In Twilight's Hush

In Twilight's Hush

by Laurie Stevens
In Twilight's Hush

In Twilight's Hush

by Laurie Stevens

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Overview

Detective Gabriel McRay investigates a cold case from 1988 involving a missing teenager named Nancy Lewicki. Evidence is sparse and Gabriel has no leads. Much to his dismay, a celebrity psychic, Carmen Jenette, hypes the unsolved case on her television show. Gabriel warns Carmen not to interfere. Meanwhile, strange dreams of water and corpses haunt Gabriel's sleep. They unnerve him as he plans his wedding to LA County Medical Examiner, Dr. Ming Li. When the psychic's life is threatened, Gabriel connects the dots back to the missing girl and realizes his cold case is burning hot. Someone doesn't want Nancy found and will kill to keep her hidden. This is the fourth book in the award-winning series that Kirkus Reviews calls, "A skillfully woven tapestry of subplots and character development" and what The Huffington Post refers to as "frighteningly great." It stands alone, but if you read one, you'll want to read all four. Go for it. Gabriel invites you to follow his incredible psychological journey as he evolves from a victim who suffers from rage and depression to an enlightened man who has a chance to lead a happy life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780997006827
Publisher: Fyd Media, LLC
Publication date: 04/04/2020
Series: A Gabriel McRay Novel , #4
Pages: 394
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.81(d)

About the Author

Laurie Stevens is the author of the Gabriel McRay psychological suspense novels. The book series has won twelve awards, among them Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011 and a Random House Editor's Book of the Month. Suspense Magazine calls the The Mask of Midnight "The ultimate cat and mouse thriller" and Kirkus says it's "A taut thriller with complex characters and an unforgettable villain." Laurie is an active member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. She lives in the hills outside of Los Angeles with her husband, three snakes, and a cat.

Read an Excerpt

When Gabriel arrived at the Lewicki condominium, he saw Carmen Jenette seated with Len on the couch. He intended to give the psychic an earful for bragging that her reference of an expense had all but solved the case, but Gabriel noticed how Carmen’s green eyes appeared haunted. She crossed her arms and legs in a protective, unyielding manner. Something happened, he thought. Maybe she’d been attacked again.

Before Gabriel could talk with Carmen, Pauline surrounded him and wore a strained smile that barely masked her anxiety.

“Have you got some news for us, Gabriel?”

Len stood up from his seat on the living room couch, ready and waiting. How many times had Nancy’s parents jumped up from their seats in anticipation of long-awaited information about their daughter?

“I’ve been interviewing a man,” Gabriel said, without preamble.

“A suspect?” Len asked.

Gabriel didn’t want to commit yet. “A person of interest. Do you remember the boy I showed you in the photo with Nancy? The boy she’d met on the trip to Bodie?”

Sorry, Nancy, Gabriel said to himself. I have to tell your secret now.

“His name was Christopher Rand. Nancy was seeing Chris back at home.”

The Lewickis looked individually shocked and then shared a doubtful look.

“We would have known if she had a boyfriend,” Pauline informed Gabriel.

“From what I’ve been told, Nancy was worried that you would prevent her from seeing him. Apparently, she would meet Christopher at the mall and record music at his house.”

Off their bewildered looks, Gabriel added, “I’m sure it was an innocent crush. Surely, you can forgive a girl her first love.”

Gabriel didn’t know why he said that and regretted that he did. His words caused tears to materialize in Pauline Lewicki’s eyes. She went into the kitchen for a paper towel. Len dropped down onto the couch, looking confused. Carmen detangled herself to put a hand on his hunched shoulder. Gabriel wondered why he felt the need to defend Nancy.

“This boy…” Gabriel began. “This boy had a father with a particular history.”

Len Lewicki immediately understood. “A bad history?”

Gabriel nodded.

“What’d he do?”

“Nothing that we know of in regards to past years. But he is currently serving time for the sexual assault of a nineteen-year-old girl.”

