Glitsky blamed neither Fisk nor Bracco for being upset with the conditions they'd endured to date in the detail, but until this morning, he couldn't say he'd lost any sleep thinking about it. They were political appointees and they deserved what they got in their brief stops up the promotion ladder, hopscotching over other inspectors who were smarter, more qualified, and worked harder.
Harlen Fisk was the nephew of City Supervisor Kathy West. He went about six three, two fifty, and was self-effacing almost to the point of meekness. Darrel Bracco was trim, crisp, clean, ex-army, the terrier to Fisk's Saint Bernard. His political juice was a little more obscure than his partner's, but just as potent. His father, Angelo Bracco, had worn a uniform for thirty years, and now was Mayor Washington's personal driver-Bracco would have the mayor's ear whenever he wanted.
So these men could just as easily have gone whining to their supporters and Glitsky could right at this moment be getting a formal reprimand from Chief Rigby, who'd heard from the mayor and a supervisor that he was running his detail in an unprofessional manner. But they hadn't gone over his head. Instead, they were both here in his office, coming to him with their problem. The situation gave him pause and inclined him to listen to what they were saying, if not with sympathy, then at least with some respect for their position.
Bracco was standing at attention, and Glitsky had been talking for a while now, reprising many of the salient points of his earlier discussion with Dismas Hardy. "That's why our office here in homicide is on the fourth floor," he concluded, "with the lovely view of the roof of the coroner's office, whereas hit and run has a back door that opens into the alley where the waste from the jail's kitchen comes. Murderers are bad people. Hit-and-run drivers have made an unfortunate life choice. There's a difference."
Bracco sighed. "So there's no real job here, is there?"
Glitsky came forward in his chair, brought his hands together on the desk before him. "I'm sorry, but that's how it is."
The young man's face clouded over. "So then why were we brought onboard?"
This called for a careful response. "I understand both of you know some people. Maybe they don't really understand some technical matters."
Fisk was frowning. "What about the man who was hit this morning? Markham."
"What about him?" Glitsky asked.
"He wasn't dead at the scene, but if he does die, then what?"
"Then, as I understand it, you get the case from H and R."
"And do what with it?" Bracco asked.
"Try to find the driver? I don't know." Glitsky--nothing he could do--spread his palms, shrugged. "Look, guys," he said, "maybe I could talk to the chief and see if he can arrange some kind of move. You both might want to think about transferring to gangs or robbery or someplace. Do some good work on some real cases, work your way back up to here, where you'll get some real murders, which this is not."
Bracco, still in the at-ease position, wanted to know his assignment. "In the meanwhile, we're here. What do you want us to do, sir? On this morning's accident?"
The entire situation was stupid, but in Glitsky's experience, stupidity was about the most common result of political solutions. Maybe these boys would learn some lesson. "You want my advice? Go out there yourselves. Look a little harder than H and R would. Maybe you'll find something they missed."
* * *
They weren't happy about it, but Bracco and Fisk thoroughly canvased the immediate neighborhood. Although they found no witnesses to the event itself, they did not come up completely empty-handed.
At very near to the time of the accident, a forty-five-year-old stockbroker named John Bandolino had come out of his house on Seacliff just west around the corner from Twenty-sixth to pick up his newspaper. He was on his way back inside when suddenly he heard a car with a bad muffler accelerate rapidly, then squeal around the corner. Since this was normally a serene neighborhood, Bandolino ran back down to the street to see if he could identify the troublemaker who was making so much noise so early in the morning. But the car was by then too far away to read the license plate. It was green, though, probably American made. Not a new car, certainly.
Reprinted from The Oath by John Lescroart by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2002, John Lescroart. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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