The last sentence of chapter 24 jumps out at me while looking at 25:
[…] it was all [Marshall] could do to keep from disassembling these two [policemen]
I guess he’s some kind of action hero in addition to a bigtime newspaper editor? Would attacking the police really be anything like a good idea at this point?
Anyway, chapter 25 opens with Bernice attempting to get in contact with Kevin Wood, shortly after getting off the phone with Marshall. You’ll remember from last chapter that we estimated that to be 5:15AM, so she’s calling his house around 5:30AM. Then she calls his work — “the logging company” — and found out Weed was in trouble for missing work. She calls a bar and finds out he’s been there and kicked out already for causing trouble.
Now, I’m a white-collar worker, but doesn’t this all sound ridiculously early in the morning? But… I’m taking the time estimates from the book itself! This is “right after she got off the phone with Marshall”, who called her “an hour and a half” of driving time plus some change spent walking around after his alarm went off at “3:48AM”. Maybe it’s an hour later than my estimates, but that’d be the extreme outside I’d think.
Anyway, time confusion aside, she’s chasing down Wood and ends up driving 15 miles away to his apartment. Maybe it’s 6:15am by now? She spent a while calling and all that. Weed lives in an apartment building with a strange description:
a sad complex of dry-rotting cubicles honeycombed into a sun-bleached old warehouse. […] She looked down one corridor and noted many closely spaced doors; these weren’t apartments, these were lockers.
I have no idea how much of that to take literally. Is it a literal warehouse? Are there literal lockers on the ground floor? Cubicles and honeycomb both imply there are no doors, but then, the only doors mentioned were on the “lockers”, so… I have no idea how to picture this building anymore.
In other news, EVIL:
an umpleasant-looking character stepp[ed] down, a skinny, pimple-faced apparition in black leather.
Isn’t it nice to know that evil always looks ugly and slightly scary? It’s great that nobody who is truly evil and controlled by demons is a nice-looking pastor or an average individual. You can always pick them out of a lineup.
(An aside: once again, the narration interjects itself into the story:
though she didn’t look back she could tell he was still watching her. Hogan, I’ll get you for this.
Anyway, amidst the filth and graffiti omnipresent among the lower classes, she finds extra filth and graffiti inside Wood’s apartment: it’s been ransacked, same as the others.
For the longest time, [Bernice] didn’t move. She was afraid.The implications were clear enough– how long would it be before they struck her or Marshall? She wondered what Marshall would find at Strachen’s, she wondered what her own home looked like, and she realized there were no police to call; the police were with them.
- Why doesn’t Marshall worry about his family? Why doesn’t Bernice think about Marshall’s family? She doesn’t appear to have any left but at least she’s afraid of being targeted.
- When would they have attacked her home? She’s only been gone from it for maybe an hour and a half?
Anyway, as I heavily implied earlier, the man in leather jumps Bernice on her way out. Clever that — making sure she gets the message first. In a rather uncomfortable sequence for me, she is beaten badly but survives.
Now back to our hero, Marshall, who is wrongly imprisoned. Apparently he’s in a bad western, too:
“We’re talking about murder here, bub!” […]
This flunky was born yesterday, Marshall thought. Sure, punk, I’ll tell you all about it so you can hang me! In a pig’s eye it was murder.
Wait… wasn’t it murder staged as a suicide? Isn’t that what we’re meant to believe at this point? Anyway, the cops have a “reliable source” and have proceeded to spill basically that they know everything while Marshall says not a word. He also lacks a lawyer, and somehow the police missed the “If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” part of the Miranda rights, because they don’t offer to find him one. So they just sit around doing nothing. Alf Brummel calls for Marshall, who refuses to tell HIM anything either. Brummel takes over the case at least.
If there was a case! If there wasn’t one, Brummel would find one. What would it be now, Harmel and Hogan running a child-molesting ring with a gangland-type murder?
(What does that even mean?!)
Brummel lets Marshall know Bernice was assaulted, and he’s released on his own recognizance.
Our attention turns to the man in black leather; he’s being ridden by five demons, and chased by angels, when he runs into Hank Busche and Andy Forsythe. His name, it seems, is Bobby Crorsi; he’s quickly apprehended by the pair, who recognize a demon-infested individual and haul him to the church for an exorcism. This will be more important next chapter.
Marshall finds out from an EMT that Bernice is in the emergency room and storms his way in. So there’s like four security risks and HIPPA violations being flaunted about. Doctors who are actively working on Bernice stop and stand aside so Marshall can be all dramatic at her bedside — I dunno about her, but I’d rather they finish stitching and painkillering. But I guess it’s okay — the doctor and his two nurses were merely sponging blood off her. It’s not like they were doing anything important in the emergency room. The doctor tries to caution Marshall from making her talk, but he ignores him, and the doc apparently has no spine because he shuts up promptly after that.
Marshall sends the doc and nurses out of the room so he can talk to Bernice in private for “30 seconds” before her x-rays will be taken. They finally figure out Carmen’s their mole, and the chapter ends on this note:
He stormed out of the room like a raging bull, and no one dared get in his way.
Of course not. They’re not the main character, nor are they Voiced by Dan Greene. They don’t dare to break laws and rage about.