A true mark of a skilled sociopath was presenting themself as relatable. In this case, a bleeding heart. But Zach noted something else—the familiarity. “He knew about your cousin’s pregnancy and that she’d been expecting a boy?”
She nodded. “I figured maybe he knew her somehow but wanted to keep the money anonymous.”
“Sure.” Paige smiled. “What happened after you took the money?”
“I fanned it. Sniffed it. Like I said, I’d never seen that much money.” Agatha blushed, seemingly embarrassed.
“I looked up to ask his name and thank him, but he was gone.”
“Gone? Just like that?” Zach snapped his fingers.
“Yeah, like an angel.”
More like the Grim Reaper. “I know I did wrong by my cousin, that’s how I sinned, but I had credit card debt. Now I don’t.”
Zach pieced her reaction together. “I can understand it would have been very tempting to take some.”
“I agree,” Paige sympathized. “You have any of the cash left?”
Agatha shook her head.
Zach thought Paige’s question had been a reach. It had been seven years ago! But if they were able to get their hands on even one of the bills, they might have been able to track the serial number. “Did you mention the man to Abigail?” Zach asked, curious if Abigail had withheld that information when they’d spoken to her.
“Not in so many words.” Agatha paused and crossed herself again. “I’m going to Hell. I told her I’d collected the money. Thankfully she didn’t press me on how or I would have had to come up with some story.”
Agatha could work on her morals, but Zach was pretty sure she was telling the truth.
“You’re not going to tell my cousin, are you?” Agatha tugged on Paige’s arm. “Please don’t tell her.”
“We have no reason to, but don’t go anywhere in case we need to talk to you again.” Paige handed Agatha her card. Agatha studied it. “The BAU?” Her brows rose in perfectly shaped arches. “Like from that TV show Criminal Minds?” Her face fell. “Did those guys you showed me kill someone?” She gulped. “Marie Sullivan?”
“We can’t answer that,” Zach replied calmly. Agatha was blinking rapidly and panting lightly. “Am I in danger?”
“We have no reason to believe so.” Paige put a reassuring hand on Agatha’s arm before leaving with Zach.
When they were back at the SUV, Paige grabbed the door handle on the passenger side. “She’s terrified, and I don’t blame her.”
“He won’t be coming for her.” Zach started the SUV. “We know that, but she doesn’t.”
They both strapped in when Zach’s phone rang over the onboard system. He answered, and Jack’s voice came through the speakers. “Get back to the station. The kid and I just brought in Ava Jett and her son.”
“See you in five.”
Zach barely had gotten the words out before the line went dead. He put the SUV into drive, contemplating how the lead they’d received from Agatha would tie into this new twist in the case.
Those who read Carolyn Arnold's book, will undoubtedly think of the television program, Criminal Minds, just as one of the characters did when being interviewed. On the other hand, none of the characters in Arnold's book reminded me of any characters on the show, except Zach, who was also a genius in On the Count of Three. But that wasn't the reason, I hooked on to him. Zach is perhaps the main BAU character in this latest book. His story is carried throughout the book and the climax could not have been better written!
After working in BAU and seeing the constant danger, Zach had long ago pledged to himself that if he got married, he would leave this type of work. Now, he was not only married, but he had just learned he was going to be a father! He hadn't talked about his earlier pledge to anybody, even his wife; however, their present case was so horrendous, that Zach, now considering their child, began seriously...to consider...and worry... His BAU partner could tell something was wrong, and Zach finally started to talk to her, trusting her to not share what they said with others...
The case, itself, is indeed one of the worst types of death--beheadings! But what was strange about it as the investigation proceeded was that victims were found to have been released from prison after having killed people while driving while drunk... In a recent book, Intoxication Nation, I learned just how prevalent this type of domestic terrorist, as declared by author Guy Graybill is...causing more deaths annually...all due to somebody's choice to drive while drunk...
Apparently, this serial killer had decided that a short jail term was not enough to pay for the deaths of those who had been killed...
As always, Arnold provides readers with the best coverage of investigations, while giving us a chance to explore the whodunit...and, especially, the WHY that so many of us crave to know more about.
Having the series main character, not be the leader of the unit, is a twist that is both intriguing but frustrating... We watch Brandon Fisher and hear his internal thoughts as he deals with the remainder of the people on the team. Apparently, he is insecure in his relation to the team leader and, when in this story, an old friend of his boss, calls and asks them to come to help with a case, he is shocked when he immediately responds. The competition between the two added another dimension to the already intense search for the killer. It was somewhat distracting for me until later when they are forced to work together... The subplot wasn't necessary, but did expand the tension and frustration as the latest victim, if the same MO as was done earlier, meant that the latest woman might still be alive...
Because of the gory details, this wasn't my favorite by this author; however, I am a fan of her police procedural skills, which excel in this and every book. In fact, while working on my review, I did pick out something that sounded more of interest...I love "lost treasure" stories, so be watching for my review of The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh!
So, as I earlier mentioned, the climatic ending of the book is truly worth the reading... So series fans will discover that one member is leaving, thus the spotlight, while another is probably going to be added - yes, the new competitor for Brandon Fisher. I don't think that is too much of a giveaway... But I did enjoy the part Zach played in this book and loved thinking about Matthew Gray Gubler, who plays Stephen Reid on Criminal Minds in the part "when the movie comes..." LOL
It takes a special type of individual to be willing to deal with the dreadful crimes that happen and learning enough to be able to profile these dangerous individuals. Honoring those who actually do that work is important! Right now we are dealing with bombs being sent to major political and related individuals. Profiling is definitely a part of the intensive investigation now going on in the United States...with every level of police involved! A special thank-you for all that are involved in trying to keep America safe!
Do check this next-in-series out or you can pre-order if you are already a series fan...but, as the author always points out, each book is free-standing. So, pick up a book from her large library of options...and Enjoy!
Carolyn Arnold, the prolific Ontario-based author of mystery novels, writes with a deeply felt commitment to truth and accuracy. Her slogan, “police procedurals respected by law enforcement,” is not only a standard to which she holds herself, but something she’s earned through praise from law enforcement professionals. Arnold believes in the importance and integrity of real police. “I have such a love and respect for law enforcement; I want to get it right,” she says...
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