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Lifeblood: A Rachel Chavez Mystery #2…
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Lifeblood: A Rachel Chavez Mystery #2 (Rachel Chavez Mysteries)

by Penny Rudolph

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It came in the darkness, in the middle of the night, a faint metal-on-metal tapping, knocking, drumming, riding an echo through the empty building.
Even faint as it was, it waked Rachel. She thought it was just one of the street people, gone a bit nuts—such things happen around downtown Los Angeles—someone rapping with a spoon or something on one of the doors to the parking garage below her apartment. She didn’t want to hike all the way down to the street level in her nightshirt to find the cause. Nor did she want to call the cops about some, probably harmless, poor soul and make an already unlucky life worse. So she turned over and went back to sleep.
***
The following morning arrived fresh, sunny and clear. October was Rachel’s favorite month. The heat was gone, the smog fading. She had quite forgot the night’s disturbance.
Having overslept, she was still licking the crumbs of a breakfast of bagel and cream cheese from her lips when she strode down the ramps to her glass cubicle on the parking garage’s street level. Walking through the parking levels gave her the chance to check on things like burned-out lights, litter, wall damage, and what vehicles had been left overnight—which was okay as long as they belonged to regular clients and weren’t left there too long.
She was surprised to see a dirty white van parked behind one of the big cement pillars. . . .
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Rachel discovers two young Mexican boys locked in a van in her parking garage. She rushes them to the nearby hospital. One is DOA, the other is admitted. But when she checks back later, the hospital has no record of either child.
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Things are looking up for recovering alcoholic Rachel Chavez. The pretty Angeleno has a steady boyfriend and a steady job managing a downtown parking garage. But her peaceful existence is rattled when she discovers a pair of young Mexican boys locked in an abandoned van. She hurries them to the emergency room of a nearby medical center where one is declared dead, the other scarcely alive. Twenty-four hours later, she returns to discover that the hospital has no record of admitting either child. Rachel senses foul play and sets out in search of answers. But she must tread lightly in view of her own criminal past, which includes an arrest for drug possession and a DWI. Trouble awaits after she discovers a secret children's ward where lives are exploited rather than saved.… (more)

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