The Tin Collectors / The Viking Funeral (Shane Scully Series) [NOOK Book]


It's two Shane Scully novels in one from bestselling author Stephen J. Cannell: The Tin Collectors and Viking Funeral

If Detective Shane Scully's best friend, Jody Dean, committed suicide three years ago, then who did Shane just see for one fleeting moment on the Ventura Freeway?

He's convinced it was his former colleague. Or was his mind playing tricks? Shane's lover, Alexa Hamilton, herself a lauded LAPD officer, happens to think so. But ...

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The Tin Collectors / The Viking Funeral (Shane Scully Series)

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It's two Shane Scully novels in one from bestselling author Stephen J. Cannell: The Tin Collectors and Viking Funeral

If Detective Shane Scully's best friend, Jody Dean, committed suicide three years ago, then who did Shane just see for one fleeting moment on the Ventura Freeway?

He's convinced it was his former colleague. Or was his mind playing tricks? Shane's lover, Alexa Hamilton, herself a lauded LAPD officer, happens to think so. But Shane knows what he saw. And for a rogue cop with nothing left to lose, the search for Dean has become more than an investigation. It's become an obsession.

The first clue to Dean's secret lifeand suspicious deathis murder. The victim is Dean's former commanding officer. The connection taps into a corrupt, high-level conspiracy among L.A.'s finest that will put Shane and everyone he loves in harm's way. It will cut deep into the heart of betrayal and the meaning of friendship. And it will dare one cop already on the brink of madness to take on step further into darkness...

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Tin Collectors:

"If you like cop novels, you're going to love this one. Cannell is a pro at the top of his game." — Stephen Coonts

"Mr. Cannell's brand of thriller is served straight up...and he knows how to cut to the chase."—The New York Times

Praise for The Viking Funeral:

"Stephen J. Cannell's The Viking Funeral is the sort of fast and furious read you might expect from one television's most successful and inventive writer-production."—Los Angeles Times


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429936446
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Series: Shane Scully Series
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 800
  • Sales rank: 116,007
  • File size: 685 KB

Meet the Author

Stephen J. Cannell

In his thirty-five-year-career, Emmy Award-winning writer STEPHEN J. CANNELL created more than forty TV series. Among his hits were The Rockford Files, Silk Stalkings, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, Hunter, Renegade, Wiseguy, and The Commish. St. Martin’s Press is proud to have been his publisher for nearly a decade.


An Emmy Award-winning writer and producer of some of television's best-known pop cop dramas, including The Rockford Files, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, The Commish, and Wiseguy, Stephen J. Cannell has spent more than 35 years of writing for the big and small screens.

However, in one of crime fiction's most successful second acts, Cannell's career as a bestselling novelist began over two decades after he left his prints on the television world.

His debut novel, a political thriller called The Plan, burst onto the crime fiction beat in 1995. Said the New York Times Book Review of his first literary outing: "The thrust of the novel is unassailable." Cannell's follow-up, Final Victim, was a serial killer tale in the popular Silence of the Lambs vein. "Relentless.... Mesmerizing... Stephen J. Cannell is a great entertainer. The man can write," said The Washington Post Book World of Cannell's sophomore smash. Feature film rights to his third outing, a rollicking mob tale entitled King Con, were sold to MGM for $1 million, with Cannell writing the screenplay for the film and John Travolta slated to star.

Two other stand-alone thrillers, Riding the Snake (1998) and The Devil's Workshop (1999), were also well received, both critically and commercially. But Cannell would truly hit paydirt with the introduction of Shane Scully, a renegade LAPD sergeant who would come to star in a string of bestsellers beginning with 2001's The Tin Collectors. Named for those Internal Affairs officers who "police the police" -- and take the badges of cops who don't play by the rules -- the new turn displayed Cannell's "knack for character and a bent for drama that will satisfy even the most jaded thrill lover," according to Publishers Weekly.

Cannell's most recent books -- The Viking Funeral (2001) and Hollywood Tough (2002) -- continue to find Scully getting into all manner of dicey situations. but Cannell will always be there to bail him out for another adventure.

Good To Know

Cannell has severe dyslexia, a learning disability that forced him to be held back three grades before graduation from high school. Says Cannell in our interview, "I made one up, but I was certainly thought Least Likely to Succeed. This condition has helped to motivate me and has allowed me to enjoy my unexpected success as a writer for 35 years."

He has never had writer's block, which Cannell says he thinks "is usually caused by the desire to be perfect. The idea that I would be perfect at anything was knocked out of me by third grade. I write to entertain myself."

On his approach to writing, Cannell tells us, "I always try to write something I have never written before. This is why I have created such diverse TV series, ranging from the cartoonish A-Team to dark, cerebral dramas like Wiseguy."

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    1. Hometown:
      Pasadena, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 5, 1941
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      B.S., University of Oregon
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Tin Collectors/The Viking Funeral, The


Principles serve to govern conduct when there are no rules.

Dear Dad:
Charles Sandoval, who everybody calls Chooch, arrived this afternoon as planned (actually, I picked him up). This is already shaping up as one of my biggest boners. I pulled up at the fancy private school Sandy's got him enrolled in and I had to go to the principal's office to sign the pickup permission slip. The principal, John St. John, is a wheezing, hollow-chested geek who seems to honestly hate Chooch. The way he put it was: "That child is from the ninth circle." I had to ask, too. It's from Dante's Inferno. Apparently, the ninth circle is the circle closest to hell. Now that I've met Chooch, not an entirely inappropriate analogy. Then, this pale erection with ears hands me a packet of teacher evaluation slips. For a fifteen-year-old, his rap sheet is impressive ... pulled fire alarms, and fights in the school cafeteria (food as well as fists). Mr. St. John informs me that they have notified Sandy that Chooch is not to return to the Harvard Westlake School next semester and that I need to get him enrolled elsewhere (like this is all of a sudden supposed to be my problem). But it's not as if this boy doesn't have a good reason to be angry. I think I wrote you, he's a love child with one of Sandy's old clients. Making matters worse, Sandy doesn't want him to know how she makes her living, so she's been shipping him off to boarding schools since third grade.
Needless to say, I had no idea what I was getting into here.Maybe I can last the month until Sandy takes him back or sends him to the next sucker on her list. One way or another, I'll work it out.
I'm planning to get out to Florida again sometime next year. I was thinking you and I could rent one of those fishing boats like we did last time, drink some beer and cook what we catch over a beach fire. Those memories are treasures in my life.
I know, I know, cut the mush, blah ... blah ... blah. I miss you, Dad. That's all for now.
Love, Your son, Shane

SHANE WAS IN deep REM black. Way down there, but still he heard the telephone's electronic urgency. The sound hung over him, a vague shimmer, way above, up on the surface. Slowly he made his way to it, breaking consciousness, washed in confusion and anger. His bedroom was dark. The digital clock stung his eyeballs with a neon greeting: 2:16 A.M. He found the receiver and pressed it against his ear.
"Yeah," he said, his voice a croak and a whisper.
"Shane, he's trying to kill me," a woman hissed urgently.
"What ... who is this?"
"It's Barbara." She was whispering, but he could also hear a loud banging coming over the receiver on her end, as if somebody was trying to break down a door.
"He's trying to kill you?" he repeated, buying time so his mind could focus.
Barbara Molar. He hadn't seen her in over two months, andthen just for a moment at a police department ceremony, last year's Medal of Valor Awards. Her husband, Ray, had been one of three recipients.
A crash, then: "Jesus, get over here, Shane. Please. He'll listen to you. He's nuts, worse than ever."
Shane heard another crash. Barbara started screaming. He couldn't make out her next words, then: "Don't, please ..." She was whimpering, the phone was dropped on a hard floor, clattering, bouncing, getting kicked in some desperate struggle.
"Barbara? Barbara?" She didn't answer. He heard a distant, guttural grunting like a man sometimes makes during sex, or a fight.
Shane got out of bed and started gathering up clothes. He slipped into his pants and grabbed his faded LAPD sweatshirt. He snapped up his ankle gun, hesitated for a moment, then pulled it out, chambered it, and strapped it on. He ran out of his bedroom toward the garage without even looking for his shoes. He was already behind the wheel when he realized he had forgotten that Chooch Sandoval was asleep in the other bedroom. He wasn't used to having fifteen-year-old houseguests. He knew he shouldn't leave Chooch alone. The garage door was going up as he backed out his black Acura. Grabbing for his cell phone, he dialed a number from memory. He streaked down the back alley away from his Venice, California, canal house, as cold beach air slipstreamed past the side window onto his face.
Brian "Longboard" Kelly, his boned-out next-door neighbor, picked up the phone. "Whoever this is, fuck you" was the way he came on the line.
"Sorry, Brian, it's Shane. I got called out, and Chooch is still asleep in the guest bedrqom."
"Chooch? Who the hell ..."
"The kid I told you I was taking for the month. Sandy's kid. He came yesterday."
"Ohhh, man ..."
"Look, Brian, just go over and sleep on my couch. The key is in the pot by the back door."
"Good place, dickbrain. Who would ever think to look there?"
"Just do it, will ya? I'll owe ya."
"Fuckin' A." Longboard slammed the phone down in Shane's ear.
Shane was now at Washington Boulevard. He hung a left and headed the short distance to the Molar house. When they'd still been partners, he'd made this trip at least once'a day to pick up Ray, heading across Washington to South Venice Boulevard, through Gangbang Circle, where, once it got dark, the V-Thirteens and Shoreside Crips staged their useless, life-ending street actions, occasionally killing or wounding a tourist from Minnesota by mistake.
He shot across Abbot Kinney Boulevard and turned right onto California, finally coming to Shell Avenue. All the way there, he wondered why Barbara would call him. Why not dial 911? Of course, the answer was sort of obvious after he thought about it. Even though she was scared spitless, she still didn't want another domestic-violence beef in Ray's LAPD Internal Affairs jacket. He was a thirty-year veteran with a big pension, which another DV complaint would jeopardize. That pension was an asset that was half hers.
Still, Shane Scully was the last guy Ray Molar would want to see coming through his door, quoting departmental spousal-abuse regulations at two A.M. So why Shane? Why not Ray's current partner? He guessed he knew that answer, too. She called him because she thought she could control him, use him for protection, then keep him from talking. Also he was handy, only five miles away ... . Just like before, he had turned up as the double zero on her slow-turning roulette wheel.
When he got to Ray's small, wood-sided house, he pulled into the driveway behind Ray's car and jumped out. The hood was warm on the dark blue Cadillac Brougham; the lights were on in the house. Then he heard muffled screaming.
"Shit, I hate this," he mumbled softly, feeling the cold grass on his bare feet. He moved toward the house, tried the front door and, to his surprise, found it was open. Reluctantly, he stepped into his ex-partner's living room.
Ray's house always seemed delicate and overdecorated. Too much French fleur-de-lis upholstery, too many knickknacks and hanging lamps. It was Barbara's doing and definitely didn't seem like the lair of a street monster like Ray Molar. Ray should live in a cave, cooking over an open fire, throwing the gnawed bones over his shoulder.
Shane could hear Barbara's screams coming from the back of the house, so he moved in that direction. He came through the bedroom door just in time to see Ray Molar hit his slender, blond wife in the solar plexus with the butt end of his black metal street baton. Then, as she doubled over, he expertly swung the nightstick sideways, catching her in the side of the head with a "two from the ring" combat move ... a baton-fighting tactic taught to every recruit at the Police Academy. Shane stood frozen, as Barbara, her head bleeding badly, slumped to the floor, almost unconscious.
"Ray ..." Shane's voice, a raspy whisper, cut the temporary silence like a sickle slashing dry wheat. "What's the story here, buddy?"
Ray Molar swung around. He was at least six-four and weighed over two-forty, with huge shoulders and long arms. He had bristly blond hair and a corded, muscled neck. Adding to these Blutoesque dimensions was a huge jutting jaw and almost total lack of a forehead. "Get the fuck outta here, Scully. We don't need the Boy Scouts," Molar growled, his pupils round points of focused hatred.
Shane had seen that look in the street many times before and had come to fear it. "Let's just back off, slow down, and give it a rest, Ray." Shane was moving slowly toward him, not wanting any part of the fury and craziness he saw on his ex-partner, butfeeling compelled to get close enough to protect Barbara if he swung on her again. When Ray lost control, he could turn instantly murderous. He spewed white rage without thought, violence without reason.
"You got anything to eat?" Shane said, trying to refocus the energy in the room. "I'm starved. Missed dinner. How 'bout I get us a beer and a sandwich, something ... . We chill out a little ... Cool out ... Talk it down ... Get solid ..."
"You wanna eat somethin'? Eat shit, Scully!" He was halfway between Shane and Barbara, still brandishing the black metal police baton.
"Ray, I don't want trouble, but you can't go hitting Barbara with the nightstick, man. You're gonna fuck her up bad."
Then Ray started toward Shane, swinging the metal stick in a lose arc in front of him. "Yeah? Who's gonna stop me, dickwad?"
"Come on, let's stay frosty here, Ray. Let's ... let's--" And he stopped talking because he had to duck.
Ray swung the nightstick. It zipped through the air an inch from Shane's ear. As he was coming back up, Ray swung a fist, hitting him with a left hook that landed on Shane's right temple, exploding like a pipe bomb, sending him to the floor, ears ringing. Then Ray yanked a small-caliber snubby out of his waistband. It looked to Shane like an off-brand piece, a European handgun of some kind, maybe a Titan Tiger or an Arminus .38, definitely not standard police issue. Ray always kept a "throw-down gun" on him to drop by a body if some street character got funky and had to take a seat on the sky bus.
"Put it away, Ray."
"You fucking this bitch, too? You fucking her? 'Cause if you ain't, you should get in line--everybody else is."
"Come on, Ray, that's crazy. I never touched your wife; nobody's messin' with Barb, and you know it. Why're you doin' this?"
"She's been getting snaked by half the fuckin' department."He turned back and glowered at her. "Am I right, baby? Tell him 'bout all the wall jobs you been doin' in the division garage."
Barbara groaned. Ray, turning now, aimed the gun at Shane, pulling the hammer back. Shane watched the cylinder begin to rotate on the center post as Ray applied pressure on the trigger. He was strangely mesmerized by the hole in the barrel; a dark eye of damnation, freezing his stomach, dulling his reactions. He was seconds from death ... . Almost without realizing it, his right hand slipped down to his ankle, fingers encircling the wood-checked grip of his 9mm automatic. He slid the weapon free.
Shane dove sideways just as Ray fired. The bullet thunked into the wooden doorframe behind him. Shane was operating on instinct now, with no control over what happened next, going with it, not questioning, rolling, coming up prone, his Beretta Mini-Cougar gripped in both hands.
As Ray turned to fire again, Shane squeezed the trigger. The bullet hit Ray Molar in the middle of his simian brow.
Huge head jerking back violently.
Brainpan exploding, catching the 9mm slug.
Then Ray looked directly at Shane as the gun slipped from his meaty paw and thumped onto the carpet. Ray's pig eyes, bright in that instant, registered hatred and surprise, or maybe Shane was just looking for something human in all that animal ferocity.
Ray Molar took one uncertain step backward and sat on the edge of the bed. Even though his heart was probably still beating, Shane knew that his ex-partner was already dead. But the street monster sat down anyway, almost as if he needed a moment to consider what he should do next or where he should go, momentum and gravity making the decision for him, toppling him forward, thudding him hard, face first, onto the carpet.
Shane looked over at Barbara, who was staring at her dead husband, her mouth agape, her puffed lip split and bleeding.
"Whatta we do now, Shane?" she finally asked.

