The Murder That Never Was: A Forensic Instincts Novel

The Murder That Never Was: A Forensic Instincts Novel by Andrea Kane Read Free Book Online

Book: The Murder That Never Was: A Forensic Instincts Novel by Andrea Kane Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andrea Kane
Tags: Fiction, thriller, Suspense
had opened the file and was skimming it. “Remember? We talked to Ethel Simmons, that elderly woman with the walker in the next building who heard the car and got a quick glimpse of the body. Because of her handicap, she didn’t wait around to see if anyone else showed up. She just shuffled as fast as she could over to her landline to call 911. So that’s it from her end. We’ve got nothing else—no witnesses, no motive other than pure speculation, no friends or family—zip. We’ve also got no time or resources. So do we close the case?”
    “Yeah, I guess.” Paula leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms over her breasts. “Although it still niggles at me that the woman she was staying with…” She paused, searching for the name.
    “Julie Forman,” Frank supplied.
    “Right. That Julie Forman disappeared into thin air right after the murder.”
    “She was scared shitless, according to the emails she sent to her employers.”
    “Don’t blame her. But the story she gave her landlord was that she got a better job elsewhere and had to take off ASAP.”
    “Okay, so she made that up. Any way you slice it, it sounds like a woman who was taking off out of fear.” A pause. “Unless you think she’s the killer?”
    “Honestly? I don’t know what to think. I think it would be really stupid for Julie Forman to kill a woman in cold blood right outside her house—especially since that woman was her boarder. And nothing we’ve heard about Julie indicates she’s stupid. So my gut instinct is to say no, she didn’t kill her. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t catch a glimpse of the real killer. Or that she doesn’t know something.”
    “You’re right.” Frank grew thoughtful. “Problem is, we really don’t have the financial resources to launch a full-scale investigation. And we don’t have a clue where Julie Forman is. That having been said, do you think we should call in the homicide detectives at Area North and try to track her down?”
    Paula blew out a breath. “I think that’s too over-the-top. I think we should just keep the case open a little while longer. Let’s see if we can find Julie Forman with a minimal amount of digging. If we do, we’ll run a few questions by her. If those come up empty, I’ll be comfortable closing the case.”
    “Sounds like a plan.”

    Tribeca, New York
    Forensic Instincts

    Ryan’s back-and-forth communications with ScoobyDoo told him that, for whatever reasons, the guy was in deep shit. Either he desperately needed Forensic Instincts’ help or he deserved their intervention to bring him down. He’d never agree to a face-to-face meeting. Ryan would have to surprise him. But in order to do that, he would need to know exactly where ScoobyDoo was hiding. Ryan’s instincts told him the guy had serious tech skills, but Ryan operated at a much higher level of expertise. To be able to triangulate an IP address, which would tell Ryan approximately where his target was physically located, he would need to set a series of well-hidden traps that he hoped ScoobyDoo would miss, so as to allow Ryan to figure out the information he needed. It would only be a matter of time.
    Not willing to waste that time, Ryan proceeded to gather as much data on ScoobyDoo as possible—data that extended beyond their chat room interactions re vanishing into thin air. In Ryan’s experience, those who frequented the darknet usually posted other offerings via their screen names—a manifesto, a game, fervent opinions on a chosen topic.
    Ryan’s next round of digging commenced.
    What he came up with was fascinating.
    ScoobyDoo had posted some kind of first-person survival game, called The House . There was no introduction, so Ryan pushed forward, bringing up the first level: Level One—Mrs. Higgins.
    His gamer instinct told him that the specificity of giving the level a person’s name was significant. So he took a screenshot just before a cutscene activated.
    The scene revealed that

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