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Gordian Knot
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-081-5
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Suspense/Thriller/Fiction/Adventure
eBook Length: 121 Pages
Published: April 2013



From inside the flap

Rob Turner is a big city detective who leads a double life. On the surface he’s a cocky, high-profile and successful public servant. On the inside he’s a diseased man obsessed with dark sexual addictions. He’s already hip deep in a fierce battle of wills when he finds himself, by way of his ex-wife, thrown into a bizarre rogue investigation born from a doomed airliner’s black box. He must now run head-long into places he’s tried all too often to run from. The closer he gets to the root of this ad hoc probe, the deeper it cuts into his own plagued psyche. Before he knows it, doors he’s dared open in the past, sandwich him between doors newly entered. Now sex, murder and blackmail are attacking this detective’s already tormented soul from every direction, and time is not his friend.

Reviews and Awards

Joseph DiFrancesco delivers an edgy thriller with a seriously wicked sexual dimension that is so macabre it makes BDSM seem mainstream. Gordian Knot is a perfect title for this book because that is a term used for a seeming impossible problem (or untangling a complicated knot) by cheating or coming up with an “out of the box” solution, thereby “cutting the Gordian knot.”

Read the entire review

Gordian Knot (Excerpt)


CHAPTER ONE

The cobalt blue Audi A7 hummed with mechanical precision as it momentarily paused at the flashing reds. Without ever coming to a complete halt, it made a quick, hard left onto a main thoroughfare, cutting ahead of a lumbering traffic cluster making its way into the city.

Inside the elegant car sat Captain Chase Holden. Middle-aged yet handsome, nearly to the point of dashing, he quickly grabbed his pilot’s cap to prevent it from sliding off the leather seat next to him. While continuing to accelerate, he pulled the cap closer to him, then took a moment to adjust the gold wings pinned on his chest. His sharp airline pilot’s uniform had been flawlessly pressed, creased and donned, and he had every intention of keeping it that way.

Flipping the visor down so he could see himself in its mirror, he raked through his salt and pepper hair. Though most of his colleagues kept their hair high and tight, he liked to wear his a touch on the longish side and sweep it back over his ears. It made him feel more youthful, and perhaps appear a little...unpredictable. When satisfied, he flipped the visor back into place, and with one well-manicured finger, pressed the power button of his custom-installed, 50 watt Blaupunkt stereo. In seconds the car’s interior was encased in the crystal clear resonance of jazz fusion. Artists like Chick Corea, Miles Davis and John Coltrane skillfully emitted from the car’s glossy, dimly lit dash.

Speeding along the freeway now, Chase’s fingers danced along the steering wheel, flawlessly matching every clap of the high-hat, every tap on the snare. He felt good today. He felt in control of things, and Chase liked to be in control of things - especially at forty-five thousand feet and moving seven hundred and fifty miles per hour. His occupation suited him well. He enjoyed working within a tight microcosm of exactitude and authority. A seemingly small world to manage with everything just an arm’s length away. Still, consequences were dire, and the penalties unforgiving for even the smallest miscalculation or error in judgment.

Having made very good time, Chase whipped along the service highway behind the airport’s main terminal. There his Audi fled the sunny skies, like an anxious vampire, and veered into the airport’sdark, underground parking garage. Several exchange ramps carried him deeper and deeper into the metropolis’s subterranean levels. The atmosphere was drastically changing to a world shadowy and cool. As his car engine echoed alone within the cavernous structure, Chase discovered a small spot on the left side of his cheek where a tiny patch of stubble, somehow missed in his morning’s hot shave, still continued to grow. He murmured a curse, and continuing to fuss with it, flipped the visor down to get a closer look at it. A ballsy move considering he was still navigating the near serpentine ramp that descended into the garage’s lower level. Annoyed, he flipped the visor back up with a slap. That little patch would bother him all day, he knew.

Exiting the ramp, the Audi downshifted. Chase stopped in front of his reserved parking space, signified by a small placard bearing his name, and chirped his wheels as he reversed and swung around, choosing to back in as usual. He enjoyed backing into parking spots. It allowed for a more daring exit. First the music died, then the engine. As Chase exited his car, still tapping out unheard jazz riffs, his trunk popped open just as he made it around to the rear. After donning his cap, he retrieved his small luggage caddy and carefully placed it on the ground. He allowed the trunk to softly self-close as he extended the caddy’s telescoping handle. Click-clackety-click-click. He loved that sound. To him, it meant he was going places.