IN THE SECONDS after the shots were fired, the bedroom seemed so quiet that he could almost hear dust settle. Then the sharp smell of cordite, mixed with the coppery smell of blood, began to fill his nostrils. Barbara was still on the floor not ten feet from Ray's body. Shane moved first. He stood slowly, feeling his knees shake as he rose. He stumbled to the dresser and leaned on it heavily, propping himself up for support. They were both trying to digest it, understand what had just happened and comprehend how it would alter, in a ghastly way, events stretching before them. Then, from the floor, Ray Molar farted. Shit ran into his pants as his bowels let loose. The perfect punctuation mark for the past few minutes.
"We need to get a story, Barbara," Shane said. "This isn't going to go down smooth. You know how they all feel about Ray."
"I don't know ... I don't know ... He just ..."
"Barbara ..."
Her eyes were darting around the room in a desperate escape dance. Her face was also beginning to swell where Ray had hit her on the right side, distorting her natural beauty.
"Tell me," he prodded softly, "what set him off?"
Somewhere in the distance they could hear the faint wail of a police car.
"Already?" she said, referring to the sirens.
"You were screaming, shots were fired, you've got neighbors. Nine-one-one response time is supposed to be less than five minutes. If something more is going on here, I need to know, Babs. You and I, we're not completely clean, if you know what I mean."
"I know." She pulled herself up on the bed and sat. He could see that her hands were shaking as she brought the back of her wrist up to wipe the blood oozing from the corner of her mouth. Her hand came away with an ugly red streak on the back. "He ... he just ... I don't know."
"He just what? Let's go, there isn't much time. What set him off?"
"I got a call yesterday from a woman. She asked me if I'd seen the videotape yet."
"What videotape?"
"I don't know. That's the whole point. I haven't got any tape, and I told her. She sounded like she was crying. Then she said it was coming in the mail, and it will show me what a cheating bastard Ray was."
"Who was she?"
"Didn't say. I didn't recognize the voice. She just hung up."
The sirens were now less than a block away as Barbara Molar looked at Shane in desperation. "What're they gonna do?"
"They're gonna separate us. Take statements. This is our only chance to coordinate. We need the same story. Stay with me here, Babs. Keep goin'. What happened next?"
"Ray hasn't been home much since he got his new assignment.He's been away days at a time, so when he got home tonight, I asked him where he was all the time. I told him what the woman said and he ... he just ... went nuts. You know his temper, how he gets. You worked patrol with him. He accused me of sleeping with his friends. He called me a whore. He started beating me. I can't take any more beatings. I can't. I told him I was going to leave him, and then he chased me into the bathroom. I locked the door and called you. Then he just--"
The sirens growled to the curb outside, and Shane quickly looked around the bedroom, taking mental pictures of the crime scene, filing them in his memory for later. Oddly enough, it was Ray who had schooled him in this technique, quizzing him at "end of watch" on what he remembered. They'd sit in some bar at EOW, betting drinks on the answers. Ray would ask questions: What was on the dresser? How many windows in the kitchen? Were there screens? Ray was violent and unpredictable, but he sure knew how to police a crime scene.
"They're gonna take me downtown," Shane said. "They'll take your statement here, then probably transport you to the ER. Just say exactly what happened. He would have killed you, Barbara. He fired first. This was self-defense. Just leave out you and me. Whatever you do, stay tight on that."
They could hear cops coming into the house through the open front door.
"We're back here, LAPD!" Shane yelled. Then, as an afterthought, he whispered to Barbara, "Call the phone company and see if you can get an AT&T printout of calls to your phone so we can try and find out who that woman is."
Barbara nodded just as a uniformed South Bureau "dog and cat" team came through the door, guns drawn. Shane had his hands in the air and his Beretta Mini-Cougar hanging down, dangling uselessly from his right thumb. "LAPD," he said again.
The cops didn't know him, and not seeing a badge, the male officer rushed him, disarmed him, and threw him down onto thefloor right next to a puddle of Ray's blood. The female kept her Smith & Wesson trained on him until her partner had Shane cuffed. Then they both roughly yanked him up.
"Where's your shield?" the lady cop said. Her nameplate read S. RILEY.
"On my dresser, at home. I was asleep. She called for help. I live four miles from here. I'm Sergeant Shane Scully, Southwest RHD. My serial number is 50867."
They looked down at Shane's now-bloody bare feet, then at Ray. The male cop was a policeman III; his nameplate read P. APPLEGATE. He knelt down and looked closely at the body. "Shit. This is Steeltooth. You shot Lieutenant Molar."
Shane stood quietly as Applegate fingered his shoulder mike. "This is X-ray Twelve. We're Code Six at 2387 Shell Avenue. We have a police officer down. We need a sergeant on the scene and the coroner. Notify South Bureau Detectives we have the shooter in custody. He claims to be Southwest Robbery/Homicide Sergeant Shane Scully." Then he turned to Shane. "Gimme that serial number again."
"It's 50867," Shane said into the officer's open shoulder mike.
"You get that?" Applegate asked. The female radio-transmission officer answered quickly.
"Roger, X-ray Twelve. That's 50867. You're Code Six Adam at Shell Avenue, requesting a supervisor and a Homicide unit. Stand by." There was static, and in less than thirty seconds, the RTO came back on. "X-ray Twelve, on your suspect ident: that badge number is confirmed to Southwest RHD Sergeant Shane Scully, 143 East Channel Road, Venice, California."
"Roger. We're locking down this crime scene for Homicide and moving outside." The officer then turned to Shane. "Who's your direct supervisor?"
"Captain Bud Halley, Southwest Division Robbery/Homicide."
"You got his call-out number?"
"Just call the squad. I can do it myself if you take these cuffs off."
"Hey, Scully, you done enough already. You just croaked the best fucking cop on the force." Then he unlocked the handcuffs. "Shannon, take Mrs. Molar into the kitchen. I'll hold Sergeant Scully in the living room." They left Raymond Molar in an expanding pool of his own blood to wait for the Homicide team and lab techs.


On every unnatural death in L.A., the RHD assigns a fresh homicide number and the next team up on the division rotation gets the squeal. The numbers start on January 1 and continue sequentially until the last day of December. If the body is a male, the number is proceeded by an M; if female, by an F. On that chilly April morning, Lieutenant Raymond George Molar became M-417-00.
The RHD team got there a little after three-thirty A.M. as the crime lab was just finishing photographing the scene. The two lab techs had already done their preliminary workup. They'd bagged the lieutenant's hands, outlined the DB in tape, and were standing around, waiting for the detectives to show before rolling the body.
Both Homicide dicks were veterans and had been notified before they got there that the officer down was the legendary LAPD Lt. Ray "Steeltooth" Molar. They had both signed Patrolman Applegate's crime-scene attendance sheet and now stood in the bedroom looking down at the body with stone-cut expressions as the lab techs flopped Ray over. His face had already begun to fill with blood, causing a darkening of the skin, known as lividity. More postmortem renal jettisoning had occurred, and the smell of feces in the room was getting strong as the two detectives from Robbery/Homicide silently policed the area, making their preliminary notes and observations. They graphed the location of the body and marked the bullet in the doorjamb that Ray hadfired, then instructed the lab techs to dig the slug out and get it to the Investigative Analysis Section for a ballistics comparison. They bagged Shane's 9mm Beretta; it would be booked as evidence.
Shane was waiting in the living room with Patrolman Applegate. After half an hour the lead Homicide dick, an old, wheezing department warhorse with a basset-hound jawline, came out and sat on the sofa opposite Shane. His name was Garson Welch; he and Shane had shared a few easy grounders back when Shane was still working uniform in Southwest. One case had been so simple, they solved it in less than ten minutes when Shane arrested the perp half a block away as he was trying to stuff the murder weapon down into a Dumpster. The man had confessed on the spot. Shane and Welch had gone EOW at the jail and had had a few beers in a cop bar on Central known as the Billy Club. They didn't have what you'd call a friendship, but they were at least friendly--better than nothing.
"This ain't gonna go down too good at Parker Center, Shane," the old detective said, rubbing his ample forehead with a big, liver-spotted hand.
"Yeah, Gar, you're right. I should've just stood there and let him kill her with his nightstick."
"Calm down and listen," Welch went on. "What we got here is a brown shit waffle. Lieutenant Molar had big juice with the Super Chief. People you and I only read about in the L.A. Times are getting phone calls right now over this piece of work. I just got a call and found out he's been Mayor Clark Crispin's police driver for the past two months. So there's gonna be big interest at the city level. We're gonna go slow and get it right."
"The mayor's driver? Shit," Shane said. He hadn't known that was Ray's new assignment.
"I'm gonna take your preliminary here, then send you to the Glass House and let your captain do the DFAR," Welch said, referring to the Division Field Activity Report that had to be filedafter any incident involving violence or death at the hands of a police officer.
"I got my car. I can meet you there," Shane volunteered.
"I'll have one of the blues drive it in and park it for you in the underground garage, but you're gonna go downtown in the back of a detective car. By the book. That way, nobody gets days off for bullshit nitpicks."
"Yeah, sure, if that's the way you want it." Shane was beginning to get a premonition of disaster. Then he followed Detective Welch out of the house for the long drive to Parker Center.

