Years ago, Lou's wife Liz had an extramarital affair with David Hayes, a young computer specialist at the bank where she is an executive. Drained by the overwhelming demands of marriage to a high-profile cop, Liz fell into the temptation of an office fling, which she soon regretted. When Liz ended the relationship after reconciling with Lou, Hayes reacted by engaging in a daring embezzlement scheme that left millions missing. The money was never found.
Now, years later, David Hayes is released from prison, only to be cornered and pressured by people who will torture and kill to get the missing money. Hayes contacts Liz and tries to coerce her into helping him gain access to the bank's mainframe. But for Liz, the past is only that. Torn between wanting to protect herself, her marriage, and also the bank, she is manipulated into playing double-agent by a former colleague of Boldt's - without her husband's knowledge. Boldt, sworn to uphold the law, but with his wife caught in the middle, must skate a delicate line between duty-bound detective and jealous husband if he is to find the bank's money and keep his family from shattering. Then when Hayes goes missing, and no body is found, Boldt must combine ruse with violent action to sort out lie from fact.
Release date: April 6, 2004
Publisher: Hachette Books
Print pages: 352
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The Body of David Hayes
The Crown Vic bumped through a pothole that would have knocked dentures out. Boldt’s eyes shifted focus briefly to catch his reflection in the silver of the windshield. Boldt had crossed forty a few years back, tinges of gray gave a hint of it. He was in the best physical shape of his professional career thanks to Weight Watchers, a renewed interest in tennis, and a regimen of sit-ups and push-ups in front of CNN each morning. He scratched at his tie, seeing that he was wearing some of his dinner, a familiar tendency, and hit a second pothole because of the distraction. His head came up to catch a glimpse of a closed gas station. Plywood tombstones where the pumps should have been, the signs torn down, the neon beer ads gone from the windows.
He turned down a muddy lane, dodging the first of many emergency vehicles. The air hung heavy with mist, Seattle working its way out of a lazy fall and into the steady, cold drizzle of winter. Three to five months of it depending on El Niño or La Niña—Boldt couldn’t keep straight which was which.
Beneath twin sliding glass windows on the butt end, the once white house trailer carried a broken, chrome script that Boldt reassembled in his head to read EverHome. It had come to rest in a patch of weedy lawn that needed cutting and was accessed by a poured concrete path, broken and heaved like calving icebergs. The emergency vehicles included a crime scene unit van, a King County Sheriff patrol car, and an ambulance with its hood up. Technically the scene was the Seattle Police Department’s and therefore Boldt’s, but Danny Foreman’s career had landed him first in the Sheriff’s Department, then SPD, and now BCI, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, what some states called the investigative arm of the state police. Boldt wasn’t going to start pawing the dirt in a turf war. Danny Foreman was well liked, both despite and because of his unorthodox approach to law enforcement. To his detriment and to his favor he played it solo whenever possible; it had won him accolades and gotten him into trouble. The job was as much politics as it was raw talent, and Foreman lacked political skills, which to Boldt explained their mutual respect.
Foreman lay on a stretcher inside a thicket of blackberry bushes that grabbed at Boldt’s pant legs. A balloonlike device had been inserted into Danny’s mouth. A woman squeezed the bag while monitoring her sports watch. Foreman, a dark-skinned African American, looked wiry and older than the early fifties Boldt knew him to be. Tired and beaten down. His nap was graying now and cut short, and a pattern of black moles spread beneath both eyes, lending him the masklike look of a raccoon. Could it possibly have been as long as all that?
Boldt was quickly caught up to date by a deputy sheriff and the paramedic, both interrupting each other to finish the other’s sentence. The deputy sheriff knew the name Boldt and acted like a teenager in front of a rock star, trying to impress while fawning at the same time. Boldt had enough headlines to fill a scrapbook, but wasn’t inclined to keep one. He had the highest case clearance per average in the history of the Seattle Police Department. He had rumors to defeat and stories to live up to, and none of it mattered a damn to him, which only served to provoke more of the same.
