Private detective Ronan Bayne is a former cop who now runs his own agency specializing in all things paranormal. After several women have gone missing, Ronan gets called in by the police chief.
Dustin McPherson is a psychic who’s worked with the police in the past. After having a vision of one of the missing women, he meets Ronan. Together, they must solve a case more complicated than either of them expected.
Ronan arrives at the Fresno police station bright and early with a to-go cup of coffee from home, because he’d known he wouldn’t be on time for his early meeting if he stopped on the way. But Ronan needs to feed his caffeine addiction in the morning or he’s useless.
He plans to just rush through and go straight to Chief Wilkinson’s office once he’s let in, but he is stopped by a detective he used to work with. Scott.
“Hey, man.” Scott shakes his hand.
It’s not that Ronan doesn’t like Scott, it’s just he’s curious about what the chief wants, so he’s in a rush, and Scott can be a talker.
“Been undercover or did your wife kick you out again?” Ronan asks; he’s not rude enough to blow Scott off right away. He’ll have a quick chat, even though curiosity is killing him.
“What do you mean?” Scott asks.
“The way you look?” Ronan raises his eyebrows.
“What do you mean?” Scott says, playing dumb.
“You look like a hobo,” Ronan says bluntly.
And Scott does. His clothes are old and ratty, his beard is long and unkempt, and he looks like he hasn’t washed in a while either.
“Compared to you I always did, but yeah, I’ve been undercover.”
“What do you mean ‘compared to me’?’” Ronan asks.
“You’re always so perfect.” Scott says “perfect” like it’s a bad word.
“Nothing wrong with the way I look.” Ronan is taller than Scott, at just over six feet, with short blond hair that he keeps neatly cut. He has stormy gray eyes and a muscular body he works on in the gym when he can. He’s clean shaven, freshly showered, and wearing smart shoes, black slacks, a dark blue shirt, and a black leather jacket. When he was a police detective, he would have worn a suit and a tie. He dresses more casually now, still putting in effort though; he hates looking like a slob. Maybe he’s a little straitlaced, but who cares?
“You just need to let loose sometimes. I know you gay guys like to dress well, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear sweats every now and then,” Scott says it casually and without bite; Ronan knows that Scott doesn’t even mean to be offensive.
Scott is the type who isn’t really homophobic, but he’s not the most enlightened guy either. He believes in all the stereotypes, and he’ll say stuff that shows his ignorance. He doesn’t mean to offend, but he does.
“I wear sweats to the gym. I’d better go now, Scott. I don’t want to keep Chief Wilkinson waiting, you know how he is.” Ronan isn’t lying. Wilkinson doesn’t like to be kept waiting normally, but Ronan is here as a favor, so Wilkinson won’t get mad at him if he’s a few minutes late. But he knows Scott will believe the lie.
“Oh yeah, you’d better go. I should be heading out anyway; I’m in the middle of a case. It’s good to see you, man.” Scott smiles and gives Ronan a wave as Ronan heads for the chief’s office.
Ronan knocks on the office door and hears the chief call out.
“Who is it?” the chief yells.
“Come in,” Wilkinson responds.
Ronan opens the door and heads in, shutting it behind him.
Chief Chris Wilkinson is twenty years older than Ronan, and he looks every year of it, with gray hair and a bit more weight than he should be carrying. He’s sitting at his desk in a leather chair, and he gestures for Ronan to take the seat on the other side of the desk, which Ronan does, taking a sip of his coffee before putting it down on the desk. “Ronan, hello, take a seat.”
“Hello, Chris. What did you want?” Ronan asks.
“Straight to the point as always,” Chris says, and laughs.
Ronan shrugs. “Well, when you call me at ten at night I know something is going on. You know how I am: I hate not knowing things.”
“We have a case. I have a feeling it might be your sort of thing,” Chris says with emphasis on “thing”.
Ronan’s sort of “thing” is usually a complex one. Ronan’s sort of “thing” means a supernatural case, one that Chris can’t properly look into himself because the people in charge have his hands tied.
The government still won’t accept anything deviating from the natural order as real. The police won’t even investigate cases as paranormal. They ignore any supernatural elements to a case, which can make it almost impossible to solve. Ronan had never liked this when he was with the police. He’d gotten in trouble for working on those kinds of cases. He’d decided that he would set up his own private detective agency, and work as a PI specializing in unnatural events.
But Ronan always had a knack for it, had done his research, and seen lots of things that many people would never believe in.
“Might be?” Ronan asks.
“Well, it’s not clear what is going on. We’ve been working with the FBI because the case crosses state lines. Women have been going missing here in California, but also in Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon,” Chris explains.
“I assume there is a reason you suspect all the cases are linked?” Ronan asks.
“Yes, that’s the weird part. We have ten women missing so far, no obvious connections, ages between eighteen and thirty, different races, different backgrounds. But at the sites of abduction, that’s where it gets strange.”
“Kidnapper leaves a calling card?” Ronan guesses.
“That they have. At each site we’ve found blood.”
“That isn’t really unusual. They were injured during the kidnappings, it happens,” Ronan suggests.
“Let me finish. The blood at each scene does belong to another woman who was taken, but it’s fresh, like the victim was still alive and bleeding,” Chris says, raising his eyebrow at Ronan.
“That is strange. Is there anything else you can tell me about the blood?”