Nikki Heat - Deadly Heat - CHAPTER 5

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Re: Nikki Heat - Deadly Heat - CHAPTER 5

Mensaje por lastral el Jue Ago 29, 2013 5:47 am

qwerty escribió:Ya sé que posteo 2 veces seguidas, es para separar el capítulo del comentario.

Como viene siendo habitual la cadena lanza al público los primeros capítulos de los libros.

He visto que se han publicado los 2 primeros de la nueva novela de NIKKI HEAT, y es fácil encontrar los 3 siguientes porque los de la ABC no han ocultado demasiado los enlaces.
Espero colgar el siguiente mañana, y el resto me esperaré a que vayan publicándose y seguir las fechas con la cadena.

Ya que actualmente estoy traduciendo el último libro de Storm (Storm Front) no voy a traducir los capítulos que se publiquen, sólo colgaré lo que vaya saliendo. Eso sí, puedo hacer mini-resumen del capítulo por si alguien no entiende, pero pierde la gracia.

Si hay algún voluntario-a que se anime a traducir que no se corte.
Gracias por subir los capitulos qwerty.

Este libro lo estoy empezando a traducir yo, como hize con Rises Heat y con Frozen Heat (en este caso con ayuda de Beckett y Delta5). No publicare ningun capitulo traducido hasta que no salga el libro oficial para tener toda la historia completa.

Empieza de nuevo el misterio,jajajaja.
Policia de homicidios
Policia de homicidios

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Re: Nikki Heat - Deadly Heat - CHAPTER 5

Mensaje por qwerty el Jue Ago 29, 2013 11:04 am



Nikki dashed to the exit, shouting, “Police officer, everyone outside.” Few patrons seemed eager to get closer to the corpse, but Heat worried about the poison and wanted to preserve the crime scene for clues. She yanked open the door and called to the barista holding the phone, “Tell 911, officer in pursuit of homi cide suspect.”
Heat flattened against the wall of the vestibule then goosenecked a peek up the sidewalk to make sure she didn’t hustle out into an ambush. There. A flash of Salena Kaye, weaving away through pedestrians. She took off after her.

Kaye never looked back, just kept sprinting with purpose. And speed. Nikki made a quick scope of 23rd, hoping for a blue-and-white. In that split second, she collided with two teenagers backing out of a bodega, laughing at their Twizzler fangs. They all kept their footing, but when Heat cleared the boys, she spotted Salena popping the back door of a taxi.

The cab was too far away to read its plate or medallion number. Heat memorized its missing-a-chunk bumper and the gentlemen’s club ad on the roof, hoping to find it again in the sea of rush hour taxis about to swallow it.

She stepped out into the middle of the street, holding her shield out to drivers and signaling them to stop. An off-duty cab blasted its horn and accelerated off. A green Camry screeched to a stop just past her. Nikki rushed up and opened the driver’s door. The startled old man looked at her from behind the thick glasses of another decade. “Police emergency. I need your car. Now, please.”

Without a word, the slack-jawed senior climbed out. Heat thanked him, got in, saw the tiny old woman looking at her from the passenger seat, and fl oored it.

“Hold on,” said Nikki, taking a sharp left onto First. She’d briefly spotted the XXX from the strip club’s rooftop ad and scanned the avenue of cabs ahead of her to find it again. Her passenger said nothing, just clawed the dash with arthritically distorted hands while her seat belt clunked into lock mode. Up ahead, partially blocked from view by an ambulette, Heat picked out the taxi’s scarred bumper and then Salena Kaye’s face peering out the back window.

Nikki punched it through the red light at 24th, offering calm reassurance. “You don’t have to worry, I’ve done this before.” The elderly woman just stared at her, saucer-eyed. But she nodded. The old gal was game. “You have a cell phone?”

“It’s a Jitterbug,” she said, and held up her bright red phone. “Shall I call 911?”

“Yes, please.” Heat tried to sound casual even as she lurched the wheel and mashed the brake. A gnarled forefinger tapped the large, senior-friendly keypad. “Say ‘Officer needs assistance.’ ” While Heat threaded through the uptown rush, keeping pace with the cab, her passenger repeated Nikki’s parceled-out messages to the emergency operator, asking her to radio for patrol cars to get ahead of them so they could wedge the suspect in a vise. “You did great.” As the woman snapped her Jitterbug closed, Heat threw a protective arm out across her. “Hang on, hang on.”

Just beyond Bellevue Hospital, Salena Kaye bailed from her taxi and ran into the ambulance driveway. Heat checked her mirrors, pulled a hard right to the curb, and stopped. “You OK?”

The old lady nodded. “Hot dog.”

Detective Heat flew out of the car, sprinting after her suspect.

Nikki eyeballed the row of FDNY ambulances parked at the trauma entrance, looking inside and between them all as she ran, but she couldn’t spot Kaye. She jogged deeper into the passageway, slowing to check behind some laundry bins. Then she caught it. A figure going over the wall at the dead end of the lot.

Kaye had taken one of the spine boards stacked beside the ambulances to cover the razor wire. Heat used it, too, pausing at the top to get bearings on the suspect before her drop to the sidewalk. She landed with knees bent to absorb the impact, and tore off up the service road that ran between NYU Medical Center and the FDR.

Ahead stretched a straight line of sidewalk. And a runaway killer.

Salena Kaye had skills. She ran in a random zigzag pattern that made it futile for Heat to shoot from that distance. But her dekes and dodges also slowed her forward progress. Nikki kicked up the sprint until her lungs were seared.

By 30th Street, just past the big white tent housing remains from the 9/11 attack, Heat knew she had her. Close enough to risk a shot, she drew. “Salena Kaye, freeze or I’ll shoot.” The suspect stopped, raised both hands, and turned to face her. But then a pair of orderlies from the medical examiner’s office stepped out of the rear courtyard for a smoke break. “Get back!” Heat shouted. The man and woman froze, blocking her shot. Kaye sprinted off through traffic, into a parking garage across the street.

Gun out and pointed up at the car park’s ceiling of green steel girders, Nikki Heat tiptoed through the shadows, scanning every square inch, listening intently over the thrum of FDR traffic above for any sound that would give away Salena’s hiding place. The detective squatted to scout under the cars, with nothing to show for it but a sooty palm. Then she rose up and stood stock still. Just to listen.

She never heard the blow coming. Salena Kaye pounced on top of her, dropping from the steel I-beams of the ceiling, taking her by surprise.

Nikki knew better than to stay down in hand-to-hand combat. She pushed Kaye off and sprang to her feet, bringing her Sig Sauer around toward the woman still on the concrete. But Salena clearly had close-fighting experience. Her right leg scissored up in a blink, and the instep of her foot whacked Nikki’s wrist. The impact, square on a nerve, deadened feeling in her hand, and the pistol clattered across the deck and took a bounce off a car tire before it spun to a stop.

Kaye kipped up, quick as a gymnast, and came at Heat with a rapid-fire pair of wrist blows to each side of her head, boom- boom. Nikki’s vision fogged and her knees jellied. She fought the blackout and recovered to find Salena going for her gun. Heat side-kicked her ribs, and the woman dropped. But then she caught Nikki off guard again with a jujitsu leg lock—a submission hold Heat had practiced herself—but now she was the victim of immobilizing pain as Kaye forced her knee to hyperextend. Unable to move, unable to free herself, she saw the dark form of her Sig Sauer on the cement and reached for it. Kaye pulled her back toward her, but in so doing, she released Nikki’s leg just enough for her to wiggle out of the lock. Heat threw herself forward on top of Salena, raining blows to her collarbone and neck. Kaye reacted by kicking both knees upward, somersaulting Heat right over her. Nikki landed hard on her back and lost her breath.
“Hey, what’s going on?” shouted the security guard coming out of the kiosk. In the spilt second Salena paused to gauge the threat, Heat rolled for her gun. She scrambled wildly for it, snatching it barrel-first. When she came up in ready-fire, Salena Kaye was long gone.

Heat pursued, hobbling on her sore knee. She jogged through the pain and caught sight of Salena making a right turn toward the river up at 34th Street.

And then Nikki heard the helicopter.

When she reached the intersection, Heat knew it would be close. A hundred yards away, a royal blue Sikorsky S-76 warmed up on the commuter helipad. A side door stood open, and the pilot, in a white short-sleeved shirt with epaulettes, lay on the asphalt beneath Salena Kaye, with both hands to his face and blood streaming through his fingers.

For the second time that morning, Detective Heat drew her service piece and called a freeze. Kaye probably couldn’t hear her over the copter’s engine, but she saw Nikki. With a lingering look and a slow turn that spoke of arrogance, she climbed inside the S-76 and closed the door. Seconds later, as Heat reached the tarmac, the chopper lifted up about two feet and then rotated on an axis, its rear rotor spinning within a yard of Nikki, who plunged to the asphalt. Salena Kaye rotated again, brazenly presenting the helicopter’s side to Heat long enough to chuck her the finger. Then the chopper slowly drifted out over the East River, churning up a circle of spray.

Heat got on one knee and braced her elbow on the other, taking aim with her Sig Sauer. She figured if she emptied the entire clip into the engine, she could, maybe, bring it down in the drink. She envisioned the shot, and then hesitated.

It occurred to her that there could be an innocent passenger aboard.

Nikki holstered and called for NYPD air support as she watched the Sikorsky become a dot against the morning sun over Brooklyn.

Jameson Rook hurried into the Homicide Squad Room at the Twentieth, strode up to Heat, and locked her in a hug. “My God, are you OK?”

Nikki gave the bull pen a sheepish scan and modeled a quieter voice for him. “I’m fine.” They unfolded from their embrace, and he revealed the Starbucks cup in his hand. “Brought you a fresh latte.”

“Thanks, I’ll wait.”

“I’ll taste test it for you.” He took a sip, made a ceremony of swirling it in his mouth, and swallowed, following the whole thing up with a lip smack and a satisfied “Ah.” He held it out and said, “See, it’s just fi—” Suddenly his eyes bugged and he made a choking gasp and brought his free hand up to his throat. She stared blankly. He miraculously recovered. “Too soon?”

“Too late.” Nikki gestured to the squad room, where a grande cup labeled “Nikki” sat atop every desk. “These idiots beat you to it.”

“Half hour ago, homes,” said Ochoa as he approached. “Shoulda seen Rhymer after his sip. Opie hit the deck bucking and snorting.” He smiled. “That frothing was inspired.”

Rook said, “What is it about cop humor? So dark. So inappropriate. So awesome.” He had learned from day one of his ride-along with Heat that cops responded differently to sadness and stress than most folks. They hid their emotions in opposites. All this joking, acting out false poisonings, was more than grabass or gallows humor; it carried a message of affection that said, I’m worried you almost got killed. Or, I care. Rook figured it was in the same realm as why the Three Stooges never hugged.

Ochoa wagged his notebook, signaling business. “Just hung up with a detective from the Seventieth over in Flatbush. She’s in the ball field where your chopper set down in South Prospect Park. Good thing you held fire. There was a passenger aboard. Some fashion CEO coming in from the Hamptons. He never got a chance to unbuckle his seat belt when they touched down and got skyjacked.”

“Technically, if they were on the ground, wouldn’t that be ‘hijacked’?” asked Rook. He felt their glares. “Please. Proceed.”

“The fashionista says Kaye speed-dialed a call while they were still over the river.” Detective Ochoa knew better than to drag out suspense and flipped a page to the witness’s quote. “She said, ‘Dragon, it’s me,’ then something he couldn’t make out that sounded like ‘busted play.’ Kaye never said anything else, just listened, then hung up. Five minutes later she was booking east across the empty Parade Grounds while he sat there with the rotors still spinning.”

Ochoa peeled off to his desk, and Rook said, “I have to shake my head about Salena Kaye. To think of all the time that woman spent in my apartment giving me physical therapy. I have to say—helluva massage.” He paused, cheesily relishing something private, then grew serious. “Of course it kinda spoils the mojo, knowing she was really only there to plant listening devices for Tyler Wynn.”

Just the sound of his name sent a twinge through Heat. Not just because it reminded her of the betrayal by the man behind her mother’s death. The CIA traitor still had some reason to want Nikki dead, and he’d sent his lethal accomplice Salena Kaye to poison her latte. If Nikki could keep herself from getting killed, she might even find out why.

That sunny thought filled her head as she gathered her squad around the Murder Board. “Don’t bother sitting,” Heat said as she block printed “DRAGON” in all red caps across the top of the display. “We have an apparent code name for Salena Kaye’s controller.”

“Isn’t that Tyler Wynn?” asked Rook.

“We assume, yet never assume. You know that by now.” Nikki then turned her attention to Detective Hinesburg. She figured a straight-forward task would be Sharon- proof, so she assigned her to run Dragon and any variations through the database at the Real Time Crime Center downtown. “When you’re done with that, see if it lights up anything at Homeland, Interpol, or DGSE in Paris.” She put Detective Rhymer on checking the cellular carriers to see if they could slurp a number off any towers near the river at the time of Salena Kaye’s phone call. Heat bet Kaye had used a burner cell, but she had to be thorough.

Rhymer, as good-natured as his Virginia hometown, smiled and nodded. “Good as done,” said Opie.

