June 6th, 2020
Home | Log in!

On Top Shelf
Fresh Pick

New Books This Week

Latest Articles

Summer Kick-Off

Reviewer Application

Slideshow image

Since your web browser does not support JavaScript, here is a non-JavaScript version of the image slideshow:

slideshow image
He's DANGEROUS. She's DETERMINED. Their relationship is COMPLICATED

slideshow image
They give a whole new meaning to attorney-client privilege.

slideshow image
Sometimes you have to break a family to fix it.

slideshow image
When a child god goes missing, can two enemies unite to find her?

slideshow image
In the land of goblins, humans are a fairy tale…

slideshow image
Sparks fly between an L.A. career woman and a former Army Ranger in this delightful enemies-to-lovers romance

slideshow image
How secrets and differences can break—or bind—a family.

June blooms with love and intrigue

Barnes & Noble

Fresh Fiction Blog
Get to Know Your Favorite Authors

Peter Leonard | Manner of Death: Homicide

Eyes Closed Tight
Peter Leonard




Barnes & Noble

Powell's Books


Indie BookShop

March 2014
On Sale: March 4, 2014
Featuring: O'Clair; Virginia
ISBN: 1611881145
EAN: 9781611881141
Kindle: B00FO81YSA
Paperback / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Also by Peter Leonard:
Eyes Closed Tight, March 2014
All He Saw Was The Girl, May 2012
Voices Of The Dead, January 2012

My younger sister, Katy had dated a guy named Steve Walton when she was in college. I remembered him as a skinny beer-drinking kid. So you can imagine my surprise when I found out Steve was Lieutenant Steve Walton in charge Detroit Police Homicide Squads Three and Four, now a buttoned-up, experienced professional. I called him, reintroduced myself and asked if I could spend some time with homicide and observe how murders were investigated and solved. After getting clearance from the top brass I was in business.

I was assigned to the afternoon shift: four till midnight. I would arrive and talk to detectives for a while and then read old case files. I would study the often grisly crime scene photos, the lifeless body of a man or woman, shot and laying in a pool of blood. I would read the investigator's report. I would look at photos of the body taken by the medical examiner, close up detail of the entrance and exit wounds. I would study the ballistics information, lab tests done on shell casings and bullet fragments to determine what kind of weapon fired the fatal shot or shots. It was a fascinating glimpse into the grim reality of murder.

One night Detective Ray Felts, standing in the doorway of a homicide conference room said, "Pete, get your coat, we've got one."

On the way to the crime scene Felts, who is white and Coleman, who is black, told me what they knew. A man had been shot and was presumed dead in a van on the east side.

We arrived at the crime scene on a residential street at nine-thirty-two p.m. There were police cruisers, lights flashing, parked in front of and behind a silver Chevy van that had to be fifteen years old. A rag tag collection of residents from this depressed neighborhood of burned out, abandoned houses, stood some distance away, watching like it was TV.

I got out of the Chevrolet sedan and stood behind Coleman and Felts, surveying the scene.

"What we got here?" Coleman said to a white Detroit Police officer who looked about eighteen.

"Dead man in the van registered to a Tiffaney Jones. We ain't touched anything inside."

Coleman said, "But you're sure the dude's gone?"

"Look at him, detective," the officer said, "you'll know that too."

"Where's the dude found him, called it in?" Coleman said. The officer pointed at two black men, one dressed as a security guard or an exterminator in a blue outfit with red epaulettes, standing on the sidewalk under a street lamp. "I'm gonna go talk to them."

Felts slipped on a pair of rubber gloves and I followed him, ducking under the crime scene tape on the passenger side of the van. Felts took a small flashlight out of his sport coat pocket and shined it on the grass, sweeping the beam right to left and back. He stopped and held the light on something, turned to me and said, "Casings. Looks like something big, a nine maybe or a forty. He crouched, laid the flashlight on the grass and tagged the shells with yellow Post It notes.

Now Felts got up and opened the front passenger door. The inside lights went on and I saw the driver, a big man with a scraggly goatee, wearing a brown wool cap. And a grey leather jacket zipped up that had two bullet holes in the chest leaking blood. His head was slumped forward, chin on his chest still strapped in his seatbelt, bleeding from additional gunshots wounds in his neck and head.

