Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1)

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Leverette stopped at the local twenty-four hour diner to get breakfast and a good cup of coffee.

While waiting for his order he went over what he knew about the case so far. Not a damn thing! There’s no way to find out who this creep is, no finger or foot prints, no hair, not a fucking thing! Even the video of him is useless. He was wearing black with an open-faced stocking cap and large-framed sunglasses, all you could see were his nose and mouth.

When his order was ready, he paid for it and headed to his car. Just as he was going to slide in, Billingsley pulled up next to him.

“Great minds, right Joe?” Billingsley chuckled. “You going back to the precinct?”

“Yeah, I want to look over everything again,” he said, “We must have missed something.”

Billingsley nodded his head. “I’m going to call Colleen Hlavacek and see if she can help. Remember her?”

“Yeah, I was thinking about her too,” Leverette said and smiled. “Great minds, chief.”

Billingsley nodded and headed into the restaurant; Leverette went to the precinct.

First thing Leverette did was to call Marsden and tell him what had happened.

“So the sting didn’t work,” Marsden said and yawned. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“Okay. Billingsley will be here after he picks up some breakfast,” Leverette said.

“Alright,” Marsden said and hung up the phone. He’d pick up some doughnuts and coffee on his way in, he thought to himself. He was glad they didn’t call him to the scene, he hated this case.

Betty walked into the precinct and went to Billingsley’s office. The door was closed and it was dark so she looked toward the detective’s desks and saw that Leverette was there.

She walked up to him, “Morning, Joe,” she said and smiled at him.

He swallowed a mouthful of eggs and took a sip of coffee. “Hi,” he said and wiped his mouth. “What brings you here?”

“I’m on my way to the lab and Billingsley asked me to drop this off,” she said handing him an evidence bag with a tee shirt in it. “This isn’t evidence.”

“He’ll be here soon. I’ll give it to him,” Leverette said and placed the bag on his desk. “Smith still there?”

“They were getting ready to put the body in the van when we left,” she said. “I really can’t stand that woman!”

“You and the rest of the precinct,” Leverette said and they both chuckled.

“Well, I’m off to the lab to run the evidence we did get,” she said and turned to leave.

“Yeah, have a good one,” he said. She raised her right hand and gave him a backward wave.

Leverette finished his breakfast and threw the container and plastic silverware into the trash bin by his desk. He was glad he’d gotten an extra-large coffee even though it was starting to cool down.

He turned on his computer to see if there were any new messages and he just about jumped out of his seat.

“The son of a bitch!” he said out loud just as Billingsley walked to his office door. He turned and noticed the look on Leverette’s face and went to his desk.

“What is it, Joe?” he asked.

“That fucking bastard taped this one,” Leverette said as he stared at the monitor. “Look!”

Billingsley came around the desk just as the murderer was putting the head in a black plastic trash bag.

“Holy shit!” Billingsley said and set his breakfast container on Leverette’s desk. The two watched it all the way through.

The murderer held up a sheet of paper which had the message printed out in large letters.

‘Five to go. The last will be your lady love. You’ll never catch me,’ it said.

“That last sentence is new,” Billingsley said.

“And still with the count down,” Leverette said. “He thinks we’ll never catch him; he’s wrong,” he said.

“Let’s hope we do before he kills another person. I’ve a mind to warn the rest but I really don’t want this to leak to the papers just yet,” Billingsley said, “It’s probably what he wants.”

“I don’t think so,” Leverette said, “I have a gut feeling he’s just playing with us and doesn’t care about publicity. I’ll get this down to Andy.”

“Good, let me know if he can find anything out.”

“Yeah, he should be in around seven.”

“I’m going to call Colleen now. Betty’s supposed to drop off something that belonged to Frank for me.”

“Oh, she already did,” Leverette said and handed him the evidence bag. “She said it wasn’t evidence.”

“Great, I wanted this for Colleen. Personal items help her,” Billingsley said and took the package from Leverette and picked up his breakfast. “I’ll be in my office if you need me.”

Leverette decided to save it before he sent it to Andy. As he pressed the save button the video went dark and a hand appeared with its middle finger extended and a message ‘Fuck you, Joseph Leverette you’ll never catch me’ then the screen went dark. He went back to the email but the video was gone.

“Damn it!” he said out loud. He’d have to wait until Andy got in to tell him what happened. Maybe he’d know how to get it back.

Marsden walked in just as Leverette yelled. He went and put the box of doughnuts by the coffee machine, picked one out for himself then headed to their desks.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“That bastard sent a video to my email address,” Leverette said, “I don’t know how he got it.”

“What’s the video about?”

“It was his last murder. From beginning to end. With another message at the end.”

“You’re not going to make me watch it, are you?” Marsden said wide eyed.

“You don’t have to worry about that,” Leverette said and sat back in his chair. “The bastard fixed it so it would delete if I tried to save it. Probably would have deleted if I forwarded it.”

Marsden was grateful, in a way, but he knew the video might help with the investigation.

“Maybe Andy can figure something out,” Marsden said and went to his side of the desk. He took off his coat and hooked it on the back of his chair. Just as he was going to sit down Billingsley called them to come into his office.

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