ONE IS his beloved.
Leaving L.A.'s Parker Center, Shane Scully and his wife, Alexa, agree to meet at home…but Alexa never arrives. Then Shane's called to a crime scene on Mulholland Drive, where the victim, an apparent gang member, has been executed—and left in Alexa's car. Her gun is the likely murder weapon.
THE OTHER Is his Nemesis.
As Shane desperately tries to find Alexa, his leads point to a feud between two gangsta-rap record companies, both heavily manned by Crips and Bloods. At the center of this war is a ruthless, beautiful Lady Macbeth-like white woman raised in Compton. Married to a multi-millionaire rap mogul, she is known as the White Sister.
It's his worst nightmare come true…
Shane is no stranger to big trouble, but he's never before been smeared as a "racist cop" or thrown in jail while there's a hit out on him. Much worse is the unknown fate of Alexa, and the fact that in the mysterious White Sister—who holds the clue to a sinister conspiracy—he may have met his match.
About the Author
Stephen J. Cannell (1941-2010) was the author of the bestselling Shane Scully books, including The Prostitute's Ball, The Pallbearers, and Three Shirt Deal. He was also an Emmy Award winning television writer and producer, and in his thirty-five-year career, he created or co-created more than forty TV series. Among his hits were The Rockford Files, Silk Stalkings, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, Hunter, Renegade, Wiseguy, and The Commish. He received numerous awards, including the Saturn Award - Life Career Award (2004), The Marlow Lifetime Achievement Award from Mystery Writers of America (2005), and the WGA Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement (2006). Having overcome severe dyslexia, Cannell was an avid spokesperson on the condition and an advocate for children and adults with learning disabilities. He was a third-generation Californian and resided in the Pasadena area with his wife, Marcia, and their children.
Stephen J. Cannell (1941-2010) was the author of the bestselling Shane Scully books, including The Prostitute's Ball, The Pallbearers, and Three Shirt Deal. He was also an Emmy Award winning television writer and producer, and in his thirty-five-year-career, he created or co-created more than forty TV series. Among his hits were The Rockford Files, Silk Stalkings, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, Hunter, Renegade, Wiseguy, and The Commish. He received numerous awards, including the Saturn Award - Life Career Award (2004), The Marlow Lifetime Achievement Award from Mystery Writers of America (2005), and the WGA Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement (2006). Having overcome severe dyslexia, Cannell was an avid spokesperson on the condition and an advocate for children and adults with learning disabilities. He was a third-generation Californian and resided in the Pasadena area with his wife, Marcia, and their children.
Read an Excerpt
By Stephen J. Cannell
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2006 Stephen J. Cannell
All rights reserved.
IT WAS EARLY evening on Thursday the first week of July and Alexa and I were walking through San Julian Park in Skid Row, on our way back from the LAPD Central Division Jail. Homeless men in tattered coats swung blood-shot eyes in our direction, tracking us like government radar. We were returning from a training day in jail transport procedures.
The retraining had been mandated after a Mara Salvatrucha gang-banger named Hector Morales got bludgeoned to death while shuffling on a drag line through the underground tunnel that connects the jail to the Fifth Street courthouse. A rival Hispanic gang-banger had done the work by somehow slipping out of his waist restraints and hitting Hector in the head with a cut-down chair leg from the jail cafeteria. He'd been hiding the weapon inside the leg of his orange jumpsuit.
The Professional Standards Bureau, our new, media-friendly name for the Internal Affairs Division, investigated. All supervisors and detectives above grade two were ordered to undergo a refresher day on incarceration and transfer tactics. Alexa and I were dressed in grubbies — jeans and old sweatshirts — but before we were twenty feet into the park, everybody there had made us for cops anyway.
"Tony says this surgery is no sweat, but you can tell he's scared," Alexa was saying as we stepped carefully around some dog shit, a pile of trash, and a sleeping homeless couple. She was talking about the upcoming heart surgery our Chief of Police was scheduled to have tomorrow morning.
"Bypass surgery is getting to be pretty common," I offered. "It's natural to be scared, but he'll be okay."
Hollow words, considering Tony Filosiani was getting a complete coronary makeover. The surgeons were cutting his chest open, taking both mammary arteries, and grafting them around the four blocked arteries in his heart. Any way you looked at it, he was in for a tough ten days and wasn't scheduled back on the job for a couple of months.
