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

1st To Die notes; Chapters 68 to 77

cover for 1st To Die

Chapter 68

I knew it!
The author is throwing red herrings about like party poppers at a New Years bash.
Now for me, the question is now – Phillip Campbell and famous novelist Nicholas Jenks, are they the same man?
It would figure that Campbell was purely an alias for Jenks, but just between us, I hope it doesn’t turn out to be some cheap parlour trick. I really hate that some books, some writers, resort to such underhanded tactics. I never fail to feel cheated when I read such things. It has put me off returning to some writers, which is a great shame.
My initial instinct is to trust James Patterson. He’s given me a fairly decent story thus far and none of it has felt like it is bordering on the cliché of detective novels (like some I won’t mention, that I’d read in my youth).
He even ties the discovery of Jenks with Lindsay’s previous partner, which is kinda cool of him.
There’s also a hint of who may be joining the Club next, someone Lindsay is already familiar with.
Assistant District Attorney Jill Bernhardt.

I knew Jill a little, liked her.
She was tough, with dazzling smarts. She even had a conscience.

Tough and smart enough to dazzle Claire and Cindy too, I’ll bet.

Chapter 69

Now she has a name, and with it comes an almost desperate need to confront Nicholas Jenks.
Unfortunately, Inspector Lindsay Boxer can’t just run to Jenks’ house and arrest him. He has a position of power and wealth in the city and therefore, he is to be treated with kid gloves, lest they loose the case to some stupid mistake.
A clear, and almost dispassionate, disposition is required, so Lindsay does the next best thing for the time being.
A photo of Jenks on the dust cover of his current book provides a good look at the of the suspect, without playing their hand too early.

It was the cut of Nicholas Jenks’s face, sharp as a stone’s edge, that told me. The gray eyes, cold and sterile, controlling.
And one more thing.
The red beard, flecked with gray.

Chapter 70
(Book Three – Red Beard)

Jill Bernhardt.
Attractive, savvy and smart.
Smart enough to know that all Lindsay and Chris have so far is purely circumstantial evidence, at best.
Nothing to really tie Jenks to each murder, and so, nothing Jill can use to successfully and categorically nail him to the wall with.

“You want to take on the big fish, guys?
Go back, get yourself a stronger rod.”

Even Chris Raleigh is getting frustrated. That can only mean that he is as certain as Lindsay, that Nicholas Jenks is the killer.
It makes sense, from Jill’s perspective, but if Lindsay and Chris are so certain it is him, they need to dig more and get something more concrete.
Jill comes across as a very astute and pragmatic person.
Like the other women of the club, she is succeeding in a male dominated work environment, and she has no illusions. Someone in her midst will want her to fail. If she takes this case, she will need every scrap of evidence they can muster or else, not only will she fail, to her colleagues delight, but a dangerous serial killer will literally get away with murder.
Lindsay seems content that Jill will help them, but they’re a long way from their destination. However, Jill has enough experience to outline what they’ll need to convict Jenks.

… listening to her cogently mapping out what we needed to indict, a tantalizing thought took hold of me.
I thought about getting her together with Claire and Cindy.

Chapter 71

At an old-fashioned steel desk in the dingy halls of the Chronicle’s basement library, Cindy Thomas scrolled through four-year-old articles on microfiche. It was late.
After eight.

I quite like the idea that Cindy thinks of herself as some, reporter-version of an archaeologist, deep in the bowels of the Chronicle, searching for that evasive clue inscribed on old newspapers.

… if she were some isolated Egyptologist scraping the dust off of long-buried hieroglyphic tablets.

Her editor may only recently decided to give her a “real story” to report on, but she’s taking to it like a fish to water.
She’s not afraid of spending hours and hours searching for even the tinniest clue to Kathy V née Kogut’s secret lover.
She doesn’t know that Lindsay has a name, all she knows is that she must dig.
And dig she does.
Not only does she find a photograph taken at a party, of Kathy next to a man with a red beard …

Her fingers trembled with the realization that she had deciphered the hieroglyphics at last.
It was the trimmed, reddish-colored beard. The narrow, complicit smile – as if he knew where all this might one day lead.

… but also his name.
Nicholas Jenks.
One more piece of evidence, however small, that will be instrumental in Jenks’ downfall.
Or at least, I bloody well hope so.

Chapter 72

And then the crash from ultimate high, to ultimate low.
Cindy immediately went to inform Lindsay of her discovery.

I was totally surprised when Cindy appeared at my door at half past eleven.
With a look of wide-eyed elation and pride, she blurted, “I know who Kathy Kogut’s lover was.”

She has every right to be proud, I’ve used those microfiche machines for searching old newspapers. They give me an appalling sense of sea-sickness and a pain between my eyebrows that lasts for hours.
Her search has given her a sort, rush. The elation of finally finding the solution to a puzzle, the needle in the proverbial haystack.
It’s little wonder that Lindsay looks on her with genuine admiration, and beat two separate police forces to Jenks’ name.
Pretty decent investigative work really. Shame she can’t print any of it.
That’s enough to take the wind from her sails pretty quickly.