Foreman had apparently been hit by a projectile stun gun and “subsequent to that”—these people all spoke the same way, and though Boldt was probably supposed to as well, he’d never taken up the language—”the subject was administered a dose of an unknown drug with behavioral characteristics not dissimilar to those of Rohypnol.” The date rape drug of choice, alternately known as roofies, ruffies, roche, R-2, rib, and rope, produced sedation, muscle relaxation, and amnesia in the victim, more commonly a coed found later with her panties down than a cop on a stakeout.
The ambulance on the scene was having engine trouble, and though a second ambulance had been dispatched, efforts were being made to get this one started. Boldt’s chest tightened with anticipation as he learned that the combination of the medication and the stun gun had resulted in “respiratory depression.” Foreman had nearly stopped breathing. He’d been unconscious for almost fifteen minutes.
“Look what the dog drug in,” a blinking Foreman said suddenly, his voice slurred behind the drug.
His gaining consciousness sent the paramedic into high gear, shouting out numbers like a sports announcer.
“You took a stun dart,” Boldt said. “Then they roped you.”
“Feel like Jell-O. No bones, discounting the one I got for Emma, my nurse here.”
“Keep it in your pants, Danny,” the woman said, grinning, “or I’ll search my bag for the hemostats.”
“Emma and I went to high school together.”
“We went to the same high school,” Emma corrected for Boldt’s sake. “Only Agent Foreman graduated twenty-eight years ahead of my class.”
“Always technicalities with you,” Foreman said.
“We met outside of work,” Emma further explained. To Foreman she said, “And here I am with my hand on your heart.”
“Wish our situations were reversed.”
“It’s the medication loosening his tongue,” Emma said. “Next thing he’ll be proposing. Good part is, he won’t remember any of this.”
“Seriously?” Boldt asked.
“Doubtful. He’ll sleep soon, and when he wakes he’ll have lost most of the last few hours.”
“Bullshit,” Foreman said. “I’m as clear as day.”
“Starting when?” Behind him Boldt heard the ambulance’s engine rev and a handful of half-assed cheers.
“I’ve got a vague recollection of thinking a dog had bit me, or a bee stung me. That’s about it.”
“A stakeout?” Boldt inquired. “A solo stakeout?”
“Meaning you will, or will not share the identity of whomever it was you were watching in that trailer?”
“I’ll need a kiss before I can answer that.” Foreman added, “From her, not you.”
“Fat chance,” the medic said.
As they strapped Foreman into the stretcher, Boldt collected more bits and pieces: Foreman had gone off-radio while on duty, which had eventually caused his own people to go looking for him. BCI had called King County Sheriff, asking for a BOLO—Be On Lookout. A patrol unit had found Foreman’s car—a brand-new Cadillac Escalade—which had eventually led to discovering Foreman out cold in the bushes. Boldt was told the house trailer held “a good deal of blood evidence.”
While the EMTs loaded Foreman into the ambulance Boldt conducted a quick examination of the trailer. A tubeframe lawn chair in the center of the small living room looked to be the origin of most of the blood. The scarlet stains radiated out like the spokes of a wheel. Dirty dishes filled the sink and the television was on, tuned to a rerun of Con Air.
The gloved forensics guy told Boldt the only thing they’d touched was the mute button on the remote: “The volume was deafening.” Boldt filed this away as important information.
Several pizza boxes were stacked on the counter, the cardboard oil-stained, indicating age. In the back bedroom, a room about eight by ten feet, he took in the unmade bed and clothes on the floor.
“We seem to be missing a body,” Boldt said.
KCSO CSU was stenciled across the back of the man’s white paper coveralls, the crime scene unit of the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Boldt repeated, “Do we have a body?”
The man turned around. He wore plastic safety glasses over a pinched face. “We’re told we have an earlier ID made on the possible victim by the surveillance team. The mobile home’s rented to one David Hayes. Male. Caucasian. Thirty-four. Our guy claims Hayes was observed inside this structure earlier this evening.” Boldt experienced a small stab of anxiety; he knew the name, yet couldn’t place it. Another unpleasant reminder of his being on the other side of forty.
“Your guy, or BCI’s guy? Are you talking about Agent Foreman?”