THE TRIP DOWNTOWN at four A.M. on deserted freeways took only twenty-two minutes. The black-and-white slickback that the RHD dicks were forced to drive now finally made a wide turn off Broadway, its headlights sweeping the south side of the Glass House. It pulled up to the security station. Sergeant Welch showed his badge, signed them all in, and drove into the huge underground parking garage that adjoined Parker Center.
The building was known as "the Glass House" to everybody on the job because of the excessive amount of plate glass that draped its huge boxy shape. The otherwise nondescript building had been designed in the fifties, which had proved to be a decade of architectural blight. The parking garage next door went down nine stories underground. The detectives found a spot on U-3, and both led Shane out of the parking complex, through a security door, and into the third basement of police headquarters. They took the elevator to six and got off at the Robbery/HomicideDivision, which took up half the floor and was fronted by a thick glass partition.
Garson Welch buzzed them through and found the OOD, a thin-faced sergeant in uniform, sitting at a computer just inside the squad room. "Is Captain Halley around? He was supposed to get a call out on this activity report."
The sergeant nodded and pointed down the hall. "Interview room Three," he said.
They moved single file down the linoleum-floored corridor and turned into a small, windowless interrogation room that contained a scarred desk, two wooden chairs, and Robbery/Homicide Captain Bud Halley. Halley had his jacket off and was showing the beginnings of a twelve-hour beard, having missed his shave at four A.M. He had also missed two belt loops. Other than that, he was a remarkably handsome, fit, prematurely gray man in his mid-forties. He was Shane's Southwest Homicide Bureau commander. They had a good professional relationship. In the two years Shane had been assigned to Southwest Detectives, Halley had given him two excellent evaluation reports. As Shane came through the door, Captain Halley motioned him to a chair. "You guys don't have to stick around unless you need him. I'm gonna send him home after the activity report," he said to the two detectives.
"Thanks, Cap, check you later," Welch said as they left the room and closed the door behind them.
"We only have a few minutes and then God knows what happens," Halley said.
"A few minutes? What're you talking about? You're doing the DFAR. What's the rush?"
"'Cept I'm not doing it. Deputy Chief Thomas Mayweather is on his way in. He's doing it."
"The head of Special Investigations Division is doing my activity report? You can't be serious. Why him?"
"Chief Brewer ordered it," Halley said.
"Same question, then."
"Don't you know what Ray Molar's assignment was?"
"Yeah ... he was Mayor Clark Crispin's bodyguard and driver. He was also killing his wife with a nightstick. He fired a shot at me. Barbara Molar is my wit. This should be a slam dunk. So what's the deal?"
"Lemme give you the secret to survival around here." Shane waited for the punch line. "Everything that's not department history is department politics. Chief Brewer was awakened by Mayor Crispin, who called the Big Kahuna from the Dark Side, who got rousted off his sailboat at the marina. He was planning to sail across the channel for a long weekend in Avalon. Now, instead of salt air and sea chanteys, Deputy Chief Mayweather is coming here, in his fucking yacht attire, looking to tear you a new asshole."
"Cap, let me say this again, so none of us miss it. Steeltooth was killing his wife. He shot first. If I hadn't returned fire, we'd both be in the county icebox bleeding from the ears. I know for a fact Ray has two spousal-abuse beefs in his IAD package. He's a regular at rage-management counseling. Aside from that, we both know he was a head thumper from way back. You don't get the nickname Steeltooth just because your last name's Molar."
"Don't convince me. Make Mayweather believe it," Halley said softly.
Shane's hands started to shake. He was coming down from a two-hour adrenaline rush. He had killed Ray Molar, his ex-partner, a man he had once respected, then came to fear, and then finally to hate. His emotions hovered just below consciousness. He knew he couldn't afford a mistake, so he pushed personal feelings aside and concentrated on his plight, his survival instincts taking precedence.


Deputy Chief Mayweather was six three and ebony black. He had a shaved head and always carried himself with the athletic grace he had shown as a first-string point guard on the UCLA basketball team in the seventies.
He moved through the predawn stillness of the Robbery/Homicide Division and looked at the tired collection of swing-shift detectives who were manning their desks, sneaking glances at the clock, waiting for the day-watch to show up and relieve them. Mayweather stuck his gleaming black head into the interrogation room containing Scully and Halley.
"Let's do this upstairs." Mayweather's voice was cold and smooth, Vaseline on ice. "We'll use the conference room on nine. Bud, see if they got some coffee down here and bring it up." Then, without even looking at Shane, he moved out of the room, leaving them there.
"Good luck," Halley said as Shane got up off his hardwood chair and followed Mayweather, who was already halfway down the hall, striding toward the elevators with a Yul Brynner elegance, his arms swinging freely, his hips slightly forward. He was not in yachting attire. He'd dressed for this gig. The suit he wore was charcoal gray, creaseless, and fit him like a second skin. Tom Mayweather could easily have made a nice living on the pages of GQ.
Shane moved along behind him like a barefoot, dark-haired, brown-eyed shadow, his own gait more the shuffling stride of a street fighter. Although Shane had always been able to attract women, he found his own looks pugnacious and off-putting. In his mirror, he saw a face marred by cynicism and loneliness. He was always surprised when he heard someone describe him as attractive.
He caught Mayweather at the elevator. Both men remained silent as they waited for the stainless-steel doors to open and take them to the ninth floor, where Tom Mayweather and the other deputy chiefs had their offices down the hall from Chief Burleigh Brewer.
"Sorry about the Avalon trip, sir," Shane said, going for a little pre-interview suck.
"Let's save everything for when we get the tape running, okay?"
"Sure," Shane said.
The door opened and they stepped in and rode the humming metal box to the light-paneled, green-carpeted executive floor. All the way up, Deputy Chief Mayweather said nothing, but he was staring at Shane's bloodstained bare feet.
Shane had been on nine only once before. He had been in Chief Brewer's office three years ago when he received a Meritorious Service Medal. He had risked his life, the citation said, freeing two children from a burning car wreck on the San Pedro Freeway.
They moved down the hall. Shane glanced out the plate-glass windows and could see the morning sun beginning to light the corners of the buildings across Sixth Street, throwing a fiery glow on the stone roofs and concrete balconies of the old brown buildings that surrounded the huge police monstrosity like tattered memories.
Mayweather opened the door to the conference room, turned on the lights, and left him there.
The room was paneled in the same light-colored wood. It was huge and windowless, being part of the interior structure of the building. On the walls were portraits of all of L.A.'s past police chiefs. The father of the new department, Chief William H. Parker, was hanging in a place of honor on the wall at the head of the table.
They had all learned about Bill Parker in the Academy. In 1934 then-Lieutenant Parker, a law school graduate, was assistant to L.A. police chief James E. Davis. From that post, Parker saw the workings of L.A. city government close-up. The Shaw brothers presided over a corrupt city, and Chief Davis was beholden to the Shaws. Mayor Shaw's brother controlled the Vice Squad and was selling sergeant's tests for five hundred dollars apiece. Workingwith Lieutenant Earl Cook, Bill Parker campaigned for the passage of the city charter amendment that contained Section 202, which provided for a Police Bill of Rights and administrative reviews to protect police officers from inappropriate charges of wrongdoing. That section of the city charter set the model of police disciplinary review that the LAPD still uses today. Portraits of Chiefs Davis, Reddin, Gates, Williams, Parks, and Brewer hung on the walls of the conference room and seemed to glower down at him, silently reproaching him for killing one of L.A.'s finest.
"Guy was murdering his wife," Shane muttered to himself and to the stone-faced gallery of disapproving ex-police chiefs.
Mayweather returned with a tape recorder and plugged it in. He chose the seat at the far end of the table, under the recently hung painting of Burl Brewer.
Mayweather glanced at Sergeant Scully. "You're a sergeant one, is that right?"
"Yes, sir."
"Okay, Shane, you and I don't know each other. I guess we've probably met once or twice, but we're not really acquainted. It's important you know that I'm just here to take your statement. I'm going to try and determine what happened and then make a recommendation to the department as to what our next step should be. A police officer died at your hands. His death may have been completely unavoidable, but either way, we're into a mandatory use-of-force review. I'm not here to hurt you, take advantage of you, or trap you in any way. Okay?"
"I appreciate that, sir."
The door opened and Bud Halley entered with a pot of coffee and three mugs. He poured. They each took one, blew across the steaming surface, then sipped gratefully.
"What goes on here is subject to the Police Bill of Rights under Title One," Mayweather continued, "so this pre-interview will not preempt any of your Skelly rights or privileges guaranteed by Section 202 of the city charter." The Skelly hearing was hischance to answer the charges against him before his case went to a Board of Rights, if it got that far.
"This is an administrative review and is subject to the provisions laid down in Section 202. I'm going to record the interview." Mayweather turned the tape on. "Raise your right hand." Shane did as he was instructed. "Do you, Sergeant Shane Scully, swear that all information given by you during this interview is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"
"I do."
"This tape-recorded interview is for use in an Internal Affairs investigation only. For purposes of department statute-of-limitations requirements, today, April sixteenth, will be the due date of this inquiry. If no action is taken within a year of this date, the investigation will officially be determined to be closed. Is this interview being conducted at a convenient time and under circumstances you find acceptable?"
"Yes, sir."
"Are you aware that the nature of this interview is to determine if the escalated force that resulted in Lieutenant Molar's death was within departmental use-of-force guidelines?"
"Yes, sir."
"It is April sixteenth, at five-seventeen A.M. We are in the main conference room, on the ninth floor of Parker Center. Present is the interviewer, Deputy Chief Thomas Clark Mayweather. Also present is the officer being interviewed, Sergeant One Shane Scully. Witnessing the interview is Captain Bud Halley. In accordance with departmental guidelines, it is noted that no more than two interrogators are present. Okay"--Mayweather paused and glanced at a crib card in front of him--"Section 202 governs this part of the administrative process and establishes procedures for the completion of a chronological log. If you could take care of that, Captain Halley? And then if you could get us a fresh DR number to file the case under." A DR number was a Division of Records number, issued in all nonarrest reports.
Bud Halley nodded then took out a pad and pen to begin a chronology.
"Shane, if you could just start at the beginning and tell us what happened this morning ... Don't leave anything out. Give us approximate times if you can. I want to get it all down on tape because the preliminary interview will be an important part of the record, if anything more comes of this later."
"Okay." Shane cleared his throat and began to tell exactly what had happened, starting with the wake-up call from Barbara at 2:16 A.M., followed by his call to Longboard Kelly. He told how he drove to Shell Avenue, found the front door open, saw Molar beating his wife. He related the conversation that ensued, telling how he tried to settle it down. Then how Molar, moving toward him, swung the baton at his head, hit him with his fist, pulled his gun, and fired. Shane explained how he returned fire, killing the huge LAPD lieutenant with his 9mm Beretta Mini-Cougar, just moments before Unit X-ray Twelve arrived.
When he finished, he looked up at Mayweather, who was making notes on a pad, a puzzled expression on his face.
"That's everything," Shane finished.
"Tell me about your relationship with Raymond Molar."
"Uh ... well, he was sort of a mentor, I guess you'd call it. I met him when I went through the Academy. He was conducting a self-defense lecture. He and I were at the same table for lunch. We sort of hit it off, gravitated to each other. He did three street-combat classes while I was there, and we became friends. After I graduated, I ended up in Southwest, in the Seventy-seventh Division. He was a sergeant there. I was still just a probationer, and since we were friends, he got himself assigned as my training officer. He was my partner for the first six months of my tour. After I finished probation, we rode together for six more months."
"Sergeants don't usually ride with partners."
"Well, in the Seventy-seventh, a lot of the sergeants took a shotgun rider. It's pretty hairy down there. Anyway, we rode together for that last six months, and then I got reassigned. I went to the West Valley Division for four years, then spent six in Metro. I've been back at Southwest for the past six years and in RHD down there for twenty-eight months. Ray was in Central, then Newton, so we didn't see much of each other after that."
"I see." Mayweather made some more notes on his pad. "You see him socially during that first tour in Southwest when you were partnered?"
"Yes, sir, we were friends."
"Right about then you had an Internal Affairs complaint that wasn't sustained, isn't that correct?"
"Excuse me, sir, but I thought I had immunity from background on unsustained IAD complaints." Shane knew that since Mayweather was head of the Special Investigations Division, which supervised IAD, he had access to those old Internal Affairs records. Obviously, the deputy chief had done more than change clothes before coming in for this interview.
Mayweather looked up and lay down his pen. "I'm just trying to determine if, when you were before that Board of Rights in March of '84, you were still partnered with Ray Molar."
"Yes. That was just before we stopped working together."
"Okay." Mayweather picked up his pen. "You say Lieutenant Molar pulled a gun. Did you see it clearly?"
"I was only a few feet away."
"What kind of gun was it?"
"I think it was a European handgun, a Titan Tiger snub-nose thirty-eight is what it looked like."
"That's not a department-approved handgun."
"Well, he was at home. I suppose he can have any kind of weapon he wants at home."
"And then, after you shot him with your Beretta, what happened to his gun?"
"I guess he dropped it. I don't know, I was kind of jacked up after the shooting."
"Sergeant Scully, do you mind taking a urine test? As you know, you can refuse under the Police Bill of Rights, but I should warn you that in an administrative hearing, unlike a criminal case, your refusal can be viewed by the department as insubordination. You could be brought up on charges. If you do refuse, I'll have to send for a DRE to examine you anyway, and his opinion will go in the record and carry the same weight." A DRE was a drug recognition expert who would make a judgment on sobriety by observation, checking vision and reflexes.
"That won't be necessary. I'll take the test, sir," Shane said.
"I'll get the paperwork ready." He leaned over and picked up the phone. "This is Mayweather. Send somebody up from the lab for a urine sample and have whoever's on the duty desk out there dig around and get me an authorization form." He hung up the phone, having never shifted his gaze from Shane. Then he leaned back in his chair and templed his fingers under his chin.
"Barbara Molar is quite an attractive woman."
"Yes, sir, she is. The lieutenant was very lucky."
"Until tonight."
"Well, yes, that's what I meant, sir."
They sat in silence for a few moments.
"Did you and Lieutenant Molar retain a friendly relationship after you were reassigned to the Valley Division?"
"Well, sir ... no. Like I said, we sort of drifted our separate ways."
"I heard you and he got into some kind of scuffle one night, back in '84, just before you were separated as partners."
Shane looked over at Captain Halley for help, but the captain only nodded slightly, encouraging him to keep answering. It was now painfully obvious that Mayweather had someone in the IA Administration Section open his sealed jacket in violation of hisrights under Section 202. The fight with Steeltooth had been logged because Shane had needed medical attention for his injuries. However, neither he nor Molar had pressed for a hearing, so it went into his sealed record as an unsustained incident. He couldn't prove that Mayweather had opened his file. The deputy chief could claim he had heard about the fight secondhand. Now Shane had to answer the question or face insubordination charges. He felt used and double-crossed.
"I need an answer," Mayweather said. "Was there an altercation?"
"I guess you could say that. We had a kinda problem once."
"What was that all about?"
"Shit, it was nothing ... . I mean, shoot ... we ... we'd been working long hours and I was nervous, facing that Internal Affairs board. I was stressed. Molar was fucking around. We were in the detective squad room in Southwest. He threw ice water on me, so I pushed him and he went down over a chair. If you knew Ray at all, you wouldn't have to ask what happened next."
"What happened next?"
"We went down into the parking garage, and while six or seven guys from the squad stood around and watched, Ray punched out two of my teeth, broke my nose, and pretty much destroyed me."
"And you're not mad. about that?"
"Well, for a while I guess, but that was Ray. He and I had just about ended our tour by then, so we unhooked. I was rotating out. He was on the lieutenant's list back then. Pretty high up. The sixth band, I think, so he was going to get his bar in a month or two anyway. We both just moved on."
"And you didn't harbor any resentment? I find that hard to believe."
"Chief, if I could ask ... has anybody looked at the damage on Barbara Molar's face? Has anybody seen what he did to her? 'Cause if all these questions strike to some other possible motive,that's why I went over there. I tried to break it up. He fired first, and I was forced to return fire. He was seconds from killing both of us. I hope you photograph those injuries because all I was trying to do was keep us off Forest Lawn Drive."
"We'll get photographs, don't worry about that."
There was another charged silence in the room that lasted for almost a minute.
"Anything else you want to say for this record?" Mayweather said.
"No, sir. That's what happened. I'm sorry he's dead, but he gave me no choice."
"Okay, then." Mayweather looked at his watch. "This interview is concluded. It is five thirty-five A.M. This tape recording has been continuous, with no shutoffs, and it has been witnessed throughout by Captain Bud Halley." Then he snapped the machine off and rubbed his eyes. "That's it, Sergeant. I'm going to forward this transcript to the Officer Involved Shooting Section of the Robbery/Homicide Division, and they will schedule your Shooting Review Board. Don't sweat it. That board is mandatory with any incident involving firearms."
"I know, sir."
"Then get outta here. Go give the lab tech his sample and go home."
"Yes, sir."
Shane got up and moved past Captain Halley, into the hall. He waited for his CO to come out, thinking they would ride down together and Shane could get a performance critique, but Captain Halley didn't come out. The door was slightly ajar, and he could hear Mayweather and Halley talking. Then suddenly the door was kicked shut, cutting off the conversation and leaving him alone in the hall.

