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Authors: Max Allan Collins

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BOOK: Criminal Minds
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Not that she was showing off, but this was her first trip back to the Chicago area since joining the BAU. She knew that more than one agent in the field office here had been against her transfer, seeing it as a promotion she didn’t deserve. In particular, some of the Old Boy’s Club, who still had issues with women rising in the Bureau, took her making it to Quantico as a personal affront. She would look her best today, and the naysayers could take that as a personal affront, too, if they liked.
The team had rooms at the Hilton downtown because of a favorable government rate and its proximity to the Chicago field office. If her mother had been along, the accommodations would have been at the ritzier Drake or possibly, if Mom was going tourist, the Palmer House. The Hilton was fine with Prentiss; with the BAU, she had checked into such varied inns as Holiday, Ramada and Comfort, and survived just fine.
After clipping her holster to her belt, Prentiss checked her pistol to make sure a shell was in the pipe and the safety was on. She had drawn her weapon in the line of duty only a few times, but this girl abided by the Boy Scout motto: be prepared.
Ten minutes later, seated in the hotel’s restaurant, working on her second cup of coffee and the morning crossword (a stress-reliever she had learned from Jason Gideon before his unexpected retirement), Prentiss tried to clear her mind for the upcoming day.
A thought kept intruding, though: she missed him . . . Gideon. Even though Rossi seemed to be fitting in, Gideon was the teammate who had treated her least like the new kid in school when she had joined the BAU. He’d had a warm, compassionate way about him, lending a sort of spiritual center to their relentless work, which was absent from the team now. Even though Gideon had been gone for a while, she still missed his mentoring, his kindness, his presence.
‘‘Did you catch the crossword bug from Jason?’’
She looked up to see Hotchner standing over her wearing a gentle smile. Smiling back, she nodded. ‘‘Please—have a seat.’’
Hotchner sat and a waitress came over.
‘‘Coffee, orange juice, and a bagel,’’ Hotchner said.
The waitress nodded and disappeared.
‘‘Not exactly a power breakfast,’’ Prentiss said.
‘‘I don’t eat much in the morning.’’
‘‘I know. Why send the blood rushing to your stomach, when our kind of mornings usually require blood to the brain.’’
His smile blossomed, a rarity in his grave countenance. ‘‘I don’t disagree.’’
Before they’d finished their coffee, the rest of the team joined them. As usual, Reid looked like a refugee from a prep school whose roommate insisted he dress in the dark. Sharper by some distance, Morgan wore a pullover sweater and dark dress slacks, a page out of a
GQ
salute to law enforcement. Meanwhile, Jareau had gone with a gray pantsuit that played up her professionalism (and played down her shape), and work-casual Rossi wore jeans, a sky blue button-down and a red tie under a dark blazer.
Good mornings were exchanged, followed by light talk of how people slept and other such trivia; but no words of work. Yet Prentiss knew every one of the minds in this group was already going over what little they knew about this new antagonist.
Knowing one of these predators was at large, and active, when you were one of the team called in to stop him, presented a variety of stress known to few. If they moved too fast, a perp could walk on any number of technicalities; if they moved too slow, another victim might lose his or her life before the BAU could stop the predator.
Sometimes,
more
than one victim. . . .
So they sipped coffee, nibbled bagels and pretended to be just another group of coworkers about to head in to the office.
Taking the SUVs, they drove west on Roosevelt Road to the field office just west of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Rush University Medical Center. The FBI was housed in an antiseptic twelve-story monument to glass and steel at 211 West Roosevelt Road.
By the time the team piled out of their SUVs in the parking lot, Lorenzon and Tovar had joined up with them. Soon they were in the lobby, which had a metal detector at the front door (added after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995) with fire hydrant concrete columns outside (after September 11). Once they had negotiated the building’s defenses, they were met by the Special Agent In Charge of the field office.
The SAIC, Raymond Himes, was a tall, broad-shouldered African-American with black hair cut close to the scalp. He wore a gray single-breasted suit over a white shirt with a red-and-blue tie, very sharp, very professional.
He greeted them all with handshakes and smiles, reserving an exceptionally warm smile for his old coworker, Prentiss. Like her, Himes had faced prejudice in his rise within the Bureau and the two had been kindred spirits.
‘‘I’m sorry,’’ Himes said, ‘‘that I couldn’t arrange to see you folks yesterday.’’
Hotchner said, ‘‘We wanted to get right out to the crime scenes.’’
