The Doll Maker (Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne, Book 8)
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Mr Marseille is polite, elegant, and erudite. He would do anything for his genteel true love Anabelle. And he is a psychopath.
A quiet Philadelphia suburb. A woman cycles past a train depot with her young daughter. And there she finds a murdered girl posed on a newly painted bench. Strangled. Beside her is a formal invite to a tea dance in a week's time.
Seven days later, two more young victims are discovered in a disused house, posed on painted swings. At the scene is an identical invite. This time, though, there is something extra waiting for Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano.
A delicate porcelain doll. It's a message. And a threat.
With Marseille and Anabelle stalking the city, Detectives Byrne and Balzano have just seven days to find the link between the murders before another innocent child is snatched from its streets.
There’s nothing you can do.’ ‘Okay,’ Byrne said. He felt the anger build. He tried to contain it. ‘This shelf. Where would I find this shelf?’ ‘I wanted so much more for them, but I think they are beyond mending. The others? Nancy and Aaron and Thaddeus and Jason? I’d speak to Mr Lundby.’ ‘Who is Mr Lundby?’ Byrne asked. Out of the corner of his eye, Byrne saw Josh Bontrager sit down at a laptop, and begin a search for the name. Valerie Beckert said nothing. Before he could stop himself,
God said no.’ Byrne wanted to say that she was young enough to try again, but it was not his place. ‘I always thought I would have more,’ he said. ‘We’re blessed to have them in our lives, even if it’s not for very long.’ Byrne reached into his bag, handed Theresa the drawing he’d found in his house. The big green yard with the skinny squirrels in the trees. The drawing was signed Thad W. Theresa Woodman touched a hand to her heart. ‘His grandfather’s house in Berks County,’ she said. ‘He
few screens, found her memo app, touched it, beginning a recording. She saw the audio level needle jump a few times, letting her know that it was working. She put the phone down next to the answering machine. ‘Are you ready?’ Jessica asked. ‘I am.’ Jessica nodded. Mary Gillen pressed the button for playback. The robotic answering machine voice began: ‘You have two new messages. First new message, received today at 10:09 a.m.’ The machine beeped. ‘This is a courtesy call from the Free
these warrants were not given high priority. The process involved calling, leaving messages, getting voicemail, returning the call, faxing, waiting. It was maddeningly slow. While she waited for callbacks, she accessed ViCAP, the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program. Maintained by the FBI, ViCAP was the largest investigative repository of major violent crime cases in the U.S designed to collect and analyze information about homicides, sexual assaults, missing persons, and other violent
crutches who took the longest time to pass in front of the house. One day the boy stopped at the end of the walk, tried to arrange his weight sent askew by his book bag, knapsack and lunch bag. Valerie was certain the boy had seen her watching him. There was once a girl who wore a black patch over her right eye for the longest time. At first Valerie had thought it the result of some short-lived therapy, but after a few months the girl still wore it. There was another boy who walked with a