Home > Leverage in Death (In Death #47)(15)

Leverage in Death (In Death #47)(15)
Author: J.D. Robb

“That’s all I need.” Eve continued to work. “Roarke’s heading down. He should be able to tell us what these statements do to the stocks. You need to go back to my office, get us all some decent coffee.”

“I can be all over that one.”

She started for the door when Baxter and Trueheart started in.

“I’m getting real coffee.”

“I’ll give you a hand,” Trueheart said, going with her as Baxter wandered to the board.

“Brothers,” he noted. “By blood, in-arms, by choice. That makes solid sense. Sociopaths—big duh on that one—but gamblers? That adds interest, and adds more solid sense.”

“When two experts—Roarke and Mira—use similar terms, I go with it.”

“Both companies’ stocks took major hits. I checked about a half hour ago. Being an ethical son of a bitch, I refrained from calling my broker and saying buy me some of that, baby. But, kiss my ass, it was tempting.”

Curious, Eve glanced back. “How much would you have tossed in?”

“If I didn’t know about all this? Mmm, maybe five each. Knowing, double that.”

“Seriously. You’re a fucking NYPSD detective, and you’ve got twenty large to gamble?”

“I have my ways.” He turned as Roarke came in. “How much would you have laid on Quantum and Econo an hour ago?”

“Well now, if my cop wouldn’t have given me the hard eye? Two hundred on each, as I know some of the players well enough to be reasonably certain on a fine return. And . . .”

He pulled out his ’link, tapped. “I’d have already gained considerable as both companies’ stocks are on the move. Up.”

“Easy come.” Baxter sighed. “Easy go.”

“Already going up?” Eve asked.

“With the statements some twenty minutes ago,” Roarke told her, “they’re inching up. They’ll be higher than they were before the dive, I’m thinking, by end of business. Emotion,” he reminded her. “Some will see this as courageous and strong. Others will just see the opportunity. Some who scooped up the bargain will sell, and others will buy what they see as a strong, solid stock.”

“It’s a gamble,” Eve noted as Peabody and Trueheart came in with a pot of coffee and a tray of mugs, some creamer, some sugar.

“Run that part by them,” Eve told Roarke.

As he did, he took out his PPC and skimmed. “Still moving up,” he added. “If they’re in for the kill, they’ll likely wait until near close of the market, then sell off. I’d do just that in their place.”

“Can we track the sell-offs?” Eve asked him.

“If they’re idiots, yes. From what I see on your board, they’re not.”

“How would you do it, not being an idiot?”

“I’d be using numbered accounts in any of a number of locations that offer anonymity, on-planet or off. Myself, I’d lean to off, but it takes longer for the transactions. So for them? I’d lean on-planet, offshore, safe havens, and if they’re particularly bright, they’d layer it in shells.”

“Could you dig them out?”

He shifted his gaze up to hers. Clearly, to him, she wondered if he could use his unregistered equipment to run deep, ethically shadowy searches. “Eventually,” he said, and smiled.

“Peabody, start working on warrants.”

So not the unregistered, he thought, as yet. Pity.

“Meanwhile,” Eve continued, “we’re looking for two males, with at least one of them having some military background that would include working with explosives. They might be related, or have worked together. They trust each other. One is likely older and more dominant. Gamblers, sociopaths, and patient ones who take time to research and work out the details. They’ll have some business knowledge, and understand the stock market.”

“It won’t be their first investment,” Baxter put in. “I’d bank against them plotting out a scheme like this first try.”

“Agreed. Possibly they’ve worked in the market. Financial advisers, stockbrokers. Dabblers, such as yourself.”

“As a dabbler, I’m with Roarke on the on-planet, offshore account. Maybe more than one?”

Roarke nodded. “Almost certainly. It costs a bit more to buy and sell in increments, but adds another layer of that anonymity. No particularly large transactions through a single account.”

“Um.” Trueheart lifted a hand. “How much could they make?”

“Well now, if they bought at or near the low . . .” Roarke checked the numbers again. “And again, in their place I’d have had one eye on the market, and the other on the media, watching movement on the first, and for statements or announcements on the other, and they hold on until near the peak? Considering the two companies to work with, the steep dive, the steady recovery? I wouldn’t quibble they’ll make ten times their investment, and that’s a tidy profit.”

