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459: Framed in Red - Book #2 in the Mike Montego Series

Ratings:
Length: 436 pages6 hours

Summary

It’s 1962, springtime in Hollywood, and LAPD patrol cop Mike Montego, with several years on the job, finds suspicious activity occurring on his hilly beat. Why are two Hollywood division burglary detectives carrying framed paintings into a residence? Perhaps they are returning stolen property . . . but that would be against department protocol.
Montego makes inquiries, but not subtle enough, as the two dicks get wind of Montego’s nosiness. Later, when he responds to a burglary alarm call at a jewelry store, he finds loose diamonds strewn about the floor. Subsequently, Internal Affairs officers conduct a surprise search of Hollywood station and all officers’ lockers. Several diamonds are found in Montego’s.
Although relieved from duty pending the IAD investigation, an impatient Montego conducts his own in an effort to defend himself. He’s suspicious that the two detectives have set him up to discredit him. Eventually, he learns the detectives had an inside salesgirl who helped set up Montego. But how can he prove this?
He stakes out the house where he’d seen the detectives taking the paintings. Curious, Montego follows the pale blond male resident when he drives from the house and goes to a large mansion with a gated entry in Topanga Canyon.
Montego next learns from a neighbor lady that the blond male, Lincoln, lives with another man, Blackie, who owns an art dealership. Montego is told that Lincoln frequents a restaurant on a regular basis. Montego decides to use a friend’s brother, Nathan, who admittedly is gay, by having him go to the restaurant and befriend Lincoln and hopefully determine what he and his roommate, Blackie, have going regarding stolen paintings.
Nathan succeeds in connecting with Lincoln, but the relationship between them deepens, and Nathan finds he truly cares for his new lover. Montego, worried about Nathan’s safety, is about to have him break off further contact with Lincoln; but when Nathan says Lincoln wants to have him go with him to the mansion in Topanga, Montego, very curious about what occurs inside the place, chooses to allow Nathan to go. Montego, wanting to nail the two dirty detectives, needs Lincoln’s testimony that the classic paintings the burglary detectives gave to Blackie were stolen. But will Lincoln cooperate?
Meanwhile, when Montego learns from Nathan about the perverted and bizarre happenings inside the “Monster Mansion,” he contacts Administrative Vice. Detective Souza, accompanying Lincoln, gains entry into the mansion to verify what is going on. Montego, realizing that Souza’s life is in jeopardy, uses Nathan, who has temporary membership, to gain entry. What happens next is horrific. Montego calls in the troops, but can they get there in time?

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