When Fantasy Meets Reality by James Darwin and Barbara Moore

EXTRACT FOR
When Fantasy Meets Reality 
(James Darwin and Barbara Moore)


Chapter 1

“Live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse,” Stan Goldman said as he stared at the naked young woman lying on one of the morgue’s examining tables. He didn’t know enough about the deceased to swear to the first, but she was certainly young and her corpse was lovely, among the nicest that Stan had seen in his long career with the NYPD Major Crimes Unit, and he had seen quite a few.
“Amanda Berger, 18 years old,” Charlie Yang pronounced, like a museum guide pointing out the high spots of the collection. Yang was the Medical Examiner, or ME, with whom Stan had worked on any number of cases, and Stan had learned to put a lot of trust in what he said. Most recently, just a few months ago, Charlie had helped Stan solve the most celebrated case of his career- the one the media had called “The Bronx Crux Murders”-in which young women had been crucified, just like in the good old days of the Roman Empire, but in abandoned warehouses in New York’s least fashionable borough.
“Cause of death, strangulation by rope,” Charlie continued, pointing out the rope marks on the deceased’s neck and the underside of her chin. Detective Moore flinched for a moment at Charlie’s discourse. That would be Detective Barbara Moore, Stan’s partner and bedmate since they had worked together on the Bronx Crux case.
Though it pained Stan to admit it, despite it having been her first big case in the Unit, Moore had provided a key insight that led to solving the case. He owed her for that one. On the other hand, she had pulled a stupid stunt on him and ended up kidnapped and crucified in her own right by the murderers and it had been Stan who had found her just in time to save her life, almost getting himself killed in the process.
“You OK, Moore?” Stan asked. “No mutilation, no gaping wounds. I’ve seen much worse and so have you.”
“I don’t know, Stan,” she replied. “Maybe it’s that she looks so young and innocent, such a tragic waste of life. For some reason, a chill went down my spine for a second. But, I’m fine now.”
Stan looked at her a bit concerned, but Barb quickly regained her professional demeanor. “Where was she found?” she asked. “Not in an abandoned warehouse, I hope?”
Yang smiled. “Nope, hanging by a rope around her neck from a beam in the attic of her parents’ house in Riverdale.” Riverdale was an enclave within the Bronx that looked more like a tony suburb in Westchester or Connecticut than like part of the city. Stan didn’t know it that well-not that crimes weren’t committed there, but they were typically things like insider stock trading and money laundering, which fell under the jurisdiction of the FBI, rather than the NYPD.
Yang continued, “Her father found her this morning around 7. Estimated time of death was yesterday evening between 9 and 11 PM. Cause of death-strangulation. We’ve gone over every inch of her body and there are no signs of struggle at all. None.”
“So you’re saying it’s suicide?” Stan asked.
Charlie nodded. “That’s how I’ll have to rule it unless something else turns up.”
“So why did you call us?”
Charlie frowned. “It may be suicide. There was an overturned chair under the spot where she was hanging. She certainly could have climbed up on it and then kicked it away. But there are a couple of odd things.”
Stan looked at Yang, interested. He’d learned to pay attention to Charlie’s hunches. They were rarely too far off base. “Like what?” he asked.
“Well, first, she was naked. Her clothes were discarded on the floor of the attic.”
“Some suicides strip naked,” Moore said. “I’m not sure why, maybe they want to leave the world as they entered it. Maybe they want to shock those who find them even more. Who can say?”
“Sure,” Yang replied. “The other odd thing is that there doesn’t seem to be a note. Not on paper, Facebook, Twitter, nowhere that anyone has found yet.”
“That isn’t unheard of either,” Moore said.
“I agree,” Yang said. “It’s nothing I can put my finger on and there’s a good chance I’m totally off base, but I think you guys should have a look. Talk to her parents, friends, teachers, therapists if she had any. If it comes back that she was deeply depressed and talked of suicide all the time, you can close the case and I’ll buy you guys a nice dinner at Shanghai Garden.”
Stan felt hungry all of a sudden, though he had had lunch just a couple of hours ago. Shanghai Garden was a wonderful restaurant in the large and vibrant Chinatown in Flushing, Queens, where Charlie Yang had grown up.
“So what’s your theory, Charlie?” Stan asked. “Was she drugged and then hung up?”
“Her preliminary tox screen is negative,” Yang replied. “She had pizza an hour or two before she died, pepperoni and mushrooms, but no alcohol. There was some caffeine in the blood, so she likely drank some soda, or possibly coffee or tea, but certainly not an unusual amount. We’re running some more detailed tests, but that’s all we have for the moment.”
“You know, Charlie,” Stan said, “If it were anyone else, I’d say close the books, call it a suicide and move on. But if you smell something a bit off here, it’s worth a bit of digging. Let’s head back to the station, Moore, and run this by Reggie.”


