“I thought you were coming back today, Codella.” Lieutenant McGowan’s voice growled through the phone. Well, at least some things never changed.
“Tomorrow, sir,” I corrected him.
“We could have used you today,” he barked, and I wanted to say “Yeah, right!” I knew what awaited me—playing back up to Dan Fisk and doing a lot of paperwork. McGowan hadn’t wanted me in his homicide squad from Day 1, and he was undoubtedly sorry to be getting me back. I could picture him now in his big chair with his legs spread wide and his fat hand combing through the spiky red drill-sergeant hair over his wide freckled face. He certainly wasn’t going to welcome me back with open arms and make me lead detective on a case. “Enjoy your last day of freedom, Codella,” he said as if I’d been on a ten-month cruise around the world. And then he hung up.
I grabbed my jacket and took the fire stairs down to the lobby and out to the street. “Head to the Bethesda Fountain,” Janelle Jackson had told me when she’d called last week and twisted my arm to do this. “You’ll see everyone congregating there.”
“What am I supposed to say to them?”
“Just tell them your story,” she’d said as if it lived on the tip of my tongue, a well-formulated sequence of events. An entertaining adventure tale.
Janelle Jackson must have sensed my anxiety. “Look, they all know someone or someone who knows someone who’s been through this or is going through it now. They want to help. You’re going to remind them why they’re out there on cold November morning.”
I crossed Broadway and stopped for the light on Amsterdam. But what to say? I should have put more thought into this, it occurred to me. I could improvise all kinds of stories about the homicides I had worked. Most people wanted to hear about the Wainright Blake case. Had he raped Elaine DeFarge before he murdered her? Had he mutilated her body? How long was the lock of hair he’d cut from her head? Was it the same color as the five other locks I’d found in the little cigar box under his bed, the locks that helped police in four states solve cold cases? That was the case that sent me to Manhattan North Homicide in the first place, and I’d been interviewed so many times about it that I could tell it a hundred ways and make it sound fresh. But talking about myself was quite a different matter.
Twenty or more people were hanging out around the Bethesda Fountain when I got there. Within five minutes, the group doubled. They stretched, munched protein bars, and drank from water bottles under a low ceiling of gray clouds that promised drizzle to come. And then a woman—Janelle Jackson, I supposed, although I’d never actually met her—stepped onto a bench in front of the fountain and waved her arms to get everyone’s attention. “We’ve got a very special speaker this morning,” she shouted over the murmurs of the runners. “You’ve probably read about NYPD Detective Claire Codella, and now she’s here to tell us her story.”
Shit, I thought. No getting out of this now. Janelle Jackson motioned me onto the bench. I joined her and looked into the crowd. “I’m a homicide detective at Manhattan North,” I said. “But I haven’t chased any killers recently. For the past ten months, I’ve been stalked by my own serial killer of sorts.” The faces were attentive now. I took a deep breath. “You all know the serial killer I’m talking about. I was lucky enough to survive my attack, but I met several others who weren’t, and I’m here with you for them. Because the research funded with money raised by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training helped save my life. With your help, we’re going to stop this killer.”
Silent City is the first book in the NEW “Claire Codella” mystery series published by Crooked Lane Books, October 2015. Find out exactly what Claire has been through and what happens the first day she’s back on the job.
About Silent City
NYPD Detective Claire Codella has just won a tough battle with cancer. Now she has to regain her rightful place on the force. she hasn’t even been back a day when Hector Sanchez, a maverick public school principal, is found murdered. The school is on high alert. The media is howling for answers. And Codella catches the high-profile case at the worst possible time.
As she races to track down the killer, she uncovers dirty politics, questionable contracts, and dark secrets. Each discovery she makes brings her closer to the truth, but the truth may cost Codella her life.
Silent City, Carrie Smith’s explosive debut, will introduce readers to a brilliant new voice in crime fiction that will grab them and not let go until the very last page and a fearless heroine who they will enjoy for years to come.
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All comments are welcomed.
Meet the author
SILENT CITY is Carrie Smith’s first crime novel. She is also the author of a literary novel Forget Harry. Her writing awards include three Hopwood Awards from the University of Michigan and a fellowship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Carrie is also senior vice president, publisher of Benchmark Education Company, a literacy publisher. She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Visit Carrie at www.carriesmith.nyc, Facebook, and Twitter at @carriesmithnyc.
Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a signed hard copy first edition of Silent City. (US entries only, please.) The giveaway will end January 29 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!