Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, and True Detectives. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. He is also the author of two children’s books and numerous nonfiction works. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and has been nominated for a Shamus Award.
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Excerpt from book:
The woman had haunted eyes.
Pale, drooping at the outer edges, they stared into theunseen camera with an odd combination of defiance and defeat.
She didn't move. Neither did the camera. The wall behindher was brown-blue, the color of an old bruise. The couch on which she perchedwas gray. She was a pretty woman, made less so by fear. Her shoulders werebunched high, her neck tendons taut as bridge cables. A black, sleeveless dressshowcased soft white arms. Too-blond hair fell limply to her shoulders.
Moments passed. Nothing happened. In another situation Imight've cracked wise about it being one of Andy Warhol's old anti-films:interminable, static studies of the Empire State Building, a man sleeping.
When a homicide lieutenant brings you something to watch,you keep your mouth shut.
Milo stood behind me. His black hair and raincoat wererumpled. The coat was cheap, green, wrinkled past the point of salvation. Itgave off a not unpleasant vegetative odor. He'd placed a massive breakfastburrito in a take-out box on my desk, hadn't touched it.
When he drops in, he usually beelines for the fridge,empties a quart of something, raids the shelves for bad carbs. This morning,he'd marched to my office, loaded the DVD with a flourish.
"For your consideration."
Blanche, my little French bulldog, sat next to me,uncharacteristically serious. She'd tried her usual smile, had figured outsomething was different when Milo didn't stoop to pet her.
I rubbed her knobby head. She looked up at me, returnedher attention to the monitor.
The woman's lips moved.
Milo said, "Here we go."
More silence on the screen.
"So I lied."
The woman said, "My name is Elise Freeman. I'm ateacher and tutor at Windsor Preparatory Academy in Brentwood." Her voicewas throaty. She knotted her fingers, flopped them onto her lap. "I'mmaking this recording to document sustained abuse I have received at the handsof faculty members at Windsor Preparatory Academy in Brentwood. Which I willhereon refer to as Prep."
Deep breath. "For the past two years at Prep, I havebeen subjected to repeated, unwarranted, aggressive, and distressing sexualharassment from three individuals. Their names are." Her right hand rose.A finger pointed upward. "Enrico Hauer. H-A-U-E-R." Two fingers:"James Winterthorn." More slow, enunciated spelling, then a trio ofdigits. "Pat Skaggs."
The hand dropped. "For the past two years EnricoHauer, James Winterthorn, and Pat Skaggs have made my life a living hell byengaging in brutal, unsolicited, and threatening sexual behavior. I am makingthis recording so that in the event something violent happens to me, theauthorities will know where to look. I do not know what else to do as I feeltrapped and frightened and have nowhere to turn. I hope this recording neverneeds to come to light but if it does, I am glad that I made it."
Her eyes clenched shut. Her lips moved soundlessly andshe slumped. Suddenly her jaw jutted and she was sitting up straight. Moredefiance than defeat.
Staring hard at the camera. "Thanks forlistening."
The screen went blue. Milo said, "Talk about a D-movieplot device."
Detroit Free Press
“Jonathan Kellerman’s novels are an obsession; once started it is hard to quit.”—Orlando Sentinel
“Entertaining . . . Kellerman masterfully keeps readers guessing.”—Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
“The combination of Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis make for the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes.”—Forbes