Turning back to Brass, Catherine asked, 'Any real suspects back then?'

'We started with a slew, but we narrowed it to three,' Brass said. 'I had a guy I liked, Vince had a guy he liked, and there was a third one that looked good, only neither of us thought he did the killings.'

Pointing at the body, Grissom said, 'Here's how we do this: Run it like we would any other homicide investigation.'

Brass nodded, then asked, 'You want me to start with looking into our old suspects?'

Grissom gave him a long, appraising look. 'First, a question.'

'Second, an answer.'

'Should you be working on this?'

'Shouldn't I?' Brass said, his voice rising slightly.

'Jim,' Catherine said. 'You've carried this one around for a long time. Objectivity-'

'Can kiss my ass,' he blurted, then immediately seemed embarrassed about it.

Grissom studied his friend. 'So you're Captain Ahab on this one?'

'Let's just say,' Brass said, 'I'm gonna catch the dick.'

'Ah,' Grissom said ambiguously.

'And,' Brass said, swallowing, his tone softening, 'we will, as you say, work it like any other homicide.'

Grissom's eyes met Catherine's. Her skepticism was etched in an open-mouthed smile.

Apologetically, Brass said, 'Come on, you two-you'll keep me honest on this. You'll keep me-'

'Objective?' Catherine offered. 'You really think this is a good idea, Jim?' But her question was obviously intended for Grissom.

Grissom ignored that and said to Brass, 'Do you see any reasonable way this could be a coincidence, looking so much like a CASt-off?'

Catherine added, 'Which is what the press called his victims, right?'

'Yeah, and it's no coincidence.' Brass indicated the corpse. 'If this isn't the guy's real signature, it's sure as hell a copycat who knows how to commit a hell of a forgery.'

Catherine asked, 'How so?'

Brass shrugged. 'Well, if it's a copycat, he or she knows way more than was ever in the media.'

Nodding, Catherine said, 'You kept things back, so you could sort through the false confessions. Of course…'

Grissom said, 'Whether this is a blast from the past, or a latterday cover artist…we're going to need all the help we can get.'

Catherine drew in a deep breath and let it out. 'New or old-this is one vicious killer.'

Grissom was watching the homicide captain. 'See anything here, Jim? You're the veteran of the CASt-off crime scenes.'

Brass moved closer, squatted next to the dead man, then finally rose and faced Grissom.

'Much as I'd like to have a crack at the original CASt,' he said measuredly, 'I think this may be a copycat.'

Grissom and Catherine traded a look.

'Why?' Grissom asked.

'Appears staged. For one thing, there's not enough blood.'

Catherine stared at the coagulating puddle on the rug. 'How so?'

'Those five original murder scenes,' Brass said, and his eyes took on a haunted cast, 'spray was everywhere. Here, there's none of that.'

'Blood spatter,' she said with satisfaction; after all, it was her specialty. 'In the other cases, were the fingers cut off before the victims were killed?'

Brass, pleased she was following him, said, 'Yes.'

'Here it would seem to be postmortem. A living victim would have considerable spray, and might wave his mutilated hand around, further spreading the blood.'

'Right,' Brass said with a nod. 'And there's something that isn't right about how the semen is pooled on his back….'

Grissom fielded that one, explaining his theory, concluding with, 'It's always hard to tell with ejaculate at a crime scene-configuration of the victim's body, and how the perp's body functions; but this looks almost-poured on.'

'B.Y.O.S.,' Catherine said.

Brass and Grissom frowned at her in confusion.

Her eyebrows rose. 'Bring your own semen? The killer brought his specimen from home. Or maybe it was a woman, who had to bring a specimen….'

'Makes sense either way,' Brass said. 'A copycat is coldly staging a crime; the real crimes were driven by passion, by a killer really…into it.'

'Exactly my point,' Grissom said. 'Still, this crime scene is close to the originals, right?'

'Yeah,' Brass said. 'Other than these details we've discussed…oh yeah.'

'With a copycat, our lines of inquiry become nicely narrowed.' Grissom gestured toward the body. 'Who did know this much information about those murders?'

Thought clouded the detective's face. Then: 'Well, the killer, of course…the cops on the case, ourselves…and a couple of newspaper guys.'

Catherine asked, 'Who, specifically?'

'Two crime beat reporters for the Las Vegas Banner-Perry Bell and David Paquette. They received the original taunting letters from CASt. And they even did a quickie paperback together, about the case.'

'Isn't Paquette an editor at the Banner?' Catherine asked.

'Now he is-Paquette seemed to get the better end of the book notoriety. Paquette got the editor's post, but then Bell did get his own column.'

Both CSIs nodded.

Most LVPD personnel knew of Bell and his column, The Bell Beat. Grissom didn't think the guy was much of a writer, but then neither were Walter Winchell or Larry King; but the columnist did have a reputation for honesty, and it was said he never betrayed a source, or any kind of trust, which was a big part of how he'd been successful for so long. When a cop shared something with Bell in confidence, it stayed that way until the officer told him he could print it.

'Guess I better go have a chat with the Fourth Estate,' Brass said.

Catherine gestured to the grotesque corpse. 'You think either Paquette or Bell might be capable of… this?'

Brass shrugged. 'Gacy was a clown, Bundy a law student, Juan Corona a labor contractor who killed two dozen for fun and profit. Who's to say what people are capable of? One thing I do know-if we're treating this like a normal homicide, then Perry Bell and Dave Paquette are suspects…and I'm going to go have a talk with them.'

They met with the other cops and CSIs in the yard while paramedics went inside to deal with the body.

Damon looked annoyed as he eyeballed Brass. 'What are you doing here, Jim?'

Brass started to say something, but Grissom stepped up like a referee.

'I called him in,' Grissom said. 'As an advisor. He worked a case very similar to this years ago.'

'Similar how?' Damon asked.

'Similar,' Grissom said, 'exactly.'

'Another murder?'

'Murders,' Brass said. 'A serial killer.'

'Oh, come on,' Damon said. 'What is this, the movies?'

Catherine said, 'Why, do you get a lot of d.b.'s out here in North Las Vegas, men with lipstick smiles and semen on their backs?'

Damon's mouth opened but no words came out.

Grissom said, 'It's a perp called CASt.'

Вы читаете Binding Ties
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату