Category: mystery

The Carseat in the River: Part Two

The Carseat
in the River: Part Two

For
a little while, we were quiet, digging into our food: a salad for me, and a
burger for Luna. She always craved comfort food after a long day or night at
the office, and I could hardly blame her.

But
I couldn’t focus on my food; I chewed mechanically, not tasting a bite. But it
made me feel more awake. The coffee was the real lifesaver, though. It gave me
something to do with my hands.

“I
know you’re dying from your questions,” Luna said at last, smiling at me
grimly. She wiped her mouth and set her napkin beside her plate. “So why don’t
you have at it?”

“I
wanted you to eat first, at least,” I said indignantly, frowning at her over
the rim of my mug.

She
looked like shit; she was pale under her olive skin, and dark circles stood out
prominently under her eyes. She hadn’t even changed out of the clothes she’d
worn to work the night before: a crumpled black shirt and high-waisted jeans,
and worn gray high-tops. Her hair was gathered in a high ponytail.

“What’s
got you so concerned about this?” Luna asked, refusing to be diverted from the
conversation.

“I
just have a bad feeling. I can’t really explain it,” I said, shrugging it off.

But
I could feel her scrutiny regardless.

“What
kind of bad feeling?” She asked, and relief made my stomach unclench slightly.

If
I’d been talking to anyone else on the force, I’d been branded as
overemotional. Hysterical. Told to call my kids, check on them, return to my
husband and take a few days off.

But
I should’ve known better, with Luna. She listened to me, cared about me, and
cops were taught to go with their gut feeling, but only if they had hard
evidence to back it up.

“I
just have a feeling that this one isn’t going to be clear-cut. I can’t explain
it. But when I saw it on the news…”

She
frowned at me thoughtfully, waiting for me to finish.

“This
one is gonna be rough, Lunes.”

She
finished off her coffee and asked for another cup. I got the feeling that she
was preparing herself for what she was about to say next.

When
the waitress turned away to get us our refills, she frowned at me; I could tell
that she had the same feeling as I about this.

“There’s
not a lot to go on, as I said. They just fished the car seat out of the
marshes, and much of the physical evidence was destroyed as a result.”

Of
course, I’d guessed this much, but said nothing.

“We’re
going to be conducting a search tomorrow morning,” She murmured quietly, making
sure to keep her voice down; the town busybodies didn’t need any concrete
reason to scare people.

Fear
was something that spread like wildfire, especially in a small town such as
this one, and the flames were already beginning, fueled by rumor and lies.

“The
chief said that he didn’t want you on the case, Ells,” Luna murmured, and her
eyes flashed. “He said that you always involve yourself way too much.”

That
arrogant son of a bitch, I thought, my heart sinking to my toes.

It
was almost as if our boss saw through me, to my tender core, and used all of my
insecurities, as a woman and a human being, against me.

“Well,
fuck him. He has no idea what he’s talking about,” I spat, and blushed when the
waitress returned to the table, setting down our mugs of coffee.

Besides,
it was too late. I had a personal stake in this, and I couldn’t just forget it.
Even if I had to ask Luna to keep me informed, I would get to the bottom of
this, even if I had to do it on my own.

**

The Carseat in the River: Part One

The Carseat in the River

The night that they found it was balmy and hot, so humid and sweltering that it felt like everything was sweating.

Doc and I were sitting on the porch, unable to bear staying in the house any longer, even with all the windows open, hoping to coax a nonexistent breeze into stirring the still curtains, he holding a sweating beer, and I nursing a tall glass of peach iced tea. Odd, the kind of little details that stick in the memory.

It was quiet, the silence only broken by the cicadas chirping in the trees and the occasional slurp from the two of us. After you’re married for a certain number of years, you find that you don’t have to fill the moments of silence with idle chatter, and so we just enjoyed the night, what we could of it. The screen door was open, and our German Shepherd puppy, Jax, barked sharply, and Doc rumbled with quiet laughter, the sound reminding me of a cello.

“Crazy pup,” He murmured, shaking his head as the puppy ran a few laps around the house, chasing an angry, chattering squirrel out of its perch in a tree.

“I do wish you’d be nice,” I told Jax, taking a sip of tea. “What did that poor creature ever do to you, you mad dog?” I held out my hand, and he came running, leaping up so quickly that he knocked the glass out of my hand. I scrambled to catch it, but wasn’t quick enough: with a merry tinkling sound, the glass hit the wood of the porch and shattered. For my part, I fell beneath Jax’s girth, massive even though he was still a baby, and was rewarded by a series of wet kisses; pinned beneath him, I tried to shove him off of me.

