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Their Walls Were Empty - ZG 12 ebook

Their Walls Were Empty - ZG 12 ebook

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A simple robbery

Back in the saddle, Private Investigator Zachary Goldman is hired by Kenzie’s father to investigate the heist of valuable memorabilia from his favorite sports bar.

Kenzie did say that it was a bad idea.

Maybe Zachary should have listened.

Because nothing is as it appears. As Zachary digs deeper, it becomes apparent that there is far more at stake here than just some sports memorabilia.

Just what has Walter put him in the middle of?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Well-written and enjoyable. The author has delved into the detective mystery genre with a home run!

Zachary Goldman, Private Investigator, is flawed with a capital F. Shattered by the tragedies of his own life, he will somehow still manage to pick himself up and dig just a little bit deeper than anyone else to find the vital clues.

Maybe being broken makes it easier for others who have faced tragedy to trust him. Walk with Zachary as he solves cases that will stretch his abilities to the limit.

Even with his own life in shambles, Zachary Goldman is still the one you want on the case.

Investigate this P.I. mystery now!
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Zachary sat bolt upright in the bed, gasping for breath. The room was dark and he was disoriented. He felt around him for something that he had lost, desperate to lay hold of whatever it had been. A key? A coin? A baby that had slipped out of his grasp. It was important that he find it before it was lost to him forever. He slid his hands under the covers, under the pillow. He encountered Kenzie beside him, but it was a minute before he knew who it was and that she wasn’t the thing he had lost.

“Zachary?” Kenzie’s voice was sleepy. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” 

“It’s… no… I lost it…”

“Lost what, hon’?” Kenzie stirred. She turned over to face him, reaching out to touch him in the dark. A hand on his side, then his chest, which was still heaving from his gasps, his heart pounding so hard and fast he was sure she could feel it right under her fingers. “Hey. It’s okay. You had a dream.”

“I know, but I needed… I needed to hold on to…” He couldn’t even remember what it was, that wisp of a dream that had become concrete in his hands that he had been determined to hold on to this time. Not to let it fall from his grasp and dissolve into nothingness again.

“Shh. It’s fine,” Kenzie murmured. “Try to go back to sleep.”

“No. It’s here somewhere. I just have to find it…”

He again slid his fingers under his pillow, looking for it. Frustrated, he reached over to the nightstand and turned on the lamp. Kenzie fell back, covering her eyes with her arm and making an irritated sound.

“Sorry. It’s here. It’s here somewhere.” Zachary lifted up his pillow and looked underneath. He slid out of the bed and pulled back his blankets. There was nothing there. No sign of the precious thing he had lost.

What had it been?

He was anxious. How could he have lost it so quickly? It had been in his hands.

Kenzie lowered her arm slowly and was watching him. “It’s just part of the dream,” she assured him. “It just left you disoriented. That happens sometimes. It might be a side effect of your sleep aid.”

Zachary sat back down on the mattress, feeling bereft. What had he lost?

“I hate this feeling. It can’t just be the dream.”

“Have you had it before? I know sometimes I have part of a dream that sticks with me for a few extra seconds, and it can be a little freaky.”


“Just take a few minutes to calm down.”

Zachary looked around the room, still sure that he must have missed something. He looked down at the floor to see if something had fallen off of the bed, trying not to let Kenzie see that he was still searching for the lost thing.

“Is everything okay?” he asked her. Though he had woken her up, so she probably didn’t know any better than he did. “Did something happen that woke me up? A noise?”

Kenzie appeared to be listening, trying to catch any stray noise that might have startled Zachary awake. A siren in the distance. A tree branch rubbing against the side of the house in the wind. They both listened, but didn’t hear anything unusual. Just the usual noises that houses made. Hot air vents. The occasional creaks and pops. Nothing unusual.

Zachary rubbed his eyes.

“Tyrrell,” he said suddenly. He turned his head, looking around the room, as if Tyrrell might be there. But he hadn’t slept in the same room as his younger brother since he was ten and the house had burned down, and he and Tyrrell had been sent to separate foster families. But Tyrrell was back in his life now, had been back in it for just over a year. And Zachary had brought him home to stay with them while they tried to help him get into a treatment program.

But of course, he wasn’t in the bedroom. He was in the guest room, where he had been staying for a few days.

“I have to go see if he’s okay.”

Kenzie didn’t object, just sat there rubbing her eyes. She probably knew better than to argue with him. Knew that when he got into this mood, she couldn’t tell him anything. He needed to see Tyrrell, to know that he was okay. To know that he wasn’t the thing that Zachary had lost and was still searching for.

