It’s been a rough five years for Lucy Hendricks.
She hasn’t had an easy time of it since her husband, Jack—a devoted and upstanding Bayonne, New Jersey, cop—was murdered while on an investigation. There were suspicions that he’d been involved with the local Mafia, and the media wouldn’t let it go, making life unbearable, so Lucy moved to Florida to raise her son, Kevin, who was born without ever knowing his father.
The distance was healing, but now Lucy is back in New Jersey to pick up the pieces in the same house she and Jack once shared, trying to move on. But the past won’t loosen its grip on the young widow, and it seems to have taken hold of Kevin as well. At first his behavior becomes increasingly erratic; then he begins making statements wise beyond his years, offering specific details about Jack’s murder he couldn’t possibly know. Lucy decides to delve into the mystery surrounding her husband’s death, for her own sanity and for Kevin’s. She can’t trust the cops, it seems, and now the local Don has reached out to her, offering help in clearing Jack’s name. As Hurricane Sandy bears down on Bayonne, Lucy must trust her instincts to save herself and her son from much more than a deadly storm. Douglas Schofield's Storm Rising is not to be missed.
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About the Author
Douglas Schofield was raised and educated in British Columbia, where he earned degrees in History and Law. Over the past thirty years, he has worked as a lawyer in Canada, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. He has prosecuted and defended hundreds of cases of murder, sexual assault and other serious crimes. Schofield and his wife Melody live on Grand Cayman, along with their most excellent and amazing talking cat, Juno.
Read an Excerpt
By Douglas Schofield
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Douglas Schofield
All rights reserved.
It started on Christmas morning.
At least that was when Kevin threw his first tantrum.
Later, looking back, Lucy realized that she hadn't been paying close enough attention.
There had been the nightmares. Too many to count. Thank God they had recently stopped.
And, there had been the boy's silences. She would find him staring into space, his face frozen in concentration. Or was it deep longing? She couldn't tell. But the very adultness — was that even the word for it? — of her little boy's expression had at times unnerved her.
She knew her son was different. There had always been an almost preternatural stillness about him. Even during the so-called "terrible twos," she had known him to sit for hours in the presence of his mother, his aunt, and his uncle without fidgeting.
But these long, solitary silences were something different.
They were something more profound.
Today's trouble began when Kevin tore the wrapping from a present, revealing a plastic construction set. It was a gift from his cousin Pauline. A few moments earlier, Lucy had patiently read the label to him while he'd been busily collecting his trove of presents into a serviceable pile.
He stared at the gift. His mood seemed to change. He jumped to his feet, raised the box high over his head, and threw it at the wall.
He threw it with surprising force for a four-year-old.
Pauline's blissful humming abruptly ended. Jovial coffee talk among the adults died. Lucy moved quickly. She kneeled at the agitated boy's side. "Kevin! That's your present from Pauline! What is it? What's wrong?"
"I want to go home!"
"What? You are home, sweetheart!"
"No! I want to go home!"
"But this is home! Here with Auntie Ricki and Uncle Jeff and Pauline." Lucy hated the note of pleading in her own voice, but she was confounded and embarrassed.
Ricki interceded. "Where do you want to go, Kevin?" she asked gently. "Where's home?"
"Home!" He burst into tears. His voice rose to a shriek. "HOME!"
He ran crying from the room.
Lucy and Ricki stared at each other.
"What the hell was that?" Jeff muttered.
Pauline abandoned the present she had just opened and ran to her father. "What's wrong with Kevin, Daddy?" she asked querulously as Jeff folded her in his arms. "Doesn't he like the gear set we got him?"
Lucy started after Kevin.
"Did you notice?" Ricki asked.
Lucy broke stride. "Notice what? That my son just threw a tantrum, and he's never done that before?"
"No. That he's limping. It looks bad."
Lucy hurried out of the room.
She found Kevin on his bed.
An hour later, the boy was wide awake and back to his old self. He was playing cheerfully beside the Christmas tree with the same Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Set he had tried to smash. It was as if nothing had happened.
Except for one thing: He was limping, favoring his right leg. And he didn't seem to want to use his right arm.
