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.The shooting was obviously the story’s biggest hook.The reporter who was covering the murder, Alex Costello, had quoted Fowler’s ex-wife in a story.Candace walked across the newsroom to the metro section, tracking down Costello.Costello was loudly chewing gum while writing an e-mail.He wore a loose tie, the top button of his shirt was unbuttoned, and his hair looked like it hadn’t been touched since he’d gotten out of bed that morning.His cubicle was a complete mess, filled with a variety of odd objects, including what looked to be some kind of miniature fish tank.“What the hell is that?” Candace asked.“Sea-Monkeys,” Costello said.“Apparently the birthday gift for the man who has everything.”“It just looks like a jar of dirty water,” Candace said, leaning down.Looking closer, she could see tiny buglike creatures twitching through the murk.“Gross.Anyway, I’m looking into a piece for the I-team that may have a little overlap with a story you covered.”“Let me guess, the Fowler murder?”Candace was surprised that Costello had figured it out.Because she could tell Costello wanted her to ask how he had, she resisted doing so.“I thought it might be helpful to touch base with Fowler’s ex.You have contact info for her?”“I’ll call her and set it up,” Costello said.“That’s nice of you,” Candace said, a little surprised, given how territorial reporters tended to be.“Sure,” Costello said.“When do you want us to go see her?”“And by ‘us’ you mean …?”“The Fowler murder’s mine.And I’ve got the relationship with the weeping widow.”“I’m not interested in the murder itself.”“Then why do you want to talk to her?”“I’m digging into a broad piece on Jacob Riis,” Candace said, not for a second considering a more truthful answer.“Looking at the changes in the projects, who wins and who loses.”“Because it’s a Simon Roth thing? The same Roth who’s presently suing you, and the rest of the paper, for—what was it? One hundred and fifty million dollars?”Candace rolled her eyes.“That’s just some number they made up to get attention.”“How’s that working out for them?”“Apparently it’s doing something,” Candace said, “given that you can quote it off the top of your head.”“And you’re doing another Roth story?” Costello asked skeptically, Candace now understanding why he’d assumed she’d come over to talk about the Fowler murder.“The libel lawsuit has no legs.Nobody’s worried about it.”“Even winning it won’t be cheap, though.Last I heard, this paper was broke.I heard there’s going to be another round of buyouts next month.”“So what, we don’t do any more stories about anyone who’s rich enough to sue us?” Candace asked.“Because we’ve got a word for people like that: newsmakers.”“We’ve also got a word for a reporter who becomes part of the story,” Costello said.Candace was getting tired of this.“We do?”Costello took a beat.“Actually, no, I guess we don’t.But it seems like we should.”“Just give me the damn number,” Candace said.“Not going to happen,” Costello said.“She and I have a rapport.You want her, we go together.”CANDACE BARELY knew Alex Costello, but she knew by reputation that he was a gunner.Which likely meant he was either angling to join the I-team or to make the switch over to an editor’s desk.It also meant he was going to be a territorial pain in the ass about anything relating to the Fowler murder.Of course, the move he was pulling now to try to latch onto her story wasn’t different from what Candace would’ve done if their positions were reversed.Newsrooms were always competitive places, even more so now that the threat of layoffs was always in the air.Everyone wanted to make themselves indispensable (or they wanted to escape).None of which meant Candace wouldn’t cut Costello out the first chance she got.This was her story, and she didn’t plan to share any more than she absolutely had to.Candace drove them out to Staten Island, which took forever, first navigating Manhattan traffic, then winding their way out to the Verrazano Bridge.Liz Pierce lived in a small house on the South Shore, a neighborhood so suburban it was hard to believe they were still in the city.Liz was a pale woman in her late forties, gray streaking her hair and lines beginning to spread across the edges of her face.Candace tried to take in the room without being obvious about it, noticing pictures of children, school trophies on the wall, barely restrained clutter.There was the sound of a video game being played somewhere in the house, the occasional taunting of kids’ voices.As agreed, Costello did the talking to start with, catching up with Liz, doing his best to make it seem like they were old friends, rather than a reporter and the ex-wife of a murder victim.Candace sat next to Costello on the living room couch, trying to look pleasantly sympathetic.She was fairly used to barging in on complete strangers at their times of crisis.But it felt much more awkward to be sitting here passively while Costello ran the show than when she was the one working the source.“So the reason we’re bothering you again is, my colleague here, Candace, is doing a broader piece on the changes at Jacob Riis.”“I wouldn’t know anything about that,” Liz said.“Sean and I’ve been divorced for a couple of years, and even when we were married he didn’t tell me much about his work, going back to when he was a cop.”“People often know more than they realize,” Candace said, something she’d said dozens of times before in interviews.“Right now, even basic background is helpful.Do you know when Sean started working security at Jacob Riis?”“Six months ago, maybe.He was brought over when they first started putting up the new buildings.”“What was he doing before that?”“The same sort of stuff for the security company.Not always construction security, but that was part of it.”“Had he been on other Roth Properties sites?”“I think so.Is that who was doing the building in SoHo? The one with the accident?”SoHo: the Aurora Tower.Candace hadn’t had any idea Fowler had worked there, though it made sense that the same private security company would cover multiple Roth construction sites.“Was Sean working there when the accident happened?”Liz nodded.“I remember him talking about it.”“What did he say?”“We’re divorced,” Liz said with a shrug.“I didn’t really listen anymore when Sean complained.”Candace saw a way in [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]