Chapter 2

“What are my two star detectives up to now?” boomed Lieutenant Reginald Jones as he lifted his size 14 shoes off his desk, where they rested next to a framed picture of him dunking the ball against Villanova back when he was a college basketball star being looked at very seriously by a pack of NBA scouts. A career ending knee injury had killed those prospects, but Reggie’s size and street smarts had served him well in the NYPD.
“Charlie Yang’s got a bee in his bonnet about some girl who killed herself up in Riverdale,” Stan said.
Reggie glanced at Barb, looking for her take on this. “A young woman,” she replied, stressing the final word of that phrase, “18 years old, hanging in the attic of her parents’ home. Charlie feels the picture is missing some details.”
“Charlie’s a smart guy,” Reggie replied. Barb and Stan both nodded agreement. “Don’t suppose it would hurt to go talk to the parents. Could be a good way to ease yourself back into the swing of things, Moore.”
Detective Moore nodded. She had just returned to duty a few days before, after almost three months of rehab recovering from the injuries to her wrists and feet caused by being nailed to a heavy wooden cross by the perps, who had expected that she would breathe her last up there.
“How’s it feel to be back?” Reggie asked.
“Terrific, Reggie,” Moore replied. “I was going stir crazy. You can only do physical therapy for so many hours a day. But, at least I’ve learned the anatomical names of muscles I didn’t even know I had.”
“Well, we missed you, Moore,” Reggie replied, “Especially, this guy,” he added, indicating Stan. “Goldman was moping around the squad room like a love-sick puppy the whole time you were gone.”
Stan blushed. “Not so, Reggie,” he protested weakly. “I was working cases back with Dick, just like I’ve done for years.” Dick Leary was Stan’s regular partner, who had gone on vacation just as the crucifixion case hit, resulting in Stan being paired with Barb.
“Truth be told, Stan, mostly you were fielding calls from literary agents wanting to get the rights to your guys tell-all book about the case,” Reggie said, chuckling. “How’s that going anyway?”
Stan looked at Barb. Barb looked at Stan. Stan spoke first. “We’ve signed with one, and she’s shopping it around to publishers. Nothing firm yet.”
“So that means you’re still a member in good standing of New York’s finest and my detective squad, right, Stan?”
Stan leaned forward. “I’ve got the retirement papers in a folder in my desk. I’ve looked at them, but nothing is signed.”
Reggie smiled. “Then I suggest you get your ass outta that chair, and you too Moore, and go up and talk to that suicide’s parents. But, try to be diplomatic, Stan. They’ve lost a daughter and there’s no reason so far to think that any crime was committed, so they don’t have to talk to you unless they want to.”
Stan looked offended. “I’m always diplomatic, Reggie,” he protested. Barb chuckled and rolled her eyes.
“If you’re smart, you’ll let Moore do most of the talking.”
“Don’t I always?” Stan replied. Barb kicked him on the shin-not too hard, but hard enough. “Oh, assaulting a police officer, are you?” he said.
“Alright, you two,” Reggie interjected, “I gotta call downtown about a few things. Let me know if you turn up anything, OK?”
Barb and Stan rose and headed for the door. “Ladies first,” Stan said, holding it open for her. Barb stuck out her tongue and made the raspberry sound known, appropriately enough for where the station was located, as a Bronx Cheer. “So articulate, Moore,” he said, shaking his head.

