Authors: Robin Burcell
Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #Police Procedural, #Women Sleuths, #Thrillers, #Suspense
EVERY MOVE SHE MAKES
By: Robin Burcell
Gruesome slasher murders are spreading terror in
pressure is on the police force to track down the killer before another
young woman is found, throat cut, body abandoned. Homicide Inspector
Kate Gillespie is picked to lead the search with her partner, old-timer
Sam Scolari. This is the case that could make Kate's career. But the
next victim stops her in her tracks -- and all evidence points to her
partner. He goes underground, leaving Kate alone to prove his
innocence, or his guilt. Kate has to find the killer before the cops
find Sam. Complicating matters is Mike "Torrid"
, the sexiest
internal affairs officer ever to carry a badge. He's watching Kate, an
assignment that brings them far closer than they expected. Without a
partner she can trust...with a killer and a cop watching her every
move...can Kate find the truth before it's too late?
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10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
In memory of Rick Charles Cromwell 1963-1998
Killed in the line of duty, December 9
Fellow officer, and friend, we will never forget you
EVERY MOVE SHE MAKES
Ask any homicide inspector and he-or she-will tell you the same. just
before the end of shift on any given Friday, Murphy's Law prevails. If
you have plans, you might as well cancel them, because someone's bound
to find a body. Such is the life of a cop. Mine at San Francisco PD was
no different. On this particular Friday in early November, I got the
call precisely twenty minutes before I was due to leave on a weekend
. My ex-husband, DA Investigator Reid Bettencourt, intended
the trip as a means to bring us back together, though God only knew
where he was getting the money he still owed me three thousand dollars
for bills I was left with after our divorce. I, having no intention of
getting back together with him, agreed to go dutch, of course-and was
dressed for the occasion in a winter-white cashmere sweater, tan plaid
wool skirt, and soft leather boots. I wore my shoulder-length brown hair
pulled back in a clip, leaving a few trendy strands loose to frame my
face and bring out the brown in my eyes. It was a gray, windy day, and I
was enroute to Reid's
flat when my pager went off, alerting
me to the homicide out by Pier 24. I telephoned Reid from the car.
"Why can't Scolari take it?" he asked.
"I'm sure he will. Once he gets there." Sam Scolari, my partner, knew I
was on my way out of town and had promised to cover for me. So far he
had yet to answer his page, which left me no choice. "I have to respond.
You know the routine." Reid should. It was one of the reasons we
divorced. I was at the beck and call of fate, and he didn't like it.
"Drive on up. If I get off in time, I'll meet you for dinner," I said.
"If not, we'll make it breakfast. Hopefully they'll hold my room."
"How are we supposed to make this work if you're not there?"
"Short of making the body come back to life, I don't have much choice."
Come to think of it, I'd had the same problem with our marriage.
"Scolari's doing this on purpose."
"Gotta go," I said, having no wish to get into it with him about my
partner. "I'll call you." I drove inland, past Pier 24, parking behind
two patrol cars in front of a single-story brick warehouse that occupied
one full block, making sure I kept my Irishitalian temper in check. It
was not the weekend away with Reid I was sore about missing. It was the
weekend away, period. I wanted to go anyplace where I didn't have to
look at dead bodies. An officer stood sentinel at the door, and as I
approached I did a double take. The officer, like me, had dark eyes and
chestnut hair, reminding me of my older brother-until he spoke. It was
not my brother's voice.
That I would never hear again.
I composed myself, and showed my gold inspector's star. "Kate Gillespie.
Homicide." "Body's inside," he said. "Medical Examiner's investigator
hasn't gotten here yet." I pulled a small spiral notebook from my
overcoat pocket. A gust of wind tore at the pages, made it difficult to
write. I glanced at the officer's nameplate to copy it.
Robertson. Star 3632. "Who's the reporting party?"
"Officer O'Sullivan." "Sully?" Kyle O'Sullivan was a senior officer
assigned to Mission Station. He liked the action, and I couldn't picture
him working this area. Too quiet.
"What's he doing out here?"
"Working security next door." "Next door?" I looked up from my notebook,
but didn't see another entrance. "Hilliard Pharmaceutical. Entrance is
around the corner. The warehouse is split in half. Cinder block right
down the middle. From what Sully says, it's just a storage facility. No
pharmaceuticals." "Didn't know they had a facility out this far," I
commented, jotting the information down. Hilliard Pharmaceutical was
probably one of the single largest employers of off-duty
cops. My father had worked security there while he was an officer at the
department, and I'd heard that's where my partner, Scolari, had earned
his extra money, too, putting his wife through medical school.
"Where's Sully at?" I asked.
"Left as soon as Fisk and I got here and secured the crime scene. Said
he was going to Tahoe for the weekend." "Must be nice." Had I wanted to
get off on time ever again, I would have remained a patrol officer. Even
then you rolled the dice. "And the morgue gave a ten-minute ETA for
their investigators. That was five minutes ago. Oh, and I got a
statement from Sully before he took off. Said he was driving around the
premises in a Hilliard Pharmaceutical security truck. Saw some kids
climbing in that window over there." Robertson indicated a broken window
at the east end, and a Dumpster below it. "They told him they broke in
on a dare. Heard the place was haunted."
"Where're they at now?"
"Got'em separated. One in my radio car, the other in Fisk's. He's inside
with the body." I looked over at the black and whites parked nearby.
Sure enough, the kids, maybe about ten years old, peered out the window
of each car, their frightened gazes watching my every move. Probably
scared about being blamed for the murder. "Let's get them transported to
the Hall, put a couple volunteers with them, hot chocolate, the works."
