right back into investigating, with an unlikely pair to help. Pam the pastors sister and Crevis Creighton a bumbling want a be police officer, and a modern day Barney Fife. When I first started reading this book, I was reminded of a Mike Hammer movie. I could picture Detective Quinn as he narrates what is going on. This book really kept me on the edge to keep reading to see what was happening next. This is a excellent suspense filled thriller. As he digs deeper into the investigation, someone out there is determined to keep him from learning the truth. Just how deep is the corruption and where and who is it leading to. This is a very clean written Christian Suspense , one that does not depend on the bad language and sexual content, yet it is not preachy either. It you enjoy a good mystery you won't want to miss this book.
ChristyLockstein More than 1 year ago
The Night Watchman by Mark Myrnheir is the first in the Ray Quinn series about a retired police officer who can't seem to get detective work out of his blood. Ray was crippled by an ambush that also murdered his partner/fiance eleven months ago. Now he's working as a night watchman at a condo that doesn't require any more of his skills than his ability to do countless Sudoku puzzles to while away the hours. When a pastor and a prostitute are found shot to death in one of the condos, Quinn starts poking into the murder/suicide verdict, but what he finds brings him full circle, back to the shooting that ended his career.Myrnheir has created a great cast of characters for a possibly long running series: curmudgeonly Ray, naive Crevis , and faithful Pam, and they each come with intriguing subplots. Ray is an easy character to like with his love of all things John Wayne and his refusal to let the bad guy get away. His injury creates vulnerability as well as making sure that he can't be a superman who can fight his way through every battle. Ray has to rely on his wits and allies far more than most private detectives, and that makes me want to come back to read more of his investigations soon.
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