Next she posted a Google Map enlargement of the Brooklyn neighborhood where the Sikorsky landed. “It’s not likely the suspect had time to arrange a pickup. And good luck hailing a cab in an outer borough, right? But look here.” Heat pointed to the map. “The Church Avenue subway station is in the direction of her escape. Raley, get on the blower to the MTA. Start pulling security cam video from Church Ave to see if she got on a train and, if so, which direction. Then check pictures from stops along the line to see where she got off.”

When she turned from the map, Heat caught Ochoa eye-rolling to his partner. “Problem, gentlemen?”

Ochoa said, “I know, like, Rales is your King of All Surveillance Media, and all that. But we’re getting spread a little thin. We still have to get back in the field to brace more of the restaurant owners on Conklin’s roster.”

“You’ll have to juggle both,” said Heat. “Like we all do.” She didn’t need to take it further. Nikki could see the impact on all their faces. Every detective in that room knew their squad leader not only juggled these two cases; she did it while someone was actively out to kill her. She adjourned, continuing to ponder the why of that. Heat didn’t have the answer yet, but the attempt on her life that morning told her one thing. Something new was up with whatever conspiracy had led to her mom’s murder ten years ago. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be working this hard to kill her now.

On the drive with Rook to City Island to interview Roy Conklin’s widow, Nikki found her eyes on the mirrors a lot more than usual. When you know a professional wants you in the crosshairs, a little extra vigilance may get you a chance to see the next day.

Heat was at risk, and nobody would have thought less of her if she bunkered up. Captain Irons was so worried about her safety, he’d even offered her administrative leave or vacation time, if she wanted it. Nikki had stomped out that idea on the spot. The cop in her would never hide in the face of personal danger. That was the gig. But she did feel a healthy nerve jangle. Who wouldn’t? So Heat did what Heat did best: She compartmentalized. Experience had taught her that the only way to move forward was to cage the beast—put her fear in a box. Because what was the alternative? To close herself inside her apartment? Run and hide?

Not this detective. This detective would bring the fight to them. And check her mirrors.

The phone rang as they crossed the Pelham Bay Bridge, where the Hutchinson River separated the urban Bronx from the expansive green woods surrounding Turtle Cove. Nikki fished her Jawbone earpiece from the side door pocket and got an earful from her friend Lauren Parry. “Do I need to remind you that I will kill you if you get your-self killed?”

Heat chuckled. “No, you make that pretty clear. Every time.”

“See?” Lauren kidded, but sisterly worry came through. “That’s why you’re still walking God’s earth. Because I will come after you.”

Admonishment completed, the medical examiner filled in Heat on Roy Conklin’s postmortem. “Hard to call it good news,” said Lauren, “but Mr. Conklin was deceased before he went into the oven.”

Nikki pictured the body. Envisioned the high-temp bake. “So he didn’t suffer?”

“Doubtful. Cause of death was a .22 delivered to the base of the skull.” Heat answered Rook’s inquiring face by miming a finger pistol while the ME added, “Condition of the body and the small caliber hid the GSW from me on-scene. I found the slug when I opened him up. Ballistics has it now.”

“What about my poisoning vic from Starbucks?”

“He’s next up.”

“Be sure to run a cross-check versus whatever killed Petar,” said Nikki, mindful of Salena Kaye’s earlier poisoning victim.

“Gee, ya think?” said Lauren. “Leave the autopsies to me. You concentrate on staying alive.”

----- - - - - -- - -- - - -- - - -- - - -- -- - -- - -- - - - - - -- -

Heat and Rook patiently waited out another round of Olivia Conklin’s sobs in the living room of the airy, seashore-themed two-bedroom that would never feel the same to her. The apartment, in a complex of neat gray clapboards with bright white trim, sat waterside next to City Island’s sailing school in the Bronx. In the distance beyond the balcony, Long Island shimmered under a spring sun. The view back at them from Great Neck might have been Jay Gatsby’s when he contemplated the green light shining across the water. But symbols of brightness, beauty, and optimism had no place in that room. It should have been raining.

For Olivia Conklin, still wearing the crumpled business suit after her night flight home from a software training seminar in Orlando, the only solace was that her husband had been shot. When that’s the good news, it’s all downhill.

Even though Heat despised this part of the job, it was the part she was best at. She connected, having once been in a similar chair fi lling Kleenex herself. So she navigated the interview gently, yet alert for signs of guilt, lies, and inconsistencies. Unfortunately spouses proved worthy suspects. With delicacy, she probed the marriage, money, vices, mental health, and hints of infi delity.

“Roy only had one mistress,” she said. “His job. He was so dedicated. I know some people hear civil servant and think laziness. Not my Roy. He never left his work at the office. He took public health personally. He called them his restaurants and never wanted a sickness on his watch.”

All this only confirmed the research Heat’s team had done so far. Roy Conklin’s finances were in line with his pay grade. Roach’s restaurant checks revealed a man consistently called tough but fair.

Neither his wife nor his colleagues knew him to have any enemies, recent erratic behavior, or new people in his life.

“It just makes no sense,” said Olivia Conklin. Then the new widow wailed out the single, heart-crushed word Nikki heard from all grievers after the sudden theft of a life. That word was the beacon that guided Detective Heat in her work: “Why?”

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As Heat and Rook walked back to her car, past the tidy row of Sunfish trailered in the sailing school parking lot, Nikki’s gaze roamed out to the glistening open water. She imagined the smart pop of Dacron as wind filled her sail and she tacked out into Long Island Sound. Then she pictured Roy Conklin standing right there his last living day and wondered if he’d savored that view or if his heart had felt too heavy with fear or guilt at some horrible secret he kept from his wife— a secret that got him killed and left her asking why. Or, Nikki speculated, did poor Roy never see it coming, either? Then her phone rang and yanked Heat into her other case. Sailing would have to wait. Back to juggling.

The call came from the police in Hastings-on-Hudson, a quaint village about a half hour upriver from New York City. Hastings only employed two detectives in its small department, and Heat maintained regular contact with them, checking for sightings of one of the town’s residents she needed to talk to.

Vaja Nikoladze was just one of numerous people Heat had put feelers out to, all seen as persons of interest because her mother tutored piano in their house holds prior to her murder. Nikoladze, an internationally renowned biochemist who had defected from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, had been eliminated as a suspect in her mother’s case. But since Tyler Wynn frequently booked her mom’s piano jobs as CIA spy dates, Heat wanted to know if the Georgian expat had had any recent contact with the fugitive.

But just like the elusive Syrian UN attaché and the other prominent clients Heat had reached out to, Nikoladze had been unresponsive, leaving Nikki frustrated, waiting weeks for a chance at contact that could bring a break in that case.

She gave Nikoladze the benefit of the doubt. He had been friendly and cooperative when Heat and Rook first visited him three weeks before. But since that time Vaja had been away showing his prized Georgian shepherds at various out-of-state competitions. Now the Hastings detective was calling to alert Nikki that her person of interest had just been spotted back in town. Wrenched but resolute not to let it drop, Heat juggled the Conklin ball up in the air and headed north. As she pulled onto the Saw Mill Parkway, a flicker of anticipation filled her. She knew better than to get ahead of herself, but Nikki dared to hope she might finally be moving forward after almost a month of relentless disappointment.

Forty minutes later, steam cleaning rubber floor mats outside the kennel on his back pasture, Vaja Nikoladze looked up at the undercover police car pulling off the two-lane that ran between his neighborhood’s horse pastures and woodlots. Even from a distance, the small man looked surprised when he heard them crunch the pea gravel of his car park. As they made their way across the vast lawn, deep-throated barks echoed inside the long outbuilding before Nikki even spoke. “Afternoon.”

Nikoladze didn’t reply, but instead pulled a push broom from a bucket of soapy water and power steamed the foam out of the short bristles. The two of them waited, not even trying to engage over the noisy jet spray of the pressurized nozzle. When he had finished, he cut the steam, leaned the broom against the wall, and draped the thick black rubber mats over the decorative railing to drip dry in the sun. Unlike their cordial visit weeks prior, Vaja gave every sign now that he wanted nothing to do with Detective Heat or her ride-along journalist.

“I have a telephone, you know.” After more than twenty years in the US, his Georgian accent remained thick and still sounded Rus sian to Heat’s ears.

“We were kind of in the neighborhood,” said Rook, earning a glower in return.

“You have come to get more material on me for your next article, Jameson? Maybe not everyone in United States is eager to be so well known, you think of that?” When Rook had accompanied Nikki last time, he and Vaja got along quite well. Nikoladze had offered refreshments, swapped stories, even given an obedience demonstration of his top show dog. Rook’s subsequent write-up of the biochemist in his FirstPress article had been minimal—a couple of lines at the most— mere connective tissue in the story of Nikki’s quest to find a killer. Clearly, Vaja took exception to the limelight.

Heat didn’t care. She pushed right back. “We’re here to follow up on my official police investigation, Mr. Nikoladze. And the reason I didn’t call first is that you have been uncommunicative. I have left you too many unreturned messages and e-mails. So ding dong, comrade.”

Rook circled off to sightsee the Palisades, visible above the tree line. Vaja set aside his chores and crossed his arms. “I have some pictures I want you to look at,” said Heat.

“Yes, so your unending messages have said. I told you last time, I don’t know this Tyler Wynn.”

As she swiped each image on her smart phone, Nikki said, “Indulge me. I want you to see Tyler Wynn, and also this woman, Salena Kaye, and this man here, Petar Matic.”

He barely looked at them. “I cannot help you.”

“Does that mean you don’t recognize them or you can’t help?”

“Both.” He stared at her with resolve mixed with petulance. “I must inform you that I have been told not to speak to you, or risk deportation.”

Rook circled back around from his sightseeing and made eye contact with Nikki. Then her brow lowered and she took a step closer to Vaja. “Exactly who told you this, Mr. Nikoladze?”

When she heard the name, Nikki fumed.

---- -- - - -- - - -- - - -- -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --

“Detective Heat, NYPD.” She flashed tin and added, “Special Agent Callan is expecting us.” The reception officer at the Department of Homeland Security’s New York fi eld office cleared his throat in an exaggerated way that pulled Rook’s attention from the ceiling. He’d been counting cameras since they stepped from Varick Street into the lobby of the huge government building.

“Oh, sorry. Jameson Rook, model citizen.” He handed over his driver’s license and whispered to Nikki, “More cameras than a Best Buy at Christmas. Five bucks says Jack Bauer already knows we’re here.”

“Elevator on your right,” said the receptionist, handing them each photo-capture passes to wear that read “Floor 6.” But when they got on the elevator and pushed six, the doors closed, the lights in the car dimmed, and it descended.

After a brief moment of startled disorientation, Rook said, “Black elevator,” and began punching the keypad, which did absolutely nothing to stop their downward movement. He gave up and said, “Sweet.”

The doors parted in a high-tech subbasement command center. Dozens of plainclothes personnel and military from all branches worked computers and stared at giant LED wall screens. The Jumbo-Trons displayed scores of live security cams and lighted grids, one of which resembled a connect-the-dots of the US Northeast. A waiting pair of agents attired in complementary Joseph A. Banks escorted them along a back wall to a situation room where DHS special agent in charge Bart Callan came around from the head of the empty con-ference table to meet them at the door.

Last time Heat saw him, it had played like a sixties spy movie. Nikki ate her lunch in solitude on a park bench; Agent Callan materialized out of nowhere and sat beside her to deliver a sales pitch to join his team to help track down Tyler Wynn. She heard him out but declined. Nikki couldn’t be certain, but it felt to her like Callan then tried to open the personal flank, sending signals of friendship... and perhaps deeper interest. But Heat had a relationship, and more than that, she needed independence from the feds. Her investigative style didn’t lend itself to bureaucracy, politics, and red tape. Now, judging from the smile beaming her way as he approached, Special Agent Callan clearly hadn’t given up on Nikki.

“Heat, my God, I never thought I’d see you down here.” He thrust out a hand, and when Nikki shook, he clasped his other one over hers and held it exactly one second past friendly. Bart Callan’s face brightened around a corn-fed smile that made her blush. Then he turned and said, “Hey, Rook, welcome to the bunker.”

“Thanks. And so nice to visit you under my own power.” Rook still smarted from what he called the Great Homeland Carjacking. A few weeks before, when Heat and Rook returned from Paris, an agent posing as a car service driver had locked the doors and steered their limo into an empty warehouse off the Long Island Expressway, where Agent Callan interrogated them both about their activities overseas.

Now Callan clamped an arm around Rook’s shoulders as he led them into the Situation Room. “Come on, you’re not going to hold a grudge about our little impromptu chat, are you?”

Suddenly blown away by the high-tech room, with its flight deck–sized mahogany table and imposing array of LED screens, Rook said, “Not if you let me meet Dr. Strangelove.”

The earnest agent gave him a puzzled look and turned quickly back to Nikki. “Sit, sit.” He gestured to the leather high- backed chairs, but she stayed on her feet. Callan sniffed trouble. “OK, not sitsitting...”

“You told my witness—a person of interest in my mother’s case—that he can’t speak to me. I demand to know why you are interfering in my investigation.”
Callan tugged the knot in his necktie loose. He already had his coat off, and Heat watched his triceps flex against his shirtsleeves. “Nikki, this should be our investigation. All you have to do is come aboard.”

