Lady Justice and the Sting
A holistic physician is murdered and
Walt finds himself entangled in the
high-powered world of
pharmaceutical giants and corrupt politicians.
Winner of "Best Mystery Novel" For Winter 2012
by the North American Book Entrepreneurs
Prologue It was nearly five o'clock and Violet Jenkins was in the process of closing the clinic just as she had done for the past seventeen years. She had just reached into the desk drawer for her key ring when the door opened and a man stepped inside. He was wearing a business suit and a small fedora on his head. That drew her attention right away. She couldn't remember the last time she had seen a man with a fedora. Then she noticed his face. Two dark, deep-set eyes stared at her from under the brim of the hat. His face was slender, accented by a long thin nose that reminded her of a bird --- a hawk --- yes, definitely a hawk. Then she noticed that he was wearing gloves. "Still a bit warm out for gloves," she thought. "I'm sorry, sir. We were just closing. Dr. Mitchell won't be seeing any more patients today, but I think we can work you in tomorrow." The hawk-faced man reached inside his jacket and pulled an automatic pistol with a silencer attached. "Oh, I think Dr. Mitchell will fit me in today. What do you think?" Violet stared at the gun in disbelief. She was about to cry out when the man held his finger to his lips. "Let's not make a scene. There's no need to involve anyone else. Now why don't you lock the door and let's visit the good doctor?" Doctor Martin Mitchell had just hit the 'send' and 'delete' buttons on his laptop when Violet opened the door into his office. He smiled as his long time nurse and receptionist stepped into the room. His smile quickly faded when he saw the look of terror in her eyes. "Violet --- what's wrong? You look scared to death." The hawk-faced man stepped in behind her. "Actually, Doctor, Violet is a bit upset about my insistence on this late afternoon visit." "Well, it is late and we close ----." Then he saw the gun. "Look, sir. We don't stock any drugs here and we only keep a small amount of petty cash. You're welcome to it and anything else you want to take. Just, please --- don't hurt anyone." A condescending smile curled on the man's lips. "Oh I'm not here for drugs or cash and my intent is certainly not to hurt anyone. You have something I want and if you cooperate, I'll just take it and be on my way." "What could I possibly have that is so important to you?" The man motioned for Violet to take a seat in the chair across the desk from the doctor. "Don't play coy with me, Dr. Mitchell. You know very well what I want. You have been conducting a clinical test for the past two years and you are about to publish your findings in the Journal Of The American Medical Association. I want that study --- all of it." Dr. Mitchell couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Who sent you? Who do you work for?” Then it dawned on him. "The drug company sent you, didn't they? A colleague warned me that they would be upset. But to send a thug with a gun ---" "Thug? Really, Doctor. There's no need for name-calling. Now if you'll just hand over that study we'll be finished here and I'll be on my way." "I'll do no such thing. You can just go back to those greedy, money hungry bastards in their corporate ivory towers and tell them to kiss my ass!" "I'm so sorry, Doctor. I had hoped it wouldn't come to this." Without another word, he turned and leveled the pistol at Violet's forehead and pulled the trigger. Dr. Mitchell recoiled at the quiet 'pop' from the gun and the dying gasp that slipped from Violet's parted lips. He watched in horror as blood poured from the dime-sized hole and his old friend slumped forward onto the floor. The man turned the pistol back to the doctor. "Now that we understand each other, let's try this again. The clinical test --- get it for me NOW!" The horror on the doctor's face turned into a look of quiet resignation. "I --- I'm sorry. I just can't give it to you." "Oh really? And why is that?" "Because it's not here. A colleague persuaded me to keep the study results at another location. He must have suspected something like this would happen." Frustration and anger filled the man's eyes. "Doctor, I'm rapidly losing my patience." He moved behind the desk and pushed the chair away. "If it's not here, exactly where is it?" Mitchell knew that if he revealed where the study was being held another of his friends would be in danger and he sensed that even if he were forthcoming with the information, he would not leave the office alive. "I --- I don't know," he lied. "Maybe this will help your memory," the man said. He pointed the gun at the doctor's kneecap and fired. Mitchell grimaced in pain and grabbed his bloody leg. "Now where is that study? Or should we try for another one?" With every ounce of strength he could muster, the doctor sat straight in his chair and looked the man in the eye. "I'll tell you nothing, you son-of-a bitch. You can go to hell!" The man could see the conviction in the doctor's eyes and realized it was time to move on. "Yes, I probably will," he replied. "Maybe I'll see you there." One more quiet 'pop' filled the office and Dr. Mitchell slumped to the floor. The man surveyed the office. Even if the clinical study was not here, he had to look and he also had to make it appear that some hoodlum had committed the murders looking for drugs. Methodically, he opened every drawer and cabinet scattering the contents on the blood soaked carpet. Finally, satisfied that the study was not there, he grabbed the doctor's laptop and took a final look at the carnage. Quietly, the hawk-faced man slipped out the door and disappeared into the night.
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