"Makes me feel guilty about why I came," she said.
McCaleb nodded at the binder and the tape.
"You came on business. You could have just called, Jaye. Saved some time, probably."
"No, you didn't send out any change-of-address or phone cards. Like maybe you didn't want people to know where you ended up."
She hooked her hair behind her left ear and smiled again.
"Not really," he said. "I just didn't think people would want to know where I was. So how did you find me?"
"Asked around over at the marina on the mainland."
"Overtown. They call it overtown here."
"Overtown, then. They told me in the harbor master's office that you still kept a slip there but you moved the boat over here. I came over and took a water taxi around the harbor until I found it. Your friend was there. He told me how to get up here."
McCaleb looked down into the harbor and picked out The Following Sea. It was about a half mile or so away. He could see Buddy Lockridge bent over in the stern. After a few moments he could tell that Buddy was washing off the reels with the hose from the freshwater tank.
"So what's this about, Jaye?" McCaleb said without looking at Winston. "Must be important for you to go through all of that on your day off. I assume you're off on Sundays."
"Most of them."
She pushed the tape aside and opened the binder. Now McCaleb looked over. Although it was upside down to him, he could tell the top page was a standard homicide occurrence report, usually the first page in every murder book he had ever read. It was the starting point. His eyes went to the address box. Even upside down he could make out that it was a West Hollywood case.
"I've got a case here I was hoping you'd take a look at. In your spare time, I mean. I think it might be your sort of thing. I was hoping you'd give me a read, maybe point me someplace I haven't been yet."
He had known as soon as he saw the binder in her hands that this was what she was going to ask him. But now that it had been asked he felt a confusing rush of sensations.
He felt a thrill at the possibility of having a part of his old life again. He also felt guilt over the idea of bringing death into a home so full of new life and happiness. He glanced toward the open slider to see if Graciela was looking out at them. She wasn't.
"My sort of thing?" he said. "If it's a serial, you shouldn't waste time. Goto the bureau, call Maggie Griffin. She'll "
"I did all of that, Terry. I still need you."
"How old is this thing?"
Her eyes looked up from the binder to his.
"New Year's Day?"
"First murder of the year," she said. "For L.A. County, at least. Some people think the true millennium didn't start until this year."
"You think this is a millennium nut?"
"Whoever did this was a nut of some order. I think.
That's why I'm here."
"What did the bureau say? Did you take this to Maggie?"
"You haven't kept up, Terry. Maggie was sent back to Quantico. Things slowed down in the last few years out here and Behavioral Sciences pulled her back. No outpost in L.A. anymore. So, yes, I talked to her. But over the phone at Quantico. She ran it through VICAP and got zilched."
McCaleb knew she meant the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program computer.
"What about a profile?" he asked.
"I'm on a waiting list. Do you know that across the country there were thirty-four millennium-inspired murders on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day? So they have their hands full at the moment and the bigger departments like us, we're at the end of the line because the bureau figures the smaller departments with less experience and expertise and manpower need their help more."
Copyright © 2001 Hieronymus, Inc. Excerpt used with permission from Time Warner Bookmark.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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