Hollywood Notorious: A Hollywood Alphabet Thriller Series (A Hollywood Alphabet Series Thriller Book 14)

HOLLYWOOD NOTORIOUS

 

 

MZ Kelly

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PROLOGUE

 

TAKEN

 

My name is Corinne Williams. I’m ten years old, but I will be eleven in just a few weeks. Mama was going to give me a birthday party and even let me invite a couple of boys. I told her I wanted Jimmy Gore and Larry Waldrop to come.

“They’re not like most boys,” I told her, even though it wasn’t true.

Mama doesn’t know that Larry tried to kiss me after class last month. I pretended that I didn’t like it, but I did. I know that I like boys because I’m getting older and there’s something about them that makes me feel funny inside. It’s funny in a good way, I think, but I’m still confused about everything.

I talked to my friend Sally about this. She said that she has the same feelings I do, and even told me once that she wants to do more than just kiss a boy. She then showed me some pictures on her iPad that scared me. I’m not ready for anything like that. It was kind of gross.

It’s dark here and it’s cold. There isn’t much to eat, either, but I’ve decided to make the best of my situation. There’s a bed and a small desk with a lamp in the corner of the room. It’s not really a room. In fact, I’m not really sure where I am. All I know is that after I was taken, the man put a blanket around me and told me not to scream. After that, everything was really dark, until I was brought down here.

I say down here because I’m pretty sure I’m underground. The cord to the lamp goes up the side of the room, but I’m not really in a room. It’s sort of like a cave, but there’s no way inside anymore. I think maybe that’s because there was a door, or something like a door, at the top where the dirt stairs end. I can’t be sure because before the man left me he said that I needed to sleep for a long time and he gave me two white pills.

I have a schedule now—sort of. It’s how I spend my days. In the morning, or what I think might be morning, I use the bathroom, which isn’t really a bathroom. There’s a bucket and some water. When I’m finished, I wash and then get one of the packages out of the wood crate. I mix it with some water, then pour it in a bowl. Some of the packages are marked breakfast, and the others are lunch or dinner. I like the spaghetti best, even though it doesn’t taste like real spaghetti—not like the kind Mama makes.

I try not to think about Mama. The first few days I was here she was almost the only thing on my mind. It made me sad, so I try to keep my thoughts focused now. There’s even some books here, over by the desk. Most of them aren’t something I like to read, like stuff about wars and people who do bad things. But I found one book that I really like called
The
Velveteen Rabbit
.

It’s a story about a boy who gets a toy rabbit for Christmas. The boy ignores the rabbit and plays with his other toys. That makes the rabbit sad, but the smartest of the other toys, the Skin Horse, tells the rabbit that toys can magically become real because of the love from children.

One night, the boy’s grandma gives the rabbit to the boy to sleep with and it becomes his favorite and he thinks the rabbit is real. Then the boy becomes sick and the rabbit is taken away. The rabbit cries, but his tears cause a magic flower to appear. A fairy steps out of the flower and tells the rabbit that because he is old and shabby and real, she will make him into a real rabbit. After the rabbit becomes real, he goes and finds the boy again.

The story reminds me of a little stuffed doll that I carried around when I was little. It seemed real to me, so I called her Nancy. I don’t know why I chose the name, but I liked it. I wish I had Nancy again.

It’s late now—I think—and I’m going to sleep. I have a blanket and I’m going to pull it up around me and try very hard to remember Nancy. I’m going to love her with all my heart. Maybe if I try my hardest, Nancy will be real again, just like the rabbit.

There’s something in the book that says when you are real you can’t be hurt. I’m not sure what it means to the rabbit to be real, but I think it has something to do with love—that when you love something hard enough you can’t ever be hurt.

I hope that’s true because I’m going to love Nancy with all my strength tonight. Then, maybe the man won’t come back, because I don’t like what he said.

The man told me he’s going to kill me.

ONE

 

“The Godfather. Really?”

I glanced over at Leo as he broke all the speed limits, racing toward Park Hills, a cemetery overlooking the city. “His real name is Harold Gooseberry,” I said, “but everyone calls him ‘the Godfather’. According to Natalie and Mo, he’s made a fortune over the past year, not to mention a lot of enemies, from his music and reality TV show.”

Natalie and Mo are my best friends and neighbors. They’re experts on everything Hollywood, including its latest celebrity bad boy who had gone from reality TV star to actor to murder suspect in short order.

It was almost midnight and a heavy fog had moved in. My partner weaved through the traffic and said, “I saw a couple of episodes of his TV show. It was pretty bad.”

I hadn’t seen the show, but knew its name. “
Bad to the Bone
. I heard he’s known as the intimidator, basically in conflict with anyone that crosses him.”

I should probably explain how I came to be chasing a man known as the Godfather through the streets of Hollywood toward a cemetery. For that you’re going to need a little background.

My name is Kate Sexton. My partner, Leo Kingsley, and I work homicide out of Section One, a specialized unit that handles some of the department’s highest profile cases and operates from Hollywood Station. My canine partner, Bernie, was in the back seat, tongue out, saliva slavering. He was probably dreaming about a late night snack consisting of a Godfather drumstick.

Our suspect’s most recent crimes involved the Godfather being a suspect in the hit and run death of his manager, not to mention his drug dealing. We’d gotten word from his ex-girlfriend about an hour earlier that he was headed for the cemetery to have it out with a couple of drug dealing rappers.

Leo went on. “From what I’ve seen on TV, the Godfather is about four hundred pounds of mean. It’s something we need to keep in mind.”

