Cerulean Sins (Vampire Hunter 11) - Page 97

The other woman looked vaguely familiar. "Wasn't the woman in a group picture downstairs? It looked like it was taken at a party."

"We'll check," Zerbrowski said.

"What about the man?" Bradley asked.

I looked at the man in the picture. The man that might be our killer or might be at the bottom of the pile of bones in the bathtub was tall, broad-shouldered. Straight brown hair was pulled back into a long ponytail that one of the women was tugging on, playing with. The face was high cheek-boned, handsome. He wasn't like Richard handsome, but they reminded me oddly of each other, both tall, both broad-shouldered, both classically handsome. But there was something in this man's face even through the film that creeped me out.

It was probably knowing that the two women were only hours away from being butchered. It was probably my imagination, but I didn't like the look on the man's face when he glanced up and spotted the camera. I realized that that was what the look was, why it looked strange.

"He spotted the camera," I said.

"What do you mean?" Zerbrowski asked.

"Look at his face, he didn't like being on film."

"He probably knew what he was going to do to them," Merlioni said, "don't want to be seen with the vies before the murder."

"Maybe, probably." I kept looking at his face, and I thought it was familiar.

"Do you recognize him?" Bradley asked.

I stared up at him. His face was empty, guileless, but I didn't believe the innocent look. "Why would I?"

"Well, he is a shape-shifter, if he's our man, I thought you might have seen him around."

Bradley was lying, I could feel it. Even I wasn't tactless enough to accuse him of it to his face, but I was saved from having to come up with something to say by my cell phone ringing. I'd kept it with me today, hooked on the back of my belt, just in case Musette and company didn't go quietly out of town. Call me silly, but I just didn't trust them.


"Is this Anita Blake?" It was a woman. I didn't recognize the voice.


"This is Detective O'Brien."

Strangely, with all the vampire politics and the new murder I hadn't given much thought to the internationally wanted terrorist Leopold Heinrick. "Detective O'Brien, good to hear from you, what's up?"

"We identified the two pictures you pulled."

"Really, I'm impressed, the photos weren't that good."

"Lieutenant Nicols, you met him once, he picked them out."

It took me a second to place the name. "The lieutenant that was in charge at Lindel Cemetery."

"Yeah, that's the one. He picked out the same two pictures that you did, and since the two of you have only met once . . ."

Before she could finish, I said, "The bodyguards, the freaking bodyguards. Canducci and . . ."

She said, "Balfour."

"Yeah, that's right. I can't believe I didn't remember them."

"You saw them once at night, Blake, and from what Nicols says, the widow was putting on quite a show."

"Yeah, but still. Did you bring them in for questioning?"

"No one knows where they are. They quit their job at the security agency the day after you saw them. They'd only worked there for about two weeks. All the references they gave are leading to dead ends."

"Shit," I said. I glanced down at the picture that Bradley was still holding down where I could see it. I suddenly knew why that picture looked vaguely familiar. He was another of Heinrick's known associates. Or he looked amazingly like one of them. But I just didn't believe that coincidence would stretch that far.

I looked up at Bradley. He was still patiently holding the picture down where I could see it, lower than either of the other two men needed it. Maybe he was being polite, or maybe not. He met my gaze, and he gave me blank face. Cop face.

"What if I told you that I'm looking at a picture of one of the other known associates of Heinrick, and he's in town, too?"

Bradley's face never changed. Zerbrowski's and Merlioni's did. They looked surprised. Bradley didn't.

"How did you get the picture?"

"Long story, but he's wanted in connection with some murders here in town."

"Which man?"

"I think he was the only one with longer hair. I don't think it was back in a ponytail like it is here, but it was definitely shoulder length."

I heard papers rustling. "I've got it." I heard more papers rustling, then a soft whistle. "Roy Van Anders. He is a very bad man, Blake."

"How bad?"

"Strangely, we got files just today about Mr. Van Anders. Crime scene photos that would turn your stomach."

"A lot of blood, not a lot of body left?" I asked.

I could feel Zerbrowski tense beside me.

"Yeah, how did you know?"

"I think I'm at a crime scene right now that's Van Anders's work."

"You're on that lycanthrope murder, right?"


"There's nothing in his record that says he's anything but human. He's just a sick son of a bitch, who likes to rape and kill women."

"Did anybody question how he dismembered the bodies, or where the rest of them went?"

"I haven't read through everything yet, but no. Most of his crimes were in countries where we're lucky to have gotten any pictures at all. Very low tech, very little money to do sophisticated crime work."

"How sophisticated do you have to be to figure out the difference between tools and teeth?"

"A lot of serial killers use teeth, Blake." She sounded like she felt she had to defend the honor of some far away police.

"I know that, O'Brien, but, oh, hell, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that he's here in our town, right now, and we aren't low tech, and we do have at least a little money to track down the bad guys."

"You're right, Blake. Concentrate on the here and now."

"Do we have enough to question Heinrick and his pal now?"

"I think we might. We can make a case that Heinrick knows about his pal's hobbies. That would make him an accessory before the fact, if not more."

"I'll be down there as soon as I can get out of here."

"Blake, this is not your case. You're one of the potential victims. I think that makes you too close to everything to be objective."

"Don't do this, O'Brien, I've played fair with you."

"This isn't a game, Blake, this is a job. Or do you want credit for everything?"

"I don't give a f**k about credit. I just want to be there when you question Heinrick."

"If you get here in time, but we ain't holding the party up for just you."

"Fine, O'Brien, fine, you're the detective in charge."

"Nice of you to remember that." She hung up on me.

I said a very heartfelt, "Bitch!"

Zerbrowski and Merlioni had eager expectant faces, but Bradley didn't. He could do cop face, but he wasn't an actor. I filled them in, and Zerbrowski was pissed at O'Brien, not for excluding me, but for not even bothering to consider contacting a member of RPIT.

"She's got them in lockup for what, following you around? We've got four murders, maybe more." He looked at me. "You want a ride in a car with sirens and lights, so that we can f**king get there before she does something to wreck our case?"

I liked the 'our case,' and I liked that he asked me along. Dolph probably wouldn't have, even if he hadn't been mad at me.

I nodded. "I'd love to go riding in and wave jurisdictional flags in her face."

He grinned. "Give me ten minutes to give everybody their marching orders, then meet me downstairs. We'll borrow a marked car. People always get out of the way faster for a marked car." He was out the door and down the stairs humming to himself.

Merlioni went after him, saying, "Who has to stay here with the tub o' death cleanup?" I don't think Merlioni wanted to be included in the cleanup, not even to supervise.

Bradley and I found ourselves alone. It was unheard of for a fed, two feds I guess, to be left alone at a murder scene like this. Most locals hated the feds, and the feds hated them right back.

I looked up at Bradley. "Now that I've made all the connections you wanted me to make, tell me why you really came down here."

He closed the manila envelope and handed it to me. "To solve a crime."

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