New York Times bestselling author Patrick A. Davis spins a gripping tale of deadly intrigue in a time of national crisis that races to the explosive final act.
A LONG DAY FOR DYING
When General Michael Garber, the newly appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is discovered dead in the private compartment of his airplane, Air Force investigator Martin Collins finds himself thrust into the most dangerous case of his career. What initially appears to be an accidental death turns out to be a near-perfect murder -- and three members of the Joint Chiefs are the prime suspects.
As Martin weaves his way through a puzzling maze of blood and deceit, he finds himself in the firing line of Garber's enemies, including a half-mad rival general who collects the ears of the men he's killed, and the ruthless female secretary of defense, whose hatred for Garber knows no bounds. With his life and the honor of the military at stake, Martin has only twenty-four hours to uncover a legacy of secrets that no one wants brought to light -- secrets that the most powerful forces in Washington will kill to keep buried....
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from A Long Day for Dying by Patrick A. Davis
I heard the faint beating of the rotor blades long before I saw the approaching helicopter.
It was a cool spring morning, a little after sunrise, and I'd just stepped out onto the porch of my rambling farmhouse in rural northern Virginia. I gazed toward the east, past the grass airstrip my crop-duster father had built thirty years earlier and the farm fields he no longer owned. Searching the horizon, I finally saw it. A speck, coming out of the glow of the sun. I checked my watch. Almost seven-twenty. Right on time, and I wondered what I was getting myself into.
My regular job is chief of police for Warrentown, Virginia, a quiet town of four thousand, roughly seventy miles west of D.C. Occasionally I also moonlight as a consultant to the Office of Special Investigations, the air force's primary criminal investigative branch. I'd taken the job as a favor to then-OSI commander Brigadier General Gary Mercer, who'd lost a lot of his experienced personnel to the better-paying jobs in the civilian world. To stem the bleeding, Mercer hired on a few former investigators like myself -- I'd put in twenty years in the OSI, retiring as a light colonel -- to consult on the more "sensitive" cases. By sensitive, General Mercer meant things like espionage, major drug rings, murders -- anything that might garner the attention of the press or Congress or the four-star constellations at the Pentagon.
Since the military isn't exactly a hotbed of crime, the consultant workload is pretty light, and I average maybe three cases a year. In the past, I've always looked forward to getting called out as a change of pace from the Andy-of-Mayberry routine. But not today.
The reason the helicopter was flying out to pick me up stems from a conversation I'd had earlier with Colonel Charles Hinkle, the current OSI chief. I'd been in the shower when the phone rang. Mrs. Anuncio, my live-in housekeeper, had banged on the bathroom door until I finally yanked it open, a towel cinched around my waist, dripping water all over the place.
Ignoring my scowl, Mrs. Anuncio stuck a portable phone up to my face. "Man say must talk. Important."
"I don't care. Tell him I'll call back when I'm dressed."
Mrs. Anuncio made like she suddenly didn't understand English. She stood there, holding out the phone, her square face locked with a stubborn gaze.
Christ. Sometimes I wondered who really worked for whom. I repeated irritably, "Mrs. Anuncio, tell him I will call after -- "
That was as far as I got before a familiar voice chirped out at me. "Marty, pick up the goddamn phone. Now."
Mrs. Anuncio smiled smugly. I sighed, blinked water from my eyes, and took the phone. As she turned her bulky frame for the door, she announced breakfast was ready. When I asked for an omelet, she bluntly replied that she'd made waffles.