COME TO ME
The first victim is found in a snow-covered Philadelphia field. Detective Vito Ciccotelli enlists the aid of archaeologist Sophie Johannsen to determine exactly what lies beneath the frozen ground. Despite years of unearthing things long buried, nothing can prepare Sophie for the matrix of graves dug with chilling precision. The victims buried there haunt her. But the empty graves terrify her-the killer isn't done yet.
SCREAM FOR ME
He is cold and calculating, the master of a twisted game. Even with Vito and Sophie hot on his trail, he will not stop. One more empty grave must be filled, and one last scream must be heard-the scream of an archaeologist who is too close for comfort and too near to resist...
DIE FOR ME
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1 . Karen Rose
Posted July 01, 2008 by Roxanne , MSAn incredible author! Her writing is superb and engaging from the very first sentence. The prose of the three books I've read by her are the first I've encountered that combines the POV of the criminal, victims, sleuth, and supporting cast so flawlessly and believably. Scary stuff at times! I am so glad that I discovered this writer entirely by accident!
August 30, 2007
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Excerpt from Die for Me by Karen Rose
Philadelphia, Sunday, January 14, 10:25 A.M.
Detective Vito Ciccotelli got out of his truck, his skin still vibrating. The beat-up old dirt road that led to the crime scene had only served to further rile his already churning stomach. He sucked in a breath and immediately regretted it. After fourteen years on the force, the odor of death still came as a putrid and unwelcome surprise.
"That shot my shocks to holy hell." Nick Lawrence grimaced, slamming the door of his sensible sedan. "Shit." His Carolina drawl drew the curse out to four full syllables.
Two uniforms stood staring down into a hole halfway across the snow-covered field. Handkerchiefs covered their faces. A woman was crouched down in the hole, the top of her head barely visible. "I guess CSU's already uncovered the body," Vito said dryly.
"Y'think?" Nick bent down and shoved the cuffs of his pants into the cowboy boots he kept polished to a spit shine. "Well, Chick, let's get this show on the road."
"In a minute." Vito reached behind his seat for his snow boots, then flinched when a thorn jabbed deep into his thumb. "Dammit." For a few seconds he sucked on the tiny wound, then with care moved the bouquet of roses out of the way to get to his boots. From the corner of his eye he could see Nick sober. But his partner said nothing.
"It's been two years. Today," Vito added bitterly. "How time flies."
Nick's voice was quiet. "It's supposed to heal, too."
And Nick was right. Two years had dulled the edge of Vito's grief. But guilt . . . that was a different matter entirely. "I'm going out to the cemetery this afternoon."
"You want me to go with you?"
"Thanks, but no." Vito shoved his feet into his boots. "Let's go see what they found."
Six years as a homicide detective had taught Vito that there were no simple murders, just varying degrees of hard ones. As soon as he stopped at the edge of the grave the crime scene unit had just unearthed in the snow-covered field, he knew this would be one of the harder ones.
Neither Vito nor Nick said a word as they studied the victim, who might have remained hidden forever were it not for an elderly man and his metal detector. The roses, the cemetery, and everything else was pushed aside as Vito focused on the body in the hole. He dragged his gaze from her hands to what was left of her face.
Their Jane Doe had been small, five-two or five-three, and appeared to have been young. Short, dark hair framed a face too decomposed to be easily identifiable and Vito wondered how long she'd been here. He wondered if anyone had missed her. If anyone still waited for her to come home.
He felt the familiar surge of pity and sadness and pushed it to the edge of his mind along with all the other things he wanted to forget. For now he'd focus on the body, the evidence. Later, he and Nick would consider the woman--who she'd been and who she'd known. They'd do so as a means to catch the sick sonofabitch who'd left her nude body to rot in an unmarked grave in an open field, who'd violated her even after death. Pity shifted to outrage as Vito's gaze returned to the victim's hands.
"He posed her," Nick murmured beside him and in the soft words Vito heard the same outrage he felt. "He fucking posed her."
Indeed he had. Her hands were pressed together between her breasts, her fingertips pointing to her chin. "Permanently folded in prayer," Vito said grimly.
"Religious murderer?" Nick mused.
"God, I hope not." A buzz of apprehension tickled his spine. "Religious murderers tend not to stop with just one. There could be more."
"Maybe." Nick crouched down to peer into the grave which was about three feet deep. "How did he permanently pose her hands, Jen?"
CSU Sergeant Jen McFain looked up, her eyes covered with goggles, her nose and mouth by a mask. "Wire," she said. "Looks like steel, but very fine. It's wound around her fingers. You'll be able to see it better once the ME cleans her up."
Vito frowned. "Doesn't seem like wire that thin would be enough to trip the sensor on a metal detector, especially under a couple feet of dirt."
"You're right, the wire wouldn't have set it off. For that we can thank the rods your perp ran under the victim's arms." Jen traced one gloved finger along the underside of her own arm, down to her wrist. "They're thin and bendable, but have enough mass to set off a metal detector. It's how he kept her arms fixed in position."
Vito shook his head. "Why?" he asked and Jen shrugged.
"Maybe we'll get more from the body. I haven't gotten much from the hole so far. Except . . ." She nimbly climbed from the grave. "The old man uncovered one of her arms using his garden spade. Now, he's in pretty good shape, but even I couldn't have dug that deep with a garden spade this time of year."