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The Detective Inspectors (The Doorknob Society Saga, #4)

The Detective Inspectors (The Doorknob Society Saga, #4)

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The Detective Inspectors (The Doorknob Society Saga, #4)

valutazioni:
5/5 (2 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
340 pagine
4 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Feb 15, 2015
ISBN:
9781507075227
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Chloe Masters life is in disarray. Her best friend Edgar Magnus has been kidnapped by her mother. The Detective Inspectors of the HVO have been compromised and appear to be helping in the crime. All but one that is, Declan Hardcastle, a young DI who is more than willing to help Chloe in her quest. But is he looking for more than just friendship?

Her friends are spread far and wide; Jess has begun her apprenticeship in Paris while Slade is working for the Impossible Engineers. Nightshade has returned but is he the same man? Can he truly be trusted?

When Chloe learns Edgar’s location it's a race against time. She needs to stop her mother’s pernicious plans and save Edgar while keeping everyone else she loves alive. But the question becomes... does Chloe plan on getting out alive?

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Feb 15, 2015
ISBN:
9781507075227
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

MJ Fletcher was born in New Jersey and now lives by the beach with his very understanding wife and daughter. He has been writing since he first stapled pages together as a child and called them a book. He finally realized his ambitions when his comic book series Adam Zero The Last Man of Earth was published by Ronin Studios. His other comic book work includes Digital Webbing Presents and The Hero Initiative. His first novel The Doorknob Society released in 2012 was nominated for a Cybil award in the young adult category. He has written the Doorknob Society Saga, The Grimm Chronlcies his rollicking steampunk adventure series as well as working on numerous other projects.

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The Detective Inspectors (The Doorknob Society Saga, #4) - MJ FLetcher

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Chapter 1

Status: Russian Nights.

My phone buzzed drifting along the nightstand as I reached out searching for it. I slapped my hand around trying my best to find it without opening my eyes. Finally, I peeled one eye open and saw the phone about to fall and reached out and grabbed it. I turned over in bed and tapped the screen. I missed the call but had a text message and scrolled to it.

Got a lead on Edgar.

I threw the covers aside and hopped out of bed, searching in the dark for the clothes I had tossed off last night. Jess and I had gone to the Bronze Compass to blow off some steam and stayed out way too late. I found my skirt and pulled it on. Luckily, I had left my pants on when I crawled into bed. I pulled my hoodie on and slipped into my boots. I hooked my satchel over my shoulder, activated my Doorknob and opened a portal in the wall beside my bed.

I figured there was no point in waking the family; there wasn’t anything they could do anyway. Since Dad died not only was Gran living here but my other grandparents and Jess were stopping by nightly to check on me. Not to mention Uncle Archie was calling me nonstop from London to prepare me for my apprenticeship.

I stepped through and shivered, ever since Gavin had left the Diesel Factories he was hiding in the oddest places and this was one of my least favorite. The cold wind blew down the alleyway and I stepped out onto the streets of Moscow, going from the summer breezes of Cape May to here was no fun.

I walked to the end of the street and pushed aside a piece of corrugated metal that served as a barrier and entered a corridor. The walls were filled with graffiti but I didn’t know Russian so I had no idea what nasty things had been scrolled across the concrete. However, the urban art translated easily enough and though it was far from a PG rating, I had to give kudos to the artist for his work.

The dingy metal door at the end of the hall looked as if it hadn’t been opened in years. I knocked as hard as I could and the sound echoed through the shallow corridor.

A small grate slid across a slot in the door and a set of eyes peered down at me. What’s the password?

Shut up and open the door.

That not password, the guy responded in broken English.

 I wanted to put my leg right through the door and kick his legs out from under him. Ivan, open the door before I break it down!

You not very good at secret stuff.

And you’re a crappy guard, now open the damn door.

 The metal door creaked and scratched as he twisted the lever and pulled it open. Ivan stood in front of me, his belly hanging out and his hair unkempt. He was my height and looked like he belonged in rehab rather than working as a guard.

Where is he?

In back like always. He hiked his thumb over his shoulder and began to push the door closed. He grumbled and I wondered for the hundredth time why Gavin thought this man was a good choice for a guard. I mounted the stairs swiftly, the metal squeaking under my boots. I was still trying to get the sleep out of my eyes when I pushed the door open. My jaw dropped at what I saw.

