Silent Killer

Silent Killer by Beverly Barton

Book: Silent Killer by Beverly Barton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Beverly Barton
Tags: Fiction, Suspense
preacher was killed last year.” Scowling, Wade threw up his hand and hollered, “Where the hell did that dog come from? Get him out of here. I want this crime scene as pristine as possible for the state boys.”
    While two uniformed policemen chased off the stray dog, Wade grumbled under his breath. Heaving a deep sigh that expanded his massive chest and beer belly, he turned back to Jack. “Reverend Phillips swore that no one in his party got anywhere near the body, but Lord only knows how they might have accidentally contaminated the site.”
    “I’d say other than finding an eyewitness to the crime, which is highly unlikely, the most important thing is to get the answers to a few questions. Did the victim die from his burns? Was he doused with gasoline? And can we, with some degree of certainty, connect this crime to the deaths of Mark Cantrell and Charles Randolph?”
    “Yeah, you’re right.” Wade nodded, then settled his gaze directly on Jack’s face. “Tell me something. What kind of person would do something like this?”
    “I’m far from an expert, but my guess would be that it’s someone who hates clergymen.”
    Wade grunted. “Yeah, but why burn them to death? Why not just shoot ’em?”
    “Figuring that out is probably a job for a professional profiler,” Jack said.
    “Well, we sure don’t have one of them on our payroll, and I don’t know if the ABI boys have got one, either.”
    “I think I might know someone who can pull a few strings and get us a former FBI profiler.”
    Wade’s beady brown eyes widened with interest. “Tell me more.”
    But before Jack could respond, he caught a glimpse of the coroner meandering toward them, seemingly in no hurry. Andy’s long legs created a slow, easy stride. “Hell of a thing to see, a man burned like that,” Andy said as he paused alongside Jack. “It’s enough to give a person nightmares.”
    Jack understood only too well how the sight of something so atrocious could embed itself in a guy’s mind and haunt him for years. Even the most seasoned soldier never became completely immune.
    “Any preliminary findings you’d like to share?” Wade asked.
    Andy shrugged. “I’d say our victim was doused with gasoline, but the lab folks will make a definite determination. I’ll make sure any pieces of clothing that didn’t burn up are stored in an oven bag.”
    “Oven bag?” Jack asked.
    “Yeah. An oven bag is a polyinylidene bag used for the proper storage of volatile accelerants, especially those that evaporate easily,” Andy explained.
    Wade rubbed his meaty fingers across the back of his thick neck. “Can you say for certain that he wasn’t killed first and then set on fire?”
    “I can’t say anything for certain officially, not yet, but from my routine exam here at the scene, I’d say he died from his burns. The burns covering the body had inflamed edges where the red blood cells worked to fix the damage.”
    “How soon will you be able to give us a positive ID?” Wade asked.
    “Depends on how soon we can get hold of Father Brian’s dental records,” Andy said. “That will be the quickest way to ID him, assuming the car that y’all found belonged to our dead guy.”
    “We’re ninety percent sure,” Jack said. “Father Brian is missing. No one has seen him since late yesterday evening.”
    “Jack here thinks he can get us a professional profiler to compare the three murders.” Grinning, Wade clamped his hand over Jack’s shoulder. “Of course, the city can’t afford any kind of big fee.”
    “How about for free?” Jack looked at Andy. “You remember my kid sister, Maleah? She works for the Powell Agency, and they keep a profiler on retainer.”
    “Yeah, I remember Maleah,” Andy said. “Do you think she can pull a few strings with her boss and get this guy involved?”
    “Maybe,” Jack replied.
    “It would sure help if we had some idea what kind of person is doing the killing, assuming all three murders were

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