“I know you are.” I smiled at her. “You just can’t write about it.”
Cindy stopped – the sudden realization of what she had overlooked hitting her like a pie in the face.
“Oh, God,” she moaned. “That’s like being in a shower with Brad Pitt, but you can’t touch.” She looked at me, half smiling, half like nails were being driven into her heart.

I don’t really think of Brad Pitt quite like that (my interests lie elsewhere), but it gets the point across.
Lindsay does, however, tell Cindy of her meeting with Jill Bernhardt, and that she’s invited Jill to meet “the group”.

Chapter 73

Jill is introduced to the group after work hours.

It took no longer than a single margarita for her to make a seamless entry into our group.
Claire had met her a few times when she testified at trials. They had developed a mutual respect for each other’s rise through their male-dominated departments.

Some new leads are thrown about between them and private lives and experiences are shared.
Then the question about the group is asked by Jill, and Lindsay’s reply is straight to the point, with a little help from Cindy.

Just what kind of a group is this?”
I answered, since it was I who had invited her in. “Women. Climbing the ladder in their careers. Law enforcement.”
“Yeah, with soft, pushover types for bosses,” put in Cindy.

Lindsay is obviously unsure at what the assistant district attorney might make of all the collaboration they’ve been doing, thinking that Jill could shut them down. It doesn’t turn out like that though, and Lindsay and the girls seem to be very relieved about that.
One more ally.

Chapter 74

After her meeting with the club, Chris manages to get Lindsay to meet with him.
The tension is still there between them, and there is a reason he wanted to talk to her asap. Seems Cindy wasn’t the only one doing some late research. And like Cindy, Chris has also scored.
The way he tells his findings to Lindsay, is almost teasing and bordering on foreplay. The close proximity in the car merely adds more tension. I’m almost rooting for the two of them to get together now, it’s just pity she still has doubts.

This wasn’t some casual fling we could go at for a night and try to rationalize away the next day. As much as I wanted him, I was holding back. Scared to let it all come out. Of letting myself go. Of dragging him in.

Chris, on the other hand, seems to be as elated as Cindy was. Especially when he puts the cherry on the cake …

Chris frowned. “He has the weapon of choice, Lindsay. We’ve got to find that gun.”

It was all still circumstantial, but it was falling into place.

Just the kind of thing I’ll bet Lindsay has been waiting for.

Chapter 75

It had to happen, of course. Lindsay gets that crucial interview with Nicholas Jenks. With prior warning from boss to be gentle and tread lightly.

I had been warned by Sam Roth not to come on too hard.

I took a manila folder out of my bag and placed it on my lap. I remembered Cheery’s admonition: “Keep it light. Jenks is a VIP. You’re not.”

A wise attitude to adopt, since Jenks can afford such an opulent abode, I’ve no doubt he can also afford a small army of lawyers to do his bidding.
After the suspect denies knowing Kathy Kogut, she produces the photograph Cindy located, and I would have loved to have seen the expression on Jenks’ face.
I’d like to think can imagine it quite well, and it would probably be a blink and you’ll miss it kind of look, but a precious moment none the less.
I only wonder if Chris had prior knowledge of the photograph. It wouldn’t be good to keep him in the dark on such an important occasion.

Chapter 76

Ah … no matter how charming, he eventually slips up. Not only by denying he knew Kathy but also in his demeanour.
Lindsay corners him rather sweetly with evidence of phone calls with Kathy and I don’t think he likes it one bit, perhaps because it’s primarily Lindsay doing the interrogating rather than Chris.
Or maybe Chris is just enjoying the show. I can imagine he’s feeling rather smug on her behalf, feeling oddly proud of his partner. After all, Chris has already admitted that he too, wants to nail this murderer.
She shows good sense in backing off a bit, no doubt remembering the advice of her superior.

I hated to leave without taking him in, and to have treated him with kid gloves. But we were still a few steps away from an arrest.

I think she’s also heeding Jill’s advice too.
Strong evidence, makes for a strong case.

Chapter 77

Behind closed doors, Jenks takes his anger and frustration out on his wife, Chessy.
I’ve no idea if she truly enjoys her husbands cruelty as much as he seems to believe, but he gets off on her fear which makes me think she doesn’t, and is to afraid to do anything about it.

That’s what he liked, her fear of him, even though she never showed it in public.

Trapped inside a gilded cage of her own making, with the husband from hell.
Pity she can’t find the escape route.

And then there’s his thoughts of Inspector Lindsay Boxer.

Who did the lead cop think she was? Coming in here… accusing him like that. In her cheap Gap ensemble.

There’s a bit more to that quote but, let’s just say he really does not like her. At all.
Would he exact revenge?
I think he’s definitely the type, and would want to gloat about it as well. Prolong her suffering for daring to think she could take him down, bring him to justice.
Which may mean he might attack someone close to her, rather than Lindsay directly. Make her hurt more.

Author: raven

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