Never Coming Back

Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver

Book: Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tim Weaver
glimpse of a figure on my driveway—the bob of a head, the flash of a vehicle—before they were gone from view again. But ten seconds later, I found out who it was. “Rocastle,” Healy said, nodding toward a gray-haired man standing at the front door. He turned as he heard us pull in through the gates, eyes narrowing, frown forming. “Plainclothes officer” had to be the biggest misnomer going: even in civvies, cops rarely looked like anything other than cops. The way they dressed, their facial expressions, their body language, it was all a dead giveaway, and Rocastle was the dictionary definition of police. He watched the car come all the way in, eyes never leaving me, then started a slow, cautious approach.
    I got out.
    He looked from me to Healy and then back again, and started fiddling around in his jacket pocket for his warrant card. I saved him a job. “That’s fine, DCI Rocastle.”
    He halfheartedly smiled his thanks.
    â€œI was hoping I could chat with you about the recent events on the beach, Mr. Raker. Nothing sinister. As I said to Mr. Healy yesterday, we’re canvassing the whole village.”
    I told him that was fine and, after he and Healy had greeted each other, we headed inside, leaving the computers in the car. He might not have thought anything of it if we’d popped the trunk and got them out. But he might. Often, the early stages of my cases were about dancing around the police, about getting a feel for their involvement in the lives of the people I was trying to find—and only then approaching them. Rocastle had been at the Lings’ house in the hours after they’d gone missing, so I wanted to talk to him just as much as he wanted to talk to me. But he was an experienced cop, and they were always the most controlled; less prone to slip-ups. They had a feel for the flow of conversation and where it was headed, and if he saw it going somewhere he didn’t like he’d shut it down. I doubted Rocastle would tell me anything aboutJanuary 7 purely out of choice. So the computers stayed where they were because they would give him pause for thought, and how you got at men like Rocastle was basically how you got at anyone.
    You cornered them.
    Rocastle and Healy talked in general terms about the body on the beach, but, as I’d expected, Rocastle sidestepped anything important. In a weird reverse of how he’d been the previous day, Healy hardly seemed interested in the answers he got and I remembered again how he’d disappeared for hours at a time the day before. Whether this was all an act for Rocastle or not, I didn’t know, but I wanted the truth. Without it, I risked him contaminating the search for the Lings with the fallout from whatever he was doing.
    I made us all coffee, and then Rocastle and I sat at the kitchen table. He got out a pen and a pad and sat them perfectly parallel to one another, while Healy remained at the front door, which was slightly ajar, leaning against the frame while he smoked. Rocastle started off by talking blandly about what they’d found on the beach, but most of it was what had already been reported in the media, probably because he was the one who’d signed off the press release. But then, about a minute in, as he danced around a potential revelation about the condition of the body, a thought came to me:
Why send Rocastle up here?
He was a DCI, probably ten years past door-to-doors. I quickly considered the reasons: a lack of manpower, or at least a lack of
manpower, but that seemed doubtful given the gravity of the crime; perhaps he was the kind of SIO that liked a firm hand on the tiller, one who didn’t fully trust anyone’s instinct but his own; but much more likely was that he’d picked and chosen which people he wanted to interview in the village.
    And, for whatever reason, I’d made the cut.
    â€œSo, I’m asking everyone this,” he began, flipping open

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