“I told you, I want independence, not some federal machine messing with my case.”

“Too late,” said a woman’s voice.

Heat and Rook turned to the door. The woman breezing in carried herself like she was in charge, and knew it. And from Callan’s sudden loss of affability, he did, too. Suddenly taut, he said, “Nikki Heat, say hello to—”

But the slender brunette in the tailored black suit jumped in, making her own introduction. “—Agent Yardley Bell, Homeland Security.”

She gave Heat an appraising look and a strong handshake. Then she turned to Rook, whose face wore an expression Heat had never seen.

“Help me with your name again?” he said, barely able to hide his smile.

And then she said, “Jameson Rook. Holy fuck.” The two moved to shake but, halfway, opted for a hug. Then Yardley Bell surprised Nikki—and Rook—by kissing him. Sure, she planted it on his cheek, not his mouth, but—a kiss.

Heat forgot her DHS beef for a moment.

Yardley Bell pulled back, but not far. She still cupped his shoulders with both hands while she laughed and said, “I’m sorry. That wasn’t very professional, was it?” Rook just gaped, speechless for a change. Then Callan, Heat, and Rook sat. Agent Bell chose a spot to lean against the wall behind Callan’s chair at the head of the long table. Nikki considered the power message that signaled.

“Detective Heat,” she began, “I’m visiting from our team in DC. I came up here to liaise with Special Agent Callan on bringing this Tyler Wynn business you stumbled upon to a happy conclusion. I’m aware of your emotional connection to this case, and you have my deep sympathies.” She paused only briefly and rolled onward. “However, make no mistake, this is The Big Show, no lone wolves. We have more of a handle on this than you know, and a big-picture strategy that cannot concern you as an outsider. But—if you choose to smarten up and join the team—you may get an answer to your question. What do you say?”

“Agent Bell, is it?” said Heat. “It’s a real pleasure to meet you. But I think my visit is about over. Special Agent Callan, thanks for the tour.” She rose. Rook hesitated slightly but got to his feet as well.

They were almost out the door when Bell said, “Don’t you want to know about Salena Kaye’s phone call from the helicopter?” Nikki hated herself for it, but she stopped and turned. A jumbo LED flat-screen on the wall came to life with a series of animated graphs scanning a map of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Yardley Bell moved beside the giant touch screen and swiped the map with her fingertips to magnify detail of the East River. An oblong box of rolling numbers in the upper right corner time-stamped the grid search.

“This was recorded at the time Kaye escaped from you and borrowed the general aviation chopper.” She touched an icon on the side of the glass, and bright green crosshairs found the middle of the river and blinked steadily. “This is the perp’s cellular signal crossing over toward the Brooklyn Navy Yard at twenty-five MPH.” Another light flashed on the screen. “This is the cell tower in Red Hook that picked up the call. The trace, as you can see, is bouncing to about eight cellular repeaters in Queens, Staten Island, back to Brooklyn, and so forth.” Bell stepped aside while the lights flashed and pinged around the screen like a second-gen video game, then died. “This indicates four things. It wasn’t a burner cell. It was an encrypted cell. And it was a sophisticated digital transmission designed to be untraceable, then implode.”

“That’s only three things,” said Heat.

“Oh, right. Number four. You’re over your head. You can join us and have access to resources like this, or stay outside and chase your fucking tail.”

At the sound of a hot button getting pressed, Bart Callan got to his feet and injected himself into the conversation. “That’s not about you personally.” He stood close to Nikki, giving her his most conciliatory smile. For a military type he had true warmth, and it had a calming effect.

Heat held the brake on her anger. “What’s it about then?”

“Assets, plain and simple. We have the infrastructure, the team, and the experience to do this right. What I’d like personally...?” He paused and pressed his palm against his chest. “Is for you to join us and give us the benefit of your insights and, frankly, remarkable skills, Detective Heat.”

Callan held her eyes with his, and a small, involuntary flutter rose in Nikki’s chest again. She turned to Rook, wondering if he’d read it. Then she looked over at the striking agent across the room, who seemed just to be waiting the whole thing out, and wondered if this was a good agent/bad agent soft sell/hard sell or if Yardley was just a plain asshole. Heat returned Callan’s pleasant smile. “This has been very helpful, Bart. I do have to say that I have changed my mind. I came here all pissed off to ask you why you were interfering in my investigation, and now...” He looked at her with anticipation. “And now I am telling you to stay the hell out of it.”

Callan insisted on riding topside with his two visitors so he could put in his bid for another meeting, giving Nikki time to cool off and reconsider. When Heat and Rook stepped out into the DHS lobby he stayed on the elevator, holding the door open with his hand. “And don’t be put off by Agent Bell’s brusque style. I went through an adjustment myself. Kinda had to cinch up my jock when she swooped in on my case.”

“Aren’t you the ranking officer?”

“I am.”

Heat said, “Looks more to me like you’re working for her, Special Agent. And now you want me to jump into that political dysfunction?”

“Let’s be pros. Let’s get past the pissing on trees we just saw down there. Agent Bell has an amazing track record in counterintelligence. Just ask your friend here.” His reference carried a whiff of animosity that made Rook avert his gaze and threw Nikki off balance as she processed his prior relationship with Yardley. But Nikki regained her footing and pushed back.

“I still want an answer to my question. Vaja Nikoladze.”

“OK,” said Callan, “I’ll give you this one as a gesture of good faith. The Georgian is an informant. We’d like to keep it that way.” He cast a buffalo eye at Rook. “I’d go on, but I don’t want to be quoted in the media.”

Rook said, “Hey, you carjack a journalist and an NYPD detective on the LIE, you’re going to buy a paragraph in my article.”

Callan didn’t respond. He asked Nikki to think it over, then released the door for his descent.

First thing back in the car, Heat said, “OK, spit it out. Who is Yardley Bell?”

“She is a force, isn’t she?”

“Rook, she kissed you. Start talking.”

“We met in the Caucasus five years ago,” he began. “That was when my early reporting on the Chechen rebels began making noise.”

“Stick to Yardley Bell, Rook,” she said. “I know all about your reporting.”

“OK, so I’m in-country, sitting in the café next door to my hostel, tapping a dispatch into my laptop, when this woman sits across from me and introduces herself as a field producer for public radio. She said she’d been reading my stuff and wanted to tag along to do advance work for a documentary. I thought about it and figured, why not?”

“Because she was hot?”

“Because I’m a sucker for All Things Considered. And because someone who spoke English—let alone was an American—was something I hadn’t encountered in six weeks riding with the rebels.” Then he shrugged, admitting, “All right, and she was hot.”

“How long until you figured out she was CIA?”

“That night. I woke up and caught her going through my laptop and Moleskines.”

“In the middle of the night,” said Nikki.


“The first night.”

“Let’s review. Six weeks, American, hot.”

“Got it.”

“I had my journalistic ethics, though. I wouldn’t travel as cover for a spy. And I sure wasn’t going to burn the cred I’d established with the warlords. So I sent her off the next morning—OK, next night—and that was that.”

Heat made a turn north along the Hudson and said, “No it’s not. Rook, I interrogate liars for a living, don’t snow me. Not about this.”

“Let me finish. I thought that was that—until six months later when I got kidnapped on a mountain trail by a splinter group that accused me of working for the Russians. They beat the shit out of me for a week in their caves. And guess who found me and led the rescue mission?”

“Susan Stamberg.”

“Next best thing. Yardley hung out with me while I recuperated in Athens, and eventually, I moved some of my stuff into a flat she kept in London. You can do the math; it was great fun but it was complicated. She had a job that she couldn’t talk about, and I had one that I wouldn’t. We shared a place but both traveled.” They stopped at a light in Columbus Circle, just a few blocks from the precinct. “I won’t lie to you, it was good while it lasted. But it didn’t last.”

“Conflict of interest?”

“The biggest. I met you.” Nikki turned to him, and they stared at each other until a horn honked behind her on the green light. She drove on, and he continued, “That’s when I stopped seeing her.”

Nikki thought about the intimacy of Yardley’s greeting, and her undisguised physicality with Rook, and thought maybe she had a new understanding of Agent Yardley Bell’s interest in her case. But the DHS meeting had told her something else more important. If Homeland was pinging Salena Kaye’s cell phone calls deep in a Situation Room bunker, something big was definitely going on with Tyler Wynn and his band of conspirators.

Heat double-parked her Crown Vic along with the other police vehicles in front of the precinct on West 82nd. “Wouldn’t lock it up,” called Ochoa. He and Raley stepped out of the walled parking lot on their way to the Roach Coach. “Got a fresh homicide.”

Nikki knew these guys and could read the signs: their impatient eyes, the pace of their strides. Heat’s gut told her things were about to get jerked into a new dimension. “What?” was all she said.

“There’s string,” said Raley.

His partner added, “Looks like we have ourselves a serial killer.”
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Re: Nikki Heat - Deadly Heat - CHAPTER 5

Mensaje por qwerty el Lun Sep 02, 2013 11:26 pm

Tal vez me adelante unas horas pero es que en varios dias no podré conectarme:


Against the dimming of the day, the crime scene floods could have been lights from one of Manhattan’s ubiquitous movie shoots. But as Heat and Rook rolled south on Riverside Drive, approaching 72nd, there were no box trucks, no RV dressing rooms, no port- a-potties with doors marked “Lucy” and “Desi.” When they pulled up, she parked behind the van from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. None of this would be make- believe.

Nikki got out and paused in the street before she closed her door. Rook asked her if everything was OK. Detective Heat nodded. This time she took her private interval for the deceased and felt ready. Raley and Ochoa joined up from the Roach Coach, and the four moved on to work.

The first thing Heat did when she recognized the victim was to call for the ranking scene supervisor. Nikki never broke stride, just told the sergeant to order up crowd control immediately. “Press, paparazzi, gawkers—nobody gets near.”

“Whoa,” said Rook. “It’s Maxine Berkowitz.”

“None other,” said Raley. “Your Channel 3 Doorbuster.”

“Gentlemen” was all Heat needed to say. They quieted, stopping in place. She moved forward, using her palm to shield her face from the powerful CSU lights while she made her Beginner’s Eyes tour around the victim. The body of the Channel 3 consumer advocate sat upright on a city bench facing the Eleanor Roosevelt statue in the pedestrian entrance to Riverside Park. Maxine Berkowitz wore a nicerquality, tan, off- the-rack business suit. Her hair, although heavily sprayed, spiked out at the back where it had been disturbed. Her makeup bore smudges around her lower face and mouth. Both hands rested gently in her lap. To the casual passerby, she could have been any thirtysomething Manhattan professional taking a break to contemplate the memorial to the First Lady of the World. Except this woman had been murdered.

“Asphyxia through strangulation,” said Lauren Parry over her clipboard. “That’s my prelim, with the usual caveats about letting me run my tests, and yadda, yadda.”

Nikki bent forward to examine the pronounced bruise line around the victim’s neck. “Not manual.”

“I’m betting electrical cord. That contusion is sharply defi ned. And I see no abrasion or strand pattern like with rope.” Heat drew closer and got a sick-sweet whiff. “Chloroform?” The ME nodded. Nikki studied the smear of makeup around the victim’s nose and mouth and felt a pang of sadness for the reporter, recalling her own abduction a few months before. She rose up and said, “Show me the string.”

The CSU technician’s camera flashed one last shot. He picked up the six-inch aluminum ruler he had placed beside the string to illustrate scale and said, “All yours.”

It sat atop the victim’s purse at the other end of the park bench. Red string, similar to the one left with Conklin’s body, had been tied to an equal length of yellow string, then coiled as one and placed on the purse in a figure-eight loop. The gesture, the care, the quietness of the message—whatever it meant—brought a chill to Nikki. Then Rook moved close by and she felt his warmth against her.

“What do you know,” he said. “A lemniscate.”

“A what?” asked Ochoa.

“Lemniscate. The word for infinity sign.”

Raley weighed in. “I thought infinity sign was the word for infinity sign.”

“Ah, except that’s two words.”

Nikki looked at Roach and shook her head. “Writer.” Then, she said to Rook, “Where’d you learn that, interviewing Stephen Hawking?”

Rook shrugged. “The truth? Snapple cap.”

They worked the scene for over an hour, interviewing the teenage boy who had discovered the corpse while he was walking his neighbor’s pug and had asked the deceased for an autograph. He’d seen nobody else around; in fact, the only reason he paid Maxine Berkowitz any attention was that she was the only one there. The canvass of the nearby dog park yielded nothing to go on but did give Dr. Parry time to set up the OCME privacy screens and run a preliminary temperature and lividity field test. She fixed the time of death as noon to 4 P.M. that day.

Forensics called Heat over to the bench. “Found something when we picked up the victim’s purse to bag it.” With gloved hands, the technician lifted the purse and revealed, underneath it, a small disc. Nikki crouched down beside it for closer examination, to makes sure it was what she thought it was. She frowned and looked up at the tech. “Weird, huh?” he said. “Rollerblade wheel.”

Heat tasked her squad to run the usual checks of facing apartment buildings for eyewitnesses—especially anyone who might have registered a Rollerblader—and to scan for security cams. Then she and Rook set out for Channel 3.

