Authors: Latrivia Nelson
Latrivia S. Nelson
World in Reverse
RiverHouse Publishing, LLC
1509 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
Copyright © 2013 by Latrivia S. Nelson
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the Publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.
Titles, Imprints and Distributed Lines are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising and educational or institutional use.
This book is dedicated to my dear friend of many years, Walter Gunn, for all of your expertise, even during important save-the-world work. Thank you for being there
This book would not have been possible wit
hout the support of Karen Moss, my editor and my friend. Thanks so much for taking time to not only work through my ideas but also make this process fun. I am so grateful for our friendship and your dedication.
The fiery heat of an angry, record-breaking summer had finally subsided for a few hours under the thick clouds that covered the night’s sky. A welcoming storm poured down on the city of Memphis in fat, heavy raindrops mixed with gusty winds. People scurried to get out of the weather and retired to their homes after a long day at work; however, Nicola Agosto had gotten used to the climate over his years in the Bluff City and was enjoying the muggy, rainy evening with a late-night run.
Pushing past the burn on his lungs, he checked his watch and kicked himself into full gear for the last leg of his ten-mile jog. It was part of his weekly regiment to drive his body to its breaking point, though he had long passed the need to be in tip-top shape on the force since he had climbed
was what pushed him now. He refused to get fat and old, refused to get slow and passive. Edge was necessity in this job. In fact, he needed to be a serrated edge. The job was demanding. Life even more so. This kept him ready.
Cars with their lights on and their win
dshield wipers violently wiping away the storm passed him as he hiked up Peabody Avenue, passing the back entrance of the West Precinct. Under the radar in jogging pants and a gray hoodie, he appeared nonthreatening as he ran by a few guys doing a drug transaction under an oak tree near an old, bricked apartment complex. They didn’t know that he was packing a Glock tonight and more than capable of busting them on site.
, he said to himself,
there is always later
Glancing over to make their faces quickly, he continued on with his ear buds in his ears and his mind clearing.
It had been a long disappointing day. He had been forced to close an investigation on a local counterfeiting ring that had traceable firearms linked to a known Russian mob boss, but he was informed by his superiors that one of his arch rivals, Anatoly Medlov, was officially
from now until kingdom come.
There was no telling who the Medlov Crime Family had paid off to get that shit done - ongoing amnesty wasn’t cheap. He had been after the Medlov family for years now, and not once had he ever gotten close enough to really do any damage. Sometimes, he even wondered why he bothered with this profession. For every perp he locked up, there were ten more that got away.
Still, he did it. He guessed that he was a glutton for pain or maybe it was because he cared about the families that he helped, the communities that were able to sleep just a little better at night. But mostly, he cared about his sons’ futures. He didn’t want them to grow up in a cesspool where no one gave a damn about anything that really mattered. Some things had to matter. Truth had to matter. Honesty had to matter. Honor had to matter. Family had to fucking matter.
He grunted as he got to Cooper Avenue and turned south headed towards the center of the Mid-town party district. Cars lined the streets by the many pubs and restaurants. He ran harder past the drunk, young couples and groups of wild partygoers headed in and out of their destinations. He ran past the people walking their dogs and the homeless looking for shelter. As the sidewalk cleared, and the rain began to pour harder, he ran even harder. His strides became more powerful and suddenly, he was like a shadow in the night, only visible as he passed under the streetlights. Arms rigid, legs powerful, he moved with purpose and then interrupting his groove, his phone began to buzz in the pocket of his jacket.
Pulling out hi
s iPhone, he abruptly stopped and stood under a large oak tree for cover. “Yeah,” he answered, wiping the rainwater from his face.
“Agosto, it’s Deputy Director Warren.”
Nicola tried to catch his breath. “How can I help you?” he asked winded, looking around as the cars passed him quickly on the road and splashed water against the sidewalk.
Was he in the middle of a flash flood
? It was raining cats and dogs out here. But his mind had wondered off so far until he had not even realized it until that very moment.
“I know that this is short notice, but Director Amway wants a meeting with you tonight at his office.” Warren waited for his response.
“Sure. What time?” Nicola asked.
“What are you doing right now?”
“Running in the rain apparently, sir.” Nicola looked down at his body now soaked and felt the chill of night air start to cause goose bumps to form. If he didn’t get out of his clothes, he’d have the flu soon enough.
dry off and get here. Is thirty minutes okay?” Warren asked.
“I’ll hump back to my house, change clothes and head up there,”
Nicola said, sensing that whatever he was being called for in the middle of the night was more than serious.
“Great. See you in t
The phone went dead
, and Nicola turned back the way that he had come, moving faster than before.
Thirty-two minutes after his phone call, Nicola stood in front of newly appointed director of the Memphis Police department in jeans and a gray t-shirt, hair slick to his head and gun on his hip. His badge rested against his chest, gleaming in the dim light. He scanned the room quietly, covering his mouth as he coughed.
All the players were at this
, which meant it had to be major. But why was he here? He knew that it wasn’t because he was in trouble. He had been in trouble enough to know that he would have been hauled to internal affairs for that, during office hours, not on a Saturday night.
Amway was a damn good cop who had been tapped by the mayor for the position of director because of his hard stance on crime and his love for his community. An African-American man in his early forties, Amway had come up the ranks with Agosto through the years, but had managed,
where Agosto had not
, to stay out of trouble and still stay in the public eye. He had cracked some pretty tough cases, saved a lot of lives and accumulated a hell of a lot of jail time for criminals who deserved nothing less.
“Have a seat, man,” Amway said, sitting back in his seat with his left arm on the armrest. His index finger rested under his chin as he furrowed his thick brow in thought.
