Elaine Wager was the only daughter of Loretta Wager, the charismatic African-American senator from California who'd died a few years before. Elaine--tonight's victim--had worked for a couple of years as an assistant district attorney in the Hall of Justice.
No one was supposed to know it, but she was also Glitsky's daughter.
Somehow he'd gotten dressed, made it to his car. He was driving, the streets dark, nearly deserted.
No one knew. As far as Glitsky was aware, not even Elaine herself. She believed that her biological father was her mother's much-older husband, Dana Wager--white, rich, crooked and connected. In fact, when Loretta had found out she was pregnant by Glitsky, she kept that fact to herself and pressed him to marry her. He didn't understand the sudden rush, and when he said he needed time to decide--he was still in college, after all, with no job and no money--Loretta dumped him without a backward glance and made her move with Wager, the other man courting her, with whom she'd not yet slept.
For nearly thirty years, the senator had kept her daughter's paternity secret, even and especially from the girl's true father. Until, finally, a time came when she thought she could use the fact as a bargaining chip to get Glitsky to agree that sometimes it was okay for a senator to commit murder.
That strategy hadn't worked. Abe and Loretta had once been lovers, true, but now he was a cop in his bones, and three years ago she'd killed someone in his jurisdiction. The knowledge that their past union had produced a daughter wasn't going to change what he had to do.
Which was bring her to justice.
So when Glitsky let her know he was going to expose her, she decided she wasn't going to endure an arrest, a high-profile trial and the loss of her national reputation. At the time she was, after all, one of the most prominent and respected African-American women in the country. She chose her own way out--an "accident" with a gun in her mansion.
After that, Glitsky had never been able to bring himself to reveal the secret to his daughter. Why would she need the baggage? he asked himself. What good could it possibly do her to know?
And now suddenly it was--forever--too late.
He'd followed her life, of course, the path her career had taken after she left the D.A.'s office. Plugged into her mother's political connections, she'd gone into private practice with Rand & Jackman, one of the city's premier law firms.
Through the grapevine, Glitsky heard that she'd gotten engaged to some doctor from Tiburon. She'd recently been short-listed for appointment to a judgeship. She also taught moot court at Hastings Law School and donated her honorarium back to the scholarship fund.
She was going to be fine. Her life was going to work out on its own, without any interference from him. He could take pride from a distance, privately savor her accomplishments.
She hadn't needed him as a father.
Now she was beyond needing anything.
Glitsky had himself tightly wound down. Hands in his pockets, he walked almost the length of Maiden Lane--maybe a hundred yards--from where he had parked his car on Stockton at the edge of Union Square. The body lay at the other end, twenty feet or so west of Grant Avenue. A small gathering of authorities and onlookers had already appeared and Glitsky used the walk to steel himself.
He saw a couple of black and white cruisers, what he supposed were some city-issued vehicles, and the coroner's van parked at angles, on the sidewalk and in the alley itself. He heard his steps echoing--the buildings were close on either side of him. Halfway down the lane, he suddenly stopped, took a deep breath and let it out. He was surprised to see the vapor come from his mouth--he wouldn't have said it was that cold. He wasn't feeling anything physical.
Reprinted from The Hearing by John Lescroart by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2001 by John Lescroart. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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