We’ll return after these messages…

Given that’s it’s Memorial Day Weekend, and I have been posting two chapters of “No Safe Harbor” every week for the past 11 weeks, I’ve decided to take a break this weekend and spend time with my family. HOWEVER: Chapters 22 & 23 will be posted next Saturday (June 2) as we head toward the final 12 chapters! For those who need to catch up (You know who you are. If not, I have a list), here’s your chance before things get rolling again as Seattle private investigator Shane McPhearson puts his trust in KIRO-TV reporter Patty Mead to help him expose the corruption within the 8th Precinct and keep 8-year-old Jacob Bettington alive.

Have a great weekend, everyone! If you need to get caught up, here’s the link to individual Chapters 1-21 https://nedhickson.com/no-safe-harbor-a-novel-in-the…/…

No Safe Harbor — Chapters 20 & 21

As Shane prepares to risk everything to expose what he knows and keep young Jacob safe, detectives Kazad and Aames begin pressing Internal Affairs about their suspicions of a dirty shoot — and, in the process, become targets themselves.

Chapter Twenty

The Sable rolled into a parking space behind the 8th Precinct. Aames and Kazad exited and made their way through the double doors and along the hall to the staircase leading up to the squad room. Aames collapsed into his chair and sifted through a handful of pink message slips scattered over his desk while Kazad filled his mug with stale coffee, then held the pot up toward Aames.

“How can you drink that motor oil?” Aames then watched Kazad spoon heaping mounds of sugar and dry creamer into his cup. “Never mind.”

Kazad continued stirring as he took a spot on the corner of his partner’s desk. “Anything important? he asked, gesturing to the messages.

“Not really. But I should return a couple of these calls. One is from Zeahna. Probably ready to give back her engagement ring.”

“Nah. But you need to make that call first. In fact, always make that call first.”

“Spoken like a man who knows.”

Kazad offered a sad smile and changed the subject. “I’ll give you some privacy. While you’re groveling and begging, I’ll go talk with Bill Parnelle at Internal Affairs. He might have some insight on the shooting.”

“You sure you don’t want me to tag along?

Kazad took a sip and shook his head. “It might spook him. I’ll try being cozy. If that doesn’t work, I’ll press him and see what happens.”

[Read More HERE:]

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No Safe Harbor — Chapters 18 & 19

With the discovery of Sharon Reese’s body, coupled with their secret meeting with crime scene tech Roy Hollins, detectives Kazad and Aames’ suspicions about a cover-up continue to grow. Meanwhile, still on the run, Shane and Jacob come up with a risky plan to expose the truth about Lynda Bettington’s murder.

Chapter Eighteen

Kazad and Aames followed Hollins as he crossed over one of two bridges on Highway 90 that spanned Lake Washington and connected Mercer Island with the surrounding Seattle area. During summer months, the lake was alive with Jet Skis, canoes, seasonal fisherman and the occasional late-night couple skinny dipping. But in the off season, when rain showers were the only disturbance over the quiet waters, life centered near the southern tip of Lake Washington on The Mercer.

Leaving highway 90, Hollins headed south on Island Crest Way, which was the main artery connecting the northern and southern ends of the island. His destination was located at the furthest point south and surrounded by a private community of expensive weekender homes purchased primarily for short get-aways and lazy stretches of summer. As a result, most remained empty for a majority of the year.

But this morning, among a cluster of fancy cabins near the Mercer Island Beach Club, one unit was occupied by a team of police investigators — and the body of Sharon Reese.

Following Hollins in the Sable, Kazad and Aames left the paved road and maneuvered over a narrow gravel drive that took them past a small wooden sign labeled “cabins.” Police lights broke between clusters of trees as they neared the end of a large cul-de-sac bordered by two-story structures designed to feel rustic while still providing every possible amenity. 

For any amenity not available in the cabins, there was someone at the Beach Club able to provide it.

It was an idyllic spot, thought Kazad. Except for the strands of bright yellow crime tape.

Ahead, Hollins parked along the cul-de-sac, leaving room for the medical examiner’s vehicle to eventually arrive and transport the body. He stepped from this car carrying a leather bag as he entered the cabin.

A patrolman recorded his badge number and arrival time.

Kazad and Aames came to a stop and waited before exiting the Sable to avoid the appearance of arriving with Hollins. After a few minutes, they approached the crime scene, hands buried in their coat pockets.

The patrolman clicked his pen, ready to jot down their badge numbers from memory. “How’s it going with the Bettington kid?” he asked. “Is this tied to that?”

[Read more HERE]

[Click here for Previous Chapters]

No Safe Harbor — Chapter 17

Detectives Kazad and Aames have their suspicions of a dirty shoot by police confirmed when crime scene tech Roy Hollins provides them with the reports that were covered up by Internal Affairs.

Chapter Seventeen

Aames and Kazad entered the Sunriser Cafe and quickly spotted Hollins sitting at a back table, far from the row of booths lining the front window. His face was grim. A plump waitress wearing a checkered apron and jeans that were a size too small was refilling his coffee as the two detectives slid into the booth. The waitress set the coffee pot on the table and grabbed her order pad.

“What can I get you?” she asked, as if they had driven there with a particular favorite in mind.

“Coffee, please. Black,” said Kazad.

Aames held up two fingers.

“Okay, two coffees. Anything else for you two?”

Aames pulled a slightly sticky laminated menu from behind the condiment caddy, flipping between the two sides. “I’ll need some time to process all this, ma’am.”

“I’ll check back,” she said, unamused, then disappeared into a side station.

“Looks like real home cooking,” said Kazad.

“Maybe your home,” replied Aames.

The waitress returned with a pair of coffee cups and filled them black. “Are you ready to order?” She glanced at Aames first.

“I’ll pass this morning, thank you.”

She pivoted to Kazad, pencil at the ready.

“I’d like two eggs, medium hard, hash browns, sausage and orange juice, please,” said Kazad.

“You can go ahead and start my order too,” said Hollins.

“I’ll get that out shortly,” she said and headed toward the kitchen.

Kazad blew on his coffee. “So what’s going on, Roy? Why the secret meeting in Hooterville?”

[Read more HERE]

[For Previous Chapters, Click HERE]

No Safe Harbor — Chapter 16

On the run with Shane while driving along back roads between Seattle and Tacoma, eight-year-old Jacob finally reveals what he saw and heard the night of his mother’s murder — and what makes him a serious threat to Rick Sparlo’s world.

Chapter Sixteen

At a small, under-utilized state rest stop just east of Tacoma along a quiet stretch of Highway 167, Shane splashed his face with cold water and did his best to wash up. Jacob sat in the stall next to him, crouched on the seat of the commode. A pair of Shane’s mud boots had been positioned in the gap of the stall door to give the appearance of a full-grown occupant. Shane looked around for a paper towel dispenser to dry his face but only saw a hand dryer that appeared in questionable condition. He twisted the blower nozzle upward, positioned his face over it, then pushed the chrome start button. A spider blew out, glancing off his cheek.

“JEEZ!” he exclaimed, jumping aside and brushing at his face with both hands.

“What happened?” Jacob asked from inside the stall.

“Nothing,” Shane answered, drying his face with his shirt sleeve. “Just an air-born spider attack.”

“What?!?” The door to the stall flew open as Jacob quickly emerged, his eyes darting around the room.

Shane pushed the chrome button again, turning the dryer off. “It came flying out of there. I didn’t see a parachute, so I don’t think he made it.”

A smile broke Jacob’s worried expression. He began to laugh, the sound of his giggling echoing between the bare concrete floor and ceiling. 

It was a good sound, thought Shane, who realized it was the first time he’d heard Jacob laugh. He began chuckling as well, then shushed himself and Jacob quiet as he gathered up his boots. Peeking through a gap in the restroom door, Shane made sure no one else was around before the two of them hurried into the cab of the pick-up and drove from the parking area.

[Read more HERE]

[For Previous Chapters, Click HERE]