Splintered

Splintered by SJD Peterson Read Free Book Online

Book: Splintered by SJD Peterson Read Free Book Online
Authors: SJD Peterson
coffee in the morning.” Hutch pulled out his smokes. “Stupid no-smoking law, I’ll be right back.”
    “Actually, I need to get going,” Struk said and pushed up to his feet. “I have to be in at six for a meeting.”
    “Thanks for coming and for the info. I’ll call you as soon as I’ve talked to Mr. Johnson,” Hutch assured him as he walked Struk to the door.
    “I’d appreciate it.”
    Hutch opened the door for him and met his gaze intensely. “I won’t rest until I’ve caught this bastard. I do care.”
    Struk smiled and patted Hutch on the shoulder as he walked by. Hutch watched him until he disappeared around the corner before Hutch shut the door. Hutch also wouldn’t rest until he found out who killed Struk’s daddy and made sure he paid for his betrayal.

Chapter 5

    S EVERAL UNIFORMED officers were fighting to keep a large crowd behind the yellow police lines when Hutch arrived on the scene. He’d surmised the killer would strike again sooner than his twelve-week timeline, but shit, he’d hoped for a little more time to get a lead on the bastard before he struck.
    No such luck.
    He’d followed up on each tip Struk had provided him. The most promising turned out to be completely worthless. While Mr. Johnson claimed he’d seen three of the victims with the same man, he was only able to provide a vague description, one that could describe thousands of men walking the city streets every day. They were drowning in data, chasing their tails, and now they’d be adding to the well of information.
    The scene was completely different from the previous one. Instead of the isolation of a back-country road, the killer had made a bold new statement with this dump. The nude body of a young black male had been displayed deliberately where it would be found quickly. Propped up against a dumpster behind a local boutique, ironically named Happy Endings, was the latest victim. Like the others, he was small in stature, weighing no more than one hundred and thirty pounds. He had the same five-point ligature marks, wrists, ankles, and neck. His genitalia had been savagely mutilated.
    “You must be Agent Hutchinson.” A uniformed officer held out his hand as he approached Hutch. “I’m Sergeant Knutson.”
    Hutch accepted the offered hand and shook it. “What have we got?”
    “Right to the point, aren’t you?” Knutson pinned him with a hard stare.
    Hutch held Knutson’s gaze without flinching.
    “Right, then. We’ve photographed the scene. Body hasn’t been touched by anyone but Doc Fisher. He didn’t want to move the vic before you got a chance to view it.” Knutson handed Hutch some blue latex gloves and disposable shoe covers, then walked toward the dumpster. “Owner found the body when she came out to drop the trash before closing.” He pointed to a large garbage bag near the back door. “Obviously she didn’t make it to the dumpster. After the hysterics faded, we interviewed her, but she doesn’t know shit. Go ahead and do what you need. Just don’t touch anything.”
    Hutch covered his shoes and snapped on the gloves. He didn’t comment on Knutson’s demand that he not touch anything, although he had to bite his tongue to keep from saying, I’ll leave fucking up the scene to your department . Throwing a jab at the locals, no matter how accurate or truthful, was never appreciated and wouldn’t get him anywhere.
    He scanned the area. There was so much rubbish lying around, it was a crime scene tech’s worst nightmare. He almost felt sorry for them. Everything, no matter how insignificant it seemed, would need to be bagged and tagged.
    Hutch moved carefully so as not to disturb any evidence, squatted near the body, and pulled out his penlight. The dead man was propped up with boxes, feet placed together, knees positioned wide open. Boxes were positioned under his armpits, the forearms creating a V. His hands were manipulated into fists, the index finger of each hand pointed obscenely

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