Gavin floated suspended in mid-air. His head lolled back and his long hair floated out around it as symbols and calculations hovered in the room like a child’s diorama. The room was oddly quiet except for a slight murmur escaping his lips. I stepped in and watched the floating equations transform and zoom from one side of the room to the other, slamming into one another and coalescing into new formulas. Sections of space time would appear and disappear in the blink of an eye. Beside me a set of numbers raced through an equation. I reached out with my finger, touching along the edge of the symbols.

A shock wave rushed through my arm and up my neck. My head snapped back and the universe invaded my mind. How the spin of the earth and the rotation of the sun floated through the dimensions were all laid bare to me. The connection of it all not only startled the senses but made complete sense. This is why Edgar was always scribbling things down because this was how he saw the world around him.

Edgar.

The thought of him made everything shift. The universe turned and I was racing through the dimensions following a line of golden light. Each new dimension fell away as I passed through it with ease, and then the line suddenly ended. I could sense it entering another dimension but for some reason it was blocked to me. I moved up and down around the walls of the dimension trying to access it but found nothing.

There is no way in. I blinked and my head snapped forward. Gavin Brimstone stood in front of me and the room was normal once again. Gavin looked like he hadn’t slept in days. A scruffy beard attested to that as did his rumpled clothes and hair that was longer than usual.

What was that?

Your first experience accessing Mapmaker abilities. He scratched his head, then pushed through the door and walked down the stairs.

 I followed after him as quickly as I could. I gathered that the line of energy was Edgar?

Yes, very good. That’s why I called you. I have been using coordinates that Jeremiah was able to hobble together from the attack on the Mapmakers Union Hall. Plus I was able to pull a few from the Forget Me Not that you got from Faith. I’ve been tracking him for days.

 We’d been looking for Edgar since the moment the First Kind kidnapped him to help them use the Legend of the Mapmakers Union. It’d been weeks and we’d found nothing until now.

What is that place? Why is it locked like that?

I’m honestly not sure. I’ve been trying to access it since I first found it but I haven’t had any luck. At first I assumed it was a Skeleton Key Guild lock. But it isn’t, it’s something else entirely.

What do we do?

I keep looking until I find a way in or a clue as to what it is.

I can help.

You’re not experienced enough yet with your Polymorph abilities, you need to keep practicing. Plus isn’t your apprenticeship beginning soon? He quirked an eyebrow as he pulled a beer from the fridge and snapped the top off.

Yup, I’m supposed to be in London tomorrow to meet Uncle Archie. I wanted to learn more about being a DS member, but there was so much more going on that lately I had been questioning if I really I had the time for it.

Learn everything you can from him, you’ll need it for the coming battle.

Everyone keeps telling me that. I’d graduated from the Paladin Academy a few weeks ago and since then all my relatives and everyone and anyone kept telling me I had to learn what I could and prepare. I think I liked it better when the truces were called off. Now with everyone working together, it seems as if everyone expects me to help them.

I heard the Council made it official that you’ve been selected to find Edgar, that’s a rare honor for an apprentice to receive. Gavin sat down while Ivan grabbed the remote, turned on the TV, and started flipping through the channels.

Yes, Dante was very happy to bring me before the Council and show me off. The poor Masters girl who lost her dad, to her mom the traitor, a sappy movie is what I am. I dropped on the couch beside him and he draped his arm over my shoulder.

The hard truth is that people are always going to try to use you, Chloe. You’re a Polymorph. We’re the most sought after of the Old Kind and you’re well known. The thing to remember is that the more they use you the more power it gives you over the situation, never forget that.

 Ivan was skimming the channels when he hit one playing an old black and white movie.

 Stop, Gavin said, that’s Bride of Frankenstein. I love that movie.

Gavin leaned back on the couch and I rested against him. With Dad gone I’d been spending more time with Gavin and training as much as I could. I followed him all over the dimension and globe, using my training as an excuse to escape my friends and family.

Why don’t you use the Reliquary as your base of operations so I don’t have to keep coming here? I asked.

I like to be mobile. He kept his eyes on the screen as the lady with big black hair and a white stripe running through it ambled around. Plus, I doubt they would let me keep Ivan.

Ha, ha, very funny, Brimstone. Ivan glowered and shoved a handful of Cheetos into his mouth.

