Troubled dreams disturbed Trevor’s sleep, as Atlantis rode at anchor in the moonlight, a hundred yards off the pristine palm-fringed white beach at Grand Anse, on Praslin Island’s reef-fringed southern shore.
Trevor finally awoke just after dawn, feeling the wracking emotional pain as he remembered the news of the previous day: that his own father had tried to kill him. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t true, for Trevor had no way save one of knowing that. That one way was his instincts, and he tried to find a reason to disbelieve, or at least doubt, what he’d been told.
Trevor sat on deck, watching the shoreline, listening to the murmur of tiny waves lapping against the sand. He replayed in his mind the events at the Suez Canal, and then in the Strait of Messina, but he could find no logical flaw that would contradict what he’d been told.
Trevor sighed, and then said aloud, “I can stay here brooding all day, or go see this place.” He hoped the island could provide what he most needed: distraction.
Trevor checked his cell phone again. There was no signal, so he got ready to go ashore.
Getting ashore would be easy in his Zodiac, but Trevor decided that a swim would do him good. He placed a pair of running shoes, the rock, the satellite phone box, and his wallet in a zip lock bag – a standard means for swimming things ashore while keeping them dry – and locked up Atlantis, putting the keys carefully into the inner pocket of his red running shorts.
With the bag in hand, Trevor jumped into the sea from the starboard stairs, and checked to make sure there was enough air in the bag to counteract the weight of its contents – he didn’t want it to sink if it slipped from his grasp. For a few moments, Trevor just floated in the warm calm waters, savoring their caress, and then he began swimming towards shore.
When he arrived on the sand, Trevor went for a jog along the pristine beach, letting the warm breeze dry him, but leaving a faint dusting of salt on his golden skin.
Trevor spotted a large cluster of palm-frond huts and angled inland.
The huts comprised a quiet market selling fresh fruit, vegetables, and handicrafts. Trevor took his time, strolling along the stands, making a mental list of food he could buy for his voyage.
Trevor walked alone though the small town of Grand Anse, soon finding its post office. Before going inside, Trevor set the rock atop one of the small boulders skirting the parking lot, and with the aid of a few strikes from a stone, fractured the lump of pink landscaping shale. Trevor separated the two pieces, keeping the smaller of the two, and taking the other inside to mail to Gonzalez, along with the satellite phone box.
With that task done, Trevor emerged from the post office and stood for a moment, looking at the tropical town and the beach beyond. When he reached the grass, he tugged on his shoes and folded the bag, putting it, with the rock still inside, in the pocket of his now-dry shorts, along with his wallet.
Praslin Island was not a place he’d planned to visit, and he knew nothing about it. That changed, as he spotted a small stand selling fruit smoothies, and ordered one. English was the second official language of the Seychelles – Creole being the first – so Trevor was able to browse some of the brochures and tourist posters while waiting for his order. One place on Praslin was prominent in most of the posters, and Trevor soon found it on a map that was part of a tourist poster.
Trevor took a few sips of the fruit smoothie, and asked, “How far to Vallée de Mai?”
The stand’s proprietor pointed inland. “Two kilometers. Maybe there is a taxi down the beach,” he said, and then handed Trevor one of the free tourist guides, which included a better map.
Trevor walked a few yards away, and sat down on the grass, under the shade of a cashew tree, to finish his drink and study the map. He was not interested in finding a taxi; he knew that two kilometers is roughly one and a quarter miles, an easy walk or, as Trevor planned, an easy run.
Drinking the last of his fruit smoothie, Trevor glanced up at the tree, which spread wide and thick above his head. He noticed the strange fruits, but Trevor had never seen a cashew tree or its unusual fruit, and had no idea of the tree’s species, or whether the odd-looking fruit was edible. He considered jumping up and grabbing one to look at, but soon lost interest. It was well that he did, for the cashew is a close cousin of poison ivy, and the shell of the nut – the lower part of the fruit – contains the same irritating poison.
