Fan Mail

Fan Mail

4.3 13
by P.D. Martin

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Getting into a killer's mind is both a blessing and a curse for FBI profiler Sophie Anderson. The agent suffers through brutal premonitions in order to save lives. Now a resident of Los Angeles, Sophie is working on a case where fiction has become fatal. A popular crime writer is sexually mutilated, strangled and marked with an eerie lipstick kiss...just like


Getting into a killer's mind is both a blessing and a curse for FBI profiler Sophie Anderson. The agent suffers through brutal premonitions in order to save lives. Now a resident of Los Angeles, Sophie is working on a case where fiction has become fatal. A popular crime writer is sexually mutilated, strangled and marked with an eerie lipstick kiss...just like the crime scene in the dead author's last book.

As more writers are punished for their dark imaginations, there is a recurring theme--a chilling fan letter that arrives before each murder. In order to stop the slaughter, Sophie must delve into the writings of the dead authors. But the sinister mind behind the crimes is linked to an unsolved case from Sophie's past. And that person is determined to create a killer ending.

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Present day

I lie on top of my bed fully clothed, and breathe deeply. I'm hopeful rather than optimistic, hopeful that something I see may help save her.

"Her" is a Montana girl called Tabitha, the only file in my Inbox and the last case I'll be profiling in my current job at the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico. Tabitha disappeared on her way home from school in Helena and it's the second disappearance in the area, with the first happening six months ago. The case details swirl in my mind—the locations; the crime-scene photos; the police reports; and the photos of both girls, happy and smiling for their school portraits.

I take another deep breath and let it out slowly. Like the first girl, Tabitha's eleven years old, an age that many predators like because girls are on the brink of adolescence, showing the first signs of physical development. I shudder at the thought of what he, whoever he is, would be doing to her now—if she's even still alive. They never found the first girl.

I clear my mind of its daily noise, hoping something will come to me. The past four months I've been in training. Just like I exercise my muscles, I've learned to exercise whatever part of my brain it is that lets me tune in to other people's lives—and deaths. The images come to me in either dreams, or as waking visions. But they're not just images—they're all the emotions of the situation too. Sometimes the vision or dream is played out like a movie and I'm watching the events unfold, but often I'm in the killer's or the victim's shoes. I've come a long way since I realized I had this gift, accepting and learning to control it more. But ultimately, inducing visions is still a bit of a crapshoot. And if I do see something, it may be unrelated, or just a replay of what we know… but sometimes it gives us something meaningful.

The discovery of my ability has been a rocky road. I had my first premonition at eight, but was so distressed by it that my subconscious repressed the memory, and my gift. It wasn't until nearly a year ago that my latent abilities resurfaced with the D.C. Slasher case when a serial killer got close. But after the case my sixth sense dived underground again until I was out in the field, watching a body being uncovered. The vic was on his back, his arms tucked underneath him, and a bright red love heart had been drawn on his chest with body paint. But suddenly I wasn't looking at a dead body, I was having sex with the victim and he was very much alive. For a few seconds, I was the killer. Over the next few weeks the visions kept coming—they were back with a vengeance. With the help of Darren, whose aunt had been a professional psychic, I realized that being at the scene, instead of viewing crime-scene photos months or years later like I normally do, gave me a connection to the case. And even though I have some control over my gift now, my "remote" episodes still don't seem to be as strong or detailed as when I'm at a crime scene in the field.

Finally, the dizziness that usually accompanies my visions engulfs me. I see flashes from the Montana case, flashes of things that aren't in any police report or crime-scene photo. At first the images are of Tabitha's life— she's blowing out candles at a birthday party, she's playing at school, she's giving her mom and dad a kiss goodnight—but then the visions become more sinister. A car with tinted windows. The passenger window glides down. Tabitha moves closer to the car. Then she's in a dark room. I don't know if the scene's from the past or present—I can never tell. She may be cowering in the room now, or she may already be dead.

I concentrate on the dark room, zeroing in on what I know will be important details. A single window is boarded up, I think from the outside. I can make out the silhouettes of a bed and a toilet, but there's nothing else to help me in the room. No wallpaper or anything else on the walls, no other furniture… nothing. So I shift my attention to the house. What's it like? Where is it? I'm rewarded with a flash of the house's exterior. This image only pops into my head for a second. When nothing else follows, I break my concentration on getting a vision and think back to the scene. Using my memory, I re-create the image, getting a fix on things. A small log cabin, surrounded by woods. Out front is a dark gray car. I can't make out the license plate.

I jot it all down in a notebook beside my bed before returning to my relaxation techniques.

Another ten minutes go by, but nothing else comes. I open my eyes and sit on the edge of the bed, still a little dizzy and now also feeling drained. I would have liked to have gotten more, but then again I'd always like more. If I'd been at the place where Tabitha went missing, maybe the vision would have been more vivid, more accurate or more detailed. Then we'd have a better chance of finding Tabitha, of saving her. And that's why I had to ask for the transfer. I need to be in the field again, where I can do the most good with this gift of mine.

