There are some new faces in NARCO NOIR. Meet Lieutenant Vicente Campos:
A man in a suit strode in, carrying a leather briefcase like a shield against the smell. “Who’s in charge here?”
“I’m Doctoro Prade.” Prade closed the drawer containing Arrocha’s body, concealing it from the newcomer. “Who are you?”
“Lieutenant Vicente Campos of the Financial Crimes unit.” The man did not offer his hand, as if making the point that men in expensive suits and silk ties did not touch men who touched the dead.
The lack of courtesy did not escape Prade. The coroner folded his arms. “We have very little of that here in the morgue, Lieutenant Campos. Perhaps you are lost?”
“Your assistant said you had the body of man named Pablo Arrocha Puente in here,” Campos said. Briefcase now gripped tightly in his left hand, he walked to the nearest drawer, peered at the label, and moved on.
Emilia stripped off the exam gloves, trapping the note inside, and stuffed the wad of latex and paper into her shoulder bag. “I’m Detective Emilia Cruz,” she said, moving over to Campos. “Arrocha Puente is my case. How can I help you, teniente?”
Campos frowned. “You are misinformed, detective. Financial Crimes has the Arrocha Puente investigation.”
Emilia nearly laughed. He was apparently suffering some sort of delusion. Financial Crimes had been in existence for no more than six months; a collection of number crunchers stashed in some office building on the outskirts of Acapulco to compile data and fret over fraud claims that would never be
prosecuted. Chief of Police Salazar’s announcement of the unit had been regarded as a joke by a department awash in an unrelenting wave of homicides.
“I don’t think so, teniente,” she said, striving for politeness although Campos didn’t seem to be the sort of superior office who’d appreciate the effort. “Arrocha Puente was murdered at point blank range. If you have pertinent information, we can discuss it in the squadroom.”
She smiled, making the silent point that she wasn’t backing down under his glowering stare.
The lieutenant abruptly turned to Prade. “I’ll take the autopsy findings now.”
Prade nodded. “I’ll have my assistant send you a copy.”
“This is a murder investigation,” Emilia said, irritated at the implied dismissal. “Perhaps you could explain why Financial Crimes is interested in the case.”
“Detective.” The word came out of Campos’s mouth from behind clenched teeth. “While your resolve is admirable, this case belongs to Financial Crimes. I suggest you don’t spend any time on it until I’ve spoken with your superior officer.”
What right did this gnome of a teniente have to say he was taking over her case? He hadn’t seen the murder. He hadn’t tried to run down the suspect through dark streets.
He wasn’t in her chain of command.
“That would be Lieutenant Franco Silvio,” Emilia said with as much ice in her voice as she could muster.
“Doctor.” Campos nodded to Prade and left, the briefcase swinging from his hand.
The door closed behind him, sealing with a kiss of compressed air.
“Pendejo,” Emilia muttered.
“This is why I prefer working with the dead,” Prade said.