Thursday, April 20, 2017

The investigation begins: LILITH: Chapter 2 reading

From my YouTube channel: Detective Alan Grooms of the Ohio Department of Criminal Investigation (ODCI) makes an initial investigation of the crime scene:

Interstate 75 ran right through the heart of Cincinnati. Alan knew he was getting close to his destination when he passed the vast complex of the General Electric Aviation plant. The plant had been alternately expanded and downsized throughout the years, and now—to the best of Alan’s knowledge—it was focused on the manufacture of aircraft engines for the export market. During the Cold War years, this plant had placed Cincinnati high on the Soviet Union’s target list in the event of a thermonuclear exchange.
Following the directions provided by the Explorer’s GPS, Alan turned off on the exit immediately south of the GE plant. He made a right turn off the exit down a main thoroughfare of old residential buildings and a few gas stations and all-night markets. Then he took a left onto Rosemont Avenue and saw the flashing lights of the police cruisers.
Alan saw at least two black-and-whites in front of Robert Billings’ house, both bearing the insignia of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department. Despite the late hour, it made for a chaotic scene. The lights from the patrol cars flashed kaleidoscopically across the fronts of the surrounding houses, and there was already a crowd of curious neighbors, gathering to see who was going to jail, the hospital, or the morgue.
Alan parked the Explorer on the street just down from one of the black-and-whites. (He now noticed a third patrol car.) As he approached, he was stopped by a female deputy. Twentysomething and blonde, she was neither Deputy Lee nor Deputy Page. The name on her badge was L. Hall.
Alan showed his badge and asked Deputy Hall, “Are Deputies Lee and Page around here? They’re supposed to be my contacts. I spoke earlier with a Sergeant Rayburn.”
“Inside the house,” Deputy L. Hall said, motioning Alan toward the front door.
The house, like so many houses in Cincinnati, was built into a hillside. The topography down here was distinct from the flatland country where Alan lived. Cincinnati had been built into the hills on the north side of the Ohio River basin. Robert Billings’ house was one of a line of turn-of-the-twentieth century row houses. Alan had to walk up two flights of chipped concrete steps, and then through a chain-link gate that had been left open. 
He was about to step inside the house when he heard the sound of a woman sobbing. He looked down to the street level and saw an older woman—perhaps sixty or seventy years old—sitting inside a patrol car. Another female deputy was making awkward attempts to console her. Alan guessed that the woman was Robert Billings’ mother. Or, more properly, had been.
Alan knew that he would have to make a point to talk to her—during the investigation phase, of course, but also tonight. His efforts at consolation would be no more effective than those of the female deputy, perhaps; but he would let Mrs. Billings know that he intended to catch her son’s killer or killers.
The front foyer of the house was mildewy. The ceiling was high and water-stained. There was an old-fashioned open radiator in the front hallway, and wainscoting that should have been replaced long ago.
“Detective Grooms?” a voice said...