Coco’s Nuts is available for 99 cents over the next few days. So, as Rey likes to say (shout) woo-hoo!
It’s the second case the Triple Threat Investigation Agency private eyes—JJ, Rey, and Linda—undertake. The trio is out to prove that their client, pretty Buddy Feuer (a former socialite turned trucker), isn’t responsible for two murders: that of her boss, the infamous Jimmy Picolo, her best friend, fellow trucker, Eb Stretta.
The evidence suggests she’s guilty, but the private eyes are certain that Buddy has been set up. By? Picolo’s gambling, money-owing daughter? His aspiring son? How about the ambitious, equally infamous brother? Then there’s nutty Coco Peterson, another Picolo employee. But where is he?
There are a sundry of curious characters, any one of them the potential culprit.
The food arrived. Speaking of “fry”, Linda took a hesitant nibble and found it tasty. “Do you have any names to share?”
Razor bit into a thick club sandwich and chewed slowly, thoughtfully, as if deciding whether he wanted to divulge information. “Jeff Havlock and Lilo Dorfmeister.”
Linda jotted the names on a napkin while Rey stopped dousing her fries with catsup long enough to ask, “How long have you worked for Picolo?”
“Eight years. I started out at his ranch, shoveling manure and straw.” He appeared proud. “Mr. Picolo was in need of a new assistant in town and one of the cultivator guys, who knew me pretty good, put my name forward.”
Rey smiled. “He treated you well.”
“He gave me money to help my sister, Luisa, get off drugs. The man put food on her table, dressed the kids in decent clothes, and got them out of a fleabag apartment. He even got her a job. She’s an office manager at a real estate company now. He offered to help Mom, too, but the woman’s real proud.” A bittersweet smile pulled at his lips as he stared into the distance. “No matter what other people thought of him, to me and my family he was a good guy, and a fair and kind boss. He was a straight shooter and never lied or made promises he couldn’t keep.”
“Did you know or hear anything about your fair and kind boss taking out a contract?” Linda asked casually.
Razor’s eyes narrowed. “Contract?”
“Yeah, an agreement in writing that guarantees the rubbing out of a fellow human being,” Rey elucidated with a flat smile.
The man stuffed three fat fries past thin lips and chewed at length. “Never heard about one.”
Rey and Linda exchanged glances: the former’s suggested disbelief, the latter’s uncertainty. Neither, however, chose to push it and Rey moved on. “What about brother Ric?”
Razor drained his beer, popped three more fries into his mouth, and once again either chuckled or grunted. “That’s a guy who acts kind enough and appears easy-going, but . . .”
“But?” Rey leaned forward eagerly.
“Appearances can be deceiving. Isn’t that what they say?”
The gals murmured agreement and Rey said, “You don’t owe Buddy anything — ”
“You’re right, I don’t.” The statement was delivered with neither disdain nor displeasure.
“But you do owe Jimmy Picolo something — specifically, bringing his shooter to justice.”
A concentrated expression suggested he was deliberating. “I owe him, yeah. Look, I’m heading over to the Bishop Street office shortly to pack up my personal stuff, but I’ll go one step further and nose through files, appointment books and journals, and see what I come up with.”
Maybe you’d like to check out how the trio fares in this roller-coaster of a thrilling ride, er, case . . .