Lendle

It starts with a knock at the door, something reclusive ex-detective Garrison Gage hates. When it’s his teenage neighbor, whose girlfriend has gone missing just before Thanksgiving, Gage gets reluctantly pulled back into his old line of work—and ends up facing some fears of his own in Oregon’s dark woods.

A short story introducing Garrison Gage, who also appears in THE GRAY AND GUILTY SEA.


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EXCERPT:

IT WAS A KID, sixteen or seventeen by the looks of him, painfully thin and soaked to the bone. His short-cropped brown hair, made nearly black by the rain, was plastered against his forehead. His Stanford sweatshirt and acid wash jeans clung to his bony frame. The skin on his neck was cratered like a moonscape, the survival scars of a nasty bout with acne.


The pounding rain made tiny white explosions on the gravel driveway, and crackled on the overgrown ferns surrounding his house. “Well?” Gage said. “Candy bars for the track team? A subscription to Good Housekeeping so the band can go to Disneyland?”

“No, sir,” the kid said.

“You look familiar.”

“I’m your neighbor, sir. Marty Kleppington. I live—um, just on the other side of that hedge.”

That explained it. The kid had just been a runt when Gage moved in five years earlier, hardly recognizable in the young man before him, but he remembered a few terse exchanges when the kid’s basketball bounced through the arbor vitae.


“Well, congratulations,” Gage said. “Now if you’ll excuse me—”

“I’d like to hire you, sir.”

It was such a wholly unexpected thing to say that Gage actually froze—door cracked open, frigid air snaking past him into the house. “I think you’re confused,” Gage said.


He didn’t open the door. He couldn’t see the kid’s face, but there was a long pause.

“I know what you do, sir,” the kid said. “I know—I know you were once a great detective. Garrison Gage. That’s you.”

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