By Roy Johansen
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She lit a cigarette. “It's not like I had a lot of notice. ” Lyles picked up the Lanchester. He palmed the grip a few times and softly rubbed the grooved trigger with his index finger. Natalie smiled, blowing smoke through her pursed lips. “This is where the sickos get a hard-on. ” She thought he was joking, but she wasn't positive. “What brings you to town? ” “I heard about that little maneuver you pulled in the Balkans. Your employers were very happy. ” “Too much. ” Natalie took another puff from her cigarette.
A pool of blood had collected on the floor below, along with one of the man's shoes. “Unbelievable,” Joe murmured. ” He turned to see a tall, tanned, fiftyish detective standing next to him. The man didn't offer to shake hands. ” “I'm Mark Howe, Homicide. ” Howe clicked his tongue. “That's not the answer I wanted to hear. ” Joe shook his head. ” “Right. ” Joe sighed. “The Spirit Basher” was a nickname he'd picked up after several high-profile busts in which he had debunked phony spiritualists and psychics.
Whatever. It didn't make up for the days of tests, interviews, and experiments that measured everything from his eating habits to his sleep routines. The people with the cameras were now standing at the fence. He'd seen one of them before; the pretty lady was on the news. ” He adjusted his wire-rimmed glasses and nodded. She slid off her shoes and climbed over the fence, looking far less classy than she always did on TV. One of the cameramen handed her his camera and climbed over to join her. Jesse stood up.