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Книга Sense Of Evil. Страница 5

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They know who you are. They know what you did.

That was more difficult to ignore, but he managed. He went about his business, listening whenever possible to the nervous gossip. Everybody was talking about the same thing, of course. The murders.

Nobody talked of anything else these days.

He didn’t hear much he hadn’t already known, although the speculation was amusing. Theories, most of them absurd, abounded as to why the killer was targeting blondes.

A hatred of his mother, for Christ’s sake.

Rejection by a blond girlfriend.


The pharmacist downtown told him there’d been a run on hair color, that those women trying blond as an option were going back to their natural colors.

He wondered if the natural blondes were considering changing, but thought probably not. They liked the effect, liked knowing men were watching them. It gave them a sense of power, of… superiority.

None of them could imagine dying because of it.

He thought that was funny.

He thought that was funny as hell.


RAFE SAID, “Please don’t tell me the general idea is for you to be bait.”

“Oh, I’m probably too old to tempt him.”

“If you’re past thirty, I’ll eat my hat.”

“Salt and pepper?”

Rafe stared at her, and she chuckled.

“I’m thirty-one. And, no, that isn’t the idea. I’ll do a lot for king and country, but I don’t have a death wish.”

“Done anything to piss off this Bishop of yours?”

“Not lately.”

“Has the profile changed?”

“Not as far as this animal’s fixations go. He’s still after white females with blond hair, and he’s likely to stay within the age range of twenty-five to thirty-five. He apparently likes them smart and savvy as well as strong, which is an interesting twist on the stereotypical image of helpless dumb blondes as victims.”

Rafe said something profane under his breath.

Ignoring that, Isabel went on briskly, completely professional now. “He’s someone they know or at least obviously believe they can trust. Possibly an authority figure, maybe even a cop-or impersonating one. He’s physically strong, though he won’t necessarily look it; he might even appear effeminate.”

“Why effeminate?” Rafe was listening intently, his eyes narrowed.

“These women were killed brutally, with a viciousness that suggests both a hatred of women and doubts or fears about his own sexuality. All three were sexual crimes-deep, penetrating wounds and targeting the breasts and genitals are classic signs of a sexual obsession-and yet none of the women was raped. That, by the way, will probably be his next escalation, raping as well as killing.”

“And if he’s impotent? This sort of killer often is, right?”

Isabel didn’t hesitate. “Right. In that case, an object rape, possibly even with the murder weapon. And it will be postmortem; he doesn’t want his victim to see his possible sexual failure. In fact, he’ll probably cover her face, even after he kills her.”

“So he’s a necrophiliac as well.”

“The whole nasty bag of tricks, yeah. And he will be escalating, count on it. He’s got the taste for it now. He’s enjoying himself. And he’s feeling invulnerable, maybe even invincible. He’s likely to begin mocking us-the police-in some way.”

Rafe thought about all that for a moment, then asked, “Why blondes?”

“We don’t know. Not yet. But it’s very possible that his first victim-Jamie Brower, right?”


“Twenty-eight-year-old real-estate broker. It’s very likely, we believe, that something about her was the trigger. Maybe something she did to him, that’s possible. An emotional or psychological rejection of some kind. Or something he saw, something she made him feel, whether or not she was aware of doing so. We believe she was a deliberate choice, not merely a random blonde.”

“Because she was the first victim?”

“That, plus the uncontrolled violence of the attack. According to the crime-scene photos and ME’s report you sent us, she was riddled with stab wounds.”

“Yes.” Rafe’s lips tightened as he remembered.

“The wounds were ragged, multiple angles, but virtually all of them so deep the hilt or handle of the knife left bruises and imprints in her skin. He was in a frenzy when he killed her. With the second and third victims, except for some minor defensive injuries, most of the wounds were concentrated in the breast and genital areas; Jamie Brower had injuries to her face and wounds from her neck to her lower thighs.”

“It was a bloodbath.”

“Yes. That sort of fury usually means hatred, very specific, very personal hatred. He wanted to kill her. Not just a blonde, not just a representation of his killing fantasy. Her. We believe that by focusing the investigation on the life and death of Jamie Brower, we’re likely to uncover facts or evidence that will help us to identify her killer.”

“Focusing on her how? We’ve accounted for all her movements the week before she was killed.”

“We’ll have to go further back than that. Months, maybe even years; the pressure built inside him for a while before he acted, and during that time their paths crossed.”

“If she was the trigger.”

Isabel nodded. “If she was the trigger.”

“And if she wasn’t?”

Isabel shrugged. “Still a valid, even critical, investigative approach, knowing who the victim was. Who all of them were. We won’t understand him until we understand the women he’s killing. Something more than superficial appearance connects them.”

“They were all unusually successful at their jobs,” Rafe said, relaying the information without the need to consult any file or notes. “Jamie had been Broker of the Year with her company the past three years; Allison Carroll had been recognized both locally and statewide as an outstanding teacher; and Tricia Kane not only had a very good job as a paralegal to one of our most successful attorneys but also was a very talented artist gaining regional recognition.”

“It might be the public recognition of their abilities as much as their success that drew his interest,” Isabel mused. “They stood in a spotlight, lauded for their achievements. Maybe that’s what he likes. Or doesn’t like.”

“You mean he could be punishing them for their success?”

“It’s a possibility. Also a possibility that he was attracted to them because of their success and was rejected by them when he expressed his interest.”

“Men get rejected all the time. They don’t turn to butchery.”

“No. The vast majority don’t. Which is a good thing, don’t you think?”

Rafe frowned slightly, but she was going on before he could comment.

“It means this particular man has some serious, deep-seated emotional and psychological problems, which have apparently lain dormant or at least were hidden here in Hastings until about three weeks ago.”

“Hence the trigger.”

Isabel nodded. “There’s no question about that, not as far as we’re concerned. Something happened. To him, in his life. A change. Whether it was an actual event or a paranoid delusion on his part remains to be seen. But something set him off. Something definitive.”

Rafe glanced at his watch, wondering if there was time today to visit all three crime scenes.

“Starting with the actual crime scenes,” Isabel said, “would probably be the best way to go. According to the map I studied, they’re within a five-mile area. And it’s still hours till sunset, so we have time.”

“Where’s your partner?” Rafe asked. “I was told there’d be at least two of you.”

“She’s settling in. Wandering around, getting a feel for the town.”

“Please tell me she isn’t blond.”

“She isn’t.” Isabel smiled. “But if you’re wondering, she doesn’t resemble the conventional FBI suit any more than I do. The SCU really is an unusual unit within the Bureau, and few of us conform to any sort of dress code unless we’re actually on FBI grounds. Casual and understated are sort of our watchwords.”


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