Home > I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1)

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1)
Barry Lyga

CHAPTER 1

By the time Jazz got to the field outside town, yellow police tape was everywhere, strung from stake to stake in a sort of drunken, off-kilter hexagon.

The field was thick with cops—state troopers in their khakis, a cluster of deputies in their blues, even a crime-scene tech in jeans and a Windbreaker. That last one really impressed Jazz; the town of Lobo’s Nod was too small for its own official crime-scene unit, so usually the deputies handled evidence collection at the scene. The fact that they’d actually called in a real, live tech from two towns over—and on a Sunday morning, no less—meant they were taking this seriously. Some of the deputies were down on all fours, heads down, and Jazz was amused to see a guy with a metal detector just outside the crime-scene tape, slowly pacing back and forth. One of the staties had a cheap little digital video camera and carefully paced the perimeter of the scene.

And riding herd over all of it was Sheriff G. William Tanner, standing off to one side, fists planted on his love handles, watching as his command scurried around at his bidding.

Jasper “Jazz” Dent wasn’t about to let the cops see him. He belly-crawled the last fifteen yards through underbrush and tall grass, patiently making his way to a good vantage point. This part of the old Harrison farm had once been endless rows of soybean plants; it was now nothing but old bent and broken stalks, weeds, cattails, and scrub. Perfect cover, really. From here, Jazz could make out the entirety of the crime scene, helpfully demarcated by the yellow tape.

“What have we here?” Jazz murmured to himself as the videographer—about ten feet from the body—suddenly shouted out. Jazz was far enough away that he couldn’t make out the words, but he knew it was something significant because everyone immediately turned in that direction, and another deputy rushed over.

Jazz went for his binoculars. He owned three different pairs, each for different purposes, each a gift from his father, who had very specific reasons for giving them to his son.

Jazz tried not to think about those reasons. For now, he was just happy that he’d brought this particular set of binocs: They were Steiner 8x30 binoculars—waterproof, rubberized grip, weighed just a tad over a pound. But their real selling point was the blue-tinted objective lenses, which reduced glare and reflection to almost nil. That meant the enemy—or, for example, a group of cops just twenty yards away—wouldn’t catch a glimpse of the sun bouncing off the glass and haul you out of the woods.

Dust and assorted leftover plant pollens tickled Jazz’s nose and he caught himself just before he sneezed. When you’re prospecting, Dear Old Dad had told him, you gotta be real quiet, see? Most people’ve got little noisy habits they never think of. You can’t do them things, Jasper. You have to be totally quiet. Dead quiet.

He hated most things about Dear Old Dad, but what he hated most was that Dear Old Dad was pretty much always right.

He zoomed in on the statie with the video camera, but the others were crowding around, making it impossible for him to see what had so excited everyone. Jazz watched as one of them held up a small plastic evidence bag, but before he could adjust to focus on the bag, the cop brought his arm down and the bag vanished behind his thigh.

“Someone found some evidence.…” Jazz chanted under his breath, then bit his bottom lip.

Most of these guys, they want to get caught, Dear Old Dad had said on more than one occasion. You understand what I’m saying? I’m saying most of the time, they get caught ’cause they want it, not ’cause anyone figures ’em out, not ’cause anyone outthinks ’em.

Jazz wasn’t doing anything wrong, lying out here on his belly, watching the police process the crime scene, but getting caught would probably mean being taken away, and possibly a stern lecture from G. William, and he didn’t want that.

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