Tulsa Police Detective, Kenny Elliot, brushes the dirt from the surface of an apparent John Doe overdose case, finding a labyrinth of misdirection and deception beneath, and a trail, which leads him to the dark side of religion, a place where anything can happen.
BENEATH A BURIED HOUSE
People go missing. Llewellyn knew that as well as anyone but when a whole family fell victim to such a fate, that tended to get his attention. It had the interest of someone else as well. Threats had been made. But the way he saw it, with Millie gone, he didn't have all that much to lose anyway.
Llewellyn watched his step as he moved from the sidewalk to the street, for it was dark, the sun skimming the bottom of the sky in a thin, red line, the color of embers clinging to life in a dying campfire. A disturbing thought—a deep suspicion that had grown to such proportion that he feared it might twist his reasoning—snaked through him. He'd previously abandoned the project with good reason.
At times like this, he would think back to when he was a boy, visiting his mother. Her house sat on a small hill and behind it was a pond with huge willow trees growing from its banks. It always struck him as odd that the surface of the water remained calm and never rippled, as if it were not real at all, but a painting, an artificial backdrop put there for the effect.
Llewellyn had resolved that he too would be like the waters of the pond, unmovable, unflappable, and later, during his adult life, he would call on that image, not every time the going got tough, but when life got particularly hard.
He stared at the dilapidated building with a sign hanging from it; a cheap plastic job with florescent lights inside that backlit the bar's name: CYMRY'S.
He shook his head and pushed open the door, a heavy wooden model that looked out of place, as if it had been ripped from the hinges of an old house and brought there against its will.
Just inside the door, Llewellyn paused, and when his eyes adjusted to the darkness he took a seat in the second booth by the window, like the man who called himself Jerry Sinclair had told him to do. Llewellyn was five minutes late, and he hoped that wouldn't matter, though he saw no one fitting Sinclair's description. At least the darkness was explained. It was the décor, which included the walls and the ceilings, and even the floors. Everything was black with the exception of a large piece of red artwork that radiated from the center of the floor in a rather unprofessional manner, as if it were a bad afterthought, the awkward brushstrokes obvious even from a distance.
Llewellyn waited but no one showed. He checked his watch. Thirty minutes had passed. He slid out of his seat and went to the bar. The man had his back turned but a mirrored wall showed his face. He must've known Llewellyn was there though he did not acknowledge him. Llewellyn laid a five on the counter. "I'd like a beer, please."
The man gave no visible indication he had heard the request.
"I'll just cut to the chase then," Llewellyn said. "What I really need is some information."
Turning around, the man drew a pint of lager, then set it down and snatched up the five. "What kind of information?"
Llewellyn slid his hand around the cool, damp handle, then brought the mug to his lips, relishing the bitter yet soothing brew. After a few sips, he said, "Does the name Jerry Sinclair mean anything to you?"
"Doesn't jump out at me."
"He said he would be wearing blue jeans and a tan corduroy jacket. Have you seen anyone like that?"
"Not since the eighties."
"Right, some people are habitually late. Perhaps Mr. Sinclair is one of those." After a pause, unable to control his inquisitiveness, Llewellyn asked, "What's up with the artwork on the floor?"
The bartender leaned forward, placing his beefy hands on the railing. "Don't know. It's always been there."
Llewellyn had dealt with his kind before; smug, confident with his size, and, as with any animal, the less challenging you could make yourself the better your odds were. He slouched a little. "Do you know what it is?"
The bartender said this with a crooked grin, as if he and he alone were privy to the mysteries of the universe, which undoubtedly meant he knew nothing.
"If I had to guess," Llewellyn said, "I'd say it has something to do with the occult. But what do I know?"
Llewellyn retrieved one of his business cards and held it out. "I'm a reporter, on assignment."
Taking the card, the bartender examined it. "Florida? Long way from home, aren't you?"
"I go where the story takes me."
"Is that right?"
"So you haven't seen him, the guy I asked about?"
The bartender squinted. "Are you sure you're in the right place?"
"What kind of assignment are you on?"
Llewellyn sipped his beer, then set it down. "I look for the unusual. A few years back, I was working some leads, concerning a small town near here. You know, bizarre circumstances and all of that. Good Stuff. I decided to revive it, made a few phone calls, sent some e-mails, ran an ad in the paper. Then I get this reply from Sinclair. He claimed to have some information. It's not unusual. I get lucky like that sometimes."
Beneath a Buried House is Bob Avey's second book in the Detective Elliot mystery series. His sophomore effort was very enjoyable. You do not have to read the first book Twisted Perception to read this book. This book does stand alone.
There are many twist and turns in this book. There are many suspects and it is not clear until the end who did it. Which makes this book very entertaining to read. I had a hard time putting it down because it was so interesting.
The use of Tulsa, Oklahoma and surrounding areas as the setting was great. I like that it was not the usually settings that I find in mystery/suspense books.
I like Detective Elliot and how he believes that there is more to the crimes because his gut is telling him that there is more. I look forward to reading Twisted Perceptions and the other books that will be in this series because Detective Elliot is so likable you just want to more abut him.
About the Author:
Bob Avey is the author of the Kenny Elliot mystery series, which includes Twisted Perception, released April 2006, and Beneath a Buried House, June 2008, several short stories and various non-fiction articles. He lives with his wife and son in Broken Arrow , Oklahoma where he works as an accountant in the petroleum industry, and when he’s not writing or researching mystery writing techniques, he spends his free time prowling through dusty antique shops looking for the rare or unusual, or roaming through ghost towns, searching for echoes from the past. Through his writing, which he describes as a blend of literary and genre, he explores the intricacies and extremities of human nature.
Bob is a member of The Tulsa NightWriters, The Oklahoma Writers Federation (active board member for 2006), The Oklahoma Mystery Writers, and Mystery Writers of America.
Buy it you won't regret it.