“Trueheart,” Eve said, “start looking at employees, both companies. Former employees, too, and give a hard look at anyone terminated for cause. Dabbling Baxter, take a look at financial types, emphasis on those who lean toward high risk. Check for that military—add paramilitary—background. Then see if there’s any cross. And let’s consider it’s high on the probability scale that one or both of these fuckheads met or crossed paths with Rogan. Nothing overt, nothing that Rogan would have thought about. Maybe they used the same gym—at least during the stalking stage. Played golf at the same course, whatever. Any name pops more than once, we dig deeper. Questions?”

“Bound to have some once we start on it.” Baxter looked at Trueheart. “We’re going to be busy, my young apprentice, so let’s get on it.”

“Peabody and I are in the field. Roarke?”

“I’ll wander my way back to EDD for now. Let me know if you’ll be back, and I’ll ride home with you.”

“I’ll be back, Peabody, with me. Grab your gear.”

She swung through Homicide, grabbed her own, swung out again as Peabody caught up. “Are we clear to interview Karson?”

“The medicals agreed to fifteen minutes—and that’s because Karson herself insisted. My impression is she’s pissed as much as hurt, but that’s my impression through her rep.”

“Wouldn’t you be?” As she alternated elevators with glides to the garage, Eve thought it through. “Family business. Successful one. She’s about to make a deal that expands it, takes it up a level or two. Before she can clinch it, she’s blown into a coma and wakes up in ICU. I’d be righteously pissed.”

“When you put it that way.”

Eve slipped behind the wheel. “Let’s see if it seems righteous or layered on. She knows business, and these businesses damn well. She’s bound to know the market.”

“Do you think she could be a part of it—to sweeten the deal. Coma, ICU.”

“It’s a gamble,” Eve said, pulling out into traffic. “Long shot, but let’s get an impression. And hell, let’s check Pearson’s medicals. It’s doesn’t jibe, but let’s check. He’s terminal, sees a way to sweeten the deal for his beneficiaries. Finds a screwy way to self-terminate. Low, low, low probability, but let’s not just ignore potential wackiness. After all, his wife and kids were out of harm’s way.”

As she drove—stop, start, stop—she tapped her fingers on the steering wheel. “Unlikely there’s any third party in this. Neither the wife nor daughter heard their assailants talking to anyone but each other, not even on a comm. It’s going to be the two of them. Brothers, by blood or choice. Or . . . lovers. That’s a thought. They could be lovers, or spouses.”

Considering it, she turned into the hospital’s underground garage, spent longer than she liked finding a slot.

“We’re also going to see about the other patients who were in the meeting and ended up at this med center. Karson’s priority.”

“They bumped her down a level. Out of ICU, condition serious but stable. The rep—Anson Whitt, and he might be a little sweet on her—said she has burns, a concussion, head lacerations, two broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, and a serious wound in her side where a hunk of shrapnel from the conference table stabbed into her.”

They located the floor, badged at the nurses’ station. The nurse on duty scowled.

“Ms. Karson is in serious condition. She needs rest, quiet, care. It would be better if you came back tomorrow.”

“Maybe, but we’re here now, and have clearance.”

“Yes, I see that. However, if the patient is sleeping, I won’t wake her for you or anyone else.”

She rounded the station, a pint-size woman with chocolate skin and the air of authority in her hard eyes. Hard eyes that turned soft with compassion when she reached the snazzy private room Karson occupied.

“The police are here, sweetie. If you’re not up to visitors they’ll come back.”

“Thanks, Jeannie. I’ve been waiting for them. It’s fine.”

“Fifteen minutes,” the nurse said with another hard eye for Eve. “You just have to buzz for me,” she told Karson, and then stepped out, eerily silent in her thick-soled shoes.

“Ms. Karson.”

Eve approached the woman in the bed. Mixed-race female, with gel patches on burns, sutures running down her left temple to the middle of her ear. Eve saw the gray pallor under the wounds, the stabilized shoulder, while the monitors gave their quiet, steady beep, beep, beep.

“Lieutenant Dallas. And Detective Peabody.” She didn’t smile. “I’m told you were here earlier when I was . . . unavailable.”

“We appreciate you seeing us now.”

“Five of my people are dead. People I knew, people who trusted me. I want justice for them, and I’ll have it, even though justice is pale and weak for those who loved them.”

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