Middle of Nowhere (Boldt and Matthews Series #7) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Known for his meticulous, fascinating research, as well as his ability to create exciting plot twists that inevitably, a month or two later, seem to have anticipated real-life headlines, Ridley Pearson has genered praise as a "master" of the suspense novel.

In Middle of Nowhere, the "Blu Flu" has struck the Seattle Police force and a majority of the officers are on a unofficial strike, with the exception of a few, including Detective Lou ...
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Middle of Nowhere (Boldt and Matthews Series #7)

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Overview

Known for his meticulous, fascinating research, as well as his ability to create exciting plot twists that inevitably, a month or two later, seem to have anticipated real-life headlines, Ridley Pearson has genered praise as a "master" of the suspense novel.

In Middle of Nowhere, the "Blu Flu" has struck the Seattle Police force and a majority of the officers are on a unofficial strike, with the exception of a few, including Detective Lou Boldt, who is committed to the job. When a string of robberies and the brutal assault of a female cop rock the city, the pressure of isolation threatens Boldt's psyche and his marriage. With the help of psychologist Daphne Matthews and Sergeant John LaMoia, Boldt is able to make progress on both the assault and the robberies, but things soon spin out of control, and Bodt's refusal to drop the case puts his own life at risk.

Filled with the fast-paced, spiraling action that has made Pearson's previous novels "irresistable" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) works of suspense that "grip the imagination" (People magazine), this offering from "the best thriller writer alive" (Booklist) is certain to keep the reader breathless.
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Editorial Reviews