Trevor discarded his empty smoothie cup in a trashcan, and after another glance at the map, took off at a fast jog across the small town, and then along the gravel coast road.
The road branched, and Trevor checked a road sign before resuming his run. After just twenty feet, he came to a halt and looked back at the sea. He looked up the beach, at Atlantis, and stood watching for a few moments, reassuring himself that she was safe, before turning and resuming his run, heading northeast into the verdant hills.
It was a hot, humid day, and Trevor was running uphill. Soon, he was covered with a light sheen of sweat, feeling the cooling breeze on his bare chest.
The winding gravel road made its way through a lush valley, the high jungle canopy providing shelter from the sun. Trevor let his running and the scenery distract him, which partially freed his mind from its turmoil, but it was a temporary respite at best.
Soon Trevor reached the entrance to Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, a large ornate roof over a mostly open building, sitting back off the road on the far edge of a dirt parking lot.
The grand building was the gateway to the park: an unspoiled valley of multi-canopy jungle. Trevor paid his entrance fee and was given a guide map, which showed the several miles of walking trails in the reserve. Trevor picked the longest, a two-mile loop, and set out amidst several other tourists. In no mood for the company of strangers, Trevor walked fast, following the mostly-dirt trail as it wound its way into the palm jungle.
A hundred yards on, and Trevor was alone on the trail, which had become in places a tunnel through the thick foliage. He stopped for a moment, the earthy smell of the place in his nostrils, listening to the warbling of unseen birds, and the occasional raucous cries of parrots.
Trevor continued on, listening to the strange muted cacophony of the palm jungle, surrounded by a million shades of green, punctuated in places by the vibrant yellows of cascading orchids, and velvety red flowers of more types than he could count.
Trevor walked the twisting path, losing himself in the experience, feeling as if he was on another world, one far removed from his troubles.
The mostly sunless green world grew darker, and Trevor could hear before he saw a burbling stream. Deep in the exotic jungle, Trevor bent down to splash some of the cool water on his face and chest, and then looked up, at one of the many massive palm trees. At first glance, they did not look overly different from ones he was familiar with, but a closer look revealed larger, finer fronds. Nestled beneath the crown, Trevor saw a cluster of large green coconuts, ones considerably larger than he had ever seen. They were the largest in the world, the nuts of the Coco de Mer, the Seychelles’ famous giant coconut, which had once been the stuff of legend, and worth more than their weight in gold.
The Coco de Mer palms were abundant in the valley, and a prime reason for the reserve’s creation. Trevor had seen many since entering the park, but now, bemused, he studied the one above him for a few moments, before continuing his hike.
The trail grew narrow in places, and Trevor felt the caress of palm fronds tickling his bare skin as he brushed past. Entering a small clearing, he stopped to look around the lush glade, which stood in sharp contrast to the dense jungle. Trevor glanced down, at the red running shorts, which were his only clothing that day, and smiled softly as he realized that his mostly bare skin was making him feel even more immersed in the jungle. He chuckled to himself as a he thought, ‘I should have worn a loincloth, then I’d really feel like Tarzan.’ His very next thought was, ‘Good thing there’s no flies so far, or I’d really feel like lunch... theirs.’
For the next two hours, Trevor walked on mainly alone, encountering only one small group of tourists to break his solitude. Many times, he stopped to just look and listen.
When the entrance building came into view, Trevor considered taking another look through the reserve, but a clear view of the darkening sky dissuaded him, and he returned to the road, heading back for Grand Anse at a jog as the first heavy drops of the afternoon thunderstorm began to patter amongst the leaves.
For a few minutes, Trevor ran through a torrential downpour, which ended as suddenly as it had begun. By the time he reached the beach at Grand Anse, he was almost dry, and the sun had returned.
Trevor swam out to Atlantis, pausing there only long enough to launch his Zodiac.
