Sampler: Bless Me Father for I have Sinned by Kelly Marshall
September 20, 2022
Review: “Author Kelly Marshal pulls you into the gripping scene with cunning finesse, and her storytelling will tantalize you as the story unfolds.”
A charismatic and popular priest, Father Michael Dunne is brutally stabbed to death in the confessional.
The Seattle Catholic Community is stunned and in mourning for a cleric who served not only the people in his parish but many in the Northwest’s burgeoning homeless and drug-addicted communities.
Seattle homicide detectives Nick Winston and Pat Strom find Father Mike face down in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds to his body.
Because the attack was so savage, the police surmise the killer knew the pastor.
What in his past could account for the highly personal nature of the crime?
Was he murdered by a penitent scared that the priest would break the seal of the confessional?
Or did an illicit love affair come back to haunt Michael Dunne?
Everyone loved Father Mike…with one grave exception.
Sampler: Bless Me Father for I Have sinned
Strom rarely giggled, but she couldn’t help herself. She read a review aloud to Nick from the Willamette Weekly about The Yamhill Pub. “The writer says the bar is Portland’s last true dive, and I quote, ‘Do not order food, avoid the toilets, and never ask how this bar has managed to survive.’ We’re in for a real treat.”
Nick looked over at her. “You gotta pee before we get there?”
“No. Thanks. I’m good.”
Nick and Strom opened the tavern’s door that had long ago lost most of its paint from the doorknob to the ground. As the reviewer promised, the Yamhill Pub was a congested shithole, but a tagger’s delight. Bold black graffiti covered every inch of the walls and part of the floors. Four guys who looked like a construction crew sucked down their liquid lunch at a small table. They spoke in loud voices and peppered their conversation with fuck enough to make a rap star jealous. One dude dressed in baggy jeans, a greasy white tee shirt, and flip flops pulled the lever and let a ball fly on the Bat Man Pinball Machine. Bells clanged, multi-colored lights flashed, and the board boinged as the ball raced towards the paddles at the bottom. He banged the machine and shouted, “Come on, you motherfucker.”
A short, aging female bartender with arms as big as Rocky’s wiped down the bar. Apparently, she spent most of her tips on tats because the ink covered her arms from shoulders to just short of her fingernails. She had pulled her mousy gray-streaked hair back in a ponytail so tight that her Caucasian eyes appeared Asian.
Strom stepped up to the bar. “Hello, Ma’am. We’d like to…”
“Save your breath, girlie; we don’t like cops in here.”
Pat Strom gave her a forced smile. “Well, while I can understand how you feel, we are investigating a murder, and we’d like to ask you some questions about one Dylan Krebbs. He alleges he visits your establishment from time to time.”
“Who the hell is Dylan Krebbs?”
Nick stepped forward and turned his phone around so the woman could see the photo he had surreptitiously taken of Krebbs at his arrest. “This guy. You ever see him in here?”
“Half the homeless in Portland make their way to our door every time they get a sawbuck from bumming on the corner. He looks like one of them.”
“And you would be right. He’s alleging he spent Cinco de Mayo at your fine establishment.”
The bartender’s mouth morphed into a sneer. “And now you’re just an asshole.”
Nick fired back, “Let me put it this way. Mr. Krebbs says he spent the afternoon and evening with you on the fifth of May, and we think he might have been slicing and dicing someone instead.”
The bartender looked up at Nick with dead gray eyes. “Yup, he looks like a mean one all right.”
Strom pressed the woman. “Were you here, on Cinco de Mayo?”
“I’m here every damn day.” The woman gave a bitter laugh. “And that includes Christmas.”
“Did you see this man?”
“No, girlie, I didn’t. Fry his ass if he cut someone.”
Nick asked, “Who else bartended that night?”
“John and Rick both were here.”
“We need to talk to them and any waitresses on duty that night.”
“You’ll have to come back later. They’re working the night shift.”
Nick closed his phone and gave his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation. “I’ll be back.”
Strom beat him to the front door and covered her hand with her sleeve before turning the doorknob. As she stepped outside into now overcast skies, she said, “Now, I have to pee.”
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