Apprentice in Death (In Death #43)(6)

“No. No. Detective Peabody asked, and just no. People like Alan. He’s a teacher. We’re teachers, and he helps coach soccer, and, and volunteers at the homeless shelter. Everyone likes Alan. Why would anyone hurt him? Why?”

“We’re going to do everything we can to find out. You can contact me or Detective Peabody anytime.”

“I don’t know what to do.”

“You should go with your mom.” Liam leaned over, kissed her head. “Go home with your mom now.”


“I’ll come. I’ll be there.” He looked over her head to Kate, got a teary nod. “Go with your mom, darling, and I’ll be coming right along.”


“Come with me. We’ll have an officer take you home.”

Liam sat where he was as Peabody led them out.

“We’re divorced, you see, and Kate, she’s married again. Eight years. Or is it nine?” He shook his head. “But such things don’t matter a bit now, do they?” As he rose, he cleared his throat again. “He was a good man, our Alan. A good and stable man who loved my girl with his whole heart. You’ll find who took him from her, from my girl and from the baby inside her.”

“We’ll do everything we can.”

“I saw the vid, and read the book as well. That Icove business. You’ll find who took the life of this good young man.”

Eyes blurred with tears, he hurried out.

Eve sat, took a moment to clear away the grief that hung so thick in the air. Then pulled out her ’link.

“Lowenbaum.” SWAT commander—the best she knew. “I need a consult.”

“I’m getting rumors about Central Park.”

“I’m confirming them. I need an expert consult.”

“And to think I was going off tour. I can be at the rink in—”

“Not the rink, not yet. I’ve got security feed, and I need a good screen. My place isn’t far from here. Can you come there?”

“The Dallas Palace?”

“Bite me, Lowenbaum.”

He laughed, then just grinned at her. “Yeah, I can come there.” The grin faded. “I get conflicting numbers on vics.”

“Three. And it’s my sense it could’ve been a hell of a lot worse.”

“If it can get worse, it usually does.”

“That’s why I need the consult. I think it could get worse. I have to do the notifications. Can you be there in an hour?”

“Can do.”

“Appreciate it.”

She clicked off as Peabody came back.

“I need you to go to the hospital—or check and see if the kid with the broken leg and his parents are still there. Wherever they are, go there. See what they saw, write it up. I’ll do the notifications.”

“I’m still working on the security feeds. It’s a big park.”

“Have them sent to my home and office units. We can start with sectors east of the rink. Have them sent to your home and office units, too. I want you to study them—get McNab to study them. You flag anything or anyone that looks off. If this came from inside the park, we’re looking for an individual with some sort of bag or case.”


Eve stepped out of the office, scanned the empty locker room. “Because I’m betting it came from outside the park. We’re going to be looking at buildings with west-facing windows, starting with Sixth, working east until Lowenbaum tells me to stop.”


“He’s coming in to consult. I want this rink feed on my screens at home, with equipment that doesn’t argue with me.”

“Lowenbaum. He’s so cute.” At Eve’s steely stare, Peabody hunched her shoulders. “I’m with McNab through and through, but I can see cuteness through my eyes and my Cute-O-Meter. You have to admit, he ranks high on the Cute-O-Meter.”

“Cute’s for kids and puppies—if you’re into kids and puppies. I’ll give you he’s frosty enough.”

“Completely. I’ll push on the security feeds, and see if I can find anything new from the kid and his parents.” As she spoke, Peabody began to rewind her long scarf. “We’re going to be wading through piles of wit statements.”

“Take the first ten. I’ll start on the rest. Let’s see if we can find anything that connects the three vics other than a visit to the skating rink. And let’s hope we do. If this was pure random, it’s already gotten worse.”

As she stepped outside, Eve looked over the heads of the sweepers busy working on the scene, and stared east.

Again she thought: It could get a lot worse.


Hard to say, Eve thought as she finally headed home, if notifying next of kin was worse in person or over the ’link. Either way, she had just sliced Ellissa Wyman’s parents in two, face-to-face, and had done the same to Brent Michaelson’s daughter, who was in Philadelphia on business, via ’link.

Their lives would never be the same. Death changed everything, she knew, and murder added a bloody smear to the change.

She had to cut through the grief—it blurred focus.

No enemies, no threats, no trouble. No bitter exes, no big piles of coveted money. At this point, it appeared the three victims had been ordinary, law-abiding people.

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