“I need to clean up this mess! Come on, Jax, let Mommy up,”

I looked around for my husband, who had disappeared, probably to get a broom. But when I finally managed to get Jax off of me and walk into the house, he was standing in the living room, his alcohol and the mess promptly forgotten, staring at the TV.

“What’s going on, Doc?”

“Shhh!” He said sharply, not looking away from the screen. “It’s the news. They’ve found a carseat in the river, over by the marshes.”

For a moment, I didn’t understand his words; it was almost like he was speaking another language entirely. Then it sank in, the words hanging heavily in the hot, humid room like the blackest, most toxic smoke.

“Wait, what?” I asked, the broken glass forgotten. “A carseat? I don’t understand.” My stomach lurched; who would abandon a baby at all, let alone in such a brutal, primal way?

“There was no body, Ellie. But they’re thinking that it was a homicide.”

I stared at my husband in confusion; Jax’s loud barking echoed in my brain, as though I were hearing it from underwater. It made no sense. A homicide, here? In a place where no one even bothered to lock their doors at night, or while they were out of town? And of all things, the disappearance of a child? Someone small enough to sit in a carseat?

What kind of human being—what kind of a monster—was cold and callous enough to do such a thing? The very thought was incomprehensible, chilled my blood.

“Maybe it isn’t,” I finally managed to say, around a lump in my throat the size of an orange. “Maybe it was an accident. They could still be alive.” As soon as I said those words, they floated in the air, as weak as flat soda. But I just could not reconcile the awful possibility that someone would do something so terrible to anyone, let alone a child.

“I don’t know, Ells.” Doc replied, and at last, crossed the distance between us, wrapping his arms around me. But it could not quite erase the dark fear that seemed to infect my mind and skitter long fingers down my spine. “They don’t very much yet, but I’ve just got a bad feeling about this. Maybe you should call into the station?”

In my haze of shock and horror, it hadn’t even occurred to me to call any of my coworkers to see what was going on. Doc’s suggestion made sense, but when I turned to look at the phone, dread buzzed at the base of my neck, climbing up into my skull like an angry swarm of bees.

I didn’t know if I could bear it, if something had happened to that child, whomever they were.

“Here, bring Jax inside,” I said, handing him a broom and dustpan. “After you clean up the broken glass.” Too late, I realized that I’d forgotten to so much as say please, and blood rushed to my face. Doc frowned, his forehead wrinkling, and he put his hand to my cheek.

“Are you all right, Ell? You look so frightened.”

I leaned my cheek into his hand, despite the irritational urge to snap at him.

Of course, I’m frightened! A child may be dead, lost without a trace, thrown away like garbage! If I had any children that still lived at home, I’d lock the doors and windows and never let them out of my sight again!

The darker side of humanity was a constant companion for me, an occupational hazard. I did my best to leave my work at home, but that wasn’t to say that I was not haunted by my own share of demons and ghosts. And whatever lay up there knew I wasn’t looking to add another to my ever-growing collection.

“Please. While you do that, I’ll call the station and see if I can get more information.” I said, forcing myself to swallow the vicious, poisonous words that had sprung to mind, conjured by my fear.

Doc looked at me again, hard, but did nothing but step back and go to the porch to sweep up the mess, calling for Jax in the deepening twilight. I heard Jax’s excited barks, and turned to the phone, dreading what waited for me on the other side of the line. The mere suspicion was enough to make me paranoid; to confirm it was almost too much for me. But I couldn’t just leave it; I had to know for sure.

I picked up the phone, cradling it between my head and shoulder, not trusting myself to hold it with my hands shaking so badly. The iced tea I’d drank roiled in my stomach, and I dialed the number of the station, hoping and praying that no one would pick up. Maybe Doc had misheard; maybe the news station had been mistaken.

It was a long shot, but I just didn’t want to think about the alternative, at least not until I had some concrete proof to this dark deed.

There was, finally, a click on the other end of the line, and my partner, Luna, breathed into the phone.

“Hello? Mackintosh Falls Police Department, how can I help you?” Her voice came across as raspy and weak, as if she’d been up all night, and it wouldn’t have surprised me, had that been the case.

“Sasha? What’s going on? Doc and I just saw the news,” I said, and the words all flew out of my mouth in one breath.

“Is it true? You found a carseat in the marshes?”

There was a short, pregnant pause. “The chief says that I can’t give out too much information. Doesn’t want to set off a public panic.”

