Camino Winds (Camino Island, #2) by John Grisham Read Online (FREE)
Bruce showed him the transcript of the two exchanges with 3838Bevel.
“A huge step in the right direction,” Nick said with a satisfied smile. “This is our guy, the snitch who knows it all and contacted Nelson with the goods. Beautiful.”
“But he’s gone silent. How do we get him back in the loop?”
“Money. That was his motivation to begin with. How much did you get for the novel?”
“Three hundred thousand.”
“Has that been reported?”
“No, but the sale has. Bevel certainly knows there’s a book deal.”
“And Bevel wants the cut that Nelson promised. He’s not going away, but he’s also afraid of his shadow.”
“So what’s our next move?”
“We wait. He’ll contact you because he needs you, not the other way around. Your goal is to solve Nelson’s murder. If you fail, your life goes on unchanged. He ain’t your brother. But Bevel here wants the money Nelson promised. For him it’s a definite game changer.”
Promptly at nine Friday morning, Bruce and Nick entered the nameless mirrored tower where Alpha North Solutions hid itself. Lindsey Wheat met them at the elevator and Bruce introduced Nick, who drew a look with his faded jeans, battered sneakers, colorful T-shirt, and oversized sports coat with tattered elbow patches.
“Nick here was a friend of Nelson’s and was with me when we discovered his body,” Bruce said, almost apologetically, though he didn’t care if she approved or not. He was paying her.
They followed her to her office, with Nick soaking up all of the surroundings, what little there were. The interior designer who outfitted the place had apparently been ordered to avoid all color and warmth.
They gathered around a small conference table and prepared their coffees. Bruce cared little for chitchat, and when Lindsey asked Nick for his plans after college, Bruce said, “Look, let’s skip the preliminaries. You have news. I have news. Let’s get on with it.”
She smiled and said, “Indeed.” Then she picked up a report, adjusted her reading glasses, and began, “We infiltrated three nursing homes in rural Kentucky. One owned by Fishback, one by Grattin, one by Pack Line Retirement. As you know, Fishback and Grattin are privately owned and have deplorable compliance histories. Pack Line is the worst of the publics. More about them later. We started in Flora, Kentucky, a backwater little town of three thousand, and quickly managed to sign up a couple of employees. The first was Vera Stark at Glinn Valley, the Fishback facility. I handled Vera myself and slowly brought her along. She provided the names of the advanced dementia patients, the nonresponsive ones, more commonly referred to by staff as ‘Nons,’ as I have learned, along with several other nonflattering nicknames. After she gave us the names, I convinced her to research the types of formula and meds that are tube-fed to the patients. Because the place is perpetually understaffed, Vera began volunteering to handle the feedings, something that is not unusual. The syringes are usually loaded in the pharmacy and given to the staff on duty, but security is not tight. Rules and procedures are not always followed. She lifted a new syringe, brought it to me, and I ordered a box of the same. We loaded a substitute with the same formula and Vera agreed to swap it with a real one. Over the course of two weeks, she made about three dozen swaps from four Nons, giving us plenty of samples to analyze. The bottom line is that there is nothing suspicious being administered to these patients, not at Glinn Valley. As far as Vera could tell, the meds are always given with the feedings, three or four times a day. She also noted that the Nons receive much better care than the other patients. Plenty of calories and water, cleaner beds, hourly turnings, and so on. Gotta keep ’em alive, you know.