THE WASHINGTON I KNEW . . .
The year astronauts landed on the moon, I landed in Washington, D.C. At nineteen, I raised my right hand and swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. It would be the beginning of a thirty-four-year career, but it was the early years that left the most lasting impressions.
At that time, the FBI occupied the upper floors of the main Justice building. I can still picture the grouchy-looking man on the elevator with the bulldog-like facial features—J. Edgar Hoover.
After a brief time working in an obscenity control unit, I accepted a job in the legal counsel’s office of the U.S. Marshals Service. It wasn’t an everyday occurrence but not unusual to see deputies accompanying witnesses scheduled to testify before Congress. And yes, the deputies had assault rifles under their raincoats. From time-to-time, transporting female prisoners required assistance from women at Headquarters. One of my turns was a trip to Los Angeles, along with two male deputies and a draft dodger headed to prison in Phoenix. What did I do after the female prisoner was secured at the correctional facility where she would serve her sentence . . . I went to Disneyland.
Not long after that assignment, the reality of the danger faced by law enforcement officers became all too real. One of the deputies who had worked the prisoner transport detail I was assigned to was killed while escorting a prisoner to a funeral. After that happened, the policy was changed to only allow undisclosed private viewings for next-of-kin.
After a few years at the Marshals Service, it was time to move on and a job offer from the U.S. Attorney’s Office provided an opportunity. The role of the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia is unique. The Assistant U.S. Attorneys serve as both the local and federal prosecutors. On the local level, prosecutions range from misdemeanors to first-degree murder case. Felony Trial Division, where I worked, handled the most serious crimes committed in the nation’s capital. I quickly recognized that on any given day, there was likely to be more drama at Superior Court than at the Kennedy Center. With simultaneous trials going on, the office was often filled with witnesses—elderly victims, juveniles, pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, gang members—to say it could be an eclectic group was an understatement. I heeded the advice I received on my first day on the job—always lock your desk and never leave your coffee cup unattended.
Days were rarely boring and often surprising. Cases that seemed like a slam dunk might end in a hung jury while a circumstantial case yielded a quick conviction. Predicting what a jury may do was like trying to predict winning lottery numbers. The cases being tried were fascinating, made even more so by having the inside track on what actually happened. Observing the interaction between the parties involved in various aspects of bringing a case to trial was a study in personality types. Fodder for future fictional character development, although at the time I didn’t realize the potential.
Three years later, I left the U.S. Attorney’s Office and joined the staff of a federal judge. It was a promotion, and the atmosphere of District Court was more sophisticated and subdued. Chambers was as quiet as the reading room at the Library of Congress.
No surprise . . . I missed the frenzied activity of Superior Court, the adrenaline-driven days when the unexpected happened and just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier, somehow it did.
Shawn Wilson (shawnwilsonauthor.com) is the author of Relentless featuring homicide detective Brian (Brick) Kavanagh. Duplicity is the second in the series and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
This was not the homecoming Brick envisioned.
After the trauma of his last case, and after three months spent recovering in Ireland, life is looking up for newly retired homicide detective Brian (Brick) Kavanagh. Back home in Washington, D.C., a new job shows promise when he’s asked to train criminology students in cold case techniques.
Then he’s off to a whirlwind weekend in Chicago with Nora, an Aer Lingus flight attendant he’d met in Ireland. There he receives shocking news that his former partner’s wife and twin infants have been kidnapped. Brick rushes to D.C. to support Ron, the man who’s always had his back—but as days pass, Brick questions how well he really knows this man.
Brick’s cold case—the unsolved hit-and-run death of a college student—is heating up. Brick finds gaping holes in the original investigation. Is it possible diplomatic immunity granted someone a “get-out-of-jail-free card”?
Meanwhile, Ron’s family tragedy unfolds in a most bizarre manner, and the escalating cold case points to D.C. corruption at the highest level. Things are getting complicated . . . very complicated . . . and dangerous.
Praise for Duplicity:
“…it’s a cracking good time. One doesn’t have to be a mystery fan to relish this.”
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Duplicity is a compelling read with depth and a protagonist you’ll want to spend more time with. I’ll be first in line to see what’s next for Brick Kavanagh!”
David Putnam, bestselling author of the Bruno Johnson crime series
“…you’re in for an engrossing and entertaining read.”
Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author
“Duplicity is a delightful, twisty thriller featuring a hero it’s impossible not to love… I raced through the pages ‘til three a.m. rooting for him to succeed.”
Matt Witten, author The Necklace
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: October 2022
Number of Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781608095100 (ISBN10: 160809510X)
Series: The Brick Kavanagh Series, 2 | Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
“The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.”
September 2013 Inishmore, Ireland
Brick Kavanagh stepped to the edge of the cliff and watched the waves crash against the rocks. He closed his eyes, hoping this sight would be seared in his brain the same way his mind tended to store images from twenty years of being a cop.
During all those years with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., he didn’t recognize the emotional toll the job was taking. But there was no denying the price he paid after the devastating conclusion of his last homicide case. How to deal with the aftermath of a case that became so personal? The sage advice of bar owner Eamonn Boland provided the answer—a one-way ticket to Ireland. He figured he’d probably be there for a week, maybe two. Now, with his stay closing in on ninety days, he needed to leave or be in violation of the country’s visa-free travel regulations.
Brick fumbled in his pocket for the slip of paper Eamonn had given to him before he left D.C. It was wrinkled and the ink was smudged but it didn’t matter; he almost knew the quote by heart.
