Home > Calculated in Death (In Death #36)(11)

Calculated in Death (In Death #36)(11)
J.D. Robb

“I found no defensive wounds.” Gently, Morris lifted the victim’s hand. “Nothing under her nails, in her teeth. So yes, I’d say it will be her blood.”

“It all went according to plan, except for the blood they missed, and the fact the owner hoped for some nookie and brought his date over so we found her quicker. But I wonder if they got what they were after. Did she have it? Did she know it?”

“I can’t tell you that, but the lack of any sign she fought back? No indication she was bound? No signs of torture, only relatively minor injuries . . . It reads as if she’d have given them what they wanted if she’d had it.”

Eve thought of the condo again, family-friendly. Photos of happy kids, the big dog.

Yes, she’d have given them what they wanted. If she’d had it.

“Rough her up first, scare her, hurt her just enough, then tell her if she tells them or gives them what they want, they won’t hurt her again. They killed her from behind. He didn’t need the rush of face-to-face. A job, a duty, a task. And he probably didn’t see the need to draw it out, give her more pain or fear.

“It wasn’t personal.”

Though Morris nodded, he touched a hand to Marta’s shoulder. “I imagine she feels differently about that.”


EVE PUSHED AND DODGED HER WAY THROUGH Central at change of shift. Cops going off tour, coming on, or those like her who’d caught something and were trying to get in or out to follow up.

She stopped by Vending to study her choices, decided they all sucked, and settled for something laughingly billed as a blueberry Danish.

She plugged in her code, her selection. And got nothing but a grinding hum and blinking lights.

“Come on, bitch.” She repeated the process, and this time received a few weak beeps. “Damn it, I knew it wouldn’t last.”

Her poor history with machines haunted her, and now she wanted that damn anemic-looking excuse for a breakfast pastry on a matter of principle.

She gave the machine a solid kick.

Vandalism or physical force on this machine or any others on the premises can result in termination of Vending privileges for a period of thirty to ninety days. Please insert coin, credit or authorized code, and your selection.

“That’s what I did you useless piece of junk.” She reared back to kick it again.

“Hey, Dallas.” Baxter, the slickest dresser of her detectives strolled up. “Problem?”

“This miserable pile of junk won’t give up that blob of crap disguised as a Danish.”

“Allow me.” Whistling between his teeth, Baxter keyed in his own code, selected the Danish.

It slid smoothly into the slot. Eve eyed it while the machine cheerfully listed its mega-syllabic ingredients and dubious nutritional value.

“There you go, LT.” Baxter pulled it out, offered it. “My treat.”

“How do they know it’s me? Why do they care?”

“Maybe it’s body chemistry, something to do with energy.”

“That sounds like bullshit.”

“Well, you got the Danish.”

“Yeah. Thanks for that.”

“So, Trueheart and I closed the double murder. Ex-girlfriend who didn’t want to be the ex.”

She toggled back into her mental files. “The bludgeoning in Chelsea.”

“Yeah,” he continued as they walked. “Beat them both to shit and back again with a tire iron. I figured the didn’t-want-to-be-ex hired somebody or sexed somebody into doing it. That kind of damage? You don’t expect a woman.”


“Well, you know, LT. Women typically go for poison, or something less gruesome. Especially seeing as this one’s barely five feet tall and a hundred soaking wet. Just didn’t figure she had the chops or the muscle. Trueheart broke her down.”

“Trueheart.” Eve thought of the clean-cut, kindhearted uniform she’d given to Baxter to train.

“He stuck with the ‘hell hath no fury’ bit from the jump. Wouldn’t let go of it. And he played her, Dallas, played her in Interview like a shortstop plays an infield grounder.”

She heard the pride in his voice, still some big brother in it, but that’s what worked.

“It was beautiful, I gotta say. He’s all sympathy and understanding, talking about having his heart broken.” With a grin, Baxter thumped a hand on his heart. “Getting the whole simpatico deal going, getting her worked up about how he done her wrong and all that shit.”

“Good angle,” Eve praised.

“Oh yeah, and he got better. He pulls out how he bet it hurt her, deeply, to see her ex’s new lady wearing that sexy leopard print nightie—he even said nightie. And the stupid bitch can’t resist saying how it was a tiger print, and that flat-chested slut didn’t have the tits to fill it out.

“The dead woman just bought the thing—tiger print, which my boy knew—that afternoon, so the ex couldn’t have seen her in it, unless she was in that bedroom. The boy took her apart from there. Got a full confession. How she’d climbed up the fire escape—the dead ex always left the bedroom window open a little, fresh air fiend. Bashed him first, then went to town on the new skirt, went back whaled some more on the ex. Then went down to the basement laundry room, he hadn’t changed his codes on that. Washed her damn clothes, cleaned up, walked out. Tossed the tire iron in the river.”

“That’s good work. Does the lab have the clothes?”

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