The Seance [NOOK Book]

Overview

A chill falls over Christina Hardy's housewarming party when talk turns to a recent murder that has all the hallmarks of the so-called "Interstate Killer" murders from fifteen years before. To lighten the mood, the guests drag out an old Ouija board for a little spooky fun…and that's when things become truly terrifying.

Summoned by the Ouija board, the restless spirit of Beau Kidd, the lead detective—and chief suspect—on the original case, seeks Christina's help: the latest ...

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The Seance

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Overview

A chill falls over Christina Hardy's housewarming party when talk turns to a recent murder that has all the hallmarks of the so-called "Interstate Killer" murders from fifteen years before. To lighten the mood, the guests drag out an old Ouija board for a little spooky fun…and that's when things become truly terrifying.

Summoned by the Ouija board, the restless spirit of Beau Kidd, the lead detective—and chief suspect—on the original case, seeks Christina's help: the latest killing isn't a copycat crime, and he wants his name cleared. Back in the real world, cop-turned-writer Jed Braden is skeptical of Christina's ghostly encounters, but his police sources confirm all the intimate details of the case—her otherworldly source is reliable, and the body count is growing.

The spirits are right. The Interstate Killer is still out there, and Christina's life is hanging in the balance between this world and the next.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426806377
  • Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 53,776
  • File size: 248 KB

Meet the Author

Heather Graham

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels. She's a winner of the RWA's Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers' Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For more information, check out her websites: TheOriginalHeatherGraham.com, eHeatherGraham.com, and HeatherGraham.tv. You can also find Heather on Facebook.

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Read an Excerpt

The Seance


By Heather Graham

Mira

Copyright © 2007 Heather Graham
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780778324652

An autopsy room always smelled like death, no matter how sterile it was.

And it was never dark, the way it was in so many movies. If anything, it was too bright. Everything about it rendered death matter-of-fact.

Facts, yes. It was the facts they were after. The victim’s voice was forever silenced, and only the eloquent, hushed cry of the body was left to help those who sought to catch a killer.

Jed Braden could never figure out how the medical examiner and the cops got so blasé about the place that they managed not only to eat but to wolf down their food in the autopsy room.

Not that he wasn’t familiar enough with autopsy rooms himself. He was, in fact, far more acquainted with his current surroundings than he had ever wanted to be. But eating here? Not him.

This morning, it was doughnuts for the rest of them, but he’d even refused coffee. He’d never passed out at an autopsy, even when he’d been a rookie in Homicide, and he didn’t feel like starting now.

Even a fresh corpse smelled. The body—any body— released gases with death. And if it had taken a while for someone to discover the corpse, whether it was a victim of natural, self-inflicted or violent death, growing bacteria and the process of decay could really wreak havoc with the senses.

But sometimeshe thought the worst smells of all were those that just accompanied the business of discovering evidence: formaldehyde and other tissue preservers and the heavy astringents used to whitewash death and decay. Some M.E.’s and their assistants wore masks or even re-breathers—since the nation had become litigation crazy, some jurisdictions even required them.

Not Doc Martin. He had always felt that the smells associated with death were an important tool. He was one of the fifty percent of people who could smell cyanide. He was also a stickler; he hated it when a corpse had to be disinterred because something had been done wrong or neglected the first time around.

There wasn’t a better man to have on a case. Whenever a death was suspicious, there had to be an autopsy, and it always felt like the last, the ultimate, invasion. Everything that had once been part and parcel of a living soul was not just spread out naked, but sliced and probed.

At least an autopsy had not been required for Margaritte. She had been pumped full of morphine, and at the end, her eyes had opened once, looked into his, then closed. A flutter had lifted her chest, and she had died in his arms, looking as if she were only sleeping, but truly at rest at last.

Doc Martin finished intoning the time and date into his recorder and shut off the device for a moment, staring at him.

He didn’t speak straight to Jed, though. He spoke to Jerry Dwyer, at his side.