Zachary pulled on a pair of pajama pants he had left crumpled on the floor and went to the guest room to make sure that Tyrrell was still there. What if he had left? What if that was what had woken Zachary up, his subconscious brain alert to the fact that if Tyrrell left, he might be in danger. From himself, if not from an outside threat.

He tapped lightly on the guest room door but knew that Tyrrell wouldn’t answer it. He would either be gone, or he would be deeply asleep. Not sitting there waiting for Zachary to check in on him and make sure that he was okay. He turned the door handle slowly to try to keep it from squeaking or making any other noise and, when it had turned all the way, pushed it slowly forward.

The room was dark and still. If Tyrrell had gone, he hadn’t left a light on behind him to draw attention to the fact that he wasn’t there . Zachary tiptoed into the room, trying not to awaken his brother, if he were still there. His eyes had to adjust to the dark again after having turned on the lamp in the master bedroom.

There was a lump on the bed. Tyrrell? Or a couple of pillows and some blankets shaped to look like he was still sleeping in the bed? A juvenile trick, but one that Tyrrell might have used anyway, if he didn’t want Zachary to know if he had left.

Zachary reached out and touched the blankets. He expected to feel it all give under his fingers, squashed flat by his touch, but he encountered resistance. Someone was curled up under the blankets. Tyrrell had not snuck out.

Zachary breathed a sigh of relief. For the first time since he had gasped himself awake, his breathing started to slow and settle. More convinced now that no one was in danger, and that the feelings of loss and dread were just that—feelings, artifacts of the dream, as Kenzie had suggested.

“What? Zachary?” Tyrrell turned over in the bed to face him. “What’s wrong? What is it?”

“Nothing. Nothing wrong. Sorry. I heard a noise. Wanted to make sure you were okay.”

“I’m okay, bro. Just sleeping. Like you should be.”

“Yeah. Sorry. I’ll go back to bed. You go back to sleep too.”

“I plan to,” Tyrrell agreed dryly.

Zachary gave his arm a little squeeze, to reassure Tyrrell and himself that everything really was okay, then retraced his steps, closing the guest room door behind him and rejoining Kenzie.

She was dozing even with the bedroom lamp on. Zachary felt bad for waking her up, especially on a work night when she should be able to sleep all the way through and get all of the rest that she needed to be fresh at work.

He sat down on the edge of the bed again, easing down slowly in an effort not to jar her awake again. She made a murmured sound, not really awake, but knowing that he was there.

He probably wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep again. And even if he could, he would probably have another nightmare and another waking where he couldn’t fully separate himself from the sticky stuff of his dreams. If he stayed in bed, he would probably keep waking Kenzie up again, and she needed her sleep more than he needed his. He was used to operating on just a few hours of sleep.

He turned off the lamp and waited for a moment to see whether that had woken her up again.

“Everything okay?” Kenzie murmured.

“Yeah. It’s fine. Sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up again.”

“Don’t worry about it. Tyrrell is okay?”

“He’s sleeping. Shouldn’t have woken him up.”


Zachary rubbed Kenzie’s shoulder for a minute so that she would think that he was also settling in to go to sleep and would drop off faster. Then, like after putting a baby to sleep, he got back to his feet very slowly so that she wouldn’t be aware of the shift in the mattress and wake back up again. Her breaths continued, long and slow and even.


Zachary adjourned to the living room, which operated as his office and central hub. He sat down, turned on the TV, found a movie to provide some low background noise, then opened his laptop on his mobile desk. He had checked his email before going to bed, so he knew there wouldn’t be much more there. Mostly spam. Not a lot of people emailed him overnight.

After glancing over the subject lines, he closed the email inbox and started to go through his project folders, seeing what he could find to keep him occupied for a few hours. There was a backlog due to the amount of time he had spent in the hospital and then searching for Tyrrell. Zachary had only been back at it again for a few days, so there was plenty for him to catch up on.

It was the first year that he had worked with Heather, his older sister, and she had kept things running while he had been in the hospital. She was a remarkably efficient manager. She had conducted skip tracing and done the easier computer work, had sent out bills, collected on some of the delinquent accounts, and generally kept clients happy while Zachary had been unable to tend to his business. He had thought that his PI business would forever be a one-man business, but it was nice to have someone else helping out. He probably wasn’t paying Heather enough. He might have to task her with researching how much he should actually be paying her. Her husband was a bookkeeper and probably had sources for that kind of thing. Heather mostly liked having something to do, since she didn’t really need the money as much as she did something to fill the empty hours while her husband was at his own job.

