The Revenge Dance


Revenge Dance Final cover


Chapter One

The golden age residents of the adult-only community of Tucson Estates are folks bent on enjoying the good life and taking pleasure in each other’s company while they still have the good fortune to draw breath on this earth.  They don’t fight over turf or settle scores by murdering each other.  Given the age of the residents, there is enough death from natural causes without hastening the process via homicide.  However, if a vote were to be taken on which resident most deserved to be offed by a neighbor, one Eddie Dunn, would win hands down.  It is no great surprise then that this arrogant, mean-spirited, chronic womanizer is savagely murdered in his kitchen while making himself a midnight sandwich.

His mutilated body, a knife blade thrust through a sheet of paper and deep into his lower abdomen, is discovered by his current lady friend the next morning.  The sheet is a flyer announcing a meeting of residents, apparently grabbed in a fit of anger by the killer at the scene.  The reverse side carries a one word printed indictment of Eddie, Whoremonger.

Among the residents is a quartet of free-spirits, Harley riding dudes, early sixties and counting backwards.  They call themselves the Merry Marauders.  They are also part-time private investigators, having been roped into the gumshoe trade by Jason Engstrom, the chief of the Phoenix FBI office and younger brother of Gus, one of the four.  They have their own PI office, Engstrom and Associates, which doubles as a clubhouse where they can hang out and escape the watchful eyes of their women.

Three are in the office when they hear the sirens responding to the 911 call.  The fourth, a close neighbor of the victim, arrives shortly after with the news.  They speculate briefly on possible suspects, but figure the case has nothing to do with them.

The next morning Bill Stewart, a respected member of the community, is arrested for the murder.  The motive, revenge for stealing away his much younger wife.  Even more damning is his known use of the word and his fingerprints along with the victim’s on the flyer.  Open and shut, a slam dunk, or so it appears to the cops and the prosecution.  Except that Stewart is innocent, absolutely and unequivocally.

Stewart’s best friend persuades Teddy Miller, a famous criminal defense attorney who happens to live in this modest park by choice, to take on his defense.  Miller retains the four PI’s to help with building a defense.  His charge to them is twofold.  If possible, track down the real killer, but failing that, develop the arguments for a finding of not guilty by reasonable doubt.

The pursuit of the real killer leads the investigative team into the murky past of the victim, a trail of scorned and abused women and a past life involving the lethal betrayal of his cohorts.  In the process they become deeply invested in finding the killer and clearing the good name of the accused.