Something About You Page 20

“I just got off the phone with one of Senator Hodges’s attorneys,” Davis began. “He ‘requested’ that they be kept apprised of any and all updates related to our investigation.”

“What you’d tell him?” Wilkins asked.

“That I’m an old man. I tend to forget things. And that if anyone from Senator Hodges’s camp called me again tonight, I might just so happen to forget the promise I’d made to keep this investigation confidential. There was a good deal of swearing after that, but so far . . .” Davis gestured to the silent phone on his desk. “Now—let’s figure out how we’re gonna handle this mess.” He looked to Jack. “What’s happening with CPD’s investigation?”

“Our contact is Detective Ted Slonsky, twenty years on the job, the last ten in homicide. According to him, the only prints they found in the hotel room belong to the victim and Senator Hodges. They found traces of se**n in the bed and on top of the desk and bathroom vanity, and there were several used condoms in the bathroom garbage. All of it from the same man.”

“At least we know Senator Hodges practices safe sex when cheating on his wife,” Davis said. “Anything else?”

“There were bruises on both of the victim’s wrists, presumably inflicted by the killer as he pinned her hands down while suffocating her.”

“Any blood at the scene? Hair? Clothing fibers?”

“No traces of blood. We’re waiting to hear back from the lab on everything else,” Jack told him. “And we didn’t get much luckier with hotel security. They don’t have cameras in the floor hallways or the stairwells—and although they do have them in the lobby, the garage, and other public areas of the hotel, there’s no sign of our guy in any of the footage. Which means that so far, Ms. Lynde’s statement is our only evidence that this mysterious second man exists.”

Jack saw Davis raise an eyebrow at the mention of Cameron’s name, but his boss refrained from commenting. At least for the time being.

“All right, here’s where we stand,” Davis said. “Officially, the Bureau only has jurisdiction over the suspected blackmail aspects of this investigation. Unofficially, however, we’ve got a U.S. senator having sex on tape with a call girl who, just moments later, gets smothered to death in that very hotel room—there’s no way we’re sitting on the sidelines. Do you think this Detective Slonsky is going to be a problem?”

“Not likely. He seemed relieved to have our assistance in light of the senator’s involvement,” Jack said.

Davis nodded. “Good. Theories?”

Jack paused, letting Wilkins take the lead.

Wilkins sat up in his chair. “We’re currently working on two theories, both based on the assumption that the victim, Mandy Robards, was involved in a plan to blackmail the senator.”

“Do we have a basis for that assumption?” Davis asked.

“The videotape was found in her purse. On the tape, she’s the one who shut off the camera after the senator left. So unless she was making the tape for him as an early Christmas present, I think it’s safe to say she had nefarious motives.”

Davis looked over at Jack with a bemused grin. “Nefarious. This is what we get when we hire a Yale boy.”

“You missed sacrosanct earlier. And taciturn and glowering,” Jack said.

“What’s glowering?”

“Me, apparently.”

Wilkins pointed. “Now that has to be a joke.” He turned to Davis. “You heard that, right?”

Davis didn’t answer him, having spun his chair around to type something at his computer. “Let’s see what Google says . . . Ah—here it is. ‘Glowering: dark; showing a brooding ill humor.’ ”

Davis spun back around, with a nod at Wilkins. “You know, I think Merriam-Webster here is right, Jack—you do have a glowering way about you.” Then he turned to Wilkins. “And yes, that was a joke. It normally takes about a year to accurately detect Agent Pallas’s small forays into humor, but you’ll get there.”

About this time, Jack was trying to remember why the hell he’d been so eager to get back to Chicago. At least in Nebraska a man could brood in peace. “Perhaps we should get back to our theories,” he grumbled.

“Right. So our first theory is that the girl set up the blackmail scheme—maybe working with someone else, maybe not—and someone connected to the senator found out and killed her to keep the affair from becoming public,” Wilkins said.

“But they left the videotape behind,” Davis noted.

“Maybe they didn’t know the tape was actually in the room. Or maybe they panicked after killing the girl, or maybe something scared them off, like hearing Ms. Lynde calling security in the next room.”

David toyed with his pen, considering this. “And the second theory?”

“Our second theory is that the whole thing was a set up and someone killed the girl to frame the senator for murder. What they didn’t count on was Ms. Lynde seeing the real killer leaving the hotel room.”

“Going with those two theories for the moment, who does that put on our list of suspects?” Davis asked.

“Pretty much anyone who either likes or hates Senator Hodges,” Wilkins said.

“Glad to hear we’re narrowing it down.” Davis leaned back in his chair, musing aloud. “What do we make of the fact that Hodges was recently named chairman of the Banking Committee?”

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