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Body Count

Body Count

4.3 10
by P.D. Martin

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FBI agent Sophie Anderson has been trained to uncover the minds of serial killers, to understand their vile impulses and cravings—to catch them before they kill again.

Newly relocated from Australia, Sophie is settling in to her job at Quantico with the help of her new friend, Agent



FBI agent Sophie Anderson has been trained to uncover the minds of serial killers, to understand their vile impulses and cravings—to catch them before they kill again.

Newly relocated from Australia, Sophie is settling in to her job at Quantico with the help of her new friend, Agent Samantha Wright, and a potential new boyfriend, Agent Josh Marco, and is quickly becoming the FBI's star profiler.

The only problem is the nightmares.

These intense images are more than dreams. They are psychic visions, like those she experienced during childhood when her brother was abducted.

When grisly details match recent crime scene photos, she confides in Sam, and her visions lead to several breakthroughs in the case. But when Sam is abducted, Sophie must finally trust her visions and use them. She may not have been able to save her brother, but perhaps she can save Sam—and herself.

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Present Day

My breath is shallow and fast and the sound of my beating heart resonates in my ears. This is the first field assignment I've had for a while and I'm a little rusty. I steady my breath. We'll be moving soon.

I study the area, waiting for my cue. I've parked on the right-hand side and have a good view of the street and the apartment building that's our target. The street is quiet. Eerily quiet, as if everyone's hiding in their homes, somehow aware of what's about to go down and waiting for the storm to pass. Then again, it is 2:00 p.m. on a Wednesday. The only sign of movement is a mother pushing her stroller about thirty feet in front of me on the footpath, and a few people waiting at a bus stop sixty feet down the road. I take in my surroundings, counting the people, entering information about them into my memory—I may need it later. For the moment, nothing looks suspicious and Boxley, our target, entered the building about half an hour ago. I take another deep breath. Soon. It will be soon.

I love this feeling; love knowing that finally the hunter has become the hunted. I bet he feels like this when he's stalking a victim, knowing that any minute she'll be his. But he's in the wrong, and we're in the right.

He's probably already selected his next victim. I imagine him closing in on her, just as though she was my sister, best friend or even me. My teeth clench and my hand goes instinctively to the gun in my ankle holster. My fingers tighten around the bulge…it's guys like the creep inside who drew me to law enforcement.

"This is Mad Dog, are you in position…one?" Detective Flynn's voice crackles softly through my earpiece. It's a joint task force—D.C. police and FBI—with Flynn from D.C. Homicide taking the lead.

"Check," says the leader of the first unit.

"Two?" Flynn says.


I listen to the units sound off, ending with the one headed by Agent Josh Marco. We've worked together closely on this case and have become friends. Maybe more than friends.

"Okay, Goldilocks, we're ready to roll," Flynn says.

Flynn is with two other officers to the left of the apartment, covering the fire escape. He looks up and nods at me. From this distance I just make out a smile.

I get out of the car we organized for the operation, a red Ford, and grab the briefcase of samples and my black coat from the passenger seat. I ease one arm into the coat, eager for its warmth, and then slip in the other arm. For the job I've chosen black pants that flare slightly at the ankles but hug my hips, and a tight-fitting red V-neck to show off as much cleavage as I can bring to the party (with some major help from a push-up bra). I am a little vulnerable without my bulletproof vest, but guns don't seem to be this perp's style. Besides, we can't risk arousing his suspicion with added bulk on my upper body. Over the outfit I wear a black scarf and a black coat. The look is completed with black leather gloves.

Here I go. I've been living and breathing this case for the past five months and it feels good to almost have the bastard in our grasp.

The perp lives in a fifteen-story building that's in pretty good condition despite its obvious sixties look. The pathway is concrete, lined with a waist-high box hedge. The sides of the long path are framed by lawn, and a few flowering shrubs add color to the grayness.

I go over the routine one more time…my name is Lauren. Lauren Armstrong. I work for Clean-a-way Living and I'm here to sell our perp…I mean, my client…our effective and environmentally friendly range of cleaning products.

Flashes of the victims lying in pools of their own blood intrude on my thoughts. I push the images away. Focus.

I scan the apartment buzzers on the inside wall. Robert Boxley is written next to apartment 104. I ring the buzzer. A couple of minutes drag by like ten, and finally I hear the hiss of the intercom system.

"Who is it?" a husky male voice asks.

"Hi, it's Lauren from Clean-a-way." I use a richer, throatier version of my natural voice and play on my Australian accent, broadening it slightly.

"Lauren. Yes. Come up."

The buzzer sounds and I walk in through the security door. My stomach does a flip and my "spider sense" tingles. I've got a bad feeling about this. I push it aside and flick the ring on my little finger with my thumbnail. It's just nerves because this is my first field assignment for a while.

"I'm in." Confirmation for Flynn and the rest of the task force.

The small inside foyer is decorated with brown speckled tiles and the walls are painted a dull green. A faded safety certificate hangs on the left wall next to a rusty fire extinguisher—probably both from the sixties. Opposite the entrance is a small elevator. I look above it and notice that number eleven is dimly lit. The elevator isn't moving. Our suspect's only one floor up, so I head for the stairs on the right. I grasp the wrought-iron banister, which rattles in my hand. With each step my heart seems to pound even faster, sending vibrations through my body with every beat. It's so loud the guys can probably hear it through my mouthpiece. That's not good. I want to make a strong impression on my first bust.

I knock on apartment 104's door. I hear two locks rattling in the door frame, and then I'm greeted by Robert Boxley. He looks a little different than the picture we got from his employer, but I recognize him nonetheless. Five-ten and stocky, with a paunch. He's clean-shaven and his skin is smooth and translucent, though a few beads of sweat hang above his top lip. Nervousness? His black hair is cut tightly. He wears blue jeans, a loose white T-shirt and sneakers. If I didn't know what a monster he was, I'd think he was good-looking.

"Hi, Robert." I immerse myself in my character, shoving my revulsion way down into the pit of my stomach.

"Hi, Lauren," he says, eyeballing me with intense dark green eyes. "Come in." He steps away from the door and motions me inside.

I walk past him, momentarily turning my back on him. I'm not keen on the physical advantage he has over me for these few seconds, but it can't be helped. Besides, I'm safe. Not only because of the size and skill of my backup, but also because it's unlikely he'll nab me. I'm his type, but he likes to stalk his victims for a couple of weeks. He might mentally enter me into his victim pool for another time, but he's already picked his next girl and he's too orderly to let me jump the queue.

I take in every detail, hyperaware of my surroundings. Even an odor could mean something. But I smell nothing, other than the remnants of last night's curry.

"Your coat?"

I put my case down on the carpet and slowly take off my coat. He watches me carefully, running his eyes across my body. The look penetrates me, but I smile and hand him my coat and scarf. It sickens me to be civil to this man, but it's all part of the job. Soon the tables will be turned.

He hangs my coat and scarf on a peg near the front door.

I look around. His apartment is immaculate.

"Nice place you got here."

He's gone for the minimalist approach that a lot of guys like. Truthfully, I don't know if it's the look they like or the lack of dusting duties. From the door I can clearly see the main living areas. Directly in front is the living room, which contains a large-screen TV, a DVD player, a coffee table with the latest edition of Premiere strategically placed, and two two-seater couches. The living room also has an oversize window. A bar separates the living room from a spotless kitchen. I notice a few magnets and one photo on the fridge. It's a woman, but I can't see her face.

Boxley doesn't take his eyes off me. "It's not much, but I call it home."

"It's great. You should see my place. It's a dump." I hand him the position of power that he enjoys.

"I'm sure it's not that bad." He motions me farther inside. I pick up my briefcase and follow him into the living room.

"Have you been in the States long?" he asks.

Polite chitchat.

"Only seven months." I see no reason to lie. I arrived here seven months ago, gave myself a month to settle in and then started working at the FBI.

"Like it?"

"Oh yeah. I love it here." Also true.

As we exchange small talk I look for signs of his other, more sinister occupation. I focus on the fridge once more, and the photo.

"She's pretty. Your girlfriend?" I move in for a closer look. Bingo. It's a picture of one of the victims.

He moves in behind me and I can feel his eyes on the back of my neck. He's only a couple of steps away, and he's invading my personal space.

He hesitates. "Ex, actually. We came to a—" he pauses, seemingly trying to find the right word "—messy end."

I've seen the photos, it was messy all right. What a sick bastard.

"These things can get messy, can't they," I say, talking about both relationships and murders. "I can tell you're still a bit sweet on her."

He pulls up next to me and leans on the fridge. "No, not really. I must take that photo down."

"What's her name?"


"Kathy. She's very pretty," I repeat, happy that he used the victim's real name. Flynn and Marco will know who I'm looking at. Kathy's picture is evidence. The bust is looking good.

"Clear your throat if it's our Kathy, Goldilocks," Flynn says through my earpiece.

I clear my throat, then turn it into a slight cough.