Trevor motored to the beach, securing the Zodiac to a convenient palm, and walked the few remaining yards to the little market he’d explored earlier. There, he shopped for fruits and vegetables, sticking mainly to familiar types, but trying a few local samplings as well.
At one stand, he saw the fruits of the tree he’d seen earlier, their odd shapes intriguing him. He asked what they were and was surprised to learn that they were cashews, with the nut residing in the curved bulb below, and above it the cashew apple, a popular fruit in many areas where the cashew tree is grown. Trevor purchased a large bag of roasted cashew nuts, and then, curious, he bought a few of the delicate and harmless cashew apples, which had already had the poisonous nutshells removed.
Laden down with several bags of groceries, Trevor made his way back to his Zodiac, and then home to Atlantis.
After getting everything put away, he took a seat, cross-legged atop the cockpit canopy, to watch the spectacular tropical sunset. The place, he decided, was a paradise, but it was not enough to keep his troubled mind at bay for long.
The darkness that descended matched Trevor’s mood. He sat, listening to the gentle lapping of the waves, looking at the twinkling lights of Grand Anse, but his mind was far away, thinking of the Suez Canal, and the news that his own father had tried to kill him. Trevor felt a sharp pang of despair and hurt, and then looked at the sea again, trying to find solace, but at a deeper level, trying to understand.
Returning to the cockpit, Trevor clicked on some lights and stooped to study his propane storage rack. He had no idea what he was looking for, but he felt compelled to see all he could.
Trevor sat down in the cockpit, replaying Jim’s visit in his mind.
Joel had discovered Jim in the cockpit, and then Jim had talked to Trevor, demanding that he call and let the Ft. Pierce police know that he was alive. Jim had a briefcase, Trevor remembered... but nothing that could have concealed a propane tank.
Trevor mulled over the encounter, deciding at last that it didn’t quite make sense. ‘If Jim wanted to plant a bomb, why do it like that? He’d be nuts to be seen aboard.’
Trevor bolted to his feet with a sudden flash of insight, and said to the night sky, “I’m looking at this backwards. Everybody is.” Trevor reasoned it through in his head, ‘Jim could have got a propane tank aboard easy, because we didn’t see him arrive, but he couldn’t know that in advance... and he’d have had to take the tank he was replacing away with him. Unless he had someone working with him, he couldn’t. He couldn’t just toss it overboard; full tanks float and I’d have seen it. He also couldn’t know when I’d use that tank... so if he did plant it, why wait until Suez? He’d have blown me up sooner... and why let us see him, proving he was there?’
Trevor’s mind flashed back to his father’s sabotaging of Atlantis, ‘Dad wants to keep me from finding Ares, and there’s those divorce papers he refuses to talk about... and a bomb sure fits Ares going down. It would have ruptured her buoyancy chambers – just about the only way to sink her.’
Trevor clenched his fists in frustration as his mind warred over the conflicting theories. So much didn’t make sense, and it preyed on his raw emotions. Then, another angle occurred to him, ‘It all happened in Egypt... if they stole my phone from the mail, they could have built the bomb there and planted it there, which could mean it has nothing to do with Dad.’ Trevor followed that line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, ‘If somebody in Egypt tried to blow me and Atlantis up, I’m not going back unless I know for sure what’s going on.’
Officer Gonzales was a very busy man, juggling meetings with the prosecutor’s office and several department heads. The international ramifications of the Carlson case had brought in the FBI, which further added to the complexity and thus Gonzales’ workload. In addition to the FBI liaison agent, Gonzalez now had three police investigators assigned to him for the case, one of whom outranked him: Senior Detective George Alfred was a police lieutenant, and Gonzalez was a sergeant. He was glad that he had a good rapport with George, which Gonzalez hoped would blunt what could have been a very awkward situation.
The investigation was proceeding rapidly. The payphone had been examined for fingerprints and DNA, but the fingerprint report was inconclusive; the phone had been used too many times to retain any prints from the time of the bomb detonation. The DNA check was on hold, until they had a sample of Dirk’s DNA to work with.
