"Ghost of a Ghost," by Martin Hill Ortiz, in Mystery Weekly Magazine, April 2021.
This is, I think, at least the fourth story in this series. One of them made my best of the week page before.
Phillip Prince is a private eye (well, those of us who have read the other tales know it's more complicated than that, but let's skip the backstory). He lives in a cabin in northern California and occasionally gets unwelcome visitors, like Sherm, who just tried to punch him and got shot for his troubles.
Some careers don't jibe well with mediocrity. Being a thug-for-hire doesn't come with a health plan, which is what Sherm needed now.
On the way to the emergency room Sherm explains that he was hired to kill him by Lancer. Which rather confuses things because: "There were two reasons why Ted Lancer wouldn't kill me: number one, he had hired me to keep him alive; and number two, I failed While my failure gave him a motive, death makes for a fine alibi."
A nicely convoluted tale.