In Episode 2 Joe first meets with an old friend, Gwen Raleigh, a woman he knew rather intimately in Hill Country Greed. Gwen now lives in L.A. and knows Sophie Tyler’s talent agent, Halet Blevins. Joe lets it slip to Gwen that he’s working for Sophie Tyler, a mistake that will plague him later in the story.
Joe investigates the potential fraud. He gets data from Sophie’s laptop (unbeknownst to her manager); he meets with her accountant; he tracks down a coproducer of the independent film; he talks to the director in Germany; he corners her ex-boyfriend to ask him guarded questions. He solves the fraud.
At least he thinks he does. Episode 3 will appear on Thursday, April 14.
Excerpt from Episode 2 (Sophie’s personal assistant shows Joe the laptop where her data is stored)
Keri said, “You asked about my role. Sophie has a gift to share. Her music brings civilization to an otherwise savage world. My true purpose, and Johnson’s as well, is to ensure that Sophie can pursue her destiny unhindered by life’s irksome realities.”
It sounded like a well-rehearsed speech, but I detected an undertone of tension. Keri had been serving that purpose for twenty years. Could she do that forever without wanting something of her own?
“Where’s the laptop?”
“It’s in the office to the side,” she said, and pointed.
The office was about twelve feet square and tastefully furnished with a sofa, a few Andrew Wyeth prints, a bookcase filled with movie scripts, and a desk. The laptop sat open on the desk in hibernation mode.
I sat in the swivel office chair.
Keri still held her right arm behind her back.
“Have you brought me flowers or something?” I asked, nodding at her arm.
She gave me a sheepish look and then pulled her arm out to reveal a pistol.
I didn’t blink. My eyes watched her carefully, my adrenaline jump-started. She pointed the gun at the floor. She was only four feet away, a distance from which she could hardly miss. Keri didn’t seem like the violent type, but a nervous finger on a trigger could kill me as easily as an angry one.
“Did you plan on shooting me?”
“Sorry. I get anxious being alone with a strange man in the house. You can never be too careful.”
I looked closely at the weapon, a small-caliber semiautomatic. “Is that a twenty-two?”
“Do you know how to use it?”
“I took the safety course.”
“Please put it down. I’ll concentrate better if it’s pointed away from me.”
Keri shrugged, sat on the sofa, and placed the gun at her side.
The next episode will appear on Thursday, April 14.