Mojo by Tim Tharp Read Free Book Online

Book: Mojo by Tim Tharp Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tim Tharp
we’re doing much good in this field. We’d be better off interviewing her friends. All we’ll find out here is anthills and rabbits.”
    “I don’t know,” Trix said. “Think of it this way—the police and their dogs have probably already done a good job of combing the trails. We may be the first ones paying much attention to this area.”
    That was a good point, a very good point, and it reminded me of how Trix had
been through this kind of thing before. “So,” I said, keeping my tone nonchalant like I was just asking about the weather, “that twelve-year-old girl in California, did you find anything when you went looking for her?”
    “No, we came up empty,” she answered, totally unaware that I might have my suspicions about her too. “They found her body six months later in the desert about a hundred and twenty miles from where we searched.”
    “I’m so sorry,” Audrey offered. “That’s terrible. Was it someone you knew?”
    “A friend of mine’s little sister. They arrested the pool guy for it. He’s in prison now, but I never thought he did it.”
    “Really?” I said. “Did they ever look at the parents?”
    “How did you know?”
    “He watches all the murder shows on TV,” Audrey said.
    “Well,” Trix said, “her mom was a bitch. I wouldn’t have put it past her. But you know how it is when you’ve got money.”
    Audrey’s like, “No, but I can imagine.”
    “When you got the money, you got the mojo,” I said.
    And Trix’s like, “The what?”
    “The mojo.”
    “Don’t get him started on that,” Audrey said.
    After that, Audrey took over the conversation. It was kind of embarrassing. I’d never actually watched her try to flirt with a girl so obviously. Still, I kept my ears open. Sure, Trix seemed cool and everything, but I couldn’t rule her out as a suspect.
    It turned out her dad was what she called a “corporate gunslinger,” which she explained was a high-powered lawyer who keeps one company from getting busted for screwing over another company. She didn’t sound like she admired him much. He’d moved her here from California after his wife—Trix’s mom—left them for, of all things, a Broadway choreographer. That was just the kind of exotic touch that was sure to intrigue Audrey even more. But I figured it could also be something that would trigger an already-troubled girl into acting out in some kind of bizarro way. You didn’t even have to be a Californian for that to happen.
    Our group’s assignment was to trudge to the end of the field, then move over and trudge back, then do the same thing all over again until we’d covered the whole area. Since we had to stay in a single line, the pace was excruciatingly slow. Also, the yellow-brown grass was knee-high and getting higher as we went, so the chances of us finding any hot evidence seemed less and less likely. I occupied my mind by working on kidnapping theories. Obviously, the basic motive for kidnapping was collecting a ransom, but so far no ransom note had appeared. As far as I was concerned, that fact put a big bold check mark next to Mr. Browning’s name on the suspect list.
    So, if it wasn’t ransom, what could it be? Maybe she hadn’t been kidnapped at all. Maybe she’d been murdered. I hated to be Mr. Negative, but I had to at least consider the possibility. Acrazy sex-maniac serial killer could’ve been hiding behind a tree and when she jogged by—well,
goodbye, Ashton
. But I didn’t like that theory. A crazy sex-maniac serial killer would probably just leave her body out here. It’d be too much trouble to lug her all the way back to his creepy serial-killing van. Someone would’ve seen him. That brought me back to Mr. Browning again.
    But if he killed his daughter, why would he come out here to do it? Then my mind started clicking—maybe he didn’t. Maybe he killed her somewhere else and just planted her car here. But no, that couldn’t be it. A witness saw her

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