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Tall Dark Heart: PI Kowalski, #2

Tall Dark Heart: PI Kowalski, #2

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Tall Dark Heart: PI Kowalski, #2

256 pages
3 hours
Oct 7, 2019


PI Kowalski investigates the seedy side of the high life in a case of murder, sex, and devastating lies.

Jeff Lyons, wealthy businessman, hires PI Matt Kowalski on unlimited expenses to find his missing daughter, Tamsin. The circumstances surrounding her disappearance are ominous: her roommate has been murdered, and a man has threatened Tamsin's life.

As Matt sniffs out the trail of clues, other players threaten to take him and Tamsin out of the game. In this race against time with a killer, nothing is as it seems.

EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS the second thrilling installment in the "PI Kowalski" series of crime mysteries set in the great Down Under, brought to you with tangible authenticity by Australian author Chris Krupa. [eBook DRM-Free; Also Available in Paperback and Audiobook]


  • PI Kowalski – Book 1: "Inlet Boys"
  • PI Kowalski – Book 2: "Tall Dark Heart"
  • PI Kowalski – Book 3: "The Jaydus File"


  • "The Oz Files" Series by Barry Metcalf (also set in Australia)
  • The "Payden Beck Crime Thriller" Series by Michael Golvach
  • The "Denny McConnell PI" Series by Kent Swarts
  • The "Syndicate-Born Trilogy" by K.M. Hodge
  • The "Zoë Delante Thriller" Series by C.L. Roberts-Huth


Oct 7, 2019

About the author

I’m a freelance writer and filmmaker, born in 1975 in The Gong, who now lives in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia with my wife and two sons. I used to make my own mystery books in the fourth grade by typing them out on an old Olivetti, and I drew my first five-fingered human being when I was four years old. In 2004, I pitched a comic series to Image Comics, and I contributed cartoons and designed a cover for the Litmus Journal of Melbourne in 2007. I worked with the Victims of Crime department in Sydney, rubbing shoulders with ex-cons and stand over men, and sought restitution for their victims. In 2014, I founded a production company, Glitchfilms, alongside my producing partner. In 2015, I wrote and directed an independent horror film, The Lights, which was released in selected cinemas. I self-published the tie-in, behind-the-scenes eBook, Dark Light: How to Get Your Horror Film into Cinemas. I write every day and try to put some of myself into my writing. My passion is crime fiction, and my favourite authors include Karin Slaughter and Michael Robotham. I also love graphic novels by Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison.

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Tall Dark Heart - Chris Krupa





P.I. Kowalski – Book 2

Copyright © 2019 Chris Krupa


ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622531795

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-179-0


Editor: Lane Diamond

Cover Artist: D. Robert Pease

Interior Designer: Lane Diamond



At the end of this novel of approximately 50,420 words, you will find two Special Sneak Previews: 1) THE JAYDUS FILE by Chris Krupa, the next (third) book in this PI Kowalski series, and; 2) 10-30 by Michael Golvach, a noir murder mystery we think you’ll enjoy. We provide these as a FREE extra service, and you should in no way consider it a part of the price you paid for this book. We hope you will both appreciate and enjoy the opportunity. Thank you.


eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.


A Note from the Publisher:

Given that the author is from Australia, and the story takes place in Australia, we have decided to leave this story in Australian (British) English rather than Americanize it. Therefore, some spellings may look off to you, along with things like single quotation marks versus double in dialogue, but that’s simply the difference in language.

Books by Chris Krupa


The PI Kowalski Series

Book 1: Inlet Boys

Book 2: Tall Dark Heart

Book 3: The Jaydus File [Coming 2020]




We’re pleased to offer you not one, but two Special Sneak Previews at the end of this book.


In the first preview, you’ll enjoy the First 2 Chapters of Chris Krupa’s THE JAYDUS FILE, the next book coming (Book 3) in the exciting series of crime thrillers from Down Under, PI Kowalski.


To remain up-to-date on this series, please stay tuned to our website at the link below:

PI Kowalski Series at Evolved Publishing

In the second preview, you’ll enjoy the Prologue and First Chapter of 10-30 by Michael Golvach, a noir murder mystery.





MICHAEL GOLVACH’S Books at Evolved Publishing

Table of Contents


Books by Chris Krupa


Table of Contents




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3


Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25


Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Special Sneak Preview: THE JAYDUS FILE by Chris Krupa


About the Author

More from Chris Krupa

More from Evolved Publishing

Special Sneak Preview: 10-30 by Michael Golvach


For Mum.


Chapter 1

The red mist....

It appeared in an instant, and just as quickly dissipated. I saw it during the quiet times, like now, transferring photos from my laptop to a flash drive.

I became aware of a figure to my left, broke out of my fugue state, and noticed Reggie in the hall.

He ushered me into his office. ‘You got five minutes?’

I walked down the hall to Reggie’s corner of Cash Hendrix Specialist Law Firm.

A large man occupied one of the leather seats, whom I clocked to be in his late sixties. He wore a tailor-made suit and tie with new leather shoes. Red scalp showed through his white, parted hair, and his wide, ruddy face regarded me apprehensively.

Reggie pointed a pen in my direction and met his client’s eyes. ‘This is the guy who will find your daughter. I guarantee it.’

The word ‘guarantee’ should never be used, particularly in private investigations—too many dead ends and false leads. I couldn’t read the situation, and I didn’t want Reggie’s Arizonan nature to shoehorn me into a bad position, so I lingered in the doorway.

He gestured in the man’s direction. ‘Matt, this is Mr. Jeff Lyons. His daughter, Tamsin, has been missing for eleven days. I told him you had a knack for finding people, and he’d like to hire you.’

Lyons slowly rose to his feet. He almost came up to my 186 centimetres, and had all the hallmarks of a former front rower. His handshake was firm and icy cold.

I took up a position in the spare seat. ‘Have you reported this to the police, Mr. Lyons?’

‘Christ, no.’

‘Can I ask, why not?’

‘Acting Deputy Commissioner of police Richard Peterson launched an investigation against me three years ago. Prick suspected me of fraud. Charges came up but nothing stuck, thanks to Reggie here.’

Reggie offered a tight smile and Lyons continued. ‘Peterson tried everything in his power to convict me, but Reg put the kibosh on him.’

That certainly cleared the situation, somewhat.

‘If I hear you correctly,’ I said. ‘You haven’t reported your daughter missing because you believe the police have it in for you?’

His face darkened, and any semblance of friendliness vanished. ‘Listen, if I report Tamsin missing to the cops, it will leak. I can’t risk something happening to Tamsin if this gets out to the media.’

‘You could file a missing person’s report with local police, ask they exercise discretion and don’t distribute it across the AFP.’

The AFP were the Australian Federal Police.

He regarded me sideways. ‘Don’t you know who I am?’

‘No. Should I?’

Mr. Lyons had all the markings of a successful businessman, but I didn’t read The Australian, nor did I keep an eye on the Dow Jones or on which multinational was buying out which multinational.

Reggie cleared his throat. ‘Mr. Lyons is the founder of Lyons Media. He’s a pioneer in online streaming.’

I made a face I hoped passed for discernible interest. Besides Packer and Murdoch, I wasn’t up to speed with my multimedia personalities.

‘A lucrative business, I’m sure,’ I said. ‘I don’t know how many people watch free to air TV these days.’

Lyons scoffed. ‘Bugger all. I’m about to launch a new streaming service that’ll put Netflix to shame. You can buy in for as little or as much as you like, Mr. Kowalski.’

The official title didn’t go unnoticed. ‘Mr. Lyons, before we go any further, I assume you have a substantial amount of resources at your disposal. You could hire the best of the best out of Sydney, a top-notch team of investigators, and I’m sure they’d have your daughter back to you in a matter of hours. I have to ask you one question.’ I opened my hands, palms up. ‘Why me?’

Lyons gripped the chair, leaned toward me, and grinned. ‘Because you did the world a favour and killed a fucking cop.’

