Brannigan’s Blackhearts #3 – Enemy Unidentified is up for Kindle pre-order, due out the 15th. So, here’s the first preview chapter.
Officer Lou Hall had been on the San Diego PD for about a year. He’d just gotten off night shift, and frankly wasn’t sure whether the tradeoff had been worth it. Sure, he got to see the sun a lot more, and with the sun, in San Diego in the summertime—the winter tended to be pretty gray and damp—usually came the California girls, dressed in as little clothing as they could get away with.
But his partner, Fred Dobbs, was a surly, balding cynic, he wasn’t getting paid that much more, and most of those same attractive California girls turned up their noses as soon as they saw his badge. He’d even gotten berated by one for, “just wanting to shoot minorities.” He was half Mexican, himself, so he didn’t know where the hell that had come from.
Then he looked on social media, and didn’t have any more questions.
Dobbs was grumbling, as usual, and Hall had tuned him out after about the first five minutes, as usual. It was always the same thing. Dobbs was in the process of a nasty divorce, and couldn’t talk about anything besides what a bitch his soon-to-be ex-wife was. So, Hall was scanning the sidewalks and trying not to think too hard about how much he hated his life, and really should have applied to El Cajon, or somewhere that actually paid their cops well.
Something caught his attention, and Dobbs’ incessant bitching faded even farther into the background noise. At first he wasn’t sure why he was looking at the parked taxi so intently, then he saw that it was unoccupied.
Taxis parked in Horton Plaza were nothing new. There was always far more traffic than there was available parking, and most people didn’t try to drive to Horton Plaza. But an unattended cab?
Maybe the driver just went to take a piss. Yeah, that was probably it. He knew full well what a full day sitting in a car was like.
He didn’t notice the second cab parked just around the corner; there was no reason to. It wasn’t out of place. But the man sitting behind the wheel certainly noticed the San Diego PD car cruising past the abandoned taxi. He toyed with waiting, but there was a crowd coming out of the Lyceum Theater at the same time. Perfect.
The man ducked down below the dash and touched a remote. The unoccupied taxi exploded, the detonation shattering every window within sight, including the windshield of his own cab. He was showered with fragments of safety glass, as the vehicle rocked on its shocks. He’d parked a little too close; the concussion hammered him into the floor of the cab, and he blacked out for a moment.
When he came to, he had to kick the door open. The Plaza was a nightmare hellscape. Where the taxi had been parked, only a crater filled with twisted, fiercely burning wreckage remained. The cop car was burning, the windows shattered and the side panel crushed in and peppered with shrapnel, both men inside obviously dead. The sidewalk was littered with bodies and parts of bodies. People were screaming, the noise only then managing to register to his deadened hearing. His ears were ringing from the explosion. A young woman staggered away from the crater, bleeding, half of her face flayed away by the blast.
The man staggered out of the cab and joined the mass of screaming, panicking humanity fleeing the blast zone. Wounded were being trampled. The panicked mob was going to seriously impede the first responders; it was just too cramped in downtown San Diego.
The man felt no particular satisfaction in what he’d done. He’d been well paid for it. It had been a job, nothing more. He blended into the crowd and disappeared.