Dead Men's Dust

Dead Men's Dust by Matt Hilton Page B

Book: Dead Men's Dust by Matt Hilton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Matt Hilton
Tags: thriller, Mystery
and a steel-bodied 9-mm Parabellum blowback semiautomatic SIG Sauer for me. Added to that I’d asked for a couple of military issue KA-BAR knives and an untraceable cell phone. To corner Siggy Petoskey, we’d be like ninja warriors assaulting the shogun’s castle. A shogun, self-made or not, would have his private army of loyal retainers. However we looked at it, it was going to be a dangerous mission.
    Then we got back to Louise Blake. Since she’d arrived, something had been bugging me. “There’s something she isn’t telling us,” I said.
    “Yeah,” Rink agreed. “I was getting the same vibe.”
    Harvey simply raised his eyebrows, shrugged his wide shoulders.
    “I’m not suggesting that she’s involved in John’s disappearance. But there’s something that isn’t gelling with me,” I said. “She says that John was acting all jumpy and nervous, but she didn’t press him for what he was concerned about. That strike either of you as normal behavior?”
    “No way. We’re talking about a woman here,” Rink joked.
    “She also said she didn’t know who he was working for. I find that a little hard to believe,” I said. “Even though my work was top secret, my wife still knew who the hell it was I was working for.”
    “I suppose he could’ve been doing subcontract work,” Harvey offered.
    “Or a little private enterprise,” Rink said.
    “Private criminal enterprise,” Harvey added.
    “If not Petoskey, who else could John have been working for?” I asked.
    Harvey blew out in a harsh exclamation. “Take your pick, Hunter. Could be anyone.”
    “Yeah,” I agreed. If John was involved in crime, he could be working for any one of half a million employers from anywhere in the States. “Louise said she didn’t press him about his work, but twice she mentioned that John told her to contact me if anything happened to him. People don’t give you those kind of instructions unless they’re pretty sure something is going to happen to them.”
    “And,” Rink added, “he’s obviously been expecting something real bad …considering the business you’re in, Hunter.”
    “Yeah,” I said. “That’s what worries me the most.”

14
    “ DIFFERENT PLATES, SAME SUV. ”
    Tubal Cain was in no doubt. The vehicle parked in the lot of the Pacific View Hotel was the one stolen from him yesterday. Even if it had been sprayed a different color, furry dice hung in the window, and whitewall tires added, he’d have known the vehicle for his own. It had a vibe that he could feel even from across the width of the parking lot. That vehicle had witnessed death, and the pall of violence hung over it like a miasma of poisonous fumes.
    As nonchalant as a man with the right—which he certainly had, in his estimation—he ambled over to the 4x4. The locks were engaged. Not that they’d stop him from taking back what was rightfully his if he were of a mind to do so.
    Nothing on the front seat but an empty water bottle and the remnants of a KFC meal, but on the dash was a disc removed from the CD player. Swing When You’re Winning, the very disc he’d been playing prior to stopping for the stranded motorist. If he had required confirmation, there was his proof.
    He wandered to the rear of the car. A cursory inspection of the license plate spoke volumes. The area around the locking nuts wasclean, unlike the rest of the plate, which had a fine coating of dust. The clean areas proved that someone had turned the locking nuts very recently. It was obvious to someone with his expert eye that someone had removed the plates from another vehicle, then screwed them in place on this one.
    “Guy’s a freaking amateur,” he reminded himself. But—and this was a caution he would heed—not to be underestimated.
    Credit where it’s due, then: changing the plates was on the way to being a good idea. The thief didn’t know that Cain wouldn’t be reporting the theft of the vehicle, so it was sensible to install a new

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