Summer—Houston, Texas. Circa 1970
The air was thick and humid. Buckets of rain had been falling for days. Though it was raining, it was steaming hot—a perpetual sauna. Even at midnight, clouds of humidity floated through the heavy air.
These were the days of funky hand-held radios and telephone booths with rotary dials. Communication was sparse…detectives were loners. Nick Noelle, a salt-of- the-earth, Creole-born detective, has always been his own man, playing by his own rules. He lived in a rundown shack driving his beaten pickup truck to his favorite past time, gambling. Many detectives he knows and had known were crooked, catering to the rich and powerful—doing their dirty work. But not Noelle. His past had been rather tatty; a marriage to a prostitute and endless, boozy nights in smoke-filled poker joints. None of which should come as any surprise given the abuse he suffered at the hands of his drunken father. But he was an excellent detective; some on the force in Houston called him the best. He was a Korean war veteran with thirty years on the Police Force. He wasn’t afraid, he would never back down.
After receiving a call from an unknown source, Noelle finds a mutilated body next to the bayou. He found one piece of evidence, an ankle bracelet with a heart inscribed ‘JB’. The young victim was Julia Brunswick, the stunningly beautiful daughter of the richest oilman in Texas, James Brunswick.
It was a sick, vicious killing and Noelle’s instincts told him that this murder was not going to be the last one. The hunt for the killer begins. To solve this crime, Noelle would have to navigate through the hallways of power and secrecy of Houston Society. These members of the city’s elite were notoriously sensitive about their private lives. All of them had tight connections to the heads of law enforcement.
Noelle began by searching in the usual seedy places but he knew in his gut that there was something about this case pointing to the higher ups of Houston Society. But why would they kill one of their own?
Noelle falls for a beautiful young woman who could be a target herself. It becomes obvious that the killer is receiving intel from within the police department when evidence points toward him as a potential suspect and his boss in the precinct sends out a warrant for his arrest. Noelle is in a morass of quicksand. He’s obsessed with finding the killer while fighting to keep his freedom and to restore his name.
The story twists and turns through the web of Houston’s most powerful as well as those on the fringe of society. The number of suspects continues to grow while one maniacal murder follows another—all of them are young, rich, and beautiful women.
With your Money
With the funds raised, Under a Cloud of Rain will be printed and sold wherever English-language books are available. If the project does not cross its funding threshold, all contributions will be returned.