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Ty Hutchinson

Not A Safe Place

Not A Safe Place

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 286+ 5-Star Reviews

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Synopsis

As Abby Kane prepares to start another day at the FBI headquarters, she receives devastating news—her partner and best friend, Kyle Kang, has been shot outside his home.

Determined to seek justice for her partner, Abby vows to hunt down the person responsible for this heinous crime. 

But as she delves deeper into the investigation, Abby realizes the shooting wasn’t random. Kyle has a secret past.

To uncover answers, Abby is forced to navigate the dangerous underbelly of San Francisco’s Chinatown, where she’s considered an outsider and a threat.

Digging will put a target on her back, but she has little choice if she wants to catch the person responsible.

Read An Excerpt

My alarm, a melody of chimes, went off at 5:30 a.m., urging me to wake up. I immediately hit the stop button, forgetting that I’d told myself I’d get up early for a run. Over the past six months, my morning runs had turned into morning sleep-ins. There was a time when I didn’t need the alarm. I’d pop out of bed, change into my running clothes, and hit the pavement without a second thought. Now? Oy. My bed was so comfy and so warm, and the room was oh so dark. I knew changing the curtains to a thicker material would screw with my internal clock. Yet I did it anyway. I rolled over to my side, brought my knees up, and snuggled myself into a little ball.

What are you doing, Abby?

I just want to rest for another minute.

You’re tucked in. In sleep land, that’s the equivalent of a death sentence.

Oh, please. You’re so dramatic.

Am I? What did we promise ourselves last night as we climbed into bed?

First off, there’s no we. It’s just me captaining this ship. So…like, leave me alone.

I get it. You’re no spring chicken and need your rest. It happens to the best of us, and—

Oh, all right!

I kicked my legs out straight and rolled onto my back, intending to get out of that bed. But I fell asleep. I woke again to my phone ringing. I felt around for it on my bedside table. The screen said unknown caller, but the call ended before I could answer.

Who in their right mind calls so early?

Then I realized it wasn’t early; my bedroom was just dark. It was coming up on 7:30 a.m. I had been knocked out for two hours. I hopped out of bed and took a fast shower. My phone rang just as I started down the stairs. The caller was an agent who worked for me: Doug Chandler.

“Agent Kane,” I answered. “Wait, what?!” I stopped halfway down the stairs. “Are you serious? When? I’m on my way.”

I hurried down the rest of the stairs, bumping into Lucy, my daughter, at the bottom.

“Whoa, Mom. What’s the rush?” she asked. “Wait, is everything okay?” she added as she looked me in the eyes.

“No, it’s not. Your Uncle Kyle was shot.”

* * *

As my car tore through the streets, heading south toward UCSF Medical Center, I struggled to process the unthinkable news. Kyle Kang, my best friend, partner, uncle to my kids, and adopted son to my mother-in-law, had been shot. The idea of this happening was unfathomable. Sure, we had both danced with danger countless times in the line of duty, dodging bullets like nimble ninjas. If anything, the odds were stacked in my favor to take a hit, not Kang. No way. Not him.

Chandler was desperate to gather information and could only provide me with scarce details. He had been en route to Kang’s home on Russian Hill when he phoned me, explaining that San Francisco Police were the first to respond to the shooting and Kang was already in an ambulance speeding to the hospital. That was the extent of what Chandler knew.

A numbing disbelief washed over me, erasing any recollection of leaving my house and getting into my car. Every turn of the steering wheel felt like I was stirring my hand in a large pot of molasses. I kept repeating to myself like a broken record that it had to be a cruel misunderstanding, a mistaken identity. Surely when I arrived at the hospital, I would discover that it was all a twisted error. Kang would be waiting for me back at the office, ready to greet me with his signature breakfast offerings: a salted bagel with cream cheese or a honking big breakfast sandwich. That had been our ritual, an unbroken routine, even after my promotion to Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco headquarters. Kang had become my trusted right-hand man, and we’d kicked butt ever since.

My car screeched to a halt in the parking lot outside the ER. I ran inside and flashed my all-access identification to a nurse standing near reception.

“A man was brought in not too long ago with a gunshot wound: Agent Kyle Kang.”

The nurse looked at my ID.

“Please, he’s a colleague and very close friend.”

