Forgotten in Death (In Death #53) by J. D. Robb



“Shit-ass jobs upset me, too.”

That got a smile. “Heard you were okay. Figured you’d be because the big boss, he’s okay. No shit-ass jobs when you do a job for Roarke. You do quality, or you get the boot.”

“She’s the same,” Peabody told him, and earned another smile.

Then he turned around. “Get on away from there, move back. Anybody on Building One, get on back to work.”

The way people scrambled told Eve that Mackie did that quality work, and knew how to run a crew. She stepped to the rope.

She didn’t know much about building, about concrete and beams and rebar, but even she could see a lot in this section was some sort of filler, more like dirt than stone. And curled in it, about eight feet down, between two crumbling walls, the remains of one adult, one fetus.

Too small to be called a child, she thought, and also curled, likely as it had been inside the womb at the time of death.

“Do you know when this was built—poured—whatever it’s called?”

“I do. Not the exact day, but the year: 2024. If the really half-assed records are accurate, late summer, early fall of that year. I expect if there’s a better record of it, Roarke can tell you the day, and the hour.”

Yes, he would, though he wouldn’t have owned it in the late summer of 2024. He wouldn’t have been born quite yet, she thought.

But he’d know who had owned it. He’d know the owner; he’d know who developed it. Whatever he didn’t know, he’d find out.

“I’ll take that harness, Mackie. Peabody, contact DeWinter, get her here.”

They’d need the forensic anthropologist, but in the meantime, Eve needed a closer look. Whoever they’d been, they, as much as Alva Quirk, were hers now.

“I’ll tag Roarke.”

While Mackie sent for a harness, she pulled out her ’link.

Caro, Roarke’s admin, answered. “Good morning, Lieutenant.”

“Caro, sorry. You need to get him.”

Always efficient, Caro merely nodded. “One moment.”

As the screen switched to holding blue, Eve considered she’d have gotten exactly the same response in exactly the same tone from Caro whether Roarke sat alone at his desk enjoying a cup of coffee or ran a meeting involving the purchase of Greenland.

She didn’t think Roarke could actually buy Greenland, but if he could, if he was planning on it, Caro’s response would have been the polite: One moment.

Eve glanced over as Mackie held up a safety harness. “Give me another sec.”

She took another couple steps away as Roarke’s face filled the screen.

He didn’t smile. Not annoyance, she knew, but concern. Those wild blue eyes held steady on hers. Making sure she was in one piece, Eve thought.

“Sorry,” she began. “I hope you weren’t buying Greenland.”

“Not at the moment.” Ireland shimmered like morning mists in his voice. “Something’s wrong.”

“I caught one on my way in, but that one’s not the issue. It’s the one I caught about a block away from the first. That one’s on, or maybe it’s under, your Hudson Yards Village project.”

“Which part?”

“Ah…” She looked back at Mackie. “Which part is this of the project?”

“Right here’s the Sky Garden phase.”

“Sky Garden. Some restaurant you took down, in the cellar of that. They jacked out the concrete over the old rails, and we’ve got remains, human remains. Two. What appears to be a female and a fetus. I’m calling DeWinter in to examine and confirm.”

“A pregnant woman buried under the platform there?”

“The way it looks from where I’m standing. I can only confirm two human remains, which I further speculate, given the platform was built and poured, according to your job boss, nearly forty years ago, have been there a few decades. Again, DeWinter will take that end of things.”

“Bloody hell.” He raked a hand through that gorgeous mane of black hair. “I’ll be on my way to you within ten minutes.”

“Okay. I’m going to have to shut down your project until—”

“Yes, yes, we’ll deal with that. I’ll be there,” he said, and cut her off.

“That’ll be fun,” she muttered. She looked over at Peabody, who nodded, wound a finger in the air. More fun, Eve thought, with the fashionable Dr. DeWinter coming up.