Killer Music


A Cooper Harrington Detective Novel

By Tammy L. Grace

When private detective Cooper “Coop” Harrington meets record label mogul Grayson Taylor at a swank gathering of country music artists and politicians he never imagines he’ll be investigating his brutal murder less than twenty-four hours later.

The suspects are plentiful. More than a handful of people could have wanted him dead. Retained by Taylor’s widow, Coop works alongside his best friend and Chief of Detectives, Ben Mason. The investigation leads Coop and Ben to visit the luxurious mansions of recording industry magnates, navigate the murky undercurrents of the political world, and probe complicated family matters. Scandalous indiscretions, secrets, and hints of corruption swirl in the midst of their pursuit of the killer.

Coop’s faithful friend and assistant, Annabelle and his loyal golden retriever, Gus, both lend a hand during the investigation. Even his Aunt Camille mines the local gossip mill to unearth potential killers with motive. Yet the case seems hopeless until a crucial piece of evidence emerges that sends Coop and Ben on a race to catch the killer before someone else dies.

Excerpt from Chapter 1

A heavy pounding rattled the door of the penthouse hotel suite and roused Grayson Taylor early Friday morning. His heart hammering, he jumped from the bed, disoriented, but prompted by the banging, he rushed to the door. He looked through the peephole and rubbed his eyes. Pressing his eye to the door again, he studied the man on the other side.

He tiptoed back to the bedroom and told Pamela to stay in the room and not come out. His heart rate steadied as thoughts of the past swirled in his head. Still confused, but less startled, he answered the door. “Andy, what brings you by?”

“I just came by to tell you what a rotten son of a bitch you are,” shouted the irate man in jeans, a t-shirt, and a ball cap.

Grayson peeked into the quiet hallway and opened the door wider, motioning Andy inside, leading him to the couch in front of the huge window showcasing the Nashville skyline. “What’s this all about? I haven’t seen you for years.”

Andy refused to sit, instead pacing with his fists clenched, “Yeah, that’s why I’m here. Abby would kill me if she knew I was here, but you need to know something.”

“What’s Abby got to do with this? I haven’t seen your sister since high school. And how did you know I was here?”

“Well, Gray, we regular folks have friends too and one of mine happens to work here and told me I could find you in the penthouse. No surprise, since you’re such a big shot,” yelled Andy.

“What do you want, Andy? And, keep your voice down.”

“Don’t tell me what to do,” he spat. “You’ve always thought you were better than us and I’m sick of watching Abby struggle while you live your life without a care in the world, getting richer and richer.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean Abby’s working two jobs to support your son and you don’t give a shit.”

“What in the hell are you talking about, Andy? Are you drunk or something?”

“No, I’m not drunk, you asshole. Remember when you got Abby pregnant when she was seventeen and solved it all by giving her money for an abortion? Ring a bell, Gray?”

Gray went pale, “Yes, I do remember and I’m not proud of it.”

“Well, unlike you, Abby didn’t feel right killing a baby because he was an inconvenience. So, for the last seventeen years our family has worked hard to help Abby and her son. He wants to go to college when he graduates next year, so Abby’s been working two jobs to help save money. They live in an apartment out by the airport and she has a job at a school and works at a pizza place at night. I’m sick of watching her suffer, and knowing you have no worries pisses me off.”

Gray’s knees wobbled. He sat on the couch. “Andy, you have to believe me, I had no idea. I’ve always regretted what happened with Abby and the baby, but she made it clear she didn’t want to see me ever again. So, I stayed away.”

“I’m sure she still doesn’t want to see you Gray, but I don’t think it’s fair. Taylor’s a great kid. He’s smart and responsible and a good son. He deserves more.”

“Taylor? She named him Taylor?”

“Yes, and he looks just like you,” he said with contempt. “So, maybe you can find a way to help him. She’s too proud to ask or take anything, but like I said, Taylor deserves a future. I’m sure you’ll be at the party tomorrow night out at Silverwood, won’t you?”

“Yes, I will. All the record companies will be there. It’s one of the main reasons I made the trip to Nashville. Why?”

“Well, Taylor works at Silverwood during the summer, so you’ll see him at the party. Maybe when you see him you’ll decide to step up and be a man. Call me when you do,” said Andy, as he thrust a card at Gray.

They both turned as they heard a loud knock on the door and a voice said, “Mr. Taylor, Nashville Police, please open the door.”

Andy followed Gray to the door as Gray opened it, “Officer?”

“Mr. Taylor, we’ve had a report of a domestic disturbance. Is there a problem?”

“I’m sorry, officer. We got carried away, there’s no problem. We’re fine,” he said, as he patted Andy on the back.

“Is that right, sir?” asked the officer of Andy.

“Yes, officer. Sorry to trouble you. I’ll talk to you later, Gray. I’m late for work,” said Andy, as he moved towards the hallway.

“Are you certain there’s no problem, Mr. Taylor?”

“I’m sure; again, I’m sorry to trouble you and disturb the guests.” Gray slipped a card from the table and passed it to Andy as he made his way to the door.

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About Tammy L. Grace:

Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy L. Grace loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. After spending a career in local and state government service, she retired and finally has the time to dedicate to writing. When Tammy isn't working on ideas for a novel, she's spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.

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