“What brings me here?” Nicola asked, looking around the room.
Amway looked over at his subordinates and raised his brow.
Warren jumped into the conversation quickly. “Are you familiar with the Baby Boys murders?” He walked over and slapped a confidential file in front of Nicola on Amway’s desk.
Nicola said, opening it to find pictures of the dead children he had read about in the news and heard about on the job.
Detective Luke Johnson is currently on the case, but we need to bring you in,” Amway interjected.
Nicola stared at Amway for an explanation.
Amway sat up and knitted his large fingers together.
His gold wedding band gleamed against the light. “We need to close this. We need to find the man
responsible for this and let people sleep again.”
Nicola’s interest peaked. There had never been anything leaked about their being more than one killer.
, we think there is a sort of organized crime group behind this,” Warren said, waving his finger. “But that’s off-the-record info. We need you to confirm it.”
“And you know organized crime better than anyone,” Amway said sincerely.
“And we know that you know the players in Memphis,” Warren said, sitting on the end of the desk.
brushed off the compliment. “Is Johnson okay with me coming aboard?”
“That is not Johnson’s call,” Deputy Chief of Investigative Services Magnelli said, sucking his teeth.
Nicola looked over in the corner and spied the older, Italian man in the corner, staring out of the window. The two knew each other well, considering he used to be his boss back in the day.
Agosto’s current boss spoke up. “You’ve seen the news. We’re drowning in bad PR. We’re adding you to this case to make the people of Memphis feel better. Everyone was impressed with how you handled the Caesar case and a hundred since then.
Folks know you and like you
for the most part.
Do this and stay in the good graces of those who matter,” Deputy Director of Special Operations Stan Hilliard said, standing up. He walked over to the coffee pot and poured him a cup of hot, stale coffee.
“You’re not really leaving me in a position to say no,”
Nicola said, closing the file. He had seen enough for the moment.
The men laughed collectively.
“That’s the whole point,” Amway said, smiling. “How long have we known each other?”
“A long time, man,”
Nicola said, clenching his jaw. “But this is one of those cases that could make or break you. And if I’m going to work it, I need all resources available to me and no closed doors.”
“Look around you. Everyone on our co
mmand staff is here tonight and with who? You. We mean business. Solve this for us and you can write your own check in the department,” Amway said, making sure that his team heard him. “
“You’re guaranteed to go back to Lieutenant after this,”
Nicola’s boss promised. “That little incident a few months ago can and will go away.”
“You can just
erase it from my record?” Nicola asked.
Amway put up his finger
to cut them off. “Why don’t you guys talk about that offline? I don’t want to be party to anything that is not
by the book
. What I want to know in this meeting is, are you with us?”
looked around the room again and chuckled. “Do I really have a choice?”
There was a tilt of his head as the technical
ity of it all was laid on the table. “You always have a choice,” Amway said, eyes saying otherwise. “But I’d like for you to choose this, choose us. Hell, Magnelli is retiring soon. You might find yourself in his job. And the mayor is on my ass…bad. He had a press conference on Friday morning where the reporters spent most of their time busting my balls. I need a comeback. And the people of Memphis need to sleep better.”
nodded. “Fine. I’ll take the case.”
“Great, we will let Johnson know to fully cooperate,” Amway said, s
tanding up. He offered his hand. “Welcome aboard.”
shook his head hesitantly. “Thanks,
The rain poured down from the heavens on the Three Wise Men, as they had aptly dubbed themselves, while they sat under large black golf umbrellas alone on the bleachers at Southwind High School’s football field trying to strategize behind one of the men’s most recent screw ups.
Looking around to ensure that no one saw them, they huddled together and spoke in whispers like Romans plotting to kill Caesar.
Sitting on the far end of the small huddle, the youngest of the group, was a cop of reasonable means and power. He heaved a great sigh and gritted his stained, crooked teeth together. “Who is going to clean this mess up?” He asked, hoping that they understood that it could not be him. Delving into the cover-ups of their on-going relationship had boundaries in order to protect himself and his affiliations, plus he knew all too well the thoroughness of the homicide investigative unit and crime scene detectives.
The man responsible for the mess rested his head in his large, manicured hands in quiet desperation. “How was I supposed to know that the damn drug was going to kill them?” His arrogance perfumed the tense situation with more petulance.
The fatter man on the other end of the huddle spit snuff on the bleachers and cursed. “Shit, I don’t know. Maybe the first 2 fucking kids might have been a clue that Molly is too damned potent for their small bodies. I mean, have you ever tried it or do you just force feed it to your victims?” He kept the rest of his thoughts to himself. He wanted to call the man a thousand names, speak to his deep-rooted prejudice of the man’s race and slap him down the bleachers. But he kept his cool only because their relationship promised to yield too much financial gain to look away from.
“It works sometimes,” the arrogant man said, index finger pointed up in the air. “It has worked before. And no, I’ve never tried it. I don’t need to. I’m not the one who needs to be relaxed for the encounter.”
The cop cringed.
It was rape and then murder.
“Look, we aren’t a part of your
so please stop trying to feed us that politician mumbo jumbo. We’re here because you can’t keep your shit under control. And when I say shit, I’m referring to fucking all these young boys and doping them up to the point where they have heart attacks and seizures and shit. Now, you’re not going to get elected mayor; super cop over there is not going to be tapped for deputy director of shit by you after the election, and I’m not going to close this deal with the East Coast guys on these fucking drugs that I have sunk
into if you get us caught.” The fat man’s face reddened with heat even in the chilled rains. “And I promise you if that happens, I’ll kill you myself.”