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Hugo, with four kids and a hefty mortgage, drove an ancient Bronco that could barely make it to the office, let alone a road trip. Deeper cuts had decimated the office, and the BJC was down to its last six investigators. ”“Ha‑ha.”The lovely and ever-pregnant Verna kept few secrets when it came to her husband. If you like, I’ll just leave you in the car with the motor running and you can sleep all day.”He rolled to his right, closed his eyes, and said, “I want a new partner.”“That’s an idea, but the problem is nobody else will have you.”“And one with a bigger car.”“It gets fifty miles a gallon.”He grunted again, grew still, then twitched, jerked, mumbled, and sat straight up. Usually, and I say this from vast experience, when a newborn cries it’s for a reason. ” Hugo asked, rubbing his eyes once again, now determined to stay awake.“Don’t know yet, but his code name is Randy.”“Okay, and please remind me why we are tag teaming a secret meeting with a man using an alias who has yet to file a formal complaint against one of our esteemed judges.”“I can’t explain.Seven, in a state of twenty million people, with a thousand judges sitting in six hundred courtrooms and processing a half a million cases a year. It was her calling to keep his ego in check and it was no small task. His glory days were fading fast, but he would always carry some of the swagger possessed by all-Americans. He rubbed his eyes and said, “What are we listening to? But I’ve talked to him three times on the phone and he sounds, uh, rather earnest.”“Great. Randy said it was big.”“Gee, never heard that before.”They turned onto King Street and poked along with the downtown traffic. Budget cuts.”“His name vaguely rings a bell.”“He had a brief career as a football player at Florida State.”“Maybe that’s it.I am very excited to serve as an interim counselor for the 2017-18 school year.Since 1992’s “The Pelican Brief,” John Grisham has had 28 consecutive #1 New York Times fiction bestsellers. ”“Well, come to think of it, the answer has to be yes.I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Ohio.I received my undergraduate degree from Miami University and my master’s degree in Clinical Counseling from The Ohio State University.

She gently touched the signal switch and slowed on the exit ramp. He’d been a tailback, both bruising and dazzling, for three and a half games anyway, until they carried him off on a stretcher with a jammed vertebra in his upper spine. Lacy parked on a side street and they joined the tourists. At p.m., they gave up and returned to the car, as smothering as a sauna. We were supposed to meet at noon, for lunch.”A pause, then, “I’m at the Municipal Marina, at the end of King Street, three blocks away. It was so typical of the South, where folks attached themselves to college football teams with a fanaticism she’d always found irksome.

When the car rolled to a stop, Hugo lurched forward as if wide awake and ready for the day. They found a coffee shop and killed half an hour flipping through glossy real estate brochures. Tell your buddy to get lost and we’ll talk.”“Look, Randy, I’m not a cop and I don’t do cloak-and-dagger very well.

At noon, as instructed, they walked into Luca’s Grill and got a table for three. Thirty minutes passed with no sign of Randy, so they ordered sandwiches. Eating as slowly as possible, they kept an eye on the door and waited. I’ll meet you, say hello and all that, but if I don’t have your real name within sixty seconds then I’m leaving.”“Fair enough.”She canceled the call and mumbled, “Fair enough.” The marina was busy with pleasure craft and a few fishing boats coming and going. ”“Only if she’s important to your story.”“She is not.” Mix was looking at the marina, where Hugo was leaning on a rail.

Lacy, the owner of the Prius and thus the radio, loathed rap almost as much as Hugo, her passenger, loathed contemporary country. And now that we’re on the subject, how’s your sex life? My mistake.” At thirty-six Lacy was single and attractive, and her sex life was a rich source of whispered curiosity around the office. Three rug rats and a newborn do serious damage to that intimacy thing.”“I’ll never know.”He tried to focus on the highway for a mile or two, then his eyelids grew heavy and he began to nod. In her nine years with the Board, she and Hugo had worked a dozen cases together.

They had failed to agree on sports talk, public radio, golden oldies, adult comedy, and the BBC, without getting near bluegrass, CNN, opera, or a hundred other stations. They made a nice team and trusted each other, and both knew that any bad behavior by him, and there had been none to date, would immediately be reported to Verna.

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