When Fantasy Meets Reality by James Darwin and Barbara Moore

EXTRACT FOR
When Fantasy Meets Reality 
(James Darwin and Barbara Moore)


Chapter 1

“Live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse,” Stan Goldman said as he stared at the naked young woman lying on one of the morgue’s examining tables. He didn’t know enough about the deceased to swear to the first, but she was certainly young and her corpse was lovely, among the nicest that Stan had seen in his long career with the NYPD Major Crimes Unit, and he had seen quite a few.
“Amanda Berger, 18 years old,” Charlie Yang pronounced, like a museum guide pointing out the high spots of the collection. Yang was the Medical Examiner, or ME, with whom Stan had worked on any number of cases, and Stan had learned to put a lot of trust in what he said. Most recently, just a few months ago, Charlie had helped Stan solve the most celebrated case of his career- the one the media had called “The Bronx Crux Murders”-in which young women had been crucified, just like in the good old days of the Roman Empire, but in abandoned warehouses in New York’s least fashionable borough.
“Cause of death, strangulation by rope,” Charlie continued, pointing out the rope marks on the deceased’s neck and the underside of her chin. Detective Moore flinched for a moment at Charlie’s discourse. That would be Detective Barbara Moore, Stan’s partner and bedmate since they had worked together on the Bronx Crux case.
Though it pained Stan to admit it, despite it having been her first big case in the Unit, Moore had provided a key insight that led to solving the case. He owed her for that one. On the other hand, she had pulled a stupid stunt on him and ended up kidnapped and crucified in her own right by the murderers and it had been Stan who had found her just in time to save her life, almost getting himself killed in the process.
“You OK, Moore?” Stan asked. “No mutilation, no gaping wounds. I’ve seen much worse and so have you.”
“I don’t know, Stan,” she replied. “Maybe it’s that she looks so young and innocent, such a tragic waste of life. For some reason, a chill went down my spine for a second. But, I’m fine now.”
Stan looked at her a bit concerned, but Barb quickly regained her professional demeanor. “Where was she found?” she asked. “Not in an abandoned warehouse, I hope?”
Yang smiled. “Nope, hanging by a rope around her neck from a beam in the attic of her parents’ house in Riverdale.” Riverdale was an enclave within the Bronx that looked more like a tony suburb in Westchester or Connecticut than like part of the city. Stan didn’t know it that well-not that crimes weren’t committed there, but they were typically things like insider stock trading and money laundering, which fell under the jurisdiction of the FBI, rather than the NYPD.
Yang continued, “Her father found her this morning around 7. Estimated time of death was yesterday evening between 9 and 11 PM. Cause of death-strangulation. We’ve gone over every inch of her body and there are no signs of struggle at all. None.”
“So you’re saying it’s suicide?” Stan asked.
Charlie nodded. “That’s how I’ll have to rule it unless something else turns up.”
“So why did you call us?”
Charlie frowned. “It may be suicide. There was an overturned chair under the spot where she was hanging. She certainly could have climbed up on it and then kicked it away. But there are a couple of odd things.”
Stan looked at Yang, interested. He’d learned to pay attention to Charlie’s hunches. They were rarely too far off base. “Like what?” he asked.
“Well, first, she was naked. Her clothes were discarded on the floor of the attic.”
“Some suicides strip naked,” Moore said. “I’m not sure why, maybe they want to leave the world as they entered it. Maybe they want to shock those who find them even more. Who can say?”
“Sure,” Yang replied. “The other odd thing is that there doesn’t seem to be a note. Not on paper, Facebook, Twitter, nowhere that anyone has found yet.”
“That isn’t unheard of either,” Moore said.
“I agree,” Yang said. “It’s nothing I can put my finger on and there’s a good chance I’m totally off base, but I think you guys should have a look. Talk to her parents, friends, teachers, therapists if she had any. If it comes back that she was deeply depressed and talked of suicide all the time, you can close the case and I’ll buy you guys a nice dinner at Shanghai Garden.”
Stan felt hungry all of a sudden, though he had had lunch just a couple of hours ago. Shanghai Garden was a wonderful restaurant in the large and vibrant Chinatown in Flushing, Queens, where Charlie Yang had grown up.
“So what’s your theory, Charlie?” Stan asked. “Was she drugged and then hung up?”
“Her preliminary tox screen is negative,” Yang replied. “She had pizza an hour or two before she died, pepperoni and mushrooms, but no alcohol. There was some caffeine in the blood, so she likely drank some soda, or possibly coffee or tea, but certainly not an unusual amount. We’re running some more detailed tests, but that’s all we have for the moment.”
“You know, Charlie,” Stan said, “If it were anyone else, I’d say close the books, call it a suicide and move on. But if you smell something a bit off here, it’s worth a bit of digging. Let’s head back to the station, Moore, and run this by Reggie.”


