Read Hide From Evil Online

Authors: Jami Alden

Tags: #General, #Fiction, #Romance, #Thrillers, #Suspense, #Adult

Hide From Evil (3 page)

BOOK: Hide From Evil
9.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Krista started to ask who that was when her gaze snagged on a silver-framed photo on Jimmy’s desk. She recognized Jimmy Caparulo, dressed in army fatigues. He looked younger, smiling into the camera with his arms slung over the shoulders of the two other men in the photo. Her breath caught as she recognized the other two.

Flanking Jimmy on the left, looking like a fallen angel with his dark hair and piercing eyes, was Sean Flynn, the man whose face had haunted her, waking and sleeping, from the day she’d watched him walk out of the courtroom a free man.

But the man in the picture wasn’t the Sean Flynn she knew. Gone were the deep, grim lines in his cheeks, the tight mouth, the eyes dark with anger.

In the picture was a Sean that Krista had never seen. Eyes sparkling with humor, mouth wide open and laughing, his teeth bright white in contrast to his sun-baked skin. So happy and gorgeous it was hard to believe she’d ever thought he was a murderer.

And on Jimmy’s right, Nate Brewster, the epitome of an American hero, his flawless blond, blue-eyed perfection hiding the well of evil at the root of his soul. Evil that had ruined the lives of the men who considered him a friend.

Now Jimmy was dead, just as he was about to reveal the secrets Brewster had killed to keep.

Despite Medina’s assessment, Krista knew in her gut it was no coincidence. “Make sure you check the window outside for signs of forced entry,” she said to the tech dusting for fingerprints, who looked confused by the order but nodded in agreement.

Who else could be hurt by the information Jimmy had? What was she missing?

Before she could ponder the question further, her phone rang. When she recognized Stew’s number, she ducked out of the bedroom and into the bathroom across the hall, closing the door before she picked up.

“Jimmy Caparulo’s dead,” she said.

“I know,” Stew said. “The late local news already picked it up. They’re saying he killed himself after the trauma of being framed for the Slasher murders.”

“Conveniently on the same night he was going to meet me,” Krista said. “I don’t care how the ruling ends up. I don’t think this was a suicide.”

“I’ll look into it. But that’s not why I called you. I think I found something.”

“Yeah?”

“I’ve been tracking Brewster’s financials and I think I’ve found something. Could be something big.”

Chapter 2

K
rista went through everything one last time before she headed for Benson’s office. She wanted to make sure all of her ammo was in order.

She hadn’t been surprised in the least when he’d left a message last night at midnight asking that she meet him first thing. By then he must have found out about Jimmy Caparulo’s alleged suicide and about how Krista showed up at the scene after her number popped up on Jimmy’s phone about half a dozen times.

Benson was understandably curious. Curiosity that would be followed shortly by anger once she told Benson she was meeting Jimmy Caparulo as part of an independent investigation into a case that he considered emphatically closed.

He didn’t disappoint. “What part of ‘drop it’ don’t you understand? Nate Brewster is dead, Sean Flynn is free, and we don’t have the time or the resources to waste on some theory you have that Brewster wasn’t working alone.”

“We have every reason to believe there were others involved. There are witnesses who are willing to give statements to that effect.”

Benson cocked a skeptical brow at her. “Witnesses? Don’t you mean witness? One that has disappeared off the face of the earth?”

Krista forced herself not to drop her gaze like some timid teenager. “Talia Vega could have important information.” Unfortunately the prosecution’s star witness in Sean’s original trial had disappeared almost immediately after she’d been rescued, along with Megan Flynn, from Nate Brewster’s brutal clutches.

“And you only know that secondhand, from Sean Flynn’s sister. Hardly a reliable source.”

Krista’s eyes narrowed. “I consider Megan a reliable source, and even if I didn’t, you know as well as I do that Detective Williams is solid.”

Benson replied with a skeptical grunt.

“And you can’t tell me the files deleted from Brewster’s computer don’t raise a red flag,” Krista continued.

“Yes, they do, but with nothing else to go on, our hands are tied.”

“And yesterday Jimmy Caparulo turns up dead, right after he tells me he has information about Brewster. You don’t think that’s a little too much of a coincidence?”