Jill M. Smith
Immerse yourself into the brilliant storytelling of suspense master Ridley Pearson this is one author who never disappoints.
Romantic Times
Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
When the Seattle Police Force goes on strike, Detective Lou Boldt is determined to remain on the job no matter what. But as the pressure of being an essentially one-man operation heats up, his psyche and marriage are threatened. "Pearson pulls out all the stops in this suspense thriller - crooked cops, labor politics, and the three M's - menace, murder, and mayhem. This hyperkinetic novel twists and turns like a rollercoaster." "Electrifying." "Clear your calendar and then sit down to read this book."
USA Today
Excitement quotient: high; technology details: intriguing.
New York Post
. . . Pearson is able to effortlessly intertwine several deatiled plot lines while still keeping his story firmly robed in reality.
Providence Sunday Journal
Pearson . . . exposes the psychologicsl doubts and fears of his characters and keeps the plot racing from scene to scene.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Blue Flu" is running through the ranks of the Seattle Police Department, and life's not easy for the few cops who've chosen to buck the union and remain on the job. Among them is Lt. Lou Boldt, the relentless crime fighter and star of Pearson's outstanding series, whose loyalty to law and order tends to suck him into more than his share of life's complications. With 90% of the force calling in sick, Boldt has to shoulder an enormous caseload, yet a strange series of burglaries worries him the most. During one of the hits, a strikebreaking police officer was savagely attacked, her neck broken. When two other officers are mauled in similar fashion, and Boldt himself is badly beaten, a sickening prospect emerges: the cops who are on strike are retaliating against the cops still on the job. Yet it may not be that simple. Some of the crimes could be the handiwork of Bryce Abbot Flek, a crafty career criminal who has devised an ingenious method of coaxing people out of the homes he wants to burglarize. Along the way, Flek has also developed a searing hatred for Boldt, whom he holds responsible for the death of his brother, who was killed in prison shortly after a visit from the lieutenant. Pearson (The Pied Piper) never quite masters the intersection of these two disparate story lines, yet they eventually converge in a well-devised finale. This seventh Boldt thriller packs all of Pearson's usual wallop: it boasts simmering suspense, a plot with a level of detail that comes only from painstaking research, and dynamic chemistry between Boldt and his colleagues and family. Somewhat less effective is Pearson's latest stab at working current events into his books. His detailed explanation of how cell phones can be effective police tools fails to captivate and slows the story's otherwise torrid pace. 125,000 first printing; $300,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild selections; audio rights to Brilliance; 11-city author tour. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Middle of Nowhere is the seventh and current installment in the Lou Boldt/Daphne Matthews police procedural series. Boldt, a homicide detective, is investigating a string of burglaries and assaults because a labor dispute has much of the Seattle Police Department at home with the "blue flu." The story weaves skillfully between the nuts and bolts of the forensic investigations, the possibilities of internal police corruption related to the "sick-out," and the characters' personal relationships, developing from previous books. Authors are not, of course, automatically skilled at reading their own work for audiobook programs, but Pearson does the job extremely well; he clearly knows and likes his characters: he succeeds in finding their voices and conveying their personalities, as well as pacing the action and plot. One of the best in this series; highly recommended for mystery collections.--Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, IA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
No, it's not murder this time—just a series of violent robberies: only the first sign that master-plotter Pearson (The First Victim, 1999, etc.) has taken some of his accustomed edge off Lt. Lou Boldt's latest case. The Blue Flu has struck Seattle. So many of the city's finest have called in sick to protest cutbacks on overtime that the brutal assault on Detective Maria Sanchez is not only an outrage to cops like Boldt who are still on the job; it's another body blow to his depleted force of investigators. And when Boldt unofficially shifts over from Homicide to join his longtime colleague, Lt. Daphne Matthews, the staff psychologist who's technically in charge of the case, his reward is a blue-painted brick through the window of his home and his own percussive waylaying by three masked men who figure to be disapproving colleagues. Sanchez, it turns out, was on the trail of a crook as nasty as he was petty—a guy who's worked out a robbery scheme that depends on the government's unwitting complicity. But when Boldt and Matthews lose their most promising line on the perp to an untimely demise, they find themselves surrounded by bad guys who are mad that they're disrupting a profitable business and good guys who are mad that they're still punching the time clock. The endless threats, which ought to keep up the tension, end up blurring the focus, and not even Pearson's well-earned reputation for high-tech savvy (confined this time to the problem of tracing calls from cellular phones) can keep him from slipping into the hoariest clichés in the book: the personal blackmail, the kidnapped officer, the bullet-riddled showdown.Reliablethrills from a pro, though only about half of Pearson's usual 12 cylinders are firing this time out. (Literary Guild/Mystery Guild selection; first printing of 125,000; $300,000)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786871476
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 8/1/2001
  • Series: Boldt and Matthews Series , #7
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 119,073
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Ridley Pearson
Ridley Pearson is the award-winning co-author, along with Dave Barry, of Peter and the Starcatchers, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, Peter and the Sword of Mercy, Escape From the Carnivale, Cave of the Dark Wind, Blood Tide, and Science Fair. In addition to Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark, Kingdom Keepers: Disney at Dawn, Kingdom Keepers: Disney in Shadow, and Kingdom Keepers: Power Play, he is also the author of the young adult thrillers Steel Trapp: The Challenge and Steel Trapp: The Academy. He has written more than twenty best-selling crime novels, including Killer View and Killer Weekend. He was the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction at Oxford University.

Biography

Crime may not always pay, but crime fiction always sells, and Ridley Pearson is one of the stars of the genre, the kind of writer whose royalties keep his family fed and cover a few extras as well (like, say, his own airplane). Yet Pearson didn't spend his youth dreaming of bestsellerdom. His first ambition was to be a musician, and he spent most of his twenties writing and performing folk-rock songs. The idea that he might become a novelist came later. As he explained in a Barnes and Noble interview, he was reading a Robert Ludlum novel when "a voice spoke up from inside me and said, 'I can do this.'" (Once he began writing and discovered firsthand the skill involved in crafting a cohesive thriller, he realized how much he had presumed!)

Pearson is renowned for fast-paced, thrill-a-minute suspense novels that include "a rare humanism and attention to detail" (Publishers Weekly). In a Greenwich Magazine interview he called his work "aerobic fiction, because I hope to get your heart pounding and get you turning pages." Entertainment Weekly dubbed him "the thinking person's Robert Ludlum."

