Read Boldt 03 - No Witnesses Online

Authors: Ridley Pearson

Tags: #mystery, #thriller, #suspense, #Modern

Boldt 03 - No Witnesses

BOOK: Boldt 03 - No Witnesses
12.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Book 3 in the Boldt/Matthews series

Ridley Pearson


Praise for
No Witnesses

“Tough and intelligent.”

Fort Worth Star Telegram

“Up-to-the-nanosecond techno-thriller.”

New York Times

“Infused with astonishingly effective overtones.”

Boston Globe

“Good old-fashioned storytelling.”

Washington Post Book World

“A serious, well-researched, complex thriller.”

Los Angeles Times

Praise for
Hard Fall

“Pearson excels at novels that grip the imagination.
Hard Fall
is an adventure with all engines churning.”

People magazine

“Mesmerizing urgency.”

Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Nifty cat-and-mouse caper. Crisply written tale.”

Chicago Tribune

Praise for
The Angel Maker:

“Exceptionally gripping and full of amazing forensic lore: a top-flight offering from an author who has clearly found his groove.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A chilling thriller.”

—Dell Publishing


Every so often there is that rare experience that profoundly alters one’s life. In receiving the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Award, I was afforded a year at Oxford, with access to that institution’s unparalleled libraries, as well as Raymond Chandler’s personal letters and manuscripts. It was at Wadham College, up staircase Kings Arms eleven, that I researched and outlined both
The Angel Maker
and this novel,
No Witnesses
. The ten months spent at Wadham College, under the auspices of the Fulbright Foundation, have never left me, nor will they. For both Colleen and me, these months remain sacred.

This book is dedicated to Mr. Graham C. Greene, who on the centennial of Raymond Chandler’s birth elected not to dedicate a statue or a park bench to the great author, but to leave a living legacy in the form of funding a private Fulbright through the Chandler estate. This award has now been enjoyed by several British and American writers and has created its own legacy by changing all our lives.

This book is also dedicated to Dr. Tim Binyon, Dr. Robin Fiddian, Mr. Jeffry Hackney, Sir Claus Mosner, and all the Fellows of Wadham College, Oxford; and to Captain John Franklin and the Fulbright Foundation, London, England; Ms. Karen Adams and the Fulbright Commission, Washington, D.C.

What you gave me is irreplaceable.


The author wishes to express a special debt of gratitude to Ian and Annette Cumming and Leucadia National Corporation. Also to James and Wendy Daverman, and Alex and Gina Macdonald, Marino Tomacelli, and all the gang at Kailuum.

Technical research would not have been possible without the generosity of the following:

Washington State
: Dr. Donald Reay, chief pathologist, King County medical examiner; Dr. Christian Harris, forensic psychiatrist; Judge Robert Lasnik, King County Superior Court; Judge Mike Rikert, Skagit County Superior Court; Mr. Thomas Bass, president, The Exchange; Dr. Phillip I. Tarr, M.D., assistant professor (pediatrics), Division of Gastroenterology, University of Washington; Lieutenant Dave Reichert, King County police; Sergeant Don Cameron, Homicide, Seattle Police Department.

: Mr. Bill Tupman, Center for Police Studies, University of Exeter; Dr. Jack Wright, HM Prison and Youth Custody Centre, Grendon Underwood, Aylesbury; Richard Baker, Metropolitan Police, London; Detective Inspector Adrian Maybank, New Scotland Yard; Detective Inspector Phil Gulliford; Inspector Thomas M. Seamon, Philadelphia Police Department, Police Studies Fulbright; Nick Roditi, Hamstead, London; John D. Drysdale, Robert Flemings Holdings Limited, London; Shelagh James-Hudson, Bicester, Oxon; Carole Blake and Julian Friedman; Mary Peterson, office assistance; Judy McLean, manuscript preparation; Colleen Daly, editorial assistance.

The author wishes to thank Brian DeFiore, who edited this manuscript

Thanks also to Albert Zuckerman and Steve Ross


Title Page
About the Author
Also by Ridley Pearson


And now for the good part.

This was where Lou Boldt threw out all convention, where the textbooks took a backseat to experience, and where he found out who in the lecture hall was listening and who was asleep.

He raised his voice. Boldt was a big man and his words bellowed clear back to the make-out seats without the need of the mike clipped to his tie. “Everything I’ve told you in the past few weeks concerning evidence, investigative procedure, chain of custody, and chain of command is worthless.” A few heads snapped up—more than he had expected. “Worthless unless you learn to read the crime scene, to know the victim, to listen to and trust your own instincts. To feel with your heart as much as think with your head. To find a balance between the two. If it was all in the head, then we would not need detectives; the lab technicians could do it all. Conversely, if it was all in the heart—if we could simply empathize with the suspect and say, ‘Yup, you did it’—then who would need the lab nerds?” A few of the studious types busily flipped pages. Boldt informed them, “You won’t find any of this in your textbooks. That’s just the point. All the textbooks in the world are not going to clear a case—only the
can. Evidence and information is
without a human being to analyze, organize, and interpret it. That’s you. That’s me. There comes a time when all the information must be set aside; there comes a time when passion and instinct take over. It’s the stuff that can’t be taught; but it can be learned. Heart and mind—one’s worthless without the other.” He paused here, wondering if these peach-fuzz students could see beyond the forty-four-year-old, slightly paunchy homicide cop in the wrinkled khakis and the tattered sport coat that hid a pacifier in its side pocket.

