Blunt Darts (John Francis Cuddy, Book 1)
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Cuddy looks for a brilliant missing boy whose family doesn’t want him foundJohn Cuddy’s heart is buried in a cemetery overlooking Boston harbor. His wife, Beth, fought her cancer for nearly a year, and when she died Cuddy gave up his morning runs in favor of nightly benders. Two months after her death, he is forced out of his job as an insurance investigator for refusing to sign his name to a phony claim. Now he is filing for unemployment, cutting back on his drinking, and attempting to become a private eye. His first real case comes in the form of Valerie Jacobs, a junior high teacher who was friends with Beth. Her star pupil, the son of a Massachusetts judge, has vanished, and the local police have no leads. To make his name as a detective, Cuddy searches for a boy who’s too smart to be found, and whose father would prefer his son never return.
help the water focus the sting I hoped the spanking had also imparted. He was making little gurgling sounds. I carried Big Boy back up the beach and stopped in front of his friends, then dropped him like a sack of battered junk. “And if you do this again,” I said to them, shaking my index finger, “you’re all going to bed without any supper.” As I returned to our blanket, the elderly man caught up with me. He grinned, hopping from one foot to the other, and started pumping my hand. “Boy, oh
that’s a long story. I’m on my own now, and I need some information about a war hero in-country.” “I didn’t know anybody recognized heroes anymore.” “This was in your sector, I think. Probably your second tour, April of sixty-nine. A captain named Telford Kinnington led a charge from a protected position against some VC attackers. Remember it?” A grunt at the other end. “Jesus, John, I’ll never forget it. When I read his name off the initial field report, I was scared stiff that ‘Telford’
I—” “Just a second, Thom,” I said. “From where you were on the bridge, could you tell it was a Mercedes?” “From the hood ornament, but it was raining and blowing so hard, I might be remembering more the later TV coverage.” “Could Blakey have identified the car from his angle?” “No. I looked as closely as I could. That rain was really coming down, and anyway, Gerry, on the bank, was off to the side. In terms of perspective and line of sight, he was directly behind that car’s trunk.” “In those
like, left. I was hoping you could tell me he was okay. If you can’t cover that, you can’t. If I can’t cover where he is, I can’t. Okay?” “No.” This time I shook my head more emphatically. “Not okay. I care about Stephen, Kim. I care because—despite all his family’s money—he’s had a tough life so far, and it’s my job to find him. But you care for him, and despite what you’ve said so far, I think he did trust you with something, with some information. There is no way I can make you trust me, but
and hung up. I walked back to the kid and asked if he had a newspaper I could borrow. He handed me an evening Globe, which I read cover to cover while seated in an overly upholstered lobby chair. At 10:15, I got up and returned it to him. “May I have your pad again, please?” “Certainly.” I had been composing my message mentally for twenty minutes. “I trust your deal was big enough to justify crushing the spirit of your dearest friend.” I signed it, “Your loyal servant, J. F. Cuddy, P.O.,” for