Murder on Lovers' Lane
A Brody & Hannigan Mystery
Text Copyright © 2011 by
Copyright © 2011
by Paula Graves.
Cover art Copyright © 2011 by Paula
Photo: konradbak -
Fotolia.com. All rights reserved.
night was unnaturally quiet, Brody thought. Even the cicadas,
never ones to let a late summer evening go to waste, seemed hunkered
down and silent, waiting for—what?
Something was about to happen. Something wicked.
"You're channeling Lovecraft again." Stella Hannigan's voice broke into his thoughts, flat and amused.
Lowering his binoculars, Lee Brody slanted a look at his partner.
have a little furrow in your brow," she explained, lifting her own
spyglasses to peer through the front windshield of his Ford
Taurus. They were parked a half block from Alvin Morehead's
rental house, where they suspected he was holed up, waiting for a
chance to go hunting again. "The one you get when you're
convinced the world has suddenly turned harsh and iniquitous, and we're
the only creatures left among the living who can stop the coming
you feel it?" Brody let his gaze linger on his partner's delicate
features a little longer than necessary. "There's evil in the
"That's high ozone and particulates," she drawled.
dropped her binoculars. "How sure are we that Alvin Morehead's the
Lovers' Lane killer, anyway? While we're sitting here—off duty, might I
add—some other psychopath may be killing poor, horny kids elsewhere.
"Morehead fits our profile."
stifled a yawn. "We don't have a profile, Brody. The FBI hasn't
been called in. The brass won't even admit this could be a serial
"Come on—six murders, bodies positioned in the same way, shot with the same weapon, all at known make out spots—"
you say 'make out' spots like that, it gets me kinda hot," she
murmured, her voice dry as a desert. Even though he knew she'd
tossed out the innuendo to diffuse some of his pent-up frustration, it
still made his jeans feel about two sizes too small. He gave her
a pointed look and saw a hint of a smile touch the corners of her lips.
cleared his throat. "We know at least one of each couple murdered
was a student at the community college. Morehead works there—"
do literally scores of other people, not to mention hundreds of
students. Are they all on your suspect list? Should I
pencil in a few hundred more off-duty stakeouts until we've covered
sighed. While Hannigan's hard-headed pragmatism and brutal
honesty were among her more annoying qualities, they were also the
qualities that had made them such good partners for the past four
years. She kept him grounded, made him think through his flashes
of inspiration to find a useful course of action.
She'd saved his ass more times than he wanted to remember.
were two of the six detectives working Robbery/Homicide at the
Weatherford, Alabama, Police Department. The other detectives rotated
between partners, pairing up based on who was around when a call came
in, but the lieutenant had figured out long ago that none of the other
detectives cared to be paired with Hannigan or Brody. It seemed
the only person who could stand either of them was the other.
assume for the sake of argument that you're right about Morehead,"
Hannigan said. "What do you expect to happen tonight?"
Brody sat forward, his gaze moving to the darkened house framed by the windshield of the Ford. "That."
Hannigan followed his gaze. "Son of a—"
Alvin Morehead was on the move.
AS HE DROVE, BRODY'S
whole body seemed to hum with excitement. He so loved being
right, Hannigan thought, splitting her attention between her partner
and the tail lights of Alvin Morehead's tan Chevrolet Malibu.
Brody didn't look like a cop. He looked like a movie star, all
lean, well-proportioned muscles and perfect, perfect features, from his
soulful brown eyes to his artfully dimpled chin. He wasn't
beautiful—he was far too masculine to fit that description. But
sometimes, he took her breath away, though she fought not to let it
The last thing she ever wanted was to let it show.
kept a careful distance from Morehead's vehicle as it cruised up
Tremaine Street and hung a left at Gladden Drive, taking them closer
and closer to Weatherford's nightclub district. "How many
make out places in this city—seven? Eight?"
"How would I know?" she shot back.
He glanced at her, a smile playing with his lips.
"Shut up," she muttered.
"Well, there has to be a reason your high school nickname was Hoover Hannigan."
was going to kill her brothers for sharing that piece of information
with her partner last week. They'd surprised her on her birthday
for the first time in, well, ever. She had a sneaking
suspicion Brody might have been behind the impromptu celebration of the
Grady, Ellis and Carl had taken the first opportunity to make her life
miserable by telling Brody all her childhood secrets. And Brody,
of course, had lapped it up like a kitten in a puddle of spilled milk.
She sighed. "They called me that because I used to eat really fast in the lunch room."
"So you'd have time to do that night's homework during lunch period?"
on, but she wasn't going to admit it aloud. He already thought
she was a brainiac nerd, pragmatic to a fault. Hell, the whole
department did. She supposed it was a good thing, in most ways—at
least nobody thought she'd made detective as a diversity hire.
she let that be her thing. Every detective had a thing.
Walt Billings was Mr. Cheerful, tooling around everywhere he went with
a big ol' grin on his face. It wasn't great for interviewing the
victim's family after a death, of course, but it was perfect for
disarming potentially hostile witnesses. Suspects got sucked in
by the grin all the time.
was the magician. He had the wild ideas, the flashes of
intuition. He was the one who could look at a suspect and know,
in his gut, whether he was the one or not.
left Hannigan to be Lady Logic. She was the one who tested
Brody's insane theories, ran them through the fire of her empirical
pragmatism. She honed the raw material of his genius into
something practical. Useful.
Good grief, she thought bleakly, did that make her a blacksmith?
Yeah, that was attractive.