Benson’s thick gray eyebrows raised above the wire rims of his glasses. “He was a disturbed young man struggling with serious PTSD and addiction issues. I imagine you’d have to take any information he provided with a huge grain of salt.”

Krista opened her mouth to protest but Benson silenced her with a raised hand. “We’ve been through all of this, and I keep telling you, there’s not enough to go on—”

“What about this?” Krista had been waiting for the right moment to break out the new information Stew had discovered. She slid the paper across Benson’s desk and perched on the edge of her seat as she waited for his reaction to her bombshell.

“What am I looking at?”

“A bank statement, from one of Brewster’s offshore accounts. One we just found, under a dummy corporation.”

“He had several, including the one he used as a holding company for Club One. What makes this one different?”

“There are three ten-thousand-dollar deposits: one on May fourth, one on October sixth of last year, and one on March third this year.”

“So?”

Krista kept her jaw from dropping. Benson was only in his early fifties, and she had never known him to be anything but razor sharp. Was it possible that edge was starting to dull? “March third was when Bianca Delagrossa was murdered.” She’d been found in a trailer park, tortured, raped, and murdered in the Slasher’s signature style. “And at least one of the other deposits coincides with when he murdered another victim.”

“Which means what?”

“Which means it’s possible someone was paying Nate to kill those women.” She sat back and folded her arms, waiting for Benson to congratulate her on her insight.

Instead, Benson leaned back in his chair, slipped off his glasses, and rubbed his eyes. “Krista, you have got to stop spinning your wheels on this. I think you’ve gotten so close to this case you’ve lost all perspective.”

“What do you mean? What if someone was paying him to kill those women?” She knew her theory was radical, but when dealing with psychotic minds you had to allow for all possibilities.

“Brewster was sick. He killed several women. He also ran a very successful
legitimate
computer consulting business. Don’t you think it’s possible that a customer might have happened to pay him on the same day one of the murders occurred?”

This time Krista couldn’t keep her jaw from falling open. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Why won’t you even consider that he wasn’t working alone—”

Benson slammed his palm to his desk, sending a stack of files to the floor. “Because we have a backlog of three dozen fucking cases, we’re going to lose at least three people because of budget cuts, and one of my best prosecutors is wasting her time on a case that was closed months ago!” He snapped his mouth shut and closed his eyes. When he spoke again, his voice was calmer, but the lines of tension around his mouth were still there. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t speak to you like that.” He rubbed his eyes tiredly and when he looked at her again, it was with a paternal smile edged with exasperation. “Krista, your thoroughness and your commitment are things I appreciate most about you, but I’m asking you, please. Let this go. For both our sakes, I need you to turn your focus to something that really matters.”

Krista could barely see through the red fog hazing her brain. She couldn’t believe the man she’d looked to for advice on everything from whom she should call on as an expert witness to whether she should buy a house or a condo was dismissing her suspicions out of hand. “Sean Flynn was sentenced to death and Jimmy Caparulo is dead along with seven other women because we went after the wrong guy. Now I come across evidence that Nate might not have been working alone and you think that doesn’t matter?”

“There’s a difference between information and evidence, Krista. I can’t open an investigation based on what you’ve given me.” He reached down to gather the files he’d knocked to the floor. “Now, we need to find another angle in the Karev case. We need to think about…”

Krista barely heard a word as he droned on about his strategy for the investigation. He really expected her to drop it. Just tuck her tail between her legs and ignore the fact that she was sure Brewster hadn’t been working alone. When she’d first been hired fresh out of law school, she would have shrugged aside her suspicions and trotted obediently away.

But that was before she’d encountered Sean Flynn.

“I have a lot of vacation days piled up,” she blurted out in the middle of Benson’s speech.

“What?” he said, startled. “You can’t. After today’s setback we have to completely rebuild our case against Karev—”

“Chandler can take it,” Krista said. “He’s dying to get in on Karev’s case.” Luke Chandler had been hired three years ago, and he was hungry for a big case to beef up his profile.

“I don’t want Chandler on this case. I want you.”

Krista shook her head. “My head isn’t in the game, not like it needs to be. You said so yourself. Just give me a couple weeks to get it straightened out. Let me see this through.”