SHANE WAS FORCED to wander in the Parker Center garage, looking for his car. It was six A.M. He had started on the top level, which was aboveground, and had moved slowly through the garage, heading down, deeper into the bowels of the parking structure. He had his keys in his right hand. They had been left for him at the OOD's desk in Robbery/Homicide, but the uniform who had driven his car in didn't tell the duty sergeant where in the garage it was parked. The structure was huge, and his bare feet were cold on the concrete floor. As he walked, he could occasionally see flashes of red on his feet--Ray's blood. He had stood in it, and it had seeped up, between his toes, staining his skin. After giving his urine sample, he'd been in such a hurry to get out of there and get home, he hadn't remained in the rest room to wash it off.
"Sergeant Scully. Over here," a voice yelled at him; he turned around and looked back. He could see two uniformed officersstanding by the elevator. He was six stories down, and the garage was dimly lit by the neon overheads. The two policemen moved out of the darkness toward him. The overhead lighting threw long shadows under their visors, and he could not make out who they were. As they got closer, he realized he had not seen either of them before. It was not unusual for members of the LAPD not to know one another. There were over nine thousand sworn members of the department sprawled over a huge geographic area. From the markings on their uniforms, he could tell that they were both first-year officers--policemen I's.
"What is it?" he asked.
They were close enough now for him to see that they were both in their early twenties. Their silver nameplates indicated that the shorter one was Officer K. Kono, the other, Officer D. Drucker. Kono had a wide, flat face and the complexion of a native Hawaiian. Drucker was a bodybuilder. His arms bulged the short sleeves of his Class C uniform shirt. They stood in front of Shane, studying him as if he were roadkill that one of them would eventually be forced to scrape up.
"Whatta you want, Officer?" Shane asked Drucker. "I've had a long night. I wanna get home."
"That Ray's blood on yer feet?" Kono asked. He had no Hawaiian accent. He was pure West Valley, but his voice was shaking with emotion.
"Whatta you guys want?" Shane repeated.
"Why'd you have t'butt in?" Drucker asked. "Who asked you?"
Shane could now see that they were both extremely emotional. They had obviously heard about Ray's death, which was spreading through the department like a raging virus. He speculated that Drucker and Kono must have come in and waited for him in the garage.
"He was killing his wife. He was taking batting practice on her with a baton."
"So you butt in and give him a fucking street divorce," Drucker hissed. A "street divorce" was police slang for any domestic argument that turned into a murder.
"Get outta my way." Shane tried to push past the two cops, but they held their ground and he found himself bumping shoulders with them violently. They weren't about to let him through, so Shane backed up and reevaluated the situation. He didn't have his gun. It had been booked by Homicide as evidence. He was alone in an empty garage. He was barefoot and tired, and his head still ached from where Ray had hit him. The two cops in front of him were jacked up on anger and out of control emotionally. In that moment, he had a flash of how it must feel to run up against enraged, violent cops in a desolate part of the city with no witnesses and no way to prove what really happened. Here he was, a sworn officer, standing in the police garage, yet he was beginning to pump adrenaline and fear for his safety.
"Is this about to turn into something?" he asked softly, glaring at both of them.
"Ray was the real deal, asswipe," Drucker hissed. "You're department afterbirth. Ray knew we had to take this fucking town back a street at a time. Since Rodney King, we've been eating shit and smiling about it. Ray knew that had to change. He knew the war was on, knew what we had to do out there. He understood you can't just stand around while a buncha freeway-dancers put it to ya."
"If you believe that, both you guys need to take a swing through the Academy retraining program."
"Swing on my dick, Tarzan," Kono hissed.
Shane shook his head and smiled. "Okay," he said, "I guess that ends this discussion. Your move."
"This is police headquarters," Drucker said. "This is the Glass House, man. Nothing happens here. But stick around, Scully. There's gonna be some payback."
"Now you're threatening me, Drucker?"
"You killed the best cop to ever ride in this department," Kono said. "Shot him just 'cause he was straightening out his old lady? Okay, it's done. Ray's gone. But we loved him, man, we--" He stopped, and Shane thought he saw moisture in the young Hawaiian cop's eyes.
"You two guys need to go home and think this out," Scully said.
"We don't need to think nothin' out," Drucker snapped. "You think it out. We've got someone pulling your card right now. From now on, nobody's gonna take your side. Nobody's got your back, Scully. You're a walk-alone."
"I'm putting you both in for this."
"Have fun," Drucker said, touching the brim of his visor. "Your word against ours. Have a nice morning, asshole." They both turned and walked away. He could hear their footsteps echoing in the concrete darkness. Then a car started, headlights went on, and they pulled past him, going fast. The wind from their black-and-white flapped his sweatshirt as they sped away.
Shane stood alone in the garage; he suddenly felt a shiver of dread come over him. Then he turned and again started looking for his car. He found it way down on U-9, at the back of the garage, on the bottom level. When he looked at the car, something seemed wrong, it seemed lower. He knelt down in the dim light and saw that all four of his tires had been slashed. The black Acura was squatting sadly on its rims.
"Shit," he said, looking at the car. Then he suddenly remembered Chooch. He wondered how he would ever get home in time to get the boy to school.