Ray Felts tagged two more shell casings that were on the passenger seat with Post Its. "Shooter knew him."

"How do you know that?" I said.

"If he didn't, he wouldn't have let him open the door, get this close." Felts paused, rubbed his crooked nose with an index finger. "Didn't fire a shot." Nodding at the chrome-plate semiautomatic the driver was still holding in his right hand.

I heard someone behind me, looked and saw Detective Coleman. I moved out of the way. Coleman stuck his bald head in the van and was now shoulder-to-shoulder with Felts.

"Dude over here passed the van on the way to the Bottoms Up gentlemen's club about seven, saw the van, engine running, lights on, looked like somebody in the driver's seat. He came out two hours later, van's still there in the same place, now he's thinking something's wrong, goes and gets the security guard at the club. Security guard looks in the van recognizes the driver, regular at the club. Know who this motherfucker is? Dude's Geron Powell."

Felts glanced at him and shrugged.

"Man the Lieu mentioned this morning. Street name's Geronimo."

I said, "Why is he called Geronimo?"

"‘Cause he's one crazy motherfucker," Coleman said. "Drug dealer and prime suspect in the murder of that young dumb-ass white kid from the suburbs, trying to get into the trade. Know who I'm talking about?"

Felts rubbed his goatee and said, "You mean the one they found stripped, ziptied and shot in the trunk of his Mercedes?"

Coleman grinned. "Fucking with me, huh? You're probably looking at the murder weapon right there he said, glancing at Geron Powell's .45. So that one's solved. Now who you think did Geronimo?"

"Maybe we'll find out." Ray Felts reached and took a cell phone out of a compartment in the dash, pressed redial and I could hear the phone ring and a woman's voice say, "hello."

"Who's this?" Felts said.

"Tiff Tiff."

"Know where Geron's at?"

"Tole me he went to meet Sweet Tooth."

"Sweet Tooth, huh? What's his name again?"

"Maurice something or other."

"Where were they gonna meet?"

"That titty bar on Harper."

I could see the neon sign that said Bottoms Up fifty yards away.

Tiff said, "Hey, who is this? Who my talking to?"

Felts disconnected and said, "Know somebody called Sweet Tooth?"

Coleman shook his head.

Ray Felts said, "What's this look like to you?"

"Knowing Geronimo's line of work, I'd say a dope deal gone sideways. I'd also say Geronimo lost his cheeba."

"What I was thinking," Felts said. "Shooter and Geron definitely knew each other."

"They were friends," Coleman said, "why'd he have a pistol in his hand?"

"I think he always had a pistol in his hand." Felts said. "Thought he was a gangsta."

Coleman opened the glove box that was empty.

I followed the detectives to the back of the van. Felts opened the rear doors, and shined his flashlight over the folded down seats, lighting up crevices and saw a white plastic bag filled with something. He reached in grabbed it, cut the zip-tie with a pocket knife and opened the bag. I got a whiff of high-grade hydroponic.

Coleman said, "How'd Sweet Tooth miss this?"

"Under the circumstances I'd say he was in a hurry?"

Ray Felts investigator's report said: The victim, Geron Powell, was shot four times with a high caliber semiautomatic handgun, and conveyed to the medical examiner's office. The time of death was unknown. The manner of death, in his estimation, was ruled to be a homicide. The van was towed to the police lot, and I went home to the suburbs.

The next afternoon I reported to headquarters at 3:55 p.m. I went to Ray Felts desk and stood there till he got off the phone, anxious to know what happened after I left.

"Sweet Tooth's real name is Maurice McNeal. He just got out of I-Max after five years for aggravated assault, decided to look up his old buddy Geronimo, get back in the trade."

Two days later Maurice McNeal was found shot to death in a room at the Viking Motel on 2720 Grand River Avenue. After talking to the assistant manager and a couple from Toledo, staying in the room next to Maurice's, Felts and Coleman were now looking for a muscular black man with dreads who drove a red Cadillac CTS with twenty-inch rims.

Is a Detroit serial killer from the past connected to similar deaths now in Florida?

Learn More...

Peter Leonard is a second-generation thriller writer and son of the renowned Elmore Leonard. Author Carl Hiaasen said about Peter's work, "Clearly, great storytelling runs in the Leonard family's DNA." EYES CLOSED TIGHT (The Story Plant; March 2014) is one of Peter's most satisfying works to date—relentless, surprising and deeply satisfying. Previous novels include Quiver, Trust Me, Voices of the Dead and All He Saw Was the Girl.

