THE POET MICHAEL CONNELLY The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living Author: Michael Connelly. Jack McEvoy specializes in death. As a crime reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, he has seen every kind of murder. But his professional bravado doesn't. ruthenpress.info Michael Connelly's Fiction. The Black Echo (). The Black Ice (). The Concrete Blonde (). The Last Coyote (). The Poet .
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MICHAEL. CONNELLY. The Poet. The Poet EARLY ruthenpress.info 6/3/09 Page v The right of Michael Connelly to be identified as the author of this work has. going to court on behalf of Michael Harris: a man the who starred in the Michael Connelly's bestseller with the FBI and squarely in the path of the Poet , who. The Poet book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Denver crime-beat reporter Jack McEvoy specializes in violent death. So .
Each is taken from a quote from Edgar Allan Poe; most are from poems and stories while one that does not seem to fit is actually the quote of Poe's last words. As the investigation heats up, Jack becomes involved in the FBI's investigation of the serial killer referred to as the Poet. Jack is quickly pushed to the side until he convinces the FBI team leader that he has information that the agency needs in order to solve the case.
Jack and the team leader, Bob Backus, make a deal - Jack's information for an exclusive story. Jack meets Rachael Walling, the lead agent on the case, and the two quickly become involved in an intimate relationship.
The relationship is both good and bad for both, the bad part being that it clouds Jack's judgment regarding the facts. It is clear that the elusive Gladden is responsible for the murders of the children but the killing of the cops is not yet clear. Along the way, a pedophile network is uncovered. Jack makes friends with a former reporter who sets him up and steals the story for a front page byline in the LA Times.
Jack and Rachel's ex-husband Gordon Thorson develop instant animosity and Jack believes that Thorson has been leaking information to the press. The story accelerates when Gladden is located and a sting is set up to capture him. In the melee, Thorson is killed. Jack tries to get Gladden to confess but there is something off about the man's comments.
Gladden manages to shoot himself while Jack holds the gun. After Gladden's death, Jack begins to realize that while he was responsible for the children's murders, Gladden was not the poet. Jack begins to thread together facts that lead directly to Rachel as being the Poet.
Jack fights against the facts but finally cannot deny it and reports it to Backus. He had an annoying habit of not looking at you when you disagreed with him.
When we were little, I would jump on him when he did it and punch him on the back. I couldn't do that anymore, though many times I wanted to. You have" "I don't have to do anything and I don't give a shit what kind of story it is.
This one is bad, Jack. I can't- stop thinking about it. And I'm not going to help you sell newspapers with it. Look at me. I don't care if it sells papers or not. The story is the thing. I don't give a shit about the paper. You know how I feel about that. I was silent a moment and took out a cigarette.
I was down to maybe half a pack a day back then and could have skipped it but I knew it bothered him. So I smoked when I wanted to work on him. At least you'll be arresting somebody. You aren't going to clear it, are you? That's what this is all about. You don't want me digging around and writing about your failure.
You're giving up. You know it's never worked. It never had. You just want to keep this little horror story for yourself That it? You could say that. Almost as I thought about my brother I knew the Lofton case had want to take his own life. Louis I sat with my arms crossed. It if I were holding myself together.
The more the more the whole thing made no sense to me. Studied me, I thought. I wondered if he knew what had come between my brother and me. I just didn't see it. All the times that we'd had together coming to that. I didn't care about the Lofton case. What they were saying couldn't be.
Louis turned around to look at me.
He loved it. You ask Riley. You ask anybody on the-Wex, you knew him the best and you know it's bullshit. He loved the hunt. That's what he called it. He wouldn't have traded it for anything. He probably could have been the assistant fucking chief by now but he didn't want it. He wanted to work homicides. He stayed in CAPs. We were in Boulder now, on Baseline heading toward Cascade. I was falling through the silence of the car. The impact of what they were telling me Sean had done was settling on me and leaving me as cold and dirty as the snow back on the side of the freeway.
We think it was a note. Louis glance over at Wexler and give him a look that said, you're saying too much. What did it say? Out of time.
