One definition of noir is “no happy endings.” In this short story collection by award-winning author, Warren Bull, don’t expect any last-minute reprieves - it isn’t going to happen. Dark desires spiral inexorably down toward disaster. Bad choices lead to dangerous consequences, and a sucker never gets an even break.
A clergyman chosen to speak on behalf of the dead is accused of murder. An author trying to make a name for herself attracts the attention of a stalker. A police detective investigating a series of seemingly unrelated murders finds an appalling and very personal link between the crimes.
A brand-new collection of stories from the creator of Murder Manhattan Style.
“We are here to celebrate the life of Kenneth David Nelson. He’s no longer with us. He has passed on. There’s reason to grieve, but no reason to be afraid. It’s not the end of his story. He has gone ahead to where all of us will follow at our appointed times. He has gone from the present to the eternal. However, he remains with us in spirit and in memory. Whenever we think about him, he lives on through us.”
The Reverend L. Davis White, with his white hair, baritone voice, and distinguished appearance, could have been cast as a clergyman in a Hollywood movie. He noticed the deceased’s granddaughter squeak twice, squirm out of her mother’s arms, totter over to her grandmother, and climb up into her lap.
“As little Katie just reminded me, Ken also lives on through his descendants. And Ken remains, as always, with God. As the Apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’”
Dr. White’s face showed only concern and sympathy, but a few of the more irreverent members of the church who had seen his practiced expression at funerals before referred to it as the minister’s “funeral face.” They claimed White performed eulogies on autopilot, directing his attention toward an internal debate about the meal to follow the service. Triple fudge brownies, cherry cheesecake, or apple crisp a la mode?
“What was it like when Councilor Nelson attended services here?” asked the minister. “He was a frequent visitor and true friend of this church family long before I arrived, which, by the way, he was never shy about mentioning. Like our letter-writing Apostle, Ken was not overly deferential to those in authority.”
White paused in response to chuckles from the pews.
“On Sunday mornings about eleven fifteen he’d start to look at his watch. The closer it got to eleven thirty the more obvious he was about it. At eleven thirty on the dot he would start talking to his neighbor or stand up and walk out. It didn’t matter if we were in the middle of a song or prayer. It was eleven thirty and the service was over—for him.”
“A public servant is always on call. Ken had more to do than he could possibly get done. Maybe that’s why he didn’t stay with us past the time he had allotted. He wanted to do as much as he could in the time God allotted him. Ken had the hardest head and softest heart of anyone I know. Another way he reminded me of the Apostle Paul is that he never expressed opinions. He only stated facts. How do I know? He told me, as a matter of fact.”
Many in the congregation nodded and smiled. White smiled back at them.
“I see I wasn’t the only one he told. I can remember one time….”
White’s voice rose and fell. His cadence was like poetry.