--- - - ----- - -- - -- - -- - - -- - - - -- - - -- - - - -- - - -- - - - -- -

WHNY News occupied the bottom two floors of a media complex wedged between Lincoln Center and the West Side Highway. As she waited for security to clear them, Nikki stared across the courtyard at the neighboring studios where her ex-boyfriend, her mother’s killer, had worked as a talent booker for a late night talk show. The wave of betrayal washed over her anew and refreshed her anxiety about Tyler Wynn’s whereabouts. Heat sealed it off and focused. One murderer at a time, she thought.

The newsroom felt to Heat like her own bull pen, but with higher technology, brighter colors, and better wardrobe. The buzz of preparing for News 3 @ 10 clicked along with the same measured adrenaline rush of working a murder case on deadline. The pressure and excitement ran in the blood, not in the air. Call it controlled chaos.

The news director, George Putnam, a stocky redhead, was still reeling from the shock of his consumer reporter’s murder. Heat walked through a vapor trail of Scotch as she and Rook followed him through a maze of desks. Nikki wondered if the whiskey was Putnam’s reaction to the death, or how he managed to mount a nightly newscast in Gotham. They settled into his office, like Captain Irons’s at the Twentieth, a glass box that gave him a view of his world. “This is a big blow to our family,” he said. He gestured to the newsroom. “We’re all working, but it’s hard. We’re doing it for Max. She was special, that girl.”

The little fans in Heat’s bullshit filter started to whir, but she said, “That’s admirable.” Rook caught her eye and, in the way only lovers can, vibed that his antennae had also risen.

Putnam described Maxine Berkowitz as the perfect marriage of reporter and beat. She’d come to WHNY from Columbus, Ohio, as weekend anchor, but “she never won the focus groups, so instead of releasing her, I got the notion to recycle her as a consumer watchdog. You know, an in-your- face viewer advocate. Somebody who’d walk through walls and bust down doors.” He dabbed an eye and said, “She herself came up with the segment title, ‘The Doorbuster.’ ” He went on to describe a team player, beloved by her coworkers.

Not satisfied with the company line George Putnam handed her, Nikki asked to speak with someone who was close to Maxine. The news director hesitated then led her and Rook onto the set, where News 3’s hip-hop meteorologist bent over his weather desk. “Oh my God,” said Rook, “I can’t believe I’m actually meeting Coolio Nimbus.”

The young black man straightened up quickly, and short dreads danced on his head. But the signature smile and mischievous eyes of New York’s Most Playful Weathercaster were dimmed by sadness. This man looked like he had lost his best friend.

Nimbus walked them to his cubicle just off the set. When Nikki got there she turned, looking for Rook, but she had lost him along the way. Heat spotted him gawping at his own face with bewildered fascination as it filled a fifty-four- inch LED monitor above the sports desk. By the time he joined her, she had gotten pretty much the same view of Coolio’s best friend Max as she’d gotten from the news director, although the weatherman said, “There’s some shit maybe you need to know. But I’m not sure I should spill.”

“I know this is tough, Mr. Nimbus,” said Nikki, “but we need to hear about any possibility if we’re going to find your friend’s murderer.”

A familiar voice interrupted. “Good lord, it’s Nikki Heat.”

Greer Baxter, the iconic face of WHNY News, towered over them. The veteran news anchor’s stiff helmet of blond hair framed her handsome features. The newscaster had several tissues tucked into her blouse collar to keep her neck makeup from rubbing off. Both Heat and Rook rose, but he might as well have been invisible. She clasped Nikki’s hand in both of hers and said, “Poor Maxine. Such a tragedy. Such a loss.” And then, in a gear shift as smooth as turning the page on the night’s top stories, she said, “Now, Nikki Heat, you and I need to have a talk. We need to book your appearance on my little spot.”

The spot Greer Baxter humbly referred to, “Greer and Now,” was the expanded interview segment that closed out each night’s primetime newscast. Baxter had a reputation as a skilled interviewer who scored newsworthy guests. “With all due respect,” began Nikki, “I—”

“Ah- ah,” said Greer. “I won’t take no. We lost one of our own. If you don’t have enough information to go on with me tonight, I understand. But I need you. I’m serious. Call me. Or I’ll be calling you, Nikki Heat.”

After she moved on, Heat turned her attention back to Coolio Nimbus. “What should I know about Maxine Berkowitz?”

---- - - -- - - -- - - - -- - - - -- - - - -- - - -- - - -- - - -- - - -- - - -

Minutes later, back in the news director’s office, George Putnam came around his desk and closed his door. “Coolio told you this?” Heat nodded. He flopped into his executive swivel and rocked back with an exhale, deep in painful thought. Then he came forward, resting rolledup shirtsleeves on his desk and presenting his block of a freckled face to them. “It’s true. Max and I had an affair. It started years ago when I began coaching her for her new role.”

“As your mistress?” asked Rook.

“As the best damned consumer advocate in TV,” he said. “I had this notion that people could sleep together and still work together.” Both Heat and Rook kept eyes front. “I was wrong. I knew too much. Running this newsroom, I had to keep secrets from her. She’d find out, of course, when I’d send a memo to the staff about a change, and she’d get all bent about not being told first. It ate us up.” Nikki let the silence do the work. Putnam filled it. “I broke it off a year ago. It ended ugly. But that affair was ancient history. I mean, when a romance is over, it’s over. Right?”

Rook turned immediately to Nikki and said, “Yes... Absolutely.”

Heat said, “Mr. Putnam, I’d like your whereabouts midday today, please.” But even as Heat jotted down his statement, she knew it wasn’t him and that getting Putnam’s alibi was just a formality.

The real killer was somewhere out there.

---- -- - - -- - - -- - - - - -- - - -- - -- - - - - -- - - - -- - -

Rook made their dinner that night in his loft while they drank unfiltered hefeweizen and Nikki watched across the kitchen counter after her bath. “What magic’s happening in that oven of yours, Mr. Jameson?” she said. “Loving the garlic and fresh thyme.”

“It’s Good Eats Forty Cloves and a Chicken.” Then Rook held up the cookbook and said, “How weird is this? Alton Brown calls this the perfect make- ahead meal for those pesky serial-homicide weeks, or when you’ve had a long day chasing Naughty Nurses.”

While they ate, they watched News 3 @ 10. Of course, the lead story was the strangulation murder of their consumer advocate, Maxine Berkowitz. Greer Baxter’s stoic reading was offset by video of WHNY staffers in tears and a live shot from 72nd and Riverside Drive, where the field reporter, standing before a makeshift curbside memorial of candles and flowers, showed the crime scene, which police had cordoned off waiting for a daylight evidence search. The reporter said, “NYPD Captain Wallace Irons is with me. He is commander of the Twentieth Precinct.”

“He’s also the shortest distance between a body bag and a TV camera,” heckled Rook as Wally stepped into the bright lights beside the reporter.

Irons kept his appearance basically ceremonial. When Heat had briefed him a half hour before, she gave him the fundamentals: cause of death, time of death, and how the body had been discovered. He used his airtime as a plea for eyewitnesses to come forward, as she had coached him to do. Nikki had not, however, told Irons about the string. Or that this likely was the work of a serial killer. She would do that first thing in the morning. But for now she held it back simply because she did not trust her commanding officer’s big mouth.

After dishes, they uncorked an Haute-Côtes de Nuits then time traveled to 1999. Joe Flynn’s surveillance photos of her mother made it an emotional trip for Nikki. The private eye’s telescopic lens captured Cynthia Heat just as her daughter remembered her: sleek, elegant, and poised. Nikki’s dad had commissioned the tail, suspecting his wife of having an affair, and not without cause. Cindy Heat’s moves were all about hiding a secret life—from her husband and from her own kid. Nikki and her father never discussed it. They were each afraid to give it voice, but they both suspected her of hiding something. Both had no idea it was a double life as a CIA operative spying on the families that hired nice Mrs. Heat to tutor piano. Nikki reflected on the irony that a husband’s worry about a cheating spouse led him to hire a private investigator whose creeper photos might now give up clues to a rogue ex-CIA conspiracy.

Nikki had loaded the thumb drive Flynn gave her onto Rook’s MacBook Pro and, shoulder- to-shoulder, they watched the slide show on its monitor. Once Nikki got past the nostalgia of seeing eleven-year-old images of her mom, she focused on the other faces. Some pictures were peep-shots taken through windows into homes; most were taken on Manhattan sidewalks as the tutor-under-surveillance arrived or departed with binders of sheet music under one arm. Heat recognized the Jamaican, Algernon Barrett, who had been ducking behind his lawyer’s skirts to avoid her. One shot captured Cynthia with the brewery tycoon Carey Maggs, sitting on the planter outside his apartment building, laughing at something his little boy must have just said. More pictures of the same ilk flashed by. Vaja Nikoladze’s Rudolf Nureyev mop of hair dated the photo of him chatting with Cindy Heat on the gravel drive of his Hastings-on- Hudson property. A Georgian shepherd pup sat obediently by his left leg.

Rook fast-clicked through a series of duplicate shots, but when Nikki said “Whoa,” he paused the slide show and they stared at the familiar face of the man in deep conversation with Cindy Heat on a Midtown sidewalk. They didn’t know his name, but they would never forget him. He was the doctor who, three weeks prior at a Paris hospital, had helped Tyler Wynn fake his death in front of Heat and Rook. “Holy fuck,” said Rook under his breath.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” agreed Nikki. “One more picture, let’s see it.”

Cynthia Heat was not in the next shot, but the French doctor was—in the front seat of a parked car with another man they didn’t recognize. Rook said, “Looks like our French doc spent enough time around your mom to earn some photo ops.” Nikki jotted down the date and time of the picture so she could call Joe Flynn to ask if he had an ID on either man. When she finished, she found Rook staring at her. “I have an idea you are going to hate.”

--- - -- - -- -- -- - -- - -- - - -- - -- - - -- - - -- - - -- - -- - -

“You’re right,” she said, “I hate it.” Nikki settled onto the couch in his great room with the million-dollar view of the Tribeca skyline and added, “What world do you live in that you think I could just drop everything and go to Paris?” He brought over the bottle of wine and their glasses, and while he set them on the coffee table, she continued, “If this is some covert plan of yours to whisk me away to safety, it’s a debatable strategy, Rook. I can get poisoned at a zinc bar on the Left Bank just as easily as at the Gramercy Starbucks.”

“First of all, this isn’t some covert plan. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about secretly.” He realized what he had just said and held out her wine. “Let me finish. What I mean is that ever since Tyler Wynn escaped, I’ve been considering a trip back to Paris to see if I can pick up his trail on his old stomping grounds. Maybe even recontact my Russian spook pal, Anatoly. That’s not covert; those are just inner thoughts I didn’t express.”

“Something very new for you,” she said as she took a sip of her Burgundy.

“Come on, Nik, now that you’ve seen that French doctor with your mom in those old pictures, isn’t one investigative bone in that body of yours aching to find the connection?”

“Well. I have been thinking the same thing.”


“Shut up.”

“A moment, while I savor this rare tit- for- tat victory.” He closed his eyes, smiled, then opened them. “OK. Here’s what I want to do. I want to show up at that Paris hospital, surprise Dr. McFrenchie, and see what he knows about Tyler Wynn, then and now.”

Nikki sat upright and rested her glass on the coaster. “You know, I’m hating this less.”

“So you do see the logic of going?” he asked. When she said she did, he pressed it. “And you’ll come?”

“Get real, Rook. I can’t get away.”

“Not even for a working trip?”

She smoothed his collar then left her hand draped on his chest. “May I point out I have plenty of loose ends I’m working right here, including a fresh trail to Salena Kaye? Not to mention a little thing that’s come up called a serial homicide.”

“It’s always something,” he said, kidding, but only sort of.

Nikki nodded to herself, reaching a decision. “You go. But answer this: Are you trying to help me solve the case, or gather more material for your next article?”

Rook said, “That hurts.” He stared out the window into the New York night, then said, “But I’ll forgive you if we can have make-up sex.”

Nikki Heat called her team in for an early start. When the detectives rolled in at 6 A.M., she positioned her computer screen so she could peek at their reactions as each discovered a coffee waiting on his or her desk labeled “Nikki” in grease pencil. “You’d better laugh,” she said over their chuckles. “This prank cost me twenty dollars.”

Her cell phone vibed. Rook, texting that he was about to go through TSA screening for his flight to Paris, and before he jetted off, he wanted to let her know how much he enjoyed his wake- up service. Heat had slept deeply after their make- up sex, descending into sweet oblivion folded into his arms. She awoke because of the morningafter soreness from her jujitsu round with Salena Kaye. Since he’d planned to get up at four to make his plane, she decided to be his alarm clock and slid under the sheets. Nikki texted back that she looked forward to his next layover and walked to the front of the squad room, but slowly enough to lose the smirk.

She’d rolled two Murder Boards side by side: one for Roy Conklin and a new one, for Maxine Berkowitz. She briefed the detectives who hadn’t been on-scene at Riverside Park on the bullet points of the TV reporter’s death. When Ochoa asked about boyfriend troubles, Nikki shared about the bad breakup with the news director and assigned him to check out George Putnam’s alibi. “Check his wife’s whereabouts, too,” said Heat, just in case there was a volatile side of that triangle. “But tread lightly. Let’s not rule anything out, but this feels like more than a jealous payback.”

That brought her to the connection between the two murders. “We have a unique telltale that indicates a serial killer.” She posted blowups of CSU photos of the string found at each crime scene and then picked up her notes. “Forensics burned some midnight oil to get us some data this morning. Both the red and the yellow string are made from a braided polyester widely used for everything from hobbies and crafts, to jewelry making, to yo-yo strings and something called kendama.”

Randall Feller raised a finger for attention and said, “That’s a Japanese game that uses a wooden spindle with a cup at one end that you use to catch a wooden ball attached to it by a string.” He paused only briefly and added, “Don’t ask.”

“Nice to know when Rook’s not here there’s somebody to pick up the know- it- all slack,” observed Raley.

Since Detective Feller had demonstrated a special interest, Heat assigned him to make checks of area hobby, craft, hardware, and toy stores to see if they had any customers worth checking out. “Detective Rhymer, you assist. I’m sure this string is also available on the Internet. Find out who sells it and contact those sites for customer rec ords.”

A civilian aide came in from the front office and handed a message to Heat, who digested it and addressed her crew. “A foot patrol making checks of trash cans discovered a three- foot coaxial cable not far from the Eleanor Roosevelt statue. Forensics has it now. It’s only prelim, but there appear to be traces of makeup in the center of the cord.” Heat reflected on the tissues she saw protecting Greer Baxter’s collar from her TV makeup and said, “That would be consistent with our strangulation.”

“What about the Rollerblade wheel?” asked Rhymer.

“Strange, isn’t it?” said Heat. “The strings are plenty creepy, but the Rollerblade is weird, too. Forensics says it’s a brand-new, standard polyurethane inline skate wheel, no prints, no wear. It’s straight from the package.” She reflected a moment and said, “Sharon?” Detective Hinesburg sat up like she’d been poked with a stick. “I’d like you to team with Raley and Ochoa and run the skate wheel.”

That evening, when the shift had ended and Heat had the bull pen to herself, she embraced the stillness to contemplate the Murder Boards and let her instincts talk. The case work had not yielded any new clues, and her cop sense told her that the elimination of the few leads they had was not a negative but a means to an end. For instance, both George Putnam and his wife’s alibis had been confirmed. Similarly, Roy Conklin continued to check out as a man who was easy to love but difficult to investigate for that very reason.

Nikki sat on her desktop, letting her eyes drift from board to board, letting the known elements speak the mind of a serial killer over the low hum of fluorescent tubes. String. String was the literal common thread. What else? Oddball props. A dead rat. An inline skate wheel. How were they connected? Or were they at all?

Geography. The obvious. Both victims had been found on the Upper West Side, in particular, the Twentieth Precinct—a self-canceling clue because it meant the killer lived or worked there, or else traveled there to kill away from his home base.

Minutes passed, maybe even an hour. When Nikki got into this flow, she not only lost time, she hid from it. She reached for her notebook and wrote one word: “Jobs.”

What came to her was more than just that both victims had been either mutilated or killed by an instrument related to their work: the restaurant inspector by an oven; the TV reporter by a coaxial cord, the kind used to connect cable TV. Those similarities were already toplining the squad conversation. This was something not as obvious, but close enough. She called Roach, Feller, and Rhymer back to the precinct.

Far from being annoyed at getting boomeranged in, the four detectives gave off the edgy vibe of anticipation, and when Heat began, “It’s right in front of us. Both vics were in the business of consumer protection,” she saw their eyes come alight. “I want to find out if they knew each other or if they knew someone in common.” From there on, the meeting was short. She put Roach on contacting Olivia Conklin, Feller back on his beat at the Health Department, and Rhymer on Maxine Berkowitz’s coworkers and friends. “Check e-mails, texts, phone records, everything that leaves a trail,” she said, and watched them cancel their evenings and hit the phones with renewed purpose.

Back early the next morning, with little to go on yet much to cover, the day for all of them became the essence of good detective work: drudgery. The hours of phone calls and computer checks got broken up only by meeting up to compare notes after pounding the pavement for face time with shop owners, park nannies, and doormen who’d seen nothing out of the ordinary. The true chore of Nikki’s day came when Captain Irons arrived in the late morning, camera- ready with a fresh white uniform shirt in dry cleaner plastic, just in case someone needed a statement. After satisfying himself nobody had tried to kill his lead homicide detective in the last twenty- four hours, he asked for a briefing of both active cases. Wally was more an administrator than a cop, and his eyes glazed over as she filled him in on the details. When she finished, his first question was his go- to: “How much overtime is this gonna drain from my bud get?”

Always prepared for that resistance, Nikki managed to sell the precinct commander on the long-term savings of bringing in more manpower, and came out of his glass office with an OK to bring in one of her favorite detective teams, Malcolm and Reynolds.

Rook checked in from a taxi heading from Charles de Gaulle Airport to his hotel in Paris. It was night there, New York plus six, and he said he’d left word with Anatoly Kijé, his old Russian spy friend, hoping they could meet for a late dinner-slash-debrief.

“You mean the same Anatoly Kijé whose henchmen kidnapped us from Place des Vosges just so he could be sure we weren’t being followed?”

“Ah, memories,” said Rook. “Don’t you wish you’d come?”

“So you know, Rook, I don’t consider it a Michelin Tour just because my nose is pushed against one of their radials in the trunk of a car.”

They hopped off the line with the promise to catch up later that night so Heat could grab a call from OCME. Lauren Parry’s prelim on Maxine Berkowitz bore out the COD as asphyxia by strangulation. “The killer took her from behind with a cord. And Forensics is committing to that coaxial cable found in the park. The makeup residue on the insulation is an exact match to the victim’s.”

“Save me a call to geekland, Lauren. Any prints on the cable?”

“None,” said the ME. “And no sign of struggle. He chloroformed her and strangled her when she was out.”

Nikki jotted that down then riffled pages in her spiral until she came to notes on her other case. “OK to switch gears?”

“Detective Heat, you have got more corpses to ask about than anyone I know.”

“You should give me a rewards card.”

“Cold, girl.”

“As ice. What about my poison vic from the Starbucks?”

“Same as what Salena Kaye used to kill Petar. A fast-acting cocktail of strychnine and cyanide, plus a few additives, including a labmodified derivative of bismuth subsalicylate, which is what turned the tongue black. It’s not a poison, it’s mainly for show.”

“You’ll forgive me if I don’t applaud.”

“Nikki,” said Dr. Parry, “this is potent stuff. She knows her chemistry. You watch yourself.”

--- - -- - - -- - - -- -- - -- - -- - - - -- - - -- - - -- - -- - - -- - -- - -

Heat awoke with a start on her couch at six-fifteen the next morning to the Norwegian duo Röyksopp singing “Remind Me”—the ringtone Rook had installed to ID him on her cell. It took Nikki so long to orient herself and find the phone, she was afraid he’d dump to voice mail, but she caught it in time. “You were going to call me last night,” she said.

“And bonjour to you, too. Things got very busy over here. You won’t be sorry.” Rook’s voice sounded clear, next- room clear. And there was something in it. Exhilaration, maybe.

She moved aside the sheet music she had fallen asleep studying, another futile attempt to break her mother’s code. “Tell me.” Wired to be a note taker, Heat reached for the pen and spiral pad she kept on her coffee table, clearing the night from her throat.

“I made contact with Anatoly Kijé.”

“Did his goons slip a bag over your head and drop you at Deux Magots?”

“Even better. He met me alone on the banks of the Seine. Just me and an old KGB warhorse. Isn’t that cool? Like walking into a le Carré novel.”

Nikki drew the picture in her mind and smiled. “I’m warming up to this.”

“Just wait. First off, Anatoly ID’d the doctor in Joe Flynn’s old photos. François Sisson. Turns out Sisson was a real doctor over here until he became one of the operatives in Tyler Wynn’s old CIA network. Ready for this? François Sisson turned up on a slab in a Paris morgue the day after helping Wynn play his death scene for us.”


“Let’s call it lead poisoning. One slug behind his ear.”

“I’m still waiting for the good news,” she said. “Sounds to me like you got your George Smiley jollies then hit a dead end.”

“In Paris, yes. But things are a bit different down here in Nice.”

Heat looked at her watch; it would be just past noon in France. “What the hell are you doing in Nice?”

“Talking to you from my room at the Hotel Negresco. Want to know why? Because I just came from a meeting at a beach club called Castel Plage. It’s up the Promenade des Anglais between here and Le Château. By the way, that’s French for—”

“Rook, I know what château is French for. Spit it out.”

“OK, you ready for this? I just had brunch with none other than your elusive Syrian security attaché, Fariq Kuzbari.”

Nikki set her pen down and just listened. Rook explained that, after his meeting by the Seine, he hopped the overnight high-speed train to Nice, where the Syrian security man had agreed to meet him. He dropped his bag at the Negresco and then walked the promenade along the bay to the Castel Plage, where Kuzbari waited for him at a secluded table on the beachside patio. “You know, Fariq’s a lot nicer guy when his men aren’t holding guns on you.”


“Sorry.” He paused and, in the background, she heard the outdoor sounds of Nice: seabirds; motor bikes; a cruise ship’s horn. She wished she were there. “Kuzbari told me that your mother was not spying on him while she was tutoring his kids.”

“And you just believe that?”

“I’m only telling you what the man said, and the man said if anyone would know he was being spied on, it would be he. But Kuzbari did tell me something, and it’s big. Remember that week the PI said your mom spent at that conference center in the Berkshires with Kuzbari and his family?”

Nikki remembered it very well from Joe Flynn’s 1999 surveillance report. And recently, when the Syrian and his security goons accosted her on the street in SoHo, she made sure to ask him about it. “I remember Kuzbari was more concerned about denying any hanky- panky. What did he tell you?”

“He said he went to the Berkshires for a symposium on limiting weapons of mass destruction, and that when your mom wasn’t giving his kids piano lessons, she was spending an inordinate amount of time with another attendee.”

Heat picked up her pen again. “Who?”

“Dr. Ari Weiss.”

A jolt of adrenaline shot through Heat. Wide awake now, she paced her living room floor. “Remember that name?” asked Rook. She did. Of course it lived in her notes from a few weeks ago, but like most things she took down, the facts were burnished in her memory, and the movement of pen across paper only helped her memorialize them.

Right before her murder, Ari Weiss had been the houseguest of another prominent family her mother tutored. Nikki had assumed her mom was spying on them, but Rook’s information cast things in an entirely different light. It’s possible her mother had worked her way into that home so she could snoop on the houseguest, Ari. “This is big,” she said.

“Yeah. Just too bad you can’t talk to him.”

When his name came up three weeks ago, Heat and Rook had discovered that Dr. Ari Weiss had died of a blood disorder. But Nikki felt energized now and wasn’t giving up. There still might be a way to get more information about the dead doctor. Even while she paced, she was looking through her notes for the number of the person whose family Ari had stayed with. Maybe he would know if Weiss had any connection to Tyler Wynn or his accomplices. Then, to make sure the sound of her gratitude for the new lead carried across the Atlantic, she repeated, “Hey, Rook? This is very big.”

“Thanks. It’s kind of a whirlwind. I haven’t even been to bed since I left New York, but I feel so pumped.”

“Well ya done good. This Kuzbari stuff is a coup. He’s so hard to pin down, how did you manage to make contact?”

“Professional courtesy, I guess. You know, the spy quid pro quo. Like most Mideast governments, Syria’s heading for the rocks, and I think he’s trying to make nice with our intelligence in case he needs an escape hatch.”

Nikki stopped pacing. “Don’t you mean Russian intelligence? I thought Kijé set this up.” Sounds of traffic and a distinctly European siren rose up and filled Rook’s long pause. “Who set this up for you? . . . You there?”

During his hesitation she heard a female voice she recognized in the background. “Rook, come out here and see, it’s a car fire.”

Heat said, “Really? She’s there with you?—in Nice?”
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Re: Nikki Heat - Deadly Heat - CHAPTER 5

Mensaje por qwerty el Mar Sep 10, 2013 9:22 pm

Flata un último capítulo de publicación, (el 5) y a continuación publicarán el libro entero.


Nikki fought the urge to hang up on Rook and instead listened to him squirm. He hemmed. He hawed. He backed. He filled. And then had the nerve at the end of her silence to ask, “Is everything OK?” She told him she had to get to work and left him to hold a dead phone in his stupid hotel room overlooking the stupid Mediterranean. Then she cranked the shower as hot as she could stand it and stood under the jet. “Fucking Nice,” she said to the steam. “Fucking stupid.”

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Shouldering the glass door of the bodega open, Heat burst out onto the sidewalk on Pearl Street ripping at the orange Reese’s wrapper with extreme prejudice. She stood by a trash can near the curb, shook one of the two peanut butter cups out, tore away the brown paper enfolding it, and popped the entire disk into her mouth. She closed her eyes and tilted her head to the sky while she chewed, feeling the tiny sharp ridges of the chocolate coating scrape the roof of her mouth while the salty, grainy succulence of the peanut butter center mixed with the melting sugars on her tongue. Bastard, she thought. Stupid boy. Her breath whistled through her nostrils as she munched, eating not for pleasure but as an act of aggression. That part done, she swallowed, feeling the delicious indulgence tamp out the fires of her rage.