I look around my half-packed bedroom. Another week and I'll be in Los Angeles, working out of the Bureau's L.A. Field Office. It took a couple of months for the right position to come up, but the L.A. profiling job was a perfect fit. And the West Coast means warmer weather and living slightly closer to my family in Australia.

Maybe in a few years I won't need to be out in the field anymore, maybe by then I will have learned enough about my abilities to get the same vivid sensations simply by looking at photos. Then I might come back and work for the Behavioral Analysis Unit again. I'd like that.

I arrive at the Quantico offices at 8:00 a.m. and fire up my computer. It whirs to life as I make my way to our small kitchenette… and coffee. I end up with the dregs from the bottom of the pot, and set another jug in motion. Back at my desk I find my replacement, Bessie Jackson, sitting in my spot.

Bessie is a five-five African-American dynamo with pure muscle packed tightly around her short frame. She's about my age, midthirties, and has been working in the Bureau as a field agent for nearly ten years. Making this team has probably been her dream for most of that time. The Bureau has profilers stationed at our busier field offices, but most profilers start off in the Behavioral Analysis Unit. If you want to be a profiler, you need to focus on getting a job on this team. Everyone wants into this unit, despite the macabre nature of most of our cases. The Behavioral Analysis Unit tends to get the worst of the worst, almost exclusively violent serial offenders. Occasionally we may get called in to profile a series of armed robberies or a kidnapping, but most of our work is of a much more gruesome nature.

"Sorry." Bessie stands up. "I just had to make a call."

I smile. "That's okay." I'd hoped the Bureau would find a replacement for me quickly, to give me time to hand over my cases properly, but sharing a desk is going beyond the call of duty. At least they managed to get a laptop for Bessie. Otherwise the situation over the past week would have been unbearable.

Bessie returns to the desk behind mine, which was cleared of junk especially for her. After today, the desk situation won't be an issue. Today I wrap up the Montana profile and officially finish all my desk work. Then tomorrow I've been assigned to entertain Loretta Black. Great. Babysitting a famous crime novelist isn't exactly my ideal way to spend my last day at the FBI Academy.

Coffee in hand, I go back to my profile. In this case, the only crime scene we have is where we found Tabitha's school bag, where we assume she was abducted. The street was between her school and her home, a journey she often made by herself.

I move on to the victimology to get an insight into the victim. By getting to know the victim, we can understand the perpetrator. Based on information we have about Tabitha, I don't believe she would have gotten into that car without good reason. She was a smart girl who tended to be shy rather than outgoing. From my vision, I know she approached the car willingly, but the evidence of her school bag at the scene indicates that some force was involved—why else would she leave her bag? Tabitha was very close to her family and I can imagine the perpetrator using this to his advantage, perhaps telling her that one of her parents was ill. The family did have a safety-word system in place, but something made Tabitha move closer to the car, even though the man couldn't have known the family's special code word. Maybe Tabitha knew him, maybe not. Once she was close enough, he was able to grab her. As a child, she's a high-risk victim…trusting and innocent. But most importantly, how can an eleven-year-old girl physically fight off a grown man? It sickens me to think about guys like this perp. I focus on the profile, trying not to get caught up in how I feel about the crime and about the little girl.

Next I would normally look at forensics, but in the case of Tabitha we don't have anything—no body, no fibers, no blood, no DNA—so I move on to the police report. There were no witnesses to Tabitha's abduction, at least none that the police could find, and the police have included a basic sketch of the area and some general neighborhood information. I absorb it all, getting a feel for the location.

The final profiling input is the photos, which in some ways are the single most important factor. Like the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words. Generally, each crime scene will have many photos. A complex murder case could have hundreds. But in this case, with no body, the photos I have only help to paint a picture of the neighborhood, helping me understand how it was possible for the perp not only to fit in, but to take Tabitha unnoticed.

Tabitha is only half the picture, and before I can think about drafting the offender profile, I need to get to know the first victim, Sue-Anne. Again, I go over the victim-ology, the police report, the case photos and the foren-sics—or lack of it. Like Tabitha, Sue-Anne was eleven years old and grabbed on the way home from school. The only differences between the cases are that Sue-Anne had stayed back for an after-school practice, and there's nothing to pinpoint the exact abduction site. She was last seen by a school friend just after 5:00 p.m. out the front of the school. She never made it home, and was abducted somewhere during the two-mile walk, again with no witnesses. As far as the police were able to establish, the girls didn't know each other or have any other connection with one another. They lived ten miles apart and attended different schools. But certainly, looking at their photos, we have a victim type: long blond hair, slim but athletic builds and girls who, unlike their peers, actually seemed to dress their age.