Pauline Lewicki gasped at the kitchen doorway and scrunched the towel in her hand. Gabriel had no choice but to plow forward. He wasn’t the one who had perpetrated the harm, but he needed to relay it.

“Now, I have nothing that ties this man to Nancy other than my belief that he knew her. I’m trying to get him to acknowledge that.” Reaching into his pocket, Gabriel extracted a photograph that Eugenia Rand had emailed him. He handed it to the couple. “This is Walter Rand. He’s standing with his son Chris at a swim meet. It’s dated from around the time he would have known Nancy. Do you recognize him? Maybe you saw him loitering around Nancy’s school or perhaps near your house. I realize it’s been a long time.”

The Lewickis eyeballed the picture, straining to recognize Rand. Gabriel could see that they did not. Even if Rand had been stupid enough to get caught stalking Nancy, too much time had passed for any remembrances.

As if in agreement, Nancy’s mother and father shook their heads. They couldn’t identify him.

“Get me something of his,” Carmen urged Gabriel. “I can do a reading on it.”

Gabriel glanced at the psychic but did not respond. Instead, he addressed Nancy’s grief-worn parents. “I promise you I will be relentless with Mr. Rand until I’m convinced of either one of two things: that he had nothing to do with Nancy’s disappearance or he had everything to do with it.”

“What do you think, Gabriel?” Pauline asked him in a wan voice. “What’s your feeling?”

He assessed the woman, her heart hanging by a thread. “I’m not making any assumptions yet.” Gabriel moved to the front door. “I’ll let you know what happens.”

Carmen accompanied him. Again, Gabriel noticed a bit of vulnerability undermining the psychic’s usual confidence.

“You okay?” he asked.

“I think somebody followed me from the studio,” Carmen said. “Maybe I’m just paranoid.”

“I told you to get a bodyguard at least until we have Joey Bowles in custody.”

“And I told you that I’m not interested in lugging around an extra person everywhere.”

Gabriel rolled his eyes at her obstinacy and opened the front door. Carmen stepped outside and immediately staggered backward into the living room, pinwheeling her arms.

Paul Lewicki followed her in. “When are you gonna leave us alone?” he yelled.

Carmen righted herself, but Paul shoved her again, and this time she fell against the side table and knocked over Paul’s holiday picture. Pauline shrieked from the dining room entrance, and Len stormed over to his son.

Before Len could reach Paul, Gabriel grabbed the younger man. Holding him, Gabriel could smell the unmistakable tang of gin drifting from Paul’s mouth.

“Take it easy,” Gabriel told him.

Pauline slapped her hands over her reddened cheeks. “Oh, Paul, what are you doing?”

“You don’t bust in here like a raving maniac,” Len shouted at his son.

Paul jerked out of Gabriel’s arms and rushed at Carmen again.

“Get out of our house!” He grabbed Carmen by the shoulders and wheeled her toward the door. A violent tango ensued, with Pauline screeching, Len yelling, and Gabriel dodging around them, trying to cut in on the dance. Carmen and Paul bounced against the furniture until Paul pinned the psychic against one wall. Carmen grimaced and angled her head away as if Paul’s breath would ignite her face.

“I lost my marriage because of people like you,” he wailed. “Always hounding us. Never leaving us alone. Let her be!”

“Okay, buddy.” Gabriel put a hand on Paul’s shoulder, and the other man whirled around and punched Gabriel in the face. Carmen took the opportunity to push Paul aside and ran for safety behind an armchair.

Regaining his footing, Gabriel strode up to Paul while displaying the gun in his holster. “Take a seat and get a hold of yourself.”

Len, eyes wide on the gun, darted in front of his son. Behind him, Paul Lewicki panted like a wild dog, his eyes liquor-red, his shoulders shrunken. He stood staring at Gabriel without seeing him. His mind seemed a hundred miles away.

