A decades-old crime scene is discovered . . .

Novak watched as Natasha photographed and bagged the rope. “Dr. McGowan, be on the lookout for any marks on the bone that might suggest blunt force trauma or a knife wound.”

“Will do.”

He followed the pair to the stairs, and when Dr. McGowan moved to heft her end of the stretcher, he nudged her aside and took the weight. It was unwieldy more than heavy and slow going up the stairs. It took maneuvering to get the stretcher around the tight kitchen door corner. When they cleared it, he and the assistant carried the gurney out to the sidewalk.

“Thanks,” Dr. McGowan said. “I’ll never say no to a bit of brawn.”

“How well do you know Agent Vargas?”

Since Novak and Julia had started sleeping together, he had resisted the idea of learning more about Julia Vargas. He respected her privacy and halfheartedly believed she would eventually open up to him about herself. Now, asking about her didn’t feel as intrusive. She was part of his case, so it was business. And when it came to a case, all bets were off.

“She’s worked with my husband, Agent Sharp, on a couple of cases. She’s new to the criminal investigations unit. She’s dedicated. Did a couple of years’ worth of undercover work near Virginia Beach. We’ve been out for drinks once, so I can’t say I know her well.”

“Does she ever say much about herself?”

Dr. McGowan cocked her head. “If you want to ask her out, then do it.”

“It’s not like that. We found evidence connecting her to this body.”

“This body? She would have been a kid when the woman died.”

“I know.”

“What did you find?”

“A picture of her with her father in the victim’s wallet.”

Dr. McGowan brushed a strand of hair from her eyes. “Did you ask her?”

“I did. She didn’t recognize the woman’s name or face.” And if she had, he wasn’t sure she’d have told him. She guarded her thoughts closely. “I thought you might know about her family.”

“Like I said, we went out the one time, but she never mentioned her family.”

“What’s she like in general?”

“When it comes to a case, Julia’s a straight shooter. She’ll tell you what she thinks. If she says she didn’t know the victim’s name, she didn’t know.”

“I’m not questioning her integrity. Have you heard about her father?”

“She doesn’t talk about family, but I know he was a cop. I was at the awards dinner when she went to pick up his award.”

“I was there as well. She didn’t stay long.”

“Can’t be easy. Not everyone was happy that Jim Vargas received recognition.”


© Mary Burton The Hangman 2017