Forensic specialists Bob Harley and Erik Fiore stepped down into the room, toting their bags of tricks. Behind them was the Team Three sergeant Mark Hatter and Detective Barbara Givens.
"Jesus," said Givens.
"Woah," said Harley. "Reminds me of that guy - what, Appleby or something? With the pipe."
Erik whistled low, the sound falling off at the end like something going over a cliff. "Cool aquaria."
Sergeant Hatter said nothing. He was in charge of Homicide Team Three by rank, but McMichael was up for lead on this one, purely a matter of rotation and chance. Wheal of fortune, thought McMichael - whose fortune?
Harley set down his forensic case and brought out a digital still camera, which he looped around his neck, and a Polaroid, which he checked for film. McMichael told Erik to shoot the video, then start the measurements and sketches. "Get the club first," he said. "Then fish it out of the blood. I want Polaroids of those firewood bundles, close up as you can get. Barbara, do a quick-and-dirty theft check on the rest of the house - see if anything obvious has been lifted. Look for forced entry."
"Then take a look at the VW Beetle out there, but don't go into it yet. After that, I'd like you to handle the press and media. Tell them what we know."
A moment later the medical examiner's team quietly entered. Then Hector Paz, McMichael's closest partner within the team, barreled in behind them like a wrecking ball.
McMichael nodded to Paz and backed away from what used to be Pete Braga and was now San Diego PD case #03-144-M. He checked the trophy wall where the fishing equipment was displayed and found the empty hook between a large gaff and a fighting belt.
"Shoot this hook, Bob."
"There's nothing on it."
"Looks like a good place to hang a club."
Excerpted from Cold Pursuit By T. Jefferson Parker. Copyright 2003 by T. Jefferson Parker. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without permission from the publisher.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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