Where Danger Lies
The Jake Bernstein FBI Series, Volume 3
FBI Special Agent Jake Bernstein is recruited to help investigate two apparently unrelated cases while on medical leave in San Diego. A female officer assigned to Naval Base Coronado has been killed and a Muslim woman is viciously beaten and left for dead.
Meg Larsen is in San Diego pursuing additional teaching credentials but is interested in becoming an active volunteer and helping Jake in his investigations. She’s more than ready for Jake to commit to her and give her a reason to alter her career plans but also gets drawn into the danger that surrounds his cases.
Jake must use his training and skill to keep everyone safe but there’s a chance that even if he’s successful in solving the cases, his relationship with Meg may be a fatality.
“Just ask, Admiral. I’ve got nothing on my plate right now.”
“Well, it’s a tall order. You may have plans with Meg…”
“No plans for the immediate future. What can I do for you, sir?”
“I’d like you to meet with one of our NCI teams, see if you can help them. Maybe offer another point of view, a fresh pair of eyes.”
“A Navy Crime Investigation team? What’s the crime?”
“Murder. One of the officers of my ship. I think an objective look is needed.”
“What happened to him?”
“Her. Lieutenant Samantha Carlton was found dead in the trunk of her car three days ago. The preliminary tox screen showed nothing, but the lab did an advanced analysis. She’d been poisoned with ketamine. Made her heart stop. She was forty-one and in excellent physical condition. Also, someone crushed her larynx and windpipe.”
“Sounds like a case of overkill.” Jake rubbed his chin from force of habit. The GPS microchip that the FBI techs had inserted during his last undercover op was gone, but the tiny scar continued to irritate him, especially when he shaved. “However, the ketamine doesn’t fit. This was premeditated, but made to look like a crime of passion or rage. That’d be my off-the-cuff assessment. Someone wasn’t counting on the advanced tox screen.”
“Good, now we’re getting somewhere,” Rear Admiral Snider said. “The local cops are pushing the NCI team in one direction. Their theory doesn’t hold water. They claim it was a hate crime.”
“Hate crime? How?”
A heavy sigh came across the car’s speaker. “Her car was found behind The Amazons. It’s owned by the same group of women who own a nightclub next door that’s known for its gay and lesbian customers, The Lido. Do you know the place?”
“No, should I?”
“Just thought Meg might’ve pointed the place out to you. It’s across the street from Pier Five, where the bay cruise ships are moored. Anyway, the local police believe that a hate group’s on a campaign to drive homosexuals out of the city. They’ve vandalized some businesses in the area and gone up to La Jolla and Oceanside and left their calling cards. But this murder would be a first.”