Home > Leverage in Death (In Death #47)(17)

Leverage in Death (In Death #47)(17)
Author: J.D. Robb

“Hardly really counts,” Eve commented.

“Ten months from ‘I do’ to ‘Get out.’ No offspring. Ex-wife, Letitia Alison Argyle, an heiress to the Argyle Communications empire, based primarily in Great Britain. Remarried, three years in. She’s thirty-five, so some younger than Banks. Currently expecting her second child. Anyway.”

She scrolled down a bit. “Banks is fourth generation moolah. One of the Banks Information and Entertainment titans. BI&E does media, vids, home screen, digital, live theater. Just as an aside, fyi, The Icove Agenda is up against their blockbuster, Five Secrets, for best picture.”

Eve only grunted.

“Jordan Banks has residences here in New York—Upper West—and a beach place in the Hamptons. His ex-wife bought him out of their place in London when they split. He also owns a yacht, often spends part of his summer on the Med. Nice work if you can get it.”

“What work?”

“Exactly,” Peabody said. “He owns an art gallery—called the Banks Gallery—again, Upper West. His official data says he’s worth one-point-two billion. But.”

“What’s the but?” Eve aske as she headed back to Central.

“The gossip pages tell a different story. Like, his ex-wife paid him handsomely to shake him loose. He rents out the beach house, and the art gallery’s barely hanging on as Banks ran it into the red. He, like, flits. Party to party, woman to woman—usually looking for a profit angle. Unlike his two siblings, his cousins, and the older generations, he doesn’t actually put any real time into the family business, and gets away with that, drawing an income from same, as he’s more trouble than he’s worth.”

“Gossip-wise, they pay him to keep him out of their hair,” Eve concluded.

“That’s my read,” Peabody confirmed. “He’s probably got less than half of what he puts on his official data, which is still a lot of the moolah. But his lifestyle and personal habits require more, I guess.”

“I’ll pay him a visit before I go home. Take Roarke with me,” Eve decided. “He’s good for intimidating phony rich bastards.”

She pulled into the garage, checked the time. “Okay, you can take your share home, wait it out for McNab, whichever works. I’m going to write this up, grab Roarke, and take a swing at Banks.”

“I’ll write it up,” Peabody offered. “You can probably grab Roarke quicker than I can McNab.”

“Fine. Anything fresh, tag me. I’m with Banks, then working from home.”

Eve sat where she was when Peabody left, sent Roarke a text.

In the garage if you’re done.

Under a minute later: I can be. Ten minutes.

She sat, started to review her notes, then sighed. She had ten minutes to wait. She might as well get it over with. She contacted Nadine, who’d tried to contact her a half dozen times during the day.

“At last!” Nadine’s camera-ready face filled Eve’s dash screen. “I need a one-on-one about this morning’s bombing.”

“Not going to happen. I’m in the middle of it.”

“I can be fast,” the dogged on-air reporter pressed.

“Not fast enough. I’m heading back into the field. I can confirm the NYPSD investigation considers Paul Rogan a victim.”

“Will you confirm or deny terrorism?”

“Paul Rogan was not a terrorist or affiliated with any terrorist organization. I can confirm that he and his family were tortured and held against their will by two unidentified subjects for many hours, and the NYPSD is actively investigating.”

“How was he targeted? What were their demands? How—”

“I’m not going to give you any more at this time, Nadine. It’s a touchy business. I’ve got something unrelated to ask you.”

Nadine’s cat-green eyes sharpened. “So, you get to ask me, but—”

“Yeah, I get to ask you if—and it’s if—I can spring Peabody and McNab for this Hollywood thing, can you fix it for them to go?”

“Absolutely. It’s already fixed. And you and Roarke—”

“Not going to do it, but if I can cut Peabody some time, and Feeney can cut McNab the same, I will and he will.”

“I’ve already got the transpo, and they’re welcome. I have a suite with room for them, so they’re welcome there. They have seats reserved in my section for the awards. They just need the duds.”

“Solid. When do I have to let you know?”

“I’m leaving Friday, I hope by early afternoon.”

“Then I’ll get back to you on it.”

“I wish you’d come. Win or lose, it’s a moment.”

“I’ll watch on-screen. So . . . The Red Horse book. It’s good.”

Eyes narrowed, suspiciously. “You finished it?”

