It was 7:30 on a Saturday evening as Pierce Hale was escorted to the back of Club Dahlia. Sitting at a table made of mahogany, pouring from a slender green bottle and occasionally leaning back to blow smoke rings, Pierce waited patiently for his dinner date. It was 1945 in Miami’s South Beach. Tropical plants adorned the room that was located opposite the large open archways that led to a rooftop ballroom. A blue-white light from the hotel sign across the street faithfully bounced from the wall, cigarette smoke filled the room, and sirens screamed down the streets below. They screamed, but not nearly as often as Pierce had become accustomed to while working as a detective for the Homicide Division of the Boston Police Department.
Police Chief Davin Laport tried unsuccessfully to get him to stay, and it had only been a few months since Pierce retired from his job in Boston, where he had served for twenty untarnished years. He relished the dark nights in a hard city, and he missed the days of chasing down the bad guys without having to fill out all of the paperwork. Tedious endless paperwork. That was a major difference between his job in Boston and becoming the owner of his own investigative agency in downtown Miami, the paperwork never seemed to end. Yes, there were times when he was able to head out into the streets alongside Johnny Batinni, the mid-twenties investigator who worked for him, but mostly he was stuck in the old brick office he was renting on the second floor of a ramshackle building in downtown Miami.
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