Have you spoken to Rosalita? I hadn’t seen her since Dad’s funeral and wanted to talk to her and ask her whether or not we were related. Not to mention that since she was the one who had given me the magic mirror, she’d be the one to give me a few pointers on how to make it work.

 Spoke to her a few days ago, she’s working on something but wouldn’t say what.

I want to talk with her.

When she’s ready, she’ll get in touch.

And what if I wanted to get in touch with her?

It doesn’t work that way. I’m afraid Rosalita has always been a hard one to nail down. He took a swig of his beer.

Have you spoken to anyone else? I asked.

He glanced at me and I knew he realized who I was talking about. Sorry, I haven’t heard from Nightshade.

No one has. I hadn’t seen him since the funeral. I had no idea where he was or even if he remembered anything that had happened between us. It was as if he was still dead, except this time it was much worse; he was alive and wanted nothing to do with me.

A knock on the metal door reverberated around the room, Ivan was up and wiping crumbs off his already dirty shirt as he went to answer it.

Ivan, wait, Gavin put his beer down and stood up, his hand sliding into his pocket and pulling out his Skeleton Key.

 I shot up and pulled out my Doorknob

 We’re not expecting anyone.

Should I answer? Ivan looked comical with his stern expression and two sizes too small, stained shirt.

Yeah, go ahead. Gavin nodded and Ivan stepped to the door and slid the metal plate aside. He didn’t ask for the password, he grabbed the handle and swung the door wide open.

DI Emory was standing in the doorway, his fedora crumpled in one hand, the other braced against the wall holding himself up while a fresh blood stain spread across his chest.

 They got me, he mumbled, blood bubbling from his mouth as he fell forward.

Chapter 2

Status: Family can really suck.

Ivan caught Emory before he hit the ground and easily lifted his large frame, carrying him to the couch. He placed him there and rushed to the kitchen gathering towels.

Emory, what happened? Gavin leaned over him placing his hands against the wound on Emory’s chest.

Was on a case looking for a rogue DI, it was a trap. They set us up.

The First Kind?

Yes, they came from everywhere. I saw two other DIs go down and was able to fight my way out, but it was close.

Why come here?

Can’t trust the HVO, the dispatch orders came from there. The HVO has been compromised.

Gavin stared at him in disbelief and muttered, Damn it.

 Ivan returned and pushed him away. He tore open Emory’s shirt and began to work on the wound, and I finally began to realize why Gavin kept him around.

What does this mean? I asked, certain I wasn’t going to like what I was about to hear.

If the First Kind decided to move against the HVO, it can only mean one thing... they’re setting it up to do something big, Gavin explained.

Great, I sighed and watched as Ivan worked on Emory.

Emory spoke with difficulty. The HVO control our prisons and deal with all matters concerning the truces. With them out of the way, it could lead to chaos, just like during the Darkwatch era.

 My ancestor Ichibod Masters had fought the Darkwatch and beaten them back, but I had a suspicion that the First Kind and the Darkwatch were connected.

If the HVO is compromised, they wouldn’t want anyone to know. I activated my Doorknob and Gavin did the same with his key.

Emory, do you know if you were followed? Gavin asked.

The metal door exploded inward and I dove to the side to avoid being crushed by it. I rolled as I hit the floor coming back up on my feet. I spun snapping my energy whip through the smoke and debris and felt it connect with something. A scream echoed out of the haze and the room filled with power.

What have we here? Caleb Darker walked into the room, his black coat billowing behind him. Two men followed him in, the one to the right I didn’t recognize but the one on his left, holding his shoulder where I had hit him, was Jasper, the traitor and Faith’s boyfriend.

How have you been, Caleb? Gavin stood his ground, his key glowing brightly.

Gavin, I should have figured I would run into you. He pointed to Emory lying injured on the couch. You have something I want.

Too bad. I nearly spit out the words. Darker turned to me, his eyes narrowed and his lip curled.

So Gavin, you’re the one who’s been training the girl? This couldn’t have worked out better for me. He grinned. I’ve wanted you dead for years and as a bonus I finally get to send this irritating girl to the grave to join her father.

I brought my whip up with a forceful swing. Darker’s eyes gleamed with anticipation as he activated his own powers and brought up a shield, but Gavin had taught me better than to let emotions rule in a fight. I flicked my wrist at the last moment and brought it across, catching Jasper in the stomach and knocking him backwards. Gavin took the signal and attacked Darker’s shield from the side, cracking it.