The movie playing on the TV helped to cover up any night noises the house was still making but was not interesting enough for Zachary to pay any attention to it as he did some deep research and looked at the insurance investigation files that Heather had opened for him. He didn’t really like trying to catch people defrauding their insurance companies. Still, it was, at least, better than chasing after errant husbands. Or wives. He had made a significant shift away from adultery investigations in the past two years, and he was glad of that. Less surveillance, fewer lives ruined by his pictures, and more time spent on more constructive investigations that might actually make someone happy.

By the time he heard Kenzie up using the shower, the movie had ended. Or maybe two movies; he wasn’t sure, since he hadn’t actually been watching or listening to any of the action. He got up from the couch, where he had been sitting in the same position for too long, stretched his shoulders and back, and wandered into the kitchen. He put coffee grinds in the hopper, set the carafe under the spout, and started the coffee brewing. He helped himself to a cup once it was finished and went back to his computer, where he checked out his social networks and email again until Kenzie was out of the shower.

She smiled at him, her bright red lipstick looking particularly kissable and dark curls bouncing around her head. “How long have you been up? I didn’t hear you get up.”

Zachary shrugged. “A few hours.”

“You didn’t get up after that dream, did you? You got back to sleep for a couple of hours?”

Zachary shrugged and didn’t answer to confirm or deny. “There is coffee in the kitchen.”

“I can smell it. Thanks.”

He followed her into the kitchen, where they worked side by side for a few minutes to prepare their breakfasts. Nothing fancy. A granola bar and yogurt for Zachary and toast with marmalade for Kenzie. And coffee. Then they sat down for their morning visit.

Zachary hadn’t realized until they had brought Tyrrell back just how much he valued those quiet breakfast visits. The mornings that Tyrrell woke up early and was prowling around the house and getting his own breakfast or chatting while they were getting theirs, Zachary tended to feel flustered and crowded and just wanted their space back again. But that was selfish. Tyrrell needed them. So Zachary said nothing, but still felt irritated by Tyrrell’s presence if he got up for breakfast and much preferred the quiet start with Kenzie when he could get it.

Kenzie watched Zachary open his chocolate chip granola bar in preparation for his breakfast. She smiled, nodding her approval. “So nice to see you eating again. This med cocktail is better for that reason, for sure.”

Zachary nodded. It was nice not to be so nauseated in the morning. Much easier to eat if he didn’t have to fight his own body to get the food down. And while his appetite still probably wasn’t where it should be and he didn’t feel hungry most of the time, it was better than it had been with the meds he’d been on the last few years. Which should help him get up to a healthy weight much faster than usual and make his doctors happy.

“It’s working okay in other areas too, I think.” It was impossible to tell whether it would help him get less depressed before the next Christmas, but that was almost a year away, so he didn’t have to worry about it yet. One of the open questions was whether it would help with his obsessive thoughts about Bridget, his ex-wife, and the compulsions to check in on her or follow her. He knew that he had disappointed Kenzie by giving in to those compulsions again when Bridget had been pregnant, convinced that she could not take care of herself and the twins and that she would need him there, close by. He had been the one to call for help when she had collapsed in the garden the day she had gone into labor, so he hadn’t been wrong.

Since getting out of the hospital, he had been able to keep those obsessions reined in. But he had been trying to find Tyrrell, so he’d had something else to occupy his anxious brain. Whether he would be able to keep those thoughts at bay as he got back into the normal routine was still uncertain. He was hopeful that the new cocktail would help. And yet worried that it wouldn’t.

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P.D. (Pamela) Workman is a USA Today Bestselling author, winner of several awards from Library Services for Youth in Custody and the InD’tale Magazine’s Crowned Heart award, and has published over 100 mystery/suspense/thriller and young adult books.

Workman loves writing about the underdog. She has been praised for her realistic details, deep characterization, and sensitive handling of the serious social issues that appear in her stories, from light cozy mysteries to darker, grittier young adult and mystery/suspense books.

P. D. Workman does not shy from probing the deep psychological scars of childhood trauma, mental illness, and addiction. Also characteristic of this author, these extremely sensitive issues are explored with extensive empathy, described with incredible clarity, and portrayed with profound insight.
—Kim, Goodreads reviewer