“Nearly, and it’s good. It’s—hell, what do I know—it’s maybe even better than the Icove book.”

Now Nadine’s clever eyes closed a moment. “I wanted it to be. It matters what you think.”

“It shouldn’t, but since it does, good work and all that.”

“It matters,” Nadine repeated. “And since we’re on it, the director and the cast have signed on for the vid. Well, they’re casting another Peabody, because, you know, dead actor—but everybody else is on board. They’re already asking for a third—to make it a kind of trilogy. I’m trying to decide which case to spring from.”

“Don’t ask me. And don’t say anything to Peabody about maybe going out to this Oscar deal. She’ll nag the crap out of me with silence and puppy eyes.”

“Not a word.”

“Are you taking the rock star?”

“I’m taking the rock star. It’s going to be a hell of a night if you change your mind.”

“I won’t. Gotta go interview an asshole.”

“How about a name? Assholes make great copy.”

“If he connects, I’ll let you know.”

Eve clicked off, opened the data Peabody had copied to her on Banks, reviewed it until Roarke opened the passenger door.

“Want me to drive while you work?” he asked.

“No, I’ve got enough. How’s it going in EDD?”

“Plenty of data unearthed, nothing that seems to apply at this point. And where are we off to?”

“Karson’s ex. What do you know about Jordan Banks?”

The DLE’s passenger seat adjusted for Roarke’s longer legs. “Other than he’s a wanker?”

“So that’s a confirmation of Karson’s admin’s opinion and Peabody’s famous gossip pages.”

“He’s barely an acquaintance, but I can confirm, yes, a wanker, and a git on top of it. Wealthy family, most of whom seem to do something constructive with their lives and advantages,” he continued as she pulled out of the parking slot. “I had a . . . closer acquaintance with one of his cousins.”


“A pleasant enough acquaintance with a woman of some intelligence and style, which contrasted sharply with her cousin. I’d judge Jordan has the brains of a bag of wet mice, but he’s sly enough, and has a certain slick charm that he slithers into to convince the unsuspecting to invest or lend or offer him bounties.”

“Did he try that with you?”

“He did once. I happened to run into his cousin—my pleasant acquaintance—in Madrid. I was on business, and she was about to marry a Spaniard. She graciously invited me to the wedding, and I accepted. Jordan was there, naturally enough, and laid it on thick about some scheme or other. I told him to bugger off. It was quite a lovely wedding, as I recall.”

“So no business with him?”

He turned those amazing blue eyes on her. “I rarely do business with wankers.”

“Is he afraid of you?”

“Why would he be?”

She just rolled her eyes as she negotiated traffic uptown. “When you told him to bugger off, did he bugger off or keep slithering?”

Roarke smiled a little. “I believe he buggered off right quick.”

“That’s what I’m talking about. So you’ll put on the coldly polite Roarke, which is scary enough, and if I need more, you can pull out the full scary Roarke. I don’t know if he’s got any connection to this, but since he was involved with Karson, he may know something about something.”

“Happy to oblige.” He shifted to look at her more fully. “You’ve had a long one, Lieutenant.”

“Not so long. It’s just . . . lots of DBs, a terrorized family, and all—it looks like—to profit off a stock-market gamble. It’s such a stupid, self-serving scheme that it ends up being damn smart. Sure, they made mistakes. Leaving two wits alive, talking in front of the kid when they should’ve zipped it. But they selected just the right type in Paul Rogan. What would you do to save two people you love more than yourself, more than anything?”

Roarke laid a hand over hers. “Absolutely anything.”

“You wouldn’t have pushed the button.”

“Wouldn’t I?”

She shook her head. “You’d—we’d—have found a way out. It takes being smarter, meaner, more crafty. He may have been smarter—under other circumstances—but he didn’t have the mean or the crafty, and that’s how they got him to do it.”

“You wonder if they’ll do it again.”

“Maybe it was a one-off. Maybe.”

“You don’t think so.”

“No, but if so, they’ll take their winnings and fucking celebrate. But even if, they’ll want to do it again down the road. It worked. They won. And if it wasn’t a one-off, they’re planners. Detail men. They’ll already have another target, another scheme.”

“I’ve thought the same, and so, I can tell you, does Feeney. Still, mergers of this magnitude don’t happen every day—or every year.”

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