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A Deadly Development

A Deadly Development

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A Deadly Development

170 Seiten
3 Stunden
Jun 15, 2012


A Deadly Development introduces Sergeant Tom Burke of the Kansas City Murder Squad. Burke is a third generation member of the Kansas City Police Department.

Sergeant Burke is teamed with Detective Jack Thurber - a crass, but dogged investigator that Burke puts up with. The two are called to Kansas City's City Hall where a gruesome murder has taken place.

Mayoral Aide John Vithous was bludgeoned to death while typing emails late in the night. His murder shocks Kansas City and there is immense pressure on Burke and Thurber to solve the case - and fast.

Burke must come up to speed quickly on Kansas City politics, development law and the pernicious way that John Vithous operated. He also has to navigate through the last steps of his divorce and complex family relationships.

A Deadly Development is a roller coaster thriller filled with twists, lies and intrigues.

Jun 15, 2012

Über den Autor

James Green lives in Kansas City with his wife and their two sons.


A Deadly Development - James Green

A Deadly Development

James Green

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2012 James Green

License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents

March 10

March 11

March 12

March 13

March 14

March 15

March 16

March 17

Friday March 10 – 5:53 p.m.

John Vithous was deep in thought, trying to finish the final email of a very long day. He would have rather ignored it, but thought better of it. Had he been paying attention, he may have heard the elevator opening in the lobby, but not likely. The express elevator ran up to 29th floor and then back to the lobby, whether there was anyone in it or not.

Vithous rarely noticed things like that anyway. He was busy responding to the latest attack on his boss, or at least his perceived latest attack. To John Vithous you were either totally with him or totally against him. No middle ground, no blurring of the lines, no equivocating. He had built a twenty five year career in politics building up allies, and even more importantly, destroying enemies. To him, it was a game, really - an adrenaline rush to engage in battles with the enemies and then crush them.

His boss valued his talents. She wouldn't ever admit it publicly; it would not be prudent from a political standpoint. Jane Hughes cultivated her public persona as a matronly gregarious mayor. It wouldn't behoove her to be portrayed as a political mudslinger. She made every effort to make it seem beneath her. Besides, that's what John was for; that's what she paid him well for. She felt it was money well spent.

Vithous latest battle was with the local City Hall reporter, a pain in the ass named Bethany Edwards. Edwards had questioned a new development proposed for the riverfront. This article was just a follow up in a series of articles Edwards had been writing themed The Mayor's Inner Circle An earlier article showed how a donor and friend of Mayor Hughes was able to get her permit expedited to open a new restaurant. What Vithous saw as business as usual, Edwards kept alluding that there was something underhanded or even devious. Her holier than thou attitude grated on Vithous - it pissed him off. Although he usually let her know about his displeasure in person, he felt he couldn't wait because he had gotten wind that a new article was to appear early next week. He had been tipped off by some council member who Edwards thought was a great source, but in fact was just a mole for John. Vithous had to kill the story before it even got going.

His typing stopped briefly as his ears registered an unusual sound. City Hall was built at the height of the Depression. Many hailed it as a great example of Art Deco architecture. It sat on one of the highest points in the city. Even on relatively calm days the hall made odd sounds, and on an evening like tonight when the wind was really howling and devoid of any people, it emitted all sorts of creaks and groans. Vithous stopped briefly, shrugged it off the sound as nothing out of the ordinary and went back to typing furiously. It would be the last email he ever wrote.

Friday, March 10 6:38 p.m.

Four more reps, he thought. Four more reps and he would be done for the night. Tom Burke strained every fiber in his body to finish his arm curls. Sweat pored off his forehead as he finished his evening work out.

The gym was quiet, almost empty. The earlier afternoon rush had given way to the early weekend evening doldrums - anyone with a social life had left by now. Burke couldn't help but notice. He was paid to notice things, and even when he tried not to make a mental note of surroundings, he couldn't help himself. He tried to convince himself that he preferred the gym empty. It allowed him to work out on any machine or weights he wanted without having to wait. But the reality was a lonely apartment awaited him upon finishing his workout, so he was in no early to finish up.

His cellphone broke up the thought. Dispatch gave details of a murder, which wasn't a rarity in Kansas City on a Friday night. What was rare was the location - the Mayor's office at City Hall. This piqued Burke's interest. As a Police Sargent in the Murder Squad, Burke was a member of an elite team that was called in for these types of high profile cases. He quickly showered, changed and headed for his car.

The trip to City Hall from the gym was a reverse timeline of Kansas City's expansion. Burke started by driving through neighborhoods full of post-World War II ranch homes, which gave way to 1920 and 1930 Tudor homes. This was the neighborhood that he grew up in. His mother still lived in the home he and his sisters had spent their childhood in. Even though his parents were still married, his father hadn't lived there for almost 30 years. Real Catholics don't get divorces, his mother said. Instead, they just suffer, Burke thought. Tom Burke smiled at that - his mother had the suffering piece down to a science.

The smaller homes gradually gave way to the larger and more palatial homes where many of the power elite lived. That included Mayor Jane Hughes--her house was one of the most impressive of the lot. She had expensive parties, or so Burke had been told. Some of his buddies who were still beat cops had been hired from time to time to provide security. They had talked about all the food, all the people and all the booze. Thomas Burke thought they sounded terribly boring, but the guys on the force like to gossip as much old ladies.

