PAYBACK meets COLLATERAL meets the mean streets of Atlanta, Sergeant Malcolm Hobbs and his X-Men Homicide Squad in this tale of suspense
In the dead of night, an Atlanta neighborhood erupts in sudden violence and introduces a new case file for Sergeant Malcolm Hobbs and his elite X-Men Homicide Squad. This investigation exposes evidence that takes on an extremely personal note for the X-Men when the identity of the victims are Harold Castle and Lamont Hendricks, tough but respected members of the Atlanta Police Department’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit or NEU.
Meantime, Fabrice Mousassi is an ex-con in town with a few days to kill some crooks. With no honor among these thieves, he needs to settle the score and right the wrong done to him and his partner-in-crime, Julianna Delacroix. They don’t want the entire $25 million; they didn’t earn that. They only want the share that they did earn. No one will stop them from getting what’s theirs. Not their former colleagues, not the police and not anyone else who dares to challenge the Mousassi-Delacroix team. No one.
The head-on collision between the unstoppable forces of Team Mousassi-Delacroix and the immovable objects of the X-Men Homicide Squad is inevitable and something has to give. The intensity of these entities and the connections they reveal with the seedy sides of Atlanta’s criminal underworld spurs the pursuit for revenge and its multimillion-dollar payday on one side and justice to solve the crimes in the swiftest manner possible on the other.
However for Hobbs in particular, this maze reignites still healing wounds from his painful past that may finally explode and eventually lead to his professional and personal disintegration.
Cortez Law III is the author of four independently published books. The romance novel, My Brother’s Keeper (2001) and the Atlanta X-Men Homicide suspense/mystery novels, The Serialist (2010), Kremlin Tide (2014) and Cold Lick (2015). Cortez presently resides in the Metro Atlanta, Georgia area. Please visit him online at http://www.cortezlaw.net
Smashwords Author Profile: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CortezLawIII
Smashwords Book Page: Cold Lick:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/cortezlawiii
Q & A: AUTHOR
1) What is the origin of Cold Lick?
I started from several genesis points if you will. One of them was the missing persons angle in particular missing children. Not so much from a when did it happen, but more from what happens later in life perspective. Two and I guess three simultaneously, I always want my main characters to deal with issues of faith. So I combined, let’s say, ‘complications’, in the police department with how those complications affect the biblical faith of some of the Atlanta detectives. Fourthly, I wanted some highly motivated criminals operate from a revenge motif that drove the story’s narrative with increased momentum. Like the book cover copy states: “…The head-on collision between the unstoppable forces of Team Mousassi-Delacroix and the immovable objects of the X-Men Homicide Squad is inevitable and something has to give…”
2) How important is family to these characters?
Family, you hope with all people, is a critical facet to their daily lives. If all else fails, aside from God Almighty, man you pray for that strong family support. God doesn’t error with his choices of family relationships. He put us all where we’re supposed to be and that includes our different nationalities, races, ethnicities and cultures. For the Cold Lick folk, I get to play the role of creator with the little ‘c’. As such, there’s a common brokenness that we real people can certainly relate to and like the realms of fantasy and reality, tragedy and pain and hurt to varying degrees will always present it and themselves until the Lord says that’s enough to death and the grave. But how they all deal with it I hope strengthens their characters and encourage us all in the real world that despite those negative or challenging circumstances, we too can overcome evil. Oh, and better to do it with good like the Bible teaches. Some find out that’s easier said than done and the chips fell like a mountain everywhere.
3) Do you ever have writer’s block?
Ah, that age old question. I’ll tell you what, I’ve experienced its first cousin called, Time Management. A writer writes; that’s what he does. But man, if I don’t clock myself every day and that means the allotment of so much time per checklist item for the day, I wonder where the time went. The potential time drain? The marketing! Whew! When you start from scratch to build that brand that no one has ever heard of, you have to spend a GREAT deal of your day doing just that. As an independent writer/solopreneur, you have to balance the craft of writing with the varied components of marketing. You want my writer’s block, there it is. Marketing! LOL!
4) You write crime stories. How do you handle the gruesome details of homicide cases especially for the Christian reader?
For one thing, I don’t believe I step over into excess with descriptive crime scenes. Of course I describe what the detectives see, but I don’t think there’s an elaborate overkill to it. I’d like to classify my stories as a ‘PG-13’ movie rating and not today’s PG-13, which I think can be more of an ‘R’ rating. I give enough to establish what’s there, the detectives or forensic/crime scene professionals assess the findings and I move on. Same with the action sequences.