SHANE ARRIVED HOME at a little past seven, driving a slickback he'd checked out of the motor pool. He parked the black-and-white detective's car in the driveway and entered the back door. As he walked into the kitchen, Chooch was bent over with his head deep in the refrigerator. Startled, he jerked around and glowered.
"It's fucking bleak in there, Chuck. Don't you got nothin' to eat?" Chooch was dressed in baggy jeans pulled down low, gangstyle, exposing two inches of his red plaid boxer shorts. His white T-shirt read EAT ME.
"There's some strawberry Pop-Tarts in that cupboard," Shane said as he quickly headed through the kitchen, hoping Chooch wouldn't see his bloodstained feet and put him through a description of the early-morning shooting. Shane moved into the master bedroom, which was furnished in "relationship-eclectic." Nothingmatched. All the furniture in his house was salvaged from broken love affairs. It had gotten to the point where every time he and a new female roommate went furniture shopping, there was some cynical side of him that would wonder which of the new bedroom or living-room ensemble pieces would become his in the post-relationship settlement. The result was a depressing mixture of colors and styles.
He stripped off his blood-spattered sweatshirt and pants, then got into a hot shower, scrubbing Ray's blood off his feet with his shower nailbrush, rubbing so hard that he was afraid his toes would bleed.
Shoot it; frame it; hang it in his gallery of defining moments. The Lady Macbeth Exhibit. He finished with his feet and then stood under the hot spray, trying with less result to cleanse his spirit. Finally he got out of the shower, wrapped himself in a towel, and looked in the foggy bathroom mirror. The face was angular and rugged. Dark eyes wore a raccoon's mask of sleeplessness. His hair hung black and limp on his forehead. He stared at himself for a long time, trying to see if he looked as different as he felt. In his thirty-seven years Shane had never killed anyone before; on the drive home from the department, that change in his life experience had started to weigh on him. Now, as he stood in his bathroom, it was plunging him into a fit of depression, which, according to the self-help psych books he had started reading recently, was self-hatred turned inward, driving his spirit down. He turned away from the mirror and dressed in slacks, white shirt, maroon tie, and a blue blazer. He slipped on socks and loafers, clipped his backup gun onto his belt, grabbed his pager, badge, and handcuffs, then went into the living room, where Longboard Kelly was snoring on the sofa.
Shane shook the twenty-eight-year-old blond-haired surfboard shaper's shoulder to wake him. Brian had turned out to be a surprisingly good friend. In the two years since Kelly had movedin next door and had started running his surfboard business out of his garage, the resinhead and the cop had surprised themselves with their unlikely friendship.
"I'm back, Brian. Thanks, man."
"Mmmmsaaakjjjjaaaawww," Longboard said, and rolled over, turning his back on Shane.
Shane smiled and headed into the kitchen, where Chooch was now seated at the small wooden table. Chooch had one of the strawberry Pop-Tarts in his hand, nibbling at the edges. He had struck an insolent go-fuck-yourself pose with one hand jammed deep down in his pants pocket. His bare feet were up on the table.
"So, how much is the upslice bitch paying you?" Chooch started, unexpectedly.
Shane knew, from years on the street busting gangbangers and pavement princesses, that upslice meant a cheap woman and referred to the vagina. It pissed him off that this kid would refer to his own mother that way.
"She's not paying me anything."
"So what's the deal, then? She carving you some beef?" Another gangbang sexual reference.
"I'm not sleeping with your mother, Chooch. I've got other reasons. Now get your feet off the table, we've gotta eat off a' there." He slapped Chooch's feet hard, knocking them off the wooden tabletop. Chooch exploded out of the chair, anger and violence seething.
"Don't fuckin' hit me," Chooch said, breathing through his mouth, his right hand balled into a fist at his side.
"Go on ... take your best shot," Shane said softly, "but you better tell me where you want your body sent first."
"Oh, you're gonna swing on a fifteen-year-old?"
"Hey, son, I've seen fifteen-year-olds roll pipe bombs under taxis and peel a clip-a'-nines at a passing squad car. Being fifteen gets you nothing."
Chooch unclenched his fist and stood there for a long moment.
"Gee, look't this. I think we're really beginning to communicate," Shane said sarcastically, then moved over and grabbed a second strawberry Pop-Tart out of the box on the counter. He dropped it in the toaster and pushed the lever down. "You do your homework last night?" Shane asked, not really knowing what to say to the hostile Hispanic youth across the kitchen, glowering at him with smoldering eyes. At six feet, he was almost Shane's height, and already Shane could see he'd been hitting the weights. He had Sandy's dark good looks.
"I don't do homework. I got fly bitches do it for me."
Shane could see why Sandy had begged him to take Chooch. "Do whatever it takes," she had said. "He needs a male authority figure. He's got to see where this path he's on is headed."
"Chooch, you and I have to get along for a month. Let's try and keep from peeling the skin off each other. Now get your stuff together, we gotta get you to school."
"I ain't goin' to school. I quit. Where's the TV? I can't find it. What kinda jerkoff ain't got a TV?"
Shane didn't answer. He moved out of the kitchen and into the guest bedroom. The house was on one of the Venice, California, grand canals, and through the side window he could see the morning sun glinting off the still water. It was 7:10; he figured if he hurried and there wasn't much traffic, he could still get Chooch across town to the Harvard Westlake School by 8:15. The school was located on Coldwater, in the Valley.
As he started to grab Chooch's book bag, he saw that there was a stash of tobacco tucked into the side pocket. He took the Baggie out and held it up. Two ounces of marijuana. He carried the book bag into the kitchen, where Chooch was standing, looking out the back door, his arms folded across his chest. He pretended not to be watching as Shane emptied the Baggie of Mexican chronic down the kitchen sink and turned on the disposal. It finally dawned on Chooch what was happening. He exploded away from the wall and made a grab for the Baggie.
"Hey, what you be doing with my bale, man?"
Shane grabbed Chooch by the collar, spun him, and backed him up, slamming him hard against the refrigerator, pinning him there.
"Hey, asshole, take this to the bank. Rule one: You're not gonna smoke grass in my house. Not today, not ever!"
"That shit was hydro, man."
"And you can stow the rap dictionary, okay? We're talking English in this house."
"Fuck you."
They were nose to nose, breathing hard. Shane was close to the edge, focusing his frayed nerves and growing depression on this angry fifteen-year-old. He took a deep breath to calm down. Then he let go and took a step back. "I don't know whether you get away with stuff like this at school, but it won't work here," he said in a calmer voice.
"I don't wanna stay here. I'm leaving," Chooch said softly.
"Okay, here's the deal ... . One: Use any dope in this house, you're gonna get a chin-check from me. Two: You do what I tell you, when I tell you. Three: Knock off the Hoover Street attitude. Four: You're gonna do your own homework and not farm it out to girlfriends. If you live up to those four rules, here's what you get from me in return. You get room and board. You get my friendship and respect. You get a fair deal; I'll lay it out straight. I won't ever lie."
"Like I give a shit."
"And clean up your mouth."
"You think I wanna stick around and go to your bullshit white-slice Gumby boot camp?"
"You take off, I'll put the LAPD Runaway Squad on you. You'll go to juvie detention and then to a CYA camp, where you won't have to worry about some private-school geek in a bow tie who teaches chemistry. You'll be slappin' skin with the heavy lifters from south of Hawthorn."
The two of them held gazes. Even though Shane was tired and mad, he had to admit that Chooch Sandoval had been dealt a bad hand. Sandy had made a bunch of horrible choices when it came to her son. Now Chooch was full of anger and resentment. His hormones were raging, and he was looking for a place to park all that frustrated hostility. On the plus side, Chooch had not whimpered. He didn't feel sorry for himself, and he was no cupcake. Somewhere deep down inside, Shane had already begun to respect him.
"I'm through going to that school," Chooch said. "I got no friends there. It's not what I'm about."
"That's one of the best private schools in California. You're throwing away the chance of a lifetime, and for what? So you can hang with a bunch a' street characters?"
"They're my brown brothers. My home slice."
"They don't care about you, Chooch."
"And you do? Or Sandy? I ain't for sale, asshole. You can't buy me with clothes or a school or this crummy deal you got here. You ain't got what I need, Mr. Policeman."
"Get your shoes on. Where are they?" Shane asked. "And change out of that shirt." Chooch snorted but didn't move, so Shane went into the guest room, found another T-shirt and Chooch's tennis shoes. He reentered the kitchen and handed them over. "Let's go ... . Put 'em on, or face the consequences." Chooch changed shirts, then slipped his shoes on without bothering to tie them. Then he exited the back door, insolently brushing Shane with his shoulder as he went past.
Shane followed him out into the alley behind the house, where the department Plymouth was parked. It was a detective car but looked exactly like a regular black-and-white minus the Mars-bar light on the roof.
Back in 1997, Chief Willy Williams had started making sergeants drive them instead of the preferred plainwraps. In the old days, before Chief Gates, one of the perks of being a detectivehad always been driving an unmarked car, but now nobody bothered to check out a department car off duty except in extreme circumstances. Trying to work a stakeout or surveillance in a slickback was absurd, so detectives ended up using their POVs--personally owned vehicles.
"I ain't gonna show up at school in this," Chooch said, looking at the car, appalled.
Shane opened the passenger door, then spun Chooch around, took out his cuffs, and slapped them on, cuffing his hands in front of him.
"What you doin', man? What's this for?"
"Comin' to school handcuffed in a squad car oughta harden your rep. You'll be chasing the fly bitches away for a week." He pushed Chooch into the front seat of the car, and he could see the boy smile slightly as he walked around and got behind the wheel.


It was 7:45 A.M. before Shane finally caught his first minor break of the day. Traffic on the 405 was unusually light. It took him only forty-five minutes to get over the hill, into the Valley. Harvard Westlake was half a mile up Coldwater Canyon, on the left side. All the way there, Chooch had remained silent. He had pulled his CD player out of his book bag and plugged himself in.
Even with the break on the traffic, Shane arrived at Harvard Westlake fifteen minutes late. He pulled past the Zanuck Swimming Stadium and the Amelia and Mark Taper Athletic Pavilion. He let Chooch off at the Feldman Horn Fine Arts Building, where his first-period class had already convened. The intended image-enhancing uncuffing ceremony passed without audience.
"I'll pick you up at three-thirty," Shane said, putting his handcuffs away.
"Whatever," Chooch growled. Then with his book bag over his shoulder, he did a gangsta lean into the building.
Shane watched him go, feeling a sense of frustration and uselessness. What on earth was he ever going to be able to give this boy? It had seemed like a good idea two weeks ago when he'd told Sandy yes ... . A chance to contribute to Chooch Sandoval's life in an important way. Shane had been fighting recent bouts of intense loneliness and had seen himself helping Chooch sort out his adolescent problems. Shane hadn't expected him to be such a hard case. Now that he had him, he doubted he would be able to make any deposits in Chooch Sandoval's adult experience account. This boy was already molded by the strange circumstances of his life. And now, in the harsh reality of Chooch's anger, it occurred to Shane that maybe he had just planned to use Chooch to find meaning in his own life. While Shane was pondering these thoughts, his cell phone rang and dropped him back onto an even more distressing playing field.
"Shane, Captain Halley."
"What's up, Skipper?"
"I don't exactly know how to tell you this, but the Molar shooting is turning into a red ball." A red ball was any department case with such a high priority that failure to succeed threatened career advancement. "They're not going to take it to a Shooting Review Board."
"Whatta you mean, they're not gonna? They have to."
"Your case is jumping the Officer Involved Shooting Section and going directly to a full Internal Affairs Board of Rights."
"It's what?" Shane couldn't believe what he was hearing. "How can they send it to a Board of Rights without first giving me a shooting review?"
"The chief can send any case he wants to a full board on his sole discretion. He doesn't have to give any reason. Look, Shane, I don't know why this is happening, but you can't stop it. It's inside departmental guidelines."
"Sir, you gotta talk to them. I mean, I don't wanna go throughanother BOR. I'm gonna get time off without pay. It's career poison. It's gonna be in my jacket. This is nuts. Anybody would've done what I did. For God's sake, he fired on me. It was self-defense."
"It's what the chief wants."
"I don't even know Chief Brewer. I only met him once. He gave me a Citation of Merit."
"I've gotta go. You'd better get in touch with a defense rep. Who handled your case last time?"
"DeMarco Saint."
"You like him?"
"I guess. He got me off," Shane said dully.
"I think he's retired, but because of IAD crowding, there's a new provision for using retired officers. If you want, I can get you his address and give him a call."
"Sure, check and see if he's still living at the beach." Shane waited on the line for a few seconds. His head throbbed. His stomach churned. The captain came back on.
"He still lives in Santa Monica, on the Strand--3467 Coast Highway. I'll let him know you're coming."
Shane put his car in gear and pulled away from the shaded, tree-lined splendor of the private school, then made his way back toward the beach and the shrewd counsel of DeMarco Saint.
All the way there, he kept trying to figure it out. Ray Molar had been a black hole in his life from the day he first met him seventeen years ago. In the beginning, he'd been too green to see it. Eventually he recognized Ray for what he was and had gotten away from him. Last night, with Barbara's call, he'd been pulled back into Ray's sinister orbit. In one second he'd ended Ray's life and opened some kind of evil vortex that now threatened to destroy him as well.