The GPS records – thanks to Dirk and Jim’s subterfuge with the exchange of cars – showed that Dirk was in the area at the time the calls had been made, and they knew that the phone which had been in the bomb had come from the chandlery’s stock. That alone was damning hard evidence.
Officer Gonzalez could also make an ideal case for motive; Trevor had been searching for Ares – a murder case in which Dirk was a suspect – over Dirk’s vehement objections. There were also the connections to the Bellevue case, which though tenuous were part of the record, and that now made Dirk the de facto prime suspect in Arnold Bellevue’s death in the eyes of most of the department – not including officer Gonzalez.
The Egyptians had been very thorough. They’d identified the explosives – dynamite – which was available in Italy. They’d also interviewed the freighter’s crew, including the two men who had been on deck and seen a pilot boat floating nearby, engines off. They’d heard a few muffled splashes, and then heard the engines as the pilot boat motored away.
It had not been easy, but an intense series of interviews with canal personnel had narrowed down the suspect boats to three, and Ghassan’s boat-driver, when offered immunity, had told them all he knew. Ghassan, when confronted, had denied everything, but when he was offered lenience and told that he’d be allowed to keep his job if he cooperated, he’d recanted and told in detail the events of that night. He had visibly shuddered when told that he’d handled a bomb, and then he protested loudly when informed that, no, he would not keep his job, but would instead be spending time in jail. The Egyptian police were in no mood to let a thief remain at work in the canal, and were not above a false promise of leniency to a criminal.
It was therefore known that the bomb had been on Atlantis, further cementing the case against Dirk and Jim.
With such a preponderance of ostensibly convincing evidence, it was a forgone conclusion that Dirk and Jim would be arrested and questioned. The only question was when and how. Officer Gonzalez called a meeting with his team and the Assistant State Attorney – whose office would have to get a judge to issue the warrants – to come to a decision on that issue. He also had to include an attorney from the Felony Intake Division: the office primarily responsible for the presentation of first-degree murder cases before the grand jury. It would be his job to review and make filing decisions on the case.
The meeting convened in the Fort Pierce Police Department’s main conference room, where Officer Gonzalez laid out the case in detail on the whiteboard, to make sure they were all up to speed. “One problem I have is with the lawyer, Jim Ainsworth. He’s the one with the most convenient access to plant the bomb, and we’ve confirmed that the explosives used could have been obtained by him in Italy – could have. We have no evidence that he did so. The other question is motive... no sane lawyer will commit murder for a client. Therefore, there must be more, or we’re likely on the wrong trail. They spend a great deal of time together, and I suspected that he and Carlson could be in a relationship – Ainsworth is an admitted homosexual. However, Ainsworth told me that Dirk Carlson is straight. My guess now is that he was lying, but I’d like proof.” Officer Gonzales was being honest to the best of his knowledge, not realizing that he was misremembering what Jim had actually said.
“Indict ‘em both and let the jury sort it out,” George Alfred said. He was known as a tough cop with many large drug busts to his credit, so the statement was in character for him.
“That may be premature,” the Assistant State Attorney said, drumming his fingers on the table. “We have enough to arrest, but let’s get as much as we can before we do. I’ve called Cocoa Beach; they’ve scheduled unmarked cars to watch Ainsworth’s house and office, and they’ll be checking into him, including interviewing his neighbors.”
Officer Gonzalez nodded; he’d been hoping for that. “We have Dirk Carlson under surveillance at his home and business, and we have a GPS tracker installed on his vehicle. How are we coming with the wiretap warrants?” he asked, looking at the Assistant State Attorney.
