Frozen [NOOK Book]

Overview

Fear Never Dies.

Deep in the Alaskan wilderness, a mummified body is discovered in the ice, the victim of a bizarre ritualistic killing that happened nearly six thousand years ago. For journalist Maura County, this story is her ticket to the big time--if she can get the help of the FBI's top criminal profiler.

Special Agent Ulysses Grove is the best of the best--a born manhunter. He's also a man on the edge, haunted by both personal tragedy and...

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Frozen

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Overview

Fear Never Dies.

Deep in the Alaskan wilderness, a mummified body is discovered in the ice, the victim of a bizarre ritualistic killing that happened nearly six thousand years ago. For journalist Maura County, this story is her ticket to the big time--if she can get the help of the FBI's top criminal profiler.

Special Agent Ulysses Grove is the best of the best--a born manhunter. He's also a man on the edge, haunted by both personal tragedy and a recent spate of horrific, unsolved homicides. Now, in a remote lab, he's about to make a shocking discovery. Everything about the prehistoric murderer--signature, M.O., the tiniest of details--matches up to the serial killer who has eluded Grove for months.

As past and present collide, County and Grove are plunged into a nightmare journey that will take them into the darkest reaches of the human heart as they try to stop a cycle of evil as eternal and powerful as time itself. . .

Praise For Frozen

"A captivating novel of cold and meticulous suspense." -- Robert W. Walker, author of Absolute Instinct

"Frozen will chill you to the bone!" -- J. A. Konrath, author of Bloody Mary

"A relentless chiller that leaves you guessing and gasping again and again."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786033188
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 76,333
  • File size: 897 KB

Read an Excerpt

FROZEN


By JAY BONANSINGA

PINNACLE BOOKS

Copyright © 2005 Jay Bonansinga
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7860-1723-6


Chapter One

The Evidence Clock

That night, as the seventh murder unraveled in the storm-lashed shadows of a Colorado nature preserve fifteen hundred miles to the west, Ulysses Grove writhed in fitful slumber in his Virginia apartment.

The FBI profiler had not been sleeping well for months, each evening his mind racing with the minutiae of the six unsolved murders that had come to be known as the Sun City Series (named for the gated community in Huntley, Illinois, in which the first homicide was discovered). Each night, all the dead ends, damaged evidence, and motiveless signatures wormed through the profiler's brain like parasites eating away at his confidence. Sometimes these feverish ruminations fomented into actual flulike symptoms-and Grove would have to anesthetize himself in order to sleep. But on that blustery night, as the profiler seethed in his tangled, damp sheets, clawing at the edges of sleep, his molasses-brown skin shiny with sweat, he was completely oblivious of what was transpiring on the other side of the country, in the strobe light flash and thunder of a remote corner of the Rocky Mountain National Park-

-where an unidentified man was silently emerging from a drainage ditch bordering a dense cathedral of spruce. He clutched a hunting bow in his arms, his gaunt, twitchy face streaked with lampblack. A rangy, middle-aged man with voices in his head, the killer fixed his crosshairs on his latest victim through veils of black drizzle.

The snap of the bow was completely drowned by the hiss of rain on the treetops. The victim-a black sanitation worker with a massive belly straining the seams of his city-issue rain parka-hardly had time to glance up, as the whisper of the handmade arrow crackled through the foliage behind him.

The projectile struck the victim between the cords of his neck, nearly lifting him out of his clodhoppers and tossing him across the path. Droplets of arterial blood misted the undergrowth as the garbage man sprawled to the mossy ground, his vital signs closing down even before his body came to rest in the muck. The trash can he was holding tipped and rolled down the trail-a distance of exactly thirty-six feet, as the crime lab people would determine three hours later-making a noise like a death knell played on a tympany drum. The racket was so dissonant and loud, in fact, that it completely covered the sound of the killer's footsteps approaching from the shadows to the east. These were heavy, purposeful footsteps, purposeful despite the fact that the victim was chosen at random. For there was much purpose in what the shadowy figure was about to do to the body. What the killer was about to do to that corpse would not only provide the key to solving the Sun City case, but would also shape the destiny of the man who would ultimately track the perpetrator down.

