Here's a tease - for the rest just click here.
Looking from the window of the coffee shop. Watching from the windshield of a parked car. Staring from the glass of a very rare unbroken bus kiosk. Glaring from the side of a passing bus.
A brief summer rain had painted the city that night in reflections. Fanning saw himself everywhere, and everywhere he saw himself his expression said the same thing—Why haven’t you caught him yet?
In his ear, a Bluetooth bud whispered the Officer Wertz inquiry’s soundtrack; in his pocket, the video was playing on his phone. He didn’t need to hear or see it. No one would, but if asked he could probably rattle off every verb, every noun, every linguistic bit from when Knorr started it to when he stopped it. Knorr was good at what he did, just like the lab mice who studied crime scenes and picked up tiny bits of DNA with their finely honed tweezers.
Welcome to the decentralized world of the new San Francisco Police Department, where your specialty was all you did and generality was extinct.
Fanning was a freelancer but was supposed to be good at what he did, too. Sneering at himself reflected in the coffee shop window, he gripped the phone in his pocket. If he’d been stronger, or the plastic less durable, it would have cracked.
Glowering for an instant at his reflection in the windshield of the parked car, he pulled the phone out and flipped through a few key digital pages. As with the inquiry, he didn’t need to look at it again, but he did anyway. Better than sharing the street with his scowling mirror images.
It hadn’t changed—Wertz’s home address and where he worked were still the same. The first was across town, in the Mission. The second was just down the street, at a Gap Store.
Ten a.m. to six p.m. His shift hadn’t changed, either. But it was 6:17, and there was no sign of Wertz.
Fanning paced the wet sidewalk, searching up and down the street but mostly the blue-and-white bright- ness of the Gap store. In his ears, Wertz’s voice clicked into silence; then, as it was set on “loop,” it began again.
Just like the others. Same MO, same kind of pick-up place, same amount of Eurodin in Wertz’s system, the lab mice doing their usual fine and precise work, and the same mutilation—right hand little finger amputated at the first joint.
Again, his phone threatened to break in his hand, but again, he wasn’t strong or determined enough to do it. The beat cops who’d found Wertz sound asleep on the J Church train; the lab mice who’d analyzed the drug in his system; Knorr, who’d asked his carefully prepared and expert questions…
But then there was Fanning, who was supposed to assemble piece after piece after piece after piece until they made a picture of someone’s face.
Looking up from where he’d been looking down, he saw a silhouette come between the blue-and-white of the Gap store. A dark shape that was about the right height, about the right build, about the right age, to be whom he was looking for. Fanning carefully released his tight grip on his phone and stepped back into a nearby alley, one carefully chosen for its heavy solitude.
Heavy solitude was just what Fanning wanted.