“Got ‘em on my way here, for Carlson’s landlines and cell anyway. I’ve got to go through Brevard County for Ainsworth, and getting a judge to sign off on a warrant to wiretap a lawyer who is representing a client is a harder sell. With what we’ve got, I’ll get it, but it’ll take up to two days and there’s no chance of it including the phones at his law offices, because he’s not the only attorney there,” the Assistant State Attorney replied. The issue he was facing was that attorney-client communications were confidential, and a judge could not allow the police to listen in when other attorneys could be talking to clients. He took a glance around the room before adding, “We’ll see what develops for a few days, which will give the Egyptians time to see what else they can get from forensics. At this point, I think we already have a very solid case against Carlson, but the one against the lawyer is currently circumstantial. I think we can get him on attempted murder and conspiracy to commit, but I’d like more before we go to trial. As for Carlson, that phone from his store, triggered from a nearby payphone, means we’ve got him solid on attempting to kill his son, and therefore a sound circumstantial case that he killed his wife by the same method. His connections to the Bellevue case are thinner, but there’s the possibility of an affair between his wife and Arnold Bellevue, plus the fact that Arnold Bellevue sold them Ares, which turned out to have a lot of problems. I’d like to indict him for both murders, plus the attempt on his son. The jury might not agree with all three, but they are often prone to going yes or no on a whole slate, especially for a serial killer, and in this instance we have an airtight case for the attempt on his son. That proves he’s a killer, which should be enough to nail him for the other cases as well. I’m going to charge Carlson as a capital punishment case: multiple homicides. Maybe a good hard look at the chair will persuade him to take a deal for life without possibility of parole, and as part of that he’ll have to testify against Ainsworth.”
Officer Gonzalez chewed on his lip, unwilling to make that leap and seeking a way to derail it. Addressing the Assistant State Attorney, he said, “Sir, I have severe reservations regarding the Bellevue case. Arnold Bellevue was killed at sea by a blunt instrument blow to the head, and that does not match the methods Dirk Carlson has seemingly displayed in his apparent bombing of the Ares and his attempt on Atlantis. My current opinion is that the widow, Bridget Bellevue, had motive and opportunity, and in my opinion she’s the most likely killer in the Bellevue case.”
The Assistant State Attorney scowled. “We already know for a fact that Carlson tried to kill his own son with a bomb, which also happens to be the leading theory as to what happened to his wife and her boat. He too had at least some possible motive and opportunity in the Bellevue case. He furthermore has shown a provable predilection for murder. The widow has not. Therefore, I can make a better case against Carlson for the Bellevue killing, so absent further evidence to the contrary, that’s the way I’ll proceed.” The Assistant State Attorney’s reasoning was simple; go with the case most likely to result in a conviction. It wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t always just, but that was the procedure.
George Alfred was amongst those nodding in agreement. He was very pleased with the way the case was going, and certain that Bridget would be too. If Dirk were indicted for her husband’s murder, it would forever foreclose her as a viable suspect. The reasoning was sound; if the police indicted someone else, it was an official declaration that they believed, based on the evidence, that the person did it. That fact would make it impossible for them to later obtain a conviction on a circumstantial case where all the evidence had been in their hands for years prior to the indictment, and with conviction impossible, the investigation would end. It was what they’d worked to achieve, and George had to fight the urge to smile as he watched the plan bearing fruit.
Not everyone agreed with the Assistant State Attorney. The attorney for the Felony Intake Division shook his head. “Not so fast. My office will make the final decision there, and I’m not yet convinced. We’ll hold off for now: there’s no need to commit to a course on that aspect at this juncture. I’ll sign off on indicting Carlson for the Bellevue case if we can satisfy motive, but not without it.”
The Assistant State Attorney and the attorney for the Felony Intake Division exchanged harsh glances. “Very well, we’ll see what we dig up,” the Assistant State Attorney said.
It was a complicated system, and each of the people around the table had differing roles to play. However, it was a somewhat adversarial system, with responsibility and authority shared by several departments. This was by design, to help ensure sound cases and just prosecutions. The Assistant State Attorney’s role was to press ahead for convictions and to close as many cases as he could. The Felony Intake Division was there, in part, to act as a brake on the Assistant State Attorney. The over-arching goal was Justice, and with one exception, everyone in the room wanted to see Justice done.
