‘Not so far,’ said Martinez.

‘Not even from across the street?’ said Joe.


‘Not everyone was home in the building,’ said Blazkow. ‘So we’ll see what comes up, but neighbors on either side heard nothing and the doorman didn’t see shit.’

‘What about the wife?’

‘She’s at her ma’s with their kid,’ said Martinez. ‘She was a mess, tried to hold it together for the daughter, but… fuck. I got what I could from her, which was not a lot. She has no idea why this happened. They don’t socialize a lot, they hang out together most of the time.’

‘OK – Rencher, can you pull Lowry’s phone records?’ said Joe. ‘Cullen, could you run the plates of all the cars on the street? Tomorrow, we’ve got the autopsy. When we’ve got an idea of the time of death, we can work out about canvassing the building again.’ He turned to Blazkow. ‘You get anything from BCI or Triple I?’

Anyone who was arrested in New York got a NYSID number – New York State Identification. The Bureau of Criminal Investigations had the records. If Lowry had a criminal record, a phone call to the BCI would have details and a photo. A Triple I check would show if Lowry had an out-of-state record.

‘Nada,’ said Blazkow.

‘OK,’ said Joe.

‘Grab a desk,’ said Blazkow. ‘You want coffee?’

‘Thanks, yeah,’ said Joe. He took off his jacket and sat down. When he looked up, Denis Cullen was standing over him.

‘Uh – Joe? Can I put myself forward for going through the financial records, maybe the phone records?’

Joe laughed. ‘That’s the first time in my life I’ve ever been asked that.’

‘Yeah, well… I guess I’ve kind of got an eye for it.’

By 1 a.m., Joe was slumped in his chair, his fingers stiff from typing. He had crossed the coffee threshold. It was now sending him to sleep. He never realized he was ODing until it was too late.

‘I’m outta here,’ he said, standing up, suddenly.

‘You OK?’ said Danny.

‘I’m tired. I’m going back to the office. You coming?’

‘Sure. You not going home?’

‘Not tonight. Not with the autopsy first thing.’

The dorm in Manhattan North was off the locker room and had four metal beds with thin mattresses and covers that nobody risked sleeping under. Working the ‘four and two chart’ meant four days on, two days off. The first two tours were 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., the last two were 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The turnaround tour ended at 1 a.m. and was followed by an 8 a.m. start. Most detectives stayed in the dorm on those nights or at least told their wives they did. Anna didn’t like being alone at night any more, so Joe had been coming home; because they lived in Bay Ridge, he didn’t have far to go. But the first few nights on a major case, she wouldn’t expect to see him. He called her anyway.

‘Sweetheart, it’s me again. I’m staying at the office tonight.’

‘I know,’ said Anna.

‘Well, it’s just I hadn’t said, so I thought-’

‘It’s fine. Don’t worry.’

‘Will you be OK? Is Shaun home?’

‘No. But he’ll be back.’

‘What happened at the school?’

‘Well, the principal was very nice. I think she likes Shaun, but understands he’s… changed. She said he’s been rude and uncooperative.’

‘That’s the French blood.’

Anna laughed. ‘Yes. His falling grades they’ve put down to the American.’

Joe laughed. ‘They said the same thing about his charm and his looks.’

‘And low self-esteem…’

‘What was the bottom line?’ said Joe.

‘Just that they will give him a chance to improve. They think he’s tired in class, staying out too late and-’

‘Did they give us a hard time?’

‘They didn’t have to say a word.’

‘Look, are you sure you’re going to be OK tonight? Would you like me to get Pam to come over and stay?’

Pam was his father Giulio’s second wife.

‘Pam?’ said Anna. She laughed. ‘Yeah, babysitting by a woman the same age as me… who is my mother-in- law.’



‘It wouldn’t be babysitting. You could ask her over for a glass of wine and a movie. I’m just trying to help.’

‘Just to remind you – it’s after one in the morning. And I’m OK. Sleep well whenever you get there.’

‘Thanks. I’ll see you-’

‘In a few days. I know.’

‘I love you.’

‘Me too.’



‘I love laughing with you.’

‘Me too,’ she said. ‘And Joe?’


‘At least I know you sleep in the dorm.’

‘I wouldn’t want it any other way.’

Anna was right. He did sleep in the dorm. But Gina Markey thought the same thing about Danny.


Stanley Frayte had an hour to kill before he showed up for work. He drove down Holt Avenue in his white Ford Econoline van stamped with the chunky blue lettering of Frayte Electrical Services. He pulled into the parking lot at the south end of Astoria Park. At 8.30 a.m., it was quieter than it would have been an hour before when the dawn walkers, runners and swimmers were making their way back home to take a shower before work.

He got out of the van and let the cool breeze from the East River raise goosebumps on his bare arms. Where he stood – by the park, under the Triborough Bridge – was Astoria as it had always been to him. On the Shore Boulevard side, the luxury condos that looked over the tennis courts on one side and Manhattan on the other represented change. Like Brooklyn, Astoria had lured people out of the city and was going through the makeover to prove it. Stan liked it all. He was just happy to be anywhere he could feel the sun, look out over beautiful water, walk through the trees, sit on a bench. When it hit 8.50 a.m., he went back to his van.

He drove down 19th Street and pulled into the small parking lot of the apartment building he had been working on for the previous two weeks. He unloaded his equipment and walked up the flagstone path. He stopped halfway and bent down, laying his gear beside him and pulling a penknife from his utility belt. He flipped it open and sliced at a weed that was pushing up through a gap in the cement. June, the receptionist, waved to him from behind the front desk as he walked towards her. He pushed through the front door into the lobby. The smell was lemon disinfectant, rising from the shiny floor tiles. June’s desk was on the left-hand side, a crescent moon that curved towards the door. The walls were pale gold with a cream dado rail that traced around the corner to the

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