Apprentice in Death (In Death #43)(10)

Lowenbaum lowered it, turned it over it his hands. “You try it out?”

“I did. Packs a recoil, but I’m told they’re working on that.”

“Hit anything?”

“Simulation only. Rang the bell for me at a mile and a quarter.”

With obvious regret, Lowenbaum handed it back to Roarke. “She’s a beaut. But here’s your more likely.” He gestured at the bulkier weapon on display. “A military-or police-issue tactical. They haven’t changed much in the last five or six years. I’m going to say, high probability, he owns his weapon. It’s not something you take home after your tour like your service weapon. These are checked in and out, every incident. Most likely, again, for three strikes in that time frame, he had it on a bi-or tripod. Moving targets, and the first strike? She was moving at a good clip. Strike from one of these from a distance of—say a mile? It takes two and a half seconds to go from weapon to target. There’s wind speed to consider, but that’s about what you’ve got.”

“You have to build that into the shot. Distance, wind speed, angle—speed of movement of the target.” Eve nodded. It told her the shooter had watched his targets for a while, judged their relative speed on the ice.

“I never used a bipod—or not since weapons training. How much weight there, how big?”

“A couple pounds, and you can scope them down to under a foot.”

“The rifle breaks down, right?”

“Sure.” He glanced at Roarke. “I can show you.”

Roarke took it down, offered it to him.

Lowenbaum checked the charge gauge, noted it was empty, but flicked the down switch anyway. “Safety first,” he said. Then he turned a small lever, separated the barrel, the charger, the scope, and had the weapon in four compact pieces in about ten seconds.

“You could fit it into a standard briefcase broken down,” Eve observed.

“Correct, but if you have any respect for your weapon, you have a case with molded slots for the parts.”

“It wouldn’t get through security in a government building, a museum, that kind of public building.”

“Not a chance,” Lowenbaum said.

“Okay, so most likely an apartment building, a hotel, a retail or rental space of some kind.”

She wandered, thinking, as Lowenbaum competently reassembled the weapon.

“Who’s best at this sort of reconstruction at the lab?” she asked.

“It’s going to be Dickhead,” Lowenbaum said.

“Come on, does it have to be?” They called the chief lab tech Dickhead for a reason.

“It does. You give him the push, I’ll work with him when I can.”

“I won’t turn that down. Thanks.”

“No thanks needed, because unless I’m way off, Dallas, you’ve got yourself an LDSK.”

“An LDSK?”

Eve turned to Roarke. “Long-distance serial killer.”

“Cops,” he murmured. “Who else would have the acronym at hand?”

“Wouldn’t need one if people weren’t so fucked-up. Who do you know who could make those three strikes?”

Lowenbaum puffed out a breath. “I could. I’ve got a couple guys on my team who could. And yeah, I get you need to run them, but there’s no way. I know a few other guys, and I’ll make you a damn list. I’m going to say I know a few who could make the strikes. I don’t know anybody who would.”

“Names would help anyway.”

“And it could be a pro, Dallas. You can pull up a list there as easy as I can.”

“I will. But who’d hire a pro to kill a part-time student/part-time barista—female vic. An OB/GYN—vic two. A high school history teacher?”

“People are fucked-up,” Lowenbaum reminded her.

“Yeah, they are.”

“You’re the murder cop. You do what you do there, and I’ll do what I can on the tactical end. Three strikes like that?” The way he shook his head transmitted both admiration and concern. “The shooter’s feeling pretty fine right now.”

“And feeling pretty fine, he’ll want to feel pretty fine again.”

After Lowenbaum left, Eve set up her murder board, then sat to put together her notes and observations.

“You’ll eat,” Roarke said—firmly.

“Yeah, whatever.”

“It’s the stew you like.” He solved the issue by pulling her out of her desk chair. “You can eat and think, and tell me what you know or what you think.”

It helped when she did—and the stew thing smelled really good.

“You know, before I caught this, I was in my office thinking, Hey, quiet evening at home. A little wine, a little dinner, maybe a vid, a little sex.”

Because he knew how much coffee she’d drink in the next few hours, he pushed her water glass toward her. “We’ll fit some of that in, won’t we?”

“The girl, Ellissa Wyman. I already had the gut feeling, but as soon as I reviewed the security feed, I knew. The way she flew. Had to be high impact, and nobody on the rink or around saw anything. You don’t get off three streams without somebody seeing something. You sure as hell don’t get them off when a cop reviews the tape, byte by byte, and sees nothing. The odds of me finding where those strikes initiated? I wouldn’t bet on me.”

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