Detective Tovar, anxious, asked Hotch, ‘‘How did that go, anyway?’’
‘‘We’ll save that for the meeting,’’ Hotchner said, with just enough of a smile to make that seem less a dismissal.
Prentiss could tell from the detective’s expression that he didn’t like the tone of that.
Himes said, ‘‘I’ve got you set up in a conference room on the second floor.’’
‘‘Sounds fine,’’ Hotchner said.
‘‘And if you need anything,’’ the SAIC said, ‘‘my office is on the eleventh floor.’’
‘‘Thanks.’’
The team followed Himes through the large atrium lobby to a bank of elevators, then rode with him to the second floor. As the doors eased open, they found a young man waiting for them. He was tall, thin, wore glasses and his straight brown hair was parted on the side. To Prentiss, he looked less like an FBI agent and more like a CPA, one barely older than Reid. Behind him, cubicles with busy agents spread out across the floor.
The team filed out of the elevator, Himes remaining inside.
‘‘This is Special Agent Brian Kohler,’’ Himes said, holding a button down to keep the elevator door open. ‘‘If you need anything, he’s your man.’’
‘‘Thank you,’’ Hotchner said.
‘‘Brian, show the team to conference room B, will you?’’
‘‘Yes, sir,’’ Kohler said, his voice effervescent with youthful enthusiasm.
Prentiss was hoping this wasn’t Kohler’s first day on the job. . . .
Himes, in the elevator, released the button, and gave them a going away smile. ‘‘Don’t forget, eleventh floor.’’
The doors whispered shut and he was gone. Prentiss knew and liked Himes, but her sense was that he’d just rolled out a very tiny red carpet and disappeared. The promise of support from this field office did not fill her with confidence.
With Hotchner at the fore, they followed the young agent down the hall until he led them into a conference room on the left side of the corridor.
‘‘Will there be anything else?’’ Kohler asked.
He might have been a bellboy fishing for a tip.
‘‘No,’’ Hotchner said.
Prentiss covered for her boss with, ‘‘Thank you. Appreciate it.’’
‘‘Not at all!’’ the young agent said, and he, too, disappeared. Enthusiastically disappeared, but disappeared.
The room was dominated by a teardrop-shaped table surrounded by a dozen chairs. A white board on one wall, bulletin boards along another one, and a video screen on a third made this an instant home away from home. Windows filled two-thirds of the fourth wall, the view toward the lake. Rossi slanted the blinds, making seeing out hard but allowing light to filter in.
Jareau started filling the bulletin board with crime scene photos. While Reid set up his laptop, Morgan made three columns on the white board and labeled each with the name of the killer being copied.
Prentiss set up her laptop, too, using it to establish contact with the team’s digital intelligence officer, Penelope Garcia, back in Quantico. Blonde, pleasantly plump, with dark-framed glasses and a thrift-shop chic fashion sense, Garcia was just a little less quirky than a David Lynch movie, but also a brilliant technician who had frequently come through for them.
‘‘Garcia,’’ Prentiss said.
‘‘Hey,’’ the perky computer expert said, her image on the laptop screen lighting up with her infectious smile.
‘‘Anything?’’
‘‘I’m still digging, especially on trying to identify the victim in the barrel. Unfortunately, there are enough missing people in that part of the world to make it tricky, particularly without something more from the Cook County coroner.’’
‘‘Stay on it,’’ Prentiss said.
‘‘It’s what I do,’’ Garcia said, ever chipper in the face of mountains of work.
Prentiss looked up as Hotchner said, ‘‘All right, we’ve settled in—now let’s get started.’’
Taking seats around the table, surrounded by the evidence of the killings of the monster they were hunting, the team hunkered down.
Hotchner began by explaining that the Wauconda PD would not be joining the task force.
‘‘You gotta be kidding me,’’ Tovar said, rolling his eyes. ‘‘If they didn’t want in, why would Denson give me those crime scene photos?’’
Morgan said, ‘‘It’s the bad company you keep.’’
The short Hispanic detective blinked at that. "Huh?"
A mirthless grin settled on Hotchner’s face. ‘‘What Morgan means is . . . sharing information with another cop isn’t the same thing as taking it to the FBI. Some law enforcement agencies see us as Big Brother marching in to take over . . . and take credit.’’
Tovar shifted in his seat. ‘‘Maybe if I
talked
to him ..."
