Home > Kill and Tell (CIA Spies #1)(7)

Kill and Tell (CIA Spies #1)(7)
Author: Linda Howard

Never mind that most of the murders were in the drug community, that the average citizen was as safe in New Orleans as anywhere else, assuming said citizen had brains enough to stay out of certain neighborhoods; a statistic was a statistic and therefore worthy of being intoned again and again by solemn talking heads. Under pressure from a now-frightened citizenry, perhaps more frightened by the threat of losing tourist dollars than any perceived danger to their own lives, the mayor would come down hard on the police commissioner. The commissioner would then come down hard on the chief, and the shit would filter down to every detective and patrolman in the city.


He looked back down at the victim, committing every detail to memory. This time, he noticed a strange fold in the victim's shirt, a funny lump in the small of his back. Squatting beside the body, he used his pen to carefuly lift the shirt tail and expose the weapon tucked into the bum's waistband.

"Jesus," Shannon said, standing beside him. "Looks like an awful expensive piece for a bum to be carryin' around. Wonder where he stole it."

Marc shifted his body to block the television cameras. He took the evidence bag and, again using his pen, eased the pistol from the victim's waistband. "Glock 17," he murmured, studying the beautiful weapon. If a Glock had been stolen locally, the owner would have reported the theft, assuming he even knew one had occurred. A lot of people bought guns and put them up, and months would go by before they took the gun out again. Careless shits. If people were going to own a weapon, they owed it to themselves and their family to become proficient with the weapon, to practice regularly and keep the weapon in good condition, and to know where the hell it was.

He lifted the weapon and sniffed. It hadn't been fired; he didn't smell the stench of burned gunpowder, only the sharp, clean scents of metal, plastic, and gun oil. The weapon was in excellent condition, well cared for and maintained. He didn't check the clip, because he didn't want to blur any fingerprints, but he would bet it was full.

"Has it been fired?" Shannon asked.

"No." Marc deposited the weapon in the evidence bag, all the while studying the victim for other interesting details.

Possessing a Glock definitely raised the victim's status from ordinary street bum to unordinary street bum, which raised Marc's curiosity in direct proportion. Why would an ordinary street bum be packing a Glock? Drugs? Not likely. Street bums were users, not dealers. That was how they got to be street bums in the first place. So, say he stole the Glock, maybe to sell for drugs; why was he still packing it around?

A Glock would be easy to unload. Maybe he had felt he needed the protection, for all the good it had done him.

Why would he need protection? People who were worried about their safety made an effort not to live in the streets.

As he studied the victim, something… a memory… some sense of recognition… nagged at him. It wasn't the victim himself, but something about him. He let his eyes unfocus a little so he was seeing the entire body, not one detail at a time, and it hit him. Dirt.

The victim was dirty, the normal condition for street bums. But his face and hands looked as if they had been deliberately smeared. An image flashed in Marc's mind, and his head lifted sharply.

"What?" Shannon asked. He squatted beside Marc, dark eyebrows pinching together. He was a lean young black man, recently promoted to detective, sharp and tough and eager to learn.

"I think he's ex-military." Carefully, he began patting the victim's pockets, feeling for identification, but all the pockets were empty.

"Why's that?"

"Take a look at his face and hands."

Shannon studied the victim. He had done four years in the Army, so he had some experience himself.

"Camouflage," he said with faint astonishment. "He was hiding."

"Probably from whoever did him." Marc studied the sidewalk and street around them. Nothing in the Quarter was new; everything was stained with age. If the television cameras hadn't been there, he might not have seen it, but the bright lights lit up the scene like daylight. Even so, the dark splotches some ten feet away blended in with the wet sidewalk so that they were barely distinguishable.

"Take a look at this." He stood and moved over to the spots, and Shannon followed.

"More blood," Shannon said.

"Yeah, but I doubt it's the victim's. The head shot killed him instantly; he didn't bleed enough to fill a thimble."

Shannon looked over at the body. "But you said his weapon hadn't been fired. Where did this blood come from?"

"Did you read the patrolmen's notes?"

"Yeah, what about them?"

"They found four shell casings, all twenty-two caliber. And the victim has how many holes in him?"

"One. But he could have been fired at four times and been hit the last time."

"He had a Glock seventeen in his waistband. If someone was shooting at him and had already missed three times, don't you think he would at least have tried to shoot back? He wouldn't have just stood there while the first three shots were fired, so he was killed by the first one, second one for sure; any more than that, and he would have had time to react."

"So we have two, maybe three shots unaccounted for, and blood in another location."

"Right. It follows that whoever did our victim also shot the unknown blood donor, who may or may not be dead. Another body may turn up somewhere, though I don't see the logic in carrying one body away and leaving the second one here, unless the perps just didn't have enough time to grab the second body."

"Perps? Not one guy, then?"

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