Date Published: November 2015
Too many infant boys of Palm Beach gentry are dying of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Only obstetrics nurse, Casey Jansson, is suspicious.
Al Warner, crack Miami Homicide detective, is inactive, languishing on medical leave after a deadly shootout with a serial killer, “The Angel of Death.” He’s in the best physical condition of his life, but is struggling to convince the Department’s shrink he is not suffering from PTSD.
Warner meets Casey at a local pub. They are attracted to each other, but misreading the other’s body language, remain reserved. Learning of the SIDS deaths from Casey, Warner concedes it sounds more than coincidental, but can find no obvious Motive or Opportunity. However, he agrees to help investigate, hoping romance develops later.
Casey’s obsession eventually tangles her in mortal danger. Only Warner can save her, if he can figure out where she went, and get there in time.
“How are you feeling, Detective?”
“Good, Doc,” Al Warner said. “Ready to get out of here, I can tell ya.”
“No headaches?” Doctor Kent settled on a stool, flipping through his chart.
“Nope. Haven’t had one since I’ve been awake.”
“Good.” The doctor lifted an eyelid, peering through a small, lighted scope.
“Sleeping well?” He handed the instrument to a nameless intern who repeated the examination. Warner fidgeted but didn’t complain. Jackson Memorial is a teaching hospital.
“Sleep’s no problem,” he said, “but I’m gettin’ antsy. Can’t wait to get back on The Job. It’s been a month.”
“Not as long as last time, Detective, but I don’t see any reason to keep you here any longer. Let’s look at your wound.” He parted Warner’s thick, nearly black curly hair, revealing a small patch of bare scalp. He drew the intern close, indicating the two-inch seam of rippled skin.
“See how the scar is well knit. Still a little inflamed, but nicely healed. The brain swelling is gone, back to normal for the last ten days.” He patted Warner on the shoulder. “All your physical signs seem quite good.”
“What’s this, Doctor?” the intern asked, lightly touching the thin patch of hairless skull. Doctor Kent shined a small light on the area. A second pale ridge of similar length bisected the recent wound.
“Oh, that… another bullet scar. This is detective Warner’s second visit with us in…what, Al? About a year?’
“Thirteen months,” Warner grumbled, brushing their hands away.
“Right. Really weird to be shot twice in almost the same spot, a year apart.”
“Let’s skip the history lesson, Doc. When can I go back to work?”
“Well, as I said, I’m ready to release you. But, returning to duty is up to your captain.”
“Swell.” Warner slipped off the examination table. “This lyin’ around is drivin’ me nuts. I’ll get my stuff together and be outta here…”
“Tomorrow, Detective. I want to run a few more tests after lunch. A final checkup in the morning and you can go.”
Al Warner sighed. Tests and more tests. He was starting to feel sorry for lab rats.
The intern hurried after Dr. Kent, striding down the brightly-lit white tiled hallway, intent on finishing his rounds.
“He was really shot twice in the same spot, Doctor? Pretty unlucky.”
“Or very lucky! One centimeter to the right for either bullet and we would have lost south Florida’s best detectives.” They sped along, white cloaks flapping behind.
“He’s that good? What makes him so special?”
“It’s hard to quantify, especially since I’m not into police work, but he seems to have an uncanny instinct about crimes. He was in the right place at the right time for two vicious killers that no one else came close to catching. The first wound was touch and go. If his partner finds him thirty minutes later, he would have bled out. I treated him then, too. Six weeks in a coma, and then the rehab. Never saw a more dedicated man.”
Conversation paused while they visited a patient recovering from kidney surgery. Back in the hallway, the intern tugged the doctor’s sleeve.
“So what happened then?”
“To Detective Warner? He got shot again?”
“Of course. That’s why he’s here. After the Angel of Death killings.”
“The what? I don’t…”
“You new here, McCauley?”
“Yeah. Just came from Chicago for my internship.”
“Okay. Well, after Warner recovered from the Leordano affair, a new serial killer popped up. The press dubbed him the Angel of Death. Killed a bunch of beautiful young women. Bad headaches… near-migraines… and terrible nightmares plagued Warner then. The result of his previous wound, I suppose. Didn’t stop him though. He tracked down the guy when everyone else was stumped. The killer died in another shoot-out and Warner ended up with us again. The man is a bona fide hero.”
“Wow!” McCauley said.
“Yeah,” Doctor Kent replied, “but don’t tell him that. Just doing the job, as far as he’s concerned. We need more cops around like Al Warner.”
“Now, let’s see how this lady is doing,” he said, entering the next room.
George A. Bernstein is the retired President of a Chicago small appliance company, now living in south Florida. Born to Die is the 2nd in his Detective Al Warner Suspense series, following Death’s Angel, a 5-Star reviewed novel. Two more are already in the works. Bernstein’s first novel, Trapped, was a winner in a publisher’s “Next Great American Novel” contest, and has gained mostly 5-Star reviews at Amazon and Goodreads while becoming an Amazon Top 100 Novel. His 2nd novel, A 3rd Time to Die (A paranormal Romantic Suspense), also has almost all 5-Star Reviews, with one reader likening him to the best, less “spooky” works of Dean Koontz & Stephen King.
He’s also a “World-class” fly-fisherman, recently catching his 13th fly rod IGFA World Records, and has published Toothy Critters Love Flies (www.pikeflyguy.com), the complete book on fly-fishing for pike & musky.
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/georgeabernstein