15th Affair

15th Affair by James Patterson Read Free Book Online

Book: 15th Affair by James Patterson Read Free Book Online
Authors: James Patterson
the Job over the last crazy months.
    And that made me mad at myself.
    Roaring mad.
    By the time I parked my car, I was more of a mess than I wanted anyone to see. I entered the Hall from the rear and immediately ran into Jacobi in the lobby. My old partner, friend, and now chief of police knew the workings of my mind almost better than I knew them myself.
    “What is it, Boxer? What’s eating you?”
    “Just deep in thought. The Four Seasons case.” That was the half of the story I was willing to tell him.
    Jacobi said he was assigning a couple of teams to work with me on the hotel murders.
    I said thanks, gave him a weak wave, then headed up the stairs to Homicide.
    Conklin was at his desk.
    When he looked up, I said, “I screened the video from our van on the street.”
    “I hope you’re going to tell me I’m crazy.”
    He looked at me like he was already of that opinion. I’ve tried, but I just cannot hide my feelings from people I know. I sat down behind my computer and Conklin stood behind me as I downloaded the surveillance tape from Waverley Street.
    I ran the footage, halting it a few seconds before the heart-stopping incident.
    “Look at this,” I said. “Tell me what you see.”
    Conklin watched intently, and when we got to the part where Joe turned to the camera, I hit Pause.
    My partner said, “Is that Joe? What’s he doing driving by the Chans’ house?”
    “That’s the sixty-four-million-dollar question, and I have no answer. As far as I know, we’re looking at Joe’s last known whereabouts.”
    “No way.”
    “No,” he said. “I mean, that’s why he looks familiar.”
    “I’m not following you.”
    Conklin said, “The guy in the hotel,” he said. “The one with the bulky jacket who eluded the cameras. Look, Lindsay.” He went over to his desk, moved some papers around, and came up with the screen shots we’d taken of the stealthy man crossing the hotel lobby on the day of the shootings.
    “Lindsay, don’t you see it?” Conklin asked me, shoving the photocopy under my nose. “The man in the lobby is

    I TOLD CINDY I had to see her, and she met me on the front steps of the Hall fifteen minutes later.
    “What have you got for me?” she said.
    She was wearing a different T-shirt and steel-tipped work boots. The boots signified something. My guess was that she wanted to kick butt. She was in serious bulldog mode.
    “We need to identify these people,” I said.
    I showed her the pictures on my phone of the three unknown subjects: the mystery blonde and the morgue shots of the two PI kids, slightly ’shopped so that they looked less dead.
    “Send them to me,” she said.
    I did and she asked, “Are they wanted for questioning in the hotel murders? What can you tell me?”
    “Let’s just start with you putting them out under a headline, ‘Do you know these people?’ and see how it goes.”
    “OK, OK, OK,” said Cindy. “You’re not giving this to anyone else, right?”
    “You’ve got a twenty-four-hour exclusive; then the FBI is going to move in and do it their way.”
    Cindy said, “I’ll get this up on the site, front page, as soon as I clear it with Tyler. These photos will be on the Web today and in the paper tomorrow.”
    “I’m going to say ‘Contact Cindy Thomas.’”
    “You’ve got twenty-four hours.”
    My phone buzzed. Brady, of course.
    “Boxer, got some people here from the FBI.”
    “I’m downstairs. I’ll be up in a second.”
    I hung up and turned back to Cindy.
    “I don’t know how long your twenty-four-hour window is going to stay open. There’s a cab,” I said, pointing to one at the light. “See if you can grab it.”
    She thanked me and told me I wouldn’t be sorry. We hugged, and I went upstairs.
    Conklin, Brady, and I all got into the elevator and rode it up to Jacobi’s office. There we met three serious men in gray suits, and over the next two hours, we

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