Senior Detective George Alfred coughed lightly for attention. “Gentlemen, and ladies,” he said, giving a chivalrous nod and a charming smile to two female division heads, “Let us not forget that what we have here is a serial killer, the repercussions of whose actions had – and have – reached far beyond his victims, whose lives he so callously stole, and his son, whose life he tried to snuff out when it has barely begun. The dead can no longer feel pain, but their loved ones do. Trevor Carlson had his mother viciously murdered, and has been without her now for more than half his life. He had to flee alone, running from his own father, and undertook a perilous voyage. Now, he is all alone, with the knowledge that his father tried to kill him in cold blood no doubt causing him untold pain. We need to do right by the victims here; let’s tie up the loose ends and give the victims and their families some peace and closure. The only choice Dirk Carlson should be able to make is the needle, or the chair.” Under Florida law, someone sentenced to death was allowed to choose between lethal injection and Ole Sparky, the electric chair. While first-degree murder was a capital crime, a killer was far more likely to receive the death penalty if he was convicted of more than one murder, as everyone in the room knew. George had just made a strong case for charging Dirk with Arnold Bellevue’s murder, and had done so without even mentioning the Bellevue case.
Many of the heads around the table nodded, moved by the speech that Bridget had written for George.
Officer Gonzalez was one of the few in the room to withhold any sign of agreement, but he stopped short of arguing. He believed in Justice above all else, and although he had no hard evidence, his instincts told him that Bridget Bellevue was the killer of her husband. Officer Mike Gonzalez had a deep and abiding dislike of letting murderers walk free, so he resolved to try to find some new evidence, enough either to keep the Bellevue case from being lumped into Carlson’s charges, or to add the Bellevue case to the charges with certainty, thus sending Dirk Carlson to death row. Gonzalez was fine with either outcome, provided that the person who actually committed the crime was the one convicted, and he had pressing reasons for keeping his opinions on the matter to himself.
The FBI’s liaison agent spoke for the first time, weighing in to address his own area of expertise and responsibility. “We may be getting ahead of ourselves: this case is massively complicated by the jurisdictional issues, which are the worst I’ve ever seen. We have a bombing committed in Egypt, with the bomb apparently planted in Italy and triggered from Florida, with conspiracy-to-commit in Florida, against a U.S. citizen on a U.S. flagged vessel – the latter two, when occurring overseas, are Federal crimes. To make it worse, if we let the Italians try Jim Ainsworth, they won’t release him to Egypt because of Egypt’s death penalty; my interpretation of Egyptian law is that the bombing makes him eligible for capital punishment there under their anti-terrorism statutes. So, we’d probably be better off to hand Ainsworth over to the Egyptians. I think we’ll need to convict him ourselves first, otherwise he’d probably win a fight against extradition. As for Carlson, the murder of his wife appears to have been in Bahamian territorial waters, but we only have that radio call to base that on so we don’t know for sure. All the victims were Florida residents at the time of the crimes, as were the accused, which gives Florida a jurisdictional claim because Florida jurisdictional statues only recognize the primacy of jurisdiction of other states, not other countries. We can probably try them here first, but the jurisdictional mess means we’ve got to tread carefully. A further international aspect is that we will be, perforce, reliant on Egypt for a considerable amount of evidence, and we’re likely to need them to supply that canal pilot to testify at trial here. We need to play ball with them, which means we need to keep them happy. For a start, they want to talk to the Carlson kid and we’ll need to make that happen. They might also want to examine his boat.”
The Felony Intake Division attorney asked, “How soon can we get Trevor Carson to Egypt and then back here? He’ll be needed for the grand jury.”
