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
Jacob stood, took off his khaki jacket, and hung it over the high back of his stool.
“There will be house rules. Not too many, but they all must be obeyed.”
Rules from a military commando. Would they include mandatory morning push-ups?
“Number one, you must keep your phones on and charged at all times,” Jacob said. “Number two, if I call, you must answer. Number three, there will be no lying whatsoever. Even if it’s a joke, anyone caught deviating from the truth will be punished.” He paused and looked at us, hard. “Please don’t test me.”
Who the hell did this guy think he was?
“We don’t lie,” I told him.
“Well, Hugo does sometimes embellish,” Harry said.
Hugo and I both shot him looks of betrayal. Harry turned up his palms.
“Here’s why the rules are necessary,” Jacob said, ignoring our aside. “I intend to protect you until you reach your majority. That’s my job. And I can’t do it if I’m misinformed. Understood?”
“I’ll take that as a yes.”
Hugo leaned forward eagerly in the Pork Chair, looking up at Jacob. “Arm wrestle with me.”
Jacob’s eyes danced, waiting for a punch line. No one moved. “You’re not kidding?”
“You just said not to kid,” Hugo said. “Let’s do it. Right here, right now.”
To my surprise, Jacob smiled indulgently, got down on the Rothko-patterned carpet, and stretched out on his stomach facing Hugo, who assumed a similar, opposing position. They clasped right hands. Harry and I exchanged looks of mild amusement.
Stranger things have happened in the Angel household.
“Three, two, one, wrestle!” Hugo shouted.
Bam! Hugo’s hand hit the floor, the whole thing over in five seconds. Hugo cursed under his breath. Jacob got up, smoothed the front of his shirt, and sat down on his stool. Hugo rubbed his elbow with stubborn respect in his eyes.
“Moving on,” Jacob said. “You will each have fifty dollars a week for cab fares and lunches. You will have breakfast and dinner at home, where we will take turns preparing meals. So fifty dollars is more than you need—”
Harry sat straight up in his seat. “You must be joking. Have you ever lived in Manhattan, Jake? New York City is not cheap.”
“Effective now, we’re on an austere budget, Harry,” Jacob replied. “Get used to it. You’ll get your allowance every Monday morning, and it’s your job to make it last. And finally, for now, I want you home every night by seven for dinner, in bed every night by twelve.”
“What does any of this have to do with Gram Hilda?” Harry asked, glancing down at the picture.
“When it’s time to tell you, I will do so,” Jacob said. “No further questions? Good. Discussion closed. Feel free to see me if any questions do arise.”
Our new guardian walked down the hall to Katherine’s former bedroom, went inside, and closed the door behind him.
Harry, Hugo, and I shared a silent, impressed, maybe even hopeful look. All in all, Jacob Perlman had been polite and clear. Rules, we could follow. Someone who treated us with respect and dignity, we could handle.
Uncle Pig might have just done us the biggest favor ever.
Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson