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A story about my stupidity and a quake.
His office, small as it was, was more like the life he had had before Mariah died. It was a self-contained slice of the home he hadn't been able to go back to after finding his wife dead on the kitchen floor. In addition to his desk, he'd brought in a rug, an overstuffed chair, a sofa, and knick knacks and mementos from the home he'd shared with Mariah. And her photograph. There was one on his desk and one on the side table next to the sofa and one on the bookshelf behind the sofa.
I didn't have any photographs of Brad. Whereas I, in guilt, wanted to forget, Kahn, in reverence, wanted to remember.
I couldn't look at the photos of Mariah as I sat there, waiting for Kahn to come down from his morning meeting with the brass two flights up. When I looked at her photo all I saw was Sharenda.
"Thanks for coming in, Clint. I know you'd asked for the day off. This came up, though, and we need to get you out to Denver later today."
I looked across the desk at Kahn. He was all business, but I could see he was a bit distracted. He kept looking at the photographs of Mariah. His anniversary was about to come up as well.
"Yes, well, over the mountains from there. A dude ranch in the Rockies-across the mountains from Denver."
"I don't know if I have the clothes for-"
"You won't need much in the way of clothes where you're going. They'll provide what you need. It's that kind of assignment. Your kind of thing. And highest priority from upstairs."
"Maybe you'd best start from the beginning," I said.
"You've heard of Giacomo Arcardi and Lorenzo Rapino, haven't you?"
"Sure. The heir apparents of two of the busiest crime families in the state. Except Lorenzo's dead, isn't he? Murdered nearly a year ago-a pretty sordid sex thing, if I remember rightly."
"You do. And Jason Jenks? You know who he is?"
"Jason Jenks? I'm not sure. The only Jason Jenks I can think of . . ." But then I stopped. I couldn't see any connection.
"The mystery writer-the crime novelist, yes. That Jason Jenks. You're being called in because of where those three connect."
"Go on. I'm dying to hear what this has to do with Denver."
"Nothing," Kahn said. And then he laughed. "I said across the Rockies from there. A dude ranch-a special dude ranch-to be specific. I'm sure you can appreciate what it would mean in this city for the Arcardis and Rapinos to be set against each other."
"Major war. Blood on the streets. Probably a lot of collateral damage"
"Right. And that's what we've just about got. War between those two. And all because of Jason Jenks."
"He's written about them?"
"You could say so. His publisher brought it to our attention. Jenks isn't cooperating, and thus far there's not much we can do about it. But we are beginning to get across to him, we think, that he needs to tell us more of what he knows, more of where he got what he's written about-hopefully before his latest novel comes out, and certainly before any of the Rapinos read the book."
"So, this is about Lorenzo's murder?"
"Yes, if you'll recall, Lorenzo was found dead in a hotel room-naked-suffocated to death and covered with bruises. There was semen, so it was logged as a sex crime. But it turned out to be his own semen. He'd been fucked-whether willingly or not, we don't know-but the assailant had used a condom."
"And the connection to Giacomo Arcardi and Jenks?"
"Jenks has written a book about a murder closely paralleling the death of Lorenzo Rapino-and the murderer in his book closely parallels the real-life Giacomo Arcardi.