"Is it me, or does this park smell worse than ever?" Alexa said, changing the subject. "Like a big outdoor latrine."
"July heat," I answered. "It always smells worse in the summer."
We walked past a line of portable toilets, which were called Alices by the people on the Row, because Alice Callahan of the Las Familias del Pueblo Community Center had badgered the city council until they finally funded their installation. In a vengeful act of municipal retaliation, the toilets were rarely cleaned out but nonetheless served both physical and commercial needs. A lot of drug and prostitution deals were consummated within the smelly three-foot confines of those portable johns.
"I'm gonna check my messages, see if I have a meeting that was supposed to be set up tonight," Alexa said. "Then if there's time, I'd like to run over to the hospital and see Tony on the way home." She stepped over a well-known park character named Horizontal Joe. He was huddled under a blanket stenciled with a W — a sure sign it was stolen from the Weingart Center on South San Pedro Street.
"Watch where you're goin'," Joe growled, without bothering to look up.
Parker Center loomed before us like a drifting glass iceberg; a huge box of a building with absolutely no architectural significance. One of the strange anomalies of Los Angeles was that the Central Division Jail and the Police Administration Building were contiguous to the city's fifty-square-block section of blight known as Skid Row. Some Parker Center cops felt it was easier to take the seven-block walk if you were headed toward the lock-up, rather than move your car out of the Glass House garage and look for nonexistent parking by the jail. As a result, the cops and homeless spent countless hours in mutual distrust as we shared the urine-soaked walkways and broken drinking fountains in San Julian Park.
Alexa and I stepped off the curb where an ageless man wearing tennis shoes with no laces and a greasy brown poncho was ranching quarters out of a parking meter, a practice known as spanging. He didn't even bother to stop. Most of these people had discovered by now that no cop worth his wage would waste two hours booking a guy at the jail over a twenty-five-cent misdemeanor.
"I hope Tony gets back on the job before two months," I groused. "I can't stand the thought of Great White Mike being in charge of the department." I had a recent and unrewarding history with Deputy Chief Michael Ramsey, who I viewed as little more than an ambitious power junkie in a braided hat.
"Mike's okay. Just a little jacked up," Alexa said, smiling slightly.
My wife is the head of the Detective Services Group. I'm a Detective III assigned to Homicide Special, so technically she's my boss. She's about to make captain and is three layers above me on the department flow chart. All of which means I get to put out the garbage on the job, as well as at home. Just kidding.
We finally left the squalor of Fifth Street, known as the Nickel, and headed toward the air-conditioned sanctuary of the Glass House. Brown burlap slowly gave way to starched blue as we entered the marble lobby. We got on the elevator, and since it was empty, I gave my beautiful wife a kiss. She has long black hair, high cheekbones, and is one of the most striking women I have ever come across. She could easily have made her living doing fashion shoots. I, on the other hand, look like I got emptied out of a vacuum cleaner. I'm five-eleven and a half, lean, and gristly. Topping this unholy collection of scars and medical mistakes is a hammered flat nose and short black hair that never quite lies down. All of this makes me resemble a club fighter who's stayed in the ring too long. It's a miracle Alexa ever agreed to marry me. But then, if Julia Roberts could once marry Lyle Lovett, I guess anything is possible.
The door opened on four and two young patrolmen got on, so we cut the funny stuff and I said good-bye.
"See you at home in about an hour and a half," Alexa said as I got off on that random floor and pushed the Down button for the parking garage.
Five minutes later I was in my freshly leased, silver Acura MDX, enjoying the new car smell as I headed out of the administration-building parking garage on my way home. A bleak landscape of urban blight and human misery passed by outside, but I was oblivious with the windows up and the AC on. I was in my sweet-smelling automotive capsule, immune to the reek and cries of the Row, thinking about Tony Filosiani.
In the last decade or so, the LAPD had experienced a run of disasters, from the Rodney King case to the Rampart scandal. Recently, we had been cleaning up the mess, and that was mostly because of Tony. Our chief arrived from Brooklyn four years ago and was known by the troops as the Day-Glo Dago because of his colorful, somewhat out-there personality and management style. I was worried about him and would have liked to go over to USC Medical Center where he was being prepped for surgery to let him know he was in my thoughts. But I'm just a Detective III, and somewhere deep in the reptilian part of my brain that processes police protocol, it felt like an ass-kiss, so I didn't go. It was different for Alexa. She was a division commander.