ANY POLICE OFFICER facing an administrative review gets to choose a defense rep to defend him. According to Section 202 in the Police Bill of Rights, that representative can be anyone in the department below the rank of captain. The charter provides that the chosen officer must serve as the accused's defense representative unless such service would cause undue hardship or unless the chosen officer has a current duty assignment of such a sensitive nature as to prohibit the time commitment.
Over the years, several officers had become very adept at winning Internal Affairs cases and, as a result, got chosen as defense reps time and time again. They became schooled in the legal vagaries of the department disciplinary system, and most of them viewed Internal Affairs as a black hole of intrigue that they referred to as "the Dark Side." In a way, these men and women were mavericks inside the department, seeing themselves as animportant demarcation line between the accused officers and the meat-eating "politicians" who worked at Internal Affairs.
Such a man was retired Sergeant DeMarco Saint. He lived on the beach in Santa Monica. His house was run-down and desperately in need of a new roof and paint. He had made his place a hangout for a young, breezy beach crowd: everybody from surf bums and Rollerbladers to volleyball players and sidewalk musicians. They hung in clusters in front of his wood-shingled bungalow. DeMarco Saint presided over this collection of party animals like a wise, bearded guru. He had been a police officer for thirty years and had pulled the pin just last December. Then he had made an almost seamless transition from maverick cop to New Age swami.
Shane pulled his slickback into the public parking lot two doors down from DeMarco's house and showed his badge to the attendant, who greeted the free-parking move with a frown. Shane locked the car and walked to the beach bike path. He could hear loud rap music pounding before he even got on the pavement. As he got closer, he saw several young girls in string bikinis and some tanned surfers in boxer shorts sitting on DeMarco's low brick wall like prizes in a game of beach Jeopardy being played all day at high energy under a synthetic drumbeat.
Of course, Shane looked like a cop to them right off, and the conversation shriveled up like rose petals in a hot summer wind. By the time he got to DeMarco's wall, only the recorded rap of Snoop Doggy Dogg managed to ignore his presence.
"DeMarco around?" he asked the closest girl, a tall brunette in her mid-twenties.
"Inside," she said, arching a pierced eyebrow and clicking her silver tongue stud against her teeth to see if it would piss him off.
"That's nothing." He smiled. "I've got mine through my dick."
She laughed as he moved past her and through the front door of DeMarco's house.
He found the fifty-eight-year-old defense rep on his hands andknees, trying to adjust one of the blasting speakers while a teenage boy watched.
"Fucking bass is vibrating. Sounds like shit," the young surfer with bleached blond hair and black roots said sullenly.
DeMarco kept fiddling and finally took some of the low end out. He leaned back on his knees to listen. "Whatta you think?" he asked. "Better?"
Snoop Doggy Dogg's staccato voice was bouncing ghetto hatred off the walls while DeMarco leaned forward again to screw with his woofers and tweeters.
"Gotta fuck the pigs. Gotta make da man die, if he come passin' by da pork's gotta fry," the Snoopster rapped violently.
"You got a minute?" Shane yelled.
DeMarco turned and saw him, grinned, and stood up. He was over six feet tall, and since Shane had last seen him, he'd let his gray hair grow. It was now tied in a ponytail that hung a quarter of the way down his back. He was wearing a tank top and had added a few tattoos that Shane thought looked ridiculous on his spindly arms, but not anywhere near, as ridiculous as the silver cross that dangled from a chain in his left ear.
"Halley called. Been expecting you." He turned to the fifteen-year-old surfer. "You tinker with it for a while."
As the rap banged against their ears, he led Shane through the kitchen, where he grabbed two cold Miller Lites out of the refrigerator, and then out the back along the side of the house, onto Santa Monica's long, sandy beach. The waves were unusually high that morning because of a storm in Mexico. They broke energetically forty yards away, shaking the sand under the two men's feet.
"I must be getting really old," Shane said. "That shit pisses me off."
"I like having the kids around. So what're you gonna do?" He smiled, then reached into his ears and pulled out some cotton balls.
Shane couldn't help himself, he started laughing. "You're tuning your speakers with cotton in your ears. No wonder your low end is vibrating."
Shane and DeMarco sat in the warm sand and ripped the tabs off. The beer cans chirped and hissed foam. They clinked aluminum, and both took long swallows.
"I need help," Shane said.
"I know. Captain Halley already filled me in. He thinks you're being schmucked."
Shane looked at DeMarco. Sixteen years ago, a much younger DeMarco had saved him at a BOR. He was praying the newly ponytailed defense rep could do it again.
"Alexa Hamilton is back down there," DeMarco continued. "I figured she'd've transferred to some cushy job in administration by now."
"She's still there after sixteen years? I thought an average tour at Internal Affairs was only five years."
"She used to be their number one tin collector," DeMarco said. "They brought her back just to get you." A tin collector was an advocate who got convictions that resulted in an officer losing his badge. Sergeant Alexa Hamilton was the department prosecutor who tried him all those years ago, only she had failed to get his tin.
"They're all a bunch a' ladder-climbing suck-ups," DeMarco said, his hatred for the Dark Side spewing out of him unchecked. "Everybody in the fucking division is looking to get to the top floor of the Glass House. It sucks, the way it's set up."
Shane had heard DeMarco's complaints before and knew the old defense rep was talking about the fact that most of the captains and deputy chiefs on the ninth floor at Parker Center had also spent time as tin collectors in Internal Affairs. That made assignment as an IAD advocate a coveted post. It was a club. Lieutenants and below were selected by virtue of their test scores and oral boards, but to make captain, you had to be picked bythe chief of police. The fact was, it was hard to be picked if you hadn't spent some time on the Dark Side. This phenomenon had the effect of making Internal Affairs a catcher's mitt for every hot dog and ladder-climbing politician in the department.
"Why did you mention Alexa Hamilton? What's she got to do with this?" Shane asked, thinking of the attractive but overly severe woman who sixteen years back had prosecuted him with such fanatical enthusiasm. She had quite a reputation, both personally and professionally, leaving a long trail of busted careers and broken hearts. More than one Parker Center Romeo had moved in with her, only to discover that her personal demands matched her professional compulsions. Shane wondered if her apartment was furnished in relationship failures as his was.
He had grown to despise her in the few months that his case was going through the division. One of his best moments on the job was seconds after his not-guilty verdict had come in. He looked over and saw such distress on Alexa's face that it gave him a moment of pure, soul-cleansing vengeance. When she caught him looking, he smiled and surreptitiously flipped her the bird.
"I thought you knew," DeMarco said, interrupting his thoughts. "She's got your case. She put in for it."
"You can't be serious," Shane groaned.
"Yeah. If at first you don't succeed, and all that good shit." DeMarco took another long pull on his beer and let out a deep belch. "Maybe you shouldn't've flipped her off."
"Wouldn't matter, she hates me anyway."
DeMarco went on. "It's not good that they hopped over your Shooting Review Board and went straight to a BOR. It shows the department is going to war."
"Why? Barbara Molar is my witness. She'll say what happened."
"I made a few calls down to my old crew at the Representation Section in Parker Center. The rumor down there is, this wholerailroad train is coming right out of Mayor Crispin's office. He wants your balls in his trophy case."
"Lemme take a wild guess ... ." He drained his beer. "How 'bout 'cause you lit up his bodyguard. Blew his arithmetic all over that bedroom wall."
"You gotta help me, Dee. You gotta get me off."
"I'd like to, Shane. I really would. But frankly, I can't get into that rat race again. Alexa Hamilton is one tough, nail-chewing piece of business. I faced her fifteen or twenty times. Lost more than I won. I don't like it one bit that she's volunteering for this case. That tells me there's a big political payoff somewhere. Maybe lieutenant's bars and a transfer to something sexy like Organized Crime or Special Investigations. Mayweather could set that up for her, no sweat."
"You're telling me I'm cooked before we even get a hearing?"
"Tell you what ... you know Rags Whitman? He's a good defense rep, smarter than me. I used to ram my dick up their asses and piss on their hearts. Ragland, he's mellow, he plays the game--Mr. Wheel of Fortune. They like him at Parker Center. I was you, I'd get him to take your case. Ask him to plead you out, see what kinda deal he can get. My bet: maybe he gets you a six-month suspension without pay and no termination."
"For defending myself from that crazy bastard? What kinda deal is that?"
"You shot Ray Molar. Not a good move, but you got an eyewitness who, we hope, backs you up. You got Ray's bullet in the wall, proving he fired before you got him. You also got Molar's record of spousal abuse. All this is good. On the bad side, you got the fuckin' mayor of L.A. tail-gunning you. You got Chief Brewer with his ears back, and you got some tricky 'undue use of force' statutes that could go against you. Your best bet is to see if Rags can spin the big wheel and plead it down."
"You won't help me? Come on, Dee, you're off the department. They can't threaten you; they can't get to your pension. What's the problem?"
"I'd do it if I could, man. I just can't. I've got no stomach for it anymore. I go down there, and my guts start churning. I'd choke. I hate those pricks worse than the National Anthem. You wanna know why I pulled the pin? It wasn't 'cause I had my thirty in. It was ulcers. My stomach lining looks like a Mexican highway. I can't put myself back in that mess. Go talk to Rags. Get him to negotiate a kick-down."
Shane stood up and handed DeMarco his half-empty beer. "Okay," he finally said. "Sorry to take up your morning." Then he turned and walked away, his shoes filling with warm sand as he went.
"Hey, Scully," DeMarço called, and Shane turned around. "Whatever you do, don't volunteer to take a polygraph. I think the IA poly is rigged. They use it to get confessions. I've had more than one case where I think I got a bum test."
"Okay," Shane answered. "Thanks for the warning."


Shane pulled out of the parking lot and back onto the Coast Highway. As he started toward the Santa Monica Freeway, his stomach was churning and he could taste bile in his throat. Then he heard a siren growl and saw a black-and-white behind him with its red lights on. Since he was in a black-and-white slickback, it surprised him that he was being flashed to the curb like a civilian. He pulled over and got out.
A young uniformed cop with two stripes on his sleeve moved up to him.
"What's up, Officer?" Shane asked.
"You Sergeant Scully?" the man asked.
"I'm Joe Church. I was ordered to accompany you to Parker Center forthwith. Apparently your mobile data terminal is turned off."
"They get the gallows up already?" Shane quipped.
"I'm sorry, what, sir?" Officer Church said, deadpan, maybe with a tinge of cold anger.
"Why?" Shane asked. "What do they want?"
"Chief Brewer wants to see you immediately." He sort of barked it at Shane.
"Did I do something to piss you off?" Shane asked.
"You wanna follow me?"
"I can make it. You afraid I'll get lost?"
"Why don't you wait till I pull around. Since you haven't got a bar light, I'll put on the flashers and siren. It gets us there faster."
"You got a siren, how cool. I can hardly wait."
Shane got back into his unit and waited until the squad car pulled around in front of him. Joe Church growled his siren once, then raced out into the fast lane with Shane behind him.
The two police cars shot up onto the Santa Monica Freeway, heading back to downtown L.A. and Parker Center, Code Three.