Burke's car snaked through the Country Club Plaza, then into the Westport area. When he was still in uniform he spent a lot of time in Westport, both on and off duty. Westport was the bar area of Kansas City, and when he was in his 20s he was there either breaking up fights or causing them, depending on what night it was.

Westport was still relatively dead at this point--he looked at the clock on his dashboard – 6:52. About three more hours, Burke thought, and then things will get interesting. Bar fights, DUIs or an occasional shooting. The Westport business association tended not to advertise those aspects of the bar scene.

He then went past Union Station, through the Crossroads district and finally pulled into the downtown district and City Hall. The sun had started to set, but the front of City Hall was awash in lights--all the media was there setting up their live shots. Fucking vultures, Burke sighed. They paid someone, usually a college kid to sit and monitor the police radio. As soon as a call came in reporting a murder in city hall, they were all over it. He hated the TV news--felt they just sensationalized all the violence in the city without actually talking about the root of the problems, or asking why. They just made a big splash, then left and moved on to the next bloody story. Burke was thankful that KCPD had a media unit who would get the fun task of handling all the press. He wasn't sure he'd be able to keep his composure if he had to deal with them.

He swung his car into the basement garage of City Hall. Standing in front of the entrance was Detective Jack Thurber. Thurber was desperately trying to suck every bit of nicotine out of his Camel cigarette before having to discard it due to the city's anti-smoking policy. Thurber had been the first member of the murder squad on the scene. He told Burke that two uniformed officers had initially responded to the 911 call. Upon arriving, they quickly had determined that a murder in the Mayor’s office was a big deal. A third officer was called in and then a duty officer called in the EMTs and the firefighters.

Thurber was working at Police Headquarters across the street when he was called. It took him less than two minutes to arrive at the scene on foot. Although a full decade older than Tom, Thurber was a newer member of the murder squad. Once he had ascertained the back of John Vithous’ skull being bashed in was no accident, he had called dispatch, instructed the uniforms to not let in anyone in or out, and went downstairs and waited for his partner Tom Burke to arrive.

Jack Thurber had two ex-wives, a two pack a day habit and a penchant for irritating people without even knowing he was doing it. What made him an acceptable cop was the fact that he was dogged in his work, didn't take no for an answer and hated to lose. He recently been transferred from Vice, where he had apparently burnt his last bridge. Burke tolerated him for the most part.

The murder squad had recently been reorganized. Only 42 % of homicides had been cleared the year before. This didn’t sit well with the politicians, especially since it was an election year. The new police chief had added an additional squad, bringing the total to four. Each squad had seven detectives and one sergeant. Instead of being on a twenty-eight day shift, they now worked fourteen days shifts. Burke had been on day eleven of his latest shift when his phone had rung. Although the changes had been heralded, Burke had not seen any uptick in clearance rates. Homicide was still overwhelmed and understaffed.

They acknowledged the few uniforms guarding the entrance with a nod. One returned the gesture and said Hey, Tom - you didn't have anything better to do on a Friday night, did ya? and Burke just smiled and went inside. Thurber followed and they made his way past the security desk that was empty when he noticed a bank of security cameras. He definitely would be asking to see a copy of all of those cameras tapes for the day. He also assumed there was a log sheet of some sort that he would need to look into.

Thurber punched a button to get an elevator and took the long ride up to the 29th floor. While riding to the top Burke thought back to all the times he visited the Mayor's office. He could think of three or four --and on all occasions that was when he was a school kid taking a tour. Once, he was even allowed to sit in the Mayor’s chair, which at the time seemed like a very big deal.

The elevator doors opened and they stepped out into the lobby of the 29th floor. A large mahogany desk sat at the end of the lobby with two swinging doors that during the day kept out anyone the Mayor's security deemed undesirable --directly behind the desk were large doors to the City Manager's office which sat dark and empty. To the left was the entrance to the Mayor's office. Yellow crime scene police tape covered the entrance and two more uniformed officers were waiting for them

Hey Tommy, Jack said the older officer. Tom recognized him as being one of his father's friends, but at the moment his named escaped him --something Italian like Gallo or Risso. What do we got? Burke asked. The older cop held up the police tape so Tom could slide under and walked into the office.

For all the power Mayor Hughes exercised, her office was quite a letdown. An L-shaped common room that was crammed with cubicles for far as Burke could see. The tackiness of the 1970s met the grandeur of the 1930s. Some bureaucrat had even decided at one point to put in a suspended ceiling, resplendent with ugly popcorn-like ceiling tiles. Tom thought that whoever had done that should have been shot.

Meet John Vithous, a.k.a. her honor's right-hand man, aka our croaker, Thurber said.

Burke walked up to the cube nearest to the Mayor's own office and pulled a pair of latex gloves from his pocket and put them on. Vithous head lay up against the side of his desk his hair matted down with viscid blood. It was clear whoever had hit Mr. Vithous was a very angry individual, Burke thought.

I'm guessing somebody decided to use Mr. Vithous' head as a piñata, the older cop said. What the hell was his

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