The other guard jumped forward ready to fight. I retracted my whip and concentrated on opening a portal underneath him. He moved quickly, narrowly avoiding a plunge into another dimension.

I circled around Gavin’s back as he battled Darker. The second guard came around with an energy whip of his own, snapping it out toward me. I dove forward hitting the ground and rolling up right at his feet. I brought my elbow up and jammed it into his abdomen. He grunted and bent in half, and I snapped my head up fast and hard. I not only felt his nose crack from the blow, I heard it. He stumbled back, bleeding and moaning. I spun in a circle and activated my whip, slapping it across his neck and face with enough force to flip him over.

Gavin attacked with multiple powers. It was an amazing sight to witness as were the sensations. From his one hand I sensed Skeleton Key Guild locks assaulting Darker while the other hand used DS portals. Darker was forced to back away, his shield crumbling under the barrage of dual powers.

I joined in, stepping forward and adding my own powers to the attack. I directed my senses at his shield, crawling over it, finding weak points, and attacking each of them.

Where’s Edgar? Gavin demanded as he kept Darker off balance with his repetitive attacks.

You’ll get nothing from me.

Wrong, Darker, once we break your defenses, then we break your mind. I will find the boy; you can’t stop me.

 Was that fear I saw in Darker’s eyes? They darted back and forth, searching for some way out or frightened of what he might see? What alarmed him more this time than other times? Did he fear the powers of a Polymorph or had it something more to do with Gavin?

It’s too late; you can’t help the boy. Darker gulped as he backpedaled.

If that’s so, it’ll only be worse for you, I warned as I used my Impossible Engineer abilities to find the weakest point in his shield. I highlighted it and stepped back, focusing all my strength on that one area.

What’s she doing?

Gavin laughed. Finishing you off.

This isn’t possible, Darker whispered.

Like you said, Darker, I’ve been training her and she’s a quick learner.

The room around me came alive with power. The multitude of currents raced through me alerting my senses to everyone’s location in the room, though my focus remained on Darker. It was how I sensed Jasper moving before he ever reached me. I raised my hand and the floor boards beneath me tore from their foundation and created a barrier. Jasper didn’t have enough time to stop; he smashed hard into it and slipped to the ground with a thud.

Very good, child. My mother’s voice seared my flesh like a red-hot branding iron and leaving yet another indelible mark. Was that an Impossible Engineer ability?

Yes, Talia, it was, I said never again intending to call her Mom. She didn’t deserve the honor; not after the horrific things she’d done.

She walked through where the door had been. Her long blonde hair fell softly around her pretty face, though her expression was cold and distant like one of those women in an old portrait that hung in a museum.

 Talia? Not calling me Mom anymore?

My mother died a long time ago; you’re just the bitch who killed my father.

That’s no way to talk, young lady. Power crackled around her.

Ivan, get Emory out of here, Gavin ordered amping up his own power.

The room was filling with so much energy that I could almost choke on it.

By all means, Ivan, run along. I’d much rather kill these Polymorphs, Mom said.

Darker circled around behind my mother, dropping his shields his power ebbed. If Mom hadn’t shown up, he would have been in real trouble. He would only need a short time to recoup, and then things would get nasty.

Ivan hefted an unconscious Emory over his shoulder and hurried up the stairs behind us.

Where’s Edgar? I stared at the woman who gave birth to me and felt only hatred.

Your little friend is my guest just like Nightshade was until you stole him from me. She smiled all too sweetly and all I could see was the image of her torturing Nightshade to get to me. By the way, how is he? Does he remember you at all?

Gavin moved closer and leaned in to whisper, Chloe, we gain nothing from this fight.

He was right. Even if we won this go around, it wouldn’t get us closer to finding Edgar. As much as I wanted revenge for my father’s death, this wasn’t the time. I took a step back and Talia stepped forward.

Her Skeleton Key illuminated the room as she directed a bolt of crimson energy straight at me. I flicked my wrist with little effort, my energy whip blocking the attack. But it was a ruse. She circled and was on me quickly, her hand at my throat like a vise. I brought my forearm up and tried to dislodge her but she held firm.

