Authors: Sydney Bauer
Sydney Bauer has worked as a journalist and TV executive. While Director of Programming for a major Australian network, Sydney was able to indulge a personal passion for US dramas like
Law & Order, CSI
, and meet with revered TV writers such as Dick Wolf.
Matter of Trust
is Sydney's fifth novel.
Also by Sydney Bauer
Move to Strike
First published 2010 in Macmillan by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Limited
1 Market Street, Sydney
Copyright Â© Sydney Bauer 2010
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity (including Google, Amazon or similar organisations), in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.
National Library of Australia
Matter of trust / Sydney Bauer.
The characters and events in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Typeset in 11/15pt Birka by Post Pre-press Group, Brisbane, Queensland Printed in Australia by McPherson's Printing Group
Papers used by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Limited are natural, recyclable products made from wood grown in sustainable forests. The manufacturing processes conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin.
These electronic editions published in 2010 by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd
1 Market Street, Sydney 2000
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
All rights reserved. This publication (or any part of it) may not be reproduced or transmitted, copied, stored, distributed or otherwise made available by any person or entity (including Google, Amazon or similar organisations), in any form (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical) or by any means (photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise) without prior written permission from the publisher.
Matter of Trust
Adobe eReader format: 978-1-74262-052-7
Online format: 978-1-74262-055-8
EPUB format: 978-1-74262-053-4
Macmillan Digital Australia
to read more about all our books and to buy both print and ebooks online. You will also find features, author interviews and news of any author events.
For K and C, and all unconditional childhood friendships
First up, a big thank you to all at Pan Macmillan â James Fraser, Emma Rafferty, Jane Novak, the artistic Deb Parry and, most of all, my publisher and friend, Cate Paterson.
Thanks also to my New York mentor Harvey Klinger and his Sydney-based counterpart Brian Johns.
Newark, NJ was new territory for me and this book would not have been possible without the help of: Veterans Courthouse Trial Administrator Collins Ijoma, Newark Police's 3rd Precinct Captain Dennis O'Reilly and Detective Louis Plaza, Essex County Corrections facility Director Scott Faunce and Deputy Director Al Ortiz (thanks for the amazing tour, guys), Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide Squad Director and Down Neck local Greg DeMattia, and the brilliant and incredibly hospitable Northern Region Medical Examiner Chief Doctor Lyla Perez.
Special thanks goes to the âtwo Johns' â my FBI heroes and friends who not only gave me all the legal background I needed, but also bought me dinner!
And to Boston-based Detective Kevin Molis â for his good heart and constant inspiration.
Finally, a huge thank you to all my family and friends â especially Jarrod and Claudia, who remind me each and every day how great life can be if you never, ever give up.
December 12, 25 years ago
Newark, New Jersey
ll right then,' said Father Patrick, the word âthen' sounding more like âden' as the Irish priest flicked his tongue around the last of the three words. The smoky-haired clergyman had finally stopped pacing, sweat forcing its way through the pores of the thick, pink skin of his brow.
âEnough is enough.' He glared at the guilty trio before him, his face framed by the portrait of Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, which sat like a warning on the far office wall.
âYour mothers are waiting just beyond that door, their weekend peace ruined by the unspeakable crimes of their children. But before I confirm to them the heart-breakin' news that they have bred a trio of heretics, I need to know just how far you lads have taken this â meaning, have you ever done this before?'
None of the boys answered. They hadn't raised their heads during the entire diatribe, preferring to play it safe by focusing on the headmaster's large scuffed shoes. David watched the right of the two, his eye catching on a smidgen of red sock that peeked irreverently from a small hole at the toe.
âI can tell by now that I might as well be whistlin' a jig to a milestone, or to this machine, which, as you can see,' he said, as he nudged the broken tape recorder on the floor before him with the same exposed toe, â.Â .Â . will never be used for the devil's work again. But the law states that every accused man deserves a fair hearing, and despite my utter disgust at the unspeakable violation you three appear to have perpetrated, I am willing to hear your version of events as long as they are spoken truthfully â with an eye to contrition and a knowledge that your punishments will be exponentially equated to the amount of shite you spin.'
Father Patrick shook his head as the shattered tape recorder tilted awkwardly on the old rug in his third-floor office. He had thrown it down in fury seconds after listening to the cassette tape inside it â up to the moment when old lady Flannigan began speaking about her brother-in-law and the impure thoughts she had about him.
âJust so there is no question,' the priest went on, the old wooden crucifix behind his overcrowded desk now swinging slightly on its hook as it caught a gust of chill that pushed determinedly through the crack at the bottom of the east-facing window, âas far as your parents are concerned,' his eyes flickered across the three culprits â David in the middle, the broad-shouldered, dark-haired Chris Kincaid on his left and the skinny, freckled, fresh-faced Mike Murphy on his left, âI will give you one more chance to tell me who initiated this most satanic of crimes. But once this moment is gone,' Father Patrick's thick pointer finger hovered mere inches from David's wide green eyes, âyour opportunity will be lost and the judge and jury â all thirteen of them represented by
â will sentence you to life imprisonment in the Saint Stephen's Preparatory detention hall.' He turned to Chris. âWhich means no basketball, Mr Kincaid, for the entire length of the season.'
David felt his tall friend flinch.
âSo what's it to be, Mr Murphy?' Father Patrick now focused on the smallest of the three. âAre you going to speak up and provide me with the details of your heinous deed? Or are you going to pay the price of your silence and suffer the consequences threefold?'
David braced himself for what he knew was bound to followÂ .Â .Â .
âWell, Father,' Mike began, âfirst up, I want to apologise for our violating your personal space like we did. I'd never thought of confessionals as
personal sanctuaries, but the hot water bottle under the seat cushion, the packet of fags next to the holy water, well, obviously you've made yourself at home in there, Father, and I can see how our intrusion might have rankled.' Mike managed a smile as the colour rose once again in Father Patrick's cheeks.
âBut here's the thing, Father,' Mike went on, shaking his head as if puzzled. âJust last month, in our literature class, you were quoting James Joyce who said “Mistakes are the portal to Discovery”, and on more than one occasion, I've looked up at you in that pulpit with great admiration as you assured us that our Holy Father loves those who learn from their mistakes, that failure is inevitable along the road to salvation.' Mike shook his head once again.
âYou know,' he went on. âThomas Jefferson once said something like “You haven't succeeded until you've failed ten thousand times over”, and I suppose our actions,' Mike gestured at Chris and David beside him, â.Â .Â . well we were just impatient, Father. We figured that, along with our own mistakes, there must be hundreds more others were making that we could learn from. We're always trying to be better men, Father â but it seems unfair that we should be restricted to our own failings for inspiration. And the knowledge we gained from thisÂ .Â .Â . research, Father â the lessons we learned from hearing about Mr Suarez's propensity for falsehoods, Mr Gunther's issues with the demon drink and Mrs Flannigan's desires for her much younger brother-in-lawâ'