New FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher takes on his first investigation and gets more than he bargained for when the serial killer he’s hunting turns their sights on him. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill serial killer: these killings involve ritualistic torture and an underground burial chamber, inside which are eleven rooms, ten bodies, and one empty grave. This is one dark and creepy read that will keep you up at night.
Enjoy this except from Eleven, Chapter 3:
HOGAN’S ALLEY ORIGINALLY NAMED AFTER a comic strip from the late 1800s is a mock town used by the FBI in Quantico, Virginia as a training ground for future special agents. Placed on ten plus acres, the government built it with the aid of Hollywood set designers. The fact that Jack mentioned it by comparison rendered me silent.
I latched eyes with him before studying the size of the hole. It was just large enough to fit the freezer through if turned and taken in lengthwise.
“This guy did a lot of planning,” Paige said. She moved closer to the tunnel entrance. “He definitely didn’t want to get caught and probably never thought he would. That could be the elevated thinking of a narcissist.”
Jack watched her speak, and something about the way his eyes fell, tracing to her lips, made me wonder about the nature of their relationship.
“Well, I’d definitely peg him as a psychotic too. Narcissists usually only kill if it’s the result of a personal affront. But this man gutted his victims and grinded their intestines. Who knows if he ate them?” A visible shiver ran through Paige, and for some reason gauging her reaction intensified the severity of the situation.
For the last while, the training had taken over. I had cataloged the victims as fictional, not once living and breathing individuals. With the snap back to reality, I became aware of the presence of death and the way it hung in the air like a suffocating blanket. My stomach tightened and I felt sick.
“Question is, did these people threaten him in some way? Were they random? Or were these planned kills? The patience he seemed to execute with the cutting and burial indicates he was very organized. I’d almost lean to believe that they were planned, not random,” Zachery said.
“It could be they reminded him of one person who wronged him. That’s not uncommon,” Paige offered.
I was frozen in place, unable to move and incapable of thinking clearly.
The CSI hunched over and shone a flashlight into the opening. “It spreads out after a few feet. It almost looks as high as it does in here.”
“I want to know what happened to the intestines.” Jack made the blank statement. “Slingshot, any ideas?”
“The guy knew he was going to prison and had them cleaned up?”
I wanted to say, what do you mean why? I thought the answer was obvious, the question rhetorical. But I reasoned on the two words Jack spoke. There was little risk that this room would be discovered even if the bodies were. And if the bodies were, what was a little ground-up human intestine? Another toss of my stomach brought bile into the back of my throat. “I’m not sure.”
An ominous silence enveloped the room as if we were all absorbed in contemplating our mortality. The human reaction to death and uncertainty, of wanting to know but not wanting the answers, of sympathy for those lost yet relief that it wasn’t us.
The CSI made his way through the opening. His flashlight cast more light in the dimly lit space. I followed and heard the rest of them shuffle in behind me.
After a few feet, I was able to stand to full height.
The CSI looked up at the lit bulb. “The guy thought of everything.”
The electricity that had been run down here was basic and minimal. A band of wire ran from the meat room to here. But it wasn’t so much the electrical that garnered my attention.
To the side of the room, there was a stretcher with metal straps and stirrups. Beside it was a stainless steel tray with a single knife lying on it. Just like the table and meat grinder, light refracted off it. A tube of plastic sheeting stood vertically beside the bed.
“This just keeps getting creepier.” Paige took up position beside me.
A hero has fallen, and hard-edged detective Madison Knight will stop at nothing short of finding justice—even if it means risking her own life.
“This story is especially viable in this time period with the unrest we’ve seen on nightly news reports. The author does an impressive job with police procedures while keeping the emotions real and heart-wrenching for these characters… A very well-written book!”—Jacquie Biggar, USA Today Bestselling Author