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It's the Little Things You Miss

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Being one step ahead is the perfect position for a knife in the back.
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Author: Bill Dezell
Description

Raymond Jaye figured fourteen years as a cop prepared him for anything he could encounter as a private eye. He was wrong.

Eric Tanner was missing. That much was true. But was he really in danger, or just nuts?

Erica Tanner, Eric’s headstrong twin sister, begins her search by hiring some help. All Ray has to do is watch her back while she follows Eric’s trail of cryptic notes all over town. A trail that crosses paths with a killer.

Is Eric imagining things, or is he hiding because he saw the murder?

Once the gunfire starts, Ray falls back to what he knows and sets off to get one step ahead of a desperate man.

He should have tried for two.

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Title It's the Little Things You Miss
Series A Raymond Jaye Novel #3
Author William M. Dezell Jr.
Genre Mystery Detective
Release February 14, 2017
Length 105 pages
ISBN 978-1-77127-904-8
Price $4.99
Designer Eerilyfair Design
Tags Mystery, Detective, Private Eye, PI, Code, Cipher, Missing Person, Murder, Revenge, Twins, Prosthetic hand.

Excerpt

She flopped down in one of the big, leather chairs. “He knows I’m not as good at this as he is. I might have looked right at his message and missed it completely. What if I did? What if I missed it? He’s out there waiting for me to find him, and I’m stuck here.” She wiped a tear from her cheek with the back of her hand.

I heaved my chair around to face her. “You know him. Would he hide something so well you couldn’t find it, then send you here to look?”

“No. But I can’t figure out what it would be. This place is huge. There’s no way I could search all of it.”

“And he’d know that, right?”

She sniffed and nodded.

“So, it stands to reason he’d put it somewhere you’d think to look. That means it has to be somewhere that would make sense to you, and where it would be safe until you got here. That thing with the sugar packets wouldn’t make it through the breakfast rush. What would?”

Even with her head down, I saw a smile spread across her face. “That’s it. We’re not looking for a message from him here. We’re looking for one for me. Come on.”

We went back to the front desk. In Ed’s place stood a dark-haired woman in her early twenties. Hastily applied makeup did nothing to hide eyes that looked on the verge of tears.

Pratt the contractor, and Montgomery the maintenance guy, were at the coffee station filling up. Pratt was looking at his phone and explaining something about his workers not being able to screw off when he sends them on errands. The maintenance guy was bouncing a roll of duct tape on the counter as he listened, but when he noticed me, he dropped the tape and yelled “James!” through the office door.

A tall man around forty came out of the back.

Montgomery raised his chin to the man, then tipped his head toward me. “This is the guy I told you about.”

James took an upright stance with squared shoulders and held eye contact as he spoke. “I’m the manager. I know why you’re here, and I think you’ve had more than enough time to look around. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Erica leaned over the counter. “Can you check for a reservation or messages for–”

“Wasn’t I clear?” He folded his arms and stood a little straighter.

I placed my hand on the desk and curled my fingers under the rim on his side, symbolically holding my ground. “We were about to go when she had an idea.”

“Have it somewhere else. You’ve bothered my guests, and my staff. If you don’t leave immediately, I’m going to call the police and have you removed.”

“That’ll make bad press.”

He stared at me through narrowed eyes.

When he didn’t say anything, I thought I had a crack worth chipping at. “Your hotel is the only lead in a missing person’s case with suspicious circumstances. If we don’t turn up anything here, our only other option is to get it on the news as soon as possible with all the facts we have. Here are those facts. Eric Tanner vanished overnight, leaving a cryptic message that someone was after him. The last trace we have was a message to his sister that said he was going to the DayCrest Inn. Three different people remember seeing a white car, similar to Eric’s, in the parking lot of that same hotel between seven-thirty and one A.M. A parking lot, which rather conveniently has no working cameras watching over it. James, the hotel manager, not only refused to help, but was openly hostile.”

“Now wait a sec–”

“Of course, the news loves a good sensational question…” I raised my voice. “So, we’d have to wonder, on camera, how many other people have vanished from here, and why you’re so intent on covering that up.”

Montgomery shook his head. “Jesus, you’ve got balls.”

“Cast iron.” I raised the hook but kept my eyes on the manager. “I had to get this just to scratch them.”

Erica jumped in. “Please. I know you’ve already looked for Eric Tanner, but do you have any messages for Erica Martin?”

“Martin?” I asked, completely losing my tough-guy train of thought.

James scowled. “I’m not checking a list of random names.”

She said, “Please, just that one. It’s a married name. Sort of.”

He held his expression, but looked in the computer. “I do have an Erica Martin checking in today, but we won’t have room for you.”

“Are there any messages?”

He shook his head. “No.”

Erica leaned across the desktop, “Does it list an address or phone number?”

James gave an exasperated sigh, flipped through some papers in a set of folders on the desk, and handed one to Erica. “This is the registration form. It has everything we had on the computer. You’re done here. If you don’t leave, I’ll have Mr. Pratt call his crew down to escort you from the property.”

Erica smacked me on the shoulder and said, “My God, this is it! Come on.”

I flashed them all a smile, then shrugged. “I guess there was something here after all. Thanks for your help.”

Back at Vickie, Erica handed me the paper. “See the address?”

I looked at it then tried to work out where it would be. “That’s got to be way out by the prison. The zip code seems wrong, too.”

“The whole address is wrong. Eight-four-two-two-eight isn’t the zip code, it’s the key. Eighty-four, two, twenty-eight.”

I gave her my best blank stare.

“How do you change eighty-four to twenty-eight?”

“Subtract about sixty or divide by… Something?” I said, happy to be participating.

“Three. Three times twenty-eight is eighty-four. So we divide these address numbers by three, and I bet that’s where we find him.”

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