Apprentice in Death (In Death #43)(9)

“Your shooter’s nest is east of the rink, and that kind of accuracy? He’s got serious training. That’s not luck. East of the rink and above.”


“ME should confirm that, unless I’m full of shit. Thanks,” he added to Roarke, took a beer. “I’m going to be surprised if general park security picks up anything. Even in New York, somebody’s going to notice somebody else climbing up a tree with a weapon, and I’m thinking higher anyway. Run it back, watch again.”

“I thought I saw a flash, a red . . . glimmer.”

“The beam. Sorry,” Roarke added.

“No, you’re right.” Lowenbaum nodded approval as he continued to watch the screen. “A laser strike emits a beam. Hard to catch it, and it’s fast. You get this to the lab, they can clean it up more, bring it up more. But there.”

Eve froze the image. “Yeah, I see it. And yeah, I can just make out an angle. East and above.”

“My guess, even if this fucker climbed the park’s tallest tree, is tactical laser rifle.”

“What’s the range on one of those?”

“That’s going to depend on the weapon, and it’s sure as hell going to depend on the shooter. But if he’s good enough, equipped right? A mile and a half, two. Even more.”

“A weapon like that? Has to be law enforcement or military. You can’t just pick one up at the local 24/7. Black market, maybe, a weapons runner, but that’s going to cost for one that’s not a piece of shit.”

“Twenty large, easy,” Lowenbaum confirmed. “Even a licensed collector’s going to find one hard to come by—through legal means.”

“A complicated process,” Roarke said, “but doable.”

Eve turned to him. “You have one.”

“Actually, three. A Stealth-LZR—”

“You got an LZR?” Lowenbaum’s eyes shone like Christmas morning. “First man-portable laser rifle—pulse action. 2021 to ’23. Heavy, clunky, but a trained operator could strike a dime credit in just inside a mile.”

“They’ve improved considerably since then. I have the Tactical-XT, such as your team would use, and a Peregrine-XLR.”

“Shut up.” Lowenbaum pointed at Roarke. “You’ve got a Peregrine?”

“I do.”

“Those suckers are accurate for five miles, more in the right hands. They just released for military use last year. How did you . . .” Lowenbaum paused, took a sip of beer. “Don’t ask, don’t tell?”

“All legal,” Roarke assured him. “Considerable finagling, but I’ve all the proper paperwork.”

“Man. I’d love to see it.”

“Of course.”


“What are the odds this shooter has something like that?” Eve began.

“If he does, he could’ve taken the shot from goddamn Queens. I’d really like a look.”

“You just want to play with the toys, but fine.”

“We’ll take the elevator.” Roarke gestured.

“You should have a look yourself,” Lowenbaum told Eve. “Get a gauge.”

“I’ve seen your weapon, Lowenbaum. I’ve used a laser rifle a time or two.”

“It’s more likely your shooter’s using a tactical—something in that range.” Lowenbaum stepped on the elevator with them. “Three strikes like that, in that time frame? You’ve got someone who’s got possession and training of a long-range laser rifle.”

“Law enforcement, military—or former in either. I’ll get a list of collectors to add to that.”

Eve stuck her hands in her pockets as the elevator opened outside the big secured doors of Roarke’s weapons room.

Roarke laid his hand on the palm plate.

When the doors opened, Lowenbaum let out a sound a man might make when seeing a naked woman.

She supposed she couldn’t blame him. Roarke’s collection was a history of weaponry. Broadswords, stunners, thin silver foils, muskets, revolvers, maces, blasters, machine guns, combat knives.

The glass display cases held centuries of death.

She gave Lowenbaum a minute to wander and gawk.

“You and Roarke can play with all the shoot-it, stab-it, stun-it, and blow-the crap-out-of-it toys later. Right now . . .”

She gestured toward the display of laser weapons.

Obliging her, Roarke deactivated the locks, opened the glass, took out the Peregrine.

She’d never seen it, or its like before. And admitted, to herself, she’d like to test it out. But she said nothing as Roarke took it from its place, offered it to Lowenbaum.

“Is it charged?”

“It’s not, no. That would be . . . breaking the rules.” And Roarke smiled.

With a half laugh, Lowenbaum lifted the weapon—black as death, sleek as a snake—to his shoulder. “Lightweight. Our tacticals weigh in at five-point-three pounds. Add another eight ounces if you’re carrying the optimum scope. Spare batt’s another three ounces. This is what, three pounds and change?”

“Three and two. It’ll sync with a PPC, or you can use its infrared.” Now Roarke opened the door, took out a palm-sized handheld. “This will read up to fifteen miles. Battery life is seventy-two hours, full use, though I’m warned it will start to heat up at about forty-eight if not rested. Recharges in under two minutes.”

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