Officer Gonzalez shook his head. “It’ll be a while. He’s in the Seychelles Islands, in the Indian Ocean. Could we go with teleconferencing for now? He’s not going to want to leave his boat, because he doesn’t think it will be safe there. He expects to be in Australia by November, and I think he could be persuaded to fly out from there. I’d like to get a satellite phone out to him, so he can stay in contact while he’s at sea. We need more evidence before we can make a move on the case.”
Witness and victim handling was more the turf of the Assistant State Attorney, who was already late for his next meeting. “Have him head for Egypt and leave the damn boat there. I’m sure their police can keep it safe. Live teleconferencing testimony is a legal gray area: there are precedents both ways, but no applicable definitive rulings. We might get away with teleconferencing for the grand jury, but in a case this messy, I don’t want to hand the defense any grounds for appeal. Further, there’s no chance we could go with it for trial. The Sixth Amendment is specific; the accused has the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him, and courts have ruled that means in person with a few very narrow exceptions, none of which apply when the witness is also the victim. Also, once charges are filed, the speedy-trial statute starts ticking, and it limits us to one hundred and seventy five days. If a delay on our side pushes the start of trial past that, defense will move to dismiss on those grounds and they’ll automatically get it. We can’t take any chances on the kid being late; have him either head directly for Egypt or get on a plane, and if he resists, get the locals to impound the boat.” He glanced at his watch again, and stood up to go. “We’ll see what the wiretaps and the Egyptians bring in the way of additional evidence, but for now, let’s plan on picking up Ainsworth and Carlson for questioning in about five days. They are to be held separately, and not allowed to communicate with one another. We can hold ‘em for seventy-two hours without a charge, and that will give us time to interrogate and offer deals. If they don’t bite, we’ll charge ‘em, and send the case to the grand jury for indictment. I think we’ve got a solid one. Good work, people,” he said, which signaled that the meeting was over, and the attendees began filing out. Many were in a hurry; they all had large caseloads.
On the way to the parking lot, George fell into pace with Officer Gonzalez. “Good job, Mike. It’s rare to wrap up cold cases with a capital indictment. This’ll look good on your record, and I’d bet money you’ll get a promotion.”
Gonzalez shrugged. “It was the Egyptians who broke the case open.”
George arched an eyebrow. “Don’t ever sell yourself short. I noticed that you glossed over just how the Egyptians knew to contact you. My bet is you’d already called them, which proves that you were already looking in the right direction. You’ve got good instincts, Mike, but you need to blow your own horn a little. When you’ve done good, let ‘em know it.”
Officer Gonzalez felt that little itch in his subconscious again, but dismissed it, deciding instead to bring up another matter, one that had been bothering him. “I don’t like kissing off the case against Bridget Bellevue. I think she killed her husband, plus she’s got an ear in the department: Sergeant Pierson, in dispatch. I spread some info for a canary trap and his set was a match. What do I do about him?”
George chose his words with care. “He’s a year from his pension, and his wife’s health took a turn for the crapper a while back. He’s a good cop, just maybe trying to find a way to pay the bills. Unless he harmed a criminal case, I’d say this is one where it’s best to let it go. As for Bridget Bellevue, watch yourself there. She’s powerful, and if you make any missteps, she could wreck your career. Unless you’ve got something solid, don’t buck the brass on this. If she was the killer, I think we’d have more on her by now. Besides, she told you about her source in the department herself, right? Would she do that if she had anything to hide? So my guess is, she’s innocent and just using her power and influence to guard her back. Go for the collar on Carlson, that’s your best bet from where I sit,” George said, looking straight ahead as they walked.
Officer Gonzalez broke stride for a moment, blinked once, and then gave a very casual shrug. “You’re probably right. We’ve got Dirk Carlson and his damn lawyer stone cold on the bombing, and his method means we probably have him on the murder of his wife. I’ve been trying to get them to agree to an interview about the Bellevue case, but they stalled me. That makes sense, if one or both of them did it,” he said, in a deliberately offhand way.
George smiled and nodded, already planning a romantic celebratory evening with Bridget.