When Lucy asked him if he'd hurt himself, he answered with a blank look.
"Your leg, honey. Did you hurt it?"
"Then why are you limping?"
"What's 'limping,' Mommy?"
"You're walking like this ..." She demonstrated.
"No, I'm not."
But the limp didn't go away. On the twenty-seventh, Lucy took him to Coral Gables Hospital. Twelve hours later, after a battery of tests and a hefty medical bill, she was told there was nothing physically wrong with her son.
"Perfectly healthy boy," the doctor said. "Nothing abnormal."
"But he limps! And his right arm — he doesn't want to use it! How is that normal?"
"It can only be psychosomatic. Something may be deeply affecting your son, and this is just its manifestation. I'll refer you to a child psychologist. In the meantime, you need to think carefully about the stressors in your household."
So, Lucy Hendricks thought about stressors in her household.
Since before Kevin was born, she'd been living with her sister Erica — the gorgeous and inimitable "Ricki" to friends and family — and Ricki's husband, Jeffery Barnett. Her brother-in-law's busy legal practice had easily supported the purchase, a dozen years ago, of the couple's spacious Coral Gables home. Sprawling over two acres, Casa Barnett boasted an imposing main residence, a separate guesthouse where Lucy and Kevin nestled in significant comfort, a swimming pool, and a tennis court.
Over the past four years, Lucy had devoted most of her time to raising Kevin and caring for her niece, Pauline, now a precocious eight-year-old with thick black curls and her mother's startling hazel eyes. With the benign indulgence of Jeff and Ricki, she'd been able to live rent free in return for helping out as Pauline's part-time nanny. The arrangement had worked well for both sides. It enabled Ricki to take over management of Il Bronte — "the Bronte" to locals — their ailing father's bar and restaurant in Coconut Grove. And it permitted Lucy to bank her modest police widow's allowance, and to use the rent she collected from her house in Bayonne to pay down the remaining balance on the mortgage.
But the pain was unending.
In the weeks and months after her husband's death, horrified disbelief had slowly faded into utter desolation; desolation into numb exhaustion. Her life had seemed meaningless; her nights blistered by feverish dreams, her days a barren wilderness, empty of hope. Dolore immenso her father had described it, after the death of Lucy's mother, his beloved Giulia, when Lucy was only twelve.
It was a despair so deep and deadly that at times it had threatened her sanity. There had been moments when only her sister's devotion, and her pregnancy with Jack's child, had prevented her from taking her own life.
She had survived, but five years on, the keenness of her loss remained an ever-present anguish, informing her moods and haunting her relationships. Her days were consumed with a futile effort to stop herself from thinking. Time after time, the past rose to the surface. There were still days when she felt so sluggish with depression she could barely move. She had never come anywhere near the so-called "closure" that pop psychologists always prattled about. The term itself, she knew, had been lifted from the legitimate literature of psychotherapy and devalued by constant misuse. Nowadays, it was used to embrace every conceivable emotional circumstance.
And then there was the police counselor's talk about grief being a "journey" to be worked through, with its own pre-prepared checklist of emotional states. If Lucy hadn't been so lost in her wasteland of sorrow, she would have laughed in her face.
The fact was that none of the theories and the chit-chat and the checklists mattered. The only thing that mattered was that Jack Gabriel Hendricks, her soul mate, her protector, her lifeline — the man she had loved almost from the moment they met — had been brutally murdered, and the crime had never been solved.
In other words ... forget closure.
Recently, Lucy had made a sincere effort to emerge from her shell. She'd signed on to work as a substitute teacher in the local school district, and she'd even spent a few evenings each week helping out behind the bar at the Bronte.
Not that the activity had sweetened her dreams, or lessened the ever-present throb of loss on the margins of her waking thoughts.
So, yes, there was at least one significant stressor in her household.
It was her.CHAPTER 2
"Sorry about Parrish. Met the guy once ..."
"Back at the Academy. He filled in for an instructor who was off sick. Seemed like a good man."
"He was a good man." Detective Ernie Tait thumbed the remote, opened the rear door of their unmarked Dodge Charger and dropped his briefcase on the backseat. Then he squeezed his heavy frame behind the wheel.
