“So the lady opened that window and pulled up the screen. They turned me down. They all stayed here while they were filming on location—” “What about my room ?” The young detective glared at him with strange green eyes that called him a liar. And now she held up a small blue pouch that was also his property. He’s a sociopath. I wanted to get them off the Internet.” “So you know he’s in one of the therapy groups,” said Mallory, “probably all of them. His car was parked, and he was walking back to the juncture of dirt road and hard pavement. “This is what mothers do.” Mallory made a sharp turn and then another. “He’s your liaison with the feds.” Loosely translated, the old man was gleefully parceling out information to humiliate the Bureau. Count on it.” Riker watched the descending floor numbers, clicking his lighter in anticipation. His own sack of light nylon rested on her lap. She left her table and headed for the restroom—to hide? The caravan had not been here long. Joe Finn was waiting by the door to the ladies’ room when Nahlman emerged hand-in-hand with Dodie. . He was one of Dr. Magritte’s patients.” “No, Magritte’s patient was the Pattern Man. Dad was watching all of this play out and shaking his head slowly to say, No, not again. Does that narrow down my list?

He was well acquainted with Mallory’s freakish neatness. Done with this daily chore, she looked up to glare at the middle-aged man seated near her table, for he had already taken notice of Mallory, who missed nothing, eyes lowered or shut. It slammed back to earth on all four tires, and she cut a hard right to miss the next cow. Nodding toward the green Ford beyond the window glass, she said, “Gerald Linden was one of the parents, but you already knew that, right?” Cadwaller winced. More panic. But this was not evidence of an alias, not proof enough to split one man in two. Now Mallory was told that these civilians were on loan from the anthropology department of a university, and then her guide in uniform asked, “So who’s running this show? She had failed in her attempt to follow the illogical instruction for how to look at the road ahead by stopping to look up at the sky. Mallory had smashed his testicles with a lightning kick. Who would win the phone call today?

The waitress remained in her chair at the center table, and she was softly crying. This story was declared the winner.

I sent a guy out to the address where the statements go.

His barracks commander thinks the humiliation might do the boy some good.” Riker listened to the details of an incomplete corpse found at the start of old Route 66 and not far from where Mallory had refueled her car. However, she had everything necessary to wake up her slumbering computers back in New York City.

Mallory closed the laptop. Nahlman was behind her and talking to her back as they crossed the parking lot. “And you’re traveling west. The news crews arrived at the outskirts of the caravan circle, carrying pole lights and cameras, juggling microphones and makeup kits. And so he guessed that she was not from his part of the world, but maybe from someplace straight up and past the moon. The woman’s mouth also ceased to move. He never intended to solve it. He wants to buy your kids. One last shot at grace—but not what I would’ve expected from a priest or a doctor.” She reached out and ripped the knapsack from his lap. Peter obediently pulled back and disappeared with the click of the belt fastener. “That other crime scene you mentioned—the one with the fresh corpse. 2 The car’s engine idled as Mallory pulled an old letter from her knapsack. Mallory wrote a telephone number on one of the posters of missing children, then passed the whole stack of them across the table. He favored skeletons discovered years after death.” Riker had a store of trivia for filling awkward silences. “That’s where the school bus stopped.” “Did they all take the same bus?” “No, Dodie missed the cutoff date for first grade, and she was real disappointed, so Joe sprung for a year of charter school. He was riding with the caravan.” “Right,” said Charles, minding the speedometer. The kid’s got no trouble with the law. He was the one who combed every state data-base for unsolved homicides.” “He worked cold cases? If a fed gets close Find Me 61 enough to your case to use your first name, it’s considered bad luck.” She did not hate all feds.

“Or maybe that was all for show. “Mallory’s in Kansas. “I just got off the phone with a state trooper. No more dead strays—if we let the reporters join the parade.” The FBI agent was relenting; he could see it in the slump of her shoulders. “All right,” said Charles, “so the killer was posing as someone on the caravan.” “Hey, works for me.” “Well, one of those people is dead. The rest of the body, according to Kronewald, had turned up in downstate Illinois— with Mallory. It’s not the one I was tracking. I owe you bigtime.” “That’s good, Riker. And now her race was run against time. He turned to the large man beside him, who had just won the luggage war and carried the detective’s bag down the corridor.

He was a burly local man and probably had children of his own, for his voice was hoarse when he said, “It’s a locket. . The state of Missouri was less like a war zone due to more covert body snatching.

or the lamb. He watched the older man retreat to the garage and return with two cold cans of beer. And then he had bartered his soul to the Favor Bank to bury the paperwork on her surveillance. Hours after the windows of shops and offices had gone dark, an umbrella was snatched up by a gust of wet wind.

Those guys are ready to leave.

The patients might have e-mailed him, but they never telephoned. These two should be kissing and making up by now. Oh, no. They were enjoying this—a lot. A true VW convertible was a happy little vehicle with no hard edges, a cartoon of a car, and it got a smile everywhere it went. And they put you in charge?” Cadwaller’s professional smile was showing some wear, and it was obvious that he was hearing about the number for the first time.

She had bled him until she was satisfied, and now he was almost certain that young Dodie’s secret belonged to Mallory.

It was a rare day when Riker ever made it into work before nine. I was less trusting. Charles could virtually see Peyton’s brain crashing with the overload of irony in memory and possibility—the hammer fall of Savannah’s lies. . A portable siren sat on the dashboard, and he was prepared to slap it on the roof at the first sight of a police cruiser, but since he had not yet crossed New Jersey, he could reasonably expect all the state troopers to be napping at the side of the road until sunrise. The image that hurt her most was the one of Peyton and Cassandra. . That was the only thing that matched up.” He sat back in his chair and waited for her to toss him another piece of an old puzzle. This never happened before, not to me.” Riker kept a tactful silence.

And he still could not fathom his crime. Real cold. You wanted to smoke him out. “I didn’t even know that Dr. Magritte had one until Mallory pulled it out of that knapsack. “Kid, it was a world-class guess,” said Riker. You’re sure that Mallory knows the name of the FBI agent in charge?” “Maybe not,” said Riker, “but he’s not the reason she’s on this road.

“Your cell phone is ringing.” “It does that,” she said, but made no move to answer it. “No, offense, Charles, but I need some speed.” The siren was wailing, wheels churning up dust, and they were off. My wife’s still waiting for me to bring our baby home.” He turned to Nahlman. He knew. It could only be the scared young cop who had given up bizarre details of this crime on an all-too-public radio frequency—forgetting everything taught at the police academy. And New Mexico has a charge for endangering the welfare of a child. And now the flames of the altar candles flickered and bowed, as if swayed by a body in motion and very close to him. He was no closer to Mallory, and one of the caravan strays had eluded him.

And you know what, Find Me 235 kid? She handed him a platinum credit card, giving him second thoughts about her status as underpaid police.