At the same time, he listened to his own words reverberating through the lecture hall, wondering how much he dare tell them. Did he tell them about the nightmares, the divorces, the ulcers and the politics? The hours? The salary? The penetrating numbness with which the veterans approached a crime scene?

Light flooded an aisle as a door at the rear of the hall swung open and a lanky kid wearing oversize jeans and a rugby shirt hurried toward the podium, casting a stretched shadow. Reaching Boldt, he passed the sergeant a pink telephone memo. A sea of students looking on, Boldt unfolded and read it.

Volunteer Park, after class. I’ll wait fifteen minutes

D. M

Volunteer Park? he wondered, his curiosity raised. Why not the offices? Daphne Matthews was anything but dramatic. As the department’s forensic psychologist, she was cool, controlled, studied, patient. Articulate, strong, intelligent. But not dramatic—not like this. The curious faces remained fixed on him. “A love letter,” he said, winning a few laughs. But not many: Cops weren’t expected to be funny—something else they would have to learn.

Volunteer Park is perched well above Seattle’s downtown cluster of towering high-rises and the gray-green curve of Elliott Bay that sweeps out into the island-riddled estuary of Puget Sound. A large reservoir, acting as a reflecting pond, is terraced below the parking lot and lookout that fronts the museum, a building under reconstruction for months on its way to housing the city’s Asian Collection. Boldt parked his aging department-issued four-door Chevy three spaces away from the red Prelude that Daphne Matthews maintained showroom clean. She was not to be found in her car.

The water tower’s stone facade rose several stories to his left. Well-kept beds of flowering shrubs and perennials surrounded its footing, like gems in a setting. The grass was a phenomenal emerald green—unique, he thought, to Seattle and Portland. Maybe Ireland, too; he had never been. Summer was just taking hold. Every living thing seemed poised for change. The sky was a patch quilt of azure blue and cotton white, the clouds moving in swiftly from the west, low and fast. A visitor might think rain, but a local knew better. Not tonight. Cold maybe, if it cleared.

He spotted an unfamiliar male face behind the iron grate of one of the tower’s upper viewing windows and waited a minute for this person and his companion to descend and leave the structure. Once they were gone, he chose the stairway to his right, ascending a narrow chimney of steep steps wedged between the brick rotunda to his right and the riveted steel hull of the water tank to his left. The painted tank and the tower that surrounded it were enormous, perhaps forty or fifty feet high and half again as wide. With each step, Boldt’s heart pounded heavier. He was not in the best shape; or maybe it was because she had elected to step outside the system, and that could not help but intrigue him; or maybe it was personal and had nothing whatsoever to do with the shop. He and Daphne had been close once—too close for what was allowed of a married man. They still were close, but mention of that one night together never passed their lips. A month earlier she had surprised him by telling him about a new relationship. After Bill Gates, Owen Adler was the reigning bachelor prize of the Northwest, having gone from espresso cart to the fastest-growing beverage and food business in the western region. He leased his own plane, owned a multimillion-dollar estate overlooking Shilshole Marina, and now, quite possibly, owned the heart and affections of Daphne Matthews. Had her note been worded any other way, had she not chosen such an isolated location, Boldt would have been convinced that her request was nothing more than some lover butterflies.

In another two hours, Volunteer Park would be a drug and sex bazaar. Despite its view, the tower was not a place frequented by the pin-striped set. She had clearly chosen it carefully. Daphne was not given to acts of spontaneity. She desired a clandestine meeting—and he had to wonder why.

He reached the open-air lookout at the top of the tower. It had a cement floor and evenly spaced viewing windows crosshatched with heavy-gauge steel to prevent flyers from testing their wings, or projectiles from landing on passersby.

Daphne held her arms crossed tightly, accentuating an anxiety uncommon in her. Her brown hair spilled over her face hiding her eyes, and when she cleared it, he saw fear where there was usually the spark of excitement. Her square-shouldered, assertive posture collapsed in sagging defeat.

She wore the same blue slacks and cotton sweater he had seen her wearing at work. She had not been to her houseboat yet. “What is it?” he asked, worried by this look of hers.

Her chin cast a shadow hiding the scar on her neck. She did not answer immediately. “It’s a potential
black hole
,” she explained—a difficult if not impossible case to solve, and with political overtones. And then he understood: She had bypassed the proper procedures to give him a chance to sidestep this investigation before he formally inherited it at the cop shop. Why she would have a
black hole
in the first place confused him. The department’s psychologist did not lead investigations; she kept cops from swallowing barrels, and profiled the loonies that kept Boldt and the others chasing body bags. She assisted in interrogations. She could take any side of any discussion and make a convincing argument out of it. She was the best listener he knew.

BOOK: Boldt 03 - No Witnesses
12.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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