That's all it said. Then it was instantly replaced by a look of horror out of that painting by Munch. The brain is an amazing computer. Three seconds to look at three faces at your door and to know your husband isn't coming home. IBM could never match that.
Her mouth formed into a horrible black hole from which an unintelligible sound came, then the in evitable useless word: She went around the corner into the living room. When we followed we found her collapsed on the middle of the couch in an almost catatonic state, not too dissimilar from my own.
The tears were just starting to come to her eyes. Wexler sat next to her on the couch. Big Dog and I stood by, silent as cowards. Wexler nodded. He looked over at me and then back at Riley. I'm sorry. But Wexler had a way of telling the story and after a while she stopped protesting. That was when she looked at me for the first time, tears rolling. Her face had an imploring look, as if she were asking me if we were sharing the same nightmare and couldn't I do something about it.
Couldn't I wake her up? Couldn't I tell these two characters from a black and white how wrong they were? I went to the couch, sat next to her and hugged her. That's what I was there for. I'd seen this scene often enough to know what I was supposed to do. She turned from my arms to Wexler. By the lake. Somebody said they might have some information about one of his cases. He was going up to meet them for coffee at the Stanley.
Then after he We don't know why he went there. He was found in his car by a ranger who heard the shot. Louis walked away shaking his head. We're not going to get into that with you. This is his wife. We were up there. He killed himself. He used his own gun, he left a note and we got GSR on his hands.
I wish he didn't do it. But he did. When they dig through the frost line with the backhoe to open up a grave. My brother was buried in Green Mountain Memorial Park in Boulder, a spot not more than a mile from the house where we grew up. As kids we were driven by the cemetery on our way to summer camp hikes in Chautauqua Park.
I don't think we ever once looked at the stones as we passed and thought of the confines of the cemetery as our own final destination, but now that was what it was to be for Sean. Green Mountain stood over the cemetery like a huge altar, making the small gathering at his grave seem even smaller. Riley, of course, was there, along with her parents and mine, Wexler and St.
Louis, a couple dozen or so other cops, a few high school friends that neither Sean nor I nor Riley had stayed in touch with and me. It wasn't the official police burial with all the fanfare and colors. That ritual was reserved for those who fell in the line of duty.
Though it could be argued that it was still a line-of-duty death, it wasn't considered one by the department. So Sean didn't get the Show and most of the Denver police force stayed away. Suicide is believed to be contagious by many in the thin blue line. I was one of the pallbearers. I took the front along with my father.
Louis were on the back. Louis was too tall and Wexler too short. Mutt and Jeff. It gave the coffin an uneven cant at the back as we carried it. I think it must have looked odd. My mind wandered as we struggled with the weight and I thought of Sean's body pitching around inside I didn't say much to my parents that day, though I rode with them in the limousine with Riley and her parents. We had not talked of anything meaningful in many years and even Sean's death could not penetrate the barrier.
After my sister's death twenty years before, something in them changed toward me.
It seemed that I, as the survivor of the accident, was suspect for having done just that. I am also sure that since that time I have continued to disappoint them in the choices I have made.
I think of these as small disappointments accruing over time like interest in a bank account until it was enough for them to comfortably retire on. We are strangers. I see them only on the required holidays. And so there was nothing that I could say to them that would matter and there was nothing they could say to me.
Aside from the occasional hurt-animal sound of Riley crying, the inside of the limo was as quiet as the inside of Sean's casket. After the funeral I took two weeks of vacation and the one week of bereavement leave the paper allowed and drove by myself up into the Rockies.
The mountains have never lost their glory for me. It's mountains where I heal the fastest. Headed west on the 70, I drove through the overland Pass and over the peaks to Grand Junction.
I did it slowly, taking three days. I stopped to sit; sometimes I just stopped on the turnouts to think. After Grand Junction I diverted south and made it to Telluride the next day.
I kept the Cherokee in four-wheel drive the whole way. I stayed in Silverton because the rooms were cheaper and skied every day for a week. I spent the nights in my room or near the fireplace of whatever ski lodge I stopped in.