For both girls I'm already assuming the worst—kidnap, rape then murder. It's got all the hallmarks of a sexual predator targeting young girls. And statistics tell us that during a stranger-child abduction, most of the victims are killed within an hour or two. Still, there's hope yet, at least for Tabitha. Our guy's different—he keeps them for longer than that. Why else would he take them to the cabin I saw in my vision? But how long does he keep them for? While I can't answer that question, I know one thing for sure—he's going to keep going until we stop him. And if he escalates, which he might, the time between abductions will increase—not a comforting thought for Montana families.

The last thing I need to consider before drafting the actual profile is the interaction between the girls and their abductor. This is always an extremely important factor when assessing a crime and drafting a profile. Both girls were smart enough, and sensible enough, not to get into a stranger's car. So what went wrong? Or did they know their abductor? Two possibilities emerge. One, a killer who's composed and convincing, so much so that he's able to persuade the girls that he's been sent by their families. In this case, part of his stalking process would include gathering enough information about the families that he could carry it off. He'd have to mention both parents by their first names, maybe pretend he worked with one of them, or drop another relative's name or some other pertinent information. The second possibility is that the girls knew the killer, perhaps only in passing. Maybe they met him at a barbecue or through friends. But even so, our perp followed the girls' routines carefully. They weren't victims of opportunity, these were planned abductions, carefully tied in to the times the girls would be walking home from school. And once the girls were in the car, he could drop the ruse, if there was one, or even simply knock them unconscious and push them onto the car floor, out of sight of any nosy motorists. The abductions were fast and well-planned, especially given there were no witnesses.

With all my background work finished, I'm ready to paint a picture of the Montana perp. The standard profiling process can take anything from hours to days, depending on the complexity of the case, the number of victims and offenders, etc. I've allocated one more day to Tabitha and Sue-Anne—today.

Meet the Author

P.D. Martin was born in Melbourne, Australia, and developed a passion for crime fiction and storytelling at an early age. This interest was backed up with formal education through a bachelor of behavioral sciences (with majors in psychology and criminology) and a postgraduate certificate in professional writing (creative writing). Please visit her at

