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Wrong Number

Author(s): K. J. Dahlen

While reporter Lacey Hancock is tracking a serial killer, she gets a phone call in the middle of the night meant for someone else. The caller tells her he received the money and within the next twenty-four hours two people will be dead. When she goes to the police, she runs into an old friend, FBI agent Sam Reed. When they connect the separate cases they are working on, they find the serial killer is after them. Can they find him before he finds them?

Excerpt


The ringing phone woke Lacey Hancock from a sound sleep. On the third ring she picked up the receiver and whispered a sleepy, "Hello."
 
"I have received the payment you promised."  She heard someone say. "By this time tomorrow your judicial troubles will be over. The only witness will be dead and you'll be in the clear."
 
Lacey frowned and slowly sat up in bed. She brushed her long dark hair away from her face and rubbed her eyes. She had been so tired lately she wasn't sure she was hearing the conversation correctly. "Excuse me?" She took a deep breath. "Who is this?" When she heard no reply she asked, "Is this some kind of joke or something? Because if it is, this isn't very funny."
 
She heard a sharp intake of breath and a muffled swear word then heard a resounding click as the phone call ended. She frowned and reached over to snap on the bed side lamp. Hanging up the phone, she glanced at the alarm clock sitting on the bedside the table and saw it was just after one a.m.
 
She hated phone calls in the middle of the night. They never brought good news, only bad news, and this one sounded like a prank call. Yet there was something she heard in the caller's voice that made her stop and think.
 
It could have been a prank call or something a little more sinister. As a reporter, her inner alarms were going haywire. She knew this sort of thing happened all the time and yet she had been shocked by the phone call. This sort of crime, a murder for hire, was more a big city occurrence, it didn't happen so much around here. The caller had sounded very sincere about what he was planning to do. In the small amount of conversation she had with the caller she could sense his intent. If she believed him, someone was going to die in the next day,
 
Lacey shivered. She had just spent the last three days trying to track down a serial killer. She had seen too much death since she began this quest. She received a call four days ago from an attorney for a man on death row. The attorney told her his client's name was Mickey Dallas and he was dying of cancer. Mickey knew he wouldn't live long enough to get the needle and he was okay with that. The attorney told her Mickey had a story to tell, and he wanted her to tell it. He told her she had every right to refuse, that it was okay if she wanted to turn around and walk away, He would understand, but he hoped she would at least listen to his story.
 
Lacey had been just curious enough to stay. Mickey wanted to tell her about someone he met fifteen years ago in Detroit. He'd recently read a story she wrote about child abuse and he told her he liked the way she brought the victims to life. He told her she made him feel the child's pain and when she was finished, he felt that justice had been done by the courts. He felt the judge who sentenced the couple to prison had stopped them from hurting any other child. He wanted the world to know his story and why he had done the things he had done. He wasn't looking for forgiveness; but he did want people to know what he felt during the time he was committing his crimes. He told her that while he'd done a number of bad things in his life, he needed to tell the world about a man that scared even the hardest of criminals. As a reporter she knew this man had a story to tell and she told him if she could verify what he was telling her, she would write his story. What she found out scared the hell out of her, but she had been able to verify his tale in New York, Chicago, Seattle and St. Louis and many little towns along the way.
 
She had returned from her journey only three hours ago. Her suitcase was still sitting just inside the bedroom door. All she wanted to do when she got home was sleep.
 
Lacey grabbed a pen and a notepad she kept close to her and wrote down the message she had been given. She knew she should call the police and if she did and it turned out to be a crank call, the police wouldn't give her the respect she demanded for her profession. The caller had said that the hit would happen within twenty four hours. The question was who was going to die and why? The reporter in her wanted to know the five W's; who, what, when, where and why. So far she knew the when but she didn't know the rest. She tried to think of upcoming interesting cases, but she couldn't think of one that would warrant this kind of solution.
 
Her adrenalin was pumping and she knew from the butterflies in the pit of her stomach she had stumbled on to a story that she was never supposed to know about. What she would do next might save someone's life or cost her own.

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ISBN (Print): 978-0-936403-37-0
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-936403-36-3
Genre: Mystery
Date Published: 09/16/2011
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press

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