I tried to exhaust my body with the hope that my mind would follow. But I couldn't succeed. It was all Sean. Out of space. His last message was a riddle my mind could not put aside. For some reason my brother's noble calling had betrayed him.
It had killed him. The grief that this simple conclusion brought me would not ebb, even when I was gliding down the slopes, the wind cutting in behind my sunglasses and blew tears from my eyes.
I no longer questioned the official conclusion but it had not been Wexler and St. Louis who had convinced me. I did that on my own. It was the erosion of my resolve by time and by facts. As each day went by, the horror of what he had done was somehow easier to believe.
And then there was Riley.
On the day after that night she had told me something that even Wexler and St. Louis hadn,t known yet. Sean had been going once a week to see a psychologist.
Of course, there were counseling services available to him through the department, but he had chosen this secret path because he didn't want his position to be undermined by manors. I came to realize he was seeing the therapist at the same time I went to him wanting to write about Lofton. I thought maybe he was trying to spare me the same anguish that the case had brought him.
I liked the thought that that was what he was doing and I tried to hold on to that idea during those days up in the mountains. We were identical. Hazel eyes, light brown hair, but not many people knew that.
We had always gone to great lengths to forge separate identities. Sean wore contacts and pumped iron to put muscle on his frame.
I wore glasses, had a beard since college, and hadn't picked up the weights since high school basketball.
I also had the scar from that woman's ring in Breckenridge. My battle scar. Sean went into the service after high school and then the cops, keeping the crew cut as he went. He later got a CU degree while going part-time. He needed it to get ahead in the department. I bummed around for a couple of years, lived in New York and Paris, and then went the full-time college route. I wanted to be a writer, ended up in the newspaper business. In the back of my mind I told myself it was just a temporary stop.
I'd been telling myself that for ten years now, maybe longer. That night in the hotel room, I looked at myself in the mirror for a long time but I didn't shave off my beard or cut my hair. I kept thinking about Sean under the frozen ground and I had a crushed feeling in my stomach. I decided that when my time came I wanted to be burned. I didn't want to be down there under the ice.
What hooked me deepest was the message. The official police line was this: After my brother left the Stanley Hotel and drove up through Estes Park to Bear Lake, he parked his department car and for a while left the engine running, the heat on. When the heat had fogged the windshield he reached up and wrote his message there with a gloved finger. He wrote it backward so you could read it from outside the car.
His last words to a world that included two parents, a wife and a twin brother. I couldn't understand. Time for what? Space for what? He had come to some desperate conclusion, yet he never tested us on it. He had not reached out to me, nor to my parents or Riley. Was it up to us to reach for him, not even knowing of his secret injuries?
In my solitude on the road, I concluded that it was not. He should have reached. He should have tried. By not doing so he had robbed us of the chance to rescue him.
And in not doing so he had left us unable to be rescued from our own grief and guilt. I realized that much of my grief was actually anger. I was mad at him, my twin, for what he had done to me. But it's hard to hold a grudge against the dead. I couldn't stay angry with Sean.
And the only way to alleviate the anger was to doubt the story. And so the cycle would begin again. Denial, acceptance, anger. On my last day in Telluride I called Wexler. I could tell he didn't like hearing from me. I told you I'd let you know about that. I just still have questions.
Don't you? We'll all be better off when we can put this behind us. They already put it behind? Case closed?
I haven't talked to them this week. Just loose ends. I just want to put everything in order. I'd like to know what he talked about with the informant, if they even talked. The Lofton case is still open, you know.
I wouldn't mind nailing that one for Sean. Sean had left the clique. As I entered the newsroom I felt several eyes upon me. But this was not unusual. I often thought they watched me when I came in.
I had a gig every reporter in the newsroom wanted. No daily grind, no daily deadlines. I was free to roam the entire Rocky Mountain region and write about one thing. Everybody likes a good murder story. Some weeks I'd take apart a shooting in the ects, telling the tale of the shooter and the victim and proi their fateful collision.
