In the breathtaking follow-up to his smash debut "Dark Harbor," Hosp is back with the story of two detectives and the independent young woman who will risk everything to find her sisters killer.
- Grand Central Publishing
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- 4.37(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.12(d)
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By David Hosp
WARNER BOOKSCopyright © 2006 Richard David Hosp
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJACK CASSIAN LEANED FORWARD in the flimsy plastic chair, its aluminum frame creaking with every shift of his weight. His head hung low, his hair falling forward, obscuring an angular, attractive face that somehow retained its youthfulness in spite of all he had seen in his thirty-three years. "I'm not seeing Candy anymore," he said without emotion. "I never really thought it would work out, anyway, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. She never understood anything about what makes me tick; one in a long list of things that she didn't understand. Like art. And literature. And childproof caps." He was looking down at the yellowing industrial tiles on the floor, and he could sense no movement from the figure sitting at his side. But then, he no longer expected a reaction.
"Guys at the station ask about you," he lied. "Couple of them say they might stop by: Hendrickson and Joe, maybe." He considered for a moment how far he should press the fabrication. "They probably won't, though, in the end. Things are pretty busy, and guys like them hate places like this, y'know?" Still no movement.
He cast his mind about for anything else worth saying-anything that might make the charade seem more real. "Yeah, you know," he repeated just to fill the void.
Jack sat in silence for another momentor two before he was able to pry his eyes from the cracks in the dirty linoleum and look at the man sitting in the wheelchair beside him. The resemblance between them, which had been acute when they were both much younger, was still there, but atrophy had taken its toll. The cheeks were hollow now, and the shoulders-which had once been so broad and strong, thrown back in defiance of the world's injustices-were slumped forward, bony and frail under the lint-ridden bathrobe Jack had purchased a year ago. But the change was most evident in the eyes. They had once burned with joy and anger and mischief, a concentration of life that affected everyone and everything within their reach. Now they were empty sockets sucked back into a thin face, the whites turned yellow and lined, like the cracks in the floor of this godforsaken place. Whenever Jack Cassian found the courage to look there-into the eyes he had known his entire life-his pretense fell apart, and he understood that the man he once knew so well was gone. Above the eyes, the deep purple sickle-shaped scar rested in the divot that marred the man's forehead.
The buzzing of Jack's pager broke the silence. He let it vibrate a few times, still looking at the man next to him, whose blank stare remained unchanged. Finally, he unclipped the tiny device from his belt and looked at the number on the display. Then he returned the pager to its resting place.
He leaned forward, letting his head drop again as he brought his fingers together into a pyramid. "Listen, Jimmy, I'm sorry," he said. "That was the office. I gotta go out on a call." He sighed. "I'd planned to stay longer." He looked up again, and for just a moment the hope crept back into his heart; that lingering, illogical optimism that allows a person to believe, against all medical assurances, that maybe-just maybe-there might be some flicker of recognition. It was useless, though, and he knew it, in his head if not in his heart.
He stood up, straightening out his slacks and pulling on his sport coat. He took a step toward the door, then paused, standing behind the man in the wheelchair. The other man had still not moved since Jack's arrival, and had acknowledged neither Jack's presence nor his imminent departure. On his lap, resting askew between the arms of the wheelchair, was a new bathrobe, still sitting in the box with the wrapping paper flowering up from underneath. Jack leaned forward, his hand resting on the man's fragile shoulder, and kissed the top of his head.
"Happy birthday, bro," he said. Then he turned and left the room.
The trip down from the medical facility in Maryland took longer than expected, and by the time he reached D.C. it was after six-thirty. Cassian sped through the city, his thick brown hair whipped back as he slid his beat-up old motorcycle through the traffic.
He throttled back the engine and kicked the bike into a lower gear as he rounded the corner at Seventh Street. A police barrier had been set up outside the little townhouse, and a crowd had gathered at the perimeter marked out by the yellow police tape, like a swarm of flies along the edge of fresh roadkill. Cassian pulled up to the perimeter, where one of the officers waved him through.
