33 Minutes: An Asher Radman Mystery

33 Minutes: An Asher Radman FBI Thriller
A Gay Romance Mystery

Author: John Charles
Series: By The Numbers
Genre: Mystery / MM Romance

It only took 33 Minutes for them to die

Three dead, two in critical, but why?  One fact in common – all had purchased their morning coffee from the same place.  Were they the intended victims, were their deaths a cover to ruin the transgendered owner of The Coffee Stop, or were their deaths in vain?

Routine didn’t exist for Senior FBI Agent Asher Radman.  He was highly respected and had proven himself with hard unsolvable cases.  To Asher, his job was his life.  Everything else slipped into the background as he worked to solve the impossible cases he was assigned

Despite intensive interviewing of coworkers who knew the victims, Asher was at a loss.  Who was the intended victim?  Was this the start of a serial killing spree?  Was there another reason why the killer poisoned only the regular coffee in The Coffee Stop?  And how did the killer get the poison into the pot of coffee?

To complicate matters, Kyle, his long-term lover had professed his undying love that very morning.  His emotions were running high, but his love for Kyle would have to be put into the container where he held all his personal passions while working a case.  There would be time for him to open that box.  It just wasn’t now.

33 Minutes is an Asher Radman Mystery and book 4 in the By The Numbers Mystery Series

 

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Excerpt:

The crisp morning chill dug into Dan’s body as he walked from the bus to his favorite coffee shop.  The walk was routine as was his coffee order.  Nothing sweet.  None of those fancy drinks that so many people ordered.  Dan liked his coffee black and he never drank it from a Styrofoam or cardboard cup.  Only his ceramic mug was good enough and that sat on the corner of his desk in the bank.

“Hey,” said the barrister as Dan entered his shop.  “No Jackie today?” she asked handing Dan an empty cup.  The Coffee Stop had served this small business community for just over three years.  They were open at five AM and served the best coffee around.  In addition to the morning beverages, they served a wide variety of quick breakfast options.  Lunchtime clients could grab a sandwich or prepared salad with a variety of cold and hot beverages.  The Coffee Stop was perfect for Dan, Jackie and just about all the other people who worked in the district.  After a quick chat, Dan left with his cup in hand.

“Morning,” he said as he entered the building.  The security guard returned Dan’s greeting and locked the door after he entered.  Dan proceeded to his office greeting tellers as he walked.  Everyone smiled and returned his friendly hello.

His office sat next to the manager’s at the side of the branch.  He and Jackie Vacuva had been working together for over a decade.  They were a team, one that kept their branch in the highest rankings of the bank, one that had the best employee success rate, one that had the highest customer ranking, too.  Today, Dan had the reigns while Jackie attended a cyber security conference.

As the tellers prepared to open, Dan began his morning, checking the prior day’s reports, researching a new customer who had wanted a small business loan, and continued to follow his typical routine.  His tellers would laugh as they watched him work.  “His coffee mug rarely left his hand, and when it did, it was only to allow him to type with both hands.”  Dan loved his coffee almost as much as his job.

The sudden crash startled everyone.  As they turned, they could see Dan’s loved mug in pieces on the floor and Dan laying face down on his desk.  It had been a mere 33 minutes since Dan took his first sip of coffee.  The security guard rushed to see what happened, stopping suddenly as he entered the office.  Using his emergency radio, he called the police emergency number.  Gently stepping around the mess of papers and the shattered mug on the floor, he checked for a pulse.  He found none.