Last spring, I’d found the man who killed two of my cousins. His name was Paul Green, and he was a sergeant at the Shoalhaven Local Area Command. My cousins, Rob and George, harassed and sexually abused Rory, Paul’s son. Rory had Down syndrome, and spiraled into a debilitating depression, until he finally jumped from a bridge. It didn’t kill him, but Paul turned Rory’s life support off, and his marriage crumbled soon after. I watched as he put his police issue Glock pistol to his temple and pull the trigger. A cloud of rest mist shot out of the side of his head. I saw the instant his eyes snapped to lifeless glass.

‘I didn’t kill him,’ I said. ‘I’ve never killed anyone, and I hope to fuck I never do.’

The words came out harder than I anticipated, and Lyons visibly flinched.

Reggie nervously rotated a pen in his hands and cleared his throat. ‘Uh, Matt—’

Lyons raised his hands. ‘I didn’t mean any offense. I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot. I hate cops, is all. Can we start again with a clean slate?’

Reggie glanced at me nervously.

I took a deep breath, then nodded. ‘Sure thing, Mr. Lyons.’ I gave him a look that told him the comment wasn’t entirely forgotten, and noted that he hadn’t exactly apologised for the remark.

Lyons chortled as if I’d been the one who overstepped the mark. ‘Call me Jeff.’

His attempt at light-heartedness fell flat, and we all lapsed into an awkward silence.

Reggie sighed and bulged his eyes at me.

Lyons caught it. ‘Tell you what, boys. I’ll give you a minute to talk it over. Then we can abscond to a watering hole, just you and me, Matt. What do you say? Know any good ones round here?’

So now it’s ‘Matt’ and ‘Jeff’, chummy as all get out.

Reggie shifted in his seat. ‘Mr. Lyons, of course, what you say in this office is held in the utmost confidence....’

Lyons levelled his gaze at Reggie. ‘If it’s all the same to you, Reg, I’ve had too much dirty laundry aired in the press over the years, thanks to nosey parkers and dodgy lawyers. No offence.’

Reggie smiled flatly. ‘None taken. The North Gong Hotel is close. It’s an esteemed local establishment.’

‘As long as the beer’s wet,’ Lyons muttered.

As Reggie found things to straighten on his desk, I provided Lyons with directions to the hotel.

As soon as Lyons took his leave, Reggie stood up but remained behind his desk. ‘You are taking this on. He’s willing to put up a four-thousand-dollar retainer.’

‘I don’t appreciate being called a murderer.’

‘Technically, he didn’t call you a murderer.’

‘What were the charges, Reg?’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘He said you got him off. What were the charges?’

Reggie looked away and put his hands on his hips. He tucked the end of his tie into his buttoned-up, single-breasted jacket. It immediately slipped out, and he tucked it in again. ‘Suspected insider trading. Strictly white collar and nothing traceable to Lyons. I swear.’

I sighed, and Reggie put his hands to his face.

When he spoke again, his voice was muffled. ‘Don’t make this a moral quandary, Matt. We’re satisfying a couple of critical wants and needs. The client wants to pay us and we need the money. Am I right?’

‘Haven’t you heard of scruples, Reggie?’

‘If I was a wise ass, I’d say of course I have—it’s a card game from the eighties.’ He waved a hand around the office. ‘Matt, listen, when I graduated law school, I never dreamed of having an office full of broken down, refurbished phones and shitty old computers, okay? Look at me. I’ve worn the same three suits for the past eighteen years. We live on chicken feed, and now you have your first real high-profile client, and you don’t want to take it on because he hurt your feelings? Don’t you think we’ve afforded ourselves a little cash bonus?’

He had a point. Cash Hendrix Specialist Law Firm was an ironic name. Neither Reggie Cash nor Tony Hendrix were specialists in anything. Reggie poured all his money into the brass plaque with his name on it, and the offices retained their original pine doorframes and sparse fittings, thanks to the prior business, a private and highly suspicious bookkeeping service, going into receivership. Too small for Sydney and too lackadaisical for Melbourne, Reggie had settled in The Gong with a preference for pro bono work. His high commission rate attracted me when I started out. His unreservedness and wicked sense of humour also attracted me. I’d closed four insurance claims in the first three weeks, and when my savings account didn’t go up, I’d threatened to knock the caps off Reggie’s front teeth. A deposit appeared the next morning, with cream on top.