Some weeks I'd write about a society murder out in Cherry Rill or a bar shooting in Leadville. Highbrow and lowbrow, little murder and big murder. My brother was right, it sold papers if you told it right.
And I got to tell it. I got to take my time and tell it right. Stacked on my desk next to the computer was a foot-high pile of newspapers. This was my main source material for stories. I subscribed to every daily, weekly and monthly newspaper published from Pueblo north to Bozeman.
I scoured these for small stories on killings that I could turn into long take outs. There were always a lot to choose from The Rocky Mountain Empire had a violent streak that had been there since the gold rush.
But I was never short of source material. I was always looking for something new or different about the crime or the investigation, an element of gee whiz or a heart-tugging sadness.
It was my job to exploit those elements. But on this morning I wasn't looking for a story idea. I began looking through the stack for back issues of the Rocky and our competition, the Post. Suicides are not normal fare for newspapers unless there are unusual circumstances.
My brother's death qualified. I thought there was a good chance there had been a story. I was right. Though the Rocky had not published a story, probably in deference to me, the Post had run a six-inch story on the bottom of one of the local pages the morning after Sean died. DPD A veteran Denver Police detective who was in charge of the investigation into the slaying of University of Denver student Theresa Lofton was found dead of an apparent selfinflicted gunshot wound Thursday in the Rocky Mountain National Park, officials said.
The body of the detective was discovered by a park ranger who heard a shot about 5 P. Park services officials have asked the DPD to investigate the death and the department's Special Investigations Unit is handling the matter. Detective Robert Scalari, who is heading the investigation, said preliminary indications were that the death was a suicide. Scalari said a note was found at the scene but he refused to disclose its contents.
He said it was believed that McEvoy was despondent over job difficulties, but also refused to discuss what problems he was having. McEvoy, who grew up and still lived in Boulder, was married but had no children. He was a twelve-year veteran of the police department who rose quickly through the ranks to an assignment on the Crimes Against Persons unit, which handles investigations of violent crimes in the city.
McEvoy was currently head of the unit and had most recently leading the investigation into the death of Lofton, 19, who was found strangled and mutilated three months ago in Washington Park. ScaM refused to comment on whether the LDfton case, which remains unsolved, was cited in McEvoy's note of was one of the job difficulties he may have been suffering.
Scalari said it wasn't known why McEvoy went to Estes Park before killing himself. He said the investigation of the death is continuing. I read the story twice. It contained nothing that I didn't already know but it held a strange fascination for me. Maybe that was because idea why Sean had gone Lake. It was a reason the article, put it in I believed I knew or had the beginnings of an to Estes Park and driven all the way up to Bear I didn't want to think about, though.
I clipped a manila file and slid it into a desk drawer. My computer beeped and a message printed across the top of the screen. It was a summons from the city editor. I was back at work. Greg Glenn's office was at the back of the newsroom. Glenn was a good editor who prized a good read more than anything else about a story. That's what I liked about him. In this business editors are of two schools. Some like facts and cram them into a story until it is so overburdened that practically no one will read it to the end.
Glenn liked me because I could write and he pretty much let me choose what I wrote About. He never hustled me for copy and never badly dinged up what I turned in. I had long realized that should he ever leave the paper or be demoted or promoted out of the newsroom, all of this most likely would change.
City editors made their own nests. If he were gone, I'd probably find myself back on. Doing little murders. I sat down in the cushioned seat in front of his desk as he finished up a phone call. Glenn was about five years older than me. When I'd first started at the RocAy ten years earlier, he was one of the hot shot writers like I was now.
But eventually he made the move into management. Now he wore a suit every day, had one of those little statues on his desk of a Bronco football player with a bobbing head, spent more time on the phone than on any other activity in his life and always paid careful attention to the political winds blowing out of the corporate home office in Cincinnati.
He was a forty-year-old guy with a paunch, a wife, two kids and a good salary that wasn't good enough to download a house in the neighborhood his wife wanted to live in. He told me all of this once over a beer at the Wynkoop, the only night I'd seen him out in the past four years.
Tacked across one wall of Glenn's office were the last seven days of front pages. Each day, the first thing he did was take the seven-day-old edition down and tack up the latest front page.
I guess he did this to keep track of the news and the continuity of our coverage. Or maybe, because he never got bylines as a writer anymore, putting the pages up was a way of reminding himself that he was in charge. Glenn hung up and looked up at me. And if you feel like you want some more time, it's no problem.
We'll work something out. But I'm back. I knew there was something more to the summons. Do you have anything going at the moment? As far as I remember, you were looking for your next project when I figure if you are back, then maybe it would be good for you to get busy with something.
You know, dive back in. Oh, it had been there all right. But it hadn't come to the surface, not until Glenn asked that question. Then, of course, it was obvious. I don't know if that was what Glenn was hoping I would say, but I think it was.
I think he had had his eye on a story ever since he'd heard the cops had met me down in the lobby and told me what my brother had done. He was probably smart enough to know he didn't have to suggest the story, that it would come to me on its own. He just had to ask the simple question. Anyway, I took the bait, And all things in my life changed after that. As clearly as you can chart anyone's life. I thought I knew something about death then.
I thought I knew about evil. But I didn't know anything. As eyes scanned Take your pick. It was like a giant. Don't like him? Here comes another. Will she do? This do. Besides, their parents were toO close by. He'd have one time one of them made a mistake, walked out on the the snack window for cotton candy, leaving their precious one all alone. Gladden loved the carousel on the Santa Monica Pier.
He didn't love it because it was an original, and, according to the story in the display case, it took six years to hand-paint the galloping horses and restore it to its original condition or didn't love it because it had been featured in lots it movies that he had seen over the years, especially while ir, Raiford. And he didn't love it because it brought to mind memories of riding with his Best Pal on the merry-g round at the Sarasota County Fair.
He, loved it because 1", the children who rode on it. Innocence and abandonment to pure happiness played on each one's face as it circled agair and again to the accompaniment of the calliope. Since arriving from phoenix he had been coming here. Every day. He knew it might take some time but one day it would eventually pay off and he would be able to fill his order.
As he watched the collage of colors his mind jumped backward as it had so often since Raiford.
He remembered his Best Pal. He remembered the black-dark closet with only the band of light at the bottom. He huddled on the floor near the light, near the air. He could see his feet coming that way. Each step. He wished he were older, taller, so that he could reach the top shelf. If only he were, he would have a surprise waiting for his Best Pal. Gladden came back. He looked around. The ride had ended and the last of the children were making their way to waiting parents on the other side of the gate.
There was a line of more children ready to run to the carousel and pick their horse. He looked again for a dark-haired girl with smooth brown skin but saw none. Then he noticed the woman who took the tickets from the children staring at him. Their eyes met and Gladden looked away. He adjusted the strap of his duffel bag. The weight of the camera and the books inside it had pulled it down on his shoulder.
He made a note to leave the books in the car next time. He took a last look at the carousel and headed for one of the doors that exited onto the pier.
When he got to the car he casually looked back at the woman. The children screamed as they ran to the wooden horses. Some with parents, most alone. The woman taking tickets had already forgotten about him. He was safe. I was hoping she'd be there. I came around the counter and pulled an extra chair away from an empty desk and sat down next to hers. It looked like a slow moment at the Rocky library.
A lot of the crime stories I wrote spiraled into wide-ranging law enforcement issues. I always needed to know what else had been written about the subject and where. What do you need? She had dark hair I had never seen in anything other than a braid, brown eyes behind the steel-rimmed glasses and full lips that were never painted.
She pulled a yellow legal pad over in front of her, adjusted her glasses and picked up a pen, ready to take down the list of things I wanted. Lexis and Nexis were computer databases that carried most major and not so major newspapers in the country, as well as court rulings and a whole host of other parking lots on the information highway. I guessed she suspected the search was for personal reasons.
Glenn just okayed the assignment. I assumed she would check with Glenn. Her eyes returned to her yellow pad. Uh, let's see, what else Let's go back five years. I'm looking for examples. She realized what she was saying.
Yes, like my brother. I let the silence hang between us for a few moments and then asked her how long she thought the computer search would take. My requests were often given a low priority since I was not a deadline writer. I'm going to have to spend some time on it and you know I'll get pulled when the dailies start coming in. But I'll try. How about late this afternoon, that be okay? The timing was good for what I needed to do. At my desk I made a call to a source at the cop shop. I might need something.
I probably will. I'm here. Hey, when'd you get back? Talk to you. I over to the Denver Police Department headquarters, at the front counter to a cop who didn't bother to and went on up to the SIU offices on the fourth floor.
I've got too much respect for your brother to let what happened to him help sell newspapers. Even if you don't. Scalari's words made me angry but I swallowed it back. I leaned toward him so he could see my healthy, full head of hair. Was my brother murdered? You're telling me the case is closed, yet I can't look at the records.
If it is closed, then I should be allowed to look at the case because he was my brother. And if it's closed, that means that, as a reporter, I can't compromise an ongoing investigation by looking at the records, either.
I could see the anger working behind his cheeks now. He was my brother. My twin. I'm not going to hurt him. I'm just trying to make sense of something for myself. If I then write about it, it will be to finally put it in the ground with him. It was his turn and I waited him out. It's closed. Case is closed. The file went to records for processing. You want it, go see them. I had known Scalari would blow me off. I went to him because I had to go through the motions and because I wanted to see if I could learn the location of the file.
I went down the stairs that mostly only cops used anti into the office of the department's administrative captain. I walked past it, knocked on the door and heard a voice tell me to enter. Inside, Captain Forest Grolon sat behind his desk. He was such a large man that the standard issue desk looked like child's furniture. He was a dark-complected black man with a shaven head. He stood to shake my hand and I was reminded that he topped out above six and a half feet. I figured a scale would have to have on its dial if it were going to take his full measure.
I shook his hand and smiled. He had been a source of 'Mine since I was on the daily police beat six years earlier and he was a patrol sergeant. We had both risen through the ranks since then. You say you're just back?
I'm okay. He had been one of the few at the funeral and that made it clear how he felt.
He sat back down and I took one of the chairs in front of his desk. Grolon's job had little to do with policing the city. He was in the business end of the department. He was in charge of the annual budget, hiring and training. Firing, too. It had little to do with police work but it was all part of his plan.
Grolon wanted to be police chief one day and was gathering a wide variety of experience so when the time came he'd look best for the job. Part of that plan was also to keep contacts in the local media. When the time was right, he'd count on me for a positive profile in the Rocky. And I would come through. In the meantime, I could count on him for things as well. I knew that Grolon preferred meeting me at lunch when his adjutant was out and there was less chance that he would be seen with me" "You're not missing lunch.
You're just getting it late. I want to see the file on my brother. Scalari said he already sent it to get filmed. I thought maybe you could pull it and let me look at it real quick.
Whyn't you let sleeping dogs lie? I'm not quoting from it. I just want to look at it. You get it now and I'll be done with it before the microfilm folks even get back from lunch. Nobody will know. Except you and me. And I'll remember it. It was as thin as the Year-round residents phone book for Aspen. I don't know why but I had expected something thicker, heavier, as if the size of the investigative file bore some resemblance to the significance of the death.
Next there was an autopsy report and several standard reports that were paperclipped together. I had studied autopsy reports often enough to know that I could skip the pages of endless description of body glands, organs and general condition and go to the last pages, where conclusions were written.
And there were no surprises here. Cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. The word suicide was circled below it. Blood scans for commonly used drugs showed traces of dextromethorphan hydrobromide. Following this entry a lab tech's notes said "cough suppressant-tiove box. The forensic analysis report contained a subreport labeled GSR, which I knew meant gunshot residue. It stated that a neutron activation analysis of leather gloves worn by the victim found particles of burned gunpowder on the right glove, indicating he had used that hand to fire the weapon.
