This scene comes from The Body in the Buick, due to release December 21. Jerod’s dad, Eli, had to fire one of the mechanics who worked at his car repair shop for charging people for repairs they didn’t need. Vince was the first person Eli hired when he started his shop. He liked and trusted him. But something had been bothering Vince lately, something big.

Gaff walked toward them, and when they saw his somber expression, they all stopped work to gather around him.  He looked at Jerod. “When your dad got to work this morning, Vince’s old-school Buick was parked outside the fence.”

Jerod hesitated.  “He was driving that on Saturday when he went to see Dad.  Did he come to ask for his job back?”

Gaff shook his head.  “Your dad and Jarrett went out to look at it and noticed blood smeared on the trunk.”

“Jarrett was at the shop early?” Jazzi asked.

“He had a six-thirty-a.m. client,” Gaff explained.  “The guy was waiting for him when he pulled into the lot, so he had to get straight to work.  The minute he finished work on the car, the client hurried to his job.”

“And that’s when Dad came?” Jerod asked.

Gaff nodded.  “He and Jarrett popped the trunk on the Buick and found Vince’s body.  It had probably been in there from the time Vince disappeared.  Not in great condition.”

Jazzi wrinkled her nose.  “Was there anything on the security camera?”

“Someone drove the Buick to the fence late on Saturday, parked it, got out, and walked away from the cameras.  Wore a long, black overcoat down to his ankles, a black ski mask, gloves, and black gym shoes.  Probably tossed them all or burned them.  No way to identify him or her.  Can’t tell anything, nothing distinguishing “

Jerod leaned against his shovel handle, looking troubled.  “How did Dad take it?”

Gaff grimaced.  “Not so good.  He really liked Vince, says this whole scam thing is hard to believe, that Vince wasn’t like that.”  Gaff looked directly at Jazzi.  “He said your grandma predicted that Vince had died and it had been bothering him ever since.”

Jazzi nodded.  “If Gran is right…”  She hesitated.  They all knew Gran was always right.  “She saw him, and then the vision went dark.  She said he was going to have it out with someone.”

Gaff sighed.  “I don’t know why people won’t come to us when they need help.”

Jerod gave him a look.  “Probably because he did something wrong, too, and didn’t want to end up in jail.”

“That’s better than dead,” Gaff argued.

“How many people think of that as the alternative?”  Jerod turned to Jazzi.  “You’re going to help figure out what happened, aren’t you?”

Gaff jumped in.  “Eli asked for me to involve you, too.  Are you up for it, though?  I mean…”  His gaze went to her midriff.  “I heard. . .”

“That I’m pregnant?”  What?  Now her brain didn’t work when she was with child?  She swallowed her annoyance.  She looked at Ansel, who nodded yes.  “How can we say no to Eli?” she said.  “He and Eleanor let us use their lake cottage when they’re on vacation.  They’re family.”

Gaff smiled.  “Good, people really do talk more when you’re with me.  I’m going to visit Vince’s wife and brother tomorrow.  Want to come?”

“Sure, just call me when you’re ready to go.”

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