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Fan Mail 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
acorley84 More than 1 year ago
<b>Fan Mail - Superb Reading Material</b> For a more in depth review, please visit my blog, Chorley Chronicals! I have very quickly come to know and love the Sophie Anderson series! I don't typically read series books back-to-back, but I find myself wanting some Sophie when I haven't read about her after a few days! She is a character that has just taken me over and I must say, one of my favorite fictional characters! I just randomly came across this series, and actually accidentally read book 4 first, but thoroughly enjoyed it! I had book 1 on my TBR for quite some time, when finally, for some odd reason I picked it up from the library, thus what started this wonderful addiction! I was so excited about how great book 1 started and finished, that I wanted to share it with everyone, which I did! This series is now all of my friends new favorite series!!! I find myself getting amerced into the writing of P.D. Martin. I get lost in her words and have much appreciation for the fact that she takes the time to explain procedures that other writers assume the reader already has a working knowledge of what he or she is writing about! There is always at least one word that I have to look up in every book that I read, but I appreciate Martin's attempt to give the reader greater knowledge about the happenings in her book. I feel like each book of hers that I read, gives me a broader sense of enlightenment, and that I have further extended not only my vocabulary, but also have better recognition and comprehension of the life of an FBI Profiler! I think that Martin has such unique plots and characters that make me smile just sitting here thinking about them as I type out this review! I am always ecstatic to see what she has come up with next with each new book, and Fan Mail was no exception! I enjoy the detailed and skillful profiles that Martin provides via Sophie throughout each book, as she is working each case. Martin writes fast-paced stories, that keep the reader engaged throughout and seems to have an excellent knowledge base about the stories she is writing! Martin has such a knack for awesome endings and each book brings a new excitement about what is coming up next! I appreciate the extension of Book 2, The Murderers' Club, as at the end of the book, I just had a feeling that the story wasn't over, and I couldn't have been more right, nor could I have been more thrilled, because let's just face it, that book was pretty flipping awesome!! The outcome of that part of the book was still left pretty open, so I'll be very interested to see if it comes up again either in book 4 or later in the series!  Overall, I just love this series and can't wait to jump right into Book 4, (again...since I read it first several years ago!) Killing Hands! I am so thrilled to have found this excellent author, and am starting to get worried because I am nearing the end, so I certainly hope that Martin has plenty more in store for us, and am anxiously awaiting an announcement for the release of book 7 in the Sophie Anderson series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pinkie and Cranky Doodle Donkey!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suggestions: Rarity and Spike, Fluttershy and Big Mcintosh, and i have NO idea abou Applejack. Very good start. I love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rainbow Dash and Soarin were sitting in their cloud home one evening. The foal in Rainbow's hooves was sleeping peacefully. There was suddenly a knock at the door. <br> "I'll get it," Soarin whispered, getting up. When he opened the door, they were both surprised to see Fluttershy standing there. <br> "Rainbow, Twilight's foal is coming!" She panted, staggering in. Rainbow's eyes widened. "You flew all the way from Canterlot to tell me?" She asked. "I'm coming!" <br> "Honey, what about Northern Spark here?" Soarin asked, taking their foal from Rainbow. <br> "Could you stay with her?" Rainbow asked, grabbing a magenta scarf. "This means a lot to me, being at all my friends' births." <br> "We'll come with you," Soarin told her. "Northern Spark is old enough." <br> "It's Fluttersy here I'm worred about," Rainbow replied, glancing at her pregnant friend. "But I'm sure we can make it." The couple and Fluttershy left, Soarin carrying the now-awake foal and Rainbow Dash helping to support Fluttershy.<br> <p> A short time later, they arrived at Canterlot Hospital. Northern Spak was now squalling, and Rainbow desperatly tried to calm her. In the vistors' room, Pinkie was playing with Buttercream Pie, who was a month older than Northern. Rarity was nitting clothes, a request by Comet Tail, and Applejack was alseep. Rainbow gently put Northern on the floor. The pale rose pegasus immediatly curled up, and Buttercream prodded to no avail. <br> "What's taking so long?" Comet Tail asked nervously, quickly glaning in the direction of the delivery room. "It was't nearly as long for Rainbow Dash!" <br> "That's because the baby was nearly half-out by the time we made it to the hospital," Soarin joked. <br> "Be grateful you're not the one giving birth," Rarity pointed out. "If anything went wrong, Twilight would have read enough to know how to help the nurse correct it." At that moment, Nurse Tendereart appeared. <br> "Comet Tail and company are allowed to room 119," She told them. "Follow me." The party walked down the corridor to Twilight's room. Comet Tail went in first, followed by Pinkie and her husband. Rainbow and Soarin went next, followed last by the three mares. <br> "Isn't she pretty?" Twilight asked, pointing to the blue foal beside her. "The nurses will take her to the nursery in a minute, but first Comet and I have to decide on a name." <br> "I like Glimmer Wave," Comet Tail suggested after a moment. <br> "That's a nice name," Twilight agreed. "Okay, Glimmer Wave it is." As Nurse Snowheart wheeled Glimmer away, Applejack remarked, <br> "Good thing we won't be back here for another year." <br> "Applejack, who could you forget I'm due in two weeks?" Rarity inquired. The ponies laughed at Applejak's startled face. <b> <p> Note: The Mane Six are all married, but I only have Soarin and Comet Tail mentioned. If you have any ships you like, I'd be glad if you tell me. Thanks!
seldombites More than 1 year ago
While it was fairly obvious whodunnit from about a third of the way in, this is still an enjoyable book to read. I really liked the main character, Sophie Anderson, and I found the concept of an FBI agent with clairvoyant tendencies intriguing. I also found the idea that a killer was targeting crime authors and using their books for inspiration to be quite interesting. Despite having guessed who the culprit was, I enjoyed watching the police as they struggled to piece together the evidence and come to the same conclusions as I did. This book isn't a masterpiece, but it is a fun read and well worth your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the begining it wasnt all that intriginh. Now let me tell you first, im a BIG reader. Ive read my share of good books. If your looking for a captivating crime fiction novel that will make yourself pleased for picking it up, i wouldnt reccomend this book. Im not saying she isnt a good author im just saying this isnt the book you want if your not really a reader and you want to become one. The udea is really good though.
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Her last act at Quantico before reassigning to the West Coast, Australian expatriate FBI profiler Sophie Anderson escorts renowned crime writer Loretta Black and her assistant on a tour of the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Soon afterward, Sophie starts her new field assignment in L.A. She also finds out that someone sexually mutilated and murdered Loretta in her Beverly Hills home; eerily similar to a victim in one the author's novels. Beverly Hills homicide detective Dave Sorrell leads the inquiry. However, soon afterward more authors are brutally murdered. The evidence includes a frightening fan mail to the novelists just before they are killed. Sophie assists David on the investigation, as she searches for clues trying to "profile" the novels while also horrifically yet heroically uses her premonition skill to mentally see future murders, but unaware a cold case of hers is the missing link. This super police procedural is loaded with plausible twists that will keep the audience guessing who the killer is throughout although serial killer themes have flooded the market including Sophie (see THE MURDERER'S CLUB and BODY COUNT). Sophie is terrific as she investigates with David. Though similar in tone to her previous killer caseload, fans will enjoy P.D. Martin's exhilarating efforts of the Aussie profiler trying to prevent the next writer's death.----------- Harriet Klausner