"The Hall" was what we called the Hall of justice, a one-stopshopping of
county facilities housed in a seven-story building that included not
only the police department and most of its investigative units, but the
courts, the jail, the District Attorney's office, and nearly every other
county agency you could think of. I pushed open the warehouse door,
stepped into the musty darkness, still harboring the hope that this
would turn out to be a simple homicide, something that wouldn't take
more than a couple hours of my time, max. I'd be on the road to
seven tonight at the latest. Plenty of time for dinner and a bottle of
wine, preferably something heavy, red. Cabernet sauvignon, reserve.
Above me, timbers creaked from the force of the wind. What little light
there was came from the same broken windows the kids had apparently
climbed through, that and the beam of the other officer's flashlight.
Fisk, I presumed, eyeing his uniformed figure standing in the northwest
corner next to several stacks of wooden pallets in the otherwise empty
building. My footsteps echoed across the concrete flooring, and as I
neared, I could make out something large and white between the stacked
slats of wood. Not until my sight had adjusted to the dim light could I
see what the pallets hid, a chest freezer-and any thoughts of dining in
restaurant were replaced by visions of fast food eaten
at my desk. In my experience, simple homicides rarely involved corpses
hidden in freezers.
"Body in there?" I asked.
He eyed my gold inspector's star, nodded, and lifted the freezer lid. A
fog of cold air swirled up from the interior. It dissipated, and I
looked in to see a man curled in a fetal position. I drew latex gloves
out of my pocket, put them on, reached in to lift his arm. It didn't
budge. He was either in full rigor, frozen solid, or both. His clothes
were covered with ice crystals. Apparently the freezer wasn't
frost-free. Pulling my mini Streamlight from my coat pocket, I turned it
on and took a look around, noticing the cobwebs behind the appliance,
the buildup of dust on the enameled surface. I aimed the beam onto the
corpse's face, the ice particles lighting up like diamonds. His hair,
whatever color beneath the ice, was short, neatly cut, straight, and
parted to the side. Scolari showed about ten minutes later. I glanced up
from my note taking when I heard him enter. At six-three, he towered
over me by a good eight inches. As usual, his tan sport coat and navy
pants were rumpled, but still he was an imposing figure, even with his
slight paunch and graying hair.
We'd been partners for about a year, working
together daily, yet never becoming close. At thirty-six, I was the first
female homicide inspector SFPD ever had, and although Scolari never came
out and said it, I suspected that he resented not only the notoriety I'd
received from the position, but also being partnered with me. Even so, I
respected him. He was an outstanding homicide inspector-maybe even one
of the best. And he'd saved my life once in a shooting incident. These
past few weeks, though, things had been even more tense between us, and
I had yet to discover why. "Gillespie," he said by way of greeting, his
voice sounding hollow in the cavernous space. "A little overdressed for
the occasion?" Normally I let his comments bounce right off, but I was
more than irritated. Had he answered his page in a timely manner, I
wouldn't be here right now. "You getting your calls by carrier pigeon?"
"Yeah. It got lost on the way." He gave a pointed look to the uniformed
officer, and I let drop the subject about him being late. Judging by the
expression on Scolari's face, he was in a worse mood than
got?" he asked.
"The lonely repairman." I stood aside to let him view the body.
He put on a latex glove and peered in. "Yeah, he's lookin' pretty lonely
right now. Sort of like the ice sculpture for the policeman's ball,"
Scolari said. He allowed Officer Fisk to have a look, then lowered the
freezer lid. Careful not to disturb any possible prints, Scolari
inspected the handle and the exterior of the appliance.
"Been looking for one of these things. What'dya figure it holds?"
"You mean how many frozen dinners?" I asked.
"Pot pies are real cheap right now. Think it'll fit in my apartment?"
"Sure. You can stick it in your living room. Use it for a TV stand." "No
lock." He eyed the pallets. I knew how his mind worked, that he'd come
to the same conclusion I had. With no way to secure the freezer lid, the
guy had to be dead or unconscious going in, unless someone weighted the
top to keep him from escaping. The pallets, however, were full of
cobwebs, the dust undisturbed. They didn't appear to have been moved in
a while. "How long you figure he's been in there?" Scolari asked.
"Twelve hours, fifteen minutes and ..." I glanced at my watch,
"thirty-nine seconds." Fisk's gaze widened slightly, as though he might
be taking me seriously. "Amazing what they teach you in homicide
school," I said, since Scolari's question was purely rhetorical. Neither
of us would know until the autopsy was performed, and even then it would
be a guess. The most the pathologist would be able to determine was an
approximate time of death before the body had been placed in the
freezer, assuming he was dead when he was put in. His fetal position and
his closed eyes suggested he may have been put in alive. Hypothermia,
suffocation? Before I could speculate, the Coroner's investigators and
then the crime scene investigators arrived. They did their bloodhound
routine, videotaped the scene, snapped their photos, dusted the outside
of the freezer for prints, and looked for further clues in the vacant
warehouse. Scolari and I also made a search, but found nothing that
stood out. Scolari left to do a premise history. All that remained was
the transportation of the body, the arrangements having been made by the
Coroner's investigators. Unsure what evidence might be disturbed should
the ice crystals melt, they called for a crew to move the freezer, body
and all, straight to the morgue. It wasn't until after the freezer was
moved that I wondered what power source had been used to run the
appliance. I strode over to the dust-free square where the freezer had
once sat. The power cord had made a line in the dust that disappeared
behind the pallets. I followed it, trying to find where the cord had
been plugged in. Scolari returned right about that time. "The last
tenants were evicted six months ago," he said. "It's been vacant ever
since. You'll never guess who." "Okay, Scolari." I admit I was annoyed.