FBI analyst Kassidy Bishop is assigned to the “For You” killer’s task force after a series of sadistic murders bearing the same signature arise in different parts of the country.
The homicides are both calculated and savage, occurring in different states, but bearing the same signature: the words “for you” scribbled at each crime scene. The case chills Kassidy, bringing back memories of her own encounter with a violent criminal five years earlier.
Kassidy’s mentor, legendary agent Talia “The Confessor” Crossen knows the task force assignment is Kassidy’s chance to prove to her colleagues that she belongs in the Behavior Analysis Unit. For five years, other FBI agents and profilers scoffed at Kassidy’s appointment to the BAU, believing she was only offered the position in exchange for her silence about the brutal assault that almost killed her.
The stakes rise when the task force links the killer’s signature to Kassidy. As more and more bodies turn up, Kassidy must delve into her past and the mysterious death of her twin sister, which holds the key to uncovering the killer’s identity.
The closer Kassidy comes to finding the killer, the closer she comes to a deadly confrontation that could cost her everything–including her own life.
“Why, in God’s name, is this considered the Garden State?” Wyatt asked a terrified Boyd Henderson as the man walked back and forth across his Trenton living room, replete in women’s clothing. Wyatt stood by one of the windows at the front of the room where an ancient air conditioning unit droned, struggling to cool the room against the sweltering heat outside. The semi-cool air snaked up and caressed the back of Wyatt’s neck. He kept his Smith & Wesson trained on Henderson as he paced awkwardly in four-inch heels. Henderson’s bony, hairy knees knocked together.
“What?” Henderson asked. His voice was tremulous, softened by the first blow he’d taken to the head and his first ten minutes in drag. His eyes were moist and pleading. Wyatt was very pleased with Henderson’s feminization. Henderson was far more compliant than Sorenson had been. Leaving Sorenson behind had lightened Wyatt’s mood somewhat. He’d spent the short hour’s drive mentally shaking off the sleepless night spent guarding Sorenson’s laundry room door; the stink of weeks-old garbage and the unwanted memories of his grandfather. He had hoped dealing with Henderson would be easier. So far, so good.
Wyatt swung the barrel of the gun sharply, causing Henderson to stumble and gasp. He suppressed a laugh. Silly, so silly. “What I’ve seen of this state is nothing short of disgusting. I won’t even go into the nonsensical roadway system. So tell me, why is this the Garden State?”
Henderson’s face turned a grayish hue. “Wh-what?” He stopped walking momentarily and met Wyatt’s eyes. “I don’t know.”
Wyatt clucked his tongue and jerked the barrel of the gun once more just to see Henderson flinch and nearly lose his footing in the flashy red heels Wyatt had chosen especially for this occasion. Wyatt laughed this time. He almost told Henderson to relax, the gun wasn’t even loaded. The man was entirely too tense. But the threat of a loaded gun was really his only advantage. Henderson—though graceless in heels and a miniskirt, older and all atremble with fright—was bigger than Wyatt. Wyatt didn’t want Henderson getting any ideas of trying to overpower him.
“You live here and you don’t know?” Wyatt said.
“I d-don’t know. I n-never thought about it.”
Wyatt’s stomach rumbled. Rage came up with projectile force, and he fought to control it. Wyatt reminded himself that he had a higher purpose. He wasn’t a common murderer.
“That’s the problem with people, you know,” Wyatt said icily. “They never think about anything. Like you, Mr. Henderson, you never think about your actions or how they affect other people. You never think about how the things you say can set off a string of events that actually extends beyond yourself and your infinitesimal world. Sit down.”
Henderson stopped walking and stared at Wyatt. With the gun, Wyatt motioned to the couch. Henderson staggered over and fell onto it. “Why are you doing this?” he asked.
Wyatt shook his head and sighed. Why? Why, why, why? They always asked why. Georgette Paul had asked that question tirelessly before he killed her. Did they really want to know why they were going to die? Is that what people really wanted to discuss in their last moments? Did they honestly expect a detailed explanation? Did it matter?
“If you can’t figure it out on your own, I’m not telling you,” Wyatt answered.
Henderson said, “Are you going to kill me?”
“What do you think?”
Tears rolled down Henderson’s cheeks. “Y-yes.”
Wyatt smiled and pulled a photo from his shirt pocket. “I’ll tell you what, Mr. Henderson. You have one chance to save your own life.” He walked over to the couch and waved the photo at Henderson. “If you can tell me who this woman is, I’ll let you live.”
He thrust the photo under Henderson’s nose. Henderson stared for several moments. Wyatt sensed his growing alarm. Finally, he said, “I’ve never seen that woman in my life. I swear to you. I don’t know who she is. You must have the wrong person.”
“No, no. You are the person I’m looking for. You have seen this woman before. Several times in fact. Look again.”
Although Henderson’s head shook back and forth, he stared once more at the photo. No flicker of recognition lit up his eyes. “I don’t—I don’t know who she is. I’m telling you—”
“No. I swear it. I’ve never seen her—”
“You have to give me some clue. I don’t remember her. You have to tell me something.”
Wyatt snatched the photo back and slid it into his pocket. “That’s the problem with you, isn’t it Mr. Henderson? People have to do things for you. You see nothing wrong with treating people like dirt, but then you expect them to cater to your every whim and to do so without you even telling them what those whims are.”
“Wh-what are you talking about?” Henderson whined.
Wyatt stood up. He had not expected Henderson to recognize her. Like all the people on Wyatt’s list, Henderson was careless in the way he treated people. He had treated the woman Wyatt loved badly and had not even cared about the outcome. It had affected her, but not him. Even if Wyatt reminded Henderson of the confrontation with her years ago, he doubted Henderson would have any true remorse—if he remembered it at all.
He looked down at the man whose rheumy eyes and quivering lips reminded him of a dog who has done something wrong but hopes for a reprieve. There would be none.
“Live in ignorance, die in ignorance.”
Lisa Regan is a suspense novelist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Her debut novel, Finding Claire Fletcher won Best Heroine and was runner up in Best Novel in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards for 2013. Her second novel, Aberration was the winner in a tie of the eFestival of Words Best Twist Award in 2014. Her third novel, Hold Still was released by Thomas & Mercer in 2014.
I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl