White Ghost

White Ghost by Steven Gore Read Free Book Online

Book: White Ghost by Steven Gore Read Free Book Online
Authors: Steven Gore
Lim’s eyes widened, then his brows furrowed as he peered over at Gage. “Homicide?”
    â€œThat’s part of what I’m trying to find out.”
    â€œI don’t see him hurting anyone, even lashing out. He seems more defeated than angry. He’s . . .” Lim bit his lip for a moment, his eyes darting again, as though searching for a word. “He’s almost robotlike.”
    Gage didn’t express the thought, but in Ah Ming’s business, a man who executed orders without thinking was an asset.
    Lim looked down at Gage’s motionless chopsticks. “You aren’t eating much. You okay?”
    Gage smiled and patted his stomach. “I’m trying to lose a few pounds.”
    Lim made a show of surveying Gage’s body. “I think you already have.”
    â€œA little.” Gage deflected the conversation back to Ah Ming. “Has East Wind ever had trouble with ICE?”
    â€œNo more than anyone else. A paperwork problem or a missing country of origin or phytosanitary certificate—they import a lot of ginger and garlic—and containers get held and searched. And we’re in a position to know. We’re the only customs broker he uses. Once in a while we hear that some of his people have been seen going into InterOcean, but I don’t think East Wind has ever done business with them. They aren’t big enough to handle the volume. Maybe they just have friends there.”
    â€œYou ever suspect any underworld ties?”
    Lim stiffened. In that reaction Gage saw him make a connection back to the subject of homicide. He leaned across the table and lowered his voice. “A few years ago I found out that the friend who sent him to me had become a member of the United Bamboo triad. They’ve become huge in Taiwan. But I’ve never heard anything implicating either Lew or Cheung. And I think I would have.” Lim gestured toward the suited men sitting at nearby table. “These people don’t like him because he always undercuts them in higher profit items, but no one has ever even implied that he has organized crime connections.” He shrugged his shoulders. “But sometimes these things are hard to see.”
    Despite his quick eyes, Lim had failed to notice the infiltration of his own company’s overseas branches by gangsters inserted by his wife’s brother.
    Lim spooned a piece of ma po tofu onto Gage’s plate. “You should try this. Not too many calories.”
    Gage snagged it between his chopsticks, then changed the subject. “Have you heard from your brother-in-law?”
    â€œLast year he asked me to visit him in prison. He finally apologized for using our business—using me—as a front. Forthe first time he took responsibility for what he did, instead of blaming his gambling like it was a separate person making him do things.”
    â€œWas he being honest or did he just learn in a prison therapy group what to say so you’ll give him a job and the parole board will let him out early?”
    Lim smiled. “I don’t know. Maybe I’ll hire you to go talk to him and find out. You were right about him last time.”
    G AGE’S CELL PHONE RANG as he pulled away from the curb in front of the restaurant. It was Thomas Sheridan.
    â€œI’m sorry about your son.”
    Sheridan ignored the condolence and announced in a hammering British accent, “Burch promised me you’ll get Cheung.”
    Gage knew that Burch had neither made that promise nor said anything that could be construed into that promise, but he didn’t challenge Sheridan.
    â€œWe first need to link him to the robbery and we can’t do that yet.”
    â€œThen do it,” Sheridan said, and then disconnected.
    Gage stared at the road ahead. He was tempted to call Burch to get him to back Sheridan off, but decided against it. He could absorb Sheridan’s misdirected grief for the few more days

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