Crazy Eights (Jake Hines)

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For Jake Hines, Captain of Detectives in Rutherford, Minnesota, the fact that Benny Niemeyer was found not guilty of murder is a personal insult. He’d spent months developing the case, Benny’s attorney almost sleepwalked through the trial, and the D.A. had done a great job, even if several key witnesses had either disappeared or developed courtroom amnesia. Even so, when Benny is found dead two nights later, and it’s clear there’s nothing natural about his demise, Jake does what he has to do.

At first there are more questions than answers, more blind alleys and stone walls than a growing city like Rutherford should have. But detectives follow leads, no matter how ridiculous they appear; after all, what could missing silver at the Aldrich estate have to do with the death of a lowlife thug? What could the death of a prisoner in Stillwater have to do with a missing Beretta in Rutherford?

But Jake pieces the puzzle together meticulously because even a killer deserves justice . . .

“…superb police procedual…taut, suspenseful, detailed and well-researched. Her characters are true-to-life…she simply gives us good, sound police work.”
–Green Bay Press-Gazette Review

“It’s impossible to exaggerate her narrative skill…Down to earth, haunted by a very credible past, Jake is as real as the chilly Minnesota world around him…Gunn just keeps getting better.”
–Publishers’ Weekly


“Greeley’s just filing the report,” Swenson said. “She went out to do an errand last night about nine o’clock and she hasn’t come back.”

“Why are you calling me?” It was a reasonable question. My job carries heavy responsibilities but responding to street calls is no longer one of them. Besides, we hardly ever declare an adult missing in the first twenty-four hours. A high percentage of young women who don’t come home when they’re expected turn up in due time, embarrassed but unharmed.

“I think we’re looking at a high-profile case here, Jake. Ten, twelve people already, got up outa bed to call and tell me Shelley Gleason’s not the kind to get lost and she would never run away…Half the people in town know this girl, and they all want her found an hour ago. Her family’s on the way in to talk to you.

“I hear you,” I said. “I’ll be right in, Russ.” I slid out of bed as quietly as I could, trying not to wake Trudy, who had rolled onto her stomach when the phone rang and pulled a pillow over her head.

Coming out of the shower five minutes later, I stood by the bed looking down at the sweet curve of her shoulder while I buttoned my shirt, thinking how it would feel to wake up and find her gone from there. I never quite get over the luck of it: I was rescued as a foundling from a Dumpster, an ugly duckling that grew into an ugly duck, with indeterminate brown skin and a mixed-race face that looks like it was made by a committee. But this smart beautiful blonde likes me. Go figure.

Somehow she sensed me watching her, came out from under the pillow with her eyes open and said, “What?” I laughed and leaned down and kissed her. She smelled like raw potatoes and dirt.

I whispered, “I think you’re the sexiest farmer in the Upper Midwest.”

“Shee.” She giggled, turned over and went back to sleep. She didn’t even ask where I was going. We’d been living together nine months, she knew why cops get early calls.

Phones were ringing all over the second floor as I came through the door of the Government Center at five minutes to five. Shelley Gleason’s family was waiting for me at the top of the stairs.

I remember it as the day I never did get a cup of coffee.


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