Penns River Book 3
As if things aren’t bad enough in Penns River, development and funding of a new religious-themed mall grinds to a halt when heavily-armed assassins cut down five leaders of the town’s fledgling drug trade eating lunch in the food court. The television minister behind the mall has associates not normally associated with a ministry, outside drug gangs may be muscling into town, and the local mob boss could have an angle of his own. The cops have this and all the usual local activity to contend with in a story that extends beyond the borders of Penns River.
Praise for Resurrection Mall
“Dana King’s Resurrection Mall is a patchwork of desperation from a depressed river town written with genuine style and grit.”
—Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of What You Break
“This third entry firmly plants ace Detective Ben ‘Doc’ Dougherty in the ring with heavyweight crime-stoppers Elvis Cole, Alex Cross and Jack Reacher.”
“Resurrection Mall is a brilliant crime novel that deserves to win every award in sight. One of the best of the year.”
—Tim Hallinan, author of the Poke Rafferty, Junior Bender, and Simeon Grist mystery series
Patrol Officer Sean Sisler met Doc at a large split-level over the hill from Doc’s parents. Sisler’s holster strap hung open. Backing up routine patrol calls not part of Doc’s portfolio. Sisler still new, so Stush had sent Doc by.
“What do we have?” Doc said.
“Might be a rabid coon.”
“What makes you think so?”
“Woman lives here had her kids outside, saw it come in from the fields there. She thought it was weird, seeing one in the daytime, and kept an eye on it. Says when it got about fifty or sixty feet away it started snarling and barking at them.”
“It barked at them?”
“I asked. She said she couldn’t think of any other way to describe it.”
“What’d she do?”
“Hustled the kids inside. Said it chased them right up to the deck.”
“Anyone bit or scratched?”
“Uh-uh. They’re all scared shitless, though.”
“You call Animal Control?”
“It’s his day off.” Penns River Department of Animal Control consisted of Ron Webster and voice mail.
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“Shit. I hate fucking with rabid animals. You see it?”
Sisler shook his head. “I was coming for the field glasses when you pulled up.”
Doc drew his sidearm. “They have any pets?”
“No,” Sisler said over the open trunk lid.
“Good. Shoot anything with four legs. This bastard won’t be afraid of you.” Doc afraid enough for everyone and everything involved.
Sisler popped up with the glasses. “Let’s take a look.”
They took their time getting around the house. Four stairs up to the deck and Sisler panned the rolling terrain while Doc kept an eye closer in case the animal had doubled back.
“There!” Sisler said. “I got him.”
Sisler crouched on the same line of sight. “Look straight over my head. There’s a piece of deadfall leaning against another tree. Makes like an A without the crosspiece. About fifty yards in front of it. He’d walk right under the arch if he could walk a straight line.”
It took Doc a few seconds, until the raccoon crested a small rise. “Jesus Christ. Look at that thing.”
“Yeah. He’s not long for this world. He’ll bite anything he can catch, and he’ll chase anything he sees.”
“How far do you make him?” Doc said. “Two hundred yards?”
“At least two-fifty. Another fifty to the tree line.”
“I don’t think we can get there in time to shoot him.”
“Unless he sees us and turns to fight,” Sisler said.
Sisler handed Doc the field glasses. “Don’t lose him. I’ll be right back.”
“Where are you going?”
Sisler said, “Don’t lose him,” and disappeared around the house.
Doc watched the coon stagger toward the trees, stopping to snap at imaginary threats. The head jerked hard enough to throw it off stride a couple of times before it disappeared into a depression.
“You got him?” Sisler had the AR-15 rifle from the patrol car.
“Pretty much the same line, in a little swale right now.”
“Find him before he gets to the woods.” Sisler locked and loaded, pulled the charging handle.
Doc kept panning. “You gonna shoot him from here?”
“If he shows himself. You don’t find him in ten or fifteen seconds, though, we’re going to have to hunt him. No telling where he’ll come out, he stays in that little hollow.”
Doc wanted to hunt a rabid animal not as much as he wanted to face a man with a gun, the man at least having some thought of self-preservation. Contemplated talking Sisler out of it, knew he couldn’t. Both ways: the wrong thing to do, and Sisler looked like he’d go alone.
“There!” Doc said. Hunched down like Sisler had done for him. “Take my line. Ten, maybe fifteen yards from the tree line.”
Sisler in no hurry. “I see him. Don’t move. When I say, don’t breathe.”
“You can get him from here?”
“Shhh.” Doc felt Sisler still as ice at his back. Sisler took a full breath, said, “Don’t breathe.” Exhaled, fired at the bottom of the breath. The coon hopped straight into the air. Landed on its back, twitching.
“Goddamn, Sisler. That’s nice shooting.”
“Shhhh. Stand perfectly still.” Sisler shot again. The coon stopped twitching.
Doc stood. “Where’d you learn to shoot?”
Sisler gave a dismissive look. “The Crotch, man. Hoo-rah.”