My LibriVox recordings & my reading journal (solo Litblog).

1st To Die notes; Chapters 51 to 59

cover for 1st To Die
If you’re a regular reader here, I apologise for the delay.
Technical difficulties.
I lost my notes and had to have some serious words with my eReader & it’s software. All sorted out now though. Even found me some new note-taking/notebook software, since I got a bit lost at one point this week. (KeepNote v0.7.2)

Chapter 51

Meet Kathy and James Voskuhl; but you’ll have to be quick, before Phillip Campbell does away with them.
This time, there is less of a hunt, almost as if Phillip isn’t enjoying it. It may be the Rock ‘n’ Roll themed reception and, as he says to Kathy, he liked her in white, as opposed to her themed outfit.

The bride and groom, having changed into party garb, joined in, butting thighs, whooping, arms in air.
It almost ruined everything, Phillip Campbell thought.
He had wanted her in white.

But it’s got to be more than that, Becky was on her way to a fancy restaurant, she wasn’t dressed in her bridal gown either. I guess it has something to do with the trail of evidence he’s creating. Why, beats the heck outta me. Whatever his ulterior motive is, I reckon it’ll rock a few peoples foundations.

Chapter 52

Hmm, I was expecting the author to take the “feeling awkward” route with the next day. He’s letting Lindsay relax into the blooming relationship with Chris, so I suppose he’s not going to rush it any-more than Lindsay or Chris. Perhaps Chris will turn out to be little more than a “what if” for Lindsay, judging by her own thoughts of last night’s dinner-dance.

It had been a sweet evening. Took the heat off from the case. It even got my mind off Negli’s.
What scared me a little was the tremor inside that it could be something more. I had caught myself staring at him Friday night, while he helped out with the dishes, thinking, If times were different..

So close.

Finally, a potential witness comes forward, someone with a few fine details about Phillip, but the Saks list of potential targets will be re-analysed when word gets out about Kathy & James. The witness really does seem to be genuine, but Lindsay easily picks up the emotional state of the witness.

Laurie Birnbaum. She seemed tight, nervous.

Her peers reckon Lindsay is the better officer for interrogations, calling it a girl thing though is a little on the snide-ish side, or perhaps a touch of professional envy. Whatever it us, they obviously know she gets the job done effectively enough, this interview being another example of that skill set. Lindsay draws out the conversation Ms. Birnbaum had with Phillip Campbell, which gives the detectives something more than just a description. I think Ms. Birnbaum had a certain, if fleeting feeling of pure menace in Phillip’s company, and I wouldn’t put it past her if she didn’t grab a stiff drink after her short interlude with killer.

Chapter 53

As expected the news from Cleveland has put a spanner in the works for Lindsay’s case. The stakeout at Saks being just one example.
What if, Phillip knew that Saks was going to be under surveillance, he already has his list, apart from peekin’ on the women being fitted for their bridal gowns, does he really need to be anywhere near the store. If he does, then the murder of Kathy and James would be little more than a diversionary tactic, and that seems a little out of character for him. He has a secret to reveal, to the world, to his pursuers, but first he must teach them some great lesson before his truth can be heard. Then again, I could be just full of it and am once more, resorting to guessing the nature of the beast. But then, isn’t that the idea?, isn’t that what Lindsay is having to do? She has no more clue than I. Phillip wants it that way, for now.
I suspect Lindsay will discover a whole new level of frustration when she and Chris hit Cleveland. It’s a given that they’re going, but Lindsay’s conversation with an officer by the name of McBride, only seemed to focus on the vulgar arrangement of the bodies Despite Phillip’s tactics, can McBride help bring forth any new clues to the case.

“There’s a few things my investigators want to ask you.”
“Ask me yourself. I’m gonna be there tomorrow.”

Chapter 54

A good, solid initial contact with McBride, but it’s just an update as they approach the crime scene. Although the officer in charge comes across as more contained and “in charge” than Detective Hartwig of Napa.

What does strike me about this chapter has nothing to do with the story itself, but this one sentence invokes a strong image of The Emerald City for me.

From a distance, I saw the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame glinting up ahead like a jaggedly cut jewel.

Wonder if the author is an “Oz” fan.

Chapter 55

McBride seems to be forthcoming about sharing Intel, but that may be because of the F.B.I.’s interest in the case too. Whatever his motivation, he leads the San Franciscan detectives through the crime scene, sans bodies.

“Public bathroom,” Raleigh said to me. “He’s getting nastier each time.”
This time there were no bodies, no horrifying discoveries.

All of which should help to alleviate some of Lindsay’s disturbing dreams.

Unlike the other murders, this was a very public place and like most museums and public buildings, there is some semblance of security in place. Which brings us and the onto the head of security.

Andrew Sharp was a trim, wiry man with a square chin and narrow, colorless lips. He looked scared.

Maybe he’s scared because the F.B.I. has already gone through the place like a dose of salts, and the various police forces are on him too. Or perhaps he had a false sense of personal security, something that Phillip Campbell has intruded on and smashed up.
Mr. Sharp sounds tired, same old ground, same old bunch of questions. As if Campbell wasn’t aware of the security in place or the locations of all the cameras installed.
Regardless, I suppose he’s doing his best in such an alien situation.
Lindsay cuts him some slack, and gives him a rough artist’s sketch of what “Red Beard” may look like.

“Why don’t we start with him.”

Chapter 56

Lindsay seems to be reaching a blank wall. Phillip has apparently succeeded in his tactics, but Lindsay is far from done. She knows Kathy is not on the Saks list but she interviews the brides family, hoping for a lead, a connection to the previous murders. But is there a connection? or was Kathy the reader at the Las Vegas airport?
Her sister seems to know something, but perhaps she doesn’t want to say anything in front of her parents. There’s something she says that seems … wrong, for lack of a better way of putting it.

“Old habits are hard to crack.” Hillary smirked, with a tightening of her lips.

I’ve a small feeling that Kathy has a complicated history.
Perhaps she’ll have better luck with Kathy’s old friend, Merrill Shortley. Or not if she’s anything like Kathy.

Chapter 57

Merrill Shortley. Some friend. If she packs any faster she’ll leave scorch marks. Sure she’s been crying, but she also full of convenient excuses, desperate to leave.
She answers Detective Boxer’s questions directly enough, but she’s evasive at the same time. Like a spin-doctor.

There was an attitude, a coldness about Merrill I didn’t like. She still surrounded herself with the cynical aura of a dissolute past. And I had the suspicion she was withholding something.

Lindsay’s not alone with that assumption.
She’s just too desperate to wash her hands of her friend, put some distance between herself and the murders. Perhaps it’s because this will bring up too many questions of her own past, shared with Kathy. Too many secrets, maybe the fund manager husband doesn’t know about and that Merrill doesn’t want anyone to know. Ever.
I’m now sure that Kathy’s sister has a few tales to tell in that regard, some of which may include Merrill.

“Kathy hooked up with guys,” Merrill said after a pause. “She was always free about things in that way.”

Kathy’s background is extremely un-helpful to finding a decent lead. It’s unfortunate, but Lindsay is obviously going to have to dig through an awful amount of dirt, and judging from the interview in this chapter, there is a substantial amount of dirt to trawl through. Starting with Kathy’s other man.

“She still continued to see this guy, didn’t she?” I was starting to put it together. “Even after she moved to Seattle. Even after she met her husband.”
She gave me the slightest smile. “Good guess, Inspector. Right up to the end.”

Is this going to complicate matters? The mystery man could be someone entirely unrelated to the murderer. I somehow think the other man isn’t Phillip Campbell, but rather Phillip was aware of this relationship and is exploiting the knowledge to his own ends. Just purposely leaving another trail of breadcrumbs.

Chapter 58

Lindsay informs Raleigh of her interviews, it appears his interviews with the grooms family was fruitless, so they discuss what Lindsay has discovered so far. Which admittedly, isn’t very much.

“No wonder the bride didn’t wear white,” Raleigh frowned and said as I told him about my interview with Merrill Shortley

This is just a backdrop though, the author hasn’t just forgotten their evening at Lindsay’s apartment, au contraire, he uses this opportunity to get his main character to interact with her partner, on more level terms.

“What do you say, maybe it’s about time you started calling me Chris.”

Chapter 59

Lindsay may have legitimate reasons for not wanting an intimate relationship at the moment, but why can’t she be honest about it, with herself if no-one else.
He kisses her, sweetly, chastely and without force, and yet she can’t bring herself to get close to him.

He leaned over without warning and pressed his lips on mine. The kiss was so soft, as if he were gently asking, Is this okay?
I let the kiss linger warmly. Soft hands… soft lips.

Her divorce must have burned her terribly to invoke this level of fear of relationships. Even her friendship with Claire seems to be affected by this, the Negli’s confession took an awful long time.
Still, I’m reluctant to think an affair with Chris Raleigh is a good idea. He may be good for her, a kind man who considers her an equal, but if she isn’t really ready then I believe she’s right in not pursuing him. I just think she’s going about it the wrong way. He’s a divorcee, possibly even his experience was as bad as Lindsay’s, but surely he also deserves some honesty.

Author: raven

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