GSR and gas bums were also found in the victim's throat. The conclusion was that the barrel had been in Sean's mouth when the gun discharged. Next in the packet was an evidence inventory and I saw nothing unusual here. After this I found the witness statement.
The witness was Park Ranger Stephen Pena, who was assigned to a one-ranger substation and information booth at Bear Lake. Witness stated he did not have a view of the parking area while working in the booth. At approximately 4: He identified the origin as the parking lot and immediateiy went to investigate the possibility of illegal hunting.
At this time there was only one vehicle in the lot and through the partially fogged windows he saw the victim slumped back in the driver's seat. Witness ran to the vehicle but could not open the door because it was locked.
Looking closely through the fogged windows he determined that the victim was dead because of the massive damage to the rear of the head. The Witness then returned to the park booth where he immediately notified authorities and his superiors. He then returned to the victim's car to await the arrival of authorities. Witness states that the victim's vehicle was within his sight no more than five seconds after he heard the shot. The car was parked approximately 50 yards from the nearest forest cover or structure.
It is believed by the witness to have been impossible for someone to have left the victim's car after the shooting and gotten to the cover without the witness seeing him. I returned the statement sheet to its place in the packet and glanced through the other reports.
There was a page titled Case Report that detailed my brother's last day. He reported to work at 7: He did not tell Wexler or anyone else whom he was going to see. Attempts by investigators to determine if Sean had actually gone to the Stanley were unsuccessful. AD waitresses and busboys in the hotel's restaurant were interviewed and none recalled my brother. There was a one-page report in the file summarizing Scalari's interview with Sean's psychologist. Somehow, maybe through Riley, he had found out that Sean was seeing the Denver therapist.
Colin Dorschner, according to Scalari's report, said Sean was suffering from acute depression brought about by job stress, in particular his failure to close the Lofton case. What was not contained in the interview summary was whether Scalari ever asked Dorschner if he had thought my brother was suicidal.
I wondered if Scalari had even asked that question. The last sheaf of papers in the package was the investigating officer's final report.
The last paragraph was Scalari's summary and conclusion. It is believed at this time that this disturbance may have led him to take his own life. DPD psychological consultant Dr. At this time, there is no evidence conflicting with the conclusion of suicide.
Clipping the reports back together, I realized there was only one thing left that I hadn't looked at. Grolon had decided to go to the cafeteria to pick up a sandwich to go. I was left alone in his office. Probably five minutes passed in stillness while I considered the envelope. I knew that if I looked at the photographs they would become the lasting image in my mind of my brother. I did not want that. But I also knew that I needed to see the photos to know for sure about his death, to help disperse any last doubts.
I opened the envelope quickly so as to not change my mind. As I slid the stack of 8 x 10 color prints out, the first image that greeted me was an establishing shot. My brother's detective car, a white Chevy Caprice, alone at the end of the parking lot. I could see the ranger shack up a low hill from it. The lot had been freshly plowed, a four-foot embankment of snow around the edges.
The next photo was a close-up of the windshield from the outside. The message was barely legible, as the steam had dissipated from the glass. But it was there and through the glass I could also see Sean. His head was snapped back, his jaw up. I went to the next photo and I was inside the car with him. Taken from the passenger side front, his whole body visible. Blood had worked its way like a thick necklace around his neck from the back and then down over the sweater. His heavy snow coat was open.
There was spatter on the roof and back side window. The gun was on the seat next to his right thigh. The rest of the photos were mostly close-ups from various angles. But they did not have the effect on me I thought they would. The sterile lighting robbed my brother of his humanity.
He looked like a mannequin. But I found nothing about them as upsetting as the fact that I had once more convinced myself that Sean had indeed taken his own life.
I admitted to myself then that I had secretly come with a hope and that it was gone now. Grolon came back in then. He looked at me with curious eyes. I stood up and placed the file on his desk as he maneuvered around it to his seat. He opened a brown paper bag and removed a plastic-wrapped egg salad sandwich. It must have thrown him off.