5) What are your goals as a writer?
What I’d like to do, to achieve is create some variance in the AACM and AAM, those being the African-American Christian Market and the African-American Market or General Market. By variance, I simply mean a greater range of genre success in the market. These markets love the romance stories of several characters trying to find the right man or woman, but is that all these markets want? Where are the other mysteries, suspense/thrillers, horror, science fiction and fantasy writers/stories? Denzel Washington, Wil Smith, Wesley Snipes, Morgan Freeman, Ice Cube, Laurence Fishburne and their African-American peers don’t headline romantic stories every time out at the box office. The flip side is also true with Halle Berry, Vanessa Williams, Kerry Washington, Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Union, Viola Davis and the list goes on and on. They don’t only star in various romantic tales. Diversity is the word. Writers of shared mindsets with me face an obstacle that few have conquered. Namely Walter Mosley and I can think of few others with his longevity. Maybe the time has come for that diversity to take some ground in the market. In addition to all of that, I pray for readers of other racial backgrounds who enjoy stories of mystery, suspense and thrills while simultaneously just as absorbed by the humanity of the characters in the world in which they live.
Intersection of Foundry & Elm Streets
Vine City Neighborhood
Irving ‘Smack’ Black, Jr., ‘membered one of his movie heroes Gordon Geico or Gekko or whatever his name been was great philosophizin’, he ain’t never lied, ‘cause greed was good. Whether it been was Wall Street or insurance, he ain’t never known greed to be anything other than good. Right now, this homeboy was good and greedy and hopefully a little lucky, in additional. Lucky enough not to squeezed the trigger on his .380 semi-automatic. It been chillin’ in his front pants beneath his black hoodie hidin’ under a short brown leather jacket liked bottles of Cristal in a bucket a ice durin’ a Saturday night 70s ‘Blue Lights in the Basement House Party’ in the SWATs. He needed a breathin’ mask after all that been was done in his thinkin’.
He chilled with his back kissin’ the rear fender of a suped up 90s Cadillac and he faced a ol’ school Toyota Corollary. He kept quiet ‘cause this part of Atlanta was so fulled up with drugs and all that came with it that it was always bein’ raided by Red Dog and Narcotics Units of the ATL. They gots good reason to be out in Vine City and so did he. He peeped around the left side of the fender and there it been was: Like fifty yards away at Foundry and Vine Streets, couple a brothas eased down Vine and stood next to a apartment compound and the bent down ‘Stop’ sign. They watchin’ everything and everyone and everybody and everywhere and all them other everys.
His breathin’ raced now. He ain’t never prayed much in his 37 years mainly ‘cause again he was so lucky in his job. Plus, his .380 ain’t a bad god to have at his side whenever he needed a loyalty friend. Ain’t let ‘im down befoe, why tonight gotta be dysfunctionality at all? Dysfunctionality. Yeah, the sistahs gave up the lovin’ to a brotha with a good vocationary. Yeah, they did. He told himself to chill that and checked out the scene down the street. That’s it. Bags of cocaine and thick wads of cash like a sistah in baby-got-back-Apple Bottom jeans! He tasted the Cristal now!
Just as he started to shuffle backward toward the curb for the right side of the Caddy, a black van cruised straight up at him. He ducked and crawled under the Caddy. After the van passed him, his right hand founded the .380 and showed it with a stiff arm. He aimed lyin’ on his stomach tryin’ to spot a better view with another car parked in front of him. Motor oil and gas stanked on the pavement below him, which meant it was on his leather coat! Ain’t that some dysfunctionality chitlins with corn kernels and dirt at the bottom of the pot? Focus, G’!
As the van slowed down near the buy, he heard convo’. A little get-to-know-ya’ small talk from the van ‘foe the real deal jumped off. Now, two brothas in dark clothes popped out the front of the van. Red light, stop; yellow light, caution and slowed down…the green ain’t comin’ fast enough for everybody, anybody, somebody, nobody and all the other bodys includin’ him. Well, that changed like now, a’ight. He strained to slide with the grit and grime and gas and oil under the Caddy. That’s when a little somethin’, somethin’ jumped off with raised voices and gun hammer clickins. Yeah, it was on now.
