Chapter One

 

        The tabby had a complete and utter disregard for the sanctity of the crime scene.

        It avoided the still-damp bloodstains closest to the body, but its tail flicked and papers fell as it jumped to the desk and then the wardrobe, from the top of which it watched the entire room through half-closed eyes.

        A steady rain muted the light of the ever-burning streetlamps, its pitter-patter a comforting background noise that drowned out the sounds of the city. It was as if a shade had fallen around the ramshackle apartment.

        The corpse reclined on a large, brown leather sofa facing a wall-sized plasma screen. Hooked up to the television were a set of studio-performance stereos and one of the latest generation gaming consoles, an unassuming black box with only a single cable connecting to the screen. A controller lay on the floor by the dead man’s feet. His clothes were thoroughly soaked through with red, and a shallow pool of blood had collected in the seat of the leather cushion.