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Tell No One, Page 29

Harlan Coben

Chapter 28

  I put on a pair of black jeans with a waist the approximate circumference of a truck tire. I folded over the slack and tightened the belt. The black White Sox's uniform shirt fit like a muumuu. The black baseball cap - it had some logo on it I didn't recognize - already had the bill broken in for me. Tyrese also gave me a pair of the same up-yours sunglasses Brutus favored.

  Tyrese almost laughed when I came out of the bathroom. "You look good, Doc. "

  "I think the word you're looking for is phat. "

  He chuckled and shook his head. "White people. " Then his face grew serious. He slid some stapled sheets of paper toward me. I picked it up. On top it read Last Will and Testament. I looked the question at him.

  "Been meaning to talk to you about this," Tyrese said.

  "About your will?"

  "I got two more years on my plan. "

  "What plan?"

  "I do this two more years, I got enough money to get TJ out of here. I figure I got maybe sixty-forty chance of making it. "

  "What do you mean, making it?"

  Tyrese's eyes locked on mine. "You know. "

  I did know. He meant surviving. "Where will you go?"

  He handed me a postcard. The scene was sun, blue water, palm trees. The postcard was crinkled from too much handling. "Down in Florida," he said with a soft lilt in his voice. "I know this place. It's quiet. Gotta pool and good schools. Nobody to start wondering where I got my money, you know what I'm saying?"

  I handed him back the picture. "I don't understand what I have to do with this. "

  "This" - he held up the photograph - "is the plan if the sixty percent happens. That" - he pointed to the will - "that's if the forty plays out. "

  I told him that I still didn't understand.

  "I went downtown six months ago, you know what I'm saying. Got a fancy lawyer. Cost me two grand for a coupla hours with him. His name is Joel Marcus. If I die, you have to go see him. You the executor of my will. I got some papers locked up. They'll tell you where the money is. "

  "Why me?"

  "You care about my boy. "

  "What about Latisha?"

  He scoffed. "She a woman, Doc. Soon as I hit the pavement, she be looking for another cock, you know what I'm saying? Probably get knocked up again. Maybe get back on the stuff. " He sat back and folded his arms. "Can't trust women, Doc. You should know that. "

  "She's TJ's mother. "

  "Right. "

  "She loves him. "

  "Yeah, I know that. But she just a woman, you know what I'm saying? You give her this kind of cash, she'll blow it in a day. That's why I set up some trust funds and shit. You the executor. She want money for TJ, you have to approve it. You and this Joel Marcus. "

  I would have argued that it was sexist and that he was a Neanderthal, but this hardly seemed the time. I shifted in the chair and looked at him. Tyrese was maybe twenty-five years old. I had seen so many like him. I had always lumped them into a single entity, blurring their faces into a dark mass of bad. "Tyrese?"

  He looked at me.

  "Leave now. "

  He frowned.

  "Use the money you have. Get a job down in Florida. I'll lend you more if you need it. But take your family and go now. "

  He shook his head.


  He stood up. "Come on, Doc. We best get going. "

  "We're still looking for him. "

  Lance Fein fumed, his waxy face almost dripping. Dimonte chewed. Krinsky took notes. Stone hitched up his pants.

  Carlson was distracted, bent over a fax that had just come through in the car.

  "What about the gunshots?" Lance Fein snapped.

  The uniformed officer - Agent Carlson hadn't bothered learning his name - shrugged. "Nobody knows anything. I think they were probably unrelated. "

  "Unrelated?" Fein shrieked. "What kind of incompetent idiot are you, Benny? They were running down the street yelling about a white guy. "

  "Well, no one knows nothing now. "

  "Lean on them," Fein said. "Lean on them hard. I mean, for crying out loud, how the hell does a guy like this escape, huh?"

  "We'll get him. "

  Stone tapped Carlson on the shoulder. "What's up, Nick?"

  Carlson frowned at the printout. He didn't speak. He was a neat man, orderly to the point of obsessive-compulsive. He washed his hands too much. He often locked and unlocked his door a dozen times before leaving the house. He stared some more because something here just did not mesh.


  Carlson turned toward him. "The thirty-eight we found in Sarah Goodhart's safety-deposit box. "

  "The one the key on the body led us to?"

  "Right. "

  "What about it?" Stone asked.

  Carlson kept frowning. "There's lots of holes here. "


  "First off," Carlson continued, "we assume the Sarah Goodhart safety-deposit box was Elizabeth Beck's, right?"

