Sunday, August 28, 2011
By Greg McKenzie from A Sporting Murder, fifth book in the Greg McKenzie series by Chester D. Campbell
Did you ever think what it would be like to get caught in a time warp?
Well, it happened to me and my wife of some thirty years, Jill McKenzie. I'm Greg, a former Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent. Think detective. I spent a decent career tracking down airmen guilty of everything from stealing toilet paper to doing drugs and murder. Then the generals decided I had been there long enough for a lieutenant colonel and I should retire. The fact that I had been something of a maverick made their decision easy.
I'm not the relax on the golf links or tennis courts type, so retirement bored me daffy. Then we moved to Jill's hometown, Nashville, and I got a job as investigator for the DA. It didn't last long. The newspaper blew all out of proportion remarks I made about a certain Murder Squad detective. It wasn't spiteful, really. Just true. The DA didn't see it that way.
That was back in 2002. Next thing I knew, we were off on a whirlwind tour of the Holy Land with members of our Sunday School class. We brought back a neatly-packed souvenir Dead Sea Scroll, which turned out to be a real ancient parchment. When local Palestinian cohorts of the souvenir seller couldn't find the scroll, they abducted Jill. It got really complicated when an Israeli group snatched her away from the Palestinians and spirited her off to Israel. Tracking her down pushed my detecting skills to the limit.
The following year we got involved in the investigation of the suicide of a friend's son down at Perdido Key, Florida. Jill enjoyed taking part in the detection, as well as putting me in my place occasionally. She loves to remind me that my waist could use a shrink. A culinary genius, she should complain. Anyway, she concluded we should go into the PI business. She's a very determined woman who operated her own charter air service during my Air Force career. When she decides something should happen, it usually does.
A few months later, our fledgling agency took on a client with suspicions about her husband. She promptly disappeared. During our search for her, we got embroiled in a Metro Police investigation of the Federal Reserve chairman's murder. It was one of those illusionary situations where nothing is really what it seems.
A few months after that, an Air Force colleague who had helped me out in Israel brought us the ultimate cold case—a ninety-year-old murder involving the Marathon Motor Works, a historic company that built a popular touring car in Nashville in the early 1900's. Jill and I turned up a few less ancient bodies along the way. When a rich and curvaceous lady tried to woo me off the track, I made a stupid move that left Jill seething.
When I confessed what I'd done, my Air Force buddy said, "You're a brave man, Gunga Din."
The dust had hardly settled on that case when we got one involving Nashville Predators hockey fans and a group trying to land an NBA basketball team. Tragically, the German stepson of a former OSI colleague based at Ramstein AB got caught in the crossfire. Jill and I nearly bought the farm as well when an improvised explosive device (sound familiar?) detonated beneath our Jeep.
If you've been paying attention, you may have discovered that only about two years have passed since we headed off to the Holy Land. That means we have just reached the end of 2004. Bet you thought it was 2011.
Time warp, anyone?
Learn more about Chester Campbell by visiting his blog, website or Facebook page.