The Last Move

The Last Move

Page 45

Her expression was determined, but she didn’t look the least bit tough. Sweat from the heat had flattened her hair, and her mascara now cast faint shadows under her eyes. Her skin was pink from the sun. She slid off her shapeless navy blazer to reveal a cotton blouse that now clung to her skin and nicely rounded breasts. Absently she wiped a bead of sweat from her chest.

He cleared his throat. “I need to see the chief. Don’t leave this room.”

“Has Palmer called Bastrop?”

“I don’t think so.”

“I’ll do it.”

“Right.” He left her and ordered several sandwiches to go, knowing Palmer would be starving soon. He went to his chief’s office.

“I don’t like getting calls from the FBI,” the chief said without looking up from a stack of papers. “It has a way of aggravating my ulcer and fucking with my day.”

“I’m not fond of it either.”

“What the hell is going on? Ballistics matched the Sanchez murder and the Samaritan cases?”

“That’s correct.”

“And that murder victim you have resembles another of Agent Hayden’s cases?”

“It does.”

The chief muttered several curses as he looked up. “Figure this out fast, Mazur. The press is already up my ass about the Sanchez shooting, and they’re going to double down when they hear about this latest murder.”

“I will.”

“I gave you a shot in this department because you saved my boy’s ass in Iraq. And, if push comes to shove, I’ll ride the ship down with you. But I’d rather not go down with my ship.”

“You won’t, sir.”

“Dr. Hayden really suspects this Bauldry guy?”

“We know this latest victim, Rebecca Kendrick, purchased her car from Sanchez Motors, where Bauldry worked after his release from prison. We also know Gloria Sanchez’s mother worked for the Bauldry family.”

He rubbed his palm over the back of his neck. “Holy shit. Where’s Bauldry?”

“Right now, he’s MIA. He’s not been at any of his last known addresses, and his brother hasn’t seen him. I’ve a BOLO out on him.”

“His family is very well connected,” the chief said. “Father died last year, but the brother is just as powerful.”

“The family has cut him loose. He’s on his own.”

The chief studied him. “I’d be doing you a favor by tossing this hot potato of a case to someone else.”

“No. I want this. There’re others in the department who know the players better than I do, but I caught more homicides in Chicago in the last five years than half these guys caught in their career. Cultural differences or family history is not going to stop me from solving this case.”

The chief’s jaw worked as if he were chewing leather. “I refuse to retire with a loss like this.”

“You won’t.” Promises meant little. Only results mattered. “The autopsy for Rebecca Kendrick is going to be tomorrow.”

“I want a report from you right after that autopsy. Until this case is solved, I don’t want you taking a piss without me knowing it.”

“You’re in the loop.”

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