A nine-year-old boy witnesses the shooting murder of his aunt and his father,
Superintendent Bryson Finn of the New South Wales police, and as the boy’s eyes lock onto those of the killer, he too is shot.
The Superintendent’s widow, Natalie, engages Gemma to discover who killed her husband and sister-in-law, and left her son bleeding to death. In this, the fourth novel about private detective Gemma Lincoln, she seeks to find answers to this police murder, while like everyone else, waiting for the nine-year old to come out of his coma. His sister has run away from home and Gemma is trying to locate her.
With morning sickness interfering with her schedule, Gemma has to make a huge decision about whether or not to continue with her pregnancy. When the DNA of one of the crime scene police officers is found on exhibits taken from the crime scene, prosecuting the case becomes compromised and issues of contamination threatened to destroy careers.
Gemma, about to approach Steve, her estranged boyfriend with whom she is still deeply in love, is shocked to hear of his engagement to a police officer she knows. Heartbroken, Gemma decides on a termination. Her investigations lead her into contact with a cult leader who allegedly channels Archangel Reziel and exerts an eerie power over his groupies.
Convinced now that the killer is another police officer, Gemma takes a risk that ends up putting her in terrible danger...
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Natalie was suddenly furious. “I’m the one who asked you to find out who murdered my husband, my sister-in-law and almost murdered my son! I’m part of the investigation, for Christ’s sake, not some suspect!”
“Natalie,” Gemma continued with her best professional detachment, “why did you lie?”
“I know it looks bad,” Natalie whispered.
“Then make it look good. I’m not accusing you of anything. But if we don’t get the truth about everyone’s movements on Monday night, we can’t do the job.”
“I don’t need to be treated like this! Not after what I’ve gone through.”
“Okay,” said Gemma, deciding to be blunt. “The problem for the investigation is that missing hour and a bit gives you time to do the killings, get away, get cleaned up, dispose of the weapon and then come back and ring emergency.”
“What the hell are you saying?” Natalie blazed. “My son was bleeding to death! Do you think I’d leave him like that? What a crazy suggestion!”
Gemma remained silent, although her heart beat faster. Was this the normal outrage of the innocent? Or a piece of skilful dramatics?
“The idea is prepostrous!” Natalie cried.
“It must be tough,” said Gemma changing tack, “dealing with the death of your husband, your son’s condition and also finding yourself part of a murder investigation.”
“Tough?” Natalie said, her voice breaking into a sob. “Try unbearable. And now Jade’s gone missing too…”They stepped out into the ward where Donovan lay, and Gemma waited while Natalie washed and gowned up prior to going into the room at the end of the corridor.
“Oh damn,” said Natalie. “I meant to have a good look for Donny’s bear. He’s been missing for a while, but he’ll be the first thing Donny asks for when he comes round.”
“I think I know where it is,” Gemma said.
Natalie frowned. “You do?”
“There was an old teddy bear in one of the cartons Angie collected from your husband’s flat. Only about that tall? Pretty knocked about?”
“That’s him,” said Natalie. “That’s Mr Bear! He’s Donny’s security bear. Why on earth would Bryson take him?”
“Maybe he took it as a memento of his son?” Gemma suggested.
“Bryson, sentimental? You’re joking!” said Natalie. “Do you think I could get Mr Bear back? Before the… accident, Donny was on and on at me to help find him.”
“Call Angie,” said Gemma.
“Your son is doing beautifully,’ said the senior nurse of the desk, looking up as Natalie approached nodding at Gemma. ‘We’re getting some eye contact. We hope in a couple of days he’ll be sitting up and ordering us around.”
“I’m ready,” said Natalie, turning to the intensive care nurse.
Gemma watched through the window in the door as Natalie approached her son. The little figure on the bed seemed secondary to the banks of electronic monitors and equipment that surrounded and supported him.
Then Gemma saw with a stirring of excitement that the boy had opened his eyes. It was such a privilege to be here, she thought, witnessing this precious moment. Donovan turned his wide eyes towards his mother Natalie. They widened even further, and Gemma anticipated the relief and pleasure of the little boy at seeing his mother at last.
But Donovan showed no relief nor pleasure. Even through the heavy door, Gemma heard him.
The moment Donovan focused on his mother, his jaw dropped and he screamed.
And screamed and screamed and screamed.
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