- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
From the cover
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***
Copyright © 2014 by Linda Fairstein
"Not a pretty way to die, Alexandra."
The lieutenant of Manhattan South's Homicide Squad opened the door to the luxury hotel suite on the forty-fifth floor at the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue.
"You know of one, Loo?" I asked, following him through the elegantly appointed living room. "I mean a pretty way."
Rocco Correlli shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. He had been on the job for almost thirty years and seen more corpses than most guys in the bureau could now lay claim to, as the city's murder rate continued its dramatic decline.
"Mike Chapman's got one." Pug McBride was behind me, practically stepping on my heels in his effort to stay close to Correlli. The short detective, square-bodied with a wrinkled face like the dog for which he was nicknamed, was as annoying as he was good-natured. "Says he'd like to die in bed with Gisele Bundchen's body double—fourth down, goal to go."
Correlli stopped short at the open bedroom door. "Shut it, Pug."
"Yeah, I guess that's why Mike got jammed up. In the wrong bed at the wrong time."
I was wedged between Correlli's back and McBride's barrel chest. His warm Marlboro-laced breath hit the back of my neck each time he opened his mouth. I trusted that neither man could see the color rise in my face at the mention of Chapman's name.
"I got the DA here," Correlli said to someone standing with the body inside the room.
"Better buy him a cocktail first."
I saw the flash of a camera go off. The speaker was Hal Sherman, one of the great pros in the Crime Scene Unit, whose voice was all too familiar to me.
"She's already had one, Hal."
"Was it Scotch?" Hal said. "Does that mean I actually drew the Coopster?"
"Hey, Hal. You going to let me in?"
Sherman framed himself in the archway of the open door. "Good evening, Alex. I'd hoped you had better things to do tonight than come out on this one. You gotta learn to delegate, girl. Can't always be a control freak."
"I did delegate, as a matter of fact. Had one of the new kids in the unit on the chart."
The Special Victims Unit of the District Attorney's Office, which I had headed for more than a decade, used an on-call system, just like the prosecutors working homicides. That meant we rode investigations 24/7 in partnership with the NYPD—going to crime scenes, running lineups, interviewing suspects on video after the initial police interrogation—all designed to enhance the viability of the legal case that developed from the evidence collected.
"What was the matter? No booties or gloves that fit her?"
I glanced down at my outfit. Rocco made me glove up before I got on the elevator in the lobby. "She's three months pregnant."
"Probably throws up enough every day without having to see this crap, too," Pug said.
I rolled my eyes. "When Mercer called me, he was figuring she'd be on maternity leave by the time we'd need to go to trial."
Rocco Correlli stepped to the side. He had straight silver-gray hair, a bit too long around the edges, and strong features that complemented his lean, angular build. "That's assuming we catch the bastard."
"Alex always assumes that," Hal said. "It's why she pushes us so hard."
Mercer Wallace was the best Special Victims detective in the city and one of my closest friends. He had worked homicide for years—the highest-ranking African American in the squad and one of the few to be promoted to first grade—but requested the transfer to SVU because he preferred working with...