The Second Mike Ramsey Mystery
Mike Ramsey and Gina Robson had a brief, intense love affair in their first year of law school. Then Gina left Mike for another man, and Mike left law school for something different—he wasn’t sure what.
Now, six years later, Gina is found murdered in the parking garage of an Albany hotel, with Mike’s name and address on a slip of paper in her coat pocket. Mike takes on the dangerous task of trying to discover what was going on in Gina’s life. His search for answers leads him to a bizarre conspiracy financed by powerful men who seem to have lost touch with reality.
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SHE HAD FORGOTTEN how early winter comes to upstate. The last few nerve-wracking miles on the Thruway felt endless. Snow seemed to be rushing straight at her windshield, the wipers barely able to keep up with it.
She wasn’t comfortable driving, even in good conditions. She hadn’t owned a car in years. The rental she was using was equipped with all sorts of high-tech features that were more of a distraction than a help. She ignored them and focused on the road ahead.
She crept along at twenty miles or so below the speed limit. A few of the drivers who passed her blew their horns in disapproval. She didn’t care. She was afraid that if she drove any faster she might lose control and slide into a snow bank on the side of the road.
A wave of relief washed over her when she finally got off the Thruway. Now all she had to do was follow the directions from the car’s navigation system. The woman’s voice telling her where to go sounded calm and authoritative—reassuring. After a few more miles of expressway driving she arrived in downtown Albany.
The directions took her right to her hotel, but she didn’t notice the sign for the parking garage until she passed it. She had to make several more turns to get herself headed back to her destination. When she pulled into the garage and found a parking spot, she sat there a moment, savoring her escape from the stress of driving. She wished she could just check in, order a room service dinner and go to bed early, but she had something important to do and she didn’t want to put it off until the next day. She had an address for the man she had come here to see but not a phone number. She assumed she would have a better chance of catching him at home in the evening.
She wondered how he would respond when he opened the door to his house and saw her standing there. They hadn’t parted on good terms, but he wasn’t the type to hold a grudge. She would ask for his help and he would probably give it to her. He was that kind of man.
She retrieved her overnight bag from the back seat and headed for the elevator. The air felt cold after the warmth of the car. The elevator doors opened as soon as she pushed the button. She went in and pushed the button for the lobby. A man in a gray parka caught the doors just as they were closing. He was a large, rough-looking man with cold eyes and a few days worth of stubble on his face. His coat smelled of stale cigarette smoke. There was a large red scar on the back of his right hand, maybe the result of a burn. She was careful to avoid making eye contact with him.
When the doors opened on the lobby, he waited for her to step out first. She headed straight to the registration desk and didn’t look back. The desk clerk, a handsome young man with very white teeth, seemed happy to see her. He checked her in with a minimum of fuss and told her he hoped she would enjoy her stay.
There was nothing special about her room. It looked just like the hotel room in Florida where she had stayed the week before. She suddenly felt terribly alone. She knew only one person in this city, and she had no idea if he would be happy to see her. She decided there was no point in waiting any longer to find out.
She took the elevator back to the parking garage. When the doors opened, the cold air struck her like a slap in the face. She hurried to her car. As she approached it, the man in the gray parka climbed out of a car in the next row. It took her a moment to notice that he was holding a large black handgun at his side. She was so startled that she froze in place. He took a couple of steps closer to her and raised the gun. The empty look in his eyes was the last thing she saw.
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