Motion to Kill
Dead and bloated. That’s how the sheriff found attorney Lou Mason’s senior partner, Richard Sullivan. A dead partner is bad for business. Real bad.
Mason’s Kansas City law firm, Sullivan & Christenson, specializes in doing whatever it takes to protect their well-heeled clients. Soon after Mason refuses Sullivan’s pitch to cross the line for a major client, Sullivan turns up dead and Mason finds himself surrounded by partners he can’t trust. Caught in the crosshairs of a killer, Mason fights to save his life, uncovering high-level corruption and taking on the mob.
Warning – Motion to Kill isn’t for the faint of heart. Prepare to go on a thrill ride with Mason you’ll not soon forget.
Both Lee Child and Michael Connelly recommend Motion to Kill. If you like action, suspense, and excitement, you’ll love Motion to Kill.
File a motion to thrill your inner crime fiction fanatic and buy your copy of my thriller, Motion to Kill today.
Then grab the other 4 Lou Mason books too because you won’t want to miss one bone chilling moment with the sexy trial lawyer – The Last Witness, Cold Truth, Deadlocked, and Final Judgment.
Motion to Kill - Chapter One
A dead partner is bad for business, even if he dies in his sleep. But when he washes ashore on one side of a lake and his boat is found abandoned on the other side, it's worse. When the sheriff tells the coroner to "cut him
open and see what we've got," it's time to dust off the résumé. And the ink was barely dry on Lou Mason's.
The time was seven thirty on Sunday morning, July 12. It was too early for dead bodies, too humid for the smell, and just right for the flies and mos quitoes. And it was rotten for identifying the body of a dead partner. These were the moments to remember.
Mason's dead partner was Richard Sullivan, senior partner in Sullivan & Christenson, his law firm for the last three months. Sullivan was the firm's rainmaker. He was a sawed-off, in your face, thump-your-chest ballbuster. His clients and partners loved the money he made for them, but none of them ever confessed to liking him. Though in his late fifties, he had one of those perpetually mid forties faces. Except that now he wasdead, as gray as a Minneapolis winter and bloated from a night in the water.
Sullivan & Christenson was a Kansas City law firm that employed forty lawyers to merge and acquire clients' assets so they could protect them from taxation before and after death. When bare-knuckled bargaining didn't get the deal done, they'd sue the bastards. Or defend the firm's bastard if he was sued first. Mason's job was to win regardless of which bastard won the race to the courthouse.
The U.S. attorney, Franklin St. John, had been preparing a special invitation to the courthouse for Sullivan's biggest client, a banker named Victor O'Malley. The RSVP would be sent to the grand jury that had been investigating O'Malley for two years.
Sullivan asked Mason to defend O'Malley the day Mason joined the firm as its twelfth partner. Mason accepted and Sullivan spoon-fed him the details of O'Malley's complex business deals.
Mason figured out that O'Malley had stolen a lot of money from the bank he owned. He was having a harder time figuring out how to defend him. Fifty million dollars was a lot to blame on a bookkeeping mistake.
Two days earlier, Sullivan took Mason to lunch and, over a couple of grilled chicken Caesar salads, casually inquired what would happen to O'Malley's defense if certain documents disappeared.
"Which documents?" Mason asked.
Sullivan studied Mason for a moment before answering. "Let's assume that there are records that show O'Malley and one of his business associates received favorable treatment from his bank."
Mason didn't hesitate. "That's what the whole case is about. There are too many of those documents to lose even if I didn't mind going to jail with O'Malley. Which I do."
"Lou, I only care about the documents with my name on them. Do you understand?"
Mason nodded slowly, wiping his hands with a white cloth napkin more than was needed to clean them.
"I'm not going to jail for you either. Show me the documents, and we'll figure something out."
Sullivan gave him the pained look of a disappointed parent and changed the subject. Mason knew then that he'd never see the documents. In the same instant, he also knew that his career at Sullivan & Christenson was over. He had failed Sullivan's test but passed his own. He decided to think it over during the firm's annual retreat that weekend, but he knew what he would do come Monday morning. Quit.
The retreat was at Buckhorn resort at the Lake of the Ozarks in southern Missouri. It was a long weekend of golf, drinking, and leering for the lawyers and staff.
Mason went for a walk after the Saturday night poker game, stopping at the beach, a kidney-shaped plot filled with sand along a retaining wall at the water's edge. A slight breeze rolled off the water, just enough to push the air around. A young couple was braided together at one end of the beach. He lay down at a discreet distance on the only lounge chair, turned his back to them, and felt the loneliness of the voyeur.
