After the case, Anna wanted Joe to take time out. She was offered a job in Ireland and they went with Shaun. After eight great months, everything went wrong. Donald Riggs had an associate – Duke Rawlins – a killer he had spent years on a murderous spree with, someone who wouldn’t let Riggs’ death go unavenged. Fresh from a maximum security prison, he had caught up with Joe and tried to destroy his family. During their time in Ireland, Shaun’s girlfriend, Katie, had been murdered. Shortly after, Rawlins had abducted Anna and left her so physically and mentally scarred, she struggled every day to get past it.

They pulled up by the patrol car outside the apartment block on West 84th Street. A well-dressed couple stood under the green and gold awning, aware something was going on, but more concerned about where they were going for brunch. The doorman inside was a neatly groomed older man with a moustache and a badge that read ‘Milton’.

‘Terrible,’ was all he said, shaking his head, gesturing with a white gloved hand to the elevators.

‘Has someone spoken with you yet?’ said Danny.

Milton nodded.

‘All right,’ said Danny. ‘We’ll be back down to you in a little while.’

‘Why were you shouting at him?’ said Joe when they got into the elevator.

‘Didn’t he look a little deaf to you?’

Joe raised his eyes to the ceiling. They got out at the third floor and walked down a grey tiled hallway to apartment 3E. A detective in a navy blue suit walked out, his eyes on the notebook in his left hand. His right hand was pressed to his stomach. He turned slowly their way. Danny and Joe made their introductions.

‘Tom Blazkow from the Two-Oh,’ he said. The twentieth precinct covered everywhere from 59th Street to 86th Street, west of Central Park. Blazkow was in his mid-forties and bulked-up, with a grey buzzcut, a massive jaw and bloodshot blue eyes. He turned to the detective walking out of the apartment behind him.

‘This is my partner, Denis Cullen.’

They all nodded. Cullen was in his early fifties and dressed in a limp brown suit and a tie from a bowling league with a stars-and-stripes pin. He had pale red hair thinning on top and broken veins across his nose and cheeks. He looked eager, but worn out.

‘So what have we got?’ said Joe.

Blazkow spoke. ‘Ethan Lowry, graphic designer, DOB 04/12/71, married with a young daughter. 911 got a call from his diet delivery people. Every morning, they bring his meals for the day. He didn’t open the door. First time in eleven months he didn’t. Delivery guy saw a drop of blood in the hallway, got a bad smell.’ He pointed to a pale, wheezing teenager. ‘The two uniforms tried the bell, banged on the door, no answer, went around the back, climbed up the fire escape, couldn’t see nothing through the window, so they called ESU. Body was right inside the front door. No sign of forced entry. Balcony door was locked. No response from the wife’s cell phone. We got a uniform down by the elevators. He knows who to look out for. You’re going to have to knock.’ He pointed to the apartment. ‘Careful going in. You might slip on a chunk of face.’

Joe reached into his jacket pocket for a handkerchief and a small bottle of aftershave. He shook some drops onto the white cotton and held it to his nose, taking in a few deep breaths. He knocked on the door and they walked carefully into the apartment. Ethan Lowry lay on his back, naked, his body pressed up against the baseboard behind the door. His arms were stretched out above him. His head was turned to the right, but there wasn’t much of a face to face that way. Ethan Lowry had been savagely beaten, more blows than were needed to kill someone who had clearly been finished off with a bullet. The damage was entirely to his face. Where the skin wasn’t plumped up and tight, it was pulped. His nostrils were plugged with dried blood.

‘What’s in his mouth?’ said Danny.

‘His mouth,’ said Joe.

‘Aw, Jesus,’ said Danny, leaning in closer. Lowry’s mouth looked like it had been turned inside out. It covered his whole chin and left side of his face like raw meat. Only one tooth was visible. The rest were hidden under the swollen mess, broken or lying alone on the floor beside numbered evidence cards. Joe sucked in a breath. The skin was split at Lowry’s left eye socket where a gun had been fired point-blank.

‘Hey,’ said Danny to Kendra, a smiley, bulky crime scene technician, who was squatting on the floor beside him.

‘Hey, Joe, Danny. I’m having an MTV Cribs moment. Here is the hallway. And this is where the magic happened. See all this?’ She gestured around the body and in an arc above it. ‘We’ve got expirated mist on the floor, on the wall. We’ve got cast-off blood on the ceiling. We’ve got it all basically. Over there we’ve got high- velocity spatter from the gunshot wound. Small caliber.’ She shook her head.


‘God bless you, but God slow you down too,’ said Joe. ‘Just give us a moment.’

‘Sorry,’ she said. ‘I get so-’

‘Cheery,’ said Danny.

Kendra turned to him. ‘I love my job,’ she said. ‘And if that’s an emotion that for some reason confuses you…’ She shrugged.

‘How could you not love this?’ said Danny, pointing to the body. Beside Lowry’s head was a black, blood- streaked cordless phone. Joe put on a glove, picked it up and hit the dialled calls button.

‘Someone was alive in here last night at 10.58 p.m.,’ said Joe. He took down all the incoming and outgoing calls.

‘Let me call Martinez,’ said Joe. ‘Unless you’d like to.’ He smiled. The year before, on his year out, Aldos Martinez filled in as Danny’s partner. Now, with Martinez’s partner, Fred Rencher, they made up the D team at Manhattan North, the only four-man team.

‘Hey, Martinez, it’s Joe. Do me a favour – could you do a victimology on an Ethan Lowry, 1640 West 84th Street, DOB 04/12/71. Thanks. Great. See you in a little while.’ Joe paused and looked over at Danny. ‘Yeah, he’s here. You need to talk to him?’

Danny shook his head violently.

‘Oh, OK,’ said Joe. ‘See you later.’

‘What did he want?’

‘Just to say he misses you.’

‘Look at this,’ said Danny. He was crouched down beside Lowry’s wrists, pointing with his pen to a series of holes in the floorboards. ‘His arms must have been restrained by something hammered in here. There are two holes on each side of each wrist.’

‘Did you find anything he could have used to do this?’ said Joe to Kendra.

‘Unh-unh,’ she said. ‘Perp’s not going to leave them behind – my guess is they’re his special toys.’


There were six doors off the hallway in Lowry’s apartment: into two bedrooms and a bathroom on the left; into the kitchen, living room and office on the right. The kitchen was painted citrus lemon with green glossy cabinets and cream worktops – all tidy and undisturbed. The living room had a deep red sofa, wide-screen TV and a pile of children’s toys in one corner. In the other was a yoga mat and two pink dumbbells.

‘I’m not sure any good graphic designer would have been involved in this interior,’ said Joe.

‘Maybe he was a bad graphic designer,’ said Danny. ‘Why do you always make victims nicer or more talented than you actually have any proof they are?’

‘No, I don’t.’

‘When they’re in a nice house, you do.’

‘Yeah, well they’re hardly ever in a nice house, so that’s bullshit,’ said Joe. ‘They’re decomposing on the bare springs of a bed in some skanky crack den or some place that hasn’t seen a bottle of bleach…’

They walked into Ethan Lowry’s office.

‘This is more like it,’ said Joe. ‘See what I mean? Clean lines.’

‘People love crime shows. People love interior shows. You mix the two, Joe, you got a job for life. Extreme Make-over: Home Invasion Edition. CSI: Brownstone.’

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