By Donahue B. Silvis
Jake Wayde, Pvt. Detective, goes by Wayde, is the main character. Wayde winds up in the middle of a crazy life or death fiasco. A man that loves puzzles, is very rich and vengeful dies. This death sets in motion a series of events beyond anyone’s imagination.
Wayde is right in the middle of these events. He has no idea why. Wayde is fully aware people are after him. His goal is to stay alive and get to the root of not only his troubles. Many other people seem to be in the same boat. They all look to Wayde for help..
“Don’t try and bullshit me, Wayde. I know you got a piece of the puzzle.” “What puzzle?” Is a conversation Wayde has more than once.
Wayde’s friend Tiny is able to watch Wayde’s back and help him find out why so many people are after him. Tiny is quite a character himself. Tiny and Wayde discuss things to try and figure them out.
“I think it will. I need everything I can get to help solve this conundrum.” “Condom what?” Wayde smiled. “It means a puzzling problem.” “Oh, okay,
Some type of chase is on. Brilliant twists and turns in this thriller. Action packed. The characters are well developed. This is a well told private eye story. To even out all the action the reader gets to experience Wayde’s reasoning process. His P.I. Skills. Page turner.
“What’s the matter, Mr. Wayde, seeing a ghost?” The man laughed and then spread out his arms. “Welcome to my office.”
Wayde glanced around. There wasn’t much furniture in the room, but there were all kinds of things on the walls—mostly African shields, spears and tanned big-game hides. On a table across the room, there were two stuffed animals and some small mounted animal heads.
“Looks like a zoo’s graveyard,” Wayde remarked drily.
The short man smirked, “Cool. Yeah. Cool—that’s what I’ve heard about you, Wayde. Cool. No feelings. Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard.”
“Maybe you’re talking to the wrong people. Check with the chicks—they say I’m pretty hot stuff.”
“Yeah, ladies’ man—I heard that too.” The short man crossed his legs.
Wayde stared at him.
“I’m Benny Rhineman,” he resumed after a pause. “I’m the dead doctor’s twin brother.”
Wayde looked at him questioningly, “Twin?”
“Yeah, well, I’m not quite as tall as my brother was.”
“You’re not quite anything. The best part of you must have run down your dad’s leg,” Wayde wisecracked.
“A real smart-ass, aren’t you, Wayde?”
“I call ’em as I see ’em, Shorty,” said Wayde, with a grin on his face.
Benny Rhineman’s steely blue eyes glared. “You’d better watch your mouth, Wayde. I’m the bad seed in the family.”
“Maybe it runs in the family. I didn’t think the doctor was exactly a good seed.”
“Yeah, you might be right there,” Benny snorted. “It may be that you’re right. I’m sorry to inconvenience you like this, Wayde, but I believe you have a small piece of red paper I need.”
Wayde looked at him and then at Benny’s two goons. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Don’t try and bullshit me, Wayde. I know you got a piece of the puzzle.”
“I know that you and the pompous doctor share a mutual interest, and that interest pissed him off. My brother was a vengeful asshole. It makes sense that anyone he didn’t like got a letter and a little piece of red paper.” He grinned. “My gut tells me you were high on his list of people he didn’t like.”
“High on his list, what makes you think that?” Waydehonestly didn’t know why he’d be on Dr. Rhineman’shate list, but he received a letter.
“You asshole, don’t try and play Mr. Innocent with me. You got a letter from my brother with a piece of the puzzle, and I want it.”
Wayde glanced over at Benny’s two men once more. “So the game begins.”
“The game?” Benny chuckled. “Well, you can call it that if you like, but I prefer to call it a business venture.” He looked thoughtfully at Wayde.
“Besides your gut feeling, Benny, how’d you peg me so fast?”
“So fast?” he chuckled. “I guess you haven’t opened your mail for a couple of days. I checked on you over the weekend.”
“I see. It looks like I shoulda opened my mail sooner.” Wayde paused for a moment. “I suppose you have one of the other so-called ‘puzzle pieces,’ Benny?”
“That’s my business.” He stared at Wayde and snapped his fingers. “The red paper, I want it now.”
“Your goons searched me. I don’t have it.”
“It’s on you someplace. I pegged you for the kinda guy who’d keep something like that with you. We can tear your clothes apart to find it if that’s what it takes.”
Wayde glared at him. “And then what?”
“And then, Mr. Private Eye, you fly like a bird.” He gestured toward the large window behind the desk.
“Out of your office window, that’ll be rather stupid. It wouldn’t take the police long to track you down.”
Benny grinned. “I rented this office under an assumed name. I’ll never be back here.”
