Saturday Sampler: Last Deadly Lie

A chilling, fearful tale of a small town that has smoldered too long in the fires of jealousy and selfish greed, then is finally blown apart by lies, gossip, and violent death. Read an excerpt from my psychological thriller, Last Deadly Lie.

MAX GORDON ALWAYS did the right thing at the right time. That was his style. He was so damn predictable. Why doubt him now?

On the last night of his life, Gordon had dressed in his finest gray pinstripe suit, probably kissed his wife goodbye, told her not to worry, and walked out of his fine, two-story brick home in Basilwood Heights. Nathan Locke noticed his patent leather shoes were obviously newly shined, and his nails had been freshly manicured. Gordon was so meticulous, so well groomed in life he wouldn’t dream of meeting death any other way.

He had carefully pulled the flowered bedcovering back, lay down, and straightened the wrinkles from his suit. Max Gordon had placed his head on an old, foam rubber pillow, stuck the barrel of the shotgun into his mouth, took his final breath, and pulled the trigger with his thumb. It was, Locke reasoned, probably the first time Max Gordon had ever gone to bed in his life without first removing his shoes.

How long did he lay there?

Waiting.

How long did he think about it?

In the darkness.

Did he hear the shot that killed him?

Was there any pain?

Or just a world suddenly gone black.

What was Max Gordon’s last thought in that frozen moment of time, wedged between the echo of the blast and eternity, when the old man must have suddenly realized he could no longer prevent what he had done to himself?

Was there regret?

Shock?

Remorse?

Or satisfaction.

Nathan Locke took a deep breath and stepped toward the young policeman who had been kneeling beside Max Gordon’s limp and waxen body, unaware that anyone else had come into the bedroom.

The unexpected sound of footsteps obviously startled him. The officer looked up, his face stunned, and asked, “Who the hell are you?”

“Nathan Locke. “ The voice was deep and incisive. “I received a telephone call from Mister Gordon about an hour ago, asking me to meet him here.” He paused and glanced again at the twisted body lying amongst the crumpled and faded flowers of the bedspread. It no longer looked human, just an odd assortment of arms and legs that had lost the brain they needed to guide them. “I’m Mister Gordon’s minister.”

The policeman nodded. His eyes were tired and had a calloused look. “I’m afraid you got here a little late.”

“Could you please tell me what happened?”

“Doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. The old guy got tired of living and blew his brains out.”

“Are you sure?”

The policeman stood, and a scowl darkened his face. He needed a shave. “What does it look like to you?”

Locke shrugged. “Was there a note?” he asked.

“All typed out and lying neatly folded beside the phone.”

That sounded like Max Gordon, Locke thought. He was so prim, so proper, such a fastidious businessman. He no doubt dictated his own suicide note and probably asked his secretary to type it out for him.

“May I see it?” the minister asked. “Max called me. He didn’t wait for me. The note may have been for me.”

The policeman shook his head. “The coroner gets it. You can ask him when he’s finished with his investigation here.” The young officer yawned and pulled a threadbare woolen blanket from the closet, pitching it over the remains of Max Gordon.

Poor Max, Nathan Locke thought. What had possessed him to do such a deed? He was a successful businessman. His wife was a pillar of Vicksburg society. He taught Sunday school. He made a lot of money, and he certainly didn’t spend a lot of it foolishly. Max Gordon was financially set for life. But then, life could sometimes be unexpectedly and devastatingly short.

“Were you the first person here?” Locke asked.

“We got the call about two-thirty,” the policeman said, sitting down on the edge of the bed. “The manager of the place phoned in and said he had heard a shotgun blast. It woke him up. He tried to open the door to Gordon’s room, but it was locked. I got here a few minutes later and kicked the door in. I was only a block away when the call came in.”

“No one else could have been here.”

“If there was, he or she went out the window.”

“It’s the fourth floor.”

“It’s a long jump.” The officer grinned, glanced over his shoulder and saw the blood beginning to soak through a blanket that had once been blue, but that was long ago. “It was messy,” he said.

“Death always is.”

Nathan Locke turned as a small, balding, puffy-faced man with ashen eyes came through the doorway. His brown suit was wrinkled, and his tie hung around his neck without being tied. He carried a black bag and stared at Locke through thick, horn-rimmed glasses.

“That’s the dead guy’s pastor,” the policeman said, his voice devoid of any emotion. “It seems like the deceased gave the Reverend Mister Locke a telephone call before he stuck the shotgun in his mouth.”

Please click HERE to find Last Deadly Lie on Amazon.

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