Something About You Page 11

“You’re young and eager, Cameron, and I like that about you. It’s one of the reasons I snatched you away from Hatcher and Thorn,” Silas said, referring to the law firm she had worked at prior to coming to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Cameron held up her hand. True, she was new to the job, and she definitely was eager, but she’d had four years of trial experience as a civil litigator before becoming a prosecutor. Nevertheless, if Silas didn’t think she was ready, she wouldn’t let pride get in the way. “Hold on, Silas. If this is because you don’t think I have enough experience to try this case, then just give it to somebody else. Sure, I’ll be a little testy, I’ll probably mope dramatically around the office for a day or two, but I’ll get over it. Hell, I’ll even help whoever you reassign to the case get up and ru—”

Silas cut her off. “No one in this office is going to file charges. Period. I’ve been around long enough to know that a trial like this will quickly escalate into two things: a media circus, and a black f**king hole for the United States government. You think you have enough evidence now, but just wait: after we openly declare war on Martino, you’ll have witnesses flipping on you—or worse, mysteriously disappearing or dying—and before you know it, you’ll be two weeks into trial without a shred of hard evidence to back up all the promises you made to the jury in your opening statement.”

Cameron knew that she probably should’ve just backed off at that point. But she couldn’t help herself. “But Agent Pallas’s testimony alone will be enough evidence to—”

“Agent Pallas saw a lot of things, but unfortunately his cover was blown too early,” Silas interrupted her. “And while I certainly appreciate the two years he spent investigating this case, if we go forward with pressing charges and we don’t get a conviction, the fallout will be on us— not Agent Pallas or anyone else at the FBI. I’m not willing to have my office take that risk.”

Now Cameron did fall quiet. Roberto Martino and his minions were responsible for nearly one-third of all drug trafficking in the city of Chicago; they laundered their money through more than twenty sham corporations; and they extorted, bribed, and threatened anyone who got in their way. Not to mention, they killed people.

Going after criminals like Roberto Martino was the reason she had joined the U.S. attorney’s office in the first place. In the dark time surrounding her father’s murder, that decision had been the one thing—in addition to Collin and Amy’s support—that had kept her driven and focused.

Generally, she had liked working at her old firm. With her father having been a police officer, and her mother having worked as a court reporter until she divorced Cameron’s father and married a pilot she’d met during a deposition she was transcribing (in his divorce case, no less), her family had gotten by reasonably well. But they certainly hadn’t been wealthy. Because of that, Cameron had appreciated the independence and security that had come with the $250,000 salary she’d been earning by her fourth year in private practice.

Her father had been proud of her success. As Cameron had learned again and again from the police officers who offered their condolences at her father’s wake and funeral, he’d apparently bragged incessantly to his partner and other cop friends about her achievements.

She’d remained close to her father and his side of the family after her parents’ divorce—particularly after her mother moved to Florida with her new husband, who retired from the airline shortly after Cameron entered law school.

His death had hit her hard.

One late afternoon during Cameron’s fourth year at the firm, the captain in charge of her father’s shift called her at work with the grave words anyone with a family member in law enforcement dreads hearing: that she needed to come to the hospital right away. By the time she’d burst frantically through the doors of the emergency room, it had been too late. She’d stood numbly in a private room as the captain told her that her father had been shot to death by a drug dealer while responding to what they had believed to be merely a routine domestic disturbance call.

Those first couple of weeks after her father’s murder, she’d felt . . . gray was the word she’d used to describe it when Collin had asked how she was holding up. But then she’d pulled herself together and went back to the firm. In many senses, knowing how proud her father had been of her hard work had made it easier to do that—she knew he would want her to carry on, to keep going with her career as far as she could. But something had been missing.

Four weeks after the funeral, she was in court when she figured out what that something was. She’d been waiting to argue an evidentiary motion that once would’ve seemed particularly important, but after her father’s death had felt dismayingly insignificant. Then the court reporter called the case before hers.

United States versus Markovitz. A simple felon-in-possession of a firearm case. It had been a straightforward court appearance, nothing flashy, a motion to suppress evidence filed by the defendant. Procedurally the motion was very similar to the one Cameron herself was scheduled to argue that day, so she’d paid attention, wanting to gauge the judge’s mood. After a brief oral argument, the judge ruled in favor of the government, and Cameron saw the look of satisfaction in the assistant U.S. attorney’s eyes.

Since her father had been killed, she hadn’t once felt that same kind of satisfaction.

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