  "Right. "

  "But someone's paid the bill for the box every year for the past eight years," Carlson said. "Elizabeth Beck is dead. Dead women pay no tabs. "

  "Her father maybe. I think he knows more than he's letting on. "

  Carlson didn't like it. "How about those listening devices we found at Beck's house? What's the deal there?"

  "I don't know," Stone replied with a shrug. "Maybe someone else in the department suspected him too. "

  "We'd have heard by now. And this report on that thirty-eight we found in the box. " He motioned toward it. "You see what the ATF came back with?"

  "No. "

  "Bulletproof had no hits, but that's not surprising since the data doesn't go back eight years anyway. " Bulletproof, a bullet-analyzing module used by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, was used to link data from past crimes with more recently discovered firearms. "But the NTC got a hit. " NTC stood for the National Tracing Center. "Guess who the last registered owner was. "

  He handed Stone the printout. Stone scanned down and found it. "Stephen Beck?"

  "David Beck's father. "

  "He died, right?"

  "Right. "

  Stone handed it back to him. "So his son probably inherited the weapon," he said. "It was Beck's gun. "

  "So why would his wife keep it locked in a safety-deposit box with those photographs?"

  Stone considered that one a minute. "Maybe she feared he'd use it on her. "

  Carlson frowned some more. "We're missing something. "

  "Look, Nick, let's not make this more complicated than we have to. We got Beck nailed good on the Schayes murder. It'll be a righteous collar. Let's just forget about Elizabeth Beck, okay?"

  Carlson looked at him. "Forget about her?"

  Stone cleared his throat and spread his hands. "Let's face it. Nailing Beck on Schayes, that'll be a piece of pie. But his wife - Christ, that case is eight years old. We got some scraps, okay, but we're not going to get him for it. It's too late. Maybe" - he gave too dramatic a shrug - "maybe it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. "

  "What the hell are you talking about?"

  Stone moved closer and beckoned Carlson to bend down. "Some people at the Bureau would rather we didn't dig this all up. "

  "Who doesn't want us digging what up?"

  "It's not important, Nick. We're all on the same side, right? If we find out KillRoy didn't kill Elizabeth Beck, it just opens a can of worms, right? His lawyer will probably ask for a new trial-"

  "They never tried him for Elizabeth Beck. "

  "But we wrote her off as KillRoy handiwork. It would add doubt, that's all. It's neater this way. "

  "I don't want neat," Carlson said. "I want the truth. "

  "We all want that, Nick. But we want justice even more, right? Beck will get a life sentence for Rebecca Schayes. KillRoy will stay in jail. That's how it should be. "

  "There are holes, Tom. "

  "You keep saying that, but I don't see any.
You were the one who first came up with Beck being good for his wife's murder. "

  "Exactly," Carlson said. "For his wife's murder. Not Rebecca Schayes's. "

  "I don't get what you mean. "

  "The Schayes murder doesn't fit. "

  "You kidding me? It makes it more solid. Schayes knew something. We started closing in. Beck had to shut her up. "

  Carlson frowned again.

  "What?" Stone continued. "You think Beck's visit to her studio yesterday - right after we pressured him - was just a coincidence?"

  "No," Carlson said.

  "Then what, Nick? Don't you see? Schayes's murder fits in beautifully. "

  "A little too beautifully," Carlson said.

  "Ah, don't start with that crap. "

  "Let me ask you something, Tom. How well did Beck plan and execute his wife's murder?"

  "Pretty damn well. "

  "Exactly. He killed every witness. He got rid of the bodies. If it wasn't for the rainfall and that bear, we'd have nothing. And let's face it. Even with that, we still don't have enough to indict, much less convict. "


  "So why is Beck suddenly so stupid? He knows we're after him. He knows that Schayes's assistant will be able to testify that he saw Rebecca Schayes the day of the murder. So why would he be stupid enough to keep the gun in his garage? Why would he be stupid enough to leave those gloves in his own trash can?"

  "Easy," Stone said. "He rushed this time. With his wife, he had plenty of time to plan. "

  "Did you see this?"

  He handed Stone the surveillance report.

  "Beck visited the medical examiner this morning," Carlson said. "Why?"

  "I don't know. Maybe he wanted to know if there was anything incriminating in the autopsy file. "

  Carlson frowned yet again. His hands were itching for another wash. "We're missing something, Tom. "

  "I don't see what, but hey, either way, we got to get him into custody. Then we can sort it out, okay?"

  Stone headed over to Fein. Carlson let the doubts sink in. He thought again about Beck's visit to the medical examiner's office. He took out his phone, wiped it down with a handkerchief, and pressed the digits. When someone answered, he said, "Get me the Sussex County medical examiner. "