Jack Hendricks took a deep breath of the cold night air. The ice storm of two days ago had changed back to sleet before finally easing off early this morning. The guy on the Weather Channel said the system had been a headache to forecast because its track was so erratic. One thing was sure: The roads were going to be treacherous. Jack wondered if he should have insisted on doing the driving tonight. The four months he'd spent at the Army's Northern Warfare Training Center in Alaska had included a driving component; he wasn't so sure about this aging detective's skills.
He bent to release the lock on the passenger seat and shoved it all the way back to make room for his long legs.
"I would've driven, you know," he said as he yanked the passenger door closed.
"My car, my rules. You'll get your chance."
Tait twisted the key. Jack felt the powerful engine respond. They pulled out of the lot.
"How long were you and Cal partners?"
"Seven years, eight months, ten days."
"Good friends, then."
Tait swung north on Avenue C. He stayed in the outside lane, tires alternately crunching and splashing, moving with the subdued traffic flow. Ahead of them, a sedan fishtailed as it swung into traffic. Even here in the center of town, the roads were still slick.
"How did he end up behind that warehouse alone?"
Tait turned to his new partner. "Look, kid," he said in his low rumbling voice, "if you want us to get along, you won't bring up Cal Parrish again."
"Hen-dricks ..." Tait rolled Jack's surname off his tongue. "Sounds a lot like an old Bayonne name."
"One of the oldest."
Tait gave him a sideways look. "How's that?"
"Dutch settlers ... from way back."
"How far back is 'way back'?"
"If you believe the stories, my family took up their land grant in the 1650s. Didn't last. Indians drove 'em out. They finally made it back a few years later."
Tait grunted. "What'd they do? Call in the troops?"
"No. They did it the Dutch way. They negotiated an agreement, and then they kept their word."
"So ... old family ... old connections. Explains how you got into plainclothes so fast."
"You were only in uniform for, what, a couple of years?"
Jack exhaled. "I applied. I got the transfer. Last cop in my family was back in the thirties, so I don't think my name helped much."
"Sorry, kid. Took me a lot longer to get down the hall. Always figured it was because I'm a FOOT."
Jack knew what that meant in local slang: fucking-out-of-towner. He replied carefully. "I've heard that before. People saying locals look out for each other. One guy said it was like the Freemasons."
"I can't say ... I grew up here, went to school here, spent time in the Army, and came back. My name never opened any doors."
"Maybe. But you're sitting in this car."
First Cal Parrish. Now this ...
Jack decided to change the subject. "Where are we heading anyway?"
"Captain wants us to talk to a witness. Guy was sitting in his car outside Irv's Liquors when that robbery went down. Said he was afraid to come forward last night, but his wife talked him into calling us."
"Whose case is it?"
"The guys who caught the file are off tonight. Blackburn asked us to take the hand-off."
"I haven't even seen the file."
"In my briefcase."
Jack twisted in his seat and reached back. Just as he snared the briefcase, their radio came to life.
Seven-Five-One ... Respond Code One ... We have a report of a carjacking Hook Road and Four-Forty. Female victim unconscious. Witness describes two male actors, heading north on Four-Forty in the victim's dark blue BMW SUV. We've got a partial — begins Mike Two Eight, repeat Mike Two Eight.
Jack keyed the mike.
"Five-Eight-One, myself, and Five-Eight-Two are uptown, we'll head to Four-Forty and the Av C ramp."
Dispatch came back instantly.
At Tait's nod, Jack lit them up and hit the siren. Tait punched the accelerator. Too hard. The rear tires spun. Jack grimaced. Tait backed off, waited for the tires to grip, and then started edging up their speed. The traffic cleared obediently, and they made it to the Route 440 ramp in less than five minutes.
At the top of the ramp, Jack killed the lights and siren as Tait swung the Charger up over the left-side curb onto the verge. They waited behind a brake of juniper bushes, conveniently evergreen even in the depths of winter.
A few minutes later, a dark blue BMW blasted by.
Jack got back on the radio.
"Five-Eight-One ... we have that vehicle north on Four-Forty from Av C. We're in pursuit."