"Wozniak," Cassian said, nodding in recognition at the young man in uniform. He took off his sunglasses and tucked them into the breast pocket of his sport coat.
"Cassian," the man replied, giving a halfhearted salute. He eyed the motorcycle as Jack put down the kickstand. "Still tempting fate on that thing, huh?"
Jack smiled. "Gotta tempt something, don't I?"
The patrolman smiled back. "I guess." He nodded up toward the townhouse. "Train's waiting on you," he said. "Been here for close to an hour. Seems like he's in a shitty mood."
"How can you tell?"
Wozniak shrugged noncommittally. "It's pretty grisly up there. Crime Scene got here about forty-five minutes ago, and they're working the place over."
The shout startled them both, and they turned toward the house. There, on the landing just outside the front door, stood Darius Train. His huge lumpy figure looked tired, as always, and he rubbed a hand over his bald, dark brown scalp. "Jack!" he repeated. "Get up here!"
"Guess that's my cue," Cassian said to Wozniak. He looked over the officer's shoulder. The crowd was continuing to grow, and seemed to be getting more restless. "Keep these people back, okay? We're gonna have enough to deal with up there as it is."
As Cassian turned and headed toward the front door to the house, he heard Wozniak call after him. "Hey Jack!" Cassian turned around. "Thanks again for the Nationals tickets. It meant a lot to my kid," the officer said.
Jack waved him off. "I couldn't use 'em, and I didn't want them to go to waste."
"Yeah, well, still. I've never seen my kid so excited in his life. Washington even beat the Yankees. You imagine that? Made me look like a hero."
Jack smiled. "I'm guessing you already looked like a hero to your kid."
Wozniak nodded. "Thanks all the same."
Cassian squinted as he walked up the pathway toward the front door. The sun was beginning to set to the west, over toward the Capitol dome and the White House, but the temperature remained in the low nineties.
Detective Sergeant Train was watching him from the steps in front of the house, and he wore his usual look of annoyance. When Jack first made detective three years earlier and was told that he would be partnering with the giant, he'd had his reservations. Train, a veteran of more than twenty years on the force and a former all-District linebacker from one of the roughest areas of the city, seemed an unlikely fit for Jack, the product of a modest, pleasant suburb in Maryland. When they had first been introduced, Jack was sure he'd heard the man mutter the phrase "pencil-neck" under his breath, and there was no mistaking the look of disappointment on his face. In spite of their inauspicious beginning, however, the two had gelled quickly, their strengths and weaknesses complementing each other and making them a formidable team. In addition, they shared a sardonic sense of humor that seemed to grow naturally from the disillusionment of being a cop, and from dredging through the worst that human nature had to offer.
"Sarge," Cassian acknowledged Train when he reached the top step. He turned around so that they were both facing out toward the street.
"Detective," Train responded, and Cassian thought he sensed a hint of impatience in the tone. The older man cut a quick glance in Cassian's direction, taking note of Jack's casual slacks and the expensive shirt beneath Jack's sport coat. On the surface, no two men could seem more different. "What happened? You get the call in the middle of a manicure or something?"
"That's funny, Sarge," Cassian said. He looked at the rumpled gray suit his partner was wearing-one of five identical outfits he owned. "Really, I need to take more style tips from you." Cassian looked off into the distance, away from his partner. "I was visiting Jimmy," he said after a moment. "It's his birthday."
The look of annoyance disappeared from Train's face, replaced by one of concern. Jack wasn't sure which look bothered him more. "How's he doin'?"
Jack shook his head, ignoring the question. "What've we got here?" he asked.
Train stared at the younger man briefly before replying. "A fuckin' mess is what we've got here," he said at last. He took out his notebook and flipped it open. "Elizabeth Creay," he started. "Thirty-six years old. Reporter for the Post."
"No shit. We're gonna have a lot of people looking over our shoulder on this. Already got a call from her editor making demands for information."
"What'd you say to him?"
"I asked him where he was this afternoon between two and four."
Cassian nodded. "That must've gone over well. Did you ask him for a list of all the people she worked with, too?"
"Didn't have the chance." Train looked sideways at his younger partner. "It turned into a short conversation. Hopefully it bought us some time, though, while he hollers at the captain."
"What else do we know?" Cassian asked, referring to the victim.
Train consulted his notes again. "Ms. Creay is-pardon me, was-divorced; one daughter, fourteen. According to relatives, the ex-husband lives out in Old Colony, Virginia."
"Old Colony? Nice town. How'd she get stuck in this neighborhood?"
"I guess we'll have to ask him that." The older detective shrugged. "She probably had a crappy divorce lawyer."
"As crappy as the guy you used?"
Train shook his head. "Nobody's that crappy." He looked down the street and frowned, the lines in his face deepening and his mouth drawing up tight. "She found her."
"The daughter. She was the first one here. Came home from school and walked in and found her. Neighbor heard her scream and called it in. The patrol car got here about ten minutes later and went inside-found the girl curled up in a ball." The silence stretched out between them.
"Where is she now?" Cassian asked finally.
"EMTs took her to the hospital. She still wasn't speaking. She's with her grandmother now." Train let the information sink in for a moment. Then he looked at Cassian. "You wanna go inside?"
Jack put his hands in his pockets. The crowd had doubled in strength since his arrival, and the onlookers were milling around excitedly. Ants at a picnic, he thought. Additional officers had been called in to keep the more aggressively curious back from the house so the Crime Scene technicians could do their work. "Not really," he replied.
Train nodded. "Tough shit," he said.
Cassian sighed. "Yeah, I know," he agreed. "Tough shit."
Excerpted from The Betrayed by David Hosp Copyright © 2006 by Richard David Hosp. Excerpted by permission.
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Taking place in Washington D.C this thriller opens with the gruesome murder of a Post reporter, Elizabeth Creay. It appears to be a robbery gone wrong, everything is missing from the house even the computer. The two police officers assigned to the case find a clue that leads them to their prime suspect who claims his innocence. A second murder proves he is truly innocent but the police cannot prove it and political pressure is being brought to bear to close the case. The pressure is coming from Elizabeth's estranged mother, a power player in D.C. politics. It appears she is trying to protect her family, but from what? Elizabeth's sister, Sydney, is frustrated with the lack of progress the police are making and her mother's strange behaviour. She has Elizabeth's computer and uses it to start her investigation into what Elizabeth was doing before her murder. Both Sydney's and the police investigation lead them to a juvenile facility in Virginia where the director believed in eugenics. Strange correlations keep appearing. Elizabeth's ex-husband seems tied to the Institute as does Elizabeth's family and a Presidential hopeful. With believable characters David HOSP tackles the provocative theme of who decides what is for the good of society and raises issues of accountability in government and politics.
Washington DC Homicide Detective Sergeant Darius Train and Detective Jack Cassian lead the investigation into the murder of thirty-six years old Washington Post reporter Elizabeth Creay. The victim had her throat slashed, but apparently the culprit carelessly left behind a cigarette lighter with a fingerprint on it. The match in the files is with drug dealer Jerome Washington.-------------- The politicians, the brass and the media are happy with who is the prime suspect and want the sleuths to concentrate on finding more evidence on Washington. However, the two veteran cops think this seems too easy so they widen their search by looking at other possible suspects including some people who have pushed to limit the inquiry to Washington. Complicating the case is the arrival of Creay¿s sister Sydney Chapin who needs to know the truth and if officialdom fails to pursue it, she will. As the detectives and the amateur sleuth investigate, the case takes an odd spin into eugenics and especially secret illegal experiments at the Virginia Juvenile Institute for the Mentally Defective, followed by more homicides.------------- THE BETRAYED starts off as an exhilarating police procedural enhanced by an alluring amateur sleuth subplot. The spin into eugenics spotlights a social issue, but doesn¿t blend smoothly into the storyline although it is very interesting. Still the lead detectives are a delightful pairing of opposites struggling to do the right thing in an atmosphere in which everyone else except for the interfering sibling wants to hang Washington and cease any other inquiry.------------- Harriet Klausner
Suspense mystery that's hard to put down!