Authors: Beverly Connor
Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Horror, #Suspense, #Mystery & Detective, #Women Sleuths, #Mystery, #Police Procedural, #Detective, #Fiction - Mystery, #Mystery & Detective - General, #Mystery & Detective - Police Procedural, #Fallon, #Women forensic anthropologists, #Georgia, #Diane (Fictitious character)
started to pursue. She pressed the brake instead. He
was going too fast, and she had no business becoming
crossways in the middle of the road, breathing hard.
are you still there? The police are on their
passenger’s seat. ‘‘Frank. I’m here. He’s gone.’’
‘‘Diane, are you all right? I’m almost to your apart
ment. Are you all right?’’
‘‘Yes. I’m fine. I’m going to have to get some new
windows for my car, though.’’
At that moment an unmarked police car came over
the rise, lights flashing, but no siren, and stopped op
drew their guns and pointed them at her car.
‘‘Get out of the car. Put your hands on your head.’’
going to shoot me. I have to go.’’
her seat belt and got out of the car with her hands on
her head. She recognized the two policemen, and tried
to recall their names as they walked slowly toward her.
Both of them lowered their guns. Diane dropped her
hands to her sides.
‘‘Yes, I am. I was attacked in my car. The man left,
driving west in a light-colored Crown Vic. I couldn’t
get his tag number. You probably just passed him.’’
Frank’s car came to a screeching halt at the curb.
She was the one shaking inside, and she felt that
they were the ones who needed calming.
okay?’’ he asked, pulling her into a hug.
‘‘Scared witless, but other than that . . .’’ She leaned
We’ll call an APB on the Crown Vic.’’
‘‘I’ll move your car,’’ said Frank. ‘‘You get out of
that both tires on the driver’s side were flat. Sometime
during his frenzied attack, the perp had managed to
slash her tires. Her car looked totaled, the windshield
dents in the body were too numerous to count. The
attack seemed so quick to have done all that damage.
Frank parked her battered Taurus against the curb
just as Chief Garnett drove up in his car. He jumped
scowling. Diane noticed her landlady and some of her
neighbors gathered in front of the apartment building.
small street. Good thing. She’d have hated having the
whole neighborhood out looking at her.
Garnett said to the policemen.
supposed to be.
‘‘We got a call . . .’’ began one of the policemen.
‘‘You got a call? We’ll discuss this down at the sta
tion. In the meantime, I want you parked out here all
night. Is that understood?’’
He turned to Diane. ‘‘Are you injured?’’
‘‘No, I’m fine. I’d like just to go up to my apartment
and get some sleep.’’
‘‘I don’t know for sure. But I got a sense that the
caller was frustrated with the way our conversations
have been going.’’
‘‘Did you give his description to the ofﬁcers?’’
dressed in dark clothes and had a stocking over his
head, distorting his features. He had dark hair, about
six feet tall, well built.’’
‘‘You call it in?’’ Garnett snapped at his ofﬁcers.
Both of the policemen nodded.
‘‘I tried to get his tag number. I couldn’t see it.’’
‘‘We’ll find him.’’
Diane turned and took a step toward her apartment.
‘‘Oh, I met Kacie Beck as she was leaving the police
station and gave her a lift home. I noticed that she
had an engagement ring with what looked to me like
quality, my geologist said it could be worth upwards of
ten thousand dollars. It might be worth checking out.’’
Garnett whistled. ‘‘Where would Chris Edwards get
that kind of money?’’
‘‘It could be synthetic, but it looked real and she
thinks it’s real.’’
‘‘Like you said. It’s worth checking out. Go ahead
and get some sleep. We’ll talk in the morning.’’
Diane nodded. Chief Garnett was being awfully so
licitous, especially for someone who only last year was
among those who would like to have run her out of
town. She glanced up to her apartment building at the
knot of neighbors looking in her direction. How was
she going to explain this to her landlady?
guided her up the sidewalk to her building.
‘‘What’s going on?’’ This was from one of Diane’s
‘‘What’s all that noise? How are we to sleep with
all that noise?’’ Mrs. Odell and her husband, who lived
crossed and their chins in the air.
‘‘Hate those car alarms. There ought to be a law
against them. They go off for no reason at all.’’ Mr.
Odell added, with a sharp nod of his head.
‘‘What happened?’’ asked the landlady. ‘‘Why are
the police here?’’
‘‘As I was parking my car, someone came up and
beat my car with a bat,’’ said Diane, trying to sound
calm. ‘‘They ran off.’’
Diane nodded and made her way up the stairs to
her apartment on the second floor. The last thing she
wanted to do was get her landlady started on one of
her stream-of-consciousness conversations. The Odells
came up the stairs behind her.
said Mrs. Odell. ‘‘This was a quiet apartment building
until you moved here.’’
Diane opened her door. ‘‘Good night, Mrs. Odell.
I’m sorry you had your sleep interrupted.’’
Once Diane’s apartment door closed behind them,
Frank asked, ‘‘Those are the people you were telling
me about? The ones who had seven children die, and
whose only joy in life is going to funerals?’’
‘‘That’s them. Mrs. Odell was the one who broke
clobbered her with my cornbread pan.’’
‘‘Maybe you should move.’’
lapsed on the couch. ‘‘I’m so glad to be home. It was
a rough day at the ofﬁce.’’
Frank sat down and pulled her against him, cuddling
what was going on.’’
‘‘How did you call the police?’’
‘‘I used my car phone. So you think that was the
man who’s been calling?’’
‘‘I don’t know. I’m afraid it might be.’’
‘‘Why is he fixated on you?’’
‘‘He may be fixated on all of us who had anything
to do with the Cobber’s Wood victims, or . . .’’ Diane
rubbed her eyes with her finger. ‘‘I don’t know. I don’t
know what the hell is going on.’’
‘‘What’s Garnett doing about these calls?’’
‘‘They were supposed to have someone outside my
building, but they apparently slipped up.’’
‘‘You mean, there were supposed to be policemen
posted in front of your house? Dammit, where were
‘‘I don’t know.’’ What Diane wanted to do was for
‘‘Where’s Star tonight?’’
night with her after the concert.’’
‘‘On a school night?’’
‘‘Nervous doesn’t quite describe it. All I can think
of is all those drugs floating around and how vulnera
ble she is.’’
Diane’s back was against Frank’s chest and his face
was close to her ear. His breath was warm and smelled
‘‘Her friend’s a good kid and I know her parents. I
let Star go to a concert last month. She checked in
with me when she arrived and was home on time, so
I’m letting her go again. I don’t know. In another year,
she’ll be old enough to strike out on her own. I’m just
trying to give her some experience being responsible,
but I feel completely out of my depth.’’
Diane wove her fingers into his and relaxed a bit,
nestling further against him. ‘‘She seems to be doing
‘‘Most of the time. We have some pretty big dis
away. It’s good for Kevin. It’s like having a big sister.’’
He moved his arms from around her and stood up,
pulling her with him. ‘‘Let me fix you something. Have
‘‘At the museum. I bought Mike dinner tonight.’’
Frank raised his eyebrows. ‘‘Mike. That’s...’’
‘‘You bought him dinner?’’
‘‘He gave me some information about diamonds.’’
‘‘He doesn’t get a salary for that?’’
‘‘This was after hours.’’
‘‘Okay, this just gets better. This is the guy who’s
got a thing for you?’’
‘‘So you admit it now?’’
‘‘He admitted it.’’
‘‘It’s not serious. I believe it’s just the challenge. I
told him that I was not only seeing someone else, I
was his boss and old enough to be his mother, though
I didn’t put it quite like that.’’
‘‘Only if you had him when you were twelve. That’s
not that big an age difference.’’
‘‘It is to
me. I thought you were going
to fix me
something. I could use a cool glass of wine when I get
Frank put his arms around her. ‘‘You doing okay?’’
‘‘I’m still shaking...and praying that this was just
a random act of violence. Frank, I don’t know how to
handle that guy. It’s like he wants to talk to me, but
he won’t say anything. And now this. Garnett said he
hired a proﬁler.’’
‘‘Do you know who?’’
Diane shook her head. ‘‘Some consultant who used
to work for the FBI. I hope he’s good. We need some
one to make some sense out of all this. I sure can’t.’’
car looked worse in the light of day than it had
that evening under the streetlight. She shook her head
as the tow truck drove off with it.
don’t think I’ll be able to have that fixed,’’ she
said to Frank.
‘‘It’s all cosmetic, really,’’ he told her.
‘‘Cosmetic. It looks totaled.’’
Before Diane left for work, she took coffee and hot
her stakeout. They were surprised and grateful.
‘‘Will you be relieved soon?’’ she asked.
‘‘In an hour,’’ they assured her.
Frank drove her to the museum. She bought a paper
on the way in and leafed through the pages, dreading
what she would find. Another thing she’d have to deal
‘‘I don’t see anything,’’ she said.
But there it was in the police blotter—one line.
REPORTED VANDALIZED ON EAST ELM STREET
‘‘I don’t believe it. Hardly a mention. With any luck,
that’ll be the end of it.’’
She was already letting go of the image of the phone
calls, E-mails and letters about the attack—and the
’s from her board members.
Diane got out and leaned into the passenger’s side
of his car. ‘‘Yes. Let’s go some place quiet.’’
‘‘How about my place? Star will be there, but she’d
enjoy seeing you.’’
‘‘I’d like to see her too.’’
‘‘You going to be all right today? That was quite
an ordeal last night.’’
‘‘I’ll be fine. Thanks for the rescue.’’
‘‘I didn’t do anything.’’
‘‘Yes, you did.’’
and Neva were already there. David peeked his head
around the corner from where his rearing chambers
‘‘Aren’t you due to give birth soon?’’ asked Diane.
‘‘Yep, got lots of babies here now. We’re coming
along nicely. I’ll be able to give you a good time of
Jin came out from his work space when he heard
‘‘I have an ID on the orange carpet fiber.’’
‘‘More good news,’’ said Diane. ‘‘What is it?’’
plentiful. Made by a company in Dalton, Georgia.’’
‘‘I can’t imagine that there is an expensive version
of orange carpet,’’ said Neva.
‘‘I’ll have you know that I have orange carpet, and
it looks quite nice,’’ said David.
‘‘In case you’re wondering, it’s the expensive vari
ety. I had Jin take a sample from it to document that
we haven’t contaminated anything.’’
‘‘It is a nice carpet,’’ said Jin. ‘‘Thick, low pile, soft.
It’s more of a burnt orange color. Our guy’s carpet is
bright orange, almost the color of a safety vest.’’
Diane and Neva laughed at the two of them talking
pointing to the conference table.
They all gathered around the table and looked into
portraits of Blue, Red and Green Doe, first rendered
by the computer, then as drawings enhanced by Neva.
She had drawn a full face and proﬁle of each victim.
graphic into realistic portraits of a Caucasian female
and male and an Asian female. They looked like peo
ple. They looked like someone their mothers would
‘‘These are great,’’ said Diane. ‘‘I mean it. This is
‘‘I made the two whites look too much alike. I tend
‘‘The computer renditions of them look a little bit
alike around the eyes and brow,’’ said David.
‘‘What I didn’t tell you,’’ Diane said to Neva, ‘‘be
cause I didn’t want to inﬂuence you, is that Blue’’—she
put a finger on the corner of Blue’s drawing—‘‘had a
Diane pointed to the proﬁle of Green Doe with his
‘‘If he had a nose job, it would have to be the same
kind that Blue Doe had in order to reduce the size,
and they would look very much alike. We’ll have to
related—perhaps cousins, or sister and brother.’’
Neva looked at her, wide-eyed. ‘‘Then I did do it
her, shoving her slightly. ‘‘I told you they’re good.’’
‘‘Go to the archives department in the museum and
you a better image,’’ said Diane. ‘‘Then run a set to
Garnett and Braden. Leave a couple of sets of copies
here, and store the originals.’’
Neva nodded and gathered up her drawings.
evening—the shadow furiously wielding the bat. The
three of them listened with varying degrees of open
‘‘Last night?’’ said David. ‘‘After you left here?’’
you—anything out of the ordinary?’’
said David. ‘‘And I’m paranoid.’’
‘‘No,’’ said Neva. ‘‘I would have noticed.’’
‘‘Me too,’’ said Jin.
‘‘I want all of you to be extra watchful. I’m going
to hire security to watch your homes until we solve
but you never know. Maybe the bat left some kind of
See if you can find a tool pattern that we could match
to a knife.’’
‘‘Sure, Boss,’’ said Jin.
‘‘I didn’t see anything in the paper,’’ said David.
