The Apprentice: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel

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9780345447869: The Apprentice: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel

Book by Gerritsen Tess

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Extrait :

Already the flies were swarming. Four hours on the hot pavement of South Boston had baked the pulverized flesh, releasing the chemical equivalent of a dinner bell, and the air was alive with buzzing flies. Though what remained of the torso was now covered with a sheet, there was still much exposed tissue for scavengers to feast on. Bits of gray matter and other unidentifiable parts were dispersed in a radius of thirty feet along the street. A skull fragment had landed in a second-story flower box, and clumps of tissue adhered to parked cars.

Detective Jane Rizzoli had always possessed a strong stomach,
but even she had to pause, eyes closed, fists clenched, angry
at herself for this moment of weakness. Don't lose it. Don't
lose it
. She was the only female detective in the Boston P.D.
homicide unit, and she knew that the pitiless spotlight was always
trained on her. Every mistake, every triumph, would be
noted by all. Her partner, Barry Frost, had already tossed up his
breakfast in humiliatingly public view, and he was now sitting
with his head on his knees in their air-conditioned vehicle, waiting
for his stomach to settle. She could not afford to fall victim
to nausea. She was the most visible law enforcement officer on
the scene, and from the other side of the police tape the public
stood watching, registering every move she made, every detail of
her appearance. She knew she looked younger than her age of
thirty-four, and she was self-conscious about maintaining an air
of authority. What she lacked in height she compensated for
with her direct gaze, her squared shoulders. She had learned the
art of dominating a scene, if only through sheer intensity.

But this heat was sapping her resolve. She had started off
dressed in her usual blazer and slacks and with her hair neatly
combed. Now the blazer was off, her blouse was wrinkled, and
the humidity had frizzed her dark hair into unruly coils. She felt
assaulted on all fronts by the smells, the flies, and the piercing
sunlight. There was too much to focus on all at once. And all
those eyes were watching her.

Loud voices drew her attention. A man in a dress shirt and
tie was trying to argue his way past a patrolman.

"Look, I gotta get to a sales conference, okay? I'm an hour
late as it is. But you've got your goddamn police tape wrapped
around my car, and now you're saying I can't drive it? It's my
own friggin' car!"

"It's a crime scene, sir."

"It's an accident!"

"We haven't determined that yet."

"Does it take you guys all day to figure it out? Why don't
you listen to us? The whole neighborhood heard it happen!"

Rizzoli approached the man, whose face was glazed with
sweat. It was eleven-thirty and the sun, near its zenith, shone
down like a glaring eye.

"What, exactly, did you hear, sir?" she asked.

He snorted. "Same thing everyone else did."

"A loud bang."

"Yeah. Around seven-thirty. I was just getting outta the
shower. Looked out my window, and there he was, lying on the
sidewalk. You can see it's a bad corner. Asshole drivers come flying
around it like bats outta hell. Must've been a truck hit him."

"Did you see a truck?"

"Naw."

"Hear a truck?"

"Naw."

"And you didn't see a car, either?"

"Car, truck." He shrugged. "It's still a hit-and-run."

It was the same story, repeated half a dozen times by the
man's neighbors. Sometime between seven-fifteen and seven-thirty
A.M., there'd been a loud bang in the street. No one actually
saw the event. They had simply heard the noise and found
the man's body. Rizzoli had already considered, and rejected,
the possibility that he was a jumper. This was a neighborhood of
two-story buildings, nothing tall enough to explain such catastrophic
damage to a jumper's body. Nor did she see any evidence
of an explosion as the cause of this much anatomical
disintegration.

"Hey, can I get my car out now?" the man said. "It's that
green Ford."

"That one with the brains splattered on the trunk?"

"Yeah."

"What do you think?" she snapped, and walked away to join
the medical examiner, who was crouched in the middle of the
road, studying the asphalt. "People on this street are jerks," said
Rizzoli. "No one gives a damn about the victim. No one knows
who he is, either."

Dr. Ashford Tierney didn't look up at her but just kept staring
at the road. Beneath sparse strands of silver hair, his scalp
glistened with sweat. Dr. Tierney seemed older and more weary
than she had ever seen him. Now, as he tried to rise, he reached
out in a silent request for assistance. She took his hand and she
could feel, transmitted through that hand, the creak of tired
bones and arthritic joints. He was an old southern gentleman, a
native of Georgia, and he'd never warmed to Rizzoli's Boston
bluntness, just as she had never warmed to his formality. The
only thing they had in common was the human remains that
passed across Dr. Tierney's autopsy table. But as she helped him
to his feet, she was saddened by his frailty and reminded of her
own grandfather, whose favorite grandchild she had been, perhaps
because he'd recognized himself in her pride, her tenaciousness.
She remembered helping him out of his easy chair,
how his stroke-numbed hand had rested like a claw on her arm.
Even men as fierce as Aldo Rizzoli are ground down by time to
brittle bones and joints. She could see its effect in Dr. Tierney,
who wobbled in the heat as he took out his handkerchief and
dabbed the sweat from his forehead.

"This is one doozy of a case to close out my career," he said.
"So tell me, are you coming to my retirement party, Detective?"

"Uh . . . what party?" said Rizzoli.

"The one you all are planning to surprise me with."

She sighed. Admitted, "Yeah, I'm coming."

"Ha. I always could get a straight answer from you. Is it next
week?"

"Two weeks. And I didn't tell you, okay?"

"I'm glad you did." He looked down at the asphalt. "I don't
much like surprises."

"So what do we have here, Doc? Hit-and-run?"

"This seems to be the point of impact."

Rizzoli looked down at the large splash of blood. Then she
looked at the sheet-draped corpse, which was lying a good
twelve feet away, on the sidewalk.

"You're saying he first hit the ground here, and then bounced
way over there?" said Rizzoli.

"It would appear so."

"That's got to be a pretty big truck to cause this much splatter."

"Not a truck," was Tierney's enigmatic answer. He started
walking along the road, eyes focused downward.

Rizzoli followed him, batting at swarms of flies. Tierney
came to a stop about thirty feet away and pointed to a grayish
clump on the curb.

"More brain matter," he noted.

"A truck didn't do this?" said Rizzoli.

"No. Or a car, either."

"What about the tire marks on the vic's shirt?"

Tierney straightened, his eyes scanning the street, the sidewalks,
the buildings. "Do you notice something quite interesting
about this scene, Detective?"

"Apart from the fact there's a dead guy over there who's
missing his brain?"

"Look at the point of impact." Tierney gestured toward the
spot in the road where he'd been crouching earlier. "See the dispersal
pattern of body parts?"

"Yeah. He splattered in all directions. Point of impact is at
the center."

"Correct."

"It's a busy street," said Rizzoli. "Vehicles do come around
that corner too fast. Plus, the vic has tire marks on his shirt."

"Let's go look at those marks again."

As they walked back to the corpse, they were joined by Barry
Frost, who had finally emerged from the car, looking wan and a
little embarrassed.

"Man, oh man," he groaned.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

"You think maybe I picked up the stomach flu or something?"

"Or something." She'd always liked Frost, had always appreciated
his sunny and uncomplaining nature, and she hated to
see his pride laid so low. She gave him a pat on the shoulder, a
motherly smile. Frost seemed to invite mothering, even from the
decidedly unmaternal Rizzoli. "I'll just pack you a barf bag next
time," she offered.

"You know," he said, trailing after her, "I really do think it's
just the flu. . . ."

They reached the torso. Tierney grunted as he squatted
down, his joints protesting the latest insult, and lifted the disposable
sheet. Frost blanched and retreated a step. Rizzoli
fought the impulse to do the same.

The torso had broken into two parts, separated at the level
of the umbilicus. The top half, wearing a beige cotton shirt,
stretched east to west. The bottom half, wearing blue jeans, lay
north to south. The halves were connected by only a few strands
of skin and muscle. The internal organs had spilled out and lay
in a pulpified mass. The back half of the skull had shattered
open, and the brain had been ejected.

"Young male, well nourished, appears to be of Hispanic or
Mediterranean origin, in his twenties to thirties," said Tierney.
"I see obvious fractures of the thoracic spine, ribs, clavicles, and
skull."

"Couldn't a truck do this?" Rizzoli asked.

"It's certainly possible a truck could have caused massive injuries
like these." He looked at Rizzoli, his pale-blue eyes chal-
lenging hers. "But no one heard or saw such a vehicle. Did
they?"

"Unfortunately, no," she admitted.

Frost finally managed a comment. "You know, I don't think
those are tire tracks on his shirt."

