Home > Dream Man(6)

Dream Man(6)
Author: Linda Howard

“You can let him in, too,” Dane replied, his mouth quirking.

The house was middle-class, nothing out of the ordinary. The living room was furnished with a couch and matching chair, the required coffee table and matching lamp tables of genuine wood veneer, while a big brown recliner had the best spot in front of the television. The recliner was occupied now by a dazed-looking man in his late forties or early fifties, probably the victim’s husband. He was giving monosyllabic answers to the questions put to him by another uniformed officer.

The victim was in the bedroom. Dane and Trammell forced their way through the crowd and into the small room. The photographer had already arrived and was doing his job, but for once was noticeably lacking in his usual nonchalance.

The nude woman lay jammed in the cramped space between the bedside table and the wall. She had been stabbed repeatedly—hacked was a better description. She had tried to run, and when she had been cornered in the bedroom she had tried to fight, as evidenced by the deep defensive wounds on her arms. She had been nearly decapitated, her breasts mutilated by the sheer number of wounds, and all of her fingers had been severed. Dane looked around the room, but he didn’t see the missing digits. The bed was still neatly made, though splattered with blood.

“Has the weapon been found?” Dane asked.

A patrolman nodded. “It was right beside the body. A Ginsu knife from the kitchen. She had a whole set. It looks like they really do what the ads say; I think I’ll get my wife some.”

Another patrolman snorted. “I’d rethink that idea if I was you, Scanlon.”

Dane ignored the black humor, which all cops used to help them handle the ugliness they saw on a daily basis. “What about her fingers?”

“Nope. No sign of ’em.”

Trammell sighed. “I think we’d better go talk to the husband.”

It was a fact that most homicides, except for the random gang drive-bys, were committed by someone who knew the victim: a friend, a neighbor, co-worker, or relative. When the victim was a woman, the usual list of suspects was narrowed down even more, because the murderer was almost invariably her husband or boyfriend. A lot of times, the murderer was the one who “discovered” the body and reported the crime.

They went back to the living room, and Dane caught the eye of the officer who was talking to the husband. The officer came over to them.

“Has he said anything?” Dane asked.

The officer shook his head. “Most of the time he won’t answer the questions. He did say that his wife’s name is Nadine, and his name is Vinick, Ansel Vinick. They’ve lived here twenty-three years. Beyond that, he ain’t talking.”

“Is he the one who called it in?”


“Okay. We’ll take it now.”

He and Trammell went over to Mr. Vinick. Dane sat down on the couch, and Trammell moved the other chair closer before sitting down, effectively sandwiching Mr. Vinick between them.

“Mr. Vinick, I’m Detective Hollister and this is Detective Trammell. We’d like to talk to you, ask you a few questions.”

Mr. Vinick was staring at the floor. His big hands hung loosely over the padded arms of the recliner. “Sure,” he said dully.

“Are you the one who found your wife?”

He didn’t answer, just continued to stare at the floor.

Trammell stepped in. “Mr. Vinick, I know it’s tough, but we need your cooperation. Are you the person who called the police?”

Slowly he shook his head. “I didn’t call no police. I called 911.”

“What time did you call?” Dane asked. The time would be on record, but liars often tripped themselves up on the simplest details. Right now, Vinick was a suspect by virtue of being married to the victim.

“Dunno,” Vinick muttered. He took a deep breath and seemed to make an effort to concentrate. “Seven-thirty or thereabouts, I guess.” He rubbed his face with a trembling hand. “I got off work at seven. It takes about twenty, twenty-five minutes to drive home.”

Dane caught Trammell’s glance. They had seen enough death to know that Mrs. Vinick had been dead for several hours, not half an hour or so. The medical examiner would establish the time of death, and if Mr. Vinick had been at work during that time, if witnesses could reliably state that he hadn’t left, then they’d have to start looking at other possibilities. Maybe she’d had a boyfriend; maybe someone had been keeping Mr. Vinick’s bed warm for him while he worked third shift.

“Where do you work?”

There was no answer. Dane tried again. “Mr. Vinick, where do you work?”

Vinick stirred and named a local trucking company.

“Do you normally work third shift?”

“Yeah. I work on the dock, loading and unloading trailers. Most freight comes in at night, see, for delivery during the day.”

“What time did you leave to go to work last night?”

“Usual time. Around ten.”

They were on a roll, finally getting some answers. “Do you punch a time card?” Trammell asked.


“Do you punch in as soon as you get there, or wait until time for your shift to start?”

“As soon as I get there. The shift starts at ten-thirty. We have half an hour to eat, and get off at seven.”

“Do you have to clock in and out for lunch?”


It looked like Mr. Vinick’s night would be pretty much accounted for. They would check out everything he’d told them, of course, but that wouldn’t be any problem.

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