Mystery and Crime Fiction posted July 22, 2021 Chapters: 2 3 -4- 5... 

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A Detective John Dutton Novelette

A chapter in the book Shape Shifter

Shape-Shifter Part Four

by Brett Matthew West

A barbaric pack of news type savages intercepted Dutton and Ballister as they made tracks for the parking garage. At least two dozen reporters converged on the scene. The hawk-eyed bloodsuckers blocked the path and would not allow them to pass. The press corps knew Dutton well.

"Why Nurse Fairchild and when are you going to capture the sadistic lunatic who killed her?" One correspondent squawked above the chaos.

Dutton saw the Channel 17 news helicopter fly directly over his head and knew they thrived on pure commotion.

Someone else bellowed, "Detective Dutton, we hear this latest slaughter is connected to the Karl Adler attacks. Any truth to that report?"

Dutton shook his head and whispered so only Ballister heard him, "Let me talk to these clowns, Mark, and get this insanity over with so we can get on to our investigation."

Ballister nodded agreement. Dutton fought to control his impatience. He strolled towards the cameras that sought his attention. A wave of his hands hushed the crowd. Dutton understood how visual newsmongers were. That included the wordsmiths. As far as Dutton was concerned they all watched, and tried to copy, far too many movie and television personalities. He himself despised the hoopla.

A thin smile crossed Dutton's face. He volunteered, "I'll answer your questions as best I can."

Raw-boned, a copper head stepped closer. Dutton noticed his Salvation Army appearance. A camera flash exploded in front of Dutton, but he was used to them. With the press there was never any way to predict their first question.

Dutton told them, "As you can well see, I just came here. Therefore, at the moment I don't know much to offer you."

"What about the Adler case? Is this murder of Nurse Fairchild tied into that fiasco or not?" A chipmunk-perky female screeched.

Dutton hoped she was wittier than she seemed. He rolled his eyes and looked at her, "We're going to follow all leads, Edwina, but for now, until we have something concrete to talk about, this interview's over."

A reporter hollered from the back of the group, "Why did they bring you in on this analysis, Dutton?"

"Roderick, I'm here because every now and then I get real lucky. Maybe I'll surprise you and get lucky again," Dutton responded with a touch of sarcasm, "right now, I have to get in the trenches. If and when we have something, I promise, cross my heart and hope to die, and all that hunky-dory stuff, I'll be the first to tell you."

Dutton pulled Ballister away from the inferno.

"That was pretty good. You managed to confuse the living hell out of all of them. They couldn't tell if you were coming or going. Well done!"

"Way past their normal blank expressions," Dutton agreed. "They don't give a rip about Dorothea Fairchild. Only what sells the most copies or draws the most viewers. Not one inquired about her co-workers or family, or how they responded to her murder. These nosy news collectors don't get what's right before their eyes."

"Simplemindedness is their true forte," Ballister said.

Police Commissioner Conrad Zigler joined them and provided a friendly cajole, "Make nice with the news. This is a high-volatile emotional moment."

"That's just what I don't want to do," Dutton replied. He felt the whole Adler case had morphed into a bad storm about to happen.

Zigler patted Dutton's shoulder. "I want that sidewinding son-of-a-bitch Adler. And, I want him now! That's why I personally assigned you to this case, Dutton. You're the best I have."

Dutton stared at the Commissioner. He knew the Task Force leader delivered his thunderbolt in his typical electrifying manner. Even on quaaludes or meth, Zigler could not have made his stunning proclamation any clearer.

"Say that again. What was your last comment?" Dutton wanted to know.

"You're here to stop Adler and get Mayor Diaz from breathing down my neck. That's what I need you to do. You have free reign, Dutton. Bring me that bastard's head on a platter!"


usa police car, by Hagan, W. selected to complement my novelette.

So, thanks Hagan, W., for the use of your picture. It goes so nicely with my novelette.

If you want to get caught up with the other parts of my novelette click on the blue numbers on the top of the page.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Hagan W. at

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