Blog Tour Extract ~ Cold Desert Sky by Rod Reynolds

Hi everyone,

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Rod Reynolds’ latest book, Cold Desert Sky. I’ll be sharing an extract with you all further down, but first here’s the all-important bookish information 🙂

About the author:

Rod Reynolds.jpg

After a successful career in advertising, working as a media buyer, Rod Reynolds took City University’s two-year MA in crime writing, where he started The Dark Inside, his first Charlie Yates mystery. This was followed by the second book in the series, Black Night Falling, in 2016. He lives in London with his wife and two daughters.

About the book:

Cold Desert Sky.jpg

No one wanted to say it to me, that the girls were dead. But I knew.

Late 1946 and Charlie Yates and his wife Lizzie have returned to Los Angeles, trying to stay anonymous in the city of angels.

But when Yates, back in his old job at the Pacific Journal, becomes obsessed by the disappearance of two aspiring Hollywood starlets, Nancy Hill and Julie Desjardins, he finds it leads him right back to his worst fear: legendary Mob boss Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel, a man he once crossed, and whose shadow he can’t shake.

As events move from LA to the burgeoning Palace of Sin in the desert, Las Vegas – where Siegel is preparing to open his new Hotel Casino, The Flamingo – Rod Reynolds once again shows his skill at evoking time and place. With Charlie caught between the FBI and the mob, can he possibly see who is playing who, and find out what really happened to the two girls?

Cold Desert Sky by Rod Reynolds

Extract:

CHAPTER ONE

DECEMBER 1946

No one wanted to say it to me, that the girls were dead. But I knew.

Maybe the desperation showed on my face. No one wants to disappoint a zealot when he’s coming at you, demanding answers and looking for a sign that his search isn’t futile. The ninth day since they went missing, and every street rat and lowlife I could collar told me just enough to get me off their back: no clue/they probably split town/I’ll ask around. Walked out thinking they’d soaped me and that I didn’t know how this would end, the same as ever – two broken bodies in a funeral home or some godforsaken alley in this bullshit City of Angels.

Sunlight came at me between two buildings; late afternoon, already low in the sky – winter’s touch on an otherwise bright day. I bought a newspaper from a vendor, leaned against the wall and pretended to skim the headlines, front and back. I’d already been through it for real that morning, found no mention of them. Now it was just cover to scope the diner across the street. The joint was a corner dive on North La Brea, name of Wilt’s, nothing going for it save for the pretty broad dressed in Mexican getup out front, peddling the brisket special and looking like she’d sooner be someplace else.

 


Most everything I’d done so far was conducted in the hours of darkness; this was the first daylight meet I’d risked. Not my choice, but short notice was Whitey’s condition when we’d arranged it that morning. Whitey Lufkins – a lifetime losing gambler who stemmed his losses turning snitch for anyone with enough green. I knew him from my stint at the LA Times when he was a bottom-rung stop for every legman looking for street talk. Now that same street talk held that he was in over his head with his bookmaker – and his readiness to meet suggested it was true. He didn’t know it’d be me on the other side of the table, though; caution came first. Whitey thought he was seeing a private dick on the missing girls’ trail; I had to ask Lizzie to make the calls to set it up, and she played the dispassionate secretary without much call for pretence.

I was early but I spotted Whitey through the window, already inside. I stayed where I was, waiting and watching, looking for anything out of place. It was automatic now, had been since we returned to LA three weeks before.

I’d felt it as soon as we set foot back in the county, and Liz-zie the same. It’d taken less than a day to confirm that Bugsy Siegel was searching for us. Buck Acheson, my editor at the Pacific Journal, was the one to break the news; a rushed call from a payphone on Wilshire the day we got back, Buck saying he’d picked up on it a week before, while Lizzie and I were still upstate. His voice, his words – he played it all as low key as he could in the circumstance, but his sign off was resounding: ‘I’m pleased you’re back and your job’s still yours ifyou want it, but Charlie, it’s best ifyou stay away from the officesfor now.’ Buck wasn’t one to worry for himself, so the meaning was clear: don’t make it easy for him to find me.

 


The city that used to be mine, and now I couldn’t move for looking over my shoulder.

I let five minutes go by. Whitey fidgeted with his cup and checked his watch twice. Two men left the diner but no one else went in. About half the tables were occupied, more seated along the counter. No one that worried me on first glance, but who the hell knew any more? After Hot Springs. After Texarkana—

Whitey checked his watch again, looked ready to bail. I cracked my knuckles and crossed the street, went inside. He was facing the door, saw me as soon as I did. He had a pallor about him, where the name came from, but worse than I remembered and accentuated now by pockmarks on his cheeks. He made to get up then stopped himself halfway, caught in two minds. I slid in opposite him.

‘Charlie?’

‘Have a seat.’

Previous reviews:

Black Night Falling by Rod Reynolds

Check out the blog tour:

COLD DESERT SKY_BLOG TOUR POSTER.jpg

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