My partner was a big man himself, but probably weighed in a couple hundred pounds less than our suspect. Leo was African-American, in his late fifties, with more than thirty years on the job. He’d recently joined Section One because, in his words, “I miss the action of working the streets.” He was definitely seeing his share of action.

“According to my friends, he likes three things: guns, food, and women,” I said. We blasted through an intersection and bottomed out. “Not sure about the order.”

“We’re about five out. You might want to alert the others.”

I used my phone and got Darby Hall on the line. He and his new partner, Buck McCade, were in the car behind us. “We’re getting close to the cemetery. According to our suspect’s ex-girlfriend, he’s got a drug beef with a couple of rappers. She thinks there’s going to be a shootout, so we need to be prepared.”

“Shootout at the deadhead corral,” Darby said. “No worries. The cowboy’s got his six-shooter and some rope.”

His reference to the cowboy was the fact that his new partner was originally from Texas, sometimes wore a Stetson, and had a southern drawl. Buck McCade was also my ex-boyfriend. It’s a long story, so I’ll fill in the blanks for you later.

“Park Hills dead ahead,” Leo said a couple of minutes later.

I wasn’t sure if he was trying to be funny. I saw through the fog there was a car parked in the circular entrance just beyond the cemetery gates.

“The gold Escalade is his,” I said. “Not sure about…” Leo cranked hard on the wheel as we both heard an all-too-familiar sound. I yelled, “Shots fired!”

TWO

 

We pulled over and took cover behind a large granite monument, where I thanked God for rich dead people. I was getting Bernie out of the back seat as Darby and Buck pulled in behind us. I’d counted six more shots before I met up with everyone behind the grave marker. We waited there until the hail of bullets stopped. The graveyard was now silent and ominous.

After calling out and not getting a response, we began moving out, taking cover behind the headstones and using flashlights to make our way through the darkened cemetery.

As we got closer to our suspect’s Escalade we heard him calling out to us from somewhere in the foggy darkness. “I didn’t do it, I swear.”

We trained our flashlights in the direction of his voice and our massive suspect came staggering out of the cemetery like a human Godzilla in a bad movie.

We had him at gunpoint as I called out, “Drop your weapon and walk toward us!” I wasn’t sure if he still had a weapon, but he began to waddle slowly in our direction. When he was about twenty yards away, I yelled, “Get down on the ground!”

The mammoth TV star crumpled into a heap in front of us. I swept my light over the cemetery. In the distance, I saw there were two bodies on the ground, but, given the fog, I knew there could be more.

“Let’s secure the area and then deal with baby beluga,” Darby said.

Darby Hall had ten years on the force. He was about five ten, with a pudgy build. While the job burned out a lot of cops, in Darby’s case it had taken most of his passion for the job and replaced it with cynicism. Leo had once said that Darby always managed to find something worse in the worst situation.

A couple of patrol cars had arrived, the uniforms taking custody of our big suspect, who was still on the ground, while we secured the area. After checking the immediate vicinity, we found only the two bodies we’d seen earlier and made a call to the coroner’s office.

When we got back over to our suspect, Leo said, “I’ll do the honors, if you want to cover me.” The Godfather was still on the ground. Leo kept his weapon drawn until he got over to the now moaning behemoth. He then attempted to handcuff him, but called out to me. “I’m gonna need some help here.”

I handed one of the uniforms Bernie’s leash, then made my way over to my partner. “What gives?”

He held up his cuffs. “I think we’re gonna need a bigger bracelet.”

I realized that our massive murder suspect was too big for the cuffs. I handed Leo my own handcuffs. “Interlock them as best you can.” I smiled. “Maybe we’ll
need McCade’s rope, after all.”

Leo did as I suggested while our suspect continued to moan. I saw there was blood on his pants as he cried out, “They capped my ass.”

He wasn’t kidding. It looked like he’d been shot in the buttocks. When Leo finally had him in cuffs, Darby, who had joined us, said to our suspect, “You’re just lucky your big ass took the bullet instead of your head. They’re gonna need to bring in a search party to find it.”

Our suspect continued to moan and tried to sit up. “I need an ambulance and some drugs, instead of a bald boy scout.”

Darby, who had about as much compassion for his fellow man as Hannibal Lecter, said, “And we’re gonna need to rent a crane to get your fat ass out of here, asshole.”

After Darby and the Godfather exchanged another round of insults, I asked our suspect for his version of what happened. He continued to groan and said, “I was just coming here to do some business. Things got outta hand and they started shooting. It wasn’t me, I swear.”

Buck came over to us with several baggies of heroin he’d found in a car belonging to the dead rappers. At six four, the handsome detective was about a half foot taller than me. “It looks to me like business was real good.”

“Them two started shooting when I got here,” the Godfather said in his own defense. “I had nothing to do with any drugs.”

“You’re just one big innocent ball of lard,” Darby said.

“And you’re a big piece of dog shit.”

Darby was defending his DNA as the ambulance attendants arrived. After they administered first aid, I realized that Darby might have been right about his earlier assessment that we were going to need a crane. After several attempts, they finally settled on rolling our suspect like a giant log into the gurney for transport.

The coroner had just arrived when I heard a voice coming out of the fog behind me. “Run for your lives. It’s the work of Satan.”

I turned and saw what looked like a homeless man closing quickly on our location. I put my hand on my gun and Bernie was on alert, barking as he came closer to us.

“What’s going on?” I demanded, reigning in my dog.

The man’s eyes were wide, his face slick, and he smelled of booze. After a couple of starts and stops, he finally managed to say, “There’s a body…” He pointed to an area where some trees were nearly lost in the fog. “Someone’s been butchered.”

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