Newly promoted to detective first-grade with the NYPD, Jane Bauer, is back to work after a nearly fatal run-in with a killer. But while she's happy to be back on the job, her new assignment-another cold case-seems to hold little promise of being solved.Eight years ago, Anderson Stratton, a schizophrenic, was found dead of starvation in his apartment. Nothing on the scene indicated foul play, and although he left no note, the death was ultimately ruled a suicide. Stratton's well-connected sister, Flavia Constantine, never accepted that conclusion, and has insisted that the case be reopened. But in their investigation, Jane and her team stumble upon another grisly suicide-and realize that the two may very well be connected. As her inquiry intensifies, Jane is led to a shocking and horrible truth-and once again finds herself on the threshold of death.
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January 24, 2005
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Excerpt from Murder in Alphabet City by Lee Harris
One good thing about working on cold cases was that no one dragged your ass out of bed at three in the morning to look at a still-warm body. The only warm bodies in cold cases were the investigators ' , and occasionally there was some reasonable doubt about that. Today everybody was cold, but that was due to the weather, which wasn ' t likely to change any time soon. The sky over Manhattan was dull gray, thick, and impermeable. The air held so much moisture, her skin felt wet as she walked to 137 Centre Street from the subway.
The police surgeon had given Jane Bauer, forty years old and newly promoted to detective first grade, the OK to return to work from sick report after the holidays. He suggested workouts at the gym and walking to work to get the muscles back into condition, but it was too cold to follow the second directive. She had returned last week to a desk full of paperwork and an office almost crackling with incipient spasms of electricity. Her partners dis- liked each other ' she smiled at her understatement of the situation ' and she was actually relieved to find them both alive and sniping when she first set foot in the office.
' Morning, Detective, ' Annie, the police administrative aide, said, brushing past her on the run.
' Morning. '
Gordon Defino was hanging his coat on the hook when she entered the office. ' New case this morning, ' he said.
' About time. Another day of paper pushing and I might ask for a transfer. '
Sean MacHovec, as expected, crossed the threshold at exactly eight forty-five, the start of the 935 tour, nine to five in ordinary speech. How the hell does he do it Jane wondered. They exchanged good mornings.
' Annie says we get a new case today. Old enough to smell bad. Coffee '
Defino grunted. Jane articulated a syllable. MacHovec, happy to have an excuse to leave the office, departed.
' Nothing changes, ' Defino said.
Defino gave a grudging grin. ' Sharpens your sense of humor. '
MacHovec with coffee and Annie with nothing in hand arrived simultaneously.
' You ' re wanted in the whip ' s office pronto, ' Annie said. She looked at all of them but let her eyes rest on MacHovec, whom she hated. MacHovec returned her message and stare with a grin that told her he outranked her and she served him, regardless.