The nurse moved around the counter and started typing on a computer.  She studied the screen. “No one by that name, but that could be because there was no identification on the patient, or it hasn’t been located, or it was lost. But we do have a patient who arrived recently with a gunshot wound. He’s already in surgery.”

“How bad is it?”

“I can’t answer that, you’ll have to wait until the surgeon finishes. But the paramedics who brought him in are still here. They might be able to provide some information on the patient and his condition if that’ll help.”

“Oh yes, where are they?”

“Maria!” the nurse shouted.

I turned around and saw two paramedics talking while drinking coffee from Styrofoam cups.

“Maria!” the nurse called out once more.

The woman paramedic turned toward us, and the nurse waved her over.

“Hey, what’s up,” Maria said with a smile.

“This here is Agent Abby Kane.”

I showed her my identification. “I understand you brought in the gunshot victim.”

“Yeah, my partner and I responded to the call.”

I found a photo of Kang on my phone and showed it to her.

“Yeah, that’s him,” she said as she leaned in for a closer look.

My heart sank when I heard those words come out of her mouth. I’d still had hope for a misidentification.

“You know the victim?” she asked.

“He’s my partner and a close friend. How bad is it?”

“I’m not going to sugarcoat his condition. He was shot twice in the chest, revived once during the ride here and again when we arrived. He lost a lot of blood, and to be honest, I didn’t think he’d make it into surgery, but he’s a fighter. Now it’s up to the surgeon to work his magic.”

“Do you know anything about what happened at the scene of the shooting?”

“All I know is that he was shot coming out of his home. When we arrived, an SFPD officer was applying pressure to the wound.”

“Was he conscious? Did he say anything?”

“At his home, no, but after I revived him on the ride here, he regained consciousness briefly. He tried to speak, but it didn’t make any sense to me, but I was also focused on keeping him alive and not what he was trying to say.”

“What did it sound like?”

“It didn’t sound like anything. If I had to turn it into a word, he was making a train sound, like whoo-whoo.”

“Whoo-whoo?”

Maria shrugged. “Yeah, I mean, I might even have gotten it wrong. It could have also just been him crying out in pain. I wish I could say more.”

“You’ve done plenty. Thank you.”

I went to the waiting room and called Chandler for an update.

“Abby, so far nothing is glaring about the crime scene. It’s pretty clean. No signs of a break-in or a struggle.”

“What about witnesses?”

“I’ll start knocking on doors as soon as I get off the phone with you. I don’t know why my gut is telling me this, but I get the feeling it was random.”

“Random? Are you sure?”

“It looks that way. I mean, all things considered.”

I knew exactly what Chandler was referencing. The city of San Francisco had grown violent over the last few years, with criminals becoming brazen. Random acts of violence were a daily occurrence. While crime continued to rise, the budget for the SFPD continued to dwindle. The city needed help tackling the crime. It was no better for us either. Federal crimes were increasing, and my office had been pushed to the brink with our number of investigations.

Could Kang have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time? It was certainly possible. And it sounded that way based on the feedback Chandler had for me.

“I’m still looking around. My perception could change. I still need to interview the responding officer further and see if any neighbors have security cameras or video doorbells.”

“Call me if something new develops.”

“I will. How’s Kang doing?” Chandler asked.

“He’s still in surgery. So there’s not much to tell. I did manage to speak to one of the paramedics that brought Kang in. He was in pretty bad shape and almost didn’t make it to the hospital.”

“I can’t believe this. Kang is one of the nicest guys I know. Who would want to shoot him?”

“Well, maybe no one if what you’re saying is true; Kang may not have been targeted.”

“Are you coming here?”

“I’ll make my way over there at some point. You can hold down the fort for now.”

After I disconnected the call, I thought about my next move. Stay at the hospital, head to the crime scene, or go to headquarters? My heart told me to stay put, but my brain wanted me to drive to Kang’s place. But I just couldn’t switch to crime-fighting mode for some reason. Kang was in surgery and might not make it out. The crime scene wasn’t going anywhere, and my guy was already there. I felt like I needed to stay put for Kang.

When your best friend’s in trouble, that’s your signal to go full nightmare.

Not a Safe Place is a heart-stopping thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

"The ending was so satisfying." ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ — Reader Review

Series:  Abby Kane FBI Thriller #16

Ebook:  260 pages

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