Today, the Kindle version of The Lazaretto hit the virtual bookshelves. In our previous post about this novel, you met Gregor Lepov, a private investigator who arrives in the Lazaretto looking for a missing person. In this post you will meet Detectives Ed MacNally and Arturo Fenelli. Both men have spent many years together as partners in the homocide department of the Lazaretto Police. The following scene is their debut scene, as they investigate a body that is found in the middle of Center City, early in the morning.
For more of a preview, check out the preview feature at Amazon, where you can read the first six or seven chapters of the book.
(excerpt from The Lazaretto, by Jason Phillip Reeser)
“You have to see this.” Detective Arturo Fenelli stood behind the damaged TransitCar as if it were a shield.
“Show me.” Lieutenant Ed MacNally had just arrived.
“It’s right on the other side of this wreck,” Fenelli said with a shake of his head. “You look. I’ve seen it already.”
MacNally lowered his head and gave Fenelli a look that clearly meant you gotta be kidding. He disappeared around the car.
“You got a light?”
"Oh, hell.” Fenelli walked around to the other side of the wreck in resignation. “Right here.”
"Huh,” MacNally grunted after he shined the light on the body. “Ain’t that disgusting?” MacNally’s tone made it clear he obviously did not find it disgusting.
MacNally was a large man, with chiseled features that made his face look like granite. He did not move gracefully; rather, he made short predetermined moves that always had a purpose. He was overweight, but carried most of it above the belt. This enabled him to move without appearing sluggish.
Fenelli was no Stanly Laurel to MacNally’s Oliver Hardy. He carried ten to twenty pounds more than he should, but few people knew it. His body spread his excess evenly making it difficult to detect. But Fenelli knew it, and it slowed him down. He was past forty now and he felt tired far more than he used to.
“Health Services pulled in right behind you.
is suiting up. They told us not to get too close.” Davis
“You wanna get close to that?” MacNally showed no intention of advancing, though he showed no desire to back off either.
“I wanted to stay back over there.” Fenelli jerked a thumb back towards the TransitCar.
“What’s his PDT tell us?”
“Says his name is Jack Ford. A lazar from Phasis.”
“That’s gotta be biological, this ain’t no murder.”
“You don’t think he was beaten to death?”
“Do you?” MacNally asked.
Fenelli forced himself to look at the body again. The body’s position made visual examination difficult. From what he could see, the upper torso, including the upper arms and most of the head, were deeply bruised and grossly swollen. The body—the man—had been wearing a business suit. Where the flesh was swollen, it stretched the fabric, giving Fenelli the impression that the suit was a balloon filled with air. From about the waist down, the suit pants were lying as they should be, suggesting that the damage did not extend below the beltline.
"Could have been beaten to death,” Fenelli decided. “But that would be one hell of a beating.”
“Forget it,” MacNally shook his head. “That’s gotta be bacteriological, viral, or what’s the other one I said already?”
“Yeah, one of those.”
“You a Doctor now, Mac?” Davis, the IHS Technician, pushed past the detectives and stood over the body. He was a little, bearded man with white, matted hair that looked as if it belonged on the back of a stray dog.
“Wait a minute,
. Fenelli, did they get all the visuals?” Davis
“Yeah, they finished up before you got here.” Two camera technicians had captured moving and still shots from every angle possible.
“It’s all yours, Davis.” MacNally backed away from the body.
Lazaretto protocol was unique at a crime scene. All bodies had to be sampled and removed for testing. The threat of disease—whether from virus, pathogen, or biological origin—had to be assessed and identified immediately. The only exception being murder.
If a detective declared a death to be homicide, the on-site IHS representative sampled the body then released it into police custody.
“All mine, huh? This is disgusting.”
knelt beside the corpse stuffed in its suit, pulled off a pair of glasses, and
cleaned them on his jacket. He spoke to
the detectives as if they were children.
“This does not smell right.” Davis
“What’s it supposed to smell like?” Fenelli asked.
“Not this, that’s for sure. Well, time to lick ‘em and bag ‘em.”
No matter how many times Fenelli heard
make crass comments like that he couldn’t help but wonder if there was
something wrong with the man. Davis
Lick ‘em and bag ‘em was not a technical term, though it was accurate in its description.
first laid an adhesive strip on the
neck of the body. He counted to fifteen
before peeling it back off. After
carefully sealing the strip in a plastic envelope, he stuck a hypodermic needle
into the same area of the flesh and extracted two vials of blood. As he worked, two IHS techs rolled a gurney
near the body. A clear plastic body bag
lay open on it. Protected by full BIO
suits, the two men carefully lifted the body into the bag. The swollen flesh burst in several places as
they handled it. They did not react to
the mess, clearly expecting it. Davis
“That’s enough for me,” Fenelli turned away before the body bag was sealed. MacNally watched the procedure until the bag was both sealed and tagged.
“You write the report, Fenelli. I’m going back to bed.”
That was just fine with Fenelli. There was little chance he could have gone back to sleep any time soon. He wouldn’t be eating breakfast either.
For more information on The Lazaretto, got to Rocket Fire Books, where you can order a signed print copy. You may also purchase a print or eBook copy at the above link.
And watch for book two of the Lazaretto Trilogy: Lady in the Lazaretto.