“Shades of Justice” Chapter Twenty-seven

Back in their hotel suite in Pittsburgh, Jack found messages from Captain Shorer and Dan Reilly. He called Captain Shorer, whose secretary told Jack that he was out of the office but he wanted to drop by the hotel to see them. Jack agreed and told her anytime in the next few hours would be good. He then called Dan. Dan answered and said, “I’ve made some progress. Using what you gave me we contacted fifty-plus people in the area of the shooting site and got several hits. I now have a police artist sketch. Using the timeline you figured out we went over all the camera footage in the area and found a pickup truck parked in the street near the site. Interviews with shopkeepers, street vendors, and panhandlers identified the truck as being in the area more than just on the day of the shooting. One more thing, Captain Shorer was astounded by your work but told me you were off the case and I shouldn’t contact you again. He told me not to ask questions and that he was going to give me credit for your work. I protested but he said it’s going down like that and no more talk.

“Jack, I don’t know what’s going on but I got a package for you of our findings. I left it at the desk.”

“Dan, I’m not sure what’s going on, either, but it must be tied up with the captain’s retirement. You know his replacement, Captain Vogel, has no use for Captain Shorer or me. Captain Shorer’s coming to see us at the hotel in the next few hours. How is your son?”

“Thanks for asking. He’s recovering. But he needs extensive reconstruction surgery and the Bureau’s insurance plan will not cover all he needs. One of his doctors told him he should go to see a specialist in New York City. But the cost is more than we could do, even re-mortgaging our houses wouldn’t be enough.”

“No questions Dan. Make the appointment and give me the doctor’s name. I have some influence I can use. Just get John up there as fast as you can.”

Jack used his iPhone to record the doctor’s name. Siri gave him the phone number. He loved asking the female genie in his phone to provide information he requested.

Kathy called for a pot of coffee for the visit by Captain Shorer. He arrived at the same time as the coffee.

Gideon charged the door, barking. Shadow, recognizing the Captain’s scent, pushed Gideon out of the way as Kathy opened the door. Captain Shorer said, “Perfect timing. You guys are good. So that is Shadow’s stand in.”

Jack said, “That’s him. He is full of himself. Glad I have Shadow to help me train him. Come in. We are honored that the soon-to-be retired policeman has time for we mortals.”

“Thank you. But neither of us is going to like this visit. Give me my cup of coffee before I give you the bad news.”

Sitting around the dining table, Captain Shorer said, “I’m out next week. Vogel is practically sitting in the hall waiting to take my job. Between us, he is a poor example of a police officer. I don’t think he ever got anything right in his entire career. I can’t stand the man. The only thing he’s good at is sucking up to his superiors. And, Jack you know, he never liked you since you solved cases he couldn’t. He’s heard you helped me on a couple of cases since you retired and has sworn to see you never get in another police building unless you’ve been arrested.”

“Will he cause trouble for us?” Kathy asked.

“Yes. If he can. That’s why I’ve been purging some files. I gave credit to Dan Reilly for the outstanding job you did in find the sniper’s shooting site and setting the investigation on the right path.”

“I don’t mind that,” Jack said, waving his hand with indifference. “Dan is a good officer. I always enjoyed working with him.”

Captain Shorer nodded sadly. “I thought it would never come to this, but I need both of your badges and police gun permits. Sorry.”

“We understand. You know I’m not going to drop looking for this sniper and the human trafficking thugs. I’ll try to give any leads to Dan. If that doesn’t work, we’ll get the information to the FBI.”

Kathy and Jack put their badges and permits on the table. Captain Shorer said, “You two are great investigators. You should start your own firm.”

Kathy said, “We’ve talked about that, but it was comforting to have real badges. I’m not sure I want to take legal risks along with the danger involved in our kind of investigations. We certainly are not going to work on finding evidence for one spouse to use against the other in divorce court.”

“I would like to say I’ll watch out for you and be available for you but the reality is contact with me will only hurt you as long as Vogel and his keepers are in power. Jack, Kathy, it’s been great knowing you. Hope our paths can cross again. Thanks for the coffee. I must get back and continue covering some of my tracks.”

He hugged them both and left. The closing door made a forlorn sound as it quietly closed.

“He’s a good man. He deserves better,” Jack said. “We need to take his warning seriously.”

Jack went down to the front desk to pick up Dan’s package. Back in their suite, Jack put the large manila envelope on the table. Kathy, noting the size of the package said, “Dear God. What did he put in there?”

“Dan is very thorough. He put everything he turned up on his investigation. We have as much as the police do.”

Opening the envelope, Jack said, “We have a collection of video from surveillance cameras near the sniper’s shooting site, Dan’s several-page report, and a police artist sketch of the suspected shooter. Someone Dan interviewed noted a tattoo on the right forearm of a small American flag. Fairly common, I suppose, but I’m not an expert on tattoos. But, tats are a great way to identify people.

“I’ll go over Dan’s report once we get back to McLean. Be glad to get back. Walking these two bear-like creatures around here takes forever. Everyone wants to stop and talk to them and ask questions. Gideon may be still be a puppy but he leaves dog-sized droppings for me to pick up. And, he needs far more exercise than several short walks a day.”

“I assume you’re going to see Dan before we leave. Can you see him tomorrow morning? Then we can be out of here around noon. I’d like to let Kelly and Sally take the plane to Dulles. We can drive to the cabin. I’d like to spend a few days there before we start looking for the sniper. It would be a good place to begin Gideon’s training and we could end our official honeymoon.”

Jack said, “I also want to see Howard tomorrow. It shouldn’t take long. Check us out of here and we can get on the road before 1:00 PM.”

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Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, Spy novels

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