From his snake belly crawlin’ spot, the van brothas gots the drop on the local homies. One man snagged the big blue canvas bag and the other latched on to the second black canvas bag. And the van boys gots on black masks, likewise. He needed to flow with his plan ‘foe them Red Dogs and Narcs crashed the party. Ain’t no house lights flicked on yet and that was mo’ luck and mo’ good.
Then ta-a-dow! What was goin’ on with a dark four-door sedan stoppin’ at the corner a Graves and Foundry. Might be APD U.C. The driver kicked a little gas and made the short trip up Foundry and stopped in front a the van. Two mo’ dudes in baggy dark clothin’ and black masks announced they presence like Santa Claus and Rudolph at Xmas. ‘Cept they used .9mms aimed at the van boys. Man, this ain’t no good. He didn’t figure on usin’ his own black mask hidden in his inside jacket pocket since he black as night moreover, but with all this noise now, he ain’t got no choice.
He flipped his vision on the scene and into his jacket pocket, the scene, his jacket pocket, the scene, his jacket pocket. Then shots shocked his body like he got shot! His head slammed into the under the carriage of the Caddy. He froze liked a snow cone. Voices panickin’ and like God in the Bible said, “Let there be light” and there been was in a house needin’ Extreme Makeover ‘Hood Edition. He scrambled like eggs in a cast iron pan to his feet. Now, he tripped out so bad he wanted to snag a handful a ol’ cigarette butts layin’ ‘bout and smoke ‘em right there. Heart beatin’ and sweat pourin’…body and mind quittin’, but naw, he ain’t goin’ nowhere without the score, baby.
Mask on and his mind tellin’ him he had heart, he breathed three times, bended down and ran along the parked cars and the concrete curb with the .380’s hammer cocked. From the front of the Caddy, he saw two men down on the ground. The van brothas. The dark sedan dudes pointin’ them shiny black 9 mils at them apartment/stop brothas ‘bout gave ‘im a Fred Sanford, “This is the big one”, heart attack momentumum. They arguin’ somethin’, somethin’ ‘bout, ‘Can’t take the money, fool!’ When he started risin’ up, mo’ shots woked up the dead or alive. This time the apartment/stop brothas, unarmed, they fault, just died. Them dark sedan dudes tripped out now. They runnin’ for they sedan when mo’ lights turned the night into a Smoky the Bear fire. Seconds after that and he ran along that curb behind cars so close they right across from him now, he down low and aimed again when mo’ shots from some brothas on his side of the street tap danced the road and the dark sedan. Funny thing was though he ain’t heard no laughin’, the dark sedan dudes ain’t fired back in self-defensive. All they done was run to the sedan with both bags in hand. Then mo’ shots breaked some of the sedan’s windows. The driver dropped his bag as the sedan rolled through the shootin’. Footsteps pounded the sidewalk for him and he hated to do it, but he ducked under another car and played dead. Those feet ran passed and behind him. Screamin’, shoutin’, guns firin’, feet runnin’, tires squealin’. Chaos, man. Again, through that snake belly spot, the brothas who done did the shootin’ and runnin’ ran across the road and dragged the two apartment/stop brothas down Elm Street and outta sight. It was now or never, Irving.
He checked the area everywhere and all those other everys. Saw the black canvas bag ‘bout three feet in front of ‘im. The blue bag just sat next to the two dead van brothas. Too far away and now mo’ sirens, mo’ sirens, mo’ sirens, mo’ sirens. He dove for the bag that was closest. He heard mo’ gunshots around the corner. Luckily for him, he ain’t parked around that corner. He fastwalked west on Foundry and hung a quick left on Sunset Avenue. That’s where he parked his tricked out green Mazda Hatchback 323 that would make them West Coast Customs and Pimp My Ride TV shows proud. His imagination seen cops and ambulance on the scene now. The gunshots stopped. So did the screamin’, shoutin’, runnin’ and squealin’. Peace, man. When he unlocked his Mazda, he thew the bag on the passenger front seat. Still hyped all over, he lost the temptation not to check inside. Was it been the drugs or the money? Unzipped the black bag, either one was a solid, and hello Benjamins! He laughed lookin’ around as he did. This was easier than he ever thought it could been was. It all been a part of his philosophizin’ strategically that went down a somethin’, somethin’ liked this: Firstly, ‘Done did unto others befoe they done did unto himself’. Secondarily, ‘Life helped them who then helped themselves’. Thirdarily, and the bestest one, ‘Revenge was a dish bestest served by takin’ everything from anyone, everyone, someone but not no one 365/24/7’. Yeah, baby!
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