His old life in the rearview, Del Castigliano has left Wisconsin to work homicide for the Seattle PD. Breaking him in is veteran detective Moss Gunderson, and he’s handing Del a big catch: the bodies of two unidentified men fished from Lake Union. It’s a major opportunity for the new detective, and Del runs with it, chasing every lead—to every dead end. Despite the help of another section rookie, Vic Fazzio, Del is going nowhere fast. Until one shotgun theory looks to be dead right: the victims are casualties of a drug smuggling operation. But critical information is missing—or purposely hidden. It’s forcing Del into a crisis of character and duty that not even the people he trusts can help him resolve.
Del drove from the parking garage into a blustery and cold November morning—cold being relative. In Madison, anything above freezing was balmy for November, though Del was starting to understand what Seattleites meant when they said it wasn’t the temperature that chills you; it’s the dampness. He could feel the cold in his bones. A stiff wind rocked his metallic-blue Oldsmobile Cutlass.The wind had started blowing late the prior evening; branches of a tree scraping against Del’s bedroom window had kept him awake half the night.
He drove from Capitol Hill with the defroster on high and worked his way around the southern edge of Lake Union, noting marinas and water-based businesses. He pulled into a parking lot where Moss stood beside a black Buick LeSabre, sipping coffee and towering over a patrol officer. Moss was almost as big as Del, who stood six foot five and weighed 250 pounds.
Del pulled up the collar of his coat against the howling wind as he approached the two men. He recognized the green logo on Moss’s Starbucks coffee cup, the company name taken from Captain Ahab’s first mate on the Pequod, the whaling ship Moby Dick sent to the bottom of the ocean. The logo, a green siren, tempted sailors to jump overboard and drown. Neither was a good omen.
“Look what the cat dragged out. Did we wake you, Elmo?”
“Funny.” Del had heard iterations of Elmo since his teens, when the beloved puppet first appeared on Sesame Street. Moss introduced Del to Mike Nuccitelli, the patrol sergeant. “How’d you get here so quick?” Del asked Moss. He understood Moss lived in West Seattle, twenty minutes farther from the marina than Del’s apartment.
“I didn’t take time to do my hair.” Moss rubbed the bristles of a crew cut. “I’m like my name. You know. A rolling stone.”
Del knew. More than once, Moss had told him his parents bequeathed him the moniker because as a child he never remained still. Vic Fazzio had said it was more likely Moss gave himself the nickname. His Norwegian first name was Asbjorn.
“Halloway here?” Del asked.
“At this hour of the morning?” Moss scoffed. “Stayaway doesn’t come out this early on a cold morning unless he thinks the brass might show up and he can shine their badges with his nose.”
“What do we got?” Del asked.
“Two grown men. Looks like they drowned,” Nuccitelli said. “We’re waiting for the ME.”
“What more do we know about the victims; anything?” Del asked.
Nuccitelli raised the fur collar of his duty jacket against the wind. “Hispanic is my guess, though the bodies are pretty bloated and their skin the color of soot. I’m guessing roughly late twenties to early thirties, but again . . .”
“They didn’t have any ID?” Del asked.
“Not on them,” Nuccitelli said.
“That strike you as odd—they didn’t have ID?”
Nuccitelli smiled.“Not my job.That’s your job.”
“How far out is the ME?” Moss looked and sounded disinterested.
Nuccitelli checked his watch.“Should be here in ten.”
“We’ll take it from here.”
Thank you, Robert Dugoni
About the Author
Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series, which has sold more than seven million books worldwide. He is also the author of the bestselling Charles Jenkins series; the bestselling David Sloane series; the stand-alone novels The 7th Canon, Damage Control, The World Played Chess, and The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni won an AudioFile Earphones Award for narration; and the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post best book of the year. He is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Book Award for fiction and a three-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is a two-time finalist for the Thriller Awards and the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, as well as a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award for mystery and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards. His books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than two dozen languages.