I was in a silent argument with myself over this dilemma when I took my eyes off the road to reach in my glove box and turn on my police scanner, which is mandated off-duty protocol.
As I switched to Tac One, I heard a loud crash and a thump. I jerked my eyes up just in time to see a Safeway shopping cart full of junk skitter across the street in front of me, spilling empty Evian bottles and useless debris everywhere. I stood on the brake pedal as I heard screaming.
I'd hit someone.
I piled out of the Acura and started to look for the pedestrian. Nothing in front. Nothing in back. Where the hell was he?
"Under here, you stupid muthafucka!" a man shrieked.
I kneeled down and looked. Wedged under my oil pan was one of the scrawniest, scruffiest men I have ever seen. Dusty black skin, dreadlocks, and a greasy, brown coat that looked like it had been used as the drop cloth under a lube rack.
"Look what you've done, you asshole!" the man screamed, holding his wrist. "Can't you watch where you're going?"
"You okay?" I stammered.
I reached under the car and tried to grab him by the shoulder to drag him out, but when I touched him, he started screaming louder.
"Whatta you want me to do?" I asked helplessly, wondering how to get him out from under there.
"Just get away from me, ya dumb muthafucka."
Then he slowly started to worm his way out from beneath my car. It was hard to guess his age under the tangled beard and layer of grime, but if I had to, I'd say around thirty-five. He had a cut on his head and scrapes all over the side of his face. His right wrist looked broken. How I had not killed him was a miracle.
Once he got out, he spent several moments moaning and cradling his wrist before he stumbled over, sat on the curb and glared malevolently. It took him about ten more seconds to figure me out. "Cop," he finally growled.CHAPTER 2
HIS NAME WAS Jonathan Bodine, and he was a sidewalk sleeper from Julian Street where the hard-core homeless lived in cardboard condos — old shipping crates covered with Saran wrap to keep the rain out. He smelled worse than a tuna boat, had tobacco-stained teeth and a colorful vocabulary.
"You just another drives-too-fast-don't-give-a-shit-half-stepper," he growled at me, cradling his broken right wrist with his left hand, glaring with enough hatred to start a race riot.
I felt guilty and offered up my excuse: "I didn't see you." The defense rests.
"Jus' 'cause you a cop, don't mean you can go an' plow poor folks down."
"You were jaywalking. You're supposed to cross in the crosswalks. Section Pdash-one-oh-six of the motor vehicle code. Look it up." The last thing I needed was a frivolous lawsuit from this guy.
"You just an A-train hard-ass out here gorillin' and Godzillin'. But you ain't helpin' nobody. Hit my black ass and now I'm the damn problem?" He tried to stand up, but he was half lit and fell to his right, instinctively putting his bad wrist down to break his fall. He shrieked when his hand touched the ground, falling awkwardly onto his shoulder. Again, I tried to help him, but he knocked me back with the sleeve of his good arm, then whined and moaned for about two more minutes.
"I'll take you to the hospital."
"They ain't gonna do nothin'. One look at me and I get the nigga chute."
"I'll pay for it. We'll get your wrist set. It looks broken."
"Damn right, it's broken." And now a crafty look crept up onto his face, filling his dark eyes like bilge water. "Think you can just plow folks down, then back over twice to finish the job. But this here kinda brutality got big economic consequences."
"I didn't back over you twice. And you were breaking the law. You can't cross in the middle of the block, buddy."
"Who cares what you say? You jus' talkin' shit an' swallowin' spit."
Quality discourse. Next, we had an extensive discussion over what to do with his Safeway cart.
"I leave it out here it gets jack-rolled by them Quality-of-Life criminals from the Nickel," he whined.
"I'm not putting all that junk in the back of my clean car," I defended.
He got to his feet without answering and started to wander across the street toward the shopping cart, which was tipped over at the far curb. A yellow cab with its roof light on was speeding down Sixth and didn't see him either. The cabbie hit the binders and went sideways in a desperate slide, accompanied by the squeal of tortured rubber.
