One Through the Heart Online - Kirk Russell

ONE THROUGH

THE HEART

Kirk Russell

This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

First published in Great Britain 2012 by

SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of

9-15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM1 1DF.

First published in the USA 2013 by

SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS of

110 East 59th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022

eBook edition first published in 2013 by Severn House Digital

an imprint of Severn House Publishers Limited

Copyright © 2012 by Kirk Russell.

The right of Kirk Russell to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

Russell, Kirk, 1954-

One through the heart. – (The Ben Raveneau series)

1. Raveneau, Ben (Fictitious character)–Fiction.

2. Police–California–San Francisco–Fiction. 3. Cold

cases (Criminal investigation)–California–San

Francisco–Fiction. 4. Serial murder investigation–

California–San Francisco–Fiction. 5. Detective and

mystery stories.

I. Title II. Series

813.6-dc23

ISBN-13: 978-1-78010-370-9 (epub)

ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-8240-0 (cased)

Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.

This ebook produced by

Palimpsest Book Production Limited,

Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.

ONE

A demolition crew found the bomb shelter. They cut the lock, opened the hatch cover, and the foreman climbed down. Then he waited a day to report what he found to San Francisco Police. His name was Matt Baylor. He was twenty-nine with a face that looked ten years older and a tattoo of vertebrae running up the left side of his neck that he kept touching as he talked with Raveneau.

‘I figured one more day wasn’t going to matter to those bones and we put a big beam on the hatch cover last night. No one got in there, Inspector.’

‘What did you do when you were down there?’

‘Looked around with a flashlight and counted the skulls like I told the dispatcher.’

‘Did you touch or move anything?’

‘Didn’t touch anything.’

Raveneau crossed through the gutted main floor of the house with Baylor and out through an opening where French doors once opened on to the patio and terraced back gardens. The house had new owners, but for Ben Raveneau, a San Francisco Homicide inspector, it would always be Albert Lash’s house. It was stucco, white-painted, two stories and big, on a slope overlooking the Presidio and San Francisco Bay.

From this patio off the kitchen or from any of the windows on this side, Lash was able to look down at the cottage he rented to Ann Coryell, a UC grad student living here and working on her PhD in nineteenth-century American history when she disappeared in 2002. Raveneau looked at the cottage below. It was stripped to its wood frame, bare studs standing in gold fall light. He looked through the roof rafters to a eucalyptus grove below in the Presidio, and then out to the bay again. He checked out the changes in the rest of the garden before following Baylor down the stone steps.

Bird bath and fountain were gone. The big camellia at the north-west corner of the house was healthy and larger. Lash was gone or gone from here, a victim himself now, confined to a wheelchair, diagnosed with ALS – Lou Gehrig’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – and living Raveneau wasn’t sure where, but in an assisted living facility somewhere in the Bay Area. He was going to have to find him.

The steps ended at the patio outside the cottage, and from the chairs grouped together and paper wrappers blown up against a stone retaining wall this was where the demo crew ate lunch. A white gravel path led from the left corner of the cottage to all that was left of the garden shed, a small concrete foundation bright in sunlight, and the galvanized steel hatch cover of the bomb shelter. Fifteen feet underground were two partial skeletons and fourteen skulls, or that’s what Baylor told the 911 dispatcher. Raveneau had talked to her on the drive here. He’d also run Matt Baylor’s name, though he didn’t know yet what had come back on that.

The two uniform officers who responded after Baylor’s 911 call were out in front of the house right now. They had strung crime