"Oh God," I muttered as my world
suddenly got too dark to see. "We're sure?"
"Well, he's missing."
"You mind explaining to me why I'm just now
being told about this?"
I felt anger rising, and it was all I could do not
to hurl it at him, for all unnatural deaths in Virginia were my
responsibility. I shouldn't have needed Marino to inform me about
this one, and I was furious with my Northern Virginia office for not
calling me at home.
"Don't go getting pissed at your docs up in
Fairfax," said Marino, who seemed to read my mind. "Fauquier
County asked ATF to take over here, so that's the way it's
I still didn't like it, but it was time to get on
with the business at hand.
"I'm assuming no body has been recovered
yet," I said, and I was writing fast.
"Hell no. That's going to be your fun
I paused, resting the pen on the call sheet.
"Marino, this is a single-dwelling fire. Even if arson is
suspected, and it's a high-profile case, I'm not seeing why ATF is
"Whiskey, machine guns, not to mention buying
and selling fancy horses, so now we're talking about a
business," Marino answered.
"Great," I muttered.
"Oh yeah. We're talking a goddamn nightmare.
The fire marshal's gonna call you before the day's out. Better get
packed because the whirlybird's picking us up before dawn. Timing's
bad, just like it always is. I guess you can kiss your vacation
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