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Dirty Fire

Dirty Fire

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Published by Diversion Books
Police detective John Davey had everything - until bribery charges destroyed his career, his marriage...his life.

Now he has a second chance. Davey is pressured into joining the investigation of the baffling case of a wealthy Chicago couple savagely murdered before their North Shore mansion was set ablaze.

In the charred ruins, Davey finds clues to something more sinister than premeditated arson: a criminal maze threading back through history, including a connection to billions of dollars in artwork that disappeared during the Holocaust. As more victims emerge, Davey begins to suspect the motives of those he is forced to trust. When the betrayals start piling up as surely as victims, Davey is left with no one to believe in but himself.
Police detective John Davey had everything - until bribery charges destroyed his career, his marriage...his life.

Now he has a second chance. Davey is pressured into joining the investigation of the baffling case of a wealthy Chicago couple savagely murdered before their North Shore mansion was set ablaze.

In the charred ruins, Davey finds clues to something more sinister than premeditated arson: a criminal maze threading back through history, including a connection to billions of dollars in artwork that disappeared during the Holocaust. As more victims emerge, Davey begins to suspect the motives of those he is forced to trust. When the betrayals start piling up as surely as victims, Davey is left with no one to believe in but himself.

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Published by: Diversion Books on Jul 11, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/06/2014

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Diversion BooksA Division of Diversion Publishing Corp.443 Park Avenue South, Suite 1004New York, NY 10016www.DiversionBooks.comCopyright © 2001 by Earl MerkelAll rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any formwhatsoever.For more information, email info@diversionbooks.com.First Diversion Books edition May 2013ISBN: 978-1-626810-13-6As always, for my family.
 
December 28
 
Prologue
 
The truck flashed its lights once and swung out to her left. The slush thrown up in its passingbeat against the side of the car in heavy, soggy thuds, and Rebecca Hunt’s hands tightenedeven harder on the steering wheel. The windshield went suddenly opaque, as if a grayblanket had been tossed over it. Then the truck was past, a partially obscured pattern of red-and-yellow taillights and reflectors through the muddy smear left by her wipers. In amoment, even those pinpricks of light were lost in the relentless volley of wet snowflakes—each the size of a half-dollar—that flew at her from the darkness.“Shit, shit, shit!” she said aloud, and heard the near hysteria in her voice. She took adeep breath and willed her heart to stop hammering. Once again, she clicked on her highbeams; once again, the amplified glare from the millions of flakes only made it harder to seeoutside the windshield. She switched back to her driving lights and unconsciously leanedforward in the seat, intent on the road ahead.Winter weather is a fact of life for Chicago-area drivers, and Rebecca had learned toaccept the often-hellish conditions it entailed. Being sound of mind, she had never learned toenjoy it.Not even her choice of car allayed the concerns she always felt driving on theexpressway. It was an almost-new BMW convertible, less than a month from the showroomfloor and a surprisingly extravagant vehicle for one so young. Rebecca had selected it morefor the sinful leather luxury of its interior than for any bad-weather handling capabilities itmight have offered.When she had made the purchase, Rebecca had envisioned herself as she would look inthe springtime, speeding top down along Lake Shore Drive: a carefree beauty—heiress tosome vast old-money fortune, no doubt—envied by every woman and admired by everymale she left in her rearview mirror.She had not envisioned herself crawling along a snow-slick expressway, an undersizedand insignificant piece of prospective roadkill for the massive trucks that buffetted her inpassing. She had not envisioned herself on the expressway at all. Still, it was the onlypractical route from the trendy Lincoln Park neighborhood where she lived to the sprawlingnorth-suburban campus of TransNational Mutual Insurance Company.But here she was, in the inky black of a late February pre-dawn, the object of scorn fromfaceless Teamsters who rocketed past in a spray of impatience and dirty slush. In less nerve-wracking weather conditions, Rebecca would have felt humiliated. She would have preferredto be in bed at her apartment, even though she well appreciated the secret benefits that anunusual work schedule had provided.Suddenly visible through the snow, a green sign announced her exit. She almost sighedin relief; the campus was only a half mile away now. In fifteen minutes, she would be atwork—a mixed blessing, given the often stultifying nature of her job. In her experience,insurance companies offered little stimulation and less excitement.But there was money. Insurance companies deal in great sums of money. Everywhere itseemed, lots of it coming and going—buckets of money, rivers of money, vast torrents of money. In the three years she had worked at TransNational, Rebecca had seen no smallamount of it flowing around her in amounts that were so large that it first seemed to herunreal and then unfair.Despite the plowing by the night maintenance staff, the snowfall overwhelmed theirefforts. A two-inch layer of slush covered the driveway that ran a quarter mile to the

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