He didn't realize that he'd fallen asleep until a voice interrupted the recurring dream of his last trial before he joined Sullivan & Christenson. Tommy Douchant, his client and best friend, looked up at him from his wheelchair, eyes wild, tears beading on his cheeks, as the jury announced its verdict against them. Mason begged the jury to come back, to listen to him, as they filed out of the courtroom, their faces dissolving as a voice sliced through his dream.
"Excuse me . . . are you Lou Mason?"
Tommy rolled back into Mason's subconscious as he opened his eyes. The voice belonged to a woman standing over him, backlit by the glare of the morning sun. The glistening effect was a mixture of a Madonna halo and a Star Trek transporter. He thought about asking her to beam him up while he rubbed any leftover drool from his chin stubble.
The best he could do was a slightly sleep-slurred, "Yeah, I'm Mason."
Snappy repartee after spending the night on a bed of vinyl was sometimes the beginning and end of his charm.
"I'm Sheriff Kelly Holt. We need to talk."
"It's okay, Officer, I paid for the room."
Drumroll, please, he silently requested, satisfied that he was really hitting his stride.
"I'm sure you did, Mr. Mason. I'm more interested in whether you know Richard Sullivan."
Fully awake now, he stood so that he could see her clearly. Khaki uniform, Caribbean blue eyes, Pope County sheriff's badge, natural, no-sweat beauty, pistol on her hip. A shade shorter than his six feet, with honey-colored hair that draped the shoulders of a tanned, athletic body. She was a slap-on-the-cuffs dream come true, but her question flattened the fantasy.
"He's my law partner. Is there a problem?"
"I'd appreciate it if you would come with me. I'll meet you in the lobby in fifteen minutes. You may want to change first."
Mason looked down at his beer-stained T-shirt and gym shorts with a hole where the pocket used to be. He realized he was losing on banter and style points. Doctors, lawyers, and cops all use the same technique when they give bad news. They tell you a little at a time. Knowledge is power—give it away all at once and the power is gone. Having done the same thing, Mason knew better than to press.
He was ten minutes late but smelled better and looked better in tan chinos, a green polo shirt, and deck shoes. The rest of him fit the clean clothes. Dark, closely trimmed hair and steel gray eyes that his aunt Claire always claimed darkened like thunderheads whenever he was angry. An anonymous flying elbow thrown during a muddy rugby scrum had left him with a speed bump on his nose just below eye level.
He was clean-shaven at seven a.m. but could expect a five-o'clock shadow an hour early. Good orthodontics bred a sincere smile that juries had found persuasive through ten years of practice in his first firm. It had yet to be tested in his new one.
Mason had had some luck and notable failures — his ex-wife, Kate, being foremost — with women. He knew it wasn't politically correct to immediately appraise Kelly as a social prospect, but it filled the time while he waited for her to tell him what was going on.
She showed no more interest in him than in any other out-of-towner she'd awakened on the beach, and she wasn't talking. So Mason took the first shot as they pulled away from the resort in her pickup truck.
"Listen, we can play twenty questions or you can just tell me what this is all about."
She shifted gears as she kept her eyes on the curving road that snaked away from the lake. A two-way radio crackled with background static. He rested his head against the butt of a shotgun mounted on the rear window.
Kelly chose questions over answers. "When did you last see Mr. Sullivan?"
Mason rolled the window down and let the truck fill with the muggy morning air. The smell of summer flowers and long grass was a welcome change from midtown traffic. Mason had sat across from Sullivan at last night's poker game, his first with his future former partners. For a ten-dollar buy-in, he spent the evening with a good cigar, a cold beer, and an open window into their psyches. Mason believed that poker made you win with your strengths and fold with your weaknesses. Luck always plays a part, but even the luckiest lousy card player will eventually lose it all if he gives the cards enough time.
Sullivan was a good card player, but it sounded like he'd hit a losing streak that would spread to the other partners, who depended on the business he brought in.
"Last night around eleven. We'd been playing poker."
"Who else played?"
"Snow White and the seven dwarfs. All the regulars."
"You were better company before you woke up. Or is this just a phase of your arrested adolescence?"
"Tell me what happened to Sullivan. After that and eight hours of sleep on something besides vinyl, I'll charm your socks off."
She answered without a sideways glance or a hint of humor.
"One of the locals found a body this morning. It's been in the water overnight. The ID belongs to your partner. I want you to tell me if the body belongs to the ID."
Amazon Customer Reviews
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