She looked at the package. Still one peanut butter cup left. Nikki decided to save it and shoved it in the side pocket of her blazer. She might need it later, if the idiot called again.

Heat elbowed aside her anger at Rook for going to France with his ex-girlfriend and walked on. She had better things to dwell on. For the first time in weeks Nikki felt like she found a real trail that could lead her to Tyler Wynn, and as she strode along, she started rolling everything she knew. If Fariq Kuzbari’s version of events were true, was it possible that her mother used the Syrian as cover to get into that symposium in the Berkshires to spy on Ari Weiss? Following that premise, could that be the same reason her mom got herself a tutoring gig later in the home of the brewing magnate Carey Maggs—to keep tabs on Weiss while he stayed with his former Oxford classmate and his family? She hoped to find out in a few minutes when she met with Maggs.

The last time she’d seen the beer tycoon and social activist, Heat was thrashing around looking for clues in her mother’s murder. Now she hoped for another crumb—any connection, however slight—that could link Weiss to the fugitive Tyler Wynn and warm up the trail to his capture.

When she reached the cobblestones of the South Street Seaport, Nikki stopped. Survival instinct took over and she made a survey of the area. The pedestrian walks and courtyards were empty. It was way too early for the tourists who would pack the place later. She saw only a soda delivery truck and a solitary cleaner hosing off a café patio. Feeling suddenly alone and exposed, Heat made a back check behind her then scanned the rooftops of the old buildings. Somewhere a killer waited for her. Despite that fact, she pressed on toward the nineteenth-century brick ware house that housed Brewery Boz. Nikki knew she was a target. She also knew this could be the next stop on the road to staying alive.

At the loading dock behind the microbrewery, Nikki climbed four concrete steps off the alley and heard a high- pitched whine on the other side of a metal door. Carey Maggs had told her to knock loudly so he could hear her over the power tools. She rapped with a key and the whirring stopped. Hinges squeaked, and a filthy man who looked more like a day laborer than a multimillionaire stood grinning. “You still look just like yer mum.” That’s what he’d told Nikki on her visit three weeks before. He would know. Cynthia Heat had also been his piano tutor in London back in 1976, when Maggs was just a boy.

“I’d say pardon the mess, but you didn’t give me much notice, and I’m in the middle of a restoration. Behold, an authentic relic of the London Metropolitan Fire Brigade, circa 1870.” Behind him, surrounded by giant stainless steel vats filled with Durdles’ Finest lager, stout, and pale ale, stood a vintage fire wagon—a carriage that once got pulled by horses and probably was why London burned.

“Looks new.”

“Bloody better. Been slaving on it morning and night to get it ready in time for the march.” She gave him a puzzled look and he explained, “The Walk Against Global Oppression. I committed Brewery Boz as corporate sponsor. What can I say? Bleeding heart, bleeding checkbook.” He set aside his electric buffer and followed Heat around as she admired the wagon. Its red paint gleamed from the wax he’d applied, and the copper chimney of the steam pump’s giant boiler shined like a mirror. “But I get promo out of it, too.” She noticed the gold leaf stencil on the side. “ ‘Boz Brigade,’ ” he said, reading with her. “I mean, what better mascot for a Charles Dickens–themed beer than a Victorian artifact like this?”

Niceties having been observed, Detective Heat said, “Let’s talk.”

The gastropub adjacent to the brewery wouldn’t open for hours, but Maggs led her inside to the bar and made them each a latte.

“Delicious,” she said. “But latte in a pub?”

“I know, scandalous.” Maggs’s British accent had a playfully challenging tone that reminded her of someone she couldn’t quite place. “But we can be true to our Dickens leitmotif without confining ourselves to blood pudding and spotted dick, right?” Then she put her finger on it. Christopher Hitchens. “Yeah, I get that a lot. He’s Portsmouth, not London, but it’s the Oxonian thing. We’re a bunch of know- it- alls, petrified that we don’t.”

Since he’d brought up his college, Nikki snagged it. “Oxford is kind of why I’m here,” she said. “I need to ask you about your old classmate.”

“Ari.” He grew serious and slid his coffee aside.

“When we talked a few weeks ago, you said Dr. Weiss was a houseguest of yours around Thanksgiving 1999.” Nikki didn’t need to, but she glanced at her notes from the prior interview, a technique that kept interviewees honest. “You said his stay overlapped the week my mother was tutoring your son.”

He paused to reflect. “Yes, but as I told you before, I can’t believe Ari had anything to do with your mother’s murder.”

“And—as I told you before, Mr. Maggs—this works better if you simply answer the questions.” He nodded. “Can you tell me any of the activities Dr. Weiss was involved in during his visit?”

“Let me think. We’re going back over a decade.” He wagged his head slightly. “Sorry. I guess mostly sightseeing and clubs, maybe a Broadway show.”

“Did he have any diplomatic or foreign service acquaintances in New York?”

Maggs furrowed his brow. “Ari? Doubt it. Ari was a science geek, pretty much just a lab rat. Rarely left the maze, if you know what I mean.” That didn’t square with what Fariq Kuzbari had said about his attendance at the symposium on WMDs. She made a note and went at it another way. “Was he political? I mean, you donate significant profits from your company to radical organizations like,” she referred to notes, “Mercator Watch. What was your nickname for it?”

“GreedPeace,” he chuckled, but his eyes flashed with a sudden and visceral anger. “The world is fucked up by top-down greed, Detective. It’s why we have so much war. The wealthy use their power against the powerless. It’s got to stop. It will stop.” He gestured through the showcase window to the copper and stainless vats hulking in his production area. “This beer business is just my springboard. I plan to rival Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in their philanthropy—but in my own way. These days I spend more time with my broker than my brewmeister for one reason: I am completely committed to using my business and investments to create a war chest for peace.” He laughed and finger-combed his hair back. “And, yes, I hear the irony. I went to Oxford, you know.”

“Didn’t any of your political passion rub off on Ari Weiss?”

Maggs came off his mini- tirade and relaxed again. “For Ari, rest his soul, if it wasn’t under a microscope, it didn’t exist. The only thing radical he gave a rat’s arse about was free radicals with unpaired electrons.”

“Did Ari ever mention the name Tyler Wynn?”

He thought and said, “Mm, no.”

“Does this help?” She tapped her iPhone and brought up Wynn’s picture. He shook no. Then she showed Maggs Joe Flynn’s old surveillance shot of the two men in the front seat of the parked car. The driver was the French doctor; she didn’t know the other. “Do you recognize either of these two men?”

“You’re kidding, right?” Maggs pointed to the man on the passenger side. “That’s my friend. That’s Ari Weiss.”

There it was. Carey Maggs had made a connection between Tyler Wynn and Ari Weiss, and the link was the French doctor who helped the CIA man fake his heart attack. But what did it all mean? On the subway uptown, while she scrutinized the lethal potential of everyone who got on and off her car, Nikki tried to do the math and couldn’t get there. What she needed was to bounce it off Rook, whose nutty speculation both annoyed her and freed her from linear thinking at the same time.


A butterfly rose, stirring dark sediment. She pushed it down and concentrated on the case.

Before she even got to her desk, Detective Heat called across the squad room for Roach to start digging on Weiss. At her computer, she opened the Web page Rook had bookmarked weeks before and reread the obit of Ari Weiss, MD. The brief article said the medical researcher had been a graduate of the Yale School of Medicine and a Rhodes Scholar, which was how he would have met his friend Carey Maggs at Oxford. He had died in 2000 of a rare blood disease called babesiosis. Heat clicked that hyperlink and the Wikipedia page described babesiosis as a malaria-like parasitic disorder. Like Lyme disease, it was generally tick-borne, but it could also come from a contaminated transfusion.

Loose thoughts started to ping, but Heat didn’t like hunches. Facts were her friend, and she could have used some. She thought a long moment. Then she steeled herself and picked up the phone.

When Bart Callan answered, he seemed surprisingly cool to her. At prior meetings, including the visit she’d just made to the Department of Homeland Security, the agent had not only pressed her— relentlessly—to join his investigation team, he’d wrapped his outreach in something more. The vibe Heat got was personal. She believed Special Agent Callan wouldn’t have minded getting intimate. So when he said he was kind of busy, Nikki felt taken aback. And what else? Maybe a little disappointed? But then he fell into form. “I’m in the swamp and up to my ass in alligators, but I could meet you later. Want to hook up for a cocktail?”

She said yes. And then felt guilty. And then wondered why.

-- -- - - -- - - -- - - - -- - - -- - - - - - -- - - - -- - - - -- - - - -- - - - - - - - -- - - -

Heat wanted to meet someplace packed and noisy, but Callan had an interview on the Upper East Side and chose Bemelmans in the Carlyle, to her chagrin, a softly quiet bar with leather upholstery, dreamy lighting, and worst of all, intimacy. She gave him the long arm when they shook and let him take the banquette. Normally she liked a view of the door, but a chair made her feel less trapped. She ordered a wine spritzer, a drink Nikki despised, but she needed a clear head and didn’t want to send a false cue with a gateway cocktail. He surprised her, going for a mineral water. His second surprise was getting right to business.

“You’ll be happy to know we scored some surveillance pics of Salena Kaye following her escape from that chopper.”

“That was quick,” she said, remembering the check-in she’d made on her way out of the precinct house, of poor Raley still poring over miles of security video.

“Facial recognition software. I’ll zap you copies.”

“Great. Where did you pick her up?”

“Coming off the Q train in Coney Island. Speculation is she either operates out of there or had a meet. We’re checking car services and other resources we have. If I told you more, I’d have to, well, you know the rest.” He smiled and she felt uneasy. After the waiter came with the drinks and left, he said, “Kaye must have put up quite a fi ght to get away from you.”

“Please, I feel guilty enough. My combat skills have gotten a little rusty lately.”

“The Navy SEAL?” he asked. “Tragic. His name was Don, right?” God, this guy did his homework. Callan knew her murdered friend Don had been her close-combat sparring partner. Nikki studied the DHS agent, wondering if he also knew that she and Don once had a no-strings sexual relationship. The ex-SEAL used to call himself her trainer with benefits. If Bart Callan knew about that part, he didn’t let on. So she couldn’t tell if there was deeper meaning when he said, “Listen, if you want a new partner, I love a good workout.”

Her gaze left his to dwell on the walls of the bar, which she recognized had been illustrated by the same artist who’d drawn the Madeline books. “I called because I want to hear again about your contact with my mother,” she said, glancing back his way, glad now to be on her ground. “A few weeks ago you said something about an informant.”

“There’s not much more I can tell you.”

“Then tell me again.”

“I’m not holding back, Detective. Data is sparse.” She arched a brow at him, and he said, “But I’ll happily go over it again. I was FBI then and was made point liaison with your mother when she reached out to the Bureau to say she knew of a threat to security within our borders. She told me she had been developing an informant within a terror group, and we funded her two hundred grand to bribe her insider in exchange for proof and details of the plot. We gave your mother the money for the transaction the day she was murdered.”

Heat had already known that much. But she now wanted to ask some new questions. “Did you know who her informant was?” When the agent shook no, she said, “I believe it was a man name Ari Weiss. Deceased now, so no help. But he was college friends with a Brit living here named Carey Maggs.” She searched his face for recognition of either name and got none. “Would it be a pain to ask you to run a check on Maggs for me?”

“You think he might be involved?”

She shrugged. “Doesn’t seem to be. But I like both belt and suspenders, you know?” Callan twisted open his gold Cross ballpoint and wrote the name down. When he’d finished, she asked, “What about the two hundred thou? Did it ever surface? I know you guys had to mark the bills.”

He wagged his head again. “End of our intel, end of story.” Then he added, “Well, it was the end of the trail until you exposed Tyler Wynn. Which is why I am renewing my pitch to you. The memos out of DC call it cooperative interface. Join me, Nikki. I have resources. We’d make a great team.” He started to reach a hand across the table, but she casually slid hers onto her lap.

“Thanks, but I do better indepen dently.”

He waved his hands back and forth between the two of them. “Then what do you call this?”

“Cooperative interface. And your NYPD appreciates it.”

Out on Madison Avenue, she declined his offer of a ride, even though it would have afforded her a measure of security with Salena Kaye on the hunt for her. The agent said fine, but reminded her that if she ever wanted a sparring partner, he’d be game. From her taxi, Nikki glimpsed him getting into a black Suburban with US govern-ment plates, and figured Bart Callan could give her quite a workout.

---- - - - -- - - -- -- - - -- - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - -- - -- - - --

Detective Heat closed her eyes and ran her math. The equation began with Callan’s intel that her mom had been cultivating an informant. He couldn’t name the insider, but with the new connection Nikki had drawn from her mother to Ari Weiss as a member of Tyler Wynn’s circle, she didn’t have to be at a blackboard in Good Will Hunting to surmise that Cynthia Heat had not been spying on Dr. Weiss—she was cultivating him as a snitch.

She pulled up his obituary on her iPhone. The date of his passing from a tick-borne illness was January 2, 2000. Only six weeks after her mother’s death.

As soon as she locked her apartment door behind her, Heat speeddialed the home of a judge she’d met at one of Rook’s weekly poker games. After Judge Simpson razzed her about giving him a chance to win his money back, Nikki asked him a favor: to write a court order for the exhumation of Ari Weiss.