“Lieutenant. What’s he doing here?”

Inwardly, Jed groaned.

“Doc…” Jerry murmured unhappily. “I think it’s his…conscience.”

The M.E. hiked a bushy gray eyebrow. “But he’s not a cop anymore. He’s a writer.”

He managed to say the word writer as if it were a synonym for scumbag.

Why not? Jed thought. He was feeling a little bit like a scumbag this morning.

Doc Martin sniffed. “He used to be a cop. A good one, too,” he admitted gruffly.

“Yeah, so give him a break,” Jerry Dwyer told him.

“And he’s got his private investigator’s license, too. He’s still legit.”

This time Martin made a skeptical sound at the back of his throat. “Yeah, he got that license so he could keep sticking his nose into other people’s business—so he could write about it. He working for the dead girl? He know her folks? I don’t think so.”

“Maybe I want to see justice done,” Jed said quietly.

“Maybe the entire force was wrong twelve years ago.”

“Maybe we’ve got a copycat,” Martin said. “And maybe we got the wrong guy,” Jed said.

“Technically, we didn’t get any guy, exactly,” Jerry reminded them both uncomfortably.

“And you feel like shit for having written about it, as if the cop who was killed really did do it, huh?” Doc Martin asked Jed.

“Yeah, if that’s the case, I feel like shit,” Jed agreed. Jerry came to his defense again. “Listen, the guy’s own partner thought he was guilty. Hell, he was the one who shot him. And Robert Gessup, the A.D.A., compiled plenty of evidence for an arrest and an indictment.” Jerry cleared his throat. “And so far, no one has been proved wrong about anything. We all know about copycats.”

“Thing about copycats is, they always miss something, some little trick,” Doc Martin said. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t the M.E. on the earlier victims. Old Dr. Mackleby was, but he passed away last summer from a heart attack, and the younger fellow who was working the case, Dr. Austin, was killed in an automobile accident. But don’t worry, if there’s something off-kilter here, I’ll find it. I’m good. Damned good.”

“Yeah,” Jerry Dwyer said, adding dryly, “Hell, Doc, we knew that before you told us.”

Martin grunted and turned the tape recorder back on. Jerry gave Jed a glance, shrugging. He’d warned Jed that they might have trouble. He’d told him right out that if Martin said he had to leave, he had to leave.

An autopsy was a long, hard business, and Jed knew it. In his five years in Homicide, he’d learned too well just how much had to be done meticulously and tediously. And messily.

He’d never expected to attend one when his presence wasn’t necessary in solving a case, but the truth was, he didn’t have to be here today.

Except in his own mind.

The woman on the table was already out of her body bag. There had been no need to inspect her clothing. She hadn’t been found with any.

The discovery of her body on the I-4 had been not just a tragedy but a shock to the police and anyone who had been in the area for the original killings twelve years ago. Her name was Sherri Mason; she had come to what the locals called Theme Park Central in the middle of the Florida peninsula because she’d wanted to be a star. The police knew her identity because her purse—holding not just her ID but fifty-five dollars and change and several credit cards—had been found discarded near her naked body.

She had been found not just lying there but carefully displayed, arranged, stretched out on her back as if she were sleeping, her arms crossed over her chest, mummy-style. They were assuming, an assumption to be verified during the autopsy, that she had been sexually assaulted.

Just like the other five victims—those who’d been slain twelve years ago.

The problem was, everyone had spent the past twelve years assuming that the killer of those five young women—found beside the same highway and left in the exact same position—had perished himself. He had been a cop named Beau Kidd, shot by his own partner, who had discovered him with the body of the fifth woman. Beau had drawn his own weapon, giving his partner no choice but to fire. He’d never gone to trial, since he’d been pronounced dead at the site, exhaling his last breath over the body of his final victim.

Assuming he really had been the killer. Certainly the remaining detectives working the case and the D.A.’s office had thought so, and there had been enough circumstantial evidence to make the case.

