The Darkest Sins
He begins his work just before dawn, wielding a knife with the precision of a surgeon. Cunning and meticulous, he's always in control. Mercy is not an option. . .
Maleah Purdue is tough, outspoken, and completely dedicated to her work at the Powell Security Agency. But her fearless exterior shatters when a madman begins killing her colleagues one by one, mimicking a notorious serial killer already behind bars. Working alongside top profiler Derek Lawrence, Maleah will do anything to find the murderer, even if it means playing a psychopath's twisted mind games.
Come To Light
No one connected to the Agency is safe. No one is beyond suspicion. For as Maleah and Derek piece together the clues, they uncover a chilling legacy of lies and brutal vengeance--and a killer who has been hiding in plain sight all along. . .
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April 25, 2011
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Excerpt from Dead By Morning by Beverly Barton
With the patience and precision of a surgeon, he sliced into his victim's upper arm and carefully lifted the triangular piece of flesh. After placing the small chunk in a cubbyhole of the sectioned plastic cooler he had brought with him, he returned to the job at hand. One by one, he cut out more triangles from the dead man's arms and legs and then carefully stored them in the container.
"I always used a new scalpel and then tossed it afterward."
He had purchased disposable scalpels online. They came ten to a pack, with plastic handles and individu�ally wrapped and sterilized high carbon steel blades. Cost didn't matter. He always spent whatever necessary to accomplish the job. But the scalpels were one of the least expensive tools he had ever used--less than a dol�lar each. And the little blades did double duty, first to slit the neck and then to make the intricate carvings. He hummed as he worked, a mundane little ditty that he had heard somewhere years ago. He took pride in his kills. He never did less than his best.
"I wanted the kill to be clean, quick, and relatively painless. The sweetest pleasure is in those few seconds of initial horror they experience. I prefer psychological torture to physical tor�ture."
Whether or not the death was quick and painless didn't matter to him one way or the other. He was not opposed to making a victim suffer and had on occasion used both physical and psychological torture, but not with these particular people.
"It's such a quiet way to kill a person. With their trachea severed, they can't scream."
His preference was not the up-close-and-personal. He preferred killing from a distance. A quick, clean shot to the head, if death was the only agenda. How�ever, he always did whatever was necessary to accom�plish his goals. That's why this kill, like the three before it and the ones that would come after it, required him to get his hands dirty. With his task completed and the four triangles carved from each arm and each leg now stored neatly in the cooler, he lifted the old man by his broad shoul�ders and dragged him along the bank of the river.
"I never left them where I killed them. I would move the body, usually near a river or lake or stream. I even dragged a woman from her bedroom outside to her pool. There is some�thing peaceful about water, don't you think?"
He had been forced to leave the first body in her apartment, but he had taken her into the bathroom and filled the tub. Not exactly a river or even a pool, but under the circumstances, it had been as close as he could get her to water. As luck would have it, he had been able to drag the second victim from the back porch, where he had slit her throat, to the river nearby. He had dumped the third victim in a shallow streambed located on the man's property.
"I always struck after midnight. Never before. I wanted the body to be found in the morning. There is something beautiful about the morning sunlight caressing a corpse."
In his opinion, there was nothing beautiful about a corpse, neither in the dark nor in the full light of day. As a general rule, the time of day--or night--was in�consequential, unless there was a reason for specific timing. But he was following a sequence of events with these murders, somewhat like following a road map to reach a specific destination. Each step in the procedure was a necessity. The exact time of death was not impor�tant--as long as the person was dead by morning.
"I had a special upright freezer where I kept my carvings."
He never kept trophies. He didn't want or need any.
The souvenirs from these kills were not for him. They were for someone else. Someone who would ap�preciate their significance.