“Oh, come on, Sasha. That’s not good enough. I need to know. I mean… Who could kill a kid like that?”

“They only said on the news that it might be a homicide,” She countered, and I could picture her, standing in our shared office, twitchy and worn out from yet another long shift.

“I have a really bad feeling about this, Lunes. Come on, give me something. I mean, God. A kid.”

“Don’t jump to conclusions. Tell you what; I have the day off tomorrow. We’ll get together for lunch and talk about it then, all right? For now, you need to get some rest. And so do I; I’ve gotta stop doing these long shifts. When I was fresh out of the academy, it wasn’t a big deal. But now… Well, I’m older.” She laughed, and the sound carried an edge of bitterness.

“Make sure you get a good night’s rest. You’ve been working too much.”

“Hey, you’re the one who called me on your day off. I’ll pick you up tomorrow, okay?” We ended the call with a quiet farewell, and I helped Doc finish cleaning up the remains of my broken cup. Soon after, we retired to bed, retreating into our air-conditioned bedroom.

But sleep eluded me, and I spent the night tossing and turning, dreaming restlessly, up and down all night, haunted by the gruesome discovery. Granted, it might not mean anything, but that wasn’t what my gut was telling me.

Something felt deeply wrong, and I frowned, biting my lip. Staying up all night would not be good for my fragile mindset at the moment, so I went back to bed, snuggling into Doc and wrapping myself around him, as if that would chase away the malignant thoughts that had taken root in my mind.

Eventually, I fell asleep with my face buried in his back, and this time, my sleep was as dark as the river, and it swallowed me whole.

**

I awoke to Doc gently disentangling himself from me, dropping a kiss on my lips and forehead before tucking me back in.

“I love you,” He whispered, rubbing my back for a moment before he went to go get ready.

With how awful I’d slept the night before, I needed no other incentive to go back to sleep. Besides, lunch wouldn’t be until eleven or so. I still needed to take a shower, but I didn’t feel like getting up after my long night. I turned over and fell asleep, almost as soon as Doc left the room.

**

I awoke to my phone ringing shrilly, and I looked at the clock: just after twelve thirty.

“Son of a bitch!” I swore to myself, kicking the blankets off and hopping out of bed.

I picked up my phone and answered it; Luna’s voice came through clearly.

“Ells? Where are you? I’ve been waiting for the last fifteen minutes, at the café down the road. You’re not getting sick, are you?”

“No, of course not, I just overslept,” I said honestly. “Be there in ten.”

“I already got you some coffee. Be careful on the way, the roads are still nasty, what with the rain and all.”

I hung up and changed into a pair of comfortable jeggings and a plaid button-up, and my combat boots. I grabbed my bag on the way out of the room; in my haste, I’d almost forgotten it.

If I was really being reckless, I’d go to the damn crime scene and do my own little investigation. But it would be wiser to wait, see if we could take the legal (fussy) way of things and get some information that way.

Running to the bathroom, I quickly threw my hair up into a sloppy bun, still swearing under my breath. Of course, today of all days, I’d sleep in well into the afternoon. Feeding and watering Jax and letting him go to the bathroom, I kissed him on the head and locked the door, walking out to the car.

It was just a plain black four-door, inconspicuous and unassuming. I put my bag in the front seat and pulled out. The drive throughout the neighborhood was slow, but when I finally arrived at the café, it was packed, full of people gossiping. I was so foggy that I could barely process what was going on.

I spotted Luna at a back table, next to a window. She waved, beckoning me over. True to her word, she had gotten me a coffee, thick with cream and sugar, but she hadn’t ordered any food; I felt a flash of guilt in my stomach. She’d been waiting on me forever.

“I don’t have very much to tell you, I’m afraid, since the case just broke.” She said, shrugging apologetically. “But let’s get food first, and we’ll talk.”

**

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver Review

Title: Broken Things

Author: Lauren Oliver

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

Lauren Oliver is one of my favorite authors: I loved her dystopian series, Delirium, so when I heard that she had a new book coming out, I reserved it at my library. It’s been sitting on my library stack for almost a month now, and after an enormous rehaul, I pushed it to the top once I realized that someone had put a hold on it. I’ll be honest: I finished this book about a week ago and I couldn’t review it right away: My feelings were too tangled up. Even now, as I put the review on paper, I’m still not sure exactly how I feel. Overall, I really enjoyed it, but there were some things that are sticking like thorny burrs in my brain, and so I’m going to do my best to vocalize how I feel. Lauren Oliver has penned a dark, spinetingling tale of obsession, toxic friendship, dangerous secrets, and the power of stories, and I was captivated, even though there were some parts I wish had been taken care of more neatly.