Jack hit the lights and siren as Tait rolled the Charger back onto the ramp. They merged onto Route 440 and took up pursuit.
Bayonne received. All units clear channel one.
After three-tenths of a mile, the roadway bent left into the notorious 440 loop. It was an apparently pointless curve that inexplicably forced northbound traffic south, then abruptly north, toward Jersey City. The Bayonne police had long cursed the road design for its sharp curves. Local towing companies, not so much ... overturned tractor-trailer units were the norm along the section's half-mile length.
"Five-Eight-One ... entering the loop, speed forty-five, surface slush, target vehicle speed estimated sixty."
The north zone supervisor took over.
North Super received. I have it, Dispatch — notify Jersey City. Five-Eight-One, use care!
A warning sign ahead displayed a switchback arrow and a twenty-five-mile-per-hour warning. Tait was already backing off their speed. "Idiot's going to roll that thing," he muttered as the BMW disappeared in a spray of slush around the bend at the bottom of the loop.
True to prediction, they rounded the corner in time to see the target vehicle in a broadside slide. It capsized, rolled, and came to rest upright on the far side of the median. Oncoming cars swerved.
"Five-Eight-One ... north bend on the loop. He lost it. We're out of the car."
As the Charger slid to a stop, Jack bailed, weapon ready. He rounded the nose of their car and started moving toward the BMW. He heard Tait behind him, then heard him yell, "Kid!" and suddenly found himself facedown in the slush and the dirt. Tait landed heavily right next to him. In the same instant, a spray of automatic gunfire whipped just above their heads and chewed up their car. Almost simultaneously, they heard the wet slide of braking traffic and the boom of a collision on the road behind them.
"Fuck this," Tait said. He took careful aim with his Glock and fired three quick rounds. A black barrel protruding from the SUV's driver's-side window jerked upward and disappeared. An instant later, from their ground-level vantage point, they both saw a pair of boots hit the ground on the far side of the BMW and start running away from the scene.
Jack and Tait jumped wordlessly to their feet, separated, and made a weapons-ready run at the vehicle. Tait jerked the driver's door open and swung into position, flashlight on, gun ready.
A scruffy male, mid-twenties, lay sprawled across the seats. There was a neat hole in his cheek just below his right eye and the back of his head was missing. Blood and gray matter dripped from the seat back and the ceiling above him.
Jack lifted an automatic weapon off the floor of the vehicle, where it lay among a litter of shell casings. "It's an AR-15."
He straightened and stood for a second, noting the stopped traffic to his right ... the vehicles trying to reverse ... the few men who had emerged from their cars jogging back up the line of traffic, waving arms and shouting. He shifted his attention to the figure of the other carjacker, running and slipping, silhouetted against the lights of the Rutkowski Park entrance and the Port Newark container terminal a half-mile across the bay beyond.
"He's heading for the park," he said thoughtfully.
Tait guessed what he was thinking.
"Don't do it, kid! We'll get him!"
Sirens were closing in from two directions.
Jack started moving. "The name's Jack. And yes, we will." He strode into the middle of the highway. He held up a flat palm to make it plain to the goggling drivers at the front of the line that they'd better not move.
As if anyone was going to argue with a mud-covered man packing an assault rifle.
Tait yelled after him. "Jack! Not in the back!"
Jack raised the rifle and took aim.
The young detective squeezed off a single shot. The distant figure dropped.
The sound of the gunshot hung on the heavy night air.
Jack strolled back to the BMW. Tait was staring at him in disbelief.
"Thanks for getting my name right," Jack said evenly. "Scratch one tibia. It's going to be a while before he runs from the cops again."
Excerpted from Storm Rising by Douglas Schofield. Copyright © 2016 Douglas Schofield. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When Lucy's police officer husband, Jack was murdered 5 years ago there were rumors that he was involved with the mob. Now, Lucy's young son, Kevin is telling her details of Jack's murder that only Jack could have known. This premise immediately drew me in and I couldn't put the book down! Lucy works with a local mob boss to clear Jack's name as Hurricane Sandy bears down on her New Jersey home, and the suspense never lets up. Lucy and Kevin are characters I cared about. The story, with its supernatural and historical elements was engrossing, I really loved this book!