As his fans know, Pearson works hard at nailing the details of forensic investigation and police procedure. In Undercurrents (the first novel in his Seattle-based Lou Boldt mystery series) his research was so thorough—he consulted an expert in oceanography—that the book helped convict an actual murderer. A Washington state prosecuting attorney happened to be reading it while working on a case similar to Pearson's fictional one: A woman's body had been found in a bay, and at first it appeared that she had committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. The oceanographer mentioned in Pearson's acknowledgments was called in as an expert witness to help prove that, based on tidal currents, the woman must have been dead before the time her husband claimed to have last seen her. Due largely to the expert testimony, the victim's husband was convicted of second-degree murder.

Of course, there's more to a Pearson novel than research. "Just what is it about Ridley Pearson that makes him the best damn thriller writer on the planet?" mused Bill Ott in BookList. "We've celebrated the forensic detail, the taut plotting, the multidimensional characters, and the screw-tightening suspense, but lots of fiction writers do all that. Here's a theory: Pearson is a master at manipulating opposites. His stories are forever jumping from high concept to small scale, from positive to negative charges, manipulating our emotions and minds with their polar hip-hopping."

When he's not writing, Pearson still makes music—he's the bass guitarist for the Rock Bottom Remainders, an amateur rock band made up of professional writers including Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, and Mitch Albom (the group's motto, coined by Barry: "We play music as well as Metallica writes novels").

It was while Pearson was in Miami to play with the Rock Bottom Remainders that he told Barry about his idea (actually, daughter Paige's idea) for a prequel to Peter Pan. The two authors had such a good time hashing out possibilities over breakfast that Pearson asked Barry to write the book with him. Published in 2004, their clever collaboration Peter and the Starcatchers became a huge bestseller, spawning two sequels (Peter and the Shadow Thieves in 2006 and Peter and the Secret of Rundoon in 2007) and a series of spin-off children's chapter books.

Even though Pearson thoroughly enjoys crafting juvenile fiction, his adult fans need not worry that he's abandoned his high-voltage crime novels. Indeed, he has said that writing gives him the same "adrenaline rush," no matter which audience he is targeting: Readers of all ages appreciate the imagination, suspense, and an impeccable eye for detail he brings to all his fiction.

Good To Know

Pearson calls himself a workaholic, "not so much by desire as out of necessity," since he reserves a lot of time for his two young daughters. His hobbies, which he now defines as "something you once did and no longer have the time for," include recreational tree climbing, fly-fishing, backyard volleyball, snow boarding—and, of course, bass guitar in his rock band. An avid reviser, Pearson says, "I'm said to have a nervous, worrying disposition, but rarely feel I live up to that description—perhaps internal calm is expressed as external nervosa."

Pearson loves to travel, especially to southern France, with wife Marcelle and second child Storey, who is adopted from China. We're certain to do a good deal of international travel in the years to come. He also attends local symphony and theater. But his "favorite avocation is to spend an evening around our dining table with two or three other couples. This, I feel, is where many of the world's ills are solved, and many souls restored. Mine, especially."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Wendell McCall; Joyce Reardon
    2. Hometown:
      St. Louis, Missouri
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 13, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      Glen Cove, New York
    1. Education:
      Kansas University, B.A., Brown University
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Chapter One

The night air, a grim mixture of wind and slanting rain, hit Boldt's face like needles. Seattle was a police beat where the weather could and did compromise a crime scene, often in a matter of minutes. On the advice of Bernie Lofgrin and his forensic team--the Scientific Identification Division, or SID--the department had issued foul weather directives for all first officers--the first patrol person to arrive on the scene. Regulations now required plastic tarps and oversized umbrellas as mandatory equipment for the trunk of every cruiser. But mistakes were still made, and that night seemed ripe for them.

As Boldt hurried up the home's short poured-cement driveway, he faced the garage, behind and to the left of the house, a basketball hoop and paint-chipped backboard mounted to face the street. His attention fixed onto the SID van parked there in the drive. Of all the divisions, SID should have understood the importance of protecting evidence, should have respected the department's attitude toward parking on private property. And yet there was the SID step van, inexplicably parked in the victim's driveway. One expected the occasional procedural error from the medical examiner's chuck wagon, even tolerated it when, as had happened earlier that night, an ambulance had been required to carry away a victim, and so had likely parked in the drive. But as the collectors and keepers of evidence, SID had no excuse for parking in a crime scene driveway for any reason. Some SID tech had wanted to avoid the rain, that was all and that wasn't good enough. The infraction incited Boldt's temper, and in a rare display of emotion, he exploded at the first SID tech he encountered. He ordered the van relocated to the street.

