Ill-Gotten Games: A Scott Drayco Mystery by BV Lawson

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The clock is ticking as crime consultant Scott Drayco and "the world's most diminutive defense attorney" Benny Baskin play games with a dangerous killer in order to save an innocent man from going to jail.

Why is the killer texting cryptic poems to Drayco on his cellphone about stolen Egyptian figurines, and what do the messages mean? Was the murder a crime of opportunity or was it planned all along for more sinister reasons?

Drayco races around Washington, D.C,. trying to find the answers and avoid becoming a puppet, as the killer pulls the strings.


Drayco headed outside under another of D.C.’s leaden winter skies and folded his long frame onto the seat of his generic silver Camry, deciding which of Truitt’s hangouts to attack first. He was so deep in thought, the ringing of his cell phone almost made him shift into forward instead of reverse.

“Drayco,” he answered, with a sigh. Too early for Benny. And hopefully not Drayco’s accountant.

It wasn’t. “Ah, the good detective himself. I hear you’ve been looking for me, but I manage to stay one step ahead, don’t I? Must be discouraging.” The voice had a cat-that-ate-the-canary purr. “Tell you what, Drayco. Why don’t I give you a few hints? Fair is fair after all. I love a good hunt, don’t you? Oh, and you might want to take something to dig with.”

The man hung up without identifying himself or the promised hint, but Drayco knew the caller was surely Jalen Truitt, the voice matching a taped prison interview of his. Truitt was also fond of hunting, so that reference made sense. And then there was Truitt’s history of using puzzles to bait law enforcement.

So. Truitt knew Drayco was looking for him and the stolen figurines, which meant someone had tipped him off. Drayco hoped it wasn’t the same informant who’d given him the list of Truitt’s hideouts, or he’d be walking right into a trap. Truitt must be as cocky as Odom to pull a stunt like this. But why dangle the promise of a hint, then renege?

Or had he? Drayco checked the mailbox on the phone and noticed a brand-new message from a proxy server. The subject line read “Hint, Hint.” To Drayco’s annoyance, the message consisted of a single quatrain.

Niels is boring,
Time for exploring.
Is it an item you seek?
Think like a College Park geek.

Hardly Pulitzer-worthy. But it fit Truitt’s background, accepted to MIT as a physics grad student, before being drafted in Nam in 1970 and becoming a POW. Truitt must be referring to the Niels Bohr Library in College Park. Such a public place fit with Truitt’s MO of hiding the goods in plain sight.

Drayco wasn’t crazy about the idea of playing head games with a murderer, but since it was an invitation of sorts, he didn’t have a choice. He pointed the Camry toward Maryland and hoped I-295 wasn’t backed up.

Apparently the Supreme Universal Court was on Drayco’s side; he made it in twenty-two minutes. Now if he knew where to look on the huge elliptical campus for nine-inch-tall Egyptian figurines, he’d be in business. At least he assumed that’s what he was looking for—Truitt’s message was cryptic.

He studied his surroundings for observers. No security guards. He hadn’t expected to see Truitt himself, and even if he did, he might not recognize him—having avoided arrest for two decades, Truitt’s mug shots were old. He was also fond of disguises.

  • Published by: Untreed Reads

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