Röyksopp startled her from the computer screen. After Rook’s call that morning from Nice, his ringtone, a song from a caveman commercial, seemed newly appropriate to Nikki.

“It’s late there. I was afraid you’d be in bed,” said Rook.

“I’m going over squad reports on my serial killer.”

“I’m in London. Heathrow, actually. Workin’ my way back to you, babe.” The joker, trying to laugh it off, she thought during the long silence she fed him. “Should be there by sunup, your time. I’m flying Virgin.”

“I doubt that.” Another dose of awkward pause.

“Nikki, I guess I can see why you got all bent about Yardley, but you’re reading way too much into this.”

“Am I?”

“Yes.” They listened to each other breathe. Then he said, “They’re calling my flight.”

“How long is it?”

“Let’s see, uh . . . a little over seven hours.”

“Good,” she said. “Use it to work on your empathy.”

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Detective Heat brought her crew in for another early roll call the next morning. This time, they were joined by Detectives Malcolm and Reynolds, on loan from the major case squad. They were quick studies, so Nikki only needed to use the first ten minutes to recap the two murders and get them up to speed. As she wrapped it up, Sharon Hinesburg slid into the back of the bull pen, the only detective to be tardy.

Traces on the physical evidence from each homicide scene had brought no results after a day and a half of calling and canvassing. The red and yellow string was so common and widely available that screening recent purchases could take weeks, plus it could have been bought months or years ago. Same, too, with the skate wheel.

Malcolm raised a hand. “Let me tell you something.” He slouched back in his usual pose and planted one of his work boots on the back of a chair. “Coming in cold?... Whenever I come across props like this in a case, it’s one of two things. Either there’s some sort of personal crap the guy’s working out...”

“You mean like fetishes?” asked Heat.

“Yeah, or some fucked- up, brain- fried, thumb-sucking obsession like his mommy wouldn’t let him have pets or ride a skateboard.”

“... While carrying scissors,” added his partner, Reynolds.

“Or second, he’s just seeding chaff to mess with our heads.” Malcolm brought his cup up to sip. “Who knows?”

“Only the killer,” said Heat. “Let’s keep on tracing those items, especially the string, which is common to both, but keep digging on the victims. People in their lives, how they spent their last day, and especially—are they somehow connected to each other beyond their job types?”

Detective Raley reported that only one neighborhood camera was pointed at the Maxine Berkowitz crime scene. “It’s outside a neighborhood Islamic center on Riverside Drive,” he said. “And it’s out of order.”

Heat logged that in marker on the Berkowitz whiteboard, then tapped the identical notation for the pizza joint cam in the other murder. “Coincidence?” she said. “I would say strange enough to be considered...”

“Wait for it,” called Feller.

“ odd sock,” said Nikki, and the room erupted in a chorus of “Yessss!” at the first invocation of Heat’s pet investigative phrase on this case. But the rowdiness was quelled when one of the administrative aides brought in the morning papers and held one of the tabloids up to the room. The bold headline screamed: [font:”courier”]DEAD TIE![/font] Underneath, against a white background, blared a giant photo of two coils of string: one red, one yellow.

Heat dismissed the meeting, and the rest of the squad did exactly what she did: They dove into the New York Ledger. “Exclusive,” read the subhead, and the byline was Tam Svejda, Senior Metro Reporter for the Ledger—whom Heat knew, among other things, to be a lazy journalist prone to easy handouts from “insiders.” Detective Hinesburg had whispered confidential material to her before, acting as Captain Irons’s mouthpiece—an apt term, considering her sexual relationship with the skipper. To Nikki the article felt warmed over, derivative of old reports already made public. But then there was the leak of the big hold- back: that the two homi cides were literally bound together by string, which pointed to a serial killer operating in Manhattan.

“Now, calm down, Detective,” said Wally Irons. Heat appeared in his office before he could set down his briefcase. “We were going to release that today anyway.”

“But we didn’t. Someone leaked it. And whoever it was put our MO hold- back on page one,” she said, brandishing the picture of the string.

“First things first,” he said, seeming to enjoy this. “Tam Svejda called me for comment, and you can see for yourself, I downplayed the serial killer angle. Here it is.” He ran a finger down the column and quoted, “Precinct Commander Captain Wallace Irons cautioned against leaping to conclusions. ‘We cannot rule out the possibility that these killings could be the work of separate individuals.’ ”

“Nobody’s going to buy that,” said Heat.

“Ah, but it’s on the record. I did my part.”

Nikki slapped her thigh with the tabloid, wondering how she had gotten so lucky to work under the Iron Man. Detective Ochoa stuck his head in the door.

“Excuse me, Detective? Got a call on your line from a guy who says he’s the serial killer.”

“See?” Nikki shook the newspaper at Irons. “The bogus calls are starting already.”

But then Ochoa said, “Detective Heat? He asked if you liked to roller blade.”

Heat tossed the tabloid on a guest chair and rushed out to her desk.
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Re: Nikki Heat - Deadly Heat - CHAPTER 5

Mensaje por Beckett el Miér Sep 11, 2013 11:35 pm

Siempre me sorprende la cantidad de capítulos que publica ABC, ¡nada menos que 5! La táctica comercial no es mala, pues con un solo capitulo te quedas corto en una novela de misterio, y al leer 5 ya te metes en el inicio del caso y ya te quedas con ganas de saber como sigue.

Por cierto, detalle curioso que la compañera/cómplice de Wynn se llame Salena Kaye, siguen reutilizando muchos nombres ya aparecidos durante la serie.

¡La semana que viene me llega el libro a casa!
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Re: Nikki Heat - Deadly Heat - CHAPTER 5

Mensaje por diabolix el Lun Sep 16, 2013 11:54 pm

Yo tengo los 4 libros comprados y el primer comic , a ver si sacan ya en españa el segundo por que ya ha salido el tercer comic en el extranjero y ya calor mortal y prefiero mil veces el libro papel k kindles tablet , epub y todo ese rollo


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Re: Nikki Heat - Deadly Heat - CHAPTER 5

Mensaje por qwerty el Mar Sep 17, 2013 6:37 am

Último capítulo que nos ofrece ABC.
Todavía no lo he comprobado pero creo que se puede decir que el libro completo está disponible para todo el mundo.



This is Detective Heat.”

“Got your attention, did I?” The voice sounded male, but distorted, the way 20/20 electronically disguises voices of mob witnesses and whistle-blowers.

“It’s a start,” said Nikki. She sat at her desk, and when she swiveled in her chair, she saw that the entire squad had gathered around her. “So. Tell me what you’re calling about.” There was a loud click and the line went dead. She stared at the phone and had started to tell the others he’d hung up when her line rang. She jumped on it. “Heat.”

The distortion made him sound even more chilling. “Do not fuck with me. Pull that casual chatty bullshit again, I’m gone. Got it?”

“Got it.”

“I’m going to talk, and you’re going to listen.” Nikki looked over at Raley where he coordinated the call trace at his desk. “What’s this shit in the paper about it could be two people? Do I have to prove it’s not?”

“No,” she said immediately.

“We’ll see. I get to decide that, cover girl.” All of her training had taught Heat to remain dispassionate in these kinds of calls. But her heart bumped at the reference to her magazine cover. She tried to bat away the personalization. He had other ideas. “Think you’re so smart, Detective Heat? How smart do you feel running around like a rat in a maze? You smell a clue but you  can’t see it. You need something to unlock that door.”

Nikki wanted to keep him talking, not just for the trace but to get a handle on him. “You don’t have to make this a contest.”

“Sorry.” Then he laughed, a digitally altered Darth Vader. “Tell you what, cover girl. Maybe I’ll give you a hand on the next one.” And then he clicked off again. Heat stood to look over the other detectives at Raley, who shook his head and hung up his phone.

Nikki went into the restroom and splashed water on her face again and again. It just seemed like something to do when all she wanted was to be alone. Drying off, she felt the paper towel tremble in her hands as she took in the magnitude of what had just happened. A challenge had been laid down. An already baffling case had suddenly taken on a new dimension for Heat, who now found herself matching wits against a serial killer, with innocent lives at stake over how good she really was. “Cover girl,” she muttered into her hands. Nikki peeled the wet towel off her face, chucked it, and left the room without so much as a glance in the mirror.

When Heat came back into the bull pen, she found another unsettling surprise waiting. “Je suis retourné!” Jameson Rook slid off her blotter and stood beside his roll- along bag. Grinning through traveler’s stubble, he held his arms open wide as she approached. Shewouldn’t ice him in public, but the hug Nikki gave him  wouldn’t exactly have lighted up the Kiss Cam at the Garden. “Brr,” he said in a low tone. Then added, “See, I’ve been working on my empathy.”

“Not the best time, Rook.”

“Let me guess.” He held up his copy of the Ledger. “I saw this in the airport when I got off the plane.”

Raley walked by, holding out a transcript of the phone call. She made a no-look snatch as he moved on, distributing it to the squad as they assembled around the Murder Boards. “The serial killer reads the Ledger, too, and he just called.”

“You spoke to him?”

“I did.”

“Then I got back just in time.” He breezed past her and took an empty seat with the detectives. Determined to ignore this new distraction, Nikki took her place up front.

“An assignment,” said Heat as she surveyed the room. “I need someone out at Reception to monitor incoming calls so if our serial killer tries me again, he gets right through.” Her gaze fell on Detective Hinesburg. “Sharon, you’re elected.”

Hinesburg made the face of snippy annoyance. “Fine. Your party.”

“You’re right,” said Nikki, who waited for Hinesburg to saunter off to the precinct lobby, figuring that if the detective was out of earshot, she  couldn’t learn anything to leak to the paper. Heat addressed the rest of the group. “Before we begin, has anyone not read this?” She held up her copy of the tabloid.

After a moment of silence Ochoa said, “Want me to ask Detective Hinesburg?”

When the squad’s knowing laughter settled, Heat said, “Yeah, I have a feeling Sharon’s caught up.” She waited out a few more chuckles then brought them to business. “Most of you heard my side of the two calls we just got. And you’ve all got the transcript. Detective Raley also has dubbed an audio copy off our digital call server. Rales?”

He opened the WAV file on his laptop speakers. At first, Rook and the detectives started to read along. But as the chilling call continued, enticingly sinister because of the digitally futzed voice, they all abandoned their hard copies and leaned forward, staring instead at the computer, as if it  were the man himself instead of the playback device for a killer’s audio bit stream. When it finished, Detective Raley clicked it off.

Complete silence followed.

Heat broke it by asking, “OK, what did we learn?” She bisected the Maxine Berkowitz Murder Board with a vertical line and began a brainstorm list in the open white space.

“It’s him,” said Detective Feller. “He worked in the hold- backs that didn’t get leaked: the skate reference and the rat in the maze thing? It’s him.”

“For now, let’s say so,” Heat agreed, and saw bobble-heads.

“Tech-savvy,” said Detective Reynolds. “Not everyone out there knows how to alter his voiceprint like that.”

Rook  couldn’t resist. “There’s an app for that?”

“Raley,” said Heat. “As my King of All Surveillance Media, fi nd out if there is.” Rales nodded and made a note. “What  else?”

“Dude’s controlling,” called out Ochoa.

Heat said, “No kidding,” and wrote the trait on the board. “The way he hung up on the first call to let me know who’s boss.”

“And the second call,” added Rook. “It was all about making his points his way, in his own time, like a billiard champ running the table.”

Detective Rhymer said, “I’d put smart up there, too.” As Nikki posted that, he continued, “He knew exactly how long to stay on the call to beat the trace, and he also knew how to push your buttons, talking about case frustration...”

“...Calling you a cover girl,” said Reynolds. Nikki’s eyes went to Rook’s and then away.

“I think this guy’s beyond smart and controlling,” said Malcolm. “I say he’s pissed. Check it out.” He skim- read from the transcript, “ ‘Do not fuck with me.’... ‘I’m going to talk, and you’re going to listen.’... ‘Think you’re so smart, Detective Heat?’ ”

“That’s not just pissed,” said Raley.

“That’s competitive,” finished his partner. “Talking about making it a contest, and maybe ‘helping you’ with the next one.”

“That’s the biggest clue of all,” said Heat. “And the worst.” She didn’t have to voice it. The caller already had—that there would be a next one.
Later that morning, Roach came to Nikki’s desk. “Rook was right,” said
Detective Ochoa.

“There is an app for that.” Raley picked up. Across the room at his squatter’s desk, Rook overheard and came to join them as the media king briefed Heat. “There’s not only an actual app, but we found a slew of consumer software out there for altering voices. All you need is a laptop to change how you sound.”

His partner continued, “You can do the Darth Vader like our man, or girls can sound like old ladies, or men can pretend to be women...”

Rook jumped in. “That’s why I always say...”

“ ‘Check the Adam’s apples,’ ” said Roach in a singsong chorus.

Heat stayed on task. “So this is all widely available?”

“Maybe not as much as skate wheels and string,” said Raley, “but close. Plus a hobbyist could probably go to his neighborhood Radio Shack and find all he needed to build his own electronic voice box.”

“Then we start calling Radio Shacks.” As Nikki said it, she knew—and they knew—it could be tail chasing. The kind of thing she’d put Sharon Hinesburg on. “We have to take every shot.”