‘Incentive,’ he’d said.

A guilty conscience, I’d thought.

I sighed and nodded. ‘Okay, I’ll talk to Lyons. I just need to feel him out.’

Reggie slapped his hands together so forcefully, hair on his crown flipped in the air. ‘Attaboy, Matty! Attaboy!’

I quickly got out of there and strolled to the car park. A strong easterly blew a hazy layer of salt over the city, and two levels of rainclouds raced across the sky at different speeds. I spotted a Nissan Rogue that belonged to Garrick, a fellow investigator known for consorting with various underworld figures.

He sat in the driver’s seat eating a meatball sub, and he gave me the finger.

I shot him the cornutto in return, a common hand gesture used by Italians, similar to the ‘devil horns’ hand gesture heavy metal fans made, only reversed.

Vaffanculo,’ I muttered under my breath. ‘Fuck you,’ in other words.

When I kicked the ute over, The Church’s ‘Unguarded Moment’ came through the speakers, and I sang with Steve Kilbey about girls with rifles for hearts. I pulled out onto the highway and weaved through midday traffic to the North Wollongong Hotel, and parked the car at the rear under a row of coral trees. Their bright red flowers blanketed the car park, reminding me of the pool of blood under Paul Green’s body.

Lyons’ words played over in my head, and my chest tightened.

Because you did the world a favour and killed a fucking cop.

I got out and retrieved the flask of whiskey I kept in a toolbox in the ute tray, took a good belt, and lay the flask back in its rightful spot above my trusty crowbar, ‘Old Blue.’ Lyons had pissed me off with the murderer comment and I’d bitten back. I promised myself I wouldn’t be so quick to react next time, and hoped the whiskey took its effect on my empty stomach.

The pub, once a mucky smoke-filled den hosting local grunge acts, now appealed to middle class beach goers, with its stainless-steel bar and concertina doors opened to the Illawarra escarpment.

Lyons occupied a drinking table close to the bar, and two schooners of beer sat on the table in front of him.

I negotiated two large pool tables, squeezed past eight loud tradesmen in high vis vests enjoying a drink around a table, and joined Lyons. We both sipped our beers, a boutique pale ale that tasted like honey and pepper.

I tried to hide my distaste. ‘Thanks for the beer. Tell me more about Tamsin.’

‘What do you want to know?’

‘Full name, date of birth, that sort of thing.’

Her full name was Tamsin Amelia Lyons, twenty-one, starting her second year studying a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney.

Nice gig if you could afford it, no doubt financed by Daddy dearest.

Lyons took a long pull on his beer, and now, sitting closer to him, I noticed the creases in his face, deep enough as to be completely black. His face wore a thousand bites of hard liquor. He took out his phone and showed me a photo of a tall, young woman with long, straight, strawberry-blonde hair. She missed pretty but hit attractive dead on—round jaw, cautious smile, straight nose.

‘She doesn’t do this sort of thing,’ Lyons said. ‘She always answers her phone, doesn’t go anywhere without it. You know kids these days. I never used to talk to her much. Ever since she turned eighteen, I wanted to get to know her better. I’ve practically called her every day since. Last time we spoke was twelve days ago. She rang me, actually.’

‘How did she sound? Was everything okay?’

‘Yeah, right as rain. We just talked about the usual stuff. She told me about the new session at uni and the units she needed to complete. She was looking forward to cadaver work—cutting open dead animals, that sort of thing. Now her phone rings out and no one at the university has seen her. They haven’t got a clue.’

‘Does she have a boyfriend?’

‘No. Well, not that I know of. You have to understand... as much as I keep in touch, she never confides in me. I think she likes keeping me at arm’s length.’

‘Why’s that?’

Lyons shifted in his seat and took another pull on the beer. ‘I married young. We couldn’t have kids and it fell apart. I remarried—Yvette’s her name—and was surprised when Tamsin came along. I was forty-nine, with no time for

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