Privately, Boldt blamed the Blue Flu, SPD's first sickout by its officers in the history of the department. The Flu had so overwhelmed morale that it now apparently offered even civilian employees--like those who peopled SID--an excuse to turn in shoddy, rushed work. He wondered what chance law enforcement had if the five-day-old sickout continued? He also feared the consequences; shoddy work wasn't the only outcome of the Flu--officers, including Boldt, had been threatened by anonymous calls--lines were being drawn. Violence bubbled beneath the surface.

A first-degree burglary indicated an assault, in this case a broken neck and the possible rape of Sanchez, a cop. Boldt felt the urgency of the situation--this case needed to clear before the press had a chance to run with it, before the press became fixated on the vulnerability of a police department weakened by Flu.

Already on the job, detective Bobbie Gaynes offered Boldt and the investigation a ray of hope. Because of the Flu, and a lottery-like case assignment strategy that had the depleted ranks-- lieutenants and above, mostly--accepting whatever cases Dispatch threw at them, this crime scene belonged to neither Boldt nor Gaynes, but to Lieutenant Daphne Matthews, whose official posting was that of staff psychologist. Boldt expected Matthews on the scene momentarily, even looked forward to it. They worked well together.

A woman in her early thirties who regularly altered her looks for the fun of it, the diminutive Gaynes currently wore her hair cut short and colored a dark red. The heavy rimmed black Geek glasses and barely there makeup created a style that was a cross between hip urban single woman and computer programmer, which actually went a fair distance to describing her personality as well. Gaynes lived for computer chat rooms these days.

Her prompt arrival on the scene came as no surprise. Boldt had personally brought Gaynes to Homicide following her stellar work on a serial killer case some years earlier. Before that, she had worked Special Assaults--Sex Crimes, as her fellow officers called it. With the Sanchez crime scene initially reported as a burglary/assault, rape couldn't be ruled out. Gaynes was a good detective to have on hand.

Boldt kept expecting the press. The lights. The questions. They would need answers immediately.

"You knew Maria Sanchez didn't you?" Gaynes asked.

"I know her personally," Boldt corrected. "Yes."

"I only meant--"

Boldt interrupted. "She sat the kids a few times." He added, "The kids loved her."

Violent crimes against fellow police officers held special significance for anyone carrying a badge. All crimes were not investigated equally--a fact of life. Members of the immediate police family deserved and received special attention. Maria Sanchez would be no exception.

Daphne Matthews arrived and checked-in with Boldt and Gaynes. As lead, Matthews handed out the assignments. Boldt deferred to her--a reversal of their usual roles.

Boldt thought of Daphne as a thoroughbred: dark, lean, fit and strikingly handsome. His system always ran a little quicker when in her presence, in part out of necessity. She possessed both a facile mind and a trained eye. Technically it was her case, but they would all three work the crime scene together.

A civilian employee at first, a decade earlier Matthews had undertaken the six-week academy training so that she now carried not just a title but a badge, rank, and a weapon.

She assigned Boldt the second floor crime scene where the victim had been discovered, with Gaynes to assist. She would interview the first officer and speak to the SID team leader.

Even though Maria had been whisked away in an ambulance, the importance and power of the crime scene preoccupied Boldt as he approached the bedroom. Out on the street, the first of the press arrived. There would be more.

"How'd we find her?" Boldt asked Gaynes. He felt surrounded by women: Liz, Daphne, Gaynes, his own CAPers captain, Sheila Hill, even his little Sarah. He felt isolated but not alone, actually far more comfortable surrounded by these women than by a bunch of car-talking, sports-crazed men who commented on every chest that passed. He wondered why, of the seventeen detectives and two hundred uniformed patrol officers remaining on the job, some eighty percent were women. Why, when the going got tough, did the men quit and the women stay behind? Maybe it would be the topic of one of his guest lectures over at the U.

