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Книга Sense Of Evil. Содержание - 6

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“I’ll just bet you are.”

“They sent plain facts, Mal, not pages from a magazine or some how-to manual.”

“Ah. Learn anything interesting?”

“Nothing helpful.”

“That wasn’t what I asked.”

“That’s what I answered.”

“Do you two do parties?” Isabel asked.

Rafe sighed. “Sorry.”

“Oh, don’t apologize. In a case like this one, I’d much rather laugh when I can. The chuckles tend to be few and far between.”

Mallory said, “We’ve already had a few moments of gallows humor here and there. And I have a feeling this dominatrix stuff is going to provide a few more. Hard to take it seriously, you know? I mean, hard to imagine somebody you knew dressing up and making another woman lick her foot. What’s that about?”

“In this context, a need to be in control and a high level of insecurity. Or, at least, that’s my reading of Jamie Brower.”

“Your psychic reading?” Rafe asked.

“From what I picked up at her parents’ home and from Emily, yeah. Also a fair psychological stab in the dark. I’d like to check out her apartment, though, and try to get a better sense of her.”

“I’d rather do that than keep staring at these damned pictures,” Rafe said frankly. “I’d also rather not post them on the board, if it’s all the same to you.”

Knowing that virtually every cop in the place had access to the conference room and the boards set up with victim information, Isabel agreed with a nod. “We’ll keep them in the Eyes Only file.”

“We have one of those?” Mallory asked.

“We do now. I have a feeling there’ll be more stuff for it as we go along, but for now I’d just as soon keep these photos and Jamie’s secret between us. If this particular avenue of pursuit turns out to be a dead end, I don’t see any reason for us to be the ones to out Jamie. Especially posthumously.”

“Emily will probably take care of that,” Mallory said.

“Or,” Isabel said, “she’ll keep it to herself and feel superior knowing her sister’s dirty little secret. Could go either way, I’d say.”

Mallory said, “You suggested to me that Emily might have caught the attention of her sister’s killer; how serious were you about that?”

Isabel leaned back in her chair, absently rubbing the nape of her neck. “I don’t have anything concrete, no evidence to support it. Not even a clairvoyant sense, really. Emily just barely fits the victim profile; she’s blond, but on the young side for our killer. Not especially successful in any career, since she’s still in school, but she’s smart and observant.”

“But?” Rafe said.

“It’s just… a feeling I got in that house. Emily was actively snooping in Jamie’s life during the weeks before she was killed, and we can be reasonably sure that during that period our killer was involved in Jamie’s life, that he crossed her path. Which means he probably crossed Emily’s path as well.”

“And maybe she noticed him,” Rafe said.

“Maybe. It’s just a theory, but… it might not be such a bad idea to have your people keep an eye on Emily, at least when she’s out of the house.”

“Done. I’ll assign a patrol. Plainclothes or uniformed?”

Isabel debated silently for a moment. “Let’s not try to be subtle. Uniformed. Tell them to be casual but stay alert. If nothing else, focusing on the family member of a victim may lead the killer to think we’re on the wrong track.”

“Or on the right one,” Mallory murmured.

“If he is after her, yeah. And, if so, a police escort may cause him to think twice. Worth the risk, I think.”

Rafe nodded. “I agree. I’ll assign the patrol on our way out and then go with you to check out Jamie’s apartment. Mal, Hollis is at Tricia Kane’s office; why don’t you go over Jamie’s office one more time? Just to make sure.”

“Her boss is already pissed that we’ve taped the door to her office so none of his other agents can use it. Can I release it to him if I don’t find anything this time?”

“Yeah, might as well. Unless the FBI has an objection?”

“Nope.” Isabel shook her head. “But if you find anything at all that seems out of place to you, bring it back here.”

“Gotcha.”

Rafe watched as Isabel opened her briefcase and pulled out a bottle of ibuprofen. She swallowed several pills with the last of her coffee, then added cheerfully, “I’m ready when you are.”

“Headache?”

“Usually,” she confirmed, still cheerful. “Shall we?”

“It’s getting late,” Caleb Powell said.

Hollis looked up from her position behind what had been Tricia Kane’s desk and nodded. “Yeah. I do appreciate you pretty much shutting down the office for a couple of hours today so I could go through her desk.”

“Not a problem. I haven’t felt much like working this week anyway. Find anything?”

“Nothing useful, as far as I can tell.” Hollis pressed slender fingers to her closed eyes briefly in what he was beginning to recognize as a characteristic gesture, then studied the small pile of items on the neat blotter.

“Nothing new, I’d say,” Caleb observed, wondering if she was as tired as she seemed. Telling himself he shouldn’t take advantage.

Hollis agreed with a nod. “The police have already photocopied and gone through every page of the day planner: everything in it is purely work related. What few personal effects she kept in the desk are the usual, innocuous sort of thing any woman would keep at work. Extra compact and lipstick, small bottle of perfume, emery board and nail clippers, a ripped-in-half photo of the ex-boyfriend she clearly wasn’t quite ready to throw away.”

Caleb grimaced. “I caught her looking at that once or twice. She said just what you did, that she wasn’t quite ready to toss it.”

“It takes time for some people to let go.”

He decided not to comment on that. “So there’s nothing helpful here in the office.”

“Nothing I can see.” Hollis rose to her feet. She glanced past Caleb toward the front door and for an instant went still, eyes widening.

Caleb looked back over his shoulder, then at her. His first, instinctive reading of her posture and expression was that she had received a shock but was almost immediately back in control of whatever emotions that shock had caused.

“What?” he asked.

She blinked, her gaze returning to him. “Hmm? Nothing. It’s nothing. Listen, Mr. Powell, confidentially, the focus of the investigation is going to shift back to the first victim. We believe something about that victim or that murder is most likely to help us identify the killer.”

He thought she was a little pale, but what she’d told him pushed that awareness out of his mind. “So Tricia’s murder goes on the back burner.”

Gravely, Hollis said, “In the conference room at the police department where we’ll work every day, there are bulletin boards sectioned, so far, into thirds. Each third is filled with photos and information on each victim. Time lines of the last weeks of their lives. Habits, haunts, events that might or might not have been important. Every day, we look at those boards. Every day, we look at the pictures of those women. And every day, we’ll discuss their lives and the people who knew them and try to figure out who killed them. Every day.”

Caleb drew a breath and let it out slowly. “Sorry. It’s just that… she was my friend.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” Her blue eyes gazed past him for another moment, briefly. “Just know that nobody is going to forget Tricia. And that we’ll get her killer.”

“You seem so certain of that.”

Hollis looked faintly surprised. “We won’t give up until we do get him. It’s only a matter of time, Mr. Powell.”

“Caleb,” he said, “please. And thank you for your efforts, Agent Templeton.”

She smiled wryly. “Hollis. Especially since I’m not a full agent yet. Special Investigator is a title the SCU gives its members who lack a background in law or law enforcement. I’ve only been with the unit a few months.”

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