“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether to sail or to watch it—we are going back from whence we came.”
When Brick first arrived, the words John F. Kennedy delivered to the America’s Cup crew didn’t have much significance for him. But the longer he stayed, the more they resonated. Spending time in a place surrounded by the ocean had a cleansing and calming effect he hadn’t expected. He was grateful he would be leaving in a much healthier state of mind than when he had arrived.
Brick checked his watch. He still had time to take in one last view from Dun Aengus. He made his way to the prehistoric fort, being careful not to photobomb any of the selfie-taking tourists along the way. He didn’t feel like a tourist himself anymore as he stood on the highest point of the cliffs. He looked in every direction absorbing the breathtaking panorama before he fell in step with the others making their way in the direction back to the boat dock.
Dark clouds were now blocking the sun and the wind had picked up. In the three months Brick had been here, he had gotten used to the weather changing quickly. Part of the charm, although it would probably mean a choppy ferry ride back to Rossaveal. For the sense of tranquility he had experienced, forty minutes of rocking and rolling was a small price to pay. Standing on the upper deck of the boat, Brick watched as Inishmore became shrouded in fog.
* * *
It was after six o’clock when Brick arrived back in Galway. He was starving and knew where he wanted to have his farewell dinner. He headed to Gaffney’s, a small pub that served the best lamb stew he had ever eaten. Tonight, he would be dining alone, but when he was here previously, he had had dinner with a woman he met earlier in the week at Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on Middle Street. Nora Breslin introduced herself after a brief conversation in which they discussed a book of poetry by Seamus Heaney. Upon hearing her name, Brick jokingly asked if she was related to Jimmy Breslin. Surprisingly, he was a distant cousin and the well-timed question led to more conversation about the legendary American journalist and his connection to Son of Sam. With the bookstore about to close, the nearby pub provided the perfect place to continue talking over a pint of Guinness and a view of the swans on the River Corrib.
Two nights later, they met again for dinner at Gaffney’s. Unfortunately, plans for a trip together to Dublin got derailed when Nora, a flight attendant with Aer Lingus, had to unexpectedly fill in for a colleague. Before leaving, she suggested getting together on the other side of the Atlantic since her regular assignment was the Shannon-to-O’Hare route. Would it happen? Brick wasn’t sure, but he had enjoyed the brief time they had spent together. One thing he had learned recently was that it’s far better to appreciate what was, than anticipate what might be.
Brick seated himself at a small table with his back to the wall so that he could have an unobstructed view of the restaurant. Some habits die hard; some never do. When the waitress approached with silverware and a menu, he placed his order. She returned shortly with a pint of Guinness. Brick would never mention this to Eamonn or his nephew Rory when he got back home, but the Guinness seemed to taste better here than what they served at Boland’s Mill. Then again, maybe it was his imagination. He’d chalk it up to that. Boland’s Mill. As long as tomorrow’s flight wasn’t delayed, Brick figured he’d probably be having dinner there and thanking Eamonn for suggesting—well, insisting—that time away from D.C. wasn’t an option, it was a necessity. The old man knew what he was talking about, but now it was up to Brick to figure out what to do next. He was young, forty-two, owned his condo, and his pension from the police department would be enough to pay the bills and keep food on his table, but Brick was a live-to-work, not a work-to-live kind of guy. Aside from an email he had received from the Assistant Director of the School of Public Affairs at Abraham Lincoln University, regarding a project involving graduate students attempting to solve a cold case, he didn’t have any other employment prospects. He would check it out, but it didn’t sound like his forte. Working a cold case was right in his wheelhouse but teaching a group of college kids would be a whole lot different than mentoring a detective newly assigned to the Homicide Squad.
One thing was for sure—he wasn’t going to figure it out tonight so he might as well just savor the stew the waitress placed in front of him. Maybe he would suggest to Eamonn that the chef at Boland’s should consider adding barley to their lamb stew recipe. Maybe he should consider an entirely new career and enroll in culinary school. On second thought, for the sake of the dining public, probably not a good idea. Best to leave cooking to the pros. That’s why he frequented Boland’s Mill far more often than the Giant or Safeway.
Brick wasn’t about to waste a slice of brown bread. He used it to soak up the last of the herb gravy on his plate.
“Another Guinness?” the waitress asked as she cleared the table. “No thanks, just the check when you get a chance.”
Brick took the long way back to his airbnb. Most of the shops were closed, but the bookstore was open for another half hour and he needed something to read for tomorrow’s flight back to Washington. After browsing for a few minutes at a shelf displaying a number of books by contemporary Irish authors, he chose an autographed copy of The Guards by Galway-born Ken Bruen. Even though he had to leave the west coast of Ireland, at least he could be there vicariously by reading about it.
Excerpt from Duplicity by Shawn Wilson. Copyright 2022 by Shawn Wilson. Reproduced with permission from Shawn Wilson. All rights reserved.
Shawn Wilson is a produced playwright and author of Relentless, the first novel in the Brick Kavanagh mystery series. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Administration of Justice from American University in Washington, D.C. and spent over thirty years working for the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Having traveled on five continents, she is very happy to call Chicago home.
Catch Up With Shawn Wilson:
BookBub – @shawn152
Facebook – @shawnwilsonauthor
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One thought on “#BookTour “Duplicity” by Shawn Wilson”
Wow!!! You have had a very interesting life!!!
Sounds like a great book!