Supervising a unit numbering only four—assuming it was at full strength—wasn’t all that impressive. Still, I immediately fell in love with the sound of those three words: Chief of Detectives.
“You don’t have to make a decision right away,” the chief assured me. “Think about it. We’ll have to wait and see what the county attorney does about the Young shooting, anyway—wait to hear what the grand jury has to say. And make no mistake, McKenzie. This isn’t a slam-dunk. I insist you go through a mini-academy, make sure the tools are still there. But think about it.”
“You’ll think about it?”
“One more thing. Don’t ever call me Bart.”
Here I thought I had slipped it by him.
I was excited when I returned home. Chief of Detectives. I had considered going back to police work in the past couple years but never with such a grandiose title. I wondered what Bobby would think of it and called to ask, only he wasn’t in his office. I thought of calling Kirsten to learn if the new job would change things between us. But I didn’t. Never count your chickens, someone had once told me—probably my father, an immensely practical man. I didn’t have the job yet. I didn’t even know what it paid.
The thought of money made me pause. I didn’t know any millionaire cops. I wondered if it would make a difference. I pushed the thought away. Don’t buy trouble, I told myself, which was something else Dad used to say.
I decided to quell my anxieties by returning to the problem at hand—finding Jamie’s killer. I put Elvis Costello on the CD player and looked to see what the newspapers had.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press is trustworthy and rarely emotional. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune often seems to be written by closet suspense novelists who just love to tell a crackling good yarn. Naturally, it had the higher circulation of the two. Yet on this day, there seemed to be little difference. Both papers played Jamie Bruder’s violent death across the front page. Both used adjectives like “barbarous.” Both used the term “serial killer.”
I read the articles three times each and to my great relief they didn’t mention my name once. Instead, I was referred to as the “friend of the family” who discovered the body. The cops also managed to keep other pertinent details to themselves—that twine was used to tie Jamie to the bed frame, that duct tape was used to seal her mouth, the broom.
The St. Paul paper said, “Bruder died violently,” that “she was found nude in the bedroom of her fashionable home,” and that “she was stabbed repeatedly.” The Star-Tribune was considerably more graphic, suggesting that Jamie was “sexually mutilated” and “possibly decapitated, according to a source close to the investigation.” I could see Bobby spoon-feeding that last bit to the media to help filter out the whackos who were probably already lining up to confess.
Both papers speculated that Jamie and Katherine Katzmark were killed by the same assailant, but refused to actually come out and say so because the cops refused to actually come out and say so.
Both papers also reported that a massive search for Jamie’s husband and son had begun, certainly a reasonable response by the cops, all things considered. But did St. Paul Deputy Chief Thomas Thompson need to claim that Jamie’s murder was a “domestic killing,” which the newspapers translated to mean Bruder did it? Did the Ramsey County Attorney, an elected official who had never tried a criminal case before a jury in her life, have to support that allegation during a press conference outside the county’s domestic abuse office, pledging, as God was her witness, that Good Deal Dave would be brought to justice?
“Don’t you think you should prove he did it first?” I shouted at the CA’s photograph on page 5A. I admit that Bruder looked good for it, especially if he could be tied to Katherine Katzmark. Only Thompson’s and the county attorney’s public remarks were unprofessional, gratuitous, and sloppy. A good defense attorney would hurt them with it later.
Along with the lead stories were the inevitable sidebars. Minneapolis ran an interview with a sociologist turned best-selling crime writer who compared Jamie’s and Katherine’s killer to Ted Bundy and warned readers to be alert. St. Paul ran a story pointing out that late summer was America’s “killing season,” the time of the year when we murder ourselves with the greatest frequency. Both papers also printed editorials speaking out against violence toward women with headlines like, WE MUST SAY ‘NO’ TO ABUSE OF WOMEN OR THE TRAGEDIES WILL GO ON AND ON and ABUSERS OF WOMEN: IS THERE A COMMON THREAD AMONG MEN WHO ATTACK?
I looked for my own story and found it in the Minnesota Briefs column, three paragraphs under the bug with the subhead: MAN SHOT IN ROBBERY ATTEMPT. It read as I would have predicted: