This isn't the game you thought you knew.
Making house calls or meeting people in public places is how Ray Gordon makes his living. He’s not a doctor. He’s not a prostitute. Ray Gordon is a chess teacher.
When one of Ray’s students, Walter Kelly, is found dead in his shop, the police and his family let it go as an accident. Ray, however, doesn’t buy it. As a former cop with a lingering curiosity, Ray snoops around and stumbles into the murky world of methamphetamine, the worst drug epidemic of our time.
The problem? Walter Kelly was sixty-five years old and his only addictions were woodworking and chess. How does a sixty-five-year-old man become involved with illegal drugs? Why is a neighbor glad Walter’s dead? And just how do dead men play chess?
To take my mind off the task at hand, I thought about Brian Kelly. Was it just the cabin going to waste that rubbed him the wrong way or was it the land value he was afraid of missing out on? Real estate assessments had been big news over the last month or two. Housing prices and land deals had gone berserk and sellers were making massive profits. Maybe Brian was in trouble financially and he just couldn’t take it anymore? Walt refused to sell and Brian killed him for it, knowing the cabin would eventually come into his hands or he would at least be able to talk his mother into putting the land up for sale.
Outside, I heard Ed Carter’s back door creak open and closed. I poured fresh water over the floor and started mopping it up. If Ed planned on being neighborly again, I didn’t think he needed to witness the clean-up process. But after several minutes passed without an appearance from the Kellys’ neighbor, I began my attack on the table saw with a scouring pad.
Just as I got into a nice scrubbing rhythm, Morphy growled low in his throat and raised his head off of his paws. I stopped and watched him. His ears were erect and his gaze was on the window behind me. Goose flesh erupted on my arms. To hide the shiver that ran down my spine, I resumed wiping down the table saw with calm casualness. I kept my attention focused on Morphy, though, and he growled again. This time, the hair over his shoulders stiffened and rose up as his emotions kicked in. Someone was watching or trying to look in the window. Morphy wouldn’t get so angry over something like a skunk or a cat.
I twisted around just as Morphy leapt to his feet and barked. Someone ducked down before I could see a face. I ran to the door and pulled it open. Morphy tore around the corner, barking after the intruder and I followed as close as I could.
In the darkness of Margie Kelly’s backyard, I saw Morphy’s blond fur disappear into the black shadow of Walt’s shop. He chased a dim figure, which ran toward the back of the property, to Helen Parker’s house. I ran full out once I saw the shadowy form of the person who had been spying through the window. Gone were the trepidations of twisted ankles and bloodied shins from unseen objects lying hidden on the grass.
- Word Count: 52,000
- Author: Michael Weitz
- ISBN: 978-1-61937-317-4
- Cover Artist: Kelly Shorten
- Editor: JoAnne Soper-Cook