“We are. We do BCI’s forensics,” the technician clarified. Boldt had forgotten about the arrangement between BCI and the Sheriff’s Office. SPD had their own lab and field personnel.
The ambulance driver wouldn’t let Boldt ride along, so he followed in the Crown Vic. Once at the hospital, while they awaited processing, Boldt found himself a sugar-and-cream tea and joined Foreman in the emergency room. No one seemed in any great hurry to help.
“A pro job by the look of it,” Boldt said.
“Sounds like it.”
“Who’s David Hayes? And why is his name so familiar to me?”
“It’s a case we’re working.”
“We? Are you sure about that, Danny? Because I may have squirreled things for you there, without meaning to. I called your Lieu on the way over here. He said they’d assigned CSU to your assault. He didn’t know anything about any stakeout, anything about a bloody trailer. You put CSU into that trailer when they showed up, Danny, didn’t you? This is before you lost your breath and went unconscious. Isn’t that right?”
“Hayes was paroled from Geiger four days ago. Two years in medium, two in minimum.”
“And someone wanted him more than you did. Why’s
“Seventeen million reasons.”
The light finally went on in Boldt’s head. “He’s the
A wire fraud case involving his wife’s bank, six or seven years earlier. Seventeen million intercepted electronically. Not a penny recovered. “A Christmas party,” Boldt said.
“I met the guy, Hayes, at a Christmas party. For Liz’s bank.” Sparks firing on top of sparks. “You were with us at the time.”
“I was in my fifth year with Fraud. Yeah. Before Darlene’s illness. Before everything. Like eighteen-hour shifts for me.”
“It was wire fraud, right?”
“Fucking black hole is what it was.” Police used the term to define an unsolvable case. “We collared Hayes—by luck, mostly. We never recovered the software he used, and we never found the money. More important, we never uncovered whose money it was. We knew it was headed offshore, but it never got there. That meant someone had seventeen million bucks he was willing to lose rather than identify himself. That’s what interested us.”
Boldt considered this and offered unsolicited advice. “A cop pulling an unauthorized stakeout on a guy who helped steal seventeen million dollars is going to get asked some questions, Danny.”
Foreman said nothing.
More of the case came back to Boldt. It had been a bad time for him and Liz. He remembered that especially. “So we put the bloodbath in the trailer down to the rightful owners of the seventeen mil coming after Hayes,” Boldt speculated.
Foreman changed the subject.
“We couldn’t prove the money ever left the bank. Bank figured it got deposited into some brokerage account, papered over by Hayes. Still inside the bank’s system. There, but not there. A real whiz kid, our David Hayes. A real wunderkind,” he said, with the animosity of a scorned investigator. Boldt knew the feeling. “He was twenty-seven at the time, and the bank had basically given him control over anything with a chip inside it. They even called him that: ‘Chip.’ His nickname.”
“Did you write this up? The stakeout?” Boldt brought it back to the here and now.
“No one in BCI gives a shit about a cold case like this. Ask around. I guarantee you this isn’t anywhere on SPD’s radar either.”
“Tell me you’re not pulling a Lone Ranger, because you know that’s how this is going to play.”
“Do I want the money? Yes. For me personally? Come on! This is about closing a black hole, nothing more.”
“And you think that’s how it’s going to play?” Boldt repeated. “What the hell were you thinking?”
“We connect the dots on this, Lou, it’s going to prove me out.”
“You’re investigating my assault, right? SPD is in on this now.”
It almost sounded as if Foreman had planned it that way. Boldt wouldn’t put it past him. “You took a dive in order to get a case reopened?”
“It’s not like that.”
Part of Boldt wanted to congratulate the man if this were the case. Any cop taking a hit, even a Lone Ranger, was certain to awaken the sleeping giant of the SPD bureaucracy. The other part of him didn’t want to give Foreman that kind of credit, didn’t want to see a friend misuse the system, didn’t want to believe the assault had been anything but a surprise to Danny Foreman. Most of all, he didn’t want to think that Danny had caused that bloodbath inside the trailer and then done damage to himself in order to cover it up.
