The Cold Room

The Cold Room by J.T. Ellison Read Free Book Online

Book: The Cold Room by J.T. Ellison Read Free Book Online
Authors: J.T. Ellison
Tags: Fiction, Mystery, Library
victim’s low weight, the column was heavy. People on both ends of the post heaved and strained not to drop her, to preserve the evidence.
    After that, the rest of the evening had gone smoothly.
    Elm had vacated the house about an hour earlier, which was fine by her. She’d seen him talking to one of The Tennessean reporters who’d made an appearance, prayed he’d shown a modicum of discretion. Dan Franklin, the department’s spokesperson, had shown up and handled the media after that. Some of the news folks were still hanging around; nothing else had captured their attention. A quiet crime night in Nashville, which guaranteed this murder would make the morning news.
    Taylor had been avoiding the media all night, refusing to give a statement, leaving that to Franklin. She hadn’t forgiven them for their role in her demotion, for running with the allusions and innuendoes planted by a man out for revenge against her. For showing videos of her having sex with her old partner; tapes that were made without her knowledge or permission. Every time she thought about the humiliation she’d endured, having to watch herself on television…
    Stop it, Taylor . What’s done is done. They are the media. You were newsworthy. Leave it at that. It wasn’t personal. You’d investigate each and every one of them six ways to Sunday if you thought they’d done something illegal. Why should they be any different? Everyone needs to feed the family. Focus .
    She went back to her mental wrap-up of the crime scene. Footprints had been found in the woods behind the house, and cigarette butts, but they were far enough removed from the actual scene that Taylor was skepticalthat they’d come from the killer. Every bit had been processed, of course, the techs putting together the molds, spraying the ground with Dust & Dirt Hardener, making impression casts of at least four different shoe prints. If they found a suspect, they could look for a match to test against the shoe impressions.
    There was still the issue of transport. The killer had gotten the body to the house somehow, but so far the canvas of the neighborhood had turned up nothing of use. No one had seen a car or van around the area that didn’t belong. Of course, considering how many people tooled around Love Circle for fun, she suspected the residents were inured to the sight of strange cars.
    There were tons of kids that roamed this area at night. They were usually harmless, looking for a quiet place to smoke some dope and drink, neck, and ponder the questions of the world. Not surprisingly, the regulars scattered when the police had driven up the hill, melting away into the night. They’d be back. Taylor would wait them out, talk to them another night. Maybe a stranger had noticed something.
    The odds that one of them was her suspect…well, she never assumed. She would wait for the results of the investigation, let the evidence be her guide.
    She’d talked to the neighbor, Carol Parker, had gone at her hard to make sure nothing was missed. The woman sat on her couch, hefty thighs encased in brown knit firmly pressed together, feet flat on the floor, her round face white. She held the Siamese cat from next door, stroking the fur obsessively as she relayed her actions during the past few days house-sitting. No, she hadn’t noticed any cars today, she’d been at work. No, she didn’t realize anything was amiss until after she’d fed the cat and turned to leave. No, she couldn’t remember if she’d heardmusic, but the owner usually left some sort of noise playing, a television or a radio, for the cat, so she wouldn’t have thought it strange. She thought she’d turned the alarm on when she left the previous day, but might have forgotten. No, she didn’t remember touching anything but the front door and the cat’s dish; she’d seen the body and run.
    Taylor went through her every move, then

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