Thicker Than Water by S. A. Combs has a front cover blurb noting “Even Good Cops Must Choose What Side Of The Law They’re On.” All the cops in this story are good cops. It is up to other readers to agree or not after reading this very short story. It is good to keep in mind the standard disclaimer at the front of the novel that everything presented is fiction. In a preface, the author points out that a visit to the Gilbert Police Department near Phoenix generated this story. It is just that, a story, not fact. The author notes that during the visit the weather was cold and wet, very murky. There are a lot of things very murky in this story.
For what reason did Chris Carlyle follow his partner one late night and witness his partner, Tony Bowles, get shot while attempting to stop an armored car robbery? And why was Tony trying to stop the robbery without backup? Both cops were off duty in this murky situation.
While Tony was recovering in the hospital, Chris tried investigating the case; he was afraid that partner Tony was not completely honest in relationship to this armored car robbery. The guard Tony shot had died. During the autopsy, prison tattoos were discovered on the guard’s body. How did a former felon get a job with an armored truck company delivering cash? Very murky.
While in the police station a beautiful woman had come to visit Tony, not knowing that Tony was in the hospital. She left before Chris could meet her in the reception area of the police station. Who was she? Chris wanted to know. The armored truck impounded after the shooting had two VIN numbers, one related to a late-model truck but the impounded truck was old. How did that happen? Murky.
Lastly, Tony came out of the hospital. Chris pushed the wheelchair out and took Tony home. Tony knew some suspicions Chris held but instead of clearing them up, Tony seemed to be speaking in riddles until finally, he told Chris he had nothing more to say about the incident. A rather murky area in what should have been a close partner relationship.
The ending surprised me and was worth reading the short story for. I also liked the extensive segment headings throughout the short story that detailed the timeline of investigative events.
I look forward to reading longer works by this author.