Gavin tried to intervene, but Darker attacked and the two of them disappeared in a haze of crimson energy. While struggling for air, I could not believe the cold deadly look in my mother’s eyes, and a pain gripped my heart wondering if that was what my dad had seen when she had turned on him.

I fought to dislodge her grip that was slowly squeezing the life from me, but damn if I could budge her hold. If I didn’t do something soon, it would be too late. I struggled to release my weapon, my limbs turning weak and after much effort and my sight turning foggy, I activated a portal. Mom’s eyes popped wide as she realized too late what I was doing. We both dropped like dead weight through the open portal.

Chapter 3

Status: Family vacation anyone?

My feet hit sand and Mom’s fingers were jolted off my throat as we sprawled to the ground. I pushed backward with my feet and elbows putting some distance between us and regaining my breath before I scrambled to stand. My hand went for my Doorknob and found nothing. I scanned the area and spotted it laying several feet away. I sent Mom a quick glance and saw that she was doing the same, searching for her Skeleton Key and spotting it just before she turned and met my eyes.

It seems we’re both at a disadvantage.

 She watched me like a cat waiting to devour a mouse. She was an idiot if she thought I’d play cat and mouse with her. I raised a clenched fist. Speak for yourself.

 You don’t give up do you?

My father taught me that that was not an option. Mom’s eyes glazed over for a brief moment and the coldness fell away, yet when she blinked the ice queen quickly returned.

You’re as much of a fool as he was.

Good, at least I take after the one parent I care about.

I offered you the world. You could be with us when we achieve victory over the Old Kind.

"Just who are us?"

The First Kind of course.

 That’s not what I hear.

What are you talking about?

Word I’ve been hearing is that you’re the lapdog for someone bigger.

And where did you hear that, your friends? She hadn’t moved or attempted to go for her Skelton Key.

 Actually no... yours.

What?

Ms. True shared that bit of news with me when she offered me the truce.

 Did she now?

 Her cool exterior cracked for a moment and I could almost see her mind racing. She hadn’t known about my meeting with True and that appeared to worry her.

Seems like someone is leaving you out of the loop.

An oversight I will resolve shortly. She smiled, cold and confident. Now back to our current situation, daughter. I give you credit for the escape, but it won’t help. I’ve given you too many opportunities as it is and I need this resolved.

Upper management getting on you about me? I started moving again, very slowly in the direction of my Doorknob.

I answer to no one! she yelled.

Right, of course.

Enough of this, I don’t have the time for nonsense. With a dismissive wave of her hand at me, she looked around. The beach stretched out in front of us, waves crashing only a few yards away Where are we?

Her voice wavered for a moment and I took the opportunity. The Bahamas... our beach. We’d come here all the time when I was young. It was one of the few family memories that always stuck with me. I could almost see myself building sand castles while Mom and Dad lounged on beach chairs.

Mom looked around, as if searching for something. Or was that confusion? I didn’t wait to see. I jumped forward rolling along the sand and snatched up my Doorknob. My forward roll brought me to my feet and I snapped my hand out bringing my energy whip to life. I spun snaking it toward Mom, but she was gone.

 I didn’t see the bolt. It caught me so hard in the side that it sent me flipping through the air and landed me smack into the tumbling waves. I sputtered and spit out water as I struggled to stand and grimaced when my side exploded in pain.

Did you think bringing me here would stop me? She rushed into the water, her Skeleton Key glowing brightly.

 She brought it around in an arc, creating an energy whip of her own and with one crack caught my shoulder. I scrambled away from her toward the beach, covering my retreat by spinning my whip to block any attacks.

I know you want to kill me, Talia, just like you did Dad. But that’s not going to happen; I’m going to get you first. I snapped my whip out and nearly caught her, but she sidestepped at the last moment.

Finally you’ve got the killer instinct. She smiled and it filled me with unrelenting anger. I was starting to think you weren’t my daughter.

Her power rose like a mighty hand ready to lash out at me and I backed away. She was in pure fight mode— I wasn’t—my side was on fire and I knew the best thing was to get the hell out of there if I had any chance of saving Edgar.

Naturally, I couldn’t leave without saying a few loving words. Kiss my ass.

 Then I quickly feigned an attack and when her shield came up, I ran toward the water. I let my whip dissolve and twisted my knob opening a portal into the waves and dove through. The water rushed in along with me as I made my escape through the opening.

The strong current

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