The four dead girls met David Korobkin at his office on a dreary April morning, three months before he read the letter. On paper, they were routine homicides, each with extreme head trauma in apparent gunshot-inflicted injuries. Nothing Korobkin hadn’t seen before. In the seven years he had been head of the regional Criminal Investigations Department, he’d stumbled upon dozens of victims, some as peaceful as a drowned infant in a bathtub, some as gruesome as a burned, stabbed woman he’d found last November. He glanced again at the coroner’s report.
“Mornin’, chief,” said Korobkin’s deputy, Ilya Petrovich, elbowing open the door with an armful of pyshkis. “Hungry?” Korobkin reached for the sticky doughnut absentmindedly as he flipped through the report. “So the slab’s got some girls downstairs, I see,” he said. “You checked ’em out yet?”
Petrovich nodded expectantly, watching Korobkin read the report. “Yeah, just got back. They’re fresh.” Korobkin frowned and flipped the report over: filed Tuesday, April 30. And received, he thought. There was a silence as both men chewed distractedly on their breakfast and Korobkin skimmed through the report carelessly.
Interesting case, he thought, nodding in approval. Four young women under the age of 23. Cause of death: head trauma. No signs of sexual abuse. Identities currently unknown; fingers and faces disfigured. It was the kind of investigation that delighted him.