Авторы: Tim Green
Readers last saw Casey Jordan in The Letter of the Law, where she defended her law professor for the grisly murder of a student only to discover he was guilty. After, Casey left her high-powered practice and wealthy husband and opened a legal aid clinic.
When an illegal Mexican immigrant is shot on a ranch outside Dallas, it makes the news, not because of the immigrant, but because of the shooter, Senator Tucker Dean. It looks like a hunting accident, and the well-loved young Senator spins the disaster artfully with his tearful press conference… until the sister in law of the victim steps forward with another tale.
The senator's wife was regularly visiting the victim, so Casey theorizes he was shot by the husband for revenge. When INS takes the victim's daughter away and tries to deport his wife, it looks like a cover-up of epic proportions. Casey approaches the D.A.'s office with information, only to discover that no prosecutor will take on this case. The senator is powerful and on track for a presidential nomination in a few years, so no one wants to tangle with him.
Casey is determined to see the truth come out. If the state won't prosecute a murderer, she will sue him in civil court on behalf of the mother. But this popular senator is wily, vindictive, and dangerous. What will happen to Casey when she goes up against a man who seems above the law?
The second book in the Casey Jordan series, 2009
For my love, Illyssa
With each book I write, there are many people who help with essential steps along the way, and I would like to thank them.
Esther Newberg, the world's greatest agent and my dear friend, for her wisdom. Ace Atkins, my dependable, brilliant, and talented friend, for his careful reading and fantastic ideas. Jamie Raab, my publisher, and Jaime Levine, my editor, who polished this story with unmatched insight and creativity. As well as all my friends at Grand Central Publishing, beginning with our leader, David Young, Chris Barba and the best sales team in the world, Emi Battaglia, Karen Torres, Flamur Tonuzi, Martha Otis, Jim Spivey, and Mari Okuda.
My parents, Dick and Judy Green, who taught me to read and to love books and who spent many hours scouring this manuscript so that it shines.
A special thanks to Dr. Kathleen Corrado and Katherine Unger at the Onondaga County Medical Examiner's Office for their insight into crime scene DNA; Deputy Chief Michael Kerwin, the good cop who's been with me from the beginning; fellow officer Kevin Murphy for his assistance with gangs; Marc Harrold, Tommy Rosser, and Rehien Babaoglu for their insights into immigration law; Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick for his friendship and guidance; Tim DeMore for his expertise in civil procedure; and Mike O'Connor of the US Border Patrol, who helps keep us all safe.
HEADLIGHTS CREPT UP THE WALL BEFORE JETTING ACROSS the ceiling and blinking out. Elijandro stiffened at the familiar purr of the engine and clatter of rocks off the undercarriage as the white Range Rover descended the hillside lane. He left the sagging bed and the warmth of his young wife's body, skirted past the crib, and eased open the front door, letting himself out into the dark of predawn.
Elijandro clutched himself and stepped gingerly across the dirt yard until he stood shivering beside the Range Rover. The hills and the thick clouds above glowed in the orange flare from some distant lightning. Damp ozone floated on the small breeze. The new leaves on the lone willow tree shifted restlessly and the window hummed down, muffled now by the rumble of the approaching front. White teeth shone out at Elijandro, but the spade-cut smile and the familiar face of not the wife, but her husband and his boss, staggered him.
"You come good to the call," his boss said, grinning like a mask.
"The call?" Elijandro said.
"Like a tom turkey," the boss said, grinning, then clucking like a hen with a puck, puck, puck. "The sound of this Range Rover. The sound of my wife."
Elijandro stuttered until the boss interrupted.
"Screw her. Get your camo on, Ellie," he said. "Kurt said you put a flock to bed in the oaks out on Jessup's Knob and there was a big bird in with them. That right?"
Elijandro nodded eagerly and could see now that the boss wore camouflage from the neck down.
"Then let's go get his ass," the boss said. From the passenger seat he raised a bottle of Jack Daniel's and took a good slug before smacking the cork home with the palm of his hand.
Elijandro peered at the western sky. "Rain coming."
"So we'll get wet," the boss said. "Bird'll come to the call rain or shine. Lightning gets ' em excited. Go on."
Elijandro turned for the tenant house, scratching the stubble on his head, hopping barefoot through the stones, picking his way until he reached the porch.
The house had been built along with two dozen other shacks for migrant workers some sixty years ago. Like them, it sagged wearily under its rumpled tin roof, propped up off the dirt and more or less leveled on four cinder-block stacks. Being drenched in weather and heat for all those years had rendered each of the houses gray and had shrunken the slat-board siding like an old man's bones. Unlike the others, theirs squatted in the lowland by the Trinity River, where cattle inevitably got bogged down in the muck and had from time to time to be roped and dragged free with a mule. The boss's father was the one who had this shack sledged away from the company of its brethren by a team back in '67. By tradition, the place went to the top Mexican, a worker trusted enough to quickly shepherd the livestock free from the muck as soon as they began to bray and before they could do harm to themselves.
With a trembling hand, Ellie scrawled a note to his wife saying he'd be back from the hunt by breakfast. Quickly, he removed his camo gear from its nail, slipping it on before he scooped up his shotgun and grabbed the turkey vest, which clattered to the floor, lumpy and awkward from pockets filled by turkey calls and shotgun shells. He bent for it, and when he rose up he saw comets of light in the corners of his vision. His heart hadn't stopped pounding since he saw the boss's face.
Ellie jogged out to the Range Rover, climbing into the passenger seat and smelling the familiar scent of its fine leather and somewhere the hint of her favorite perfume. His boss reversed the SUV out to the main track and headed up the hill, then ran the ridge before dipping down into the river's wash, across a steel bridge, and up the other bank, talking all the while about his wife being a dirty slut who didn't deserve a Range Rover and slurring his words until the SUV came to rest at the bottom of a field plowed for corn.
His boss killed the engine and the two of them sat listening to it tick down to nothing while the boss turned a shotgun shell end over end with his manicured fingers.
Ellie watched and waited until he could stand it no more. He pointed up the field toward the wooded ridge and said, "Them birds are up on top."
His boss smiled funny at him and got out. They eased the Range Rover's doors closed. Elijandro let the silence of predawn settle on them for a moment before he cleared his throat, cupped a hand to his mouth, and let fly the low sonorous call of a barred owl. Nothing came back at them but the echo of his call as it bounced away between the low hills.
Elijandro eyed the eastern sky. A line, pale yellow and flush with the horizon, had begun to melt away the ink of night to a navy blue promising day. The storm would come from the other side of the knob, where the flicker of lightning continued to illuminate the oncoming clouds.
Elijandro cleared his throat, then tried again.
Halfway through the call, the big tom erupted from the top of the knob with a gobble that sent a surge of blood through Elijandro's heart. He grinned at his boss and in the dark saw his boss's teeth. His boss raised his shotgun in one hand as though victory were already theirs, and together they pulled camo masks down over their faces.
"Let's go kill him," his boss said.
Elijandro set off into the woods, keeping just inside the trees and following the edge of the field up toward the top. By the time they were fifty yards from the far end of the field Elijandro could hear his boss's labored breathing. He directed his boss to the base of a big oak close enough to the edge of the woods for a good clean shot and slipped out into the field, the newly turned dirt damp and sucking at his boots. He set the decoys, crouched, spun, and darted across the soft ridges of dirt toward the spot where he'd left his boss. He found an old stump in a clump of bracken not twenty feet from where his boss sat, but closer to the decoys so that his call would better match their location. He settled in, resting the lower part of his back against the trunk, and glanced over his shoulder at his boss, who gave him a thumbs-up.
Elijandro popped the diaphragm call into his mouth and began turning it over with his tongue to soften it, then settled into the silence, absorbing it and the grand expanse of the brightening sky. He took deep breaths of the crisp air, his mind clearing itself of the people he worked for, his responsibilities on the ranch and to his own little family. He loved to guide turkey hunts, not for the kill but in order to participate in the birth of a new day.