               It has been five years since Summer Marks was brutally slain in the woods. The entire world believes that Mia and Bryn, her best friends, did the killing as a result of the three girls’ obsession with a fantasy novel called The Way into Lovelorn. But there’s a twist: They didn’t do it. On the anniversary of Summer’s deaths, both Bryn and Mia, set adrift by the false accusations and the loss of Summer herself, are drawn back together in an attempt to clear their names and find out the truth about who murdered Summer. All over again, the line between fact and fiction, truth and lies, blurs, and they both must confront what really happens in the woods five years ago, even if it means unearthing secrets that could end up deadly…

               There were elements of the book that I really enjoyed, and others that I’m still chewing on like pieces of gristle, sticking in my brain. Lauren Oliver writes with her signature, quiet bravado, pulling punches and delivering pacing like no other. The prose was gorgeous, even captivating, and I was utterly spellbound by Mia, Bryn, the ghost of summer, and the small snatches of the fictional novel, The Way into Lovelorn, that preceded each chapter. I liked the mystery of it and the way the point of view bounced between Mia and Bryn, seamlessly joining the past and present. I also really liked the side characters, especially Wayne, Owen, and Mia’s parents. I enjoyed the way that I was constantly guessing; mysteries and thrillers make me nervous because I tend to guess the killer before I even crack a hundred pages. But there were several parts of the book that bothered me, which was the ending. I won’t spoil it, because it’s one of the biggest plot points in the whole novel. But it just really bothered me; I was really hoping for more resolution. I wanted, too, more information about Summer; I wanted more of a proper picture of who she was in a person, the good and the bad. Nonetheless, Lauren Oliver has created a dark, horrifying tale of monsters, both real and imagined, obsession, secrets, and desire that will stick with me for as long as I live. The bottom line: A beautifully written, meticulously plotted mystery filled with secrets, shocking twists, and real-life monsters, Lauren Oliver has created a gripping, tense thriller of a book that will stay with me forever! Next on deck: Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2018/12/broken-things-by-lauren-oliver-review.html

Sadie by Courtney Summers Review

Sadie by Courtney Summers Review: undefined

People Like Us by Dana Mele Review

People Like Us by Dana Mele Review: undefined

Currently Reading: People Like Us by Dana Mele…

Currently Reading: People Like Us by Dana Mele!

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson Review

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson Review: undefined

seattlemysterybooks: suspenseandmystery 1956 …

seattlemysterybooks:

suspenseandmystery

1956 Horwitz paperback original

Seattle Mystery Bookshop

Currently Reading: Stalking Jack The Ripper by…

Currently Reading: Stalking Jack The Ripper by @kerrimaniscalco! One of my book club buddies begged me to read this for her, and so I ordered it. I’m about three-fourths of the way through it, and honestly, I don’t know how I feel about it yet. The love interest is problematic at best, it seems like the main character is feminist and then something happens or is said to contradict that. If I wasn’t already so invested, I would’ve shelved this a long time ago. Maybe the next entry in the series will be better? I’m also not sure who The Ripper could be, but I have a few guesses. I’m hoping the ending saves this one. Shout out to my buddy and my local library for getting it to me! What are you guys currently reading? I hope you all had a happy holiday, whatever you may celebrate! <3 <3 <3 Love you all!

I’ll admit, I totally went head-over-heels for…

I’ll admit, I totally went head-over-heels for the book cover. And then when I found out it involved the daughters of famous mad scientists like Dr Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll? Sold. 

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Mary Jekyll is hanging by a thin thread after her mother’s death. There is very little money in her accounts and she doesn’t have a lot of prospects for earning an income. But then! She finds clues that Mr Hyde, her father’s former friend and noted murderer may still be alive. And she could use the reward money! And then she stumbles upon a conspiracy involving a secret society of alchemists, Sherlock Holmes, gruesome murders, and other abandoned daughters like her!

I wish the book had either been a little bit more of a murder mystery or a little bit more of a rollicking adventure story. It was somewhere inbetween, and the pacing and tension suffered for it. However, it was great fun getting to learn about and know Mary Jekyll, Justine Frankenstein, Diana Hyde, Catherine Moreau and Beatrice Rappaccini. The Victorian setting is immersive and strongly portrayed, and Goss obviously knows her source materials quite well to incorporate so many different fantastical elements into one story. 4 stars.