Shaking his head, Hotchner said, ‘‘I wouldn’t bother. They don’t believe we can help them, and that’s their choice.’’
Lorenzon said, ‘‘It’s a stupid choice.’’ The athletic-looking African-American cop shifted in his seat, a look of disgust on his trimly bearded face. ‘‘A rinkydink piddling outfit like Wauconda, turning down first-string help like the BAU? Crazy.’’
But Tovar sighed and shrugged. His eyes were on Hotchner. ‘‘Tate’s probably right that the Wauconda PD is foolish not to accept outside help. But, truthfully? I don’t know for sure what the BAU can do to help us with this mess. I just know we need help, and Tate knowing Morgan here, well, that’s how we came to call on you.’’
‘‘Understood,’’ Hotchner said. ‘‘So let’s get on the same page, shall we? . . . Why can we help? Because of one simple truth: behavior reveals personality. The more we know about an UnSub’s personality, the easier it is to apprehend him.’’
‘‘To a street cop,’’ Tovar said, ‘‘this all sounds like guesswork mixed in with mumbo jumbo. No offense meant.’’
‘‘None taken,’’ Hotchner said with a nod. ‘‘For all the talk that what we do is new, behavioral science has been around for over a hundred years—in fiction, at least, if not in reality.’’
‘‘Fiction?’’ Lorenzon asked. ‘‘Aren’t we in the fact business?’’
Reid joined in. ‘‘In 1841, Edgar Allan Poe’s protagonist, C. Auguste Dupin, in the short story, ‘The Murders In The Rue Morgue,’ was a behavioral analyst, even if he wasn’t called that. Poe wrote, ‘Deprived of ordinary resources, the analyst throws himself into the spirit of his opponent, identifies himself therewith, and not infrequently sees thus, at a glance, the sole methods by which he may seduce into error or hurry into miscalculation.’ That’s essentially what we do.’’
Lorenzon’s eyes went to his friend Morgan. ‘‘What the hell?’’
Morgan flashed his killer smile. ‘‘We think like they think. And sometimes,
knowing
how they think, we can make them screw up . . . so we can catch them.’’
‘‘After Poe,’’ Hotchner said, ‘‘Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, who was not only one of the first crime scene investigators, but also a behavioral analyst. And as for fact over fiction, Doyle based Holmes on Dr. Joseph Bell’s diagnostic techniques, and later Doyle used these very methods himself in a number of pioneering criminal investigations.’’
Interested despite himself, Tovar asked, ‘‘So, when did profiling come into the
real
world?’’
‘‘How old are you?’’ Hotchner asked.
Tovar gave him an odd look. ‘‘Sixty-one, why?’’
‘‘You may be old enough to remember. Lorenzon, you’re way too young to recall the mad bomber, aren’t you?’’
Lorenzon blinked. ‘‘Mad bomber?’’
‘‘George Metesky. In New York, from 1940 until his arrest in 1957, Metesky operated as the so-called ‘Mad Bomber.’ ’’
Reid picked right up from his boss. ‘‘Metesky planted over thirty devices, some of which exploded, some of which did not. The important thing, from our perspective? Is that the police couldn’t catch him. Even though he sent bragging letters, and they had entire bombs to examine—in the cases of those that did not go off—traditional law enforcement could not seem to solve the crimes. Finally, in desperation, they went to a psychiatrist— Dr. James A. Brussel— and gave him the case files.’’
Lorenzon asked, ‘‘And the shrink came up with something?’’
Reid nodded. ‘‘After combing through the material, the doctor came up with some startling conclusions—he predicted that the UnSub was paranoid, hated his father, obsessively loved his mother, and lived in a city in Connecticut.’’
‘‘Brother,’’ Tovar said.
Reid continued. ‘‘Brussel insisted that the UnSub had a grudge against Commonwealth Edison and was probably a former employee of that firm. And the doctor went on to say that the man was heavyset, middle-aged, foreign born, Roman Catholic, single, and lived with . . . ‘brother’ is right . . . a brother or sister. Finally, Brussel told the police that when the UnSub was found, he would be wearing a double-breasted suit—buttoned.’’
Tovar asked, ‘‘How close was the doc?’’
Hotchner said, ‘‘The police came up with a former Con Ed employee: George Metesky. The only thing Brussel missed on was that the UnSub lived with
two
maiden sisters, not one. When they arrested Metesky, he changed into a double-breasted suit—buttoned.’’
BOOK: Criminal Minds
3.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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