Being the new guy on the team isn’t the easiest spot to be in, but Brandon Fisher seems to be managing it just fine. That is except for the nicknames he doesn’t much care for and the steep learning curve that comes from working under Supervisory Special Agent Jack Harper. But that’s all par for the course if Brandon wants to be a good FBI agent—and he does.
And even though his first case with the Behavioral Analysis Unit almost killed him, he’s still ready to tackle the next investigation—or he thinks he is anyway. A recent abduction draws the FBI’s attention to the fact that thirty women have gone missing in the past six years in Prince Edward County, Virginia. But what they end up uncovering in this rural area rivals the heinous acts he’d witnessed with his initial case.
Reading about the briefing in the following excerpt taken from chapter 2 of Silent Graves (Brandon Fisher FBI series):
I SMILED AS I ENTERED the meeting room just on time. How could one get any more punctual than that?
“You’re late, Fisher.” Jack was sitting at the table with the rest of the team.
“It’s Pending, boss. He probably forgot to set the alarm.” Zachery lifted a steaming take-out cup to his mouth, cutting his smirk short. Whenever he could poke at my probationary period with the nickname, he would.
“He even got a wake-up call,” Jack mumbled.
“Brandon,” Paige said. Her red hair hung in loose curls, serving as a soft frame for her face, but her eyes were cool.
I took all of them in, not sure how they did it. They were there, not just on time, but early. They were all alert, despite the caffeine they clung to as if their lives depended on it.
“Sit. We don’t have all day.” Jack patted his shirt pocket where he kept his cigarettes. He had probably already smoked a few since waking up.
“Hey.” Nadia came up behind me and tapped me on the back as she walked by.
“Hey.” I took a seat.
The screen was filled with faces of various women. On the left side, was their smiling before photos. On the right, was the aftermath—their remains, part flesh, part bones.
Nadia clicked the remote she held, and the screen filled with a picture of one woman. She was beautiful, with long dark hair and brown eyes. Nothing, in particular, stood out about her.
“Her name is Amy Rogers. Her husband is Kirk Rogers.”
I knew what Jack was thinking—money bought results. We were in the Behavioral Analysis Unit to stop serial crime, not for a single abduction. Why weren’t the police handling this case?
“He owns the communications company Trinity,” I said.
Nadia acknowledged me with a bob of her head. “That would be correct Brandon, but the man has lawyers, and he paid people to do some snooping around. They found out that a bunch of women have gone missing in the area over the past decade. He also has a tight friendship with the chief of police down in Washington. He had him call us in.”
“So, we’re looking for Amy Rogers? No real concern for the other missing women?” I knew I was being cynical, but the power of a buck, the control and sway it held, sickened me at the best of times.
“We’re investigating this case because this is the one we’ve been assigned.” Jack intensified the reprimand with a hardened facial expression.
“I’m not saying anything contrary to that. It’s just—”
“I know what you’re saying, Brandon. We have a chance to find Amy Rogers before it is too late. To accomplish that, a good place to start is investigating the older cases,” Paige said.
I let what she said go. I didn’t need another parental surrogate on the team. I already had a father figure in Jack. I addressed Nadia. “Who were these women you had on the screen when I came in?”
“Their naked bodies were found in ditches along I-95 between Lorton and a little west of Dumfries.”
“No jewelry or anything?” Zachery asked.
“I-95 is a major highway, but it’s not a huge stretch. What—twenty minutes,” Paige offered. “It’s likely someone from the area.”
“How many women and how long ago do these bodies date back to?” Zachery asked Nadia.
“The oldest dates back to nineteen seventy. Her name was Melanie Chase. She was discovered along I-95 near Woodbridge by the Levine family who was on a road trip. The youngest, age three, had to go to the washroom. There were no rest stops for a distance so the father pulled over for the kid to go, and they got more than a number one.”
Woodbridge? That is where I live. “How was she killed?”
“The ME ruled the cause of death as being pulmonary edema.”
“Fluid in the lungs.” Everyone gave me the once-over as if to say, yes, that would be pulmonary edema. “What about the other victims?”
“Another died of a severe stroke while yet another of a brain hemorrhage. These three old cases, the thirty missing women from Prince William County—”
Nadia nodded. “Yeah, that has our interest too, and that’s thirty missing women in the last six years. Seems Amy Rogers wasn’t the only target.”
Zachery quickly compiled the math. “On average, that’s one woman every two months.”
“Holy crap.” The words left my lips without thought, and everyone’s attention was on me again. “What more do we know?”
“These three women were married, as is Amy Rogers. None of these women had children either. All were reported by their husbands. All of them were taken from Washington or PW County. It’s too coincidental to ignore.”
“I agree,” Paige said.
Nadia turned to the screen, magnifying on their wrists and ankles. “The three women that were found all had these same markings. It appears the killer had bound them all with linked chain.”
“I see there are different nationalities among the victimology.” Zachery bobbed his head toward the screen.
“Yes, the only similarities are what I mentioned—married, no kids. Among the law enforcement community, by the time the third victim was found, he had earned the moniker The Silent Killer.”
“And here, I thought that was cancer,” I said implicating Jack’s smokes.
Nadia continued as if I hadn’t said anything. “Based on forensic evidence, these women were aware they were going to die but couldn’t do anything about it.” Nadia’s face paled and she swallowed heavily.
“Ketamine?” Zachery lifted his cup but didn’t press it to his lips.
“Actually, there wasn’t any trace of that in their systems.”
“Possibly something herbal then that would inhibit their ability to move and then leave the system quickly.”
“If they figured one person was responsible for the death of these three women, why not call in the FBI?” I asked.
“They did, but the case was never taken on. The killer went silent, no pun intended, and there didn’t seem to be any threat.”
“We’re thinking this guy’s back and could have Amy Rogers?”
“That’s exactly what we’re thinking.”
There’s no such thing as a casual affair…
Thirty missing women in the period of six years. Now another has been abducted.
One officer was right all along. Prince William County, Virginia has a serial killer preying on women.
With the recent abduction, the FBI is called in and Brandon Fisher’s team gets the assignment. There is more to it than just one missing woman–this dates back decades. They delve into the past cases, hoping it will shed light on the investigation, but with the discovery of a body and the report of another missing woman, their efforts are further intensified. They begin narrowing in on the cases from the last six years.
What they find are heinous acts that rival what they witnessed in Salt Lick, Kentucky. They must stop a killer who plays out his twisted game of rape and torture–and they need to do so fast if there’s going to be anyone left to save.