Chapter 2

“What are my two star detectives up to now?” boomed Lieutenant Reginald Jones as he lifted his size 14 shoes off his desk, where they rested next to a framed picture of him dunking the ball against Villanova back when he was a college basketball star being looked at very seriously by a pack of NBA scouts. A career ending knee injury had killed those prospects, but Reggie’s size and street smarts had served him well in the NYPD.
“Charlie Yang’s got a bee in his bonnet about some girl who killed herself up in Riverdale,” Stan said.
Reggie glanced at Barb, looking for her take on this. “A young woman,” she replied, stressing the final word of that phrase, “18 years old, hanging in the attic of her parents’ home. Charlie feels the picture is missing some details.”
“Charlie’s a smart guy,” Reggie replied. Barb and Stan both nodded agreement. “Don’t suppose it would hurt to go talk to the parents. Could be a good way to ease yourself back into the swing of things, Moore.”
Detective Moore nodded. She had just returned to duty a few days before, after almost three months of rehab recovering from the injuries to her wrists and feet caused by being nailed to a heavy wooden cross by the perps, who had expected that she would breathe her last up there.
“How’s it feel to be back?” Reggie asked.
“Terrific, Reggie,” Moore replied. “I was going stir crazy. You can only do physical therapy for so many hours a day. But, at least I’ve learned the anatomical names of muscles I didn’t even know I had.”
“Well, we missed you, Moore,” Reggie replied, “Especially, this guy,” he added, indicating Stan. “Goldman was moping around the squad room like a love-sick puppy the whole time you were gone.”
Stan blushed. “Not so, Reggie,” he protested weakly. “I was working cases back with Dick, just like I’ve done for years.” Dick Leary was Stan’s regular partner, who had gone on vacation just as the crucifixion case hit, resulting in Stan being paired with Barb.
“Truth be told, Stan, mostly you were fielding calls from literary agents wanting to get the rights to your guys tell-all book about the case,” Reggie said, chuckling. “How’s that going anyway?”
Stan looked at Barb. Barb looked at Stan. Stan spoke first. “We’ve signed with one, and she’s shopping it around to publishers. Nothing firm yet.”
“So that means you’re still a member in good standing of New York’s finest and my detective squad, right, Stan?”
Stan leaned forward. “I’ve got the retirement papers in a folder in my desk. I’ve looked at them, but nothing is signed.”
Reggie smiled. “Then I suggest you get your ass outta that chair, and you too Moore, and go up and talk to that suicide’s parents. But, try to be diplomatic, Stan. They’ve lost a daughter and there’s no reason so far to think that any crime was committed, so they don’t have to talk to you unless they want to.”
Stan looked offended. “I’m always diplomatic, Reggie,” he protested. Barb chuckled and rolled her eyes.
“If you’re smart, you’ll let Moore do most of the talking.”
“Don’t I always?” Stan replied. Barb kicked him on the shin-not too hard, but hard enough. “Oh, assaulting a police officer, are you?” he said.
“Alright, you two,” Reggie interjected, “I gotta call downtown about a few things. Let me know if you turn up anything, OK?”
Barb and Stan rose and headed for the door. “Ladies first,” Stan said, holding it open for her. Barb stuck out her tongue and made the raspberry sound known, appropriately enough for where the station was located, as a Bronx Cheer. “So articulate, Moore,” he said, shaking his head.