"Watch where you're goin' you blind-ass-piece-a-shit!" Jonathan Bodine screamed drunkenly at the cabbie, who had missed him by scant inches before straightening up and powering on.
I crossed the street and reluctantly helped him load his grubby possessions back into the shopping cart, thinking I was going to need a tetanus shot when this was over. We pushed the cart back across the street, and after another argument, which I lost, loaded it all into my car, filling my brand-new Acura SUV like a Skid Row dumpster.
"Stick the schooner in the back," Jonathan ordered.
"Unless your name is John Safeway, we're not stealing this shopping cart," I declared.
Five minutes later, with the Safeway cart wedged in behind the front seat, we took off toward the hospital. Along the way, I was forced to endure my first Jonathan Bodine hard-luck rant.
"You think it's tough on the Row, you should try it in the Bassaland. Your lilywhite ass wouldn't last ten seconds in that African rainforest," he rambled.
I tried to tune him out by focusing on the steady stream of social mistakes bubbling from my police radio. But I couldn't do it. He was relentless.
"I hadda survive almost a year in that jungle. Couldn't a lasted 'cept I was wearin' the purple robes a the royal house, an' I got the Third Eye of tribal wisdom." He rattled like a tambourine, delusional, craziness spewing out of him. "I got people in my head talkin' to me — dead people from all the way back to the Black Holocaust. These half-steppers is all the time tellin' me how slaves from the Bassaland got exiled from the tribe and sold to do all kinda mystical work and what all. When I was growin' up in Cameroon, 'fore I got my commission in the Royal Navy, these voices was tellin' me desperate stories about how tribal brothers was being sold to slavers in the Kon where their souls got sucked out by the walking dead who live there. Walking dead make all these assholes on the Nickel look like prissy faggots with their twenty-eight-day shuffle hotels an' shopping cart elections for a dumb-ass seat on the neighborhood council. All a that ain't nothin' up against a rainforest where you got dead people suckin' out your soul an' shit."
I decided to take him to County-USC instead of the closer Queen of Angels Hospital. I made my decision mostly because Tony was at USC Medical Center. I glanced over at Bodine. He seemed totally unplugged from reality.
A few months ago, I'd read a flyer about the homeless passed out by Administrative Affairs. The one-sheet was supposed to better acclimate us so that we as law enforcement officers would understand the problems faced by our neighbors on the Row. It said that half the people there were alcoholics and one-third were mentally ill. The rest were just holding on to the bottom rung of society, hoping to survive one day at a time. I looked over at my passenger. Jonathan Bodine's eyes flashed in the dimly lit car possessed by ideas as he listened to voices only he could hear.
We pulled up to the emergency room entrance and I parked my car in a red zone, left the flashers on, and hung my cuffs over the steering wheel, a universal cop signal identifying a plain-clothes car. Then I led him inside.
ER admitting rooms in gang areas serviced by hospitals like County-USC are quickly becoming L.A.'s strange new nightmare. More and more, these facilities are degenerating into desperate war zones where rival bangers bring their wounded homies, frequently resuming hostilities in the pastel waiting rooms. MAC-10s would suddenly begin chattering, chewing up plaster divides and vinyl sofas. As a result, bulletproof glass and lead wall security were being installed on a priority basis.
With the help of my badge, Bodine was processed quickly. I really wanted to get him patched up and out of my life. I talked to Admitting and signed a payment voucher. After he was signed in, a pretty African-American nurse escorted the disheveled Mr. Bodine into one of the small observation cubicles. I could hear him complaining through the curtained wall, em-effing his way through a preliminary orthopedic exam.
I decided since I was here, what the hell, might as well go up and wish Tony luck. Maybe I'd run into Alexa. I needed advice about what to do with Bodine. I wasn't sure how far my responsibility to him extended. I had run him over. No argument there. But he was jaywalking. I didn't want to get wrapped up in a lawsuit, but I felt guilty. Mostly, I just wanted to mail the package to somebody else. I hoped Alexa would advise me that after his wrist was set, my obligation to him was over.
When I arrived in the coronary care unit, the floor nurse informed me that they had just given Tony a sedative and he was already asleep. Surgery was scheduled for seven A.M. tomorrow.
