A mother and daughter are snatched on their drive home from a cinema. The crime has a number of chilling similarities to a cold case Professor Nick Fennimore had been lecturing on. Then Fennimore begins receiving taunting messages - is he being targeted by the kidnapper?
Meanwhile, a photograph emailed from Paris could bring Fennimore closer to discovering the fate of Suzie, his own daughter, now missing for six years. He seeks help from his old friend, DCI Kate Simms, recently returned from the US. But Kate is soon blocked from the investigation... A mother and child's lives hang in the balance as Fennimore and Simms try to break through police bureaucracy to identify their abductor.
Atmospheric, chilling, and full of suspense, the dynamic pairing of AD Garrett's acclaimed duo, Fennimore and Simms, delivers a pulse-pounding plot that will keep you guessing until the very end.
Fennimore showed them images of the fragment side by side with post-mortem photographs of Gail’s torn fingernail. It was a good match. ‘The fingernail had viable DNA under it . . .’
The camouflaged man sat up straight.
‘. . . Gail’s DNA,’ Fennimore concluded, and the man settled back in his seat, mirroring the posture of the man next to him: one leg bent at the knee, the other stretched out.
‘It now looks like Gail was abducted and murdered in her own car.’
The camouflaged man picked up a pen and began doodling on the notepad in front of him.
‘If only police had checked Killbride’s claim that he dropped Gail off at the roadside . . .’ Fennimore said. ‘But all that tosh about highly aggressive XYY “super-males” quite turned their heads. They stopped looking – stopped even thinking.’
He went to the final slide: a newsprint photograph of a pale but smiling Killbride standing next to his barrister on the steps of the Supreme Court. The headline: KILLBRIDE INNOCENT.
‘You got Tom Killbride off, but Gail Hammond’s killer is still out there.’
Fennimore located the questioner in the middle of the second row. A student, he guessed, but not one he recognized.
‘You’re right,’ he said, ignoring the confrontational tone. ‘There are no happy endings in such sad tales; all we can hope for is justice. Tom Killbride found justice because of the hard work of people who didn’t even know him. Gail Hammond still waits for hers.’
‘The murderer made fools of the police,’ the student said.
‘They made fools of themselves,’ Fennimore corrected. ‘They decided that Killbride was guilty and then systematically set out to make the facts fit.’
‘The killer cleaned up after himself – he’s smart – forensically aware,’ the questioner said.
‘What makes you think that?’
‘Essex Police say they have no new leads in the case.’
‘They’re being modest,’ Fennimore said. ‘Justifiably so. But they now have the green cord fibres – which they didn’t have before. The killer thinks he knows what the CSIs are looking for: DNA and fingerprints. So he cleans up before he leaves. But it isn’t all about DNA – it’s about having the determination to keep looking, even when it seems there’s nothing to look for. The evidence doesn’t go away. It will still be there, waiting for someone to come along who is lucky enough or smart enough to see the stupid mistakes he made.’ He checked himself – this was sounding too personal; he could almost hear Kate Simms’s voice, mocking, gently chiding: Listen to the ego talking. This isn’t about you, Fennimore, this is about Gail. He began again.
‘The murderer missed the rope fibres. He missed Gail’s broken fingernail – beginner mistakes – amateur mistakes. He was lucky three times over – in the botched police investigation,
in the dishonesty of the prosecution, and in Killbride, who made such a plausible stooge. But now we know the real killer is out there. People are looking for him, and he will foul up – even if he never attacks another woman in his sorry life. Even if he never so much as wolf-whistles after a woman in the street. Because these types are impulsive and narcissistic; he’ll lash out at someone who injures his fragile ego, or he’ll drive too fast on a bellyful of booze; he’ll steal, or stalk, or swindle – and he will reveal himself.’
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