“He’s always been a troubled sort,” Len explained to Gabriel. “He’ll calm down. Won’t you, Paul?”

Gabriel pointed to the sofa. “Sit, Paul. Let’s you and I talk.” He looked over at Carmen. “Are you all right?”

The psychic stood frozen but managed to nod her head.

“Pauline,” Gabriel said. “I think Carmen and your son could use some water.”

Nancy’s mother wandered miserably into the kitchen. Gabriel gestured that Carmen should accompany her. Carmen hesitated and then followed Pauline out of the room. Gabriel turned to Len. “Paul and I need to talk alone.”

Len heaved a sigh toward his son and turned to follow the women. Gabriel kept his hand on his gun until Paul took a few dismal steps and then melted into a puddle on the couch. Standing in front of him, Gabriel rubbed his sore jaw.

“Next time, you’ll cool down in a holding cell. Nobody here is trying to hurt you or your parents. Carmen and I only want to help.”

“Not her,” Paul said in a breaking voice. “She’s using Nancy. Parading our troubles in front of millions of people just to gain viewers.” He looked up at Gabriel with a sorrowful expression. “You know it’s true.”

Gabriel appraised the younger man and then walked over to the fallen photograph. As he bent down to retrieve it, he said, “You have two sons. You want to wreck their lives?”

“My wife doesn’t let me see them,” Paul muttered.

“Yeah, well, maybe she would if you didn’t act like an asshole.”

“Fuck you,” Paul told him. “I don’t care if you’re a cop.”

Gabriel set the photo upright on the table. “How much more pain do you want to cause your parents?”

“I don’t care. It’s always been about their pain.”

Gabriel took a seat on the couch next to Paul. “So, you want to do your part and add to it. Maybe even beat out the pain Nancy’s disappearance caused them.”

“Go to hell.”

“I’m just curious. Is that what you’re trying to do? Is this a bid for attention?”

Paul tried to get up, but Gabriel grabbed his arm and pulled him firmly back down to the couch. “It’s time to grow up, Paul. Apologize for your bad behavior. Tell you what; I’ll give you a minute to sit in the shit hole that you’re used to sitting in, and then you let me know when you’re ready to move forward.”

Gabriel released Paul’s sleeve and folded his hands on his lap, waiting.

Looking at him, Paul muttered, “You’re a real joker.”

“Lay off the booze, Paul. It’s a depressant. Not good for someone in your mental state.”

Len held Pauline’s hand as they emerged from the kitchen.

“Here’s your water, Paul.” Pauline broke away from her husband and went to her son’s side. Tenderly, she handed him the glass.

Carmen exited the kitchen on light footfalls. Paul, glancing at the psychic, seemed to hold the water glass for support.

“I’m sorry,” he said without meeting anyone’s eye. Draining the glass in one gulp, Paul asked his mother if she had any aspirin. Pauline nodded, patted her son’s knee to reassure him, and then headed up the stairs.

Carmen crept further into the living room and picked up her purse from where it had fallen. “I’d better get on my way,” she whispered and slipped out the front door like an escaping wraith.

******

A few minutes later, when he stepped outside the condo, Gabriel saw Carmen standing on the sidewalk, under a tree whose roots had broken up the cement. He joined her.

“It’s him,” Carmen said. “Paul is the one who assaulted me at the studio. I know it. He has this softness about him.”

“Do you want to press charges?”

She shook her head. “I couldn’t do that to Pauline and Len. Could you?”

Gabriel glanced at the Lewicki’s front door. No, he didn’t want to arrest Nancy’s brother, although he wondered if he should. The man was imbalanced enough to pose a threat to others, including himself.

“I knew I was being followed,” Carmen told Gabriel. “There was this green sedan driving behind me from the time I left the studio. I should have expected this.”

At that moment, the front door opened, and Paul exited the house. He kept his eyes downcast as he walked out into the street and entered his car—a black SUV.

******

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