That evidence had been sound, Jed knew. He had investigated the case himself after he left the force. He had interviewed as many people who’d been involved as he could find. His first book, the one that had made his reputation as an author, had been about the case. A work of fiction, names changed, but it had been clearly based on the career of the Interstate Killer.

Like everyone else, he’d unquestioningly blamed the deaths on the man who had died, one of the detectives assigned to the case.

Jed put the past and all his doubts out of his mind as Doc Martin went on to make observations and take photographs. The body showed signs of rough handling, with abundant bruising. As expected, she had been sexually assaulted, but, as in the past, the killer had been careful. More testing would be necessary, but every one of them was glumly certain there would be no fluids found from which to extract DNA.

The majority of the bruising was around her neck. Like the original victims, she’d been strangled.

Occasionally the M.E. had a question for Jerry, who explained that Sherri had last been seen at a local mall, and that her car had been found in the parking lot there. She had met friends to see a movie, then left alone. When she hadn’t shown up for work the following day, a co-worker had reported her missing and filed the report when the requisite twenty-four hours had passed. On the third day after her disappearance, she had been found alongside the highway.

Jed realized that Jerry was staring at him. “The same?” he inquired.

“I didn’t attend any of the original autopsies, remember?” Jed replied.

“You did the research,” Jerry reminded him. Jed hesitated, shook his head grimly, and spoke. “The previous victims disappeared and were discovered within a few days. They bore bruises, as if they’d fought with their captor. There were signs of force, but no slashes, no cigarette burns or anything like that. No DNA was ever pulled from beneath fingernails, and no DNA was acquired from the rape kits. That was one of the reasons for thinking the killer was a cop. Whoever killed those girls knew how to commit a murder without leaving evidence.”

“None of you were on the case, or even near it?” Doc Martin asked, looking up.

Both men shook their heads. “I wasn’t here, either, at the time. I was working Broward County back then,” Doc Martin murmured. “Hell, come to think of it, Jed, you weren’t much more than a kid at the time.” “Eighteen, and in the service,” Jed told him.

Doc Martin settled down to work then. After the back of the body had been inspected, it was bathed and any trace evidence collected in the drain. Tools clicked against the stainless steel of the autopsy table. Scrapings were taken from beneath Sherri’s nails, but Jed was already certain that they would find nothing. Next came the scalpel, the Y incision, the removal of organs and fluids for testing. Everyone went quiet. Jed found himself thinking about Sherri’s dreams. She had come to Orlando looking for a start. To create a résumé to take with her to New York or California. With all the theme parks in the area, she’d had a solid chance of finding work as a dancer or singer.

So who had she met, what had she done, that had changed the shimmering promise of life that had stretched before her?

“Well, Doc?” Jerry asked quietly. Jed gazed at his old friend. Jerry had been on the force for several years before he’d joined himself. He, too, had spent his fair share of time in the autopsy room. But today… This death had affected them all. She’d been so young. Death was part of living. But losing life at a time when dreams were at their strongest was especially poignant.

Doc Martin looked at them, shaking his head sadly. “The tox screens will take a little time, but I’m not expecting they’ll turn up anything. The kid was clean. Dancer, I imagine, hoping to grow up to be a fairy princess. Cause of death? Strangulation. Was she tortured before death? Hell, yes—I’d sure call it torture to be continually assaulted, knowing that death is probably imminent. The bruising appears to be indicative of her having been forced and the fact that she fought. We’ll analyze the nail scrapings, of course, but—”

“But if her murder was committed by the Interstate Killer,” Jed said dully, “there won’t be any DNA beneath the nails. And there won’t be any semen in the vaginal canal.”

“Just like twelve years ago, like a cop or an M.E. or a crime scene tech, someone who knew exactly what would nail him, did it,” Jerry said.

“Or an avid student of forensics?” Jed said.

Doc Martin was thoughtful for a moment. “No way to know for sure, but it’s certainly possible.”



Continues...


