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Bad Girl

Bad Girl

4.6 8
by Michele Jaffe

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She never meant for it to happen. . . .

For Chicago Thomas, aka Windy, it was an offer too good to refuse: the chance to head the forensics lab at the Las Vegas Police Department. With her six-year-old daughter in tow, Windy moves to Sin City hoping to start over with a loving fiancé—far from the sad memories of a first marriage that ended in


She never meant for it to happen. . . .

For Chicago Thomas, aka Windy, it was an offer too good to refuse: the chance to head the forensics lab at the Las Vegas Police Department. With her six-year-old daughter in tow, Windy moves to Sin City hoping to start over with a loving fiancé—far from the sad memories of a first marriage that ended in tragedy. But the job of her dreams is about to take a nightmarish turn.

She wanted to be a good girl. . . .

Though the first murders appear to be random, they are savage in their intensity: an entire family, butchered in their own home. Only a few days later, another family meets the same grisly fate. To Ash Leighton, the enigmatic chief of the Metro Violent Crime Unit, the signs are clear: a serial killer is stalking Las Vegas.

But she just couldn’t help herself. . . .

In a breathless race against time, the lines between good and bad, right and wrong, begin to blur, and Windy and Ash find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other. In a town where nothing is what it seems, only the evidence doesn't lie. And Windy may have to pay for the truth with her life. Sometimes being good is dangerous.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Aside from its come-hither title and bold cover art, Michele Jaffe's slick urban police procedural Bad Girl has some other good things going for it: a take-charge heroine, smart forensic procedures and a provocative theme about how even the most accomplished women will turn themselves inside out to win approval from the people who matter to them. — Marilyn Stasio

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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Random House
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1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

She couldn’t get the sign out of her head.

claim your own baggage.

It hung over the luggage carousels at the Las Vegas airport, huge letters. It seemed disingenuous, she thought, for a city like Las Vegas where people came to leave the baggage of their lives behind.

claim your own baggage.

No. She wouldn’t. Defiant, she had left her bag there. Marched out of the airport and left it to circle around and around on the carousel, her underwear, three sample tubes of lipstick, two favorite T-shirts, a pair of jeans, a photo in a silver frame, and a young girl’s jewelry box, all neatly packed. Her luggage, her past, abandoned.

As if it were that easy.

The next day she was back at the airport, offering the clerk at Lost and Found a lame excuse, a smile. He handed her the bag and it seemed to have gotten heavier overnight. By then she had already begun to realize what was now, three months later, painfully clear. That no matter what you do, how many possessions you sell off, how often you move, how much therapy you pay for, your baggage will always be waiting for you to claim it.

By then she had begun to realize why she had come to Las Vegas. Why she had to come.

Be good, she heard her father’s voice say.

And saw the sign, claim your own baggage.

It’s not always as easy to be good as you want, Daddy, she thought as she sat in her car across the street from the house.

Every thirty seconds the clock on the dashboard made a tiny clicking sound. Be good. Click. Claim your own baggage. Click. Saabs had to be the only car in America that didn’t have a digital clock in the dashboard, she thought. She had only been sitting in front of the house for ten minutes this time but the clicking was starting to drive her crazy. Click, click, click, like a metronome, flipping her back and forth between present and past.

Be good.


Claim your own baggage.

Lights were on in every window of the house, almost. Shadows moved in front of the one in the bottom right-hand corner, the den off the living room, a tall silhouette, the oldest boy, and a shorter, rounder one.

The mother.

Behind the shadows the air flickered, like someone had turned on a TV. Probably they were watching it together as they waited for the boy’s brother and sister to get home. The older boy was about fourteen, his younger brother eleven. He was at his clarinet les- son. The sister was fifteen. She went to the gym Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and didn’t get home until 5:30 p.m. As soon as she did, they sat down and had dinner. Together. Sometimes Dad joined them too, but not tonight. He was working late. Big business dinner. He’d worn his fanciest suit to the office that day.

