It’s not even nine in the morning and my hands are shaking.
I drum my fingers on the small desk in front of me to hide the tremors, although I’m the only one in the bookstore. I got to work early. I couldn’t stand to be in the empty house anymore. Even though it has been years since he died, it still feels like my dad’s house, and not mine.
I work in a used bookstore on Bird Road in Miami. My friend Dave–the only friend I have left–got me the job. It was the first step I took to get my life back in order, after what happened last year. After the Silent Death.
I used to have more than a job–a career, even. I was born and raised here, in Miami. I moved to Jersey to follow my journalistic dream as an investigative sports reporter for a newspaper up there. Things were going well for a long while. I was engaged to a beautiful, smart woman, and I became the top investigative sports reporter at the paper. But then things started to spin out. A drink after work became a few drinks at lunch. I stopped coming home. I started waking up in strange places. Bars and dark corners became my best friends. Then my father died, and all my problems were amplified by regret.
The desk phone rings. The sound echoes through the empty store. I ignore it. I tell myself it’s a customer, but I know customers don’t call here. People looking for me do.
I decided to stay in Miami after coming down to handle my father’s affairs. Nothing was waiting for me in New Jersey anymore. My life settled into a predictable rut: long nights followed by awkward, painful mornings, and failed expectations delivered via hangover headaches. I was well past spinning out of control. I didn’t remember what control felt like.
When a coworker asked me to find his missing daughter, I thought it’d be my chance to make something of myself–to pull myself up and be a hero. Instead, the search pulled me down deeper, into the bowels of my city and my own past. I came face-to-face with the Silent Death, a hitman of hitmen, a mass murderer who’d tormented Miami for years, considered by many to be an urban legend.
The phone stops ringing. The red voicemail light comes on. I ignore that, too. It’s probably a reporter. Or someone who’s heard of me in the papers. Someone who might need help. But I don’t have any help to give. I get up from the desk and wander down the aisles of dusty books, looking for something to do. Anything to distract me from the red light and my own curiosity–the same curiosity that’s already cost me so much.
My head is a jumble of fuzzy blackouts and bone-chilling memories. Mixed together, I’m left wondering why I’m here at all. Those dark feelings are paired with something even more frightening–the sense that things are only going to get worse.
I hear the door chime and wait.
Down the Darkest Street is the second book in the Pete Fernandez mystery series, published by Polis Books, April 2016. The first book in the series, Silent City, was reissued by Polis in March 2016.
Pete Fernandez should be dead.
His life — professional and personal — is in ruins. His best friend is dead. His newspaper career is past tense. His ex is staying with him as her own marriage crumbles. On top of that, the former journalist finds himself in the eye of a dangerous storm; investigating a missing girl with an unexpected partner and inching closer and closer to a vicious, calculating killer cutting a swath of blood across Miami — while at the same time battling his own personal demons that refuse to be silenced.
Down the Darkest Street, the hard-boiled sequel to Alex Segura’s acclaimed debut, Silent City, is a tale of redemption, survival, and the sordid backstreets of Miami that asks the question that many are too scared to answer: When faced with pure darkness, would you fold or fight?
# # # # # # # # # # #
Meet the author
Alex Segura is a novelist and comic book writer. He is the author of the Miami crime novel Silent City, the first in a series featuring Pete Fernandez. Silent City and its sequel, Down The Darkest Street, are out this year via Polis Books. He also has written a number of comic books, including the best-selling and critically acclaimed Archie Meets Kiss storyline, the “Occupy Riverdale” story, and the upcoming Archie Meets Ramones. Originally from Miami, he lives in New York with his wife and new baby son.
Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Silent City. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end April 1, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!
All comments are welcomed.