CHAPTER 39

Boldt had just stepped out of the shower when he heard his pager’s annoying beep. The bedside phone rang nearly simultaneously, and Boldt knew immediately there was either a dead body or trouble. He felt leashed to these devices, no longer ever truly alone, the idea of public service taken to a level of absurdity that left him without a private moment-not even a few minutes in the shower.

Liz climbed out of bed naked, and Boldt winced to acknowledge that the body that had once sparked so much desire in him was now mostly a reminder of his wife’s battle with cancer. Her ribs showed. She answered the phone. ‘‘Hello? Yes it is, Captain. He’s in the shower.’’ She listened carefully before signing off by saying, ‘‘Yes, I’ll be sure to tell him.’’

‘‘I’m turning the TV on for you,’’ she announced. ‘‘That was Sheila Hill. You know I really resent having to call her by her rank. Why does it bother me so much that my husband reports to a woman with half his experience, half his brains and more than half again his paycheck? She wants you tuned in to Channel Four right away. You’re supposed to be interested.’’

Boldt entered the living room dripping wet with a towel wrapped around his waist. Ten minutes later he was creating his own lane and passing traffic behind the incessant strobe of the dash-mounted-bubble gum light while talking on the cellular.

‘‘We’re going to be flooded with calls,’’ Boldt warned LaMoia. ‘‘We burned her and she burned us back. She just sank us and the investigation.’’

‘‘Options?’’ a groggy LaMoia asked.

‘‘We move ahead of the tidal wave that’s certain to come. If we don’t, it’ll trap us and drown us. Call Coughlie over at INS. We want

a list of any and every possible sweatshop location in the city.’’ ‘‘That’s all I tell him?’’ ‘‘Tell him we’re going to start kicking some doors in, and that we

want-no, we need-his foot to lead the way. That ought to get a rise out of him.’’

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