TRAFFIC WAS JAMMED UP because some jackass had issued a motion-picture permit to an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that was now shooting on Wilshire at Spring Street. The film crew had moved in downtown, parking their honey wagons, dressing rooms, and sixteen-wheelers up and down the curb on Third, laying out barricades and blocking traffic for ten city blocks. Shane couldn't believe that some dummy in city government had signed a film-location permit that would tie up all of downtown L.A. Twice, Patrolman Church had to get out of his car and talk to an off-duty policeman working for the movie company so they could get through.
After struggling for over forty minutes, they finally drove into the parking structure next to Parker Center. They both found a spot on the top level. Shane got out of his car, and Joe Church immediately joined him.
"Damn movie has this town tied up worse than my colon,"Church growled as they looked at a low-flying helicopter that was hovering half a block away. There was a cameraman hanging out of the side door in a harness. Suddenly the rotors changed pitch, and the silver-and-red Bell Jet Ranger took off after a car that was speeding down barricaded Main Street after a motorcycle, Arnold Schwarzenegger kicking ass on celluloid.
"Let's go," Church said, getting back to business, taking Shane by the arm.
"I can make it. Even go to the bathroom now without Mommy's help."
"Don't be an asshole, Scully. I've got orders."
Shane decided not to push it, but he pulled his arm free and followed Church into the building.
For the second time in four hours, he found himself back on the ninth floor. They moved off the elevator, onto the thick, sea-foam green carpet, past the blond paneling and executive furniture, until he was finally standing in front of a massive woman who sat behind an oak desk the approximate size and shape of a Nimitz class carrier. She was parked directly outside Chief Burleigh Brewer's office.
Joe Church had shifted gears. No longer the stern centurion, he was now wearing an ingratiating, apple-polisher's smile. "Patrolman Church," he effused. "I was called specifically by Chief Brewer for this assignment. I've brought Sergeant Scully in. It was a 'forthwith.'"
"Thank you, Officer," the linebacker-sized woman said. Her heavy body wasn't helped by the shoulder pads in her tan suit coat. The name on her desk plate read CARLA MILLER. "You can sit down over there, Sergeant," she said to Shane, pointing to a chair. Joe Church took a position of advantage, guarding the exit. "Jeez, Church," Shane growled, "I'm not Clyde Barrow. I'm not gonna shoot my way outta here. Try giving it a rest."
Carla Miller nodded to Church. "We'll be okay."
Church shuffled his feet, flashed a gee-whiz smile, and a few seconds later backed out of the office and was gone.
Carla buzzed Chief Brewer and talked to him softly for a second, then hung up the phone.
Shane waited in the chair for almost thirty minutes, watching the efficiency with which Carla Miller fended off appointments and people. She was a tough, competent goalie, crouching in the net, deflecting problems. She never looked at him once. Outside, he could hear the distant drone of the movie helicopter as it whirled and turned, its rotors whining above the streets of L.A.
Suddenly the intercom buzzed. Carla picked up the phone, listened, then looked at Shane. "You can go in now."
He got up and moved into Chief Brewer's office. The first thing that struck him was that the movie helicopter seemed to be almost inside the office. The chief had a huge expanse of glass. You could see all the way down Main Street to the Financial Center. The Bell Jet Ranger was hovering loudly only fifty feet from the chief's plate-glass window. It was a startlingly eerie effect.
Chief Brewer's back was to him. He was looking out the window at the chopper and the movie company in the street below. The camera ship hovered, stirring air gusts against the window. The rotor sound inside the office was almost deafening. Shane could see the pilot's features clearly. The cameraman hanging from straps inside the open side door was still hunched over the eyepiece. It occurred to Shane that while he had been outside, waiting with his heart in his throat, his police commander had been watching them shoot this fucking movie.
Then Chief Brewer turned. Making it worse, he was holding a pair of field glasses. He set them down on his desk and motioned to Shane to come forward.
"You wanted to see me, sir." Shane's voice was lost in the noise from the helicopter. Somewhere in the pit of his stomach he knew that what he was about to be told was not going to begood. Sergeants get summoned to the COP's office for only two reasons, and Shane was pretty sure he wasn't about to get another Meritorious Service commendation.
Then the chopper turned and flew away abruptly, photographing some part of the movie in the street below. The silence that ensued was a blessing.
"Sergeant Scully, you've had a busy morning," the chief said. He was a stout forty-five-year-old red-haired man with cheeks that always seemed to have a ruby blush. He had his suits carefully tailored to hide a growing midsection. Recently he had added rimless glasses that blended a touch of severity into an otherwise unremarkable face.
"Yes, sir. Busy morning, sir," Shane said, trying to read where this was going.
"Movies," the chief said. "Boy, they use a fuck of a lot of equipment. They've got four whole blocks tied up down there. Three helicopters. That one there is the camera bird. God knows what the other two are for. We let 'em use one of the police choppers for a picture ship."
"That's very generous, sir. I'm sure they're grateful."
"It's a Schwarzenegger flick called Silver and Lead. He plays a cop who breaks up an armored-car robbery. It's a silver shipment, but it turns out the robbery is just a decoy to pull the cops away from a presidential assassination. Arnold signed a copy of the script for me," Chief Brewer bragged.
"Bet that'll be worth a few bucks." Shane felt like a moron, standing there with his asshole puckered, talking about the movie business.
"People would feel a lot better about you, Sergeant, if you were more of a team player."
No segue. One moment it's show biz, the next it's team ball.
"Oh?" Shane said. "I think I'm a good team player, sir. Check with my captain, my watch commanders."
"I'm not talking about your field performance, Scully. I'm sureyou're a good detective. That's not what this is about. What I'm talking about is attitudinal."
"Attitudinal?" Shane was lost. He didn't have a clue.
"Sometimes a guy will find himself in a position where he thinks maybe he's got an advantage. He thinks maybe he got lucky, stumbled into a piece of good fortune, but the fact is, he's not lucky at all. Fact is, he's stepped in a vat of shit and doesn't even know it. Then he's isolated--a marked man. That's not a good thing. It's better if you're a part of the team."
"Exactly what is it we're talking about, sir? I'm kinda lost."
"Are you? How come I knew that's what you were going to say?" Chief Brewer stood there, looking at Shane as if he were a grease spot on one of his new silk suits. Then he let out some more line. "Sergeant, there are items missing from Lieutenant Molar's case files. According to his duty logs, they were in his house before you shot him. They are no longer there. We questioned his wife. We believe she knows nothing. That leaves you. You were in a position, after you killed him, to remove those items."
"And you think I have them?"
"These items might appear to you to be some kind of windfall or perhaps something an ambitious person might think he could use to his advantage. They aren't what they appear to be. Lieutenant Molar was involved in something very sensitive, and he had the full cooperation of this office. This material could easily be misinterpreted if it got into the wrong hands. It needs to be returned now!"
"Sir, I don't have anything of Ray's. Nothing."
"I fully expected you to deny this because we both know it's against departmental regs to remove another officer's case material. You could be terminated if you admit you took it. However, Sergeant, there are things in this life that are worse than job termination. I expect that you're going to continue to deny it until the full gravity of the situation becomes clear to you, but by then it may be too late. There may be nothing I can do to help you."
"What items?" Shane's heart was pounding now. He was feeling as if he were trapped in a nightmare and couldn't find a way to wake up. "I didn't take anything," he repeated.
"In which case, you probably wouldn't object to taking a polygraph test."
"A polygraph? I ... I don't even have a defense rep yet. I ... I'm not sure I want to submit to a lie detector test without legal advice."
"Again, exactly what I thought you would say. Believe me, Scully, you're making a horrible mistake."
"Sir, I'm not saying I won't take a polygraph. It's just ... I'm having a hard time figuring out what's going on. I shot a man who was trying to kill me. He'd been beating his wife with a nightstick. Since that happened, my shooting review was canceled. I understand my case is being directed to a full administrative hearing, and now you're telling me I'm supposed to have stolen something from Lieutenant Molar's house? I took nothing, sir. I'll swear an affidavit to that fact."
The chief made a waving motion, brushing all this aside. "Here's my deal, Scully--and if you know what's good for you, you better take it. You've got four hours to turn over what you took. Drop the material off here. If you think you can use it to extract either money or career advantage, then you're going to find out that the entire city of Los Angeles, from Police to Sanitation, will go to war against you. It won't end well. By way of example, the district attorney, right now, is seriously considering filing murder charges against you for killing Lieutenant Molar."
"What?" Shane couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"Sergeant, do yourself a big favor and turn the material over."
Shane stood across from Chief Brewer with his knees shaking. He tried to collect his thoughts, then he took a breath to calm down.
"Let's suppose I have what you want and I turn it over," hesaid. "What happens to the charge of removing case materials and my Internal Affairs Board of Rights?"
"Maybe something gets worked out there. We look the other way on the case material. Your undue-use-of-force gets sent back to the Officer Involved Shooting Section, they look it over. Maybe it gets disposed of in a few hours, the district attorney decides there's no case."
"So you're using the BOR and this murder charge to try and scare me into doing what you want?"
There was an awkward silence, then the chief took a step toward him and changed the subject.
"Sergeant, there are only three places that material can be, and we've already looked in the other two. You've got four hours. Your career, and maybe the way you spend the rest of your life, depends on your decision. That's all I have to tell you." Then he turned his generous backside on Shane and looked out the window again, at the movie company.
Shane hesitated, wanting to continue to try convincing him, but it was obvious he had been firmly dismissed. Shane turned and walked out of Burl Brewer's office, closing the door behind him.
When he got into the waiting room, Alexa Hamilton was sitting in the same chair he had been warming a few minutes before. She stood when she saw him. Alexa Hamilton was in her midto late thirties and was beautiful in a severe, hard-charging way. Coal-black hair was pinned up on the back of her head. High cheekbones and slanted eyes gave her an exotic look that Shane didn't think fit her no-nonsense, ball-busting personality. She had a tight, gym-trained body. He thought her beauty was badly overpowered by a raw will to succeed that made her sexually unattractive to him. He saw her as one of the new breed of LAPD ladder-monkeys, moving fast through the department, eating her dead, leaving a high-octane vapor trail behind her.
"We meet again," she said, arching a tapered brow and smiling without humor.
"This isn't a meeting, it's an ambush."
"Call it what you like, I'm ready. I don't usually have to take two swings at such a slow pitch."
"I'll try and put a few more rpms in my routine." He looked down at the folder in her hand. "That my package?" he asked. "My sealed background records seem to be making the rounds. Will I be reading about my confidential history in next month's newsletter, or is it just going up on the division bulletin board?"
"I'm not reading secure files, Scully. I don't need to cheat to hammer you in. The infield fly rule's on. We have a play at any base."
"If you say so." He walked out of the office and was heading down the hall when she stuck her head out and called to him.
"Hey, Scully."
He turned and faced her.
"I didn't 'peel the nine' at Ray Molar, you did. You go around shooting your ex-partners, you're bound to pick up a little grief."
"Lemme file that under 'shit to remember.'"
He stabbed hard at the elevator button, missed, and stabbed again. Thankfully, it opened almost immediately and he got on, stepping out of her black-eyed stare. It whisked him mercifully away, down to the traffic-jammed reality of downtown Los Angeles and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

