Raven’s Run 106

“Here is the report on the Jacks investigation. There isn’t much more than I told you on the phone. He was killed execution style and dumped into the Bay. I know you think it was done by the same people you have been up against, but don’t count on that. Harvey was mean spirited, dishonest, and clumsy. I don’t know how he kept alive as long as he did. There must be three or four dozen people who would have happily put a bullet in his head. It may not have anything to do with your investigation at all.”

“For now, I’ll have to assume that it did. I told you he was investigating someone in Senator Cabral’s office. I now know that it was Alice Susyn Johnson, maiden name Davis.”

“Then you know more than I do. Jacks’ wife claimed to know no details of the investigation, although she knew it was going on. Apparently that was the way Jacks normally did business.”

“Because . . .”

“Bluntly, he was a blackmailer. He did investigations for hire just so he could find leads to develop. It made him rich, for all the good it did him.”

“Raven would not have known this.”

“Of course not,” Joe said. “She undoubtedly hired him in good faith, believed the report he gave her, and went on her way. Afterwards, Jacks put the squeeze on someone and started the train of events that put Raven in danger. But we don’t know who that person was, or what the nature of the squeeze was, or why Raven got caught up in a reaction that should have been aimed at Jacks alone.”

“Maybe he told his victim that he had sent information to Raven. Or maybe the victim found records of Raven’s hiring Jacks before he torched his office.”

“Possibly. But speculation is dangerous. You start thinking you know something when you are actually only guessing.”

“True. What about ballistics?”

“Probably a jacketed bullet. Probably 9 mm. It went in the back of his head and came out his nose. The bullet wasn’t recovered.”

“So, that leaves Jacks’ torched office and his wife.”

Joe agreed.

*       *       *

Joe keeps a stable of rough looking cars and pickups. They are never washed, and he has been known to dress them up with a sledge hammer and graffiti, but they all have fine tuned, oversized engines and new tires. He loaned me an ancient Pinto wagon. On the outside, it looked like a war orphan, but someone had shoehorned a rebuilt slant six under the hood.

I drove to Jacks office. It had been on the second story of a brick building in a block of brick buildings, in a neighborhood that was just holding its own against becoming a slum. Still respectable, but just barely. The storefront below his office was boarded up. There was an old style neighborhood pharmacy on one side, a hardware store on the other, and a liquor store down the street. The second story windows that faced the street were mostly blanked by shades or venetian blinds and some of them had gilt lettering advertising the businesses inside. Jacks’ windows were nailed shut with plywood panels. You could tell there had been a fire from the smoke trails that ran up across the bricks above each boarded window. more tomorrow


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