They split off to work it, and she called after them, “And ask Detective Rhymer to reach out to the app vendors.” To Heat’s irritation, Rook stayed put. “A little busy,” she said, picking up a report.

“Well, when are we going to talk about this? And you know the ‘this’ I mean.”

She gestured to the bull pen with the file. “I doubt the Homi cide Squad Room is the optimal place to talk about your romp in the South of France with an old flame.”

“No, the Homicide Squad Room is perfect. Because this is murder for me.”

“Very glib, Pulitzer Man. We’ll definitely talk. But I have enough distraction to deal with right now, and two murders to work.”

“Make it three.” They turned to Detective Feller as he made his way over from his desk. “Can’t be sure it’s your boy’s doing, but another one just turned up.” And just like that, another ball got juggled up in the air.

In the category of extended-stay, hybrid hotel-apartments, the HMS pressed the envelope. The über-hip HMS, acronym for Home Meet Stay, catered more to the actor in town for a movie shoot than the road warrior looking for a plexi cylinder of Cheerios at a breakfast bar. On the way through the dour, mood-lit lobby, Detectives Heat and Feller had to pause while Rook got snagged by an Irish rock legend who was camping there while he scored a Broadway musical. Rook freed himself with a vague promise of cocktails sometime, and they moved on to the crime scene upstairs.

A pair of uniforms stood a little taller when Heat got off the elevator on nine and walked the herringbone carpet toward their posts at an open door. Camera flashes from inside popped against their backs, briefly printing their shadows on the opposite wall.

“African-American male, age sixty to sixty-five,” recited the medical examiner on their arrival in the bedroom of the suite. “Photo ID on the deceased indicates he is one Douglas Earl Sandmann.” The top mattress had been pushed aside, and Heat and the other two had to move around the bed for a look at the victim, whose body reclined faceup on the box spring.

Feller asked, “Isn’t this the exterminator dude from those TV commercials?” “Oh, my God, it’s Bedbug Doug,” said Rook, who then recited the deceased’s catchphrase, “ ‘We squash the competition!’ ”

“Easy, Rook, we get who he is.” Nikki turned to her friend Lauren Parry, whom she had been seeing too much of lately for the wrong reasons. “What about COD?”

“Prelim cause of death is asphyxia. But not strangled like Maxine Berkowitz. Mr. Sandmann was suffocated by a mattress.”

“Ironic on so many levels,” said Rook. “But mainly because Bedbug Doug was killed with a bed.”

Heat forgave his irreverence because Rook had made a point. “Just like the restaurant inspector being killed by a pizza oven and a Channel 3 reporter getting strangled by a TV cable.”

Detective Feller walked the room, which had not been disturbed, except for the upset bed and bedding. “If he was done  here, there’s no sign of struggle.”

Dr. Parry, waiting out the body temp reading, said, “I picked up chloroform traces here on the front of his coveralls. Forensics roped off some scrape- and-drag depressions in the living room rug. They’re testing the fibers for chloroform spills.”

Heat turned to the responding officer. “Who found him?”

“House keeping. Manager says there’s a supermodel coming in to do a calendar shoot, and the maid was checking to make sure the apartment was ready for her.”

“So this isn’t the victim’s room?” asked Heat.

“No, but he does have a bedbug contract with the building.”

“So why was he here? Did they call him in to check out the room?”

“Manager says no. He didn’t even know the guy was up here.”

Nikki sent Feller off to interview the manager more fully, and sent the pair of unis in the hall to knock on some doors to ask if anyone heard or saw anything. Lauren completed her field testing and ballparked the time of death window between midnight and 2 A.M. “Which means,” said Rook, “that your serial killer had already murdered him when he called you this morning.”

“If this is his work,” said Nikki. “We don’t know that yet.” She crouched down and lifted the dust ruffle with her gloved hand to look under the bed.

Rook scanned the dresser and stuck his head inside the armoire housing the TV. He lifted up the Bible inside the nightstand and said, “Death, where is thy string?”

“Got it,” said Lauren Parry. They came to her side, and she indicated about an eighth of an inch of red string, barely noticeable because it was wedged between the victim’s shoulder and the box spring.

“OK to move him?” asked Nikki.

The ME said to hang on, called in the crime scene unit photographer to document the string and its position, then gave Heat a nod. She and Rook stood back while Parry and her technician rolled the body on its side. The CSU shooter positioned himself and clicked; his flash strobed at what they found underneath: a length of red string tied to a length of yellow string, tied to a length of purple string. The end of the purple string was knotted through the hole in the head of a futuristic-looking door key.

“I need you, and pronto, Heat,” called Captain Irons as she double timed past his office door toward the squad room. In spite of her low opinion of him, as the skipper, Wally deserved a briefing. So she reversed field and caught him up on the murder of Bedbug Doug. When she’d finished and turned to go, he said, “Not done yet, Detective.” Nikki stopped, not having a second to waste, hoping he could make it quick. “Do you know the pressure I’m under? Do you know how many times I get called about bringing this to a resolution?”

“Yes, sir, I can only imagine they’re all over you at One PP.”

He made a face and shrugged. “No, actually, the commissioner knows  we’re busting our humps. I’m talking about the media.”

“Seriously? This is about media pressure?”

“Listen, Heat, this has been on my mind, so I might as well get it out.” He gestured to a chair and they sat. “I know you’re spending your time on your other... more personal case. But now that we have a serial killer and people are paying attention in the press, you have to stop chasing that dog and put your focus where I need it.”

She had been waiting for this shoe to drop. She had known that her dimwit commander, who’d initially been so alarmed by Nikki’s poisoning attempt that he tried to bench her ass, would forget all that. Had known that he’d whimper about her split focus. Had known that because his coconut  couldn’t hold two thoughts at once, he’d assume nobody else’s could. It pissed her off that Irons talked so casually about this “other case” when it was her own mother’s murder she was trying to solve. But as Nikki had waited for this inevitable chat to come down, she’d been forming a strategy.

Cement heads like Wally Irons had to be managed, not cornered. Heat needed to set her personal anger aside and be effective, because much more was at stake than justice for her mom. Nikki felt in her bones that something  else was coming from this Tyler Wynn conspiracy. Otherwise all this new activity—including the attempt on her life—wouldn’t be bubbling up. So instead of outboxing the Iron Man, she’d outsmart him.

“Sir, although my connection to the Tyler Wynn investigation started personally, there is one thing I am dead sure of.”

“Which is?”

“That you and I are probably the only two cops in this department smart enough to see that this is all bigger than one homicide.” A white lie of flattery couldn’t hurt. In fact, it was pathetic to see how Wally lapped it up.

“True . . .” He smiled to himself, then to her. “True.”

“And when the handcuffs come out—and they will—who is going to be the hero of this?” She watched his eyes rise to the trophies on his bookcase. “One more thing, sir? What you have so wisely done here is put me on notice not to drop the ball on either of these cases. You have my pledge, Captain. I won’t fail you. Just watch.”

She held her breath while his brow creases deepened in some version of thought. Then Irons stood and said the magic words. “Just let me know if you get swamped.”

“Will do.”

“Meantime, the media’s storming me with ladders and torches. Can you give me something to tell them?”

“Sure,” she said. “You might even want to write this down.” She waited for him to uncap a pen with his teeth and turn to a fresh page of his legal pad. “ ‘No comment.’ ” And then she left to get to work.

Heat recited a download of the HMS crime scene for the bull pen. When she finished, Detective Rhymer said, “Trying to grab at any connection  here. We found that rat with our first vic. Did Bedbug Doug, by chance, also exterminate rats?”

“Bedbug Doug?” asked Ochoa, incredulous.

“No rats, just bedbugs,” said Raley, reenacting one of Bedbug Doug’s TV commercials.

Rook  couldn’t resist. “What about ants?”

Raley came right with it. “Nope, just bedbugs.”


“Just bedbugs.”

“Skunks? Cockroaches? Opossums?”

“Nope, nope, nope. Just bedbugs.”

Heat said, “Are you done? Be done.”

“Got something,” said Detective Malcolm as he and Reynolds rolled chairs over from their shared desk. “A link between our first two victims.” The room hushed, and all heads tilted toward them. “Know how in ratings sweeps, TV stations do those shocking exposés about restaurant kitchen gross-outs? I just tracked down an ex–assignment editor at Channel 3. When they bumped Maxine Berkowitz off the anchor desk at WHNY, guess what her first ‘Doorbuster’ segment was? And who her prime on-camera source was from the Health Department?”

Nobody said it. But Heat took a red marker and drew a line connecting restaurant inspector Roy Conklin and Maxine Berkowitz. She tossed the dry erase pen on the aluminum tray of the whiteboard and said, “Malcolm and Reynolds, you rock.”

Feller said, “I wonder if Maxine B. ever did a ‘Doorbuster’ report on bedbugs or Bedbug Doug. That would connect them.”

“We’re all connected one way or another,” said Rook. “You can trace anyone to anyone in six hops. It’s like playing Six Degrees of Marsha Mason.”

Detective Rhymer said, “You mean Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”

Rook said, “Please. I grew up with a mom who’s a Broadway diva. In our  house, it was always Marsha Mason.”

Roach interrupted with a report on the unusual key found under Doug Sandmann’s body. Raley posted photos of it as Ochoa recited from his notes. “It’s a high-security key. New technology from an Australian company. As you can see from the close-ups, it’s futuristic in design. Looks like a Star Wars X-Wing fighter and a barracuda made a baby.”

Raley picked up from his partner. “According to the manufacturer’s Web site, because of its dual shank and one-of- a-kind cutting, this key would fit only one in about seventeen thousand locks.  Here’s the good part: Each set is registered. It’s the middle of the night in Australia, but hopefully, we can get a line on whose lock this fi ts, because it could be the next victim’s.”

“We’re also making rounds of local locksmiths who carry the brand,” said Detective Ochoa. “It’s high-end, so there aren’t that many.”

“So go to,” said Heat, and the squad dispersed. Her excitement at sensing some traction became muted by mistrust. This killer was a gamesman, a manipulator who had already murdered his third victim hours before he called to threaten it. Nikki only hoped they could move fast enough to save his fourth.

Heat’s e-mail chimed with a message from Bart Callan: “Ran Carey Maggs, per request. Your instinct right on. Clean returns on all data. PS: If you worked here, you’d be home now! Haha—BC.”

As she saved the e-mail, Detectives Raley and Ochoa speedwalked to her desk, both wearing eager faces. Raley said, “The lock manufacturer in Australia has a 24/7 help desk.”

Ochoa overlapped, “They tracked the serial number and said the lock and key set is registered through a locksmith on Amsterdam.”

“Did you call?”

“No answer,” said Roach.
“At a locksmith?” Nikki leaped to her feet. “Amsterdam and what?”

-- -- - - - --- -- - - - - -- -  - -- - - - -- - - - - - -- - -  -- - - - -- - - - -- - - - - - -- - - - - - - -- -  -
Heat and Rook pulled up behind the Roach Coach five blocks south, at 77th. As they came together on the sidewalk, Ochoa said to them, “Rales and I  were just in this neighborhood running a check on that Rollerblade wheel.” He indicated the skate shop with a sign that read, “Central Park rentals by the hour or half day.”

Nikki’s attention went to Windsor’s Locks, the storefront next door. Something was definitely off. The window had an “Open” sign, but behind it the shop was dark.

“OK, now this is too weird,” said Rook, pointing. “Rats. Check it out. A pet store on one side with rats in the window and a roller skate store on the other?”

The pair of backup blue-and-whites Heat had called for pulled up behind her. Without taking her eyes from the store, she told the unis to cover the back. As the patrol officers deployed, she took the lead toward the glass door, flanked by Raley and Ochoa. They paused. Heat put one hand on the grip of her Sig Sauer. She reached for the door handle with the other.

“Wait,” said Ochoa. “You smell that?”

Heat sniffed. “Gas.”
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Re: Nikki Heat - Deadly Heat - CHAPTER 5

Mensaje por Beckett el Miér Sep 18, 2013 4:32 am

Disponible lo está, pero que llegue ya es otro cantar xD Con un poco de suerte me llega esta semana. Frozen Heat me llegó con tres semanas de retraso...

Cinco capítulos de gratis, ¡eso es el 25% del libro!

En breve Lastral abrirá el correspondiente tema de traducción, esperemos que nos sigáis, el caso pinta interesante! Smile
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Re: Nikki Heat - Deadly Heat - CHAPTER 5

Mensaje por Delta5 el Jue Sep 19, 2013 9:25 am

Pues como no me pases el libro en formato digital, como que la cosa no va a funcionar, jajaja. Y yo que contaba contigo para que me lo pasaras prontito. Sad 

Excusa perfecta para no hacer nada como veras.
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Re: Nikki Heat - Deadly Heat - CHAPTER 5

Mensaje por Lady el Jue Feb 20, 2014 3:02 am

Si han leído "Deadly Heat" -o cuando lo hagan- verán que es muy interesante cómo
se cruzan
dos grandes casos que afectan a Nikki personalmente. Ahora bien, me falta un capítulo para terminarlo, pero me pregunto si en la serie seguirán el mismo camino.  La novela me da fe de que encontrarían una forma inteligente de hacerlo.  Smile

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