“You’re on the fast track here, Krista,” Mark said, not unkindly. “If you take off in the middle of a case like this, you could be risking everything you’ve worked so hard for.”

Krista didn’t have the heart to tell the man who had taken her under his wing and fostered her from the very beginning that, after the last few months, she wasn’t sure she wanted to be on any track in this office, fast or not. “I understand,” she said. She rose from her chair and gathered her printout of the bank statements.

“Leave that here,” Benson said. Krista shrugged and handed over the copy. Maybe if he took more time to study it he’d finally see what she did.

 

Mark Benson waited until Krista had shut his office door behind her before he reached into the bottom-right-hand drawer of his desk. He grabbed the bottle in the back without looking.

He kept the bottle of fifty-year-old Macallan to commemorate his greatest victories, like the day Sean Flynn was pronounced guilty and Krista had knocked back two fingers with him in celebration. At the time they’d been flush with the triumph of nailing a sadistic killer to the wall.

He also kept the bottle for the days when things went to utter shit. Like when, two years later, Sean Flynn’s conviction had been overturned and the whole thing had blown up in their faces, and the open-and-shut case had revealed itself to be more complicated than anyone ever could have imagined.

When he’d gone for the death penalty, he’d believed with every fiber of his being that Flynn was guilty. He’d had no idea that conviction would land him in a quagmire of shit with no visible way out.

The public relations nightmare that had ensued after they’d sent an innocent man to death row had been hell. The Seattle PD and the prosecuting attorney’s office were painted as a bunch of bloodthirsty incompetents, and even Krista’s work to make sure Sean was cleared of all charges hadn’t done much to repair their reputation.

If only that was the worst of it. But right now his image issues were the least of his problems. And Krista’s unrelenting crusade to discover the truth about Nate Brewster threatened to send it all erupting to the surface, spewing forth like lava, destroying everything. Destroying the lives and careers of countless others.

Others who understood that sometimes people had to die to keep their secrets safe.

Damn it.

Despite their efforts to make it look like the murders and the prostitution ring began and ended with Brewster, there were too many loose ends for Krista to track down and tie together.

Now they were calling on Mark to stop her, to help them get this mess cleaned up before the whole world found out how deep the rot really went.

He wished he could tell them they had nothing to worry about, that Krista would never find anything, that they were safe. He squeezed his eyes against the burn of tears. Krista, damn her, was one of the only people smart enough, relentless enough, to piece together the truth if she wasn’t stopped.

And she wasn’t going to stop on her own. She’d made that clear when she walked out the door.

He stared at the phone. Maybe he should play dumb. Pretend he had no idea what Krista was up to, act blindsided when she went public with her accusations. As soon as the notion crossed his mind, he dismissed it. If Krista wasn’t stopped in her tracks, the fallout would be immeasurable. Starting with him, destroying his family before it spread like a virus until the whole damn city fell apart.

It wasn’t even nine in the morning yet, but he knew he needed the whisky’s bracing effects to handle what he needed to do next.

He poured himself half a glass of scotch and swallowed it in two gulps. The next glass he sipped more slowly, thinking about Krista and the way she’d come out of law school, figurative guns blazing in the name of truth, justice, and the American way.

Young and fresh with her startling, old-Hollywood ice-princess beauty—not that she’d ever tried to use her looks to get ahead. A real ballbuster, but with a heart of gold and an unshakeable core of integrity under her no-nonsense attitude. Making her way in the boys’ club with a no-bullshit demeanor that had the toughest gangbangers reluctant to face her in the courtroom.

She reminded him of himself thirty years ago, full of zeal and passion. Before he’d learned the compromises and tradeoffs he’d have to make to climb this high. Before he’d realized who really controlled the system of so-called law and order in which he worked.

He swallowed the last of his scotch, his hand shaking as he reached for the phone. The liquor churned in his stomach like acid and he hesitated. Maybe there was another way. Maybe he could throw her a bone, let her carry on her investigation while making sure she was fed enough misinformation…

BOOK: Hide From Evil
9.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Marked Man by William Lashner
The Unearthing by Karmazenuk, Steve, Williston, Christine
Dead Soldiers by Crider, Bill
La isla de los hombres solos by José León Sánchez
Special Delivery by Traci Hohenstein
Ninety Days by Bill Clegg