“Remember, Lou, this was Liz’s bank. Still is, right? Tell me they don’t want their money back. Or maybe you don’t remember. I promise you Liz remembers.”
Boldt felt stung by the comment, and he wasn’t sure why. He remembered plenty. Just seeing Foreman’s face and hearing his voice triggered any number of memories. The cancer ward at University. Darlene Foreman’s funeral. A wake for her, while Liz healed and grew stronger. A growing distance between them as Foreman stopped calling and stopped returning calls.
“What the hell happened to us?” Boldt asked.
“Liz lived,” Foreman answered, as if he’d been waiting to say this for years. And perhaps he had. “Resentment. Envy. Hang any name on it you want—that’s what happened. And I’m supposed to tell you I’m sorry, but I’m not. I still can’t bear the thought of being around you two. Throws me right back into all my shit. Seeing you now, it’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong. But not with her. Not the two of you. Not together. I feel cheated, Lou, and my guess is it’ll never go away.”
“You want me to pass this off to someone?” Boldt wanted nothing to do with the case, nothing to do with old wounds like these.
“It isn’t like that.”
“I’d offer LaMoia but he’s tied up in a seminar. Two weeks of counterterrorism.”
“Heaven help the enemy. Nah. My guys’ll take care of this in-house. I realize it falls within city limits, but cut us some slack and we’ll save you the paperwork.”
“That doesn’t sit right with me. You’re saying you don’t want me to open this up?” Was Foreman playing him? Taking it away so that Boldt would reach all the harder for it? And why was he suckering into it?
“It’s open now, isn’t it? I know how you are. Leave it be, Lou. Be a pal and pass it off to my guys.”
It still felt like an attempt at reverse psychology. The paperwork finally came through and Foreman was officially admitted. An X-ray orderly arrived to escort Foreman to the “photo booth.” Boldt stayed seated in the uncomfortable chair, a three-week-old copy of People magazine dog-eared in the Plexiglas rack, Stephen King looking at him sideways.
Boldt called out, “I’ll wait and see if you need a ride home.”
Foreman trundled off, his walk giving away the lingering effect of the drugs. Boldt felt a knot in his throat, still stunned that friendship could go so far wrong, guilty for getting all the breaks while Danny Foreman had gotten none.
He hunkered down for a long wait, thinking to call Liz so she didn’t wait up. Liz lived. Boldt heard the words echo around in his head. Like it was some kind of crime.
LIZ BOLDT FINISHED HER MORNING run with sex on her mind. It wasn’t often she hungered for it like this, but she seized the moment, sprinting up the back steps and through the kitchen door. Her battle with lymphoma had taken some of the meat off her bones a few years earlier, but she’d filled out since and she knew her husband liked the way she looked in her running clothes. She hurried into the living room where she found Lou down on the carpet in front of a quiet television, grunting softly through a string of sit-ups. The possibility of their joining in the shower heightened her sense of urgency. The kids would be up in a matter of minutes. Lou had been out late on a call, and consequently he was running much later than usual.
“You got back late last night,” she said. “What happened?”
“Yeah, after two. It was Danny Foreman. Someone took it to him pretty badly.” “Beat him up? Danny?”
“Drugged him. Knocked him out cold. Harborview released him and I drove him home. He’ll mend.”
“We haven’t seen him in ages.” She felt awful about it, especially given Darlene’s death. But Foreman wasn’t the only friend they’d “lost” to the shift of kids and parenting. Their social calendar, never too full to begin with, given the demanding hours of both the bank and the police department, rarely included dinner with friends outside the smallest of circles. Liz’s promotion three years earlier to executive vice president of Information Technology, a division that prior to that promotion she’d known little about, had come only months after her remission from cancer and only a year and a half behind the birth of their second child.
“Yeah.” Lou sat up and grabbed around his knees. “We talked about that a little. He’s got issues.”
“We should have had him over to dinner.”
“Him and about a dozen others.”
“No, I mean it,” she said. “As close as I was to Darlene? All those months?”
Lou stood. Liz couldn’t remember him looking this fit. He said, “Which, as it turns out, is why he wouldn’t have accepted anyway.”
