What happens when you bring together the best independent forensic lab in the country, one of the leading pathologists and criminal profilers in the world, and a Federal agent with a very unique skill set, and a gun loaded with Slayer bullets?
Welcome to Witch Hollow!
When Dr. Faith MacKenzie’s friend is accused of murdering and mutilating three men in a ritualistic “witchcraft” sacrifice, she and her team must prove this modern witch-hunt false, and find the real killer – before he or she strikes again. But when her friend’s past comes to light, can Faith accept what the evidence is telling her?
“On Display” – Excerpt from HER MOTHER’S LIGHT (Guardians, Inc.: Witch Hollow, Book 11) –
She frowned and quickly assessed the scene as she gloved up. Her gaze landed finally on the body spread-eagled in the center of the barn floor. Almost as if the victim was displayed to find.
“I don’t understand.” She glanced toward her partner as he finished up his call with Haitsburg PD.
Jonathan put his phone away and joined her. “What’s wrong, Mac?”
“There’s absolutely no attempt to cover this up. No attempt was made to conceal the body, or,” she walked the perimeter of the crime scene, studying the corpse from every angle and enough distance to get an overview of the entire scene, “disguise the brutality. Even from here, I can see his eyes are missing, and given the amount of blood on the lower half of his body, I’d say he suffered the same mutilation as the last two victims, as well.”
Jonathan swore beneath his breath. “So this is the work of a serial killer, then.”
She shrugged, and ducked under the crime scene tape, picking her way to the body’s side. “Since, by definition, a serial killer is someone who kills three or more people, yes, I’d say this qualifies. What I can’t figure out,” she crouched beside the body, easing aside the victim’s jacket to examine the level of mutilation. The arms of his jacket were all but shredded, and a variety of defensive wounds scattered across his hands and arms. Her frown deepened as she finished, “is whether or not this crime is actually sexually motivated.”
Jonathan hunkered down beside her. “Seems pretty obvious, Mac. He’s missing all the right parts to label it sexually motivated.”
She shook her head. Just like with the other bodies, her observation told her something wasn’t right about this. “Sexual crimes tend to be either sadistic or heat of the moment. This doesn’t have any of the indicators for either. He’s missing his eyes, too, and the careful way his genitals and eyes were removed suggests someone meant to preserve them. Just like the other victims.”
“That’s not sadistic enough for you?”
She spared him a glance. “If there were indications of torture or attempts to protect any region of his body but his chest, I might agree with you. Besides, there’s relatively little blood, considering his eyes were removed. If I’m right, the autopsy will show this man’s missing parts were dissected out post-mortem, just like the others’. That’s not typical of a sexual sadist. There’s no sadistic pleasure to be derived from mutilation, if the victim is already deceased.”
Jonathan frowned. “So what does it mean, then?”
Faith sat back on her heels with a sigh. “I have no idea. Not yet.”