Another Al Pennyback mystery. Al is asked by a young woman to find out why her fiance, supposedly dead for six months, answered his phone. As he investigates, a ghost from his past - a military operation gone terribly wrong - comes back looking for revenge. To make matters worse, he discovers that the dead man might actually be alive, and a murderer. The clock is ticking for our intrepid DC private detectivce, known as the Brown Knight. Show more Show less
Charles gives an overview of the book:
January 9, 2000, Washington, DC
The weather in Washington, DC comes in two flavors, nice in spring and fall, and miserable in summer and winter. For my money, though, winter is the most miserable and really deserves a special category of its own. The summers are hot and muggy, with temperatures soaring often into triple digits and humidity so high you’re soaked with sweat as soon as you step outside and you feel like you’re swimming in a heated pool. But, that same humidity makes the winter almost unbearable for someone like me who hates being cold.
As bad as winter is, January is worst of all. Unless you’re an Eskimo, it’s the absolute worst time of year. The Christmas decorations are piles of garbage at the curb waiting for the weekly trash pickup, and depending on what you did on New Year’s Eve, you’re likely still nursing a hangover and wondering how you’ll pay the credit card bills for all the useless junk you bought for people you seldom talk to and who’re probably out exchanging for something else anyway.
Most of that doesn’t apply to me; I never celebrate Christmas, and avoid New Year’s parties like the plague. But, I’m still plagued by the cold. The snow that fell too late or Christmas had fallen, developed two layers of ice, one on the bottom making it hard to shovel from driveways, and one on top making it a certainty that you’d fall on your ass when you tried to shovel your drive, and it’s turned from gleaming white to a noxious-looking gray, heaped in piles with an occasional empty booze bottle jutting up out of them at rakish angles, or a used condom draped limply, leaving you towonder who engages in amorous play outside in weather cold enough make frost bite a real possibility for an exposed appendage.
I was happy that I had no drive to shovel. My farm house, in Montgomery County, Maryland, just off River Road west of Potomac Village, had nothing but a gravel-covered road that wound its way to my front yard through a grove of chestnut trees. I’d put down gravel in front of the house so I had a place to park my car without having to wade through mud every day. A layer of salt two or three times a week kept it from becoming slick.
But, the rest of the area is a mess. There’s black and gray slush everywhere, with sneaky patches of ice underneath just waiting for some poor schmuck to step on them and go sliding half a block before falling on his backside. It’s really like that in the area of southwest DC where my office is located.
My name is Al Pennyback; Albert EinsteinPennyback, thanks to a mother who was enamored with the German scientist and hoped her only child would grow up to be like him. I got her back for saddling me with a moniker like that in East Texas where everyone else was named Willie Earl or Tump or Bobby Joe; right out of high school, I joined the army and learned to shoot things and blow things up. I guess, though, I was probably not all that different from Einstein; his theories had been used to make things that blew things up; I was a practitioner though. And, thanks to that stupid name, by the time I joined the army I was also pretty good at doing other kinds of damage; I’d learned to fight early. It was either that or spend my entire childhood getting the crap kicked out of me because of the name. I was also blessed with an early growth spurt; I was nearly six feet tall and weighed 180 pounds by the time I graduated high school, and had pretty fast hands and feet.
A native of East Texas, I have been involved in leading organizations (particularly those in trouble) for over 40 years. I have written a number of articles on history, culture and leadership, and have written three books on leadership in addition to my fiction works. The Al...
kudos to Charlie for his terrific book "Things I Learned from my Grandmother about Leadership and Life ." I gobbled it up and it would be wonderful reading for whatever incarnation of leadership training...
Things I Learned From My Grandmother About Leadership and Life is a small book that makes a great impact. Charles Ray, the author blends his fond memories of his grandmother with his dual career as a...