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Ty Hutchinson

Holiday With A P.I.

Holiday With A P.I.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 64+ 5-Star Reviews

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Synopsis

After a close brush with death, Darby rethinks his career choice as a telecom consultant to the criminal underworld.

To clear his mind, he sets off on a surfing adventure in Hawaii with his girlfriend. All is fun in the sun until a thief breaks into their beach house. Darby hires a local P.I. who discovers there’s more to this burglary than theft.

Read An Excerpt

Rosarito, Mexico

The locals called the area near the foothills “dead land.” I was beginning to understand why. My hands were tied tightly behind my back with the leather strap they had used to beat me. The blood on my face had crusted under the sun and felt like caked theater makeup. I certainly did not recall auditioning for this performance. My legs were numb from the knees down, and the hot sand felt like daggers in my kneecaps. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep myself from falling over. In front of me was a shallow grave that I could make out with my one good eye; the other was swollen shut. I stared at the grave. Was this my home-to-be? Had I, Darby Stansfield, taken my consulting business too far?

I was in deep trouble—in no man’s land, as far as I was concerned. About six miles east of the small resort town of Rosarito was the village of San Patricio. There was never any reason for me to go there. I had no business to conduct, no family to visit, and nothing about the place said “vacation.” It was a town that should have died years ago, but clung to life. Even the residents were reluctant to return if they ever left. So to travel farther east was out of the question for anybody, except for me.

Out here, the paved road dies off like the land. Only the skeletons of a few ranches spotted the terrain. Heat waves as far as eyes could stand to watch kept it that way. This was considered unwanted property by government and the people.

Three black SUVs and a white Mercedes were the only signs that life still existed at one of the ranches. Behind a large barn, wooden with its paint faded and chipped beyond a recognizable color, a group of men had gathered. Six of them were on their knees. I was one of them.

“Cuales diablos creen que son para venir aquí y decirme cuales son los terminos del trato?”

I couldn’t understand a single word the hissing Mexican behind me said; it was all in Spanish. I could only assume he was pissed and we were screwed. He then squeezed off a round, making us all straighten up. Kneeling on my left was my client, Diego Castillo. It was his idea to arrange a drug deal and then change the terms. He thought he could force them into taking a deal that favored his interests. Clearly, he was mistaken.

I, and six members of the Mission Mayhem gang, had come to Rosarito for a little R&R. At least, that’s the story Diego gave me. He said it was his way of thanking me for all my help with the gang. Thanks? I was on the verge of being shot execution-style for tagging along.

I can’t believe this is happening

I must have repeated that phrase a million times in my head. The fear that gripped me was nothing like I had ever experienced. I shouldn’t worry though, right? This happens to other people, not me. Any second now the cavalry will show up, with guns blazing and smack talk flying. We were on the verge of rescue. I kept thinking that until I heard two noises that almost made me shit myself.

Bam. 

Thud.

It had begun. One of our guys was down. I dared not move my head, but out of the corner of my good eye, I could see a body slumped over in the grave. His name was Tony Espinoza, but they all called him Smiles on account of he was always happy and upbeat. I doubted he was smiling right now.

The guy yelling at us was a lieutenant with the Juarez Cartel, Luis Ortega, but he was better known as The Bulldog. He earned his nickname by ripping his victims apart, a task he performed with great pleasure. The Juarez Cartel was the sworn enemy of the now weakened Tijuana Cartel, with whom the Mayhems aligned themselves.

I’m a telecommunications consultant to the criminal underworld. I helped the gang prosper back in the Mission district of San Francisco. Wireless business solutions helped them run their organization more efficiently, greatly increasing their productivity. My work with Diego’s gang was so successful that his head got the better of him. He decided to set up his own drug deal with The Bulldog as if he had the same muscle behind him that they did. Wrong. 

The Bulldog and his men were outfitted with flak jackets and assault rifles. I suspected they had tactical training as well. We were dead from the very beginning.

The Bulldog stopped yelling. Bam. The gun blast echoed off the buildings. I heard the thud of another body, José’s probably. That was two down. Three more until he reached me. I was the last in line. Again the gun went off. This time, I actually saw shards of skull land in the dirt in front of us. The third one to go was Manny, I think. I couldn’t quite remember how we were lined up.

The Bulldog began to speak again, this time in a softer voice. It was as if he were now consoling us. Yeah, right. This time he kept his casual conversation going when he pulled the trigger. Another thud with dust rising. Buh-bye, Hector. I never liked him much anyway.

It was then that Diego started to speak. Why he waited so long before saying something was beyond me. I wasn’t sure what he was thinking as his men were gunned down right next to him. Wait, that’s it; he wasn’t thinking.

Diego and The Bulldog spoke at the same time, neither of them listening much until they were both screaming. I was surprised by Diego’s bravado, considering the situation. Even his body shook with range. I had never heard him spew such a mixture of spit and venom. 

The Bulldog held his ground. And to make his point, he fired a bullet into Rooster’s head as his exclamation point. The gang gave Eduardo the nickname Rooster because he was always up early. It didn’t look like he was getting up this time. 

This close, the gun sounded like an M-80 going off. I no longer needed to hear a thud to know another body lay in the grave. I could see it, clear as day. Diego and I were now the only men left kneeling. I was going to die. And the worst part? No one would know where my body was. I would forever be a missing person. What kind of legacy was that?

After Rooster had the back of his head hollowed out, Diego clamped up like a man getting his anus fingered for the first time. With nothing more to say, The Bulldog cocked the gun. I turned my head slightly to see a long barrel pressed against the back of Diego’s head. It was a six-shooter—Dirty Harry style. No wonder the shots sounded like cannons. 

I closed my eye before he pulled the trigger and tried to bury my left ear into my shoulder. Fail. The pain that erupted in my ear was piercing and filled it with a dull, high-pitched ringing. I thought for sure my eardrum had ruptured. What did it matter? I was next.

I was partly deaf for the moment. I turned around to see what was going on. I saw The Bulldog reloading the pistol. One bullet at a time, he slipped them in. A quick spin, followed by a flick of the wrist and the cylinder snapped back into place. The door on my life had slammed shut. 

Next to me, Diego lay crumpled in the grave. He had such high hopes for his gang, but his reign of terror never got off the ground. Now he was dead, with what was left of his head cocked off to the side.

I closed my eyes and tried to fill my mind with the things most important to me. What did I want my last memory to be? Hurry. Let the images of pure goodness flow. I was ready for a big smile to spread across my face before my brains were blown into chunks. Any second now… I’ve pressed the play button. Surely the trigger was about to be pulled. I’m waiting...

Then it appeared: an image of Ralphie, the pug. He was Tav’s dog. But that was all wrong. The dog could not be the last image I saw. I ejected him from my head. And then Tav, my best friend, appeared, laughing. Next to him was a blond. It was, Izzy—my girlfriend. I remembered this moment. We had spent the day on Tomales Bay, shucking fresh oysters and drinking pinot grigio. It was a good time. They were the people who were closest to me. Mi familia.

The barrel of the gun pushed against the back of my head and brought me back to reality. I bit down hard, squeezed my eyes closed, and hoped it didn’t hurt.

You know you’ve hit rock bottom when you lose your job, run out of money, and become a serial killer’s next victim.

Continue the misadventures of Darby Stansfield in Holiday With A P.I. It’s a quick read that’s perfect for the beach or poolside.

"If you love suspense with just a bit of the absurd, this is the work you are looking for." — BlogCritics

"If you can't get to the islands, here's the next best thing." ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ — Reader Review

Series:  Darby Stansfield Thriller #3


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