Wealthy young women are being murdered, and the police aren't looking for answers in the right places. Enter Tandy Angel. Her first case was the mystery of her parents' deaths. Now she's working to exonerate her brother of his girlfriend's homicide. And danger just got closer.
One of the recent victims was a student at Tandy's own elite school. She has a hunch it may be the work of a serial killer... and Tandy perfectly fits the profile of the killer's targets. Can she untangle the mysteries in time? Or will she be the next victim?
James Patterson keeps the confessions coming as Tandy delves deeper into her own tumultuous history and the skeletons in the Angel family closet.
Book One | DEAD RECKONING
I put my key in the lock of apartment 9G, the duplex where Harry, Hugo, and I had once lived with our parents but now suffered daily with our horrible uncle Peter until the courts decided what was to become of us. But before I turned the knob, the door opened, and a tall, dark, and drop-dead-handsome man of maybe fifty said hello.
My shoulders coiled. Stranger in my apartment equals not good. “Who are you?”
“I’m Jacob Perlman,” he said calmly. “Call me Jacob. Peter has brought me in as your guardian.”
Harry gave Jacob a dubious look. “I thought Uncle Peter was our guardian.”
“He was. Now I am,” Jacob said, his brown eyes free of guile. “Would you like to come in?”
“To our own home?” I snapped. “Sure. Thanks.”
Jacob smiled slowly and stepped back to let us through. Harry, sensing that I’d flipped into set-to-pop mode, quickly disappeared down the hallway and into his room.
“Peter installed a stranger in our house to look after us?” I said, looking up at Jacob and noting the small scar near his ear, the perfect hairline, the razor-sharp shave. “Is that even legal?”
He smirked. “Tandoori, right?”
He had an accent I couldn’t quite place, which was odd considering I’d been most places and spoke most languages. The wrinkles fanning out from the corners of his eyes looked like squint lines more than laugh lines. He was lean and muscular, but not like he’d been working out in a gym. More like he’d had a physically demanding life.
“Yeah, that’s me,” I replied. “Where’s Uncle Peter?”
Jacob folded his hands in front of him. “He didn’t say.”
Great. So not only had he left a stranger in our house, he’d left him here alone. How was I supposed to know this guy was even who he said he was? There could be a team of ninjas hanging out in the kitchen just waiting to gut me.
Considering my family’s history, it wasn’t much of a stretch.
“You won’t mind if I just… give him a call,” I said, angling one foot toward the still-open door.
“Feel free,” Jacob said. He was so sophisticated and smooth that the UFO chandelier hovering over his head—the one that had decorated our foyer my whole life—looked suddenly out of place.
He was a man of few words. That, at least, I liked. I speed-dialed my uncle, hating with every fiber of my being that I had to consult him on anything.
Uncle Peter was my father’s totally despicable brother. He was intolerant and so rude that he made me seem like Miss Manners. In fact, we all hate him and call him Uncle Pig, sometimes to his face.
Peter had moved into our house when my parents died, had taken over my sister’s room, which had been strictly off-limits up to that point, and had started treating the Angel kids like the dirt under his grubby fingernails.
He picked up on the fourth ring. “Yes, Tandoori, Jacob is your new guardian. Yes, it’s legal. If you’d like to see the paperwork, ask him. I’m busy.”
He hung up before I could even get out a word. Jacob raised an eyebrow. I cleared my throat.
“All right, then,” I said grudgingly. “Looks like you’re legit.”
“I’m glad of that,” Jacob told me. “I’d like to have a family meeting. Shall we gather in the living room in, say, twenty minutes?”
A family meeting was actually in order. I had to report on my awful conversation with Matty. But I wasn’t sure yet that I wanted to include Jacob Perlman in that.
“Where will you be staying?” I asked him as we turned toward the living room.
“I’ll move into Peter’s room.”
“Don’t call it that,” I snapped. “It’s Katherine’s room.”
“I apologize,” Jacob said immediately. “Katherine’s room.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “I have some work to do.”
“Twenty minutes,” he reminded me.
“I’ll be there.”
I stalked off to my sky-blue bedroom, with its leafy ninth-floor view of Central Park and shelves of sea coral. If I stood at the windows and got up on my toes, I could just about see where Adele Church’s body had been lying, her dead eyes turned skyward.
I flopped down on my bed and called C.P.
“You read it? Tell me you read it,” she said hungrily. “Wasn’t it just awful?”
“Actually, I haven’t had time,” I told her. “C.P.… Adele Church is dead. She was shot. They found her body in the park about two seconds before I got home.”
“What?” C.P. demanded. “Are you kidding me?”
“No. I’m sorry. I just figured I should tell you,” I replied.
“Oh my God.” The tears were clear in her voice. “Tandy… oh my God. Do they know who did it?”
“Not yet,” I told her. “But we’ll figure it out.”
“What’s this we stuff?” she asked.
“I’ll explain later,” I told her. “And I promise, at some point, to read your latest favorite book porn.”
C.P. sighed. “Oh, forget it,” she said sadly. “All the fun’s gone out of it now.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled. “I’ll text you later?”
We hung up, and I rolled over onto my stomach, pulling my laptop across my bed to see what Google might turn up about Jacob Perlman. Uncle Peter had brought him into my house, so there was no way I was about to trust him without a thorough background check.
Turned out Google was full of Jacob.
And nearly every word about him was mind-blowing.
Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson
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