Chen took a plastic bag from his evidence kit, pulling the plastic tight to show her a piece of blackened metal about the size of a postage stamp.
"This is kind of interesting, too. It's a piece of the pipe frag I found stuck in his suit." Starkey looked close. A squiggly line had been etched into the metal.
"What is that, an S?"
"Or some kind of symbol. Remember that bomb they found in San Diego last year, the one with dicks drawn all over it?"
Starkey ignored him. Chen liked to talk. If he got going about a bomb with dicks on it, she would never get her work done.
"John, do me a favor and swab some of the samples tonight, okay?" Chen went sulky.
"It's going to be really late when I finish here, Carol. I've got to work the Dumpster, and then there's going to be whatever you guys find in the sweep. It's going to take me two or three hours just to log everything."
They would search for pieces of the device everywhere within a hundred-yard radius, combing nearby rooftops, the faces of the apartment buildings and houses across the street, cars, the Dumpster, and the wall behind the Dumpster. They would search for anything and everything that might help them reconstruct the bomb or give them a clue to its origins.
"Don't whine, John. It's not cool."
"I'm just saying."
"How long does it take to cook through the gas chrom?"
The sulk became sullen and put-upon.
Residue from the explosive would be present on any fragments of the bomb they found, as well as in the blast crater and on Riggio's suit. Chen would identify the substance by cooking it through a gas chromatograph, a process which took six hours. Starkey knew how long it would take when she asked, but asked anyway to make Chen feel guilty about it taking so long.
"Couldn't you swab a couple of samples first, just to start a chrom, then log everything after? An explosive with this kind of energy potential could really narrow down the field of guys I'm looking at, John. You could give me a head start here."
Chen hated to do anything that wasn't methodical and by the book, but he couldn't deny her point. He checked his watch, counting out the time.
"Let me see what time we finish here, okay? I'll try, but I can't guarantee anything."
"I gave up on guarantees a long time ago."
Buck Daggett's Suburban sat forty-eight paces from Riggio's body. Starkey counted as she walked. Kelso and Leyton saw her coming and moved away from the others to meet her. Kelso's face was grim; Leyton's tense and professional. Leyton had been off shift when he'd gotten the call and had rushed over in jeans and a polo shirt.
Leyton smiled softly when their eyes met, and Starkey thought there was a sad quality to it. Leyton, the twelve-year commander of the Bomb Squad, had selected Carol Starkey for the squad, just as he'd selected Charlie Riggio and every other tech below the rank of sergeant-supervisor. He had sent her to the FBI's Bomb School in Alabama and had been her boss for three years. When she had been in the hospital, he had come every day after his shift to visit her, fifty-four consecutive days, and when she had fought to stay on the job, he had lobbied on her behalf. There wasn't anyone on the job she respected as much, or cared for as much.
Starkey said, "Dick, I want to walk the scene as soon as possible. Could we use as many of your people as you can get out?"
"Everyone not on duty is coming out. You've got us all."
She turned to Kelso.
"Lieutenant, I'd like to talk to these Rampart guys to see if we can't conscript some of their uniforms to help."
Kelso was frowning at her.
Copyright Robert Crais, 2000. All rights reserved. Published by the permission of the publisher, Doubleday. 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."
- PW Starred Review
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