Excerpted from The Seance by Heather Graham Copyright © 2007 by Heather Graham. 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 148 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(58)

4 Star

(54)

3 Star

(23)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 148 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 16, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    Great. Enjoyed this book and would recommend to everyone.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Good, solid story

    When murders mirroring those from 12 years ago begin again, the ghost of the accused serial killer comes back asking the heroine to help prove his innocence. Ex-cop, turned PI and crime writer, joins forces with the police, a psychic investigation team, and the haunted heroine to investigate. Interesting ghost story and mystery. Some lighter moments. Even though the story was about serial killings, there was nothing too graphic.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome Book

    I really enjoyed reading The Seance. It is a fast-paced book that keeps the reader engaged. I was surprised at the ending; the "bad guy" definately wasn't who I thought it would turn out to be. There is also some humorous happenings in the book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    one of her BEST!!!

    The Séance is really GREAT!!! ABSOLUTELY GREAT!!!! you'll never guess who's the killer well not Killer himself he's a good guy you'll love him!!! there's a killer INTERSTATE KILLER that's what i meant.... the other Killer is very lovable, he's the best, well anyway Ms.Graham did it again... i was in absolute shock when i finally found out who's the bad guy here!!!! coz usually i found out sooner who's the killer... loved the characters and the McDuff Brother, Jed and Christie... sure im gonna miss their characters... and Brue. all i can say is that this kind of ghost romance paranormal novel that i really really prefer ^_^ and will recommend to others!!!

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2007

    good book

    the storey was good. i liked it. it kept me interested but at times the authors writing style mixed me up and had to go back to read the paragraph again. she did a great job in keeping secret who the murderer is. i never expected this charecter to be the perpertrator. i liked how she personalized the charecters relationships,friendships,couples etc... i really got into the story at times, especially when the fearful charecter would just try to hide instead of finding a solution. i didnt find it long and boring. great mix of suspence,'light in horror though but good enough',love,mystery'dective/crime solving type'and lightin action but had a decent amout of it. over all, as stated. okay, but not great. its a good read.i nomally read thrillers & science fiction like'warcraft & Dan Brown books'its my first horror. i enjoyed the book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2014

    Good story

    Not as good as others I have read thus the four stars.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2013

    I'm sorry but this book was terrible. The "romance" wa

    I'm sorry but this book was terrible. The "romance" was nothing but lust and the ending was so out there. The killers are obvious when the author mentions the vehicle. I don't want to spoil it so I left that ambiguous.




    Christine is an idiot, but she's hot and that's all that matters to Jed, amirite?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    Yes!!!

    I like most of Heather Grahams books such as this one. Would greatly recommend to anyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 19, 2013

    Fantastic

    Very good read. Although I had a good guess it kept me reading until the end. Couldn't put the book down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    Enjoyed it.

    It started out slow, but i really liked how the mystery part did not end exactly the way your mind takes you. I would recommend to others.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    Porch

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    highly recommend

    Really love reading Heather Graham's books. Very entertaining.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    enjoyable story

    Really liked this "ghost" story and would read more by the author. Interesting and well written

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    You will love this book A real page turner.

    Great book. Graham always manages to keep you on the edge of your seat with the perfect mix of romance and suspence.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Great

    This was a short story but fast paced and kept you guessing until the very end. Well worth the $1.99 I paid for it on nooK under $5.00. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    On the edge of your seat type of book

    I really liked this story. It kept me on the edge of my seat. These nook books should be rated tho, not a good idea for young readers. I will buy more books from this author. I like her style.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Quick read...loved it!

    I love this genre, but many times it can be transparent and predictable; that notion is not true with this novel. I can't wait to read something else from her.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 15, 2012

    Love Heather Graham

    This was typical Heather Graham, could not put it down !!! Very captivating from the beginning.

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  • Posted February 13, 2012

    Highly Recommend

    Great Book!!! I could not put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2012

    Good Read

    I enjoyed the story line... thought it could have been done better

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 148 Customer Reviews

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