“You’re not serious?”
“Totally. He resents that you lived and Darlene didn’t.”
She felt a spike of heat as a wave of indignation and guilt clouded her thought. “He said that?”
“It wouldn’t have been a pleasant dinner.”
“I should say not.”
“It isn’t aimed at you personally—”
“No, not at all,” she said sarcastically, cutting him off.
“It’s us as a couple, apparently. Understandable, when you think about it.”
“It’s not understandable, and it’s not excusable. If there’s a problem there, it’s entirely our fault for not working harder when it counted. Did we even see him after the service?”
“Of course we did. A bunch of times. But it obviously didn’t work for him.”
Liz wondered what other tragedies lay in their wake. Children caused some serious waves.
“Listen, I beat myself up over this last night, but I’m all right with it, I think. It’s all yours.”
“Thanks a lot,” she said.
She offered to shower first and take over the breakfast duty, and he thanked her for it. She had to organize Sarah’s tote, but that wouldn’t take but a minute. She caught herself laying out how to juggle the next forty-five minutes in order to carry it off smoothly. No one in the family did well when the kids turned the morning into a zoo.
While Boldt showered she dressed, taking her time to get it right. Miles entered, sleepy-eyed, awakened by the sound of the shower. The same every morning. Liz slipped into autopilot. Dress them. Brush their hair while they brushed their teeth. Beds made. Breakfast going. A pot of English Breakfast for Lou, which seemed to surprise him. She could tell she’d be a few minutes late to work this morning. But what was, was. She had no desire to change it.
Over a hurried breakfast, they managed fragments of a conversation.
“Danny’s case,” she said, moving around the kitchen, now tidying up. “Anything interesting?”
“That wire fraud case. The seventeen million.”
“Our case?” she said, surprised. “The bank?”
“You introduced us once. The guy they caught. Remember? It was a Christmas party I think. That guy.”
“David Hayes,” she said softly.
“He’s out on parole.”
The first butterfly wings fluttered in her chest. She moved toward the wall calendar, as if interested in the week ahead: a dinner date at Jazz Alley and a church board meeting for her, piano lessons for Miles and ballet for Sarah again next Monday. Parole? Already? Was it possible?
“You didn’t know?”
Had she spoken her thoughts aloud? She cautioned herself: Steady!
“I would have thought the bank would have been told. That you guys would all be up to speed. On the lookout, as it were.”
“We will. I’m sure we are.”
“Well, that’s Danny’s case. Sort of. Not really. It gets complicated.”
“Yes, it does. It must,” she said, heading for an open chair and sitting down with the kids. Some things were impossible to juggle.
A bald eagle with a wingspan of nearly six feet soared past Liz Boldt’s twenty-ninth-floor office window at eye level. She took it as an omen, even though she didn’t believe in such things. Liz’s beliefs were rooted firmly in God. And though she preached to no one, not even her children, she prayed her way through her trials and celebrations. Every day offered her an opportunity to learn something about herself, sometimes strengthening, sometimes testing that faith. She lived to see joy in the eyes of her children, to hear laughter around the house. The smallest things in life proved of the greatest significance. Selfishness, which she now felt had predestined her to cancer and to her rediscovery of faith, was a thing of the past. She had wrestled that demon free, throwing herself into service. She thought of her responsibilities in terms of a pyramid, with God at the top, her children and husband next, her church, her job, her community…
Paroled. It felt like falling out of remission. She had little doubt of where this was headed, only how to handle it.
Her family, her job, even WestCorp’s reputation and therefore possibly the upcoming merger, could all come tumbling down around her if she didn’t manage this exactly right. The eagle represented something frightening: a phoenix, David Hayes, risen from his own ashes.
Her phone rang, and she answered it.
Paralysis. Her breath caught in her throat like swallowing water too fast. She knew his voice instantly.
“Tommy’s cabin. Five o’clock. Watch for anyone following. Coast to the side of the road. Open the hood like there’s something wrong. Shut it if you’re in the clear and climb back inside. You’ve got to do this, Liz. Please. I’m in serious trouble.”
