Apprentice in Death (In Death #43)(3)

As she did, a uniform peeled off, lumbered toward her. She recognized the thirty-plus-years vet, and knew the relative order established was due to his experience and no-bullshit style.


He gave her a nod. He had a dark bulldog face on a broad-chested bulldog body. And eyes of bitter chocolate-brown that had seen it all, and expected to see worse at any moment.

“Hell of a mess.”

“Run it through for me.”

“Got the first dispatch at ’round fifteen-twenty. I’m baby-walking a rook, and had him doing some foot patrol on Sixth, so we hotfooted it. Had him start a line back aways, keep people out. But Christ on a crutch, you can’t block the whole freaking park.”

“You’re first-on-scene.”

“Yeah. Nine-one-ones started pumping in and so did cops, but people were already running from the scene when I got here. Had to work with park security to hold what we could. Had some injuries. We got MTs in to treat the minors, but we had a kid, about six, broken leg. The way the wit reports shake out—once you cut through the crap—is the first vic collided with him and the kid’s parents, and the kid’s leg got broke in the fall. Got their contact info, and the hospital for you.”


“I’ll take that information, Officer.”

He reeled it off without pulling out his notebook.

“Sweepers aren’t going to be happy about the state of the crime scene. People all the fuck over it, and the bodies’ve been moved around. Had a medical on the ice, and a vet—an animal doc—and they worked on the vics, and the injured.

“First vic took it in the back. That’s the female out there, in red.” He turned, gestured with a lift of that bulldog chin. “Wit statements aren’t clear about which got hit second, but you got two males, one gut shot, one between the fucking eyes. Looks like a laser strike to me, LT, but I don’t wanna tell you your job. And you’re going to hear from some of these wits about knives and suspicious individuals, and the usual crap.”

You didn’t make lieutenant without wading through, and learning to cut through, the usual crap.

“All right. You got the doctors on tap?”

“Yeah. Got them inside the locker room, got another couple in there, too, who claim they were the first to reach one of the male vics. And the wife of one of the male vics. She’s firm he was the last hit, and I lean toward that.”

“Peabody, take them, and I’ll start on the bodies. I want the security discs, and I want them now.”

“They got them ready for you,” Fericke told her. “Ask for Spicher. He’s rink security, and not altogether a dickhead.”

“I’m on it.” Peabody headed off, careful to avoid the snow.

“Gonna want some grippers for your boots,” Fericke told Eve. “Pile of them up there. Hotshot murder cop face-planting on the ice wouldn’t inspire confidence.”

“Hold the line, Fericke.”

“It’s what we do.”

She walked around to the rink’s entrance, strapping on a pair of the toothy grips before opening her field kit and sealing her hands and boots.

“Hey! Hey! Are you in charge? Who’s in fucking charge?”

She glanced over, locking eyes with a red-faced man of about forty who was wearing a thick white sweater and black skin pants.

“I’m in charge.”

“You have no right to hold me! I have an appointment.”

“Mister . . .”

“Granger. Wayne Granger, and I know my rights!”

“Mr. Granger, do you see the three people lying on the rink?”

“Of course I see them.”

“Their rights trump yours.”

He shouted after her as she worked her way across the ice to the female victim, something about police states and lawsuits. Looking down at the girl in red—couldn’t have been more than twenty years old—Eve didn’t give him another thought.

Blood pooled under her, spreading more red on the ice. She lay on her side, and Eve could clearly see bloody marks where other skaters, and the medicals, had gone through.

Her eyes, a bright, summer blue already glazed with death, stared, and one hand lay, palm up, in her own blood.

No, Eve didn’t give Granger and his appointment another thought.

She crouched down, opening her field kit, and did her job.

She didn’t rise or turn when Peabody came out.

“Vic is Ellissa Wyman, age nineteen. Still lives with her parents and younger sister, Upper West. TOD, fifteen-fifteen. ME will determine COD, but I agree with Fericke. It looks like a laser strike.”

“The doctors—both of them—agree. And the vet? He was an Army corpsman, so he’s seen laser strikes. They didn’t do more than look at her—she was obviously gone. One tried working on the gut shot, and the other examined the head shot—but they were all gone. So they focused on the injured.”

Eve rose with a nod. “Security discs.”

“Right here.”

Eve plugged one of the discs into her own PPC, cued it to fifteen-fourteen, and focused first on the girl in red.

“She’s good,” Peabody commented. “Her form, I mean. She’s building up some speed there, and—”

J.D. Robb's Books