Unholy Order: A Paul Devlin Mystery

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He wondered now, as he had many times, how they managed to do that. B ack in the office, two rooms in a city-owned building two blocks from city hall, Devlin sat behind his desk; Sharon Levy perched on its edge.

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Devlin only used his office for private conversations, preferring a vacant desk in the outer bullpen where he could work more closely with his team of five detectives. With speed. Devlin raised his hands and let them fall back to his desk. So first I want two people handling the interviews at Opus Christi. Get as much as we can, as fast as we can. You head that up. I think those kids, especially the young women, might talk more openly to you.

He grinned. Besides, I think Matthew likes you. The telephone interrupted them. It was the mayor. Devlin had been expecting the call. He listened for several long minutes as an unusually nervous Howie Silver rattled on. Sharon watched him. His team of detectives had learned to watch for it—a sign they had pushed the boss too far. Now, as Devlin listened to the mayor, Sharon saw the scar grow whiter with each passing second. The mayor paused for breath and Devlin jumped in. My people and I will do the best we can, but there are too many mouths, too many people who know what happened.

And finally, limiting our ability to investigate this case the way it has to be investigated defeats the whole purpose of having this squad. Sharon could tell the mayor had cut him off. She watched as Devlin listened and stewed.

She had worked for this man for two years now, and she had learned he was a truly complex character. First he was a detective, deep down into his personal core. He loved the challenge of finding the answers to something that seemed unsolvable. He seemed to need more. He reveled when obstacles were thrown in his path by outside forces. Mafia had been aligned against him. Ollie Pitts had been there and told her about it. Then sit back and watch the walls come tumbling down.

Devlin listened again. When he resumed his own side of the conversation, there was an even sharper edge in his voice. You have to start by investigating the nun and everybody who knew her. There is no other way. Again, Devlin listened. When he spoke his voice was smoother, softer, but just barely. So, boss, I hate to say it, but if you insist on that, you might as well give the case to someone else right from the start.

Again Devlin sat and listened.

Finally, a small smile flickered across his lips. Devlin shook his head. These people like to make phone calls, and that gets Hizzoner jumpy. Devlin stared up at her. I do know that we better deliver. We better catch this guy before the press starts chewing on Hizzoner and these holy rollers. Otherwise we might find ourselves working out of a squad room on Staten Island. Sharon shrugged.

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Stan Samuels was a tall, thin, ascetic-looking forty-year-old, who looked more like an accountant than a first-grade detective. He was known as the mole to his fellow cops because of his passion for digging through old records. Devlin told him to search every record he could ferret out, to learn everything he could about The Holy Order of Opus Christi, from the time the group was founded through the opening of their new headquarters in New York. Red Cunningham was a three-hundred-pound baby-faced behemoth who could plant a bug anywhere.

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Devlin told him to call in any favors he had in those divisions and get whatever they had on major drug dealers who were importing heroin into the city from South America. He also told Red to check city records for architectural drawings of the Opus Christi headquarters and figure out where best to plant wires if that proved necessary. He also was to find out the type of computer system the group used and to determine if and how that system could be hacked.

Sounds like you think maybe this group might be involved in this drug deal, Boom Boom said, when Devlin finished. He leaned back in his chair and glanced at each of the three detectives. I read the DD-Fives those homicide detectives filed. Said her parents were from Colombia, Boom Boom said. Could have been a family thing. Maybe I should run a check on them. I talked on the phone with the homicide dicks who caught the case.

Now I want to talk to them in person. Get things they might not have put in their DD-Fives and work back from there. He pushed himself up from the chair. One other thing. No comments to the press. You refer all questions to the deputy commissioner for public information.


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No exceptions. Still, the melody had hidden itself in his brain, and he had found himself humming it off and on ever since. The priest laid the surplice on a small table and smoothed it with his hands. His frail wrists stuck out of the sleeves of his cassock.

Unholy Order

He looked at them and frowned. He ran a hand through his thinning hair. He had lost so much of it in recent months. It was the medication, he was certain of it.