Today's Reading

CHAPTER ONE
Monday

'Between Camino Del Cerro and Sweetwater, Dispatch told me, on Silverbell Road.' Sarah leaned forward, squinting across the driver. 'Must be almost— There it is. See all the squads?'

Bogey turned left quickly to drive through iron gates standing open, onto a fresh asphalt driveway. He parked to the right of the three black-and-whites that were nosed in behind a passenger van covered with logos. Its ads matched the ones on the new brick building behind it. They all read Fairweather Farms, with senior living in smaller print below.

A couple of Tucson street cops, new recruits that Sarah didn't know, were stringing crime scene tape around the rear end of the van. The front end was out of sight, improbably buried in the half-open garage door of the handsome three-story building. 'Whoa,' Bogey said. 'Somebody forgot to stop, huh?' For a few seconds, both detectives sat still while their eyes scanned the puzzling scene. Besides being stuck in a half-open door, the vehicle was pocked with what looked like fresh bullet holes, their sheared metallic edges winking in the sunlight.

Two men stood just outside the tape, wearing brown jumpsuits with logos that matched the van. They carried gardening tools, a rake and an edger, and were watching the vehicle warily, as if they thought it might explode.

A few feet away, between the men and the front door of the building, a woman in tan scrubs with the same logo as theirs was standing with her hands over her eyes. She was shouting something. Or crying? Both, Sarah decided as she opened her door and heard, '...never saw so much blood in my life! Omigod!'

Sarah said, 'I don't see any blood, do you?'

'Sure don't,' Bogey said, but he unclipped the cover on his Glock.

He was still trying to fit in, she thought. She had watched his efforts, during his first week in homicide division, to get everybody comfortable with his big square face and his name, Zivko Boganicevic. A mouthful for sure, but he'd spelled it for anybody who asked and, if they still looked confused, pronounced it again: Zeef-ko Bo-gan-EESS-uh-veech. By the end of the week they had all begun, at his suggestion, to call him Bogey.

In the shady interior behind the half-raised garage door, Sarah could see the feet and lower legs of more patrolmen. They must be taping an area around the front of the van. She watched as the two outside patrolmen finished stretching their end of the tape. Simultaneously, each man fastened his end to the door frame on his side and stood back, looking for the next order of business. Looking for Pratt? Sarah thought. Where is he?

Big, loud, hard to miss, Pratt was the patrolman who had called homicide, looking for somebody to take over this crime scene. Sarah had been at her desk when Delaney answered the phone, and she'd heard him tell Pratt to wait for the team of detectives that he would send right away. Delaney had not become head of homicide by being shy about issuing orders—rattlesnakes hid quivering in the cactus, his detectives claimed, when Delaney got riled about an order overlooked.

So where's Pratt?

'You know either one of these boys?' Sarah asked Bogey. It was a reasonable question—Bogey had just made his rating, and he was fresh off the Tucson streets, not a transfer from out of town—he must know most of the guys on patrol.

Like every other detective in homicide, Sarah had heard about the bold collar that got Bogey's application lifted out of the slush pile and put up front in the promotion queue. He was replacing Leo Tobin, who had given plenty of notice about his intention to retire in September, and they all knew one or two detectives who were slogging through domestic abuse or auto theft, waiting their turn for homicide. So when they got a few spare minutes for the gossip that greases the wheels of police work everywhere, they began to ask each other, what kind of juice has this Bogey got?

Sarah tried to steer clear of department gossip, usually, and Bogey's story—the single-handed arrest of five armed men—had a show-boat slant that made her extra dubious. Why didn't he call for backup? She would not have picked him to partner with today, but Delaney said, when he assigned her to this oddball street attack, 'Might as well take Bogey along for backup. Good chance to get him started.'

She'd been listening to chaotic radio traffic from the street chase while she worked, and began to play closer attention as the chase cars reported in from a place called Fairweather Farms. So when the call came in for homicide and she got the case, she'd asked her backup to drive and let her monitor radio traffic on the way. But there'd been nothing much going on for the last few blocks. Well, we'll get the skinny from the patrolmen on site.
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