“Cherry Pickens,” Cameron countered. “Never heard of her.”
“You wouldn’t unless you were into porn,” Tad said.
“I didn’t know you were into porn,” Joshua said with a frown.
“I’m not into porn,” Tad replied, “but I am into rock and roll. Back in the early eighties, Cherry Pickens was one of the brightest stars of artistic films.” He held up his fingers in the form of quotation marks when he used the word “artistic”.
“Sex, drugs, and rock and roll,” Joshua said.
Tad nodded his head in agreement. “Drugs are a big part of the scene in pornography, and Cherry Pickens was in it up to her pretty blue eyeballs.” He added, “But she wasn’t just a hooker who did it on film. They have film awards, and she won a couple. In some circles, she was considered a true actress with the talent to break through into legitimate movies.”
Cameron brought them back to the present. “How did she end up in a freezer, in a farmhouse, in Hookstown, Pennsylvania?”
“That’s for you to find out,” Tad told her.
“You said she’d won acting awards,” Cameron reminded him. “Are you saying she was actually famous?”
“She slept with all the big hard core rock musicians, most of whom are now has-beens, the ones who didn’t OD or kill themselves that is,” Tad said. “Humphrey Phoenix, the owner of Player magazine, discovered her when she was dancing at one of his sex parties—”
“Now I heard of him,” Cameron said.
“Player magazine was about as hard core porn as you can get,” Tad said. “Humphrey Phoenix was twenty years older than Cherry. He spent a lot of money on her. Then he found out that she was also fooling around with a pop singer while Phoenix was paying for her breast implants and nose job. The FBI believed Phoenix made an example of her by making her disappear.”
“Hookstown is a long way from Hollywood,” Joshua said. “What would a missing porn star be doing here in Cousin Albert’s basement?”
They stared at Tad who had no answer.
“If what you’re saying is true,” Cameron said, “this could be a mob hit, which would make this the fed’s turf.” She sucked in her breath. She really didn’t want the FBI butting their way into one of her cases.