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

In heels, for Christ’s sake, Eve thought. Scarlet stilts to match the body-hugging red dress. A statuesque woman, she carried an enormous bag. She’d changed her hair, Eve noted. Not the style so much, as she had it in her most usual sleek roll at the nape of her neck. But she’d gone sort of copper colored, which Eve had to admit looked good with her mocha-colored skin.

Peabody tapped her hair, tapped at DeWinter. “Love it.”

DeWinter flashed a smile. “Me, too. And yours.” Then she looked at Eve, smile fading. “Dallas.”

“DeWinter. This is Mackie, he’s job boss.”

DeWinter offered a hand, and not a smile so much as a very female sizing up. “Mr. Mackie.”

“Aw, just Mackie’s good.”

“Mackie. I’ve got a recovery team coming in,” she said to Eve. “But I’d like to see the remains in situ.”

“Are you planning on going down there wearing that?”

“If I feel I need to examine the remains in place, I have the proper gear with me. Down there?”

With Eve, she moved to the rope. “This was part of the old elevated train platform?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And the plan was when this concrete was put in to convert it to residential and commercial space?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

She smiled at Mackie again. “You needed to demolish this platform?”

“Yes, ma’am. The material—we tested it—wasn’t top grade. It shouldn’t have been used for this purpose, and we detected some hollow spots, suspected some of the supports might not’ve been up to code—at least not up to today’s codes. So we started jacking it out, and we found them.”

“We had a DB at another site, a block south,” Eve told her. “We responded here.”

“Busy morning.”

“Mackie tells me this would’ve been done in 2024.”

“That’s helpful. I’ll be able to confirm if they’ve been here for that amount of time. A female and a fetus. I’ll go down and examine them.”

“I’ve been down.” Eve considered the trip down and back, and while she and DeWinter weren’t the best of pals, she’d spare her that. “And have it on record. It’s hard to see from here, and at this angle, but there are two holes in the female. Left side, second and third ribs. I could see the two slugs. Couldn’t get to them, but I have them on record.”

“You’re sure the damage was from gunshots?”

“As sure as I can be from a visual. She fell on her left side, most likely. Broken left arm, dislocated left shoulder. Some damage to the skull, but it doesn’t read blunt force trauma. Probably from the fall. Bang, bang, and in she goes.”

“We’ll see.”

“I took what looks like a wedding ring off the third finger of her left hand. No visible injuries on the second remains.”

“The mother’s heart stops, blood flow stops, oxygen stops. The fetus wouldn’t survive. I can and will give you cause of death, year of death, the ages of the victims, and so on. I’ll extract DNA if possible, and if she was in the system, you’ll have her name. Otherwise, we’ll generate a sketch and a holo.”

“You can do that?” Mackie asked. “Figure out what she looked like?”

“We can.” DeWinter’s lashes swept up, swept down. “I have a brilliant reconstruction artist in my department.”

“How long will it take?”

Flirty girl banished, DeWinter glanced back at Eve. “Until it’s done. Once it is, finding the who did this and why is up to you.”

“You do yours, I’ll do mine.” She spotted Roarke, turned, and walked to him. “Before you were born,” she said.

“Understood.” He looked over at DeWinter. “And still, the second time for the three of us, isn’t it? Let’s hope it doesn’t become a habit.”

“I know you want to see, but first, who’d you buy this property from?”

“Actually, there were two sellers, since I wanted all of it and part had been sold off about thirty years back, maybe more, then again about a dozen years ago, before I had enough to finance it myself. The far west section I bought from Nolan and Sons, which had overestimated their scope, you could say, particularly since they overpaid for the air rights, and this section I wrangled from Singer Family Developers two years ago.”