"Did Lieutenant Scully show up, by any chance?" I asked.
The nurse checked her clipboard and shook her head.
"It would probably have been less than thirty minutes ago."
"Nobody by that name has been here."
I had a momentary inkling that something was wrong. I called Alexa's office and got her assistant Ellen.
"She left here almost an hour ago," Ellen said. "She was going to see Tony at the hospital. You could try there."
"That's where I am. She didn't show up. Tony is already sedated and asleep."
"Maybe that's it," Ellen said. "Alexa said something about trying to fit in a short appointment. She could've called from the car, found out he was asleep, and gone to the meeting instead."
"You're probably right."
Excerpted from White Sister by Stephen J. Cannell. Copyright © 2006 Stephen J. Cannell. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I Read constantly, this was and all the Stephen Cannell books kept me interested. love a book that get me in the first chapter and keeps me up reading
I couldnt put this book down. First Shane Scully series ive read and will read them all. Thanks to Mr. Cannell and all his great works; he will be missed.
I read this right after finisheing Cold Hit (by same author) and enjoyed it. This one strained credability a bit but I'm invested in the characters of this series and will add it to my list of must read series'
Detective Shane Scully and his wife, Alexa, are an unlikely but intriguing pair. She's not only drop dead gorgeous but also Director of Operations for the LAPD, and no one would call him good looking. It's best said in his own words: ''It's a miracle Alexa ever agreed to marry me. But then, if Julia Roberts could once marry Lyle Lovett, I guess anything is possible.' How can you not like him? Millions do as is shown by the sales of the previous Shane Scully novels. Here's another to enjoy, especially as read on both the Abridged and Unabridged versions by the inimitable Scott Brick. It's been said that Brick is Scully and always should be. How true! With 'White Sister' we find Shane and Alexa planning to meet at home in about an hour after she finishes up some office work. That hour more than passes when he receives a call to cover a crime on Mulholland Drive. There he finds a gang member has been killed execution style and his body is in Alexa's car, with no sign of Alexa anywhere. In this, the sixth Scully story Shane is portrayed as a man who'll risk everything, his own life included, to find his wife and solve the murder. However, he's never faced an enemy like this before, one with a devious criminal mind who uses every resource to stay one jump ahead of him. As readers/listeners have come to appreciate, Cannell writes dialogue like few others - well he should as he's the creator of more than forty popular TV series such as The Rockford Files, The A-Team, and The Commish. Enjoy! - Gail Cooke
I just finished White Sister by Stephen J. Cannell, pretty much read it cover to cover, it was that good! I like the Scully series a lot, so I had high hopes for this book and it didn't let me down. Really suspenseful, exciting, and with an element of humor as I've come to expect from Cannell. But this book was also more emotional than the others, really diving into Shane's relationship with his wife and the dark past she saved him from. I highly recommend reading this one, even if you are new to the series!
LAPD detective Shane Scully and his wife Alexa plan to meet in one hour. However, while he arrives at their rendezvous spot, she never makes it. Concerned as she would have told him if something came up, Shane is called to the crime scene of an executed African-American gangbanger found dead in Alexa's car with her gun nearby. Alexa is soon also found shot in the head, barely alive. --- Regardless of law and police procedures including vested interest, Scully needs action while he prays for his beloved spouse. He investigates the homicide and her shooting, which leads to rap music. He quickly realizes that gangsta rap is fairy tales for children compared to the executive wars especially Lou and Stacy Maluga. She, known as 'the white sister', can destroy a person legally through the law and media or illegally through a hit. If Scully gets to close she will use all her lethal weapons as blood on her hands make her even more ambitiously and deadly Shane needs to bring her down using her methods, at least the illegal ones. --- Scully is not just over the top in this exciting crime thriller, he is over Mount Everest as he is a bit (make that humongous) unhinged by what happened to Alexa. The story line is speed of light action that never decelerates until the final climax. Fans will put on their seat belts and crash helmets as they ride alongside an avenging Scully, who adds humor when he turns occasionally sensitive and mellow. Stephen J. Cannell writes a fun out of control High Noon tale. --- Harriet Klausner
This is the worst of the Shane Scully books. I enjoyed reading it but thought parts of it are too far fetched. The other books in this series were much better.