Tuesday: April 11, 2028
6:00 AM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, CHIEF JAMAL PITMAN’S OFFICE
Jamal flipped through the images on Bo’s phone, fiddling with a pen in his free hand. He cleared his throat, leaning back as he brought the phone closer to himself. “How tall have you decided he is?” he asked.
“Six-foot-three,” Bo said.
“He followed this guy for quite a while, didn’t he?” Jamal questioned.
Bo nodded. “Definitely. The first image is from outside Mister Knight’s house. The killer was waiting for him to leave the house,” he said.
“So he probably knew Mister Knight was a runner,” Jamal said quietly. “Correct?”
“I would assume as much, yes,” Bo agreed. “I’m going to spend today going through the footage over the course of… I don’t know, the days prior to his death, possibly the weeks prior. I want to know how often the killer followed him through the route, and I want to know how long he spent watching the man.” He scratched his cheek before gesturing to his phone. “There’s a camera right outside of Mister Knight’s house. I’m sure the killer knew that, so I doubt I’ll ever be able to see his face. But if he went into that house or went near it at any point, I’ll be able to see it happen,” he said.
Jamal nodded, flipping to another picture. “It looks like he’s not near Mister Knight in most of these images,” he said.
“He’s not. He was running through different roads. Mister Knight would take a right, and our killer would keep running straight, only turning right when the road he was on ended,” Bo said. “He watched him enough to know what path he was going to take, if nothing else,” he added quietly.
“Hmm.” Jamal handed the phone back to Bo. “You can leave whenever you’d like today. The plane’s fueled and ready to go whenever you are,” he said.
“What time do I get out of here today? Two something?” Bo asked.
Jamal glanced down at his watch before nodding. “Sounds about right.”
“Maybe I’ll go around two-thirty or so? I want to make sure I can run through most of the footage before the end of the day,” Bo said.
Jamal shook his head. “Don’t worry about that. You can always watch that shit while you’re in Clinstone and send me or Dallas whatever you find. I need you on something else today,” he said.
Bo frowned, clasping his hands between his knees. “What kind of thing?” he asked.
Jamal’s eyes swept over his desk before he looked back at Frank. “Franklin.”
“Oh, yes, of course.” Frank set his book down and leaned down to pull several folders from beneath his chair. He leaned forward and held them out to Bo. “My apologies. Here you go, Mister Austen.”
“Thank you,” Bo said as he took the folders. “What are these?” he asked, setting them in his lap.
“Interns. You’re picking one,” Jamal said. “Preferably one who isn’t scared of blood this time,” he added.
“To her credit, it was an incredibly gruesome scene,” Bo said. “I was rather surprised at how well the detectives handled themselves,” he added, flipping open the top folder. “Has she left, then?”
“Yes. She wanted nothing to do with the department after that scene,” Jamal said. “What’d she say when she left, Frank?” he asked.
“She was going to try coffee shops for a while,” Frank said, opening his book again. “Less chance of ripped up corpses that way,” he added.
“There you go.”
Bo shook his head. “Thanks for letting her leave without any problems. I know you like to make people take another shot at something.”
“I give people the option,” Jamal corrected. “Works well for most of them. Like Frank, you, Dallas, and Wayne.” He lifted his shoulders, crossing his arms over his chest. “Pick someone, I’ll call them in, you give them the rundown of the lab and morgue,” he said.
“Have you interviewed them?” Bo asked.
“Yes. All are interviewed and entirely vetted. None of them are terrified of blood, that’s for damn sure,” Jamal said. Bo rolled his eyes, but he didn’t respond. Finally, he set a folder on Jamal’s desk. “This one?”
“Is there a reason you always choose women?”
“If you had a girlfriend, would you hire a male or female assistant for her?” Bo asked.
“Exactly,” Bo said quietly, pushing himself to his feet. “I love Jensen, and I trust him with everything I have. But I don’t trust any strange, young male intern outside of that. A woman can flirt with Jensen all she wants. He isn’t going to respond,” he said simply. He tapped a finger against the folder. “Call her in and send her to my office. That’s where I’ll be.”
“It doesn’t have to be an intern, if that’s your concern,” Jamal said. “It can be a well-seasoned analyst. This department pays better than any other department in the US, Bo. It wouldn’t take much to get someone else in here,” he said.
Bo frowned, tucking his hands behind his back. “Brad Caine. Last I knew, he was working in San Francisco,” he said.
“How do you know him?”
“He was one of two analysts working when I first began interning under Hal Gold. Brad left when Tessa took over as the lieutenant,” Bo said.
“That’s because she’s terrible at her job,” Jamal muttered.
“Well, yeah. There’s a reason I jumped at the opportunity to work here instead.”
The older man chuckled. “I’ll see what I can do, kiddo.” He waved a dismissive hand. “Go about your thrilling journey diving into boring traffic cams. I’ll have him here soon,” he said.
9:47 AM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, FORENSIC ANALYST BO AUSTEN-TAYLOR’S OFFICE
Bo lifted his head as a knock sounded on the door. “Come in,” he called. The door opened, revealing a much older Brad Caine. The man’s once black hair was peppered with strands of gray, and the corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled at the blonde.
“Austen,” he greeted.
“Caine.” Bo pushed himself to his feet and held out a hand. “Damn good to see you again, Brad.”
Brad chuckled as he crossed the room and grasped Bo’s hand. “Same to you, Bo.”
Bo smiled, waving a hand toward the chairs in front of his desk. “Have a seat,” he said, dropping back into his own chair.
Brad sat down, tapping a finger against one of the picture frames on Bo’s desk. “Husband?”
“For a little over two years,” Bo said with a nod. “Jensen. He’s the sergeant here when we aren’t in Minnesota,” he said.
Brad nodded. “I’ve seen you on the news for cases over there. Haven’t seen you make anything here for a while. Figured you were gone.”
“We spend most of our time in Clinstone. Our kids go to school there, so we’re only here for the summer,” Bo said.
“How many kids?”
“Four. Two adopted little girls and twin boys,” Bo said.
“Christ, Austen. Congrats,” Brad said softly.
One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. “Thank you.”
“No problem.” Brad leaned back in the chair, eyes scanning the articles and papers hung on the wall. “It’s good to see you became something great, Austen. I was worried you’d never get out from under Tessa’s thumb,” he said quietly.
“Once she was given an analyst that would sleep with her, it wasn’t hard to come here instead,” Bo said with a chuckle. “I’m glad you accepted Jamal’s offer. It’s nice to work with someone that I don’t have to teach.”
“You still have issues being smarter than everyone else?” Brad asked.
“Mm.” Brad shook his head, green eyes finally shifting back to the blonde’s face. “You ever talk to Aramis?”
“He was at my wedding. Happy in retirement, that’s for sure,” Bo said. Brad chuckled, crossing his arms over his chest. Bo nodded toward the door. “Come on. I’ll introduce you to the detectives before we go see the lab and morgue.”
“Sounds like a plan, kid.”
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