On a cold, foggy night, two lives are cut short. The first: Philip Iverson, a billionaire philanthropist shot to death in a hotel parking structure. The second: Willie Temple, a homeless man stabbed through the heart on an abandoned San Francisco pier. The murders of such disparate men can’t possibly be connected…can they?
SFPD Lieutenant Jane Candiotti is still coming to terms with her promotion and her marriage to Detective Kenny Marks when the Iverson and Temple cases land in her lap. Under pressure from the media and the billionaire’s widow, the Powers That Be make it clear that the Iverson case should be Jane’s priority. But when Jane discovers a shocking link between the two victims, she can’t ignore there’s something big at play. And if she doesn’t uncover the truth in time, she could lose more than just her job.…
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It was Philip Iverson's big night.
He stood at the podium of the Golden Gate Grand's Crystal Ballroom and basked in the applause of San Francisco's elite. As the audience rose to its feet, he took a step back and held up his hands, gesturing for everyone to sit down. In his midfifties, his trim runner's body -- draped tonight in an elegant tuxedo -- and his close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair made him seem ten years younger. His pale blue eyes glistened as the emotion of the evening caught up with him, and he nodded to the people at the front tables. Some of them sat, then others, until, gradually, everyone in the ballroom took their seats.
The huge room hummed in anticipation as Philip Iverson, the city's best-loved citizen, finally stepped forward and adjusted the microphone.
"Thank you, my friends." He picked up the award he'd just received. "Thank you for this honor. Thank you for this incredible evening ... and thank you for the many opportunities this great city has given me." He returned the plaque to the lectern. "It is because of those opportunities that I feel especially fortunate to announce tonight my pledge of an additional fifty million dollars for a new cancer wing at Children's Memorial Hospital."
The audience erupted in cheers. Philip Iverson held his hands out toward the crowd. "Thank you. Thank you so much. I just want to add that, with this gift, I and my Make It So Foundation have now passed one billion dollars in donations. And, my friends, we're not stopping there." He raised a champagne glass. "Here's to you. Here's to our beautiful city. And here's to the next billion dollars ... with love ... from me to you!"
Everyone in the ballroom lifted their glasses to join him in the toast.
Beyond the faces beaming up at him, beyond the shimmering chandeliers, beyond the smoked glass of the towering floor-to-ceiling windows, the man who would kill Philip Iverson waited in the coming fog.
- - -
Like the cold breath of God, it descended on San Francisco. The heavy clouded air moved through the parking structure of the Golden Gate Grand. The dark shapes of the luxury cars on Level Seven grew more and more indistinct. And then they were invisible -- afterimages of themselves in the mist.
The green light of the exit sign above the stairwell door glowed dimly. A tiny beacon.
The door burst open, throwing a sudden wedge of light onto the slick concrete surface. Philip Iverson, his hair now damp with sweat, raced through the door. His breath coming in desperate searing gasps, he jabbed in his coat pocket, frantically searching for his keys. He ripped them out and thumbed the remote as he ran.
The door locks on a black Mercedes S600 popped up like sentries, and Iverson, thinking the haven of his car would save him, ran even faster. He chanced a look back.
The light in the doorway was filled by the hulking body of his pursuer. He spotted Iverson, and without hesitation, he pushed forward, parting the fog before him like a ghost.
Philip Iverson was almost to his car when he slipped on a wet patch of grease. He scrambled to regain his footing and hurled himself toward the Mercedes.
But it was too late. His pursuer was upon him.
A sob of resignation catching in his throat, Iverson grabbed at the door of his car.
A flash of light. An echoing pop.
Philip Iverson gasped and stumbled forward, the bullet in his brain extinguishing his life even before he crumpled facedown on the cold concrete floor.
Kneeling beside him, his pursuer barely had time to tear Iverson's wallet out of his trousers when the squeal of tires -- above or below he couldn't tell -- sent him racing back toward the stairwell.
As he pulled the door shut, there was music, a fanfare coming from the ballroom, and applause. The fanfare reached its crescendo and the applause died away.
The fog covered Philip Iverson like a shroud.
- - -
Jane Candiotti stood at her bedroom window watching the fog roll into San Leandro. It moved onto Oak Street, she thought, like some great enveloping cloud in a science-fiction movie.
The grandfather clock at the bottom of the stairs chimed. Announcing midnight. Jane turned at the sound. Kenny Marks, her partner in the SFPD Homicide Division, snored softly in their bed. She crossed the room, brushed a kiss across his lips, and went out the door.
Jane and Kenny had been married for four months.
The floorboards of the upstairs hallway creaked as she walked. Passing the room that had been hers as a child, Jane entered the bathroom. This one bathroom, small and simple, had been the only one in a household of four when she was growing up.
Jane flicked on the bathroom light and went to the mirror. She studied her face. Her eyes, black and shining, stared back at her as she touched her high cheekbones, her pale, almost translucent skin.
She knew she was pretty -- some thought her beautiful -- but lately the gray hairs and the fine etching of tiny wrinkles around her eyes had begun to make her feel her age.
Poppy used to say that her hair was the color of a blackbird's wing. She grasped a gray hair between her thumb and forefinger and yanked it out.
She would turn forty this month.
"Hey, knock it off," Kenny said as he came into the bathroom. He wrapped his arms around her. "I like those guys." He flashed his easy smile and Jane kissed the scar on his chest. The size of a small coin, the bullet scar was a constant reminder that they were in a very dangerous business ...Sacrifice. Copyright © by Clyde Phillips. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Just after San Francisco¿s most respected and best-loved citizen, philanthropist Philip Iverson announced the pledge to the children¿s hospital, someone murders him in the parking garage of the Golden Gate Grand Hotel. The city is in shock with this high visibility homicide. The pressure is on the police for a swift arrest. Homicide Lieutenant Jane Candiotti and her new husband and ¿old¿ partner Kenny Marks lead the investigation, the first since they married and she was promoted to being his boss by the SFPD. That same evening, a second murder occurs that fails to get more than a slight yawn from the media and even less from the politicians and the police leadership. The victim is just a homeless person. However, soon new murders occur tied to the bum¿s homicide by the letter S written in blood at the scene. With Iverson¿s wife leading the howls for justice and the media and politicos joining in the screaming, Jane has her hands full struggling to solve the Iverson case as well as the five murders especially when a link between he investigations is found that makes her a target. This is an exciting police procedural that is typical of the sub-genre, but grips the audience because author Clyde Phillips provides a strong cast working an intriguing investigation. Jane is a delight as the culprit, the media, the brass, Iverson¿s widow, and members of her team, especially one outraged subordinate and even to a degree Kenny, work against her. Police procedural fans will applaud this solid work. Harriet Klausner