James Patterson returns to the genre that made him famous with a thrilling teen detective series about the mysterious and magnificently wealthy Angel family...and the dark secrets they're keeping from one another.
On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: 1) She was the last person to see her parents alive. 2) The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. 3) She can't trust anyone—maybe not even herself. Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud's intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents' affairs is a dangerous-and revealing-game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?
Are you familiar with the phrase unreliable narrator? Maybe from English-lit class? It’s when the storyteller might not be worthy of your trust. In fact, the storyteller might be a complete liar. So given what I just said, you’re probably wondering: Is that me?
Would I do that to you? Of course I wouldn’t. At least, I don’t think I would. But you can never tell about people, can you? How much do you really know about my past?
That’s a subject we’ll have to investigate together, later.
For now, back to my story. I was about to begin the investigation of my parents’ murders. While the two detectives conferred in the study, out of sight, I climbed the stairs to the long hallway in my parents’ penthouse suite. I flattened myself against the dark red wall and averted my eyes as the techs from the medical examiner’s office took my parents away in body bags.
Then I edged down the hall to the threshold of Malcolm and Maud’s bedroom and peered inside.
An efficient-looking crime-scene investigator was busily dusting for fingerprints. The name tag on her shirt read
I said hello to the freckle-faced CSI and told her my name. She said that she was sorry for my loss. I nodded, then said, “Do you mind if I ask you some questions?”
CSI Yeager looked around before saying, “Okay.”
I didn’t have time for tact. I’d been warned away from this room and everything in it, so I began to shoot questions at the CSI as if I were firing them from a nail gun.
“What was the time of death?”
“That hasn’t been determined,” she said.
“And the means?”
“We don’t know yet how your parents were killed.”
“And what about the manner of death?” I asked.
“The medical examiner will determine if these were homicides, accidents, natural deaths—”
“Natural?” I interrupted, already getting fed up. “Come on.”
“It’s the medical examiner’s job to determine these things,” she said.
“Have you found a weapon? Was there any blood?”
“Listen, Tandy. I’m sorry, but you have to go now, before you get me in trouble.”
CSI Yeager was ignoring me now, but she didn’t close the door. I looked around the room, taking in the enormous four-poster bed and the silk bedspread on the floor.
And I did a visual inventory of my parents’ valuables.
The painting over their fireplace, by Daniel Aronstein, was a modern depiction of an American flag: strips of frayed muslin layered with oil paints in greens and mauve. It was worth almost $200,000—and it hadn’t been touched.
My mother’s expensive jewelry was also untouched; her strand of impossibly creamy Mikimoto pearls lay in an open velvet-lined box on the dresser, and her twelve-carat emerald ring still hung from a branch of the crystal ring tree beside her bed.
It could not be clearer that there had been no robbery here.
It shouldn’t surprise me that the evidence pointed to the fact that my parents had been killed out of anger, fear, hatred…
Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson
Emma Galvin is a recent graduate of the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. Her films include My Suicidal Sweetheart, A Perfect Fit, and The Big Bad Swim. She has performed in several regional theatre productions including Love Punky, The Power of Birds, and The Realm.