Rizzoli focused on the black streaks across the front of the
victim's shirt. With a gloved hand, she touched one of the
smears, and looked at her finger. A smudge of black had transferred
to her latex glove. She stared at it for a moment, processing
this new information.

"You're right," she said. "It's not a tire track. It's grease."
She straightened and looked at the road. She saw no bloody
tire marks, no auto debris. No pieces of glass or plastic that
would have shattered on impact with a human body.

For a moment, no one spoke. They just looked at one another,
as the only possible explanation suddenly clicked into
place. As if to confirm the theory, a jet roared overhead. Rizzoli
squinted upward, to see a 747 glide past, on its landing approach
to Logan International Airport, five miles to the north-east.

"Oh, Jesus," said Frost, shading his eyes against the sun.

"What a way to go. Please tell me he was already dead when he
fell."

"There's a good chance of it," said Tierney. "I would guess
his body slipped out as the wheels came down, on landing approach.

That's assuming it was an inbound flight."

"Well, yeah," said Rizzoli. "How many stowaways are trying
to get out of the country?" She looked at the dead man's olive
complexion. "So he's coming in on a plane, say, from South
America--"

"It would've been flying at an altitude of at least thirty thousand
feet," said Tierney. "Wheel wells aren't pressurized. A
stowaway would be dealing with rapid decompression. Frostbite.
Even in high summer, the temperatures at those altitudes are
freezing. A few hours under those conditions, he'd be hypothermic
and unconscious from lack of oxygen. Or already crushed
when the landing gear retracted on takeoff. A prolonged ride in
the wheel well would probably finish him off."

Rizzoli's pager cut into the lecture. And a lecture it would
surely turn into; Dr. Tierney was just beginning to hit his professorial
stride. She glanced at the number on her beeper but did
not recognize it. A Newton prefix. She reached for her cell
phone and dialed.

"Detective Korsak," a man answered.

"This is Rizzoli. Did you page me?"

"You on a cell phone, Detective?"

"Yes."

"Can you get to a landline?"

"Not at the moment, no." She did not know who Detective
Korsak was, and she was anxious to cut this call short. "Why
don't you tell me what this is about?"

A pause. She heard voices in the background and the crackle
of a cop's walkie-talkie. "I'm at a scene out here in Newton," he
said. "I think you should come out and see this."

"Are you requesting Boston P.D. assistance? Because I can refer
you to someone else in our unit."

"I tried reaching Detective Moore, but they said he's on
leave. That's why I'm calling you." Again he paused. And added,
with quiet significance: "It's about that case you and Moore
headed up last summer. You know the one."

She fell silent. She knew exactly what he was referring to.
The memories of that investigation still haunted her, still surfaced
in her nightmares.

"Go on," she said softly.

"You want the address?" he asked.

She took out her notepad.

A moment later, she hung up and turned her attention back
to Dr. Tierney.

"I've seen similar injuries in sky divers whose parachutes fail
to open," he said. "From that height, a falling body would reach
terminal velocity. That's nearly two hundred feet per second. It's

Présentation de l'éditeur :

The bestselling author of The Surgeon returns—and so does that chilling novel’s diabolical villain. Though held behind bars, Warren Hoyt still haunts a helpless city, seeming to bequeath his evil legacy to a student all-too-diligent . . . and all-too-deadly.

THE APPRENTICE

It is a boiling hot Boston summer. Adding to the city’s woes is a series of shocking crimes, in which wealthy men are made to watch while their wives are brutalized. A sadistic demand that ends in abduction and death.

The pattern suggests one man: serial killer Warren Hoyt, recently removed from the city’s streets. Police can only assume an acolyte is at large, a maniac basing his attacks on the twisted medical techniques of the madman he so admires. At least that’s what Detective Jane Rizzoli thinks. Forced again to confront the killer who scarred her—literally and figuratively—she is determined to finally end Hoyt’s awful influence . . . even if it means receiving more resistance from her all-male homicide squad.

But Rizzoli isn’t counting on the U.S. government’s sudden interest. Or on meeting Special Agent Gabriel Dean, who knows more than he will tell. Most of all, she isn’t counting on becoming a target herself, once Hoyt is suddenly free, joining his mysterious blood brother in a vicious vendetta. . . .

Filled with superbly created characters—and the medical and police procedural details that are her trademark— The Apprentice is Tess Gerritsen at her brilliant best. Set in a stunning world where evil is easy to learn and hard to end, this is a thriller by a master who could teach other authors a thing or two.

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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