The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. A pandemic grips the nation, isolating everyone from each other. But sometimes they still need a little help. I was hired by Gregori Malcovich to find Anya Koslov. Problem
The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. A pandemic grips the nation, isolating everyone from each other. But sometimes they still need a little help. I was hired by Gregori Malcovich to find Anya Koslov. Problem was, when I found the girl, she had no clue who he was. Two gunmen kidnapped her before I could get answers. But with the help of my friend Li, I discovered that Malcovich was actually a man named Greg Parks. We went to confront him, but all we found was his corpse.
Read the full details Here and the unfolding case below.
I stepped over to the body of my former client. “Li, go get Frank.”
“Frank?” Li waited by the doorway.
“You said he harasses everyone’s guests. I bet he saw who did this.”
“I’m on it.” He disappeared into the other room.
I returned my gun to my purse and took out a pair of latex gloves. I was no medical examiner, but I’d seen my share of dead bodies.
Greg’s wrists were ziptied together and draped over the showerhead. His arms and chest were covered in small lacerations. But the cause of death was probably the deep slice on his inner thigh. If that severed the femoral artery, he bled out in minutes. I glanced back at the rest of his wounds. Maybe less.
The remains of his clothes were piled in a heap on the floor. They were sliced up, but other than a smeared scrap of shirt on top, free of blood. Probably cut off of him after he was hung. But before…. I picked up the bloodstained rag. There weren’t any holes, and the edges were barely frayed. So whatever did this was sharp. The blood pattern looked vaguely familiar. I shifted the fabric so that spot was centered over my left palm. It was the same kind of smear left on a napkin after you wipe excess butter off a knife.
“LaGrange, I’ve got him.” Li stuck his head into the room.
“Great.” I dropped the bloody cloth back on the pile. “Tell him to wait out there a minute. I want to run something by you.”
He told Frank to sit and then stepped into the bathroom with me. “What’re you thinking?”
“By the look of those cuts, this wasn’t your average murder. Whoever did this wanted something from Greg.”
“Maybe just to make him suffer. You wouldn’t believe some of the things I saw during the war.”
“You’d be surprised. But unless a random sadist wandered in here….”
“Then this was either very personal or a professional hit.”
“My money’s on a professional job. Someone took the time to clean the murder weapon. That suggests a cool head, not a crime of passion.”
“If that’s the case, then why the torture? What did they want from him?”
“Information? To send a message? I don’t think we can take simple sadism off the table yet. But maybe we’ll get a better idea based on what Frank knows.”
We went back out into the living room. Frank was fidgeting in a nearby chair.
I sat down across from him. “Do you know why you’re here, Frank?”
He didn’t make eye contact. “Mister Li just said you needed to have a talk with me. If this is about before, I said I was sorry.”
“No, well, not exactly. I want you to tell me about everyone you saw go past your apartment in the last twenty-four hours.”
“Everyone?” Frank glanced up at Li, who loomed over my shoulder.
“Unless you can think of something suspicious to help narrow down our timetable.”
“There was one weird thing. This is a pretty quiet building, most folks just try to keep their head down. But earlier today somebody up here was blasting old Screamo music for like an hour.”
“When was this?”
“A few hours ago.”
Not long after my run-in at Anya’s apartment. “Li, check the speakers.”
“Looks like they’re not hooked up anymore, but they’re cranked.”
“All right, Frank, that’s the window. Who came up before the music started and left after it ended?”
“Let’s see, there was an old guy with a briefcase, a lady with a kid, oh and two huge dudes.”
I glanced over at Li. “Tell us more about the last two.”
“Well, I didn’t get a good look at them, but they were big, like Mister Li big. And I remember one of them complaining about the music, but the other guy just kind of shrugged.”
“Was there anything distinctive about them?”
“Uh, the guy who complained about the music had a tattoo on the back of his neck, looked kind of like a bear.”
“That I can work with. Don’t go anywhere.” I got up and headed back into the bathroom.
“What’re you up to?” Li asked.
“I’ve got an uncomfortable call to make.”
Once I was alone with the corpse, I dialed the number. It took two rings for him to answer.
“Hey, Jim, it’s Angola.”
“Ange! What can I do for you?”
“Two quick things. First, I’m looking for a guy—”
“Say no more. I’m off duty in a couple hours, we can get some drinks.”
“Jim, I’m serious.”
“Fine, but my idea would be more fun.”
“As I was saying, I’m looking for a big guy with a tattoo of a bear on the back of his neck. Probably runs with a rough crowd. You know anybody like that?”
“Ange, I’m a police detective, not a criminal database. Give me a minute to check. What was the other thing?”
“I’d really rather do this one problem at a time.”
“Whatever you say.” He hummed a little tune to fill the time while we waited for the results of his search.
I drummed my fingers impatiently on the sink.
Eventually, Jim’s voice came back on the line. “Looks like Victor Gruganov is your best bet. File says he’s… a freelance cleaner. Ange, what have you gotten yourself into?”
They brought in a cleaner, but the body is still here. It’s definitely a message, but for whom? “Thanks, Jim, I’ll be in touch.”
“Wait, what was the second thing?”
“Oh, right.” I glanced over at Greg’s corpse and sighed. “I stumbled onto a dead body.”
“What? Ange, you’re supposed to lead with that. Where?”
I gave him the address.
“Okay, did you disturb anything at the scene?”
“Nothing I didn’t have to.”
“All right, stay put. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”
I hung up on him and returned to the living room. “Time to go, Li. I’ve got a lead.”
To Be Continued…