Wayde glanced over at the two goons. He laughed and returned his gaze to Benny Rhineman. Then, still grinning, he lunged for the wall behind him and grabbed one of the two crossed African spears and one of the axes hanging on the wall. Before anyone could react, he hurled the spear at the man holding the gun. The spear buried itself in his chest, driving him back against the far wall. The weapon flew out of his hand. The second guy was reaching for his gun as Waydeflipped the ax toward him. It struck him in the upper chest and neck area. He gagged and grabbed at the ax as he staggered backward. He was dead before he hit the floor. Benny stretched out across the desk on his stomach; he was opening the desk drawer and reaching for a Kel-Tec P-32 pistol. Wayde leaped across the corner of the desk, grabbing Rhineman’s arm and pulling the gun from his hand. He struck Benny over the back of the head with the pistol, stunning him. Wayde stood up and slipped the blue-finished gun into his pocket.
“Well, it looks like we have a new dealer now,” he murmured. He looked over at the two dead goons and down at Benny Rhineman, who is beginning to come to, Wayde watched as the short man slowly sat up.
“So, Shorty, you’ve got a red piece of the puzzle. Well, I appreciate your looking me up—that makes one less piece I need to look for.” He stared coldly at him. “What was that you said about making me fly like a bird?”
Benny Rhineman was rubbing the back of his head.
“Do you have the red paper piece of the puzzle on you?” Wayde demanded.
Benny didn’t answer.
Wayde grabbed him by the shoulders. “Hey, I asked you a question!”
Wayde smiled at him. Rhineman turned and looked down at his two dead goons. With a frightened look, he turned back toward Wayde.
“Please—all I wanted was the red piece of paper. I was gonna let you go after that.”
“Sure you were, Benny. You were going to let me go so I could come looking for you later. No, I think your brother knew the people whom he sent the letters. He knew if he made the prize large enough, it would be all or nothing with them.”
Benny sat staring at Wayde.
“I want your piece of the claim check.”
Benny reluctantly took his wallet from his coat pocket and pulled out a jagged piece of red paper. “Here it is. Take it and go. I won’t bother you. I’ll leave town. I promise,” he pleaded.
Wayde took the paper from Benny. “I’ll take your cash, too.”
Benny gave him a strange look and began to take the bills out of his wallet.
Wayde grabbed the wallet. “I don’t have all day.” He removed the cash. It was mostly hundred-dollar bills. “Not bad. It looks like your business is pretty good.” He shoved the money and the piece of red paper into his pocket and handed the wallet back to Benny. The short man looked relieved as he took the wallet.
“Hey, I got plenty more cash—why don’t we work together on this deal? I know a lot about the people my brother hated.” He waved the wallet as he talked and another piece of red paper fluttered onto the top of the desk. They both watched as the piece of paper landed.
“What’s this?” Wayde picked up the paper, looked at it, and gave Benny a wry smile. “Holding back on me, Rhineman?”
The little man squirmed and dropped his wallet onto the desk. “No, no, I forgot about that. Honest, I forgot about it.”
“Where’d you get it?” He grabbed Benny’s coat lapel.
Benny didn’t answer.
“I asked you where—or should I ask from whom?”
“From Max Manchester,” Benny mumbled.
Wayde thought for a moment then jerked on the coat lapel. “You mean the pro-football player that was beaten and shot?”
“Yeah,” said the little man.
Wayde released him. “I take it that he was on your brother’s list. Why?” Benny didn’t say anything. “Well?” He grabbed Benny’s shoulder.
“Yeah, he was on the doctor’s list,” said Benny, hesitatingly.
“And?” said Wayde, shaking his shoulder.
“In college, at the University of Miami, Max was known as a bully—and he hated queers. He used to beat up my brother’s fag son, Jeffrey. Once he went so far as to break Jeffrey’s arm.”
“So you and your goons beat Max to death for this piece of red paper?”
Benny shrugged. “Yeah, things got out of hand. He wouldn’t tell us
where it was.”
“It looks like he gave it up.” Wayde waved the puzzle piece and put it in his pocket. “Okay, tell me about the other people on your brother’s list.”
“I don’t know—only the people he didn’t like.”
“Okay, tell me their names.”
“Screw you, Wayde. If I give you the names, what guarantee do I have we’ll work together on this?”
“None Benny, none at all.”
Benny took a swing at Wayde, hitting him on the side of the head. Wayde grabbed him with the intention of pushing the short man up against the wall behind him, but Benny jerked away from Wayde and stumbled backward, crashing into the large plate-glass window behind the desk. The glass shattered and Benny fell back through the window and over the ledge as Waydegrabbed for him. But Benny tumbled toward the ground while staring up at Wayde with eyes wide with horror. Wayde watched helplessly as the screaming gangster plummeted to the black asphalt parking lot.