Donovan’s brother, Ryan Goldwyn, is a character we don’t get to meet. Before Hurricane Crimes begins he’s murdered by two corrupt cops he was investigating for drug trafficking. In Seismic Crimes, we don’t get to know him as Donovan knew him. He was Donovan’s older brother. He also acted as a father figure for him while he was growing up.
Donovan walked into his apartment after doing a monster truck show in Orlando. He could still hear the rowdy crowd in his ringing eardrums. Whenever a truck crushed a car or launched into the air, their screams magnified. Donovan had performed a new trick he had been testing out and was satisfied with the outcome when the roar of the crowd reached him over the growl of his truck’s engine. To finish his performance, he performed wheelies right in front of the stands, splattering the onlookers with mud. When he stopped his truck in the middle of the field, he could see people holding up their drinks and fists, blotches of mud on their faces.
Now all Donovan wanted was to drink a beer, take a shower, and crash. He tugged open the refrigerator and selected a brown bottle. Using his shirt to twist off the cap, he took a deep pull. He was picking up the remote to turn on the TV when his phone rang. With a groan, he walked back into the kitchen and took the cordless.
“This is Donovan.”
“Meet me outside.”
Donovan frowned. “Ryan?”
“No questions over the phone,” his brother snapped. “Meet me outside.”
The line went dead.
Donovan sighed and took another swallow of beer before leaving his apartment. In the parking lot, he paused as he tried to locate Ryan. A flash of headlights caught his attention. His brother’s unmarked car sat several paces away, the lights off.
“Talk about overkill,” he muttered as he went to it. He opened the passenger door, slid in, and looked at Ryan. Stubble covered his neck and face, and his hair was about an inch too long. Immediately, he sensed something was wrong. Ryan wouldn’t show up late at night, sounding anxious, looking like he hadn’t slept or bathed in days, for no reason. “What’s going on?”
“Buckle up and don’t say a word,” Ryan said while backing the car out of the parking space.
Donovan watched his brother from the corner of his eye. His hands were tight on the steering wheel, knuckles white. He flinched whenever a car came up behind them, and he kept inspecting the rearview mirror as if he expected someone to appear in the backseat.
Donovan didn’t ask any questions. He stayed silent while Ryan drove to the Atlantic Ocean. He turned, heading south toward Cocoa Beach, but instead of going to the Pier, he slipped down a side road with beach access. He parked the car, cut the engine, and got out.
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Donovan followed him across the sand to the crashing waves. His thoughts pinged back and forth in his head. I haven’t seen or talked to Ryan in weeks. He was normal then. What’s happened since? Did he shoot someone while on duty? I haven’t heard anything on the news. Is he in trouble? Donovan’s heart thundered in his ears, and his palms were damp. He hated the anticipation.
Ryan stopped a foot from the shore and turned his back to the water. “I don’t think we were followed.”
Donovan couldn’t hold back anymore. “What the hell is going on?” The demand erupted from him before Ryan could make an attempt to say more.
Ryan stared at him. “My house, your apartment, and my car aren’t safe. I had to bring you out here. Somewhere I could tell you everything.”
Donovan remained silent, waiting to find out what the “everything” entailed.
“Several months ago, I was given a case that involved missing drugs from a few departments throughout Orange County. I’ve been looking into many officers –especially two in my department; Viktor Chuman and David Buckland. Whenever they’re involved in drug busts, it seems the drugs, or most of them, go missing. They also spend a lot of time in the evidence locker where we lock up the narcotics used in sting operations. I’ve questioned them and tailed them. Their movements and their contacts are suspicious. I’ve seen Buck with a few big-time drug dealers, but I could never catch him exchanging money with them. After months of investigation, I wasn’t able to uncover any evidence to prove they were doing anything illegal. My boss told me to drop the case, but I wouldn’t.
“I recently questioned one of the men in charge of evidence. He works the night shift. Something in his mannerisms told me he knew more than he was letting on. I applied pressure until he finally spilled. He said Chewy and Buck paid him off to keep his mouth shut about their dealings. He said they have been pilfering drugs for a year and selling it to drug dealers. I got him to sign a statement, which I promised I wouldn’t use until he was safe and I had more evidence.” Ryan turned his head, looked up and down the beach.
Donovan looked too. He couldn’t see anyone.
“Last week, he turned up dead,” Ryan added, his voice low.
Donovan’s head snapped back to his brother. “They killed him?”
Ryan nodded. “I don’t have evidence, but it’s obvious they found out he talked to me.” He met Donovan’s eyes. “I’ve been receiving death threats ever since.”
Donovan’s jaw tightened. “What are you going to do?”
Ryan reached behind his back. “That’s why I brought you here.” He held out a leather journal. “I need you to take this.”
“It’s where I write everything I’ve ever heard or saw while on the job. Many detectives do it in case they end up needing the information again. Everything I found out about Chewy and Buck and what they’re doing is in there, including the signed statement, a log of all the threats I’ve received, and a list of other suspicious officers I believe are working with them.”
Donovan gripped the journal. “What do you want me to do with it?”
“I need you to hold onto it for me. If you have it, they won’t be able to find it and destroy it.”
“Can’t you give it to your superior?”
Ryan shook his head once. “I don’t know who I can trust.” He put his hand on Donovan’s shoulder. “I trust you with my life, Don, so you’re the only one I trust with that. Promise me you’ll hide it until I ask you for it again.”Donovan nodded. He would do anything for his brother. “I’ll take care of it.”
If you read all of that I'm giving you a virtual hug right now. :)
QUESTION: If you were Donovan, would you have taken Ryan's journal? Where would you have hidden it?