EXTRACT FOR
When Fantasy Meets Reality 
(James Darwin and Barbara Moore)


Chapter 1

“Live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse,” Stan Goldman said as he stared at the naked young woman lying on one of the morgue’s examining tables. He didn’t know enough about the deceased to swear to the first, but she was certainly young and her corpse was lovely, among the nicest that Stan had seen in his long career with the NYPD Major Crimes Unit, and he had seen quite a few.
“Amanda Berger, 18 years old,” Charlie Yang pronounced, like a museum guide pointing out the high spots of the collection. Yang was the Medical Examiner, or ME, with whom Stan had worked on any number of cases, and Stan had learned to put a lot of trust in what he said. Most recently, just a few months ago, Charlie had helped Stan solve the most celebrated case of his career- the one the media had called “The Bronx Crux Murders”-in which young women had been crucified, just like in the good old days of the Roman Empire, but in abandoned warehouses in New York’s least fashionable borough.
“Cause of death, strangulation by rope,” Charlie continued, pointing out the rope marks on the deceased’s neck and the underside of her chin. Detective Moore flinched for a moment at Charlie’s discourse. That would be Detective Barbara Moore, Stan’s partner and bedmate since they had worked together on the Bronx Crux case.
Though it pained Stan to admit it, despite it having been her first big case in the Unit, Moore had provided a key insight that led to solving the case. He owed her for that one. On the other hand, she had pulled a stupid stunt on him and ended up kidnapped and crucified in her own right by the murderers and it had been Stan who had found her just in time to save her life, almost getting himself killed in the process.
“You OK, Moore?” Stan asked. “No mutilation, no gaping wounds. I’ve seen much worse and so have you.”
“I don’t know, Stan,” she replied. “Maybe it’s that she looks so young and innocent, such a tragic waste of life. For some reason, a chill went down my spine for a second. But, I’m fine now.”
Stan looked at her a bit concerned, but Barb quickly regained her professional demeanor. “Where was she found?” she asked. “Not in an abandoned warehouse, I hope?”
Yang smiled. “Nope, hanging by a rope around her neck from a beam in the attic of her parents’ house in Riverdale.” Riverdale was an enclave within the Bronx that looked more like a tony suburb in Westchester or Connecticut than like part of the city. Stan didn’t know it that well-not that crimes weren’t committed there, but they were typically things like insider stock trading and money laundering, which fell under the jurisdiction of the FBI, rather than the NYPD.
Yang continued, “Her father found her this morning around 7. Estimated time of death was yesterday evening between 9 and 11 PM. Cause of death-strangulation. We’ve gone over every inch of her body and there are no signs of struggle at all. None.”
“So you’re saying it’s suicide?” Stan asked.
Charlie nodded. “That’s how I’ll have to rule it unless something else turns up.”
“So why did you call us?”
Charlie frowned. “It may be suicide. There was an overturned chair under the spot where she was hanging. She certainly could have climbed up on it and then kicked it away. But there are a couple of odd things.”
Stan looked at Yang, interested. He’d learned to pay attention to Charlie’s hunches. They were rarely too far off base. “Like what?” he asked.
“Well, first, she was naked. Her clothes were discarded on the floor of the attic.”
“Some suicides strip naked,” Moore said. “I’m not sure why, maybe they want to leave the world as they entered it. Maybe they want to shock those who find them even more. Who can say?”
“Sure,” Yang replied. “The other odd thing is that there doesn’t seem to be a note. Not on paper, Facebook, Twitter, nowhere that anyone has found yet.”
“That isn’t unheard of either,” Moore said.
“I agree,” Yang said. “It’s nothing I can put my finger on and there’s a good chance I’m totally off base, but I think you guys should have a look. Talk to her parents, friends, teachers, therapists if she had any. If it comes back that she was deeply depressed and talked of suicide all the time, you can close the case and I’ll buy you guys a nice dinner at Shanghai Garden.”
Stan felt hungry all of a sudden, though he had had lunch just a couple of hours ago. Shanghai Garden was a wonderful restaurant in the large and vibrant Chinatown in Flushing, Queens, where Charlie Yang had grown up.
“So what’s your theory, Charlie?” Stan asked. “Was she drugged and then hung up?”
“Her preliminary tox screen is negative,” Yang replied. “She had pizza an hour or two before she died, pepperoni and mushrooms, but no alcohol. There was some caffeine in the blood, so she likely drank some soda, or possibly coffee or tea, but certainly not an unusual amount. We’re running some more detailed tests, but that’s all we have for the moment.”
“You know, Charlie,” Stan said, “If it were anyone else, I’d say close the books, call it a suicide and move on. But if you smell something a bit off here, it’s worth a bit of digging. Let’s head back to the station, Moore, and run this by Reggie.”