Boldt felt time getting away from him. He hoped for a clean crime scene and good evidence--something obvious that pointed to a suspect. He might as well be asking for a miracle, and he knew it.

Gaynes answered, "House has a silent alarm installed. Security company telephoned the home when the alarm tripped, then responded in person, finding the place locked, then finally contacted us because they're not allowed to kick a door. All told, it took about forty minutes before our officers arrived."

"Nice response time," Boldt snapped sarcastically.

"First officer was Ling. Patrolman. He kept the security guys out, made the necessary calls and did a pretty fair job of protecting the integrity of the scene."

Boldt said, "Matthews and I will visit the hospital on our way home. See how she's doing. We not only want this one cleared, we need it cleared. A cop assaulted in the middle of the Blue Flu? Press will have a heyday."

"Got it," Gaynes confirmed.

The bedroom where Detective Maria Sanchez had been discovered naked and tied to the bed still smelled of sweat and fear. Sanchez's shoes, clothes and undergarments lay strewn across the pale carpet: gray blouse and dark pants heaped together to the left of the bed, underwear up on the foot of the bed, which remained made but rumpled. The woman's bra lay up by the pillow. An SID tech was working the adjoining bathroom for evidence and prints. Boldt studied the layout carefully, snapping on a pair of latex gloves almost unconsciously. He circled the bed carefully, like a photographer planning a shoot.

"No evidence of fluids," he observed, "other than the blood on the pillow. Not much of it."

"The ligatures?" Gaynes inquired, pointing to the head of the bed.

Boldt noticed the two boot laces tied to each side of the headboard. He glanced back down to the floor and the ankle high black leather soled shoes missing their laces. His stomach turned. The scene was confused. It didn't feel right to him.

"Ling cut the shoe laces himself, before the ambulance arrived," Gaynes explained.

Both laces had been cut with a sharp knife, though remained knotted where they had been tied to the bed.

"Photos?"

The SID tech answered from the reverberating bathroom, "We shot a good series on her."

"Close-ups of the ligatures?" Boldt inquired loudly.

"Can't say for sure. You want it on the list?"

"Please," Boldt answered, now at the head of the bed, studying one of the cut shoelaces himself. He'd had a case earlier in the week involving rape and a young girl bound by shoelaces. The similarities were obvious. He regretted that. A serial rapist was the last thing anyone needed--and most likely the first thing the press would suspect.

"Done," the tech answered from the bathroom.

Boldt glanced around. "Tied the wrists, but not the ankles? His earlier rape had been tied by all limbs." The similarities suddenly lessened. "A copy cat?" Boldt wondered. The Leanne Carmichael rape had made the news.

Gaynes replied as if it were a test. "They worked this way together--pupil and student. I caught that too, L.T., and I could almost buy it if the bed were more of a mess. But a woman left with her legs untied? The bed covers should be a mess."

"Boyfriend? Lover? We want this wrapped and cleared," Boldt reminded her. Grossly understaffed because of the Flu, they each had too many cases to handle. A so-called black hole--an unsolved case--would incite the media and make trouble for everyone concerned--Maria Sanchez most of all. She deserved closure.

"You're looking a little sick, L.T."

"Feeling that way."

Gaynes, standing on the opposite side of the bed from Boldt said, "On Special Assaults I worked dozens of rapes, L.T." Unlike detective John LaMoia who out of habit addressed Boldt by his former rank of sergeant, Gaynes at least paid Boldt the respect of his current promotion, though called him not by name, but by his rank's initials. "Maybe in one out of ten, the clothes are still in one piece. Usually torn to shit. No fluids? Listen, if the stains aren't in the middle of the bed where you expect them, then you find them on the pillow or the bedspread or the vic's underwear. But a clean scene? You ask me, this is date rape. Look at those clothes! Not a button missing! Spread out in a line for Christ's sake."

Boldt studied a large dust ring on the dresser. A television had been removed. A small gray electronics device bearing a set of wireless headphones lay in a heap to the side of the same dresser. He picked them up in his gloved hands.

Gaynes said, "You use 'em so the spouse can sleep while you watch the tube."

"She was single," Boldt reminded.

"A visitor maybe," Gaynes said. "Date rape," she repeated more certainly. "Guy ties her up and gets too aggressive. Accidentally snaps her spine and takes off."

"The television?" he asked his former protege.

"Stole it to cover up it was him. Make it look like someone broke in. The papers have been filled with stories about all the break-ins since the Flu hit."

Studying the headphones, Boldt said, "Maybe she just appreciated music or maybe she subscribed to the cable music channels." He pointed to the stack of recent best sellers on Sanchez's bedside end table.

Boldt walked around the bed feeling a pit in his stomach. Gaynes traded places. Police ballet. Since the advent of the Flu, reports of robberies and burglaries were up exponentially. "We'll want to check our sheets," he suggested. "See if this fits any patterns."

"Got it," she replied. She lifted the top book off the end table, an Amy Tan novel. "Bookmarked with a receipt dated two days ago. And she's a hundred and seventy pages into it--"

"And we're in the midst of a Flu," Boldt pointed out. "Not like she has a lot of fun time."

"Maybe six, seven hours a night at home, max."

"So she didn't watch much television," Boldt concluded.

"Which means you're probably right about the cable music. A hundred and seventy pages in two nights? You think she's been entertaining a lover?" she asked rhetorically. "Sounds more like insomnia."

"Ask around the house about current boyfriends."

"I'm telling you, a rapist don't undress them like this, L.T. He tears her clothes off. It's rage, not courtship. And if he goes to the trouble to tie her up, he rapes her hard or fires juice all over the place. We're not seeing real good evidence here. She hollered to the SID tech, What's that bathroom like?"

"It's light," the tech fired back. "My guess? The guy wasn't in here at all."

Boldt migrated over to check the windows--all locked--so he didn't have to look at the bed while Gaynes talked so calmly about raping and beating and masturbating. Sex Crimes--Special Assaults--conditioned a detective in ways even a homicide investigator had a difficult time understanding. He looked out the window to where light from the house played on the small patch of backyard and the separate garage.

"Her underwear's clean," Gaynes reported. "So's the bra. This looks like someone she knew. And using shoe laces to tie her? A necktie maybe. A belt. Something handy and fast. What's the guy do: ask her to lie still while he unlaces her Hush Puppies and ties her wrists?"

"Maybe her neck was already broken," Boldt suggested. "Maybe she wasn't going anywhere."

"Then why tie her up at all?" Gaynes asked, confusing the issue.

An uneasy silence settled between them. Not a black hole , he pleaded.

Gaynes continued cautiously, "And that's another thing. The trauma supposedly occurred after she was tied to the bed? Is that the general consensus? Is that what we're thinking here? That's what's logical, right? He ties her up to keep her still. Goes for oral sex or something. Yanks her head a little too hard and snaps her neck in the process? Something like that? But he doesn't tie her ankles?" she said skeptically.

Boldt's only mental image was of the other case--little Leanne Carmichael, thirteen years old, the crotch of her pants cut away, her legs tied open. A dark basement. "I worked a rape/kidnapping earlier in the week. He tied up the girl with shoelaces."

"Carmichael," she said. "The case remained open; continued to make a lot of noise."

"We'll want the SID lab to make comparisons. The same knots? Anything connecting the two crimes?"

"The lab, sure," she agreed, "but not the media."

He said, "True enough."

Someone must have finally been moving the SID van, for headlights spread across the wet backyard. Boldt didn't like what he saw there.

"I'm going outside to look around," Boldt said.

"It's nasty out there," the SID tech cautioned from the bathroom.

"Check her boots and meet me outside," he told Gaynes. She cupped her hands to the window peering into the backyard. She knew Boldt well.

"Now," he reminded, his voice urgent.

"Got it," she said.

Nasty. Gaynes tugged the Gore-Tex hood over her head. Boldt made a similar move with the collar of his green oilskin. He switched on a flashlight borrowed from a patrolman--one of the ones with 6 D-cell batteries inside, enough weight to club a skull to pulp, the flashlight's second function. Hunched over, he and Gaynes approached a disturbed area of mud in the backyard. They walked single-file, electing to avoid the well-worn route leading from the separate garage to the house's back door.