AFTER PICKING UP his Acura at the Spring Street Tire Center, Shane got back to the Harvard Westlake School at three-thirty to retrieve Chooch. He waited in a long line of British and German cars driven by Beverly Hills soccer moms. When he finally pulled to the curb where the students waited to be picked up, there was no Chooch. Then he saw him, off to the side of the crowd, sitting on a curb by himself. His CD player was hooked in his ears; he was lost in the music. Shane tapped on the horn to get his attention. Chooch picked up his book bag and ambled over to the newly shod black Acura now sporting four Michelin radials that Shane couldn't afford at a hundred dollars a tire.
As Chooch was sliding into the front seat, a tall, reed-thin man with a lipless mouth, curly hair, and heavy, dark-rimmed glasses stuck his head into the car. "Mr. Sandoval, I'm Brad Thackery, head of the Latin department and high-school assistant dean of admissions."
"I'm not his father," Shane said.
"Oh ... uh, well, I'm sorry. I just got the job two months ago, and I'm still trying to get all the names and faces straight. Will you be talking to Chooch's parents today?"
"Whatta you need, Mr. Thackery?"
"We need to schedule a teacher's conference immediately. Chooch has some severe problems that need to be addressed, ad summum bonum."
Off Shane's puzzled expression, he translated, "For everyone's good."
Shane looked at Chooch, who seemed not to be hearing any of it as he bobbed his head to the beat of some alternative rock leaking at high decibels from his earphones.
"I'll call his mother. Thanks."
Parents behind him were beginning to tap their horns impatiently, so Shane put the car in gear and pulled out onto Coldwater.
Shane said nothing until they were on the Ventura Freeway. "Hey, Chooch," he said, looking over at the boy slumped down in the seat beside him. "Chooch, you wanna take off the headset for a minute!? We need to talk."
Chooch paid no attention. He was bobbing his head to the music, oblivious.
Shane suddenly reached over and ripped the jack out of the CD.
That got his attention. Chooch spun around and glared. "What!" he said angrily.
"They want a teacher's meeting."
"I heard him. Thackery's a dick. Who the fuck cares? I hope they kick me out."
"Whatta they wanna talk about?" Shane asked. "I've gotta call and tell your mother."
"Whatta they wanna talk about? They wanna accuse me of dealin' drugs at school."
"Of what!?"
"You heard me. They think I'm dealin' drugs."
"Are you?"
Chooch didn't say anything, he just shrugged.
"You're not gonna tell me?"
"You're a fuckin' cop. Don't I get a lawyer and my Miranda rights first?"
Shane pulled the car off the freeway, down the Sepulveda ramp, and parked on the busy cross street. Then he turned to face Chooch. "Listen, Chooch, I'm not a cop where you're concerned. I'm your ..." Shane couldn't think of the right word. What was he?
"My what?" Chooch challenged. "My fuckin' guardian? My baby-sitter? My spiritual coach? What the fuck are you?"
"How 'bout your friend," Shane finally said.
"You're not my friend. I don't have any friends. Not one."
"Chooch, if you're selling drugs to kids at school, we've got a big problem. They could go to the LAPD. They could file criminal charges against you."
Chooch leaned back in the seat, not sure what to do.
"I'm not gonna bust you," Shane continued, "but I've gotta know what the deal is if I'm going to help."
"Not gonna bust me, huh? Where'd I hear that before?"
"Tell me. Were you selling drugs?"
"No. I didn't sell nothin'." He leaned back and closed his eyes. "Once or twice, maybe ... I loaned some Rasta weed to somebody. And then maybe once or twice I found some cash in my locker that I don't know where it came from ... ."
"Shit," Shane said, not sure how extreme his response to this should be. "You're in deep shit if they can prove it. Is anybody there gonna talk?"
"You mean, will my dickhead clients roll over and give me up?" Chooch asked. "In a fuckin' heartbeat. You want my opinion? They're not gonna go to the cops. That school doesn't wantsome newspaper story about drugs on campus. Since I'm Mexican, they're also probably scared shitless somebody will charge 'em with race discrimination. They're just gonna demand I go quietly, something I'm real prepared to do."
Shane looked hard at the teenager, still sitting with his head back on the seat, his eyes closed.
"It isn't your problem anyway," Chooch said. "You're just this month's paid jerkoff."
"Right. That's me." Shane put the car in gear and headed back up onto the freeway. They didn't speak all the way back to Venice.
Finally, Shane pulled into his house at 143 East Channel Road. He parked in the garage and got out. Chooch grabbed his book bag and slouched along after him as they opened the back door. The two of them walked into the kitchen, and Chooch slung his book bag angrily onto the counter.
"Take that into your room and start doing your homework."
"Homework? Ain't that a little off the point?"
"Do it anyway," Shane said. Then he moved out of the house into his small backyard, which looked out onto one of the narrow channels of Venice. What had been a cold April morning was now turning into a surprisingly pleasant California afternoon.
From Shane's small backyard on Venice's East Channel, he could see all the way down the intersecting Howland Canal.
Venice, California, had been the brainchild of Abbot Kinney in 1904. Kinney had wanted to create a luxury community in the style of Venice, Italy. He supervised the design of channels to carry water in from the ocean two blocks away. He designed his development around four long canals, intersected by a series of concrete, arched Venice-like driving bridges that spanned each canal. He added small walking bridges and brought some scaled-down gondolas over from Italy. It had been quite a place in the early 1900s but had seen hard times ever since. The canals stillhad a sort of rustic charm, but the once-grand houses of the thirties had been knocked down or subdivided and in their place were smaller, cheaper structures. The architectural style ranged from antebellum to trailer-park modern. The people who now lived on the canals were an even more interesting mix. Young doctors who smoked dope lived next door to disapproving retirees. New Age musicians and mimes competed for hat tips on the boardwalk, while four blocks inland, on Fifteenth Street, gangbangers and unaware tourists fought and died over wallets and watches. Jammed in with all of this confusion, next to a longhaired surfboard shaper, was LAPD Sergeant Shane Scully. There was something about the canal blocks of Venice, California, that suited him; something offbeat and sad. Venice seemed as misplaced as her residents.
Less than half a mile to the south were the yuppified environs of Marina del Rey, where young ad executives and airline flight attendants took sexual aim at one another in the crowded waterside bars and fish houses. A mile to the north was Santa Monica, with its population of trendy superagents, junk bond salesmen, and Hollywood power brokers. Halfway in between, sitting on its silly three-foot-deep canals, trying to be something it could never duplicate, was the other Venice, sinking into the mud of social indifference as surely as Venice, Italy, was sinking into the sea.
But Shane Scully was at home there, like no place else on earth. Venice, California, defined him.
As he watched a hummingbird hang energetically over the still East Channel, he opened his cell phone and dialed Sandy.
She answered after the tenth ring and seemed out of breath. "Yes," she said. "Hello." She also sounded angry and impatient.
"Catch you at a bad time?" he asked sarcastically.
"Shane, I can't talk now. I was already out the door. I'm late."
"Then let me make it quick. I think they're going to throwChooch out of Harvard Westlake for dealing grass. Some guy named Thackery wants a teacher's meeting with you. I told him I'd let you know. That's the whole message. Nice talking to you."
"Wait a minute. He's dealing what?"
"Grass ... Mary Jane, Aunt Hazel, African bush, bambalacha. You pick the cool name. He's selling shit to his classmates, and Mr. Thackery ain't one little bit amused about it."
"Well, what am I supposed to do? I can't ... I mean, can't we ...?"
"Unfortunately, I don't think there's much we can do. But you've gotta call and set something up. As Thackery says, 'It's for everybody's good.' Ad mumble bubble gum. And before you ask, lemme say that as this month's paid jerkoff, I'm not up for the teacher's conference."
"Come on, Shane, it can't be that bad."
"Sandy, I'm in some very big trouble myself right now. Big enough that I could end up getting fired or, worse still, even prosecuted by the DA."
"No. Listen. I can't handle this problem. I didn't know what I was getting into with Chooch."
"He sounds worse than he is. He's not that bad. You just have to be patient with him."
"You're sure about that? 'Cause I think he's one very confused, very angry kid. I think he's in the diamond lane to Juvenile Hall, and not that you care, Sandy, but I think you need to pay more attention to him. This kid is being passed around like a hot rock. Nobody's giving him what he needs."
"Including you?" she said darkly. "I thought you told me you were up for it, that you wanted to make a one-on-one investment in something with lasting dividends."
"What the fuck were we drinking, anyway?"
"Shane, look, I hear you. Unfortunately, I'm working for the DEA right now. I'm up to my ass in a dangerous sting that isdays from going down. You know from the jobs we've pulled together that my biggest jeopardy is right before I drop the dime. If I get made now, I could end up the captain of a fifty-gallon oil drum at the bottom of the Catalina Channel. I can't take Chooch. I can't take a chance he'll get hurt, and I can't divert my energies or my concentration at this point in the sting. You said you'd take him. You promised. Otherwise, I wouldn't have left him there."
"Okay, Sandy. I'll do the best I can. But you wanna know something ... ?"
"Not if it's gonna be a lecture."
"It's an opinion, baby. This boy is hurting bad. He's on fire. He's so self-destructive, I'm heartsick for him. But I'm up to my ass in department bullshit. I shot my ex-partner."
"That was you? It was on the news." Shane didn't answer. "Well, good," Sandy finished. "Ray was a son of a bitch. He deserved to die."
"No, he didn't. But if this goes like it's been going, I'm not going to be available for Chooch, either. So start figuring what you're gonna do and call this prick Thackery and get him off my ass."
"Okay, okay, sugar. I'll call him. Gotta run. Bye." And she was gone.
He slumped down in his rusting metal lawn chair, and then someone cleared his throat. Shane turned and realized that Chooch had come out the side door and had been sitting in one of the other metal chairs at the side of the house.
"Well, she's probably got a lot more important shit on her mind," Chooch said. "Want me to roll you a number? It's pretty fine Jamaican ganja."
Chooch had some Zig-Zag papers and a small cloth drawstring bag in his hand. Shane hadn't had a hit of marijuana since the Marine Corps, but he was so tight, so frayed, that he was worried about his imploding psyche. "Yeah, sure, roll me up one."
"No shit?" Chooch said, "What about Rule One: No smoking grass in my house, not now, not ever?"
"I gotta do something to bend the energy in this day. Rule One is temporarily suspended."
Chooch rolled a bud, fat and short. Then he handed it over. Shane sat there, holding the jay, wondering what kind of example it was going to be for him to blast a joint in front of Chooch or, worse still, get high with him. But then he thought of the events of the day, starting with his shooting Ray Molar at 2:30 A.M., all the way through to his disastrous meeting with Chief Brewer. Somehow, in the light of all that, passing grass with an angry fifteen-year-old just didn't seem all that important.
"Fuck it," he said, then reached back and grabbed one of Chooch's matches, fired up, took a hit, and passed it to Chooch.
The two of them sat in metal chairs in the small, green-brown garden behind Shane's house, sharing the joint and trying to unwind their separate but equally devastating problems.
THE TIN COLLECTORS and THE VIKING FUNERAL. Copyright © 2005 by Stephen J. Cannell. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

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Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Loriana to Radolf

    Loriana glides over. The teenage vampiress feeds on him, taking all his blood. She leaves.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013


    *Walks onto the ship.* I don't care about your stupid quiz! When do we kill people?!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    OK, I am hooked on another great character.

    I first heard Stephen Cannell's name on the TV show Castle. After getting up to date with Michael Connelly's Harry Borsch, I was looking for another mystery series and Shane Scully is my guy. Looking forward to reading more of his adventures and meeting the characters he connects with.

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  • Posted December 30, 2011


    In true Cannell fashion, these two books grab you and don't let go! Although you can figure out what's going on, you have no idea who all the players are, and no idea of the outcome until you get there. What a read!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    check it out

    great read just started reading from this author would recommend this author to my friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    Good Book

    This is the place to start when reading about Shane Scully. Many times references are made to previous books when you read through the series. I have become a great fan and have enjoyed reading this series. I also like the two books as one. It has saved me money!

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    Posted December 28, 2012

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