In this excerpt, Detective Mock arrives at an isolated spot to meet William Stone, a reclusive figure who’s operated in the shadows of Georgia politics for decades. Stone is a suspect in Jimmy Lee Hightower’s murder.

 The only other cars were a white Chevrolet Laguna, a blue Ford pickup and a black Lincoln. The Lincoln was backed in to the curb, and a very dark-skinned man with a tight, scarred face was standing by the front bumper, looking casually at Mock. He was huge, standing about six-six, and about half that wide. His black suit looked like it was straining to contain him.

Mock nodded at him and started up toward the picnic tables.

“Mr. Mock?” the big man called softly. In his black derby, clean white shirt, black tie and black shoes, he looked like a very uncordial undertaker.

“Yeah?”

“Mr. Stone said to bring you. He’s waiting for you.” He held the Lincoln’s back door open. Mock hesitated for a second, then walked over.

“My name is Tiny Weaver. I drive for him.” He extended a hand the size of a dinner plate, and Mock shook it.

“Cleveland Mock.” Thinking, That lump in your left armpit is not your lunch.

“Mr. Mock, I need for you to put this on.” Tiny held up a black blindfold.

Mock cocked an eyebrow. “If I say no?”

Tiny shrugged, and it looked like a landslide. “Then you don’t see Mr. Stone.”

Mock looked at him for a long moment, then nodded. Tiny slipped the blindfold on him. “Watch your head now, Mr. Mock,” Tiny said as Mock bent into the car. “There you go.”

The Lincoln smelled of cigar smoke and bourbon. As they rolled off, Mock idly wondered if those would be the last aromas he ever smelled. He shifted a bit in the seat and Tiny said, “Not much farther.”

“This seems a bit extreme.”

He heard a grunt, then: “He a careful man, Mr. Mock. It done helped him out-live a lotta other men.”

 From The Moaning Bench © 2016. Coming this month.