With the sound of the click, she too hung up the phone, her hand trembling, her mouth dry, a sickening feeling worming through her. Stunned, she sat motionless, steam wafting from the cup of decaf. Her eyes stung.
The phone purred a second time but she would not answer it. Feeling as if she might throw up, she hooked the trash can with her foot and dragged it closer. A bubble wedged in her throat.
Tears threatened behind a screaming in her ears. Fingernails on a blackboard. She forced prayer to replace her thought, her memories, relying on an invisible force that supported her.
It had started innocently enough. Not so innocent later. And after that a pale, quivering need, a hunger of addictive proportions. The wet slap of flesh and the teeth-gnawing cries of secreted pleasure. A crime, and she the perpetrator. Her husband, the cop.
Her office intercom chirped, snapping her to the present. She didn’t answer it. Everyone, everything outside this office suddenly felt like a violation.
Anger stole through her, overcame her, because she knew above all else, that she would do exactly as he’d instructed.
Nothing would be allowed to come between the peace and happiness she and her husband and their family had found.
She would end this again, as she had ended it once before.
Six years earlier, in the same office, she had waited impatiently behind her desk, unable to get any work done before someone arrived, annoyed that these things took so long. It was suddenly as if, with her computer frozen, she had nothing to do. Though she knew this was untrue, that there was plenty on her desk that needed her attention, she couldn’t bring herself to it, her excuse the unresponsive screen in front of her and the resident terror that her data might be lost. She brooded, like a spoiled little girl, angry at herself for pouting instead of getting something done.
Finally, a knock on her door, and she looked up in time to see him enter. A kid in his mid-twenties. A little pale, but with sweet, intelligent eyes and a habit of pursing his lips between words as he spoke, as if everything he said held some secret irony for him. Dark hair and strong shoulders. She took him for a rock climber, or one of the army of twenty-somethings that headed into the surrounding forests on weekends in search of extreme outdoor experiences.
“I’m David. I.T.,” he said, referring to the bank’s Information Technologies department.
“Liz Boldt.” She held him in the same regard as she did a garage mechanic, or the guy who came to fix the refrigerator at home. “You want my chair?”
“I’d like to sit in it,” he said. “I don’t need to take it with me.”
A wise guy, at that. She stood behind and to his left, wanting to see what it was he did to her machine, wanting to step in and move him away if he restored the spreadsheet she’d been working on, because it contained figures such bank employees should not see.
He typed at a speed she thought reserved for only the highest-paid executive secretaries. It seemed at times his left hand typed while his right worked the mouse, navigating through a dozen screens so quickly that she failed to identify a single one.
“Control panel?” she asked.
“Typing, yes,” he said. “Not in everything.”
She thought him rude for the comment, but wasn’t about to say so, wasn’t about to piss off the one guy capable of getting her back to work.
“You were working a spreadsheet?”
“You’d like the data back?” “If possible. Please.”
“It’s all ones and zeros—anything’s possible.”
If only that were true, she thought. She and Lou had been nearly as frozen, as malfunctioning, as her computer.
David Hayes stopped what he was doing and looked back at her. Again, she wondered if she had spoken some of her thoughts aloud. Was there any other explanation for that inquisitive expression of his? Had he asked her something, and she’d missed it?
He returned to his work at the keyboard, but in that penetrating look of his she experienced both terror and excitement. Terror, because she didn’t know what she’d missed, excitement because from somewhere within her bubbled up a primitive urge born of flesh and nerve and the raw juices that pulsed through her. She dismissed this physical response as nothing more than an errant sensation, like being barefoot on a carpet and having a spark fly from fingertip to wall switch. A low-energy warmth flooded her entire body. She tried her best to ignore it.
He left a few minutes later, her data restored on the screen, but not before she’d made the mistake of calling out to him, “You’re my hero!” This offering of hers created the opportunity for him to connect with another of those looks. This time, as the door closed behind him, she felt herself shudder toe to head, her body warming as if after a shot of liquor, and she knew she’d crossed some forbidden line.
Liz skipped out of work ea. . .
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