Chapter 2

“What are my two star detectives up to now?” boomed Lieutenant Reginald Jones as he lifted his size 14 shoes off his desk, where they rested next to a framed picture of him dunking the ball against Villanova back when he was a college basketball star being looked at very seriously by a pack of NBA scouts. A career ending knee injury had killed those prospects, but Reggie’s size and street smarts had served him well in the NYPD.
“Charlie Yang’s got a bee in his bonnet about some girl who killed herself up in Riverdale,” Stan said.
Reggie glanced at Barb, looking for her take on this. “A young woman,” she replied, stressing the final word of that phrase, “18 years old, hanging in the attic of her parents’ home. Charlie feels the picture is missing some details.”
“Charlie’s a smart guy,” Reggie replied. Barb and Stan both nodded agreement. “Don’t suppose it would hurt to go talk to the parents. Could be a good way to ease yourself back into the swing of things, Moore.”
Detective Moore nodded. She had just returned to duty a few days before, after almost three months of rehab recovering from the injuries to her wrists and feet caused by being nailed to a heavy wooden cross by the perps, who had expected that she would breathe her last up there.
“How’s it feel to be back?” Reggie asked.
“Terrific, Reggie,” Moore replied. “I was going stir crazy. You can only do physical therapy for so many hours a day. But, at least I’ve learned the anatomical names of muscles I didn’t even know I had.”
“Well, we missed you, Moore,” Reggie replied, “Especially, this guy,” he added, indicating Stan. “Goldman was moping around the squad room like a love-sick puppy the whole time you were gone.”
Stan blushed. “Not so, Reggie,” he protested weakly. “I was working cases back with Dick, just like I’ve done for years.” Dick Leary was Stan’s regular partner, who had gone on vacation just as the crucifixion case hit, resulting in Stan being paired with Barb.
“Truth be told, Stan, mostly you were fielding calls from literary agents wanting to get the rights to your guys tell-all book about the case,” Reggie said, chuckling. “How’s that going anyway?”
Stan looked at Barb. Barb looked at Stan. Stan spoke first. “We’ve signed with one, and she’s shopping it around to publishers. Nothing firm yet.”
“So that means you’re still a member in good standing of New York’s finest and my detective squad, right, Stan?”
Stan leaned forward. “I’ve got the retirement papers in a folder in my desk. I’ve looked at them, but nothing is signed.”
Reggie smiled. “Then I suggest you get your ass outta that chair, and you too Moore, and go up and talk to that suicide’s parents. But, try to be diplomatic, Stan. They’ve lost a daughter and there’s no reason so far to think that any crime was committed, so they don’t have to talk to you unless they want to.”
Stan looked offended. “I’m always diplomatic, Reggie,” he protested. Barb chuckled and rolled her eyes.
“If you’re smart, you’ll let Moore do most of the talking.”
“Don’t I always?” Stan replied. Barb kicked him on the shin-not too hard, but hard enough. “Oh, assaulting a police officer, are you?” he said.
“Alright, you two,” Reggie interjected, “I gotta call downtown about a few things. Let me know if you turn up anything, OK?”
Barb and Stan rose and headed for the door. “Ladies first,” Stan said, holding it open for her. Barb stuck out her tongue and made the raspberry sound known, appropriately enough for where the station was located, as a Bronx Cheer. “So articulate, Moore,” he said, shaking his head.

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