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The bullet whizzed by Mike Shepherd's left ear and he threw his six-foot, two-inch frame to the ground. He drew his Smith and Wesson in the middle of his leap to safety.
Well, relative safety, considering someone's taking potshots at me.
The shot came from behind barrels stacked just inside a South Cicero warehouse. That warehouse, earmarked for destruction to make way for a high-rise, was not supposed to be used for target practice. Mike rolled for cover behind the rusting, black '95 Olds 98 he had been tailing for half an hour, which now blocked the alley next to the warehouse.
Mike Shepherd, sweating profusely in the sultry August evening, looked down at the knee that took the brunt of his dive into the gutter. "Hell!" He cursed the jagged hole in the pants of his only suit and the smudge of blood around the edge of the tear.
The Olds belonged to Ferlin Lewis, a nasty lowlife who had spent more time behind bars than in them in the past twenty years. Assault, grand theft, bank robbery, larceny and the current record in the Chicago Motor Vehicles files for delinquent parking violations populated his rap sheet. Ferlin had crammed a nearly unbelievable 422 traffic citations in the glove box of that Olds.
For five minutes Mike huddled behind the car waiting for some sign of movement or noise. The silence in this part of Cicero was eerie considering it was usually bustling with gang bangers, prostitutes, drug dealers, or all of the above. Perspiration dripped onto the dial of his Desert Storm military watch. He raised himself to a crouch and peered around the fender of the Olds. Another bullet ricocheted off the concrete inches away from his hand andfragments of the pavement peppered the right side of his face.
Shepherd, you got yourself pinned down good here.
Twenty minutes ago he should have been sitting down in a restaurant with Diana Barton. She wasn't going to be happy waiting there all alone. On top of everything else Mike had neglected to recharge his cell phone and had no way to call Diana. By now she'd be royally pissed and had probably informed everyone in the restaurant what a bum Mike Shepherd was and made a not-so-subtle exit.
Nuts! Bad timing. Horrible timing! But he'd spotted his nemesis tooling down the Dan Ryan Expressway and couldn't afford to pass up the two thousand dollar reward a bail bondsman offered for Ferlin's capture.
A door slammed somewhere deep inside the warehouse. Was Ferlin trying to get away or was he just wanting Mike to give him a target? Mike brushed off his clothes and ran the back of his hand across his forehead to swab away as much perspiration as he could. He waited beside the car for the next bullet to imbed itself, hopefully somewhere other than in his body. Nothing happened.
He took a deep breath. Now or never. Up and running.
Moving quickly past the open double doors of the warehouse, he paused long enough for his eyes to acclimate to the darkness. The only noise coming from inside was the click of his leather heels echoing off the walls as he began to creep across the concrete floor. Then, just outside, a car started up and screeched away.
Mike reached the other side of the building and hit the crash bar at a dead run. The clank of the door reverberated in the vastness of the building, but no alarm announced his exit. A lone streetlight brightened a large section of the alley, empty except for a dumpster buried in overflow against one wall of the warehouse. No Olds. Mike held his gun pointed toward the ground as he checked up and down the alley. No one was around. Ferlin and the Olds had disappeared.
Mike shoved his pistol into the shoulder holster, and then he noticed the untorn knee of his suit pants sported an oil stain, so big not even one of those fast-talking television spokespersons could claim to be able to remove.
Drat! Well, there goes my two thousand bucks and the date with Diana. Ferlin, when you take a shot at me, ruin both my only suit and my night out, you're in for it.
Anger boiled over as he settled behind the wheel of his '92 Buick Riviera. Even the stuffy August heat was no match for his internal thermometer. He'd been looking forward to a quiet night with Diana, which they had not had for sometime, and a great steak dinner. Shepherd, well-known in Chicago as a private investigator, hated the term private investigator because it sounded so old fashioned. He called himself a researcher. His latest jobs had demanded much fast-food and little sleep while delivering paltry paydays.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Shepherd¿s Pie is an old fashioned, tasty dish and was the perfect title for JD Webb¿s mystery debut. Harking back to the lovable, flat foot detective novels of the good ol¿ days - Webb has delivered a truly enjoyable read. Ferlin Lewis represents evil personified and is the bane of Mike Shepherd¿s existence. An escaped felon, with survivalist training Lewis was a formidable adversary, Mike knew all too well. For Shepherd this was no game, he wanted nothing more than to see this psychopath neutralized. The intensity of the madness increases with each chapter, as Lewis threatens everyone close to the former cop. When Shepherd¿s love interest, Diana is kidnapped, the chase heats to the boiling point.You can almost hear the oven timer in the background, as the reader continues to question who is really doing the chasing. This cozy mystery has something to suit a variety of tastes¿ a great mix of heart stopping action, sprinkled with a little romance and quick dashes of humor, Shepherd¿s Pie is much more than a half-baked wannabe, this is the real deal!