Detective David Klein took a moment to enjoy the AC before exiting his sedan and making his way to the crime scene in the warm Savannah sun. It was early November, but temperatures were still in the seventies and eighties, and he wasn’t looking forward to spending more time in the heat than necessary.
Not for the first time, David wondered what it would be like to move somewhere cooler, somewhere quieter. Lisa would laugh at him for even entertaining the idea. “You love this city too much,” she’d say. “You’ll be here until the day you die.”
She was right. Usually was, in his experience. Lisa knew him better than anyone else on this planet. She knew him better than he knew himself. If she said he’d never leave, he had no choice but to believe her.
But damn if he didn’t want to get away every once in a while.
The last few months had been rough. Savannah had just gotten over a brutal serial killer, one that had killed by ripping the hearts out of young women and draining them of their blood. However, the killer hadn’t been working alone. William Baker had been the true mastermind of the operation and he was now six feet under.
As usual after a heavy investigation, life had slowed down. The world had gotten quieter. Decades on the force taught him cases came in waves. There’d be a horrific, vomit-inducing murder, and then a quiet crime of passion. Neither was ideal, of course, but if you asked anyone on the force, they’d tell you in no uncertain terms which one they preferred.
But they didn’t get to pick and choose. And there was no telling what was normal anymore. Was it normal for life to be calm and peaceful? Or was it normal for life to be bat-shit insane?
He didn’t care to think about those questions anymore. For the past few years, what mattered was getting from one case to the next. One day to the next. It was easier if he didn’t think too far into the future. He could handle today. Tomorrow might be another story.
David switched off the ignition and stepped out of the car. The humid air clung to him like a wet sweater. The hot coffee mug burned the inside of his hand, but when he took a long sip, that same heat refreshed his throat. It was worth the physical discomfort to have a few drops of energy in his bank.
As he usually did these days, David took stock of his body. His knees and hips were stiff. In his shoulder, a pinched nerve. A slight headache forming over his left eye. His feet hurt like something else, but nothing out of the ordinary. He’d be more worried if he woke up pain free.
With a deep sigh and the resignation that only came after years of working as a homicide detective, David walked toward the underside of Harry S. Truman Parkway. The officer who’d called him this morning about a dead body there had mentioned he might find it of interest. Other than that, he was in the dark about the subject.
A few officers stood at the edge of the underpass, keeping a group of the homeless away from the crime scene. The Chatham-Savannah Homeless Authority did its best to make sure the camps never got too out of hand, but the Truman Parkway was a hotbed for individuals trying to stay cool and dry.
A female detective stood closer to the body, waiting for David to nod his way past the officers, one of whom lifted the crime scene tape for him. He ducked underneath it, stifling a groan as his shoulder twinged in defiance of the movement.
When he straightened, the female detective lifted a hand in acknowledgement, and David returned the gesture. He saw Detective Adelaide Harris around the precinct nearly every day, but they never had much time to say anything more than a simple hello.
He’d always liked Harris’ work ethic and dedication to the job, but he was more grateful to her for keeping Cassie Quinn safe when the two came face to face with William Baker. Cassie had a tendency to throw herself into situations without considering an exit plan. Harris had gotten her out alive.
Harris offered a small smile. “Good morning.”
“Could be worse.” She looked over her shoulder at the body. “Could be better.”
“What’ve we got?”
Harris walked David over to the body. “Male. Mid-60s. Strangled, legs crushed. Been here a day or so. We can’t tell whether someone killed him here or dumped him. There’s been too much traffic in and out from the homeless. We’ve got one guy, Randall Gibson, who says they didn’t know he was dead right away. Just figured he was sleeping. Not sure how true that is considering the state of the body, but when they finally figured out the man was dead, most of them got spooked and took off for another area. Mr. Gibson reached out to the Homeless Authority. They called us.”
David was listening, but Harris sounded further and further away the more she talked. “Strangled and crushed legs?”
“Yeah.” Harris drew the word out in anticipation of getting to this point sooner than later. “That’s why I called you.”
“How’d you know—?”
She laughed. “I’ve done my research, okay? The name David Klein would be one of myth and legend if you weren’t still on the force, proving to people that you’re real. I was interested in what type of cases you’d tackled over the years, what type of cases you’d solved. What type of cases you hadn’t solved. This one stuck out.”
“That was over twenty years ago.” David shook his head. “Are you sure it’s the same?”