Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1)

All Rights Reserved ©


Leverette and Marsden got into the car and pulled away as Marcie was putting the head in the van. She turned to throw Leverette a kiss but he was already gone. Damn, she thought, I’ll win him over sooner or later.

The ride to Marsden’s home started out quiet until Leverette decided to find out why this case is bothering Marsden so much.

“You have no trouble with all the other gory cases we go on, why does this one get to you?” he asked trying not to sound condescending.

Marsden stared out his side window for a bit then turned to Leverette.

“It happened when I was nine. My father was working on a combine and it jammed. Instead of turning it off he jumped down and reached into it to loosen whatever it was,” Marsden turned away. He didn’t want his partner to see the tears in his eyes. “Our neighbor, whose land butts up to ours in the back, noticed the combine running and saw dad on the ground. He ran over and saw what happened. Dad’s right arm and leg were severed off. He got caught in the machine. The neighbor ran to our house and told my mother to call for an ambulance and let her know what happened. She called then started out the door but he stopped her, telling her she didn’t want to see him. But mom was stubborn, still is, and headed out the door with me following. We didn’t know dad was dead. He was just lying there.”

Leverette didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t imagine a boy that young seeing that. He knew what loss felt like, though. It had happened to him.

“I’m so sorry, Phil,” Leverette said.

His sincerity, and the fact that he called him by his first name, touched him. “Thanks, Joe.”

“Is that why you didn’t carry on with the family farm?”

“No. I always wanted to be a cop,” Marsden said looking back over at Leverette. “My brothers and sister took over the farm. My sister and brother were already out of high school so they took over right away.”

Leverette nodded his head as they pulled up to Marsden’s home.

“Get some sleep. I’ll see you in a couple hours,” Leverette said.

Marsden looked at him. “Really?! I don’t think I’ll ever sleep again,” he said. “Are you going home?”

“Probably,” Leverette answered him.

“You’re going to the precinct,” Marsden said, “I know you better than that.” He got out of the car. Before he shut the door he said, “I’ll be right behind you.”

“Okay, see you there,” Leverette said. Marsden shut the door and walked into his home.

After Leverette parked his car and walked into the precinct he looked to see if there was any coffee. Shit. No. He put on a pot and went to his desk.

He turned on his computer and took his coat off, hanging it on his chair. He sat down and opened his drawer taking out the five files for this one case. Today they were going to start interviewing the witnesses. Hopefully they’d have a name before the interviews start. Once Marsden comes in he’ll ask him to call Marcie and see how long it would take. At this hour the lab wasn’t open unless something like this came in. Then those who were needed, which was usually everyone, would come in.

Leverette checked his email. Carrington had sent him his notes on his findings. He wondered if Carrington was going to come in or let Marcie handle it. It’s not that she didn’t know what to do, after all she was the assistant ME, Leverette just couldn’t stand her.

He opened the file and it confirmed what he thought: same cut pattern. He remembered Marcie said the cut pattern on the head’s neck looked like the cuts on the rest of the body.

The rest of the report stated that she hadn’t been sexually assaulted, nor did she have any bruises except the strap marks that had bound her ankles and wrists, and tighter marks just below her shoulders and at the top of her hips. Carrington did find ether in her system so Leverette knew she was knocked out and probably not gagged.

A chill went through Leverette as he thought about the murder. Carrington said it looked like she had been alive when she was cut. He wondered if she was awake when he started cutting her. He wondered if she saw the blade coming down on her neck. But could she have survived if he cut her limbs off first? He’d have to wait for the report.

Marsden walked in and headed for the coffee pot.

“Want some?” he asked Leverette.

“Yeah. I just put it on,” he answered.

Marsden poured two cups and brought them over, handing one to Leverette. They both liked their coffee black.

“Anything new on the case?” Marsden asked as he set his coffee on his desk and took off his hat and coat. He threw them on the chair on the side of his desk.

“Nope,” Leverette said still staring at the screen. “Gordon didn’t find anything, either. Maybe now that we might get her ID’d he’ll find something.”

“Is Marcie doing the exam on the head?” Marsden asked.

Leverette looked at him and gave him a mean look.

“Hey, I’m not trying to start anything. Just a simple question.”

“Carrington said he wanted to do the whole examination,” Leverette said and sat back in his chair. He picked up his coffee and took a sip.

“I have some of the witnesses scheduled for today. Amy Lang, Ken Denton, and DeShawn Davis,” Marsden said looking at his notes.

“I’ve been meaning to ask you,” Leverette started, “Did you get your gut feeling with any of the boys today?”

“Yes,” Marsden said. “The King kid knows something.”


“Because when he heard ‘head’ I saw both fear and recognition on his face.”

“But he’s just a kid? What could he do?” Leverette could believe the other five might have done something, but not a 17 year old.

“With all the shit going on in this world now, I wouldn’t put it past him.”

“They all looked frightened.”

“Could be an act,” Marsden said and turned on his computer. His emails were cc’d from Carrington and Gordon.

Leverette’s cell phone rang, making Marsden jump. Leverette looked at him with a scowl on his face and shook his head. When he looked at the phone it was the morgue. The scowl went to an ‘oh shit’ look. He handed the phone to Marsden.

“It’s the morgue,” he said. Marsden looked at him.

“Why don’t you take it?” Marsden asked, then remembered Marcie was in the morgue so he took the phone.


“Oh, I’m sorry,” Marcie’s voice came over the phone. “I was calling Joe.”

Marsden looked at Leverette and grinned.

“He’s not at his desk right now. How can I help you?”

“Dr. Carrington will be here in about an hour. I just wanted him to know.”

“I’ll tell him when he gets back.”

“Oh, okay,” she said sounding disappointed. “Bye.”

“Bye.” Marsden hung up and handed the phone back to Leverette.

“She said Carrington will be in around 6AM,” Marsden said. “She sounded upset that you didn’t answer the phone.”

Leverette just glared at him. “I really don’t care.”

“Sorry,” Marsden said with a smirk on his face. “I didn’t mean to upset you. We have enough to worry about.”

“Thank you,” Leverette said and finished going through his emails. As he opened the last email he noticed the lights come on in Billingsley’s office. He looked up and saw him take off his hat and coat and hook them on the coat rack. Then he walked toward Leverette and Marsden.

“How old’s the coffee?” Billingsley asked.

“Just made it a few minutes ago,” Leverette said.

“Good,” Billingsley said and headed over to pour himself a cup. He walked back over to the two detectives. “Anything new?”

“Carrington will be in shortly. Gordon hadn’t found anything connecting the five witnesses.”

“Well, maybe once we learn who this woman was we’ll get somewhere,” Billingsley said and turned and headed to his office.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.