I felt sad there had to be an ending. Thankfully, Giacomo Giammatteo has many more highly recommended novels to read. I highly recommend Old Wounds to readers who enjoy suspense thrillers. In fact, I think readers of other genres would also enjoy this emotional packed journey into a man’s struggle to define what is right, versus what is necessary. Perhaps you, too, will finish reading Old Wounds and question your own preconceived ideas on how far afield would you go for the ones you love, for justice.
Every night he dreams of a chance to make things right. That chance comes when a high-society woman is brutally murdered, her body parts spread all over town. The investigation quickly hits a dead-end…until a late-night caller with too much information contacts Gino. Between the mystery surrounding what she knows and his penchant for helping women in trouble, more than Gino’s curiosity is aroused. He only hopes she’s not the killer.
A Surreptitious Meeting
Barbara stared into the mirror and practiced her line. She wanted the recording to be just right—after all, it would be the last time anyone heard her, if things didn’t go well.
She pursed her lips and said, “My name is Barbara Camwyck. If you’re watching this video, I’m dead.”
Barbara rehearsed it a few more times, then thought about how her life was about to change. All the shit she’d been through would finally pay off.
She slipped on a comfortable pair of jeans, turned sideways to admire herself in the mirror, and then stepped into the closet to select a top. Something light, as it promised to be another unusually warm day for January. She decided on a cream-colored wrap top, one of her more expensive casual blouses.
Sometimes subtlety worked best, but this top would work better today, especially with the sliver of skin peeking out at her waist.
Barbara reached up and pulled a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti Crystal-Embellished sandals from the shelf in her closet. They would be the perfect complement. She slipped them on, stepped back, and smiled.
She then went to the kitchen. As she brewed tea she thought about her life. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t done well for herself, but doing well and 7 million dollars was different; in fact, doing well and 7 million dollars was another stratosphere. And if her blackmail scheme went as planned 7 million was exactly what she’d have.
She poured the tea, and then made a call, careful to use the burner she had purchased for just such an occasion. It had gotten to the point where a disposable phone was almost a necessity—nothing more than another monthly expense—at least in her current line of work.
A woman with a smoky voice answered the phone. “Hello?”
Barbara kicked her open-toe sandals up on the coffee table and said, “It’s Barbara. I’ll be ready in a few minutes. How long will this take?”
“Stop by on your way. It won’t take me more than a few minutes.”
“And you’re sure it will work. I can’t afford to have this fucked up.”
“It’ll work. Don’t worry.”
A half hour later, Barbara exited the 610 Loop and found her way to the dingy barbecue place where she had arranged the meeting. It was not a place she would frequent, but for today it worked perfectly; neither one of them would be recognized.
She leaned forward and adjusted the rearview mirror so she could fix her hair. Afterward, she applied lipstick, looked in the mirror again, cleared her throat, and then started the video.
“My name is Barbara Camwyck,” she said. “If you’re watching this video, I’m dead.”
Barbara finished recording, straightened her blouse, then spoke into her mic and said, “Okay, I’m going in now.”
She opened the car door, got out, and walked into the restaurant, thankful it at least had air conditioning. From the looks of the outside she had wondered. Half a dozen people stood in front of her, a sign that maybe the food was good. Or maybe it’s just cheap.
Camwyck craned her neck, scanning the place until she found the person she was searching for, sitting at a table near the back, in the corner. At least they followed directions. Camwyck needed that table so the mic didn’t pick up unnecessary sounds.
She weaved her way through a mob of sweaty construction workers, careful not to touch them, and not daring to inhale the odors until she passed them. She pulled a chair out and set her purse in the seat next to it. “It’s been a long time,” Camwyck said.
“Not long enough.”
Camwyck smiled. “Not interested in pleasantries? Good. Let’s get right to business.”
“Business? That’s what you call this?”
The comment drew another smile from Camwyck. “I guess in your world they call it leverage, but I see little difference. Blackmail or leverage. It’s all the same in the end.”
“Let’s discuss leverage then.”
Camwyck pushed a thumbnail drive across the table. “You know the terms. I have all the proof I need. After you pay, you’ll never hear from me again.”
“Remind me of the amount.”
“I’m surprised you’ve forgotten. It’s an easy number to remember. Seven million.”
Camwyck ignored the scoffing sound prior to them speaking. “Easy to remember doesn’t mean easy to arrange—especially in cash.”
“I’m certain you’ll think of something,” Camwyck said. “You’ve always been creative.”
“It will take me a while.”
“That’s fine,” Camwyck said, “But if we don’t do this within the next month, I may have to resort to other means.”
A waitress walked by and stopped at their table. “Ya’ll need to place an order at the counter. Then they’ll get you a number.”
“Thank you,” Camwyck said, and stood. She tossed two twenties on the table. “Order what you want. And you can keep the drive to inspect. I have the original.”
“One more thing,” the guest said, scooting the chair closer to the table. “If you try to come back on me, I’ll make sure it’s the last thing you do.” A pause preceded a glare. “You understand that, don’t you?”
“I understand,” Barbara said, “but you don’t have to worry. Seven million is enough for me. Once we conclude our business, you’ll never hear from me again.”
“If you try—”
“I won’t,” Barbara said, and she exited the restaurant.
As she walked across the parking lot, Barbara punched a number from the recently dialed list on her phone. She’d have to remember to delete that when she was done. “Did you get it?”
“Perfectly. Good sound and good video.”
“Good. I need a copy, but I want the original hidden where it won’t be found.”
“Not a problem. I’ll call when it’s done.”
“No. I can’t know either. If I don’t know, I can’t tell anyone.”
“However you want it,” the man said.
“Good. I’m throwing this phone away now. In the future, if anyone calls you from this number, or from my regular number, ignore it. In fact, run! If I need you I’ll make contact the same way as the first time.”
“Thanks,” Barbara said. “I’ll need it.”
When Giacomo isn’t writing, he’s helping his wife take care of the animals on their sanctuary. At last count they had 45 animals—11 dogs, a horse, 6 cats, and 26 pigs.
Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with Giacomo every day and happens to also be his best buddy.