Home > In Death #33.5 - Chaos in Death(3)

In Death #33.5 - Chaos in Death(3)
Author: J.D. Robb


“I don’t know. Jen never told me about any trouble, not this kind. She was happy. I went by Slice last night for takeout, and we talked awhile. She was happy. Coby got a job there delivering, and Wil was working as a stock boy at the twenty-four/seven a couple blocks away. They were going to pool their money and rent a place. Last night she told me they had nearly two thousand in the rent kitty so they were going to start to look for one.

“She was happy.”

Chapter Two

“Run Rosenthall and Whitwood,” Eve told Peabody. “And get what you can on the Canal Street Get Straight.”

“Already on it. And the sweepers are on their way.”

“Good.” Eve walked back into the building. “It’s going to take them a while to sort through this mess.” She poked through a bit. “Credits, cash, even loose change. I’m not finding any ‘links.”

“They probably had them—who doesn’t?—so the killer probably took them.”

“Takes the ‘links but leaves the scratch. He, or they, didn’t care about the money. Just the kill. And if he took the ‘links, he either had contact with them or thought they talked about him to each other, or someone else, via ‘link.”

“It’s sad,” Peabody murmured. “They were young, and trying to reboot their lives. They had a good chance of making it, too. The floor’s clean.”

“Suddenly I question your cleanliness standards.”

“I mean if you overlook the blood and the mess. It’s not dusty or dirty. They kept the floor clean. And see, somebody repaired and painted this chair. They weren’t very good at it,” Peabody added as she picked up one of the broken legs. “But they tried. And when I checked out the bathroom, I guess it’s an employee’s restroom deal. Anyway, it was clean. The killers must not have used it. But the vics, they kept it clean.”

“Lieutenant?” One of the uniforms stepped in. “We found this in the recycler out back.”

He held up the clear protective coat, covered with blood, like the ones she’d seen countless doctors wearing. “Just one?”

“So far, sir.”

“Keep checking. Anything pop from the canvass?”

“Not yet.”

“Keep on that, too. Bag that for the sweepers. They’re on their way. Rosenthall, Peabody.”

“Dr. Justin Rosenthall, thirty-eight. He specializes in chemical addictions—and was given a grant by the Whitwood Group for same—cause, rehabilitation. He works primarily out of the Whitwood Center, a facility for the study of addiction, with a health center and visitor’s lodging attached. No criminal.”

“Let’s go see if the doctor’s in.”

“He’s very studly,” Peabody added and continued to work her handheld as they walked to the car. “Has numerous awards for service and innovations in his field. Donates time to the Canal Street Clinic, Get Straight, and others.”

Peabody slid into the car as Eve took the wheel. “I got lots of pops on gossip and society pages. He and Arianna are quite the item. She’s a looker. And really, really rich. Not Roarke rich,” Peabody said, referring to Eve’s husband, “but she’s up there. Or the Whitwood Group—headed by her parents—is. She’s thirty-four, a therapist, again specializing in addictions. From the fluff pieces I’m skimming, it looks like they met four years ago, and were engaged last fall. The wedding’s set for next month, billed as the wedding of the year. And… oh, she had a brother. Chase, died at the age of nineteen. OD’d. She was sixteen. The Whitwood Center opened three years later.

“Oh, listen to this. Rosenthall had a sister. She made it to twenty-two before she OD’d. He was on track to becoming a topflight cardiac surgeon. Switched his focus after his sister’s death.”

“A surgeon. Gave that up,” Eve commented, “to work with junkies. Like his sister, like his fiancée’s brother. Day in and day out, seeing them, listening to them, treating them, hearing bullshit out of them. Something could snap.”

“Cynic alert. Honest, Dallas, from what I’m reading here, the guy sounds like a saint. A studly saint. Saint Studly of Rosenthall.”

“Do you know why the saints are all dead?”

“Why?”

“Because dead’s the only way you can pull it off. Living’s messy, and everyone living has some dirty little secret. That’s why we have jobs.”

“A dirty little secret that has a renowned and studly doctor slaughtering three recovering addicts?”

“Somebody did it. He’s got the connection, he’s got the skill, and according to our source, he’s the one who gave them the green light to squat there. If he’s so saintly, why didn’t he float them a couple months’ rent?”

“That’s a good question.”

“It’s one I’m going to ask him.”

Old, time-faded brick housed the Whitwood Center. No flash, Eve noted, no gloss—at least not on the exterior—so the building sat comfortably in the old Meatpacking District.

With Peabody, she walked in the front entrance. The lobby area was large and quietly furnished. Comfortable chairs, simple art, some plants gave off the atmosphere of a living area rather than a waiting one despite the reception counter manned by two people.

The man, early thirties, continued to work on his comp while the woman, a few years younger with a pretty face and earnestly welcoming eyes, smiled in their direction.

“Good morning. How can we help you today?”

Eve approached the counter, laid her badge on it. “We need to speak with Dr. Rosenthall.”

“I see.” The woman didn’t so much as blink at the badge. “Is the doctor expecting you?”

“I couldn’t say.”

“His offices are on the second floor, east. One of his interns or his assistant should be able to help you.”

“Okay.”

“Stairs to the left, elevators to the right.”

As Eve angled left, the woman continued. “You’ll want to take the right corridor, go over the garden breezeway, then take the first turn to the left.”

“Thanks.”

“It’s nice work,” Peabody said as they started up. “The work they’ve done on the old building. Kept its character. It’s comfortable, and it doesn’t shout, ‘We’re really rich philanthropists.’ ”

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