Authors: Jarkko Sipila
Peter Ylitalo Leppa
Ice Cold Crime LLC
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. All characters, names, incidents and situations depicted in this work are wholly the creation of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, organizations, places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author, the translator, or the publisher.
Originally published in Finnish as
by Gummerus, Helsinki, Finland. 2006.
Translated by Peter Ylitalo Leppa
Ice Cold Crime LLC
5780 Providence Curve
Independence, MN 55359
Printed in the United States of America
Cover by Ella Tontti
Copyright © Ice Cold Crime and Jarkko Sipila 2011
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2011910291
Also by Jarkko Sipila
Helsinki Homicide: Against the Wall
Helsinki Homicide: Vengeance
(Book Studio, 1996)
(Book Studio, 1998)
(Book Studio, 2001)
(Book Studio, 2002)
(Book Studio, 2003)
Paha paha tyttö
with Harri Nykänen (Crime Time, 2010)
(Crime Time, 2011)
Die weiße Nacht des Todes
(Rohowolt Verlag, 2007)
Im Dämmer des Zweifels
(Rohowolt Verlag, 2007)
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Kari Takamäki………………...Detective Lieutenant,
Helsinki PD Violent Crimes Unit
Suhonen………………..Undercover Detective, VCU
Anna Joutsamo………………………..VCU Sergeant
Mikko Kulta……………………….....VCU Detective
Jaakko Nykänen…...…Head of Intelligence, National
Bureau of Investigation
Eero Salmela………Suhonen’s old friend and ex-con
Tomi Salmela…………………………..…Eero’s son
Mari Lehtonen ………………………...…Eyewitness
Laura Lehtonen ……………………..Mari’s daughter
Risto Korpi……………………………..…Gang boss
Jere “Guerilla” Siikala.……………………..Gangster
Mats Martin…………………….….Defense Attorney
Helena Muuri ……………………District Prosecutor
Anton Teittinen……..…Mari Lehtonen’s ex-husband
Rauli Salo………………………..Corrections Officer
Sanna Römpötti……………………...Crime Reporter
I swear by Almighty God that the testimony I shall
give shall be the truth,
the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth.
SUNDAY, 7:45 P.M.
PASILA POLICE HEADQUARTERS
She’d heard that answer dozens of times before: No comment.
What a clown, thought Sergeant Anna Joutsamo. No comment, my ass. Not that it mattered. The police had already amassed enough evidence for a life sentence, with more on the way once Forensics finished up at the murder scene.
Esa Nyberg was sitting behind the table of a dreary interrogation room, dressed in police-issue green coveralls, his arms folded over his chest, his long hair in a tangled mess. His eyes seemed to stare into space. Not that there was much to see but pale gray walls. In addition to Nyberg and Sergeant Joutsamo, Mikko Kulta, a Helsinki VCU detective, sat at the table.
“Enough with the games,” said Joutsamo, in a tone that revealed her waning patience. She smoothed her jeans and straightened her dark hair with a flourish. “I understand you don’t want to talk about the case without a lawyer present, but I’m sure you can handle a few basic questions.”
“No comment,” said Nyberg tersely.
“I didn’t ask anything,” said Joutsamo.
Mikko Kulta sat beside Joutsamo with a barely suppressed smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
Joutsamo rose from her chair and circled behind Nyberg. “Listen Esa… Right now, you’re making decisions that will impact the rest of your life. We already know you pulled the trigger, we just don’t know why. My advice to you is to think this through very carefully. Manslaughter will get you between four and six; murder—at least twelve, more like sixteen. You’re twenty-three now. If you choose not to cooperate and are convicted of murder, you’ll be thirty-nine when you get out. That’s a lot of life you’ll miss out on during those extra ten years,” said Joutsamo, and she paused strategically to let her words sink in.
Nyberg didn’t reply. Joutsamo wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or not. At least his canned response had faltered for the moment. As long as he was thinking, that was enough.
Joutsamo studied the tattoos bursting from beneath the collar of his coveralls, some kind of Japanese or Chinese characters. The VCU had files on various tattoo symbols and their meanings, but they’d do the research later. Right now all Joutsamo wanted was a reaction from Nyberg. Something to move the case along.
The police needed a motive for the murder—they already had the shooter. Nyberg was clearly that, but somebody else was pulling the strings. That’s why they needed him to talk.
But the young man just sat motionless. Nobody had said anything for thirty seconds. The ventilation system hummed softly. Detective Kulta looked up at Joutsamo, who was still standing behind Nyberg. She shrugged her shoulders.
“Which would you rather do? Five or fifteen?” she asked.
Joutsamo cursed silently.
“Here’s a suggestion,” said Kulta. “I’ll be visiting the Helsinki prison tomorrow to see a guy doing time for a deadly arson a few years back. When I put him away, I promised to bring him a bag of coffee every year for his birthday. With this shooting all over the front pages, I bet he’ll ask about it. Suppose I started a rumor that we know who ordered the hit because the shooter talked.”
From behind, Joutsamo could see Nyberg tense his neck muscles.
“Filthy fucking pig.”
“How much you wanna bet that within six hours every last Jack will know about it, including everyone at Protective Custody, and start wondering whether the new snitch is headed there or somewhere else. The PC unit over there is so crammed they’ll need to send someone packing to make space for the newbie. Trust me, you’ll need the protection.”
“You do that and you’re dead.”
“Whatcha gonna do?” said Kulta with outright contempt. “Run me over with your wheelchair after your buddies bust your kneecaps first chance they get?”
Nyberg seemed ready to pounce, but Joutsamo wasn’t worried. The man was no match for the thickset Kulta, and against the two of them, there would be no problem. But he just sat quietly.
“Whaddya think? Maybe you have some ideas on what we should do.”
Nyberg thought for about ten seconds before responding, “No comment.”
Kulta looked over Nyberg’s shoulder at Joutsamo and nodded. “Guess that’s it. Figured I’d head out for a beer and think about what to tell the birthday boy.” He turned his gaze on Nyberg. “You can think about your own plans in your piss-stained cell… Anna, care to join me?”
“I suppose I could. For a cider anyhow.”
Kulta pressed the buzzer next to the door of the interrogation room and a stern-looking guard with a crew cut came to the door. They handed over Nyberg, but to be sure, they followed the two of them to the entrance of the jail area where a second guard was waiting.
The door clanged shut behind the two detectives and Kulta glanced hopefully at Joutsamo. “You really coming to the bar with me?”
“Nope,” she said, already headed toward the VCU’s conference room.
“Well, I wouldn’t have paid for your cider anyway.”
“Course I would’ve,” he grinned. “Anyhow, I bet you a ten-spot Nyberg doesn’t crack in the morning either.”
Joutsamo’s expression was serious. “No deal. We’re both in agreement on that one… Unfortunately.”
* * *
Detective Lieutenant Kari Takamäki was on the phone speaking in a lowered voice when Joutsamo stepped into the conference room. Kulta followed. Takamäki, a little over forty, had short brown hair, sharp features and taut cheeks highlighted by a muscular jaw. His piercing blue eyes straddled a handsome nose. He shot Joutsamo a questioning look and she shook her head.
The conference room had been converted into a sort of command center. A couple of computers were arranged around the table where Kirsi Kohonen, a red-haired detective, sat sifting through various databases. For now, the flip chart was blank, and the magnetic white board where they posted pictures of the corpse and crime scene was empty, though somebody had written the time and place of the murder with a marker: Porvoo Street 21, Sunday, 4:32 P.M.