As soon as we got back to the office I bit the bullet and called Detective Sharp.
The first words out of Tom's mouth were, "What did I tell you?" followed immediately by, "I want you down here ASAP."
If a cop orders me to do something I generally obey. Generally. This time I would. Ricky insisted on coming with me. "To defuse the situation," to quote him.
When we arrived at the precinct I asked the desk sergeant to let Detective Sharp know we were here. I knew Tom was more than pissed because it took him only a minute to come down to get us. The glowering look he gave me could have turned ice to steam.
The second we were in his office with the door closed he asked me, "Are you trying to get Ricky killed? Whoever this guy is, he's not someone to fool around with, in case you haven't gotten the picture yet. Three murders under his belt…"
I broke into his rant. "Three? Two by my count."
"Three. Ms Engel, the woman from the Elite gym, and one Friday night, before Ms Engel's on Saturday. We only just connected that one to the last two."
Tom waggled his hand. "In a parking lot but not one belonging to a gym. The detective in charge put down to a mugging gone wrong because her purse was missing. She did try to defend herself."
"Then what tied it to the others?"
"The knife that was used and the angles of the stab wounds. According to the coroner it was the same in all three cases. He said he thought he remembered seeing something similar in a report from one of his assistants. So he went back and looked. Once he compared the autopsy data from it with that from Ms Engel and the Elite woman, he came to the conclusion the three killings are connected."
"Okay." I didn't have to think hard before saying, "So maybe the first woman was a practice case for him?"
"A logical conclusion."
"He's on a roll," Ricky muttered. "Three in what? A week? Maybe you're jumping to conclusions and none of this has to do with Ms Engel specifically."
"Meaning we have a serial killer on our hands," Tom stated. When Ricky nodded, Tom said, "Then why is Walt being threatened?"
"Um… Well…" Ricky replied hesitantly.
"Yeah, exactly." Tom frowned at us. "Why the hell am I even talking with you about this? I wanted you here to reinforce what I said the last time I saw you, Walt. Stay out of this. It stopped being your case the minute Ms Engel was murdered."
"Looks like the killer doesn't agree with you."
"He wouldn't be after you if you had kept your nose out of it," Tom said tightly.
"If I had, I wouldn't have narrowed it down to three possible suspects," I replied, my anger getting the better of my common sense right now.