"This is where he intercepted her?" Gaynes suggested, dropping to one knee.

"Looks like a possibility," Boldt said. "But there's no sign of dragging."

"Her shoes show mud. The tech bagged them. Black leather jacket, presumably hers, had a partial shoe print on the chest. A set of keys and a garage clicker in the pockets." She added, "And yes , I'll have the shoe print typed, if possible," anticipating the request.

Gaynes poked a raised rib of mud and grass with her gloved finger. "It's recent enough."

Boldt kneeled beside her, the flashlight illuminating the disturbance. The grass looked like a rug scrunched up on a hardwood floor. Boldt tore some grass loose and sealed it into an evidence bag for lab comparison. He lived for such work--his lifeblood. He heard more chaos around in front of the house. More press. More pressure .

Gaynes said, "I can see Sanchez stumbling upon him unexpectedly, surprising him, a struggle and she goes down."

From behind them, Daphne spoke. "At first it's a matter of survival for him: get her to shut up and get the hell out of here. But then there's a change. Something primitive takes over. Primal. It's about dominance now, about her struggling and him overpowering her. He finds he gets off on it. He wants more than to simply subdue her. He has to possess her."

"You're buying the burglary?" Boldt asked, peering up at her into the rain, the flashlight following. Even in the rain, Daphne Matthews looked good.

"Help me out," Daphne said.

"Shoelaces on both wrists. Same as Carmichael, my thirteen- year-old rape victim."

"But not the ankles," Gaynes said.

"Not the ankles," Boldt agreed meaning it for Daphne. This was a jigsaw, with three players picking at pieces.

"The burglary is intended to mislead us?" Daphne asked.

"We've got a crime scene with two MO's." Boldt said. "A burglar. A rapist. Neither fits perfectly. Why?"

Gaynes announced, "We've either got ourselves a twisted burglar, or a greedy rapist." She tugged on her hood. A trickle of water slid down her cheek and dripped off her chin into her shirt. Knowing full well it would be his next request, she asked, "You want SID to work this site?"

"It's a start," Boldt agreed.

Daphne said, "Leanne Carmichael was raped. There's no medical evidence yet Sanchez was."

"And if she wasn't, then you've got yourself a couple of contradictions," Boldt suggested.

"I don't want contradictions. I want a suspect. I want to clear this before it gets out of control." Daphne sounded unusually nervous. She wasn't used to leading a high profile case. The Flu had caught up to her as well.

Boldt shined the light over toward the garage. "She parked in the garage and headed for the back door. She either ran into this guy--"

"Or he was out here waiting," Daphne interrupted.

"I want to assign a guard outside her hospital room," he said.

"Lt...You're right, but who we gonna get to do it?" a frustrated Gaynes asked. The Blue Flu had taken four out of every five officers off the force.

"Notify hospital security. Let's move her to a private room away from a stair entrance. We'll require check-in at the nurse's desk. Some guy realizes he hit a woman cop, and maybe he decides he doesn't want any witnesses. Or maybe it's a boyfriend, and the same thing goes. I want her under protection."

"Got it."

Boldt felt the pressure of the investigation then--a sixth sense for a black hole and a case that wouldn't clear. He knew from the look in her eye that Daphne sensed this as well. "Contradictions," he said.

"Yes," she agreed. "Not this case, okay?" she pleaded.

"We'll each have six more cases on our desks by the time we get back," Boldt reminded.

Gaynes chimed, "And then our phones'll start ringing and Dispatch will dish out another couple each."

"We need the sickout over with," Boldt said.

"Dream on, L.T. They're firmly entrenched."

Daphne saw her investigation headed for a black hole. "With Sanchez gone," she said, "we're down to sixteen investigators left--detective or higher."

Boldt felt sick inside. A thirteen-year-old raped. A policewoman paralyzed. A burglar on the loose. The public was certain to panic. The Emergency Communication Center's 911 lines would be crippled with hundreds of bogus reports and sightings. Seventeen detectives had become sixteen.

"The press is going to screw us on this one," Gaynes whispered. "This is fuel to their fire."

