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Authors: David Hosp

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BOOK: Among Thieves
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“Everything sucks as you get older,” Koz pointed out.

“It’s different,” she said. “If you guys screw up at least you don’t end up in jail.”

“No, if we screw up someone else ends up in jail,” Finn replied. “Besides, it’s not clear that he screwed up. It was an inside
job, and it looks like the cops were tipped. It may be that someone wanted him taken out.”

“Any idea who?” Kozlowski asked.

“A few possibilities. I told Devon we might be willing to check them out.”

“Great. Is he going to pay us to do this?”

“He said he would.”

“Will he give us a retainer?” Lissa asked.

Finn shook his head. “He said his money’s in cash and he’s got to get out before he can get it to us.”

“You’re kidding me, right?” Kozlowski said. “Please tell me you’re not actually stupid enough to believe that.”

“He could be telling the truth,” Finn said.

“No, he couldn’t. And you know it. So what the hell is going on?”

“He’s got a daughter.”

“And?” Kozlowski asked. “If we’ve got a policy of doing charity work for anyone with a kid, I missed that in our marketing
materials.”

“She’s fourteen. Devon didn’t even know about her until last year. Her mother’s a fuckup; she dropped the girl off with Devon
and ditched. Now he’s taking care of her. If he goes in, she gets put into the system. I’d like to prevent that if I can.”

“Jesus, Finn,” Lissa said. “You don’t even know this girl, do you?”

“No, but I know the system. I lived in it for fifteen years. It’s not a good place to be. If I can do something about it,
I’d like to.”

Kozlowski shook his head in disbelief. “So much so that you want to do this without getting paid?”

Finn looked at him. “Yeah, if necessary. What’s the problem? You feeling poor? You’re making twice what you were when you
left the department. You afraid you won’t be able to afford the summer clothing sale at Wal-Mart?” He glanced over at Lissa.
“And I know you’re not worried about the money.”

“No, I’m not,” she admitted. “As long as we don’t make a habit out of it.”

“Good,” Finn said. “So we’re all on board? We’ll get him out on bail and do what we can do. We’ll treat it as a pro bono matter,
and if by some miracle he actually pays us—”

“Not gonna happen,” Kozlowski said.

“Fine, but if it does, then it’s like a windfall. You could even take your share and buy yourself a new suit. Maybe something
made of natural fibers. It won’t repel the rain the way rayon does, but you might like it anyways. So? Agreed?”

“Agreed,” Lissa said.

“Fine, but I don’t like it,” Kozlowski mumbled.

“I don’t know what you’re bitching about. This is gonna be a lot harder on me than anyone else,” Finn said.

“How so?”

Finn took a sip of his beer. “I told him I’d keep an eye on his daughter.”

Lissa shouted loud enough to draw stares from those around her in the stands. “You told him what?”

“You heard me. I’m taking his daughter for a few days.”

“Oh, this gets better and better,” Koz grunted.

“What did you want me to do?” Finn asked.

Lissa rolled her eyes. “It’s all making sense now. This is some kind of a fucked-up crusade for you, isn’t it? That’s why
you want to take on the case. You think if you can keep her out of the system, it’ll make up for how messed up you were when
you were her age? When are you gonna learn? You’re Devon’s lawyer, not his family. It’s not your responsibility.”

“Of course it’s not my responsibility, but it’s a couple of days, tops. What’s the big deal?”

“Have you ever dealt with a fourteen-year-old girl?” Lissa asked.

“Not since I was fifteen. Millie Donnolly. God she was cute.”

“I was fourteen once,” Lissa said. “I’m telling you that this is a big fuckin’ mistake. Where is she now?”

“She’s at Devon’s apartment. Devon’s girlfriend is there, but she’s headed back to Providence today. I told Devon I’d pick
her up after the game. He said he didn’t have anyone else—he just got arrested last night.”

“It’s still a mistake to get involved with a client like this, Finn. You can represent them, but you can’t fix their lives.”

“I like to think of us as a full-service firm,” Finn replied.

“You like to think of yourself as a savior.”

“Right. Me and Jesus. Practically separated at birth. He had longer hair and a beard, of course, but—”

“And more patience. Trust me, you’ll find that out after a few days with a fourteen-year-old girl.” She took a long swig of
her beer.

“After a few days or so, it’ll be over. We’ll get Devon out on bail, and we’ll see where the case goes. If we can’t cut a
deal that keeps him out of jail long-term, he’ll find someone else to take the girl.”

“How do you know?”

“He gave me his word.”

Kozlowski sighed. “
Great
. Who could worry once you have the word of a man in prison?”

Boston had taken an eight-to-one lead by the seventh inning, and the game was turning ugly. The sun broke through the cloud
cover in the eighth, and jackets and sweatshirts came off around Fenway Park. In the bleachers, a group of beefy twentysomethings
stripped to the waist, revealing their bloated bellies, painted bright red and blue, each with a letter to spell out “RED
SOX.” At one point the fourth young man in the chain was overcome by a morning of drinking and passed out in his seat, leaving
his friends to advertise themselves as “RED OX.” In fairness, Finn thought, they did more resemble bulls than ballplayers.

Finn, Kozlowski, and Lissa stayed through the last pitch, as did nearly every other fan in the stadium. Then they all filed
out of the park together, spilling into the melee surrounding Fenway. The entire area reeked of stale beer and fried meat.
The front windows of the bars and cafés were open, and young men and women, fully inebriated at two-thirty in the afternoon,
leaned out from the jambs, laughing and screaming.