For a moment the woman in the car wondered what would happen if she rang the bell and asked if she could join them for dinner. They did not know her, they were complete strangers to one another. At least, they knew nothing of her. She knew all about the Johnson family. Quick sketches of their faces covered the pages of the pad on the seat next to her. Despite herself, she could not stop watching them.

Be good.


Claim your own baggage.

A man strolled by on the street walking a fluffy white dog, and his eyes met those of the woman in the car. He looked familiar, she thought, then realized it was not him, it was here. Everything was familiar here, this was the curse of her baggage, what she needed to free herself from. The man with the dog was the icon for everything she came to purge, everything she couldn’t escape.

Hands tightening on the steering wheel, she watched the dashboard clock click one more time. The little brother got dropped off, music under one arm, clarinet case sticking out the top of his red and blue Spider-man backpack. He used his key on the small gate next to the driveway, closed it carefully, stepped over the hose the exterminator left there to finish the job the next day, and entered the house by the side door. The door went into the back hallway, the woman knew, next to the laundry room; farther down was the kitchen. She could see them all in her head.

Ten clicks of the clock later, a beige Jeep Wrangler pulled to the curb opposite and the sister got out. The woman in the Saab watched the girl go through the gate, and into the house the same way her brother had. She had perfect thighs.

She was not as careful as her younger brother, though, and the gate didn’t close all the way. It hovered slightly ajar, an invitation. Come on in. Pay us a visit. See our perfect home from the inside. Carve out a place for yourself in our family.

Don’t do it! the woman’s head screamed. Leave now. Be good. Now isn’t the right time. She glanced at the clock and saw that was true. Not the right time. She had to get to work. It was almost the dinner hour. She started her engine and pulled out, heading toward the Strip.


But she’d be back. She wasn’t done with the Johnson house yet.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Bad Girl 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a thrilling read! This book is easy to read and has surprising twists and turns. I am so pleased with the ending!
HelenEC 7 months ago
Wow great book. I loved all the twist to the story, kept me on my edge of my seat. I loved the ending of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bad Girl by Michelle Jaffe is a combination of romance, thrill, and mystery. Like another book Lover Boy, written by Michelle Jaffe, Bad Girl, used a lot of examples of real forensic evidence to solve the murders in each book. Michelle Jaffe took thrill romance and mystery to a new level in Bad Girl. A heart pounding, non-stop action novel to read, it will make you laugh, cry, and cringe all in the same chapter. If you're a fan of C.S.I, Forensic Files, or Unsolved Mystery, you'll definitely be a fan of Bad Girl. This is a MUST read, do not delay read Michelle Jaffe's bad girl today!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend gave me Bad Girl becase she had loved it and my sister and I were headed to Vegas for the weekend. What can I say but that I couldn't put it down and even passed up a few turns at the slot machines to stay in my room and finish a chapter? Bad Girl is good stuff.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bad Girl is fun, fast, and scary - Windy Thomas is as brilliant a detective as you could want, and when I grow up I want to be Ash Laughton. Perfect.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Widow and single mother Chicago ¿Windy¿ Thomas takes over as head of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department¿s Criminalistics Bureau. She immediately shows her value with a murder case impressing Violent Crimes task Force supervisor Ash Laughton with her knowledge and honesty. He asks for her help on a particularly violent murder Mrs. Johnson and her fifteen years old and under three children were ritualistically killed. Windy provides strong assistance in interpreting the photos of the crime scene.

The same MO is repeated with Windy once again furbishing valuable insight to Ash. While trying to solve the homicides, Ash and Windy begin to fall in love although she is engaged to someone else. As a serial killer terrorizes the city, the police led by the dynamic protagonists struggle to bring this malevolent individual to justice before the culprit destroys another family.

The title aside, BAD GIRL is a tremendous police procedural romance that is at its best when Windy provides Holmes-like explanations to crimes and crime scenes. The story line is loaded with action, but owned by Windy, though her bowing to guilt tossed at her by her fiancé seems out of character. Fans who value a strong investigative tale into the mind of a serial killer with a sidebar of romance will enjoy Michele Jaffe¿s work.

Harriet Klausner