But it was when Chase turned to arm the car’s alarm system that he first noticed the man. Tall, slender and sporting a goatee, he was approximately thirty yards away, standing just behind a vertical support beam. Seeing that Chase had seen him, he paused, looked away and fired up a smoke. The tweet from the car’s alarm system snapped Chase back into routine.


***

Inside the airport, Chase worked his way along the corridor. It is busy, he thought to himself. But it used to be much busier than this. As he neared the departure section, he was greeted by several people, some he knew, some he didn’t. It was the uniform. This he understood. People just responded to it - especially when he was in it. The uniform most certainly did not make the man. The man made the uniform. Chase stopped and looked up at the electronic readouts of the day’s departures and arrivals. As he did so an attractive flight attendant strolled by. She flashed him a smile. He returned one, tipping his hat. Jokingly referred to as stewadi when traveling in packs, pilots’ lore regarding these so-called sky nymphs were abound in every crew lounge in every hub on God’s blue marble. Some were even true. Unfortunately, most stewardesses, as Chase came to find while still a first officer, were very professional and very married. Still, this particular, pony-tailed variety, sporting a lemming ass, had demanded a second glance. As he turned to give her one, he again spotted the goateed man about forty feet away.

Chase had a smile on his face when he had turned, but now his countenance changed abruptly to one of deep concern. The stranger, whoever he was, was trying to come off casual but was not at all convincing. Chase turned and began walking more quickly, more deliberately. A passing security guard smiled and waved to him, but Chase ignored the man entirely. Instead he made a series of turns. He worked his way clear over to the arrivals, then baggage claim. He passed through the new dining atrium built specifically for families. Kids were running about here, there and everywhere. He wanted to turn around to see if the man was still following, but struggled to stay in control. His tight collar was beginning to react with his perspiring neck. Tugging on it, Chase felt as if he suddenly couldn’t breathe. He rubbed at the surviving stubble on his left cheek, almost pulling at it. Still, he refused to turn around.

Coming to an escalator, Chase hopped on it. He knew it went to the Brew Gallery, a wide and spacious area serving varieties of coffees and assorted baked goods. From there, Chase thought, he would have a good vantage point to see if the man was still trailing, and if so, he could spot him coming a mile away. Chase ordered a coffee, removed his cap and sat at a small cafe table. The table was situated behind a fake palm tree and was a good distance from the top of the escalator. There he waited and watched, scanning the direction from which he came. Stirring his coffee, Chase just sat and stared like an ocean lifeguard. Unmoving. Unflinching. People were coming off the top of the escalator in handfuls. Chase, his face partially obscured by the palm, just stirred and watched. More people stepped off, laughing and kidding. Chase stirred and waited. More travelers came into view. Chase stirred and stared. A clutch of young men, musicians by the look of them, stepped off followed by a few sailors. He saw people, just ordinary people. The goateed man was not among them. The steam from his coffee had long since departed.

Glancing at his watch, Chase saw that twenty minutes had passed. He allowed himself a small sigh of relief. He even laughed a little, scratching his head. Standing up, he collected his things, and tossed his ice cold, untouched java in the trash. He put his cap back on, and then headed out the same way he came. Chase stepped onto the escalator going down, thinking how fortunate he was having arrived at the airport so early. It was good practice on his part to always expect the unexpected. That was the way he handled his business and it never failed him. Enjoying the rewards of his preparedness, his pleasant affect was slowly beginning to return.

Reaching the bottom, Chase felt his stomach growl. It then dawned on him that he hadn’t eaten in a while, and that he should grab a little something before departing. He prepared to re-ascend to the Brew Gallery when he stopped cold in his tracks. The goateed man was on the escalator coming down. Chase felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand straight up. The man had somehow flanked him, had gotten ahead of him, had watched him as his coffee grew cold.


***

Inside a tiny vestibule adjacent to an airport information center, Chase anxiously put his cell phone to his ear. Craning his neck around, he was only half certain he had lost his pursuer. His white shirt showed damp stains around his armpits and down the center of his back. He dialed. After a moment, the phone began to ring. He impatiently waited for someone to pick up on the other end. "How long?" he said to himself in a hushed voice, his hands trembling. "How long?" Still, the phone rang, unanswered.

Finally, a message responded. "Hello! Chase and I aren’t in at the moment..." Frustrated, he hung up and shoved the phone back into his belt holder. He looked at his watch, and again, fussed with that tiny patch on the side of his face. He looked all around before stepping out into the open. He was still only half convinced he had lost the goateed man.