Finn frowned as he dodged a young man on Rollerblades be-

bopping down the sidewalk, the paper bag ineffectively disguising the forty-ounce bottle of beer in his hand.

“I’m so fucking old,” Finn said.

“Yes,” Lissa agreed. “You are.”

“What’s that make me?” Kozlowski asked.

She laughed. “Sensitive, apparently. I try not to think about what it makes you.”

“Seriously,” Finn said. “When did this happen? When did I become the guy who thinks kids play their music too loud and don’t
respect their elders?”

“It happens to all of us eventually,” Kozlowski said.

“Really? When did it happen to you?”

“When I was nine.”

“Right.”

“We could stop inside Sonsie for a drink,” Lissa suggested. “It’s a little bit of an older crowd in there. Very cosmopolitan
and chic. Maybe it’ll make you feel better.”

Finn shook his head. “I don’t think so. I have to go pick up Devon’s daughter. Besides, I’m not wearing enough black to get
into a place like Sonsie.”

“Suit yourself.” She looked at Kozlowski. “How about you, old man? You want to take me to Sonsie for a drink?”

“I don’t own any black.”

“Fake it. If you’re nice to me, you might even get lucky later.”

“It’s not luck.”

“Trust me, old man, sometimes it’s luck.”

Finn cleared his throat. “On that note…” Finn gave them an abbreviated wave and peeled off onto Commonwealth Avenue, following
the marathon course, heading back to his car.

He hadn’t enjoyed the game. He was nervous about the prospect of taking Devon’s daughter in, even for a short time. Lissa
was right, he had no experience with children at all, much less with fourteen-year-old girls. He’d been raised as an orphan,
though, shuttled from foster family to Catholic orphanage to state-run facility back to foster family, so he knew what that
kind of life was like. He’d grown up quickly and hit the streets by the time he was fifteen. Crazy as it seemed, he felt he
had a responsibility to at least try to help Devon to keep his daughter out of that life.

He opened the door to his car, slid into the front seat, and pulled out the address Devon had given him. How bad could it
be? After all, it was only for a couple of days.

Liam Kilbranish sat at the kitchen table in the weather-beaten capehouse two blocks from the water in Quincy. An RPB MAC 11
.380 submachine gun with a detachable suppressor was disassembled and lay in pieces on the table in front of him, each component
individually cleaned and oiled. A .223-caliber AR-15 semiautomatic rifle leaned against the kitchen wall, and the nine-millimeter
SP-21 Barak semiautomatic pistol was breached and two full clips were lying next to it. An eight-inch knife lay next to its
ankle sheath, gleaming under the flickering bare bulb of the overhead light.

Sean Broadark was on the sofa in the living area, which was separated from the tiny house’s kitchen only by a countertop.
He was flipping channels disinterestedly on the tiny twelve-inch television. He was an unattractive specimen. His face was
cragged with pits and moles, and he was balding in an unusual pattern that left an island of graying red at the crown. He
had a paunch that evidenced the kind of personal neglect Liam deplored. In all other respects, though, he was a model soldier:
more dedicated to the cause and to the command structure than he was to his own life. A patchy beard was beginning to take
root on the man’s pockmarked face, like weeds growing through the cracks in a dilapidated sidewalk. He looked to Liam like
one of God’s unfinished works—the sketch of a monster the Almighty had never come back to.

“He didn’t know anything,” Sean said from his perch. It was the first time he’d spoken in nearly a day.

“So it would seem,” Liam replied.

“He’d have talked if he knew anything. No one could take what he took without talking if he had anything to say.”

Liam said nothing.

“You said he would know. You said he would have the answer.”

“Aye. I did,” Liam conceded.

“You were wrong.”

Liam picked up the Barak and slid one of the magazines into the pistol grip, pulling back on the release to chamber a round.
He held the gun loosely. “Aye, I was.”

Broadark seemed unfazed. He’d seen enough violence in his lifetime that attempts to intimidate him were useless, and Liam
knew it. “So, what now?” was all he said.

“There are two more,” Liam replied. “We find them and make them talk.”

“How do you know they’ll have something to say?”

It was a question that had gnawed at Liam since they had set out from Belfast a week before. It was a question his superiors—those
few who had approved of his mission—had asked him as well.
How do you know?
And to that, there was only one answer:
Someone has to know.
It was the only answer that would keep alive everything for which he had fought a lifetime; the only answer that would allow
him to live up to a promise he had made silently to his father more than three decades earlier.

“They’ll have something to say,” Liam replied.

Broadark never turned. His eyes remained on the television as the stations flashed aimlessly by, one after another. “That’s
what you said about Murphy,” he said simply.

Chapter Five

Devon’s apartment was in a section of Southie that had as yet escaped the onslaught of gentrification eating away at the area
year after year. It was the first floor of a clapboard double-decker in desperate need of a paint job. Finn felt like he was
getting lead poisoning just looking at the chunks of paint chips collecting in the corners of the front landing. As he looked
around the place, any thought that Devon would make good on his promise of payment slipped away.

The woman who opened the door was probably in her early thirties, but extra mileage was evident in the lines in her face.
She regarded Finn with an expression equal parts suspicion and annoyance.

“What the fuck do you want?” she demanded.

“I’m Finn,” he replied stupidly.

“Congratulations,” she sneered. “That don’t answer the fuckin’ question.”

He blinked back at her, and for the first time it occurred to him that Devon might not have called ahead to let her know that
he’d asked Finn to take care of his daughter.

BOOK: Among Thieves
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