‘‘The police blotter had a one-liner,’’ said Diane.
‘‘The vandalism on Elm Street?’’ said David.
‘‘That’s it. I consider it lucky. The last thing I want
is for this to be connected to the museum. I’m sur
prised the media didn’t pick up on the story.’’
calls concerning you, the lab or the museum be han
dled off radio and on telephones so police scanners
can’t pick them up,’’ said Neva.
Diane looked at her for a moment, puzzled, then it
dawned on her. Garnett was as protective of the mu
seum as she because he wanted to protect the crime
lab. He knew that if push came to shove, she’d cut
the lab loose from the museum and find some way to
deal with the tax problem.
‘‘I see. I hope this doesn’t come back to bite us in
the ass,’’ she said. She sent Neva to the copying ser
vices, Jin to the police station, and she went to her
crime lab ofﬁce and settled down with a file on each
Diane was in the middle of the Cobber’s Wood file
when Neva came in with the copies of the drawings.
‘‘You’re right. The color copies are really good. I
can’t tell them from the originals.’’ Neva lingered in
‘‘Is there something else?’’
‘‘Weren’t you scared last night?’’
pulled up a chair.
‘‘Down at the department, they say you don’t have
Diane couldn’t contain a laugh. ‘‘What?’’
First Mike and now Neva. What kind of impression
was she giving people?
‘‘That what happened to you in South America took
all your fear away. Some say you have very little emo
tion about anything.’’
‘‘Where in the world did that come from?’’
‘‘The mayor’s ofﬁce.’’
‘‘The mayor’s ofﬁce?’’
mayor when he tried to threaten her politically. She
‘‘I’m not afraid of the mayor, but a maniac wielding
a bat in the darkness made my heart race.’’
‘‘But you dealt with it.’’
‘‘Practice, apparently.’’ Diane shrugged. ‘‘Fear’s just
an emotion. You deal with it.’’
‘‘I did pretty well in my police training. I do pretty
well confronting suspects. It’s authority figures I can’t
handle. Garnett terriﬁes me.’’
‘‘I know you know, and I appreciate your helping
me out with him.’’
‘‘You can help yourself out by dealing with him in
a straightforward way.’’
‘‘Just pretend you aren’t afraid of him. What can
he do to you anyway?’’
‘‘He can fire me, for one thing.’’
‘‘So. Is that the worst?’’
‘‘You could walk out of here today and find another
job. Perhaps a better one.’’
Neva shook her head as though she didn’t believe
her. ‘‘It isn’t that easy—to pretend you aren’t afraid.’’
‘‘Yes, it is. You haven’t tried it. It’s harder to think
about than it is to do. It starts by building conﬁdence
Neva smiled. ‘‘Some of the guys at the station say
‘‘I don’t see how you do it.’’
‘‘I mean, you have two really big jobs—two major
careers going at once.’’
Natural History out there,’’ Diane said as she gestured
in the direction west of her ofﬁce, toward the museum,
small as holdings go. And Rosewood doesn’t have a
high crime rate. As it is, I’m pretty much at the limit
of what I can do.’’
Diane’s ofﬁce door.
tweed sports coat and slacks, had a respectable head
match. He was slightly built and moved with an air
‘‘This is Ross Kingsley,’’ Chief Garnett said. ‘‘He’s
going to be doing some proﬁling for us.’’
‘‘I’d like to interview you, if you don’t mind.’’ He
held out a hand to Diane, and she shook it.
‘‘Certainly. Before we start, Chief, Neva has finished
her drawings of the Cobber’s Wood victims.’’
Kingsley studied them.
‘‘This looks good,’’ Garnett said, casting an approv
ing glance at Neva.
‘‘They are,’’ agreed Diane. ‘‘The sheriff ought to be
able to find someone who knew them.’’
Neva stood and eased herself out the door, clearly
not picking this day to confront her fear of Garnett.
‘‘We found what we think was the Crown Vic. Sto
len, of course. That Asian guy—Jin—I’ve asked him
to process it too.’’
‘‘I figured it was stolen,’’ said Diane. ‘‘Maybe Jin
will be able to find something.’’
‘‘I’ll leave you two here,’’ said Garnett. ‘‘I’ll be in
the lab if you need me.’’
Diane motioned for Kingsley to sit down. She felt
much for the myth of her fearlessness.