"Yes," agreed Boldt, "that's just what we don't want." He had come here hoping for evidence. Perhaps the contradictions were the place to start. They didn't offer him much.

Daphne remained angry about the Flu. "It's a fellow officer! They've got to come back on the job now! It's time to circle the wagons."

"I wouldn't count on it," Boldt and Gaynes said nearly in unison.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2008

    Not quite good enough

    First of all I am a huge Pearson fan. His books are simply the best. His writing style and thought process amazes me with each title I read. This one is like all of his books, well written, great research and the story is fantastic but the downfall of this book is the downright silliness of Matthews. Once again she allows herself to make idiotic mistakes while trying to play cop which she is not to good at. Its disappointing to see how such a good story can be downplayed with her overstepping her abilities which have been tested a few times in past titles and she has failed miserably only to jump right into the fire again :' If she would stay where her role is great the book would have been so much better. Its almost like Boldt being the Psychologist, it would be a turn off. When I hit the climax with her in this book I lost almost all interest and near the end I had not gotten it back. Its a shame.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2006

    Not all it's cracked up to be

    Quite disappointing. The plot developed slowly and did not keep me engaged, and the characters were quite bland. Not a great read. Despite all this, I gave it a 2 out of 5 because it occaisionally made me laugh.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2001

    Mr. Pierson hits a home run!

    I read them all! Cornwall, Kellerman, Connelly, Patterson,Woods etc. After reading enough books a reader becomes objective and more difficult to please. Mr. Pierson hits a home run. 'middle of nowhere' is spell binding, page turning and is the best of the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2000

    First Time Pearson Reader

    Read the first two chapters while sitting in a Barnes & Noble boostore in Albany N.Y. and was hooked from the start. This is the first Ridley Pearson book that I have had the pleasure of reading, and definitely will not be the last. The best police procedural that I have read this year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2000

    EXCELLENT,EXCELLENT,EXCELLENT

    The 'blue flu' has struck the Seattle police force, resulting in the majority of the force calling in sick. This un-official strike is the start of the things to come for Detective Lou Boldt, forced to remain on the force. A near death attack on a fellow officer, and the string of house robberies, are the following incidents for Boldt to deal with. Enlisting the help of police psychologist Daphne Matthews and Sergeant John LaMoia, Boldt begins making progress on the cases. Things begin getting out of control, resulting in more robberies and an attack on Boldt himself. Refusing to put an end to his investigation, Boldt realizes the three seemingly unrelated incidents may somehow be connected...but how? 'Middle Of Nowhere' is a fast-paced, well written novel, one of the best police procedurals to be published in a while. With this new novel, Ridley Pearson lives up to his reputation of being 'The best thriller writer alive'. After the disappointing 'The First Victim', fans get what they deserve, a great novel. Ridley Pearson is in top form, and will gain a new legion of fans with this book. A Must read!!! Nick Gonnella

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent police procedural

    The Seattle Police Department suffers from the ¿Blue Flu¿, which leaves the ranking officials to handle the massive caseload. Discord threatens to destroy the department as some of the ¿ailing¿ cops target those who report to work. Lieutenant Lou Boldt and his family are deeply shocked when a blue brick is thrown through their window. Lou¿s wife is injured in the despicable incident. Lou remains in their home while his traumatized spouse and children shelter at a friend¿s house. <P>A series of locked door burglaries occur that places the remaining police force on alert, especially when the latest victim turns out to be a cop not suffering from the ¿Blue Flu¿. The woman who used to baby sit his children is the next prey. An irate Lou accompanied by Dr. Daphne Matthews investigates even as three more cops are hospitalized due to injuries. The unknown assailant tries to kill Lou, leaving the beleaguered law enforcement official to believe one of his peers is the culprit. <P>MIDDLE OF NOWHERE is one of the best police procedurals of the year. The tale combines the best of Patterson, Fairstein, and McBain into a delicious story line that will have the audience comparing sub-genre authors to Ridley Pearson. The very complex thriller is filled with depth, issues, and multi-dimensional characters. There are three major players and an assortment of secondary characters that contribute to the fantastic plot. This novel is must reading by sub-genre fans that will recognize how talented the author is. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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