The same man who, at the moment, far to the east, was wrestling with his own phantoms.

In the darkness of the bedroom Grove jerked awake at the sound of his cell phone chirping.

A recurring dream of mass graves and desolate rooms still clinging to his brain, he rolled over and fumbled for the phone, which was plugged into its charger (as it always was on weeknights). As an active field consultant for the bureau's elite Behavioral Science Unit, Ulysses Grove was not exactly on twenty-four-hour call, but pretty close to it, especially in light of the stubborn Sun City case.

"Grove," he muttered into the phone after levering himself into a sitting position on the edge of the bed. A tall, thin African-American with chiseled features and a runner's physique, he was clad only in boxers, his legs rashed with goose bumps in the early morning chill.

"Got another one," the voice crackled in Grove's ear, reporting the news in the kind of clipped, impassive drawl one might hear coming over the loudspeaker in a cockpit during wartime. Grove immediately recognized the source, as well as the import, of the words.

"Sun City?"

"Yeah, Colorado this time," replied the voice of Tom Geisel, the Behavioral Science section chief. Geisel spoke with the pained resolve of a Confederate general about to surrender an encampment.

"Colorado now," Grove said with a sigh, rubbing his neck, trying to wake up enough to put the pieces together. In the dim light his dark skin looked almost indigo. "Which means he's moving west, or at least northwest."

"The thing is, kiddo, we need to get on top of this one."

"I understand."

"Get it as fresh as possible."

"I agree, Tom."

"What I'm saying is, we need somebody out there ten minutes ago."

"I'm on it," Grove said, standing up. The floor was cool under the soles of his feet. "I'll catch the next flight out of Dulles, be there before the uniforms are done with their donuts."

Silence on the other end of the line.

Grove took a deep breath. He knew instantly what that silence meant. Geisel was worried. Not only about the ongoing Sun City case, and all the ugly fallout generated by twelve months worth of grisly crime scene photos leaking to the press, gripping the country in utter terror, not to mention all the angry citizen groups, outraged reporters, and righteous politicians coming down on the bureau for allegedly bungling the case. Geisel was also worried about Grove, who was starting to buckle under the weight of expectations.

The pressure was tremendous. Grove had been brought in on the case nine months ago, after the second murder, and had been able to offer basically no help whatsoever. The problem wasn't a lack of observable evidence. The killer was obviously an organized personality in absolute control of his actions, someone completely cognizant of what he was doing. But the randomness was what continued to stump everyone. Never before had Grove seen such a meticulous yet specific modus operandi and signature-the way each victim was hunted, dispatched, and positioned postmortem-all of it meted out to such a random sampling.

By the sixth murder, Grove felt as if he had sunk into an investigative tar pit, suffocating under the weight of the paperwork. Usually the bureau would get enough calls to engage its criminologists on a number of cases at one time, but the Sun City job would ultimately become a priority for Grove, a burning ember in his gut, then a white-hot poker in his brain that seared his waking thoughts and roiled in his dreams. Grove was not accustomed to failure. He had the highest success rate of any profiler in the history of the bureau. He knew it, and his peers knew it, and they knew he knew it. Modesty was not one of Grove's finer attributes. But the Sun City perp was threatening to drag the profiler down into the realm of mere mortals. Especially in light of the aspect of the killer's signature, which had not been made public: the undetermined postmortem staging of each body.

Geisel's voice finally pierced the silence: "I'm actually thinking that maybe we should send Zorn."

"Don't do that, Tom."

"Ulysses-"

"Zorn's a good man, don't get me wrong." Grove started pacing across the cool tile floor beside his bed, his scalp crawling with nervous tension. His apartment was just beginning to brighten with the pale, predawn light coming through the blinds. The minimal decor reflected the profiler's austere nature-a single, gleaming stainless steel armchair on one corner, a Scandinavian design lamp that looked like a huge inverted hypodermic needle. It was odd how Grove had removed all natural fabrics, wood, and round corners from his world after his wife had died of ovarian cancer four years earlier. It was as though her death had stolen all the texture from Grove's life, and left only hard, sharp, metallic edges.

"It's just that I've been on this one from the jump," Grove finally said. "I need to carry it through to the end. Don't take me off this one, Tom, I'm asking you not to do that."

There was a long pause. Grove gripped the cell phone tightly as he waited. Finally Geisel's voice returned with a tone of weary resignation: "Shirley will fax your ticket and directions. Get your ass out there and figure this monster out."

Special Unit Director Thomas Geisel hung up the phone and sat back in his burnished mahogany swivel chair. He ran fingers through his iron-gray hair and let out an exasperated sigh. He wondered if he had just made another critical error in judgment, sending a burned-out profiler back into the wet zone. Ulysses Grove was definitely cracking. Geisel could hear it in the man's voice. And who wouldn't be melting down under the kind of workload Grove had been carrying? Not only was the profiler weathering the media storm of Sun City, but he was also juggling at least a dozen other active cases. He was starting to get sloppy. His reports were becoming scattered. But Geisel just didn't have the heart to demoralize Grove by taking him off Sun City.

Geisel had been making an inordinate number of mistakes lately, and was starting to wonder whether the naysayers at the bureau were right about the Behavioral Science Unit. Maybe the unit had seen better days. With recent advancements in DNA analysis, as well as the proliferation of regional crime labs, the magic had gone out of the modern "mind-hunter." Some of the wags at the bureau had even started calling Geisel's outfit "the BS Department" ... and who was Geisel to argue?

Rubbing his tired, deeply lined eyes, the director considered starting a pot of coffee. It was going to be a long morning, and there were many phone calls to make.

Geisel was still in his robe and pajamas, hunkered down in the richly appointed study of his Fredericksburg plantation house. The home reeked of money-much of it from the Geisel Family Farm empire that Thomas Geisel, as the eldest of four sons, had inherited-but the accoutrements of the house were solely courtesy of Lois Geisel, the director's long-suffering second wife. From the cozy country-couture furnishings to the impressive collection of folk art, the house offered a welcome refuge from the exigencies of the BSU offices at Quanitco, twenty miles north along the Potomac.

Geisel threw a glance at the in-box sitting on the corner of his cluttered Colonial-style desk. The box brimmed with documents, memoranda, and letters. Geisel often brought his work home, and lately his to-do list had ballooned out of control. Scattered throughout that stack of papers were at least a dozen memos from the FBI brass admonishing Geisel for not relieving Grove. For months, Geisel had been dancing around that same issue with management. Grove would prevail, Geisel assured them. Grove was the best they had. But in his secret, three-in-the-morning thoughts, Tom Geisel was starting to doubt Grove's invincibility.

At the bottom of that same clogged in-box lay a seemingly innocuous document that Geisel had been relegating to the lowest possible priority for weeks. It was a printout of an e-mail sent to the unit several months ago by a journalist at Discover magazine-the kind of thing that the unit received by the bushel every week. It was either some twenty-four-hour news channel requesting another talking head for some celebrity scandal, or some morbidly curious member of the media asking for a quote. Although it was rare that a pop scientific journal such as Discover would make contact with the unit, Geisel still saw no reason to take it very seriously. He certainly would be the last person on earth to guess that a four-month-old e-mail from some science geek would change the course of the Sun City investigation.

But Geisel had been wrong before, and, as he was about to learn, he would be wrong again.

In forensics there's a concept known as the "evidence clock." The clock starts the moment a murder is committed, at which time the hard evidence starts to degrade. Prints are mingled, DNA washes away, blood dries and flakes and vanishes. Even psychological evidence atrophies over time. Body positioning is changed, uniformed officers move things. It's an unavoidable aspect to crime scene processing ... and nobody knows this better than the FBI profilers.

Which is why Ulysses Grove was in such a hell-bent hurry that morning to get to Estes Park, Colorado.

He didn't even bother to pack more than a single change of clothes. He brought only his overnight bag, his briefcase, and a threadbare Burberry raincoat that Hannah had given him for an anniversary present ten years ago. Ulysses could not bear to replace that worn-out coat. Very few people knew this aspect of Grove's personality: he kept things. He was not sentimental, but he secretly kept certain things. Like that plastic bottle of congealed lavender bath oil on the top shelf of his bathroom linen closet, the one that Hannah had used. For months after his wife's death, unable to cry, unable to let the grief come out, Grove had detected ghostly odors of that goddamned lavender oil in the towels, in dresser drawers, in his own clothing, until finally he filled the bathtub with warm water and half the remaining oil, and got in and cried like a baby for over an hour. That was nearly eight years ago, and Grove still had that bottle of oil.

Therapy hadn't helped much. One shrink thought Grove was processing his grief by immersing himself in his work, chasing down violent criminals with a holy vengeance as though the mere act of preventing further death would somehow compensate for the loss of his wife. Which was, of course, ludicrous. The fact was, Grove was a born manhunter.

From the moment he had picked up his first Conan-Doyle novel as a child, to his undergraduate studies in criminology at the University of Michigan, to his years as a noncommissioned officer in the army-first as an MP, and then as an investigator in the military's crack CID unit-Ulysses Grove had proved himself a natural. When he received his honorable discharge in 1987-only months after marrying one of his fellow investigators, the lovely and amazing Lieutenant Hannah S. Washington-Grove was snatched up by the FBI. Affirmative action had nothing to do with it (although the top brass at Quantico were secretly pleased to have such a brilliant, polymath black man on their roster). There was a simpler reason that Ulysses Grove had been on such a meteoric career trajectory: he got results.

Grove was the one investigator in 1990 who believed that Oregon police had the wrong man in the "Happy Face Killer" case. Following a hunch after seeing a happy face scrawled on a gas station restroom wall, Grove eventually led detectives to the real killer-a deranged longhaul trucker named Keith Hunter Jesperson. In 1996, working with Interpol, Grove helped catch Anatoly Onoprienko, a former Ukrainian mental patient and perhaps the most prolific serial killer of all time (with a record fifty-two confirmed homicides). Grove's discovery of a stolen wedding ring on the finger of Onoprienko's girlfriend helped close that case.

Then ... along came the Sun City Killer.

The instant Grove saw the first victim last spring in that northern Illinois retirement village-the woman lying supine in a cornfield with a sharp trauma wound to the back of her head, her cold, dead arms crossed awkwardly against her breast, one skinny arm frozen in a position higher than the other-he was stumped. None of his tricks had worked. Like an artist wrestling with a debilitating creative block, Grove could not translate the patterns, could not extrapolate one scintilla of psychology.

He was brain-dead.

As dead as all the random victims frozen in their inexplicably baroque poses.

For most of the flight, Grove was vaguely aware of a young woman in a Colorado State University sweatshirt sitting across the aisle from him, pretending not to stare at him. Grove was accustomed to such lingering glances. Most men would be delighted by such stares from women-but not Grove. His good looks were the bane of his existence, and it wasn't just the beefcake factor-the male equivalent to being a beautiful woman who perpetually struggles to be taken seriously. The deeper problem was that Grove didn't feel handsome. He didn't feel desirable. In fact, there was a lot about his appearance that he hated. He hated his tightly coiled, onyx hair, his sculpted, almost feminine cheekbones, and his long eyelashes. He hated his dark skin-a mixture of his deep black African mother and his caramel-skinned Jamaican dad.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from FROZEN by JAY BONANSINGA Copyright © 2005 by Jay Bonansinga. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2014

    Ask Violin Woman if you want to know how to do any of these.

    &#9812 &#9834 &#9786 &phone &starf Violin Woman

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    To linah

    W dont have cell phone it just a home phon

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    Iam here jamiya

    Hi wat are u paying for

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2013

    Sleetpaw

    *Walks in with moss and bracken and makes a bed. Then goes to sleep.*

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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