An Arizona attorney has a client with a problem. It's no ordinary problem and this is no ordinary client. Luckily this legal eagle happens to be friends with the hawkish private eye, Shell Scott. Scott is a sure-fire shamus with no shame and a pocket full of bullets. But he will need more than a pocketful of miracles to make this missing persons case go away. A father desperately wants to see his daughter before he dies.
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September 15, 1988
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Excerpt from Shellshock by Richard S. Prather
It was the kind of summery Southern California morning when kids play hooky and lie on green-softened hillsides watching clouds make friendly faces. A day when men are stronger and more bold than they were yesterday, when lissome ladies are lovelier, more wanton, more willing.
It was a day when I felt as though one more deep breath of L.A.'s for-a-change-smog-free air would let me float right up off the pavement; when, no matter what might come my way, I could handle it in a breeze. On a morning like this, when the very air was laden with Fortune, Luck, Invincibility, and even Oxygen--and I was breathing in more than my share of those good things--no matter what came down the pike it would be a piece of cake, it would be a lark.
Or so I thought.
So I thought then...
* * * *
I'm Shell Scott.
My six feet two inches and two hundred plus a few pounds were not floating above the pavement this splendid Monday morning in October. Instead, I was striding energetically up Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, toward the Hamilton Building where, up one flight and a hop down the hall, is Sheldon Scott, Investigations. It was not yet nine o'clock in the a.m., at least an hour, maybe two, earlier than I usually reported to myself for work, if indeed I reported at all.
Hazel would be surprised. She would be astonished.
Hazel is the cute and curvy, also bright, bubbly, efficient, indispensable, invaluable, and sometimes very-damn-smart-mouthed little lovely who mans, or womans--or, in this day of idiot language, persons--the PBX switchboard and computer corner at the end of the hallway outside my one-man office door.
I zipped through the Hamilton's lobby, disdained the elevators, took the stairs three at a time, and thundered down the hallway to Hazel's cubicle.
"Hello, hello, and good morning, and great morning to you," I cried, beaming at Hazel's back. "Isn't it grand?"
She was rapidly punching instructions into the IBM PC's keyboard before her, while rows of letters formed dancing word-graph patterns on the monitor's amber face, her compact but dandy derriere planted on the padded leather seat of a four-wheeled stool.