All O'Clair wanted was a quiet life far from the frozen streets of Detroit. A former homicide investigator, he was spending his retirement as a motel owner in sunny Pompano Beach, Florida. He had it all, including his knockout girlfriend, Virginia, who can fix anything.

One morning, while he's cleaning up after the previous night's partiers, he sees a lovely young woman who appears to be stretched out asleep on a lounge chair. When he goes to awaken her he realizes she's taken her last nap. The discovery triggers a rollercoaster chain of events that launches EYES CLOSED TIGHT. When a second girl is murdered, O'Clair realizes someone is sending him a message. The murder pattern is eerily reminiscent of a case he investigated years earlier. Convinced the murders are related, O'Clair returns to his former stomping grounds at Detroit Police Homicide to review the murder file and try to figure out what he might have missed.

Then Virginia is kidnapped and the case becomes personal. Highly personal.




23 comments posted.

Re: Peter Leonard | Manner of Death: Homicide

REALLY need a "relentless, surprising & deeply satisfying"
book to get me through this wicked winter!! hope it's my
lucky day.
(Michelle Omalley 6:14am March 10, 2014)

love a good mystery!
(Lynn Anderson 8:46am March 10, 2014)

This sounds like a great book I'd love to read!!!!
(Bonnie Capuano 9:24am March 10, 2014)

Your book sounds very interesting. I would really like to read it.
(Kathy Morrison 9:30am March 10, 2014)

this sounds really good love mysterys
(Denise Smith 10:50am March 10, 2014)

Since I grew up in Detroit, and still live in Michigan, this is not only a book I'd love to get my hands on, but one I'd pass on to my Husband, as well as a few other people!! What a great story line, and I'm glad that you've taken on the same genre as your Father!! This sounds like a real hang-on-to-your-hat type of book, and I'm ready to go on that ride!! Congratulations!!
(Peggy Roberson 11:16am March 10, 2014)

I like a good mystery and this one appeals to me.
(Anna Speed 11:37am March 10, 2014)

Mysteries are my favorite genre hands down and this sounds
really good!
(Denise Austin 12:34pm March 10, 2014)

i have not seen your book and i love to read new books from
new authors and then i use the site that i am on
(Desiree Reilly 12:46pm March 10, 2014)

Your novel sounds captivating and unique. Best wishes and
much success.
(Sharon Berger 1:20pm March 10, 2014)

Thanks for the intro to a new to me author.
(Anne Muller 3:21pm March 10, 2014)

One of my grade school friends also turned out to be a detective in my
hometown & I never would have guessed that would be in his future! It sounds
like you have really done your homework with this novel & it sounds intriguing.
(Sheila Veikune 3:26pm March 10, 2014)

Intriguing! I love a good mystery and I think this will be added to my TBR pile.
(Ruth Ayres 4:51pm March 10, 2014)

How wonderful to be a 2nd generation author. Would love to
win and read.
(Robyn Roberts 7:34pm March 10, 2014)

Sounds like a good read. It's nice to see him following in Dad's notable writing footsteps.
(G S Moch 8:20pm March 10, 2014)

(Debbi Shaw 9:07pm March 10, 2014)

A good mystery is a GREAT read
(Debbie Rudder 9:13pm March 10, 2014)

I love a good mystery book. I love to see if I could figure out who done it, how, what is the motive, and where (if that is the question).
(Kai Wong 11:06pm March 10, 2014)

Love a good thriller that keeps me up and turning the pages.
(Barbara Wells 11:07pm March 10, 2014)

Detroit and a murder mystery---sounds like a good read for a northern Michigan boy.
(Richard Burr 11:45pm March 10, 2014)

On my reading list. How fantastic.
(Mary Preston 1:16am March 12, 2014)

sounds like a good book
(Sarah Hansrote 2:45am March 12, 2014)

You're ride along sounds like it raised your sights. Boy
that must have been some night. Thrillers, police
procedurals and the workings of both the good guys and bad
make lively reads.
(Alyson Widen 7:05pm March 14, 2014)

Registered users may leave comments.
Log in or register now!


© 2003-2020 off-the-edge.net  all rights reserved Privacy Policy