"Do you want a glass of water?" Boxley asks.

"No. Thanks, I'm fine." I move back into the living room. "Before I start, do you have a roommate or someone who'd like to see the products too?"

"No, there's just me."

Good. No roomie. We'll be going ahead.

"Well, Mr. Boxley, I can see you take pride in the cleanliness of your home and you're going to love our products," I say, getting into my well-rehearsed sales spiel. I put my case on the coffee table in front of the windows, right where I want to be positioned—near the sharpshooters in case they need to take a shot at our Mr. Boxley.

I have the suspect's full attention.

I open the black vinyl case. Inside are several compartments that contain cleaning products and a few cloths. The lid of the case has elastic stretched across it horizontally, holding in place two small pieces of laminate. From the main section of the case I select the all-surface cream.

I hold the bottle up with the label facing Boxley. I glide one hand in front of the bottle, hovering over the label like the girls do in the game shows. I've always wanted to do that.

I start. "This gentle cleansing cream is our top seller because you can use it on just about everything. Stove tops, washrooms, toilets, kitchen counters and so on."

I take a piece of predirtied laminated board from my bag. "This has got a couple of red-wine stains on it here, and this is a curry stain." I point to a reddish-brown mark. "Always a tough stain."

I'm rushing it. I need to slow it down.

I take out a cloth. "Now, you don't need much of this little baby." I purr the words, in character again. I squeeze the bottle so the white foamy substance oozes onto the cloth. I lean forward and reveal just enough cleavage to get his mind, or more likely his body, going.

Boxley responds, shifting ever so slightly to get a better view. Creep.

"Then it's just a gentle wipe." I speak slowly, softly and let the "p" sound pop on my lips.

"Goldilocks, you're getting me going." It's Marco's voice. I don't react. I'll get him for that later.

"Very impressive." Boxley is clearly talking more about me than the cleaning products.

I smile, let my eyes linger on his, then cast my gaze quickly down his body, averting my eyes at his groin as though suddenly aware of, and embarrassed by, my own actions. I follow it with a small yet forceful push of air through my nose that verges on a giggle. While he's absorbing this development, I cast my eyes around the room once more, looking for any sign of a weapon.

"See." I show him the clean piece of laminated board.


He smiles.

It's time.

I take the appropriate bottle out of my sales bag.

"Our next product is the window cleaner."

I turn around and walk toward the window, exaggerating the swing of my hips. I spray the window and before I start the wiping action I look around at Boxley with my head down slightly, eyes up, and I smile.

"You're going to love this one." My voice has a more serious, tougher tone and I'm out of character for a split second, knowing that soon he'll be mine. I wipe the product away, giving our guys the signal. The bust is a go.

"Mad Dog, this is seven, we have the signal. Repeat, we are a go," a voice says in my earpiece.

"Move in, people," Flynn says.

I turn around and notice a strange look on Boxley's face. He's looking at my feet. No, my ankle. Oh God, my ankle holster. Have my pants edged their way upward as my arm completed the wiping motion, high above my head? How could I be so stupid? My cockiness might cost me dearly.

"Anything wrong?" I keep my voice casual, steady.

Boxley looks at me, silent. I know that look. He's about to take action.

He lunges, arms outstretched. I dart to the side, just in time to escape his lethal hands, then immediately take a step forward with my left leg and send a swift, hard right kick his way. I aim for his back, targeting his kidneys, and the top of my foot meets its mark. He stumbles forward from the force of my kick and winds up on his knees in front of the window. He turns around to make another run at me. I grab my gun from the ankle holster and draw it, taking the safety off.

"FBI!" It's the first time I've announced myself as FBI and I like it. The adrenaline is well and truly pumping now.

Boxley pauses.

"I will fire, Robert, so don't even think about it." I look at him and all I can think about are his victims. I lower my gun from his heart to his crotch. It has the desired effect.

"There are twenty police officers and agents on their way up here right now and we've got sharpshooters on the surrounding buildings." He's standing right in their line of fire. "Try anything and you're dead."

"You bitch."

"Flynn, I have the suspect."

"Okay, Goldilocks, we're a minute away."

I walk backward and unlock the front door, keeping my eyes and gun trained on Boxley. "Roger that, Flynn, door is open."

"You bitches are all the same," Boxley says.

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 www.pdmartin.com.au.

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Body Count 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
acorley84 More than 1 year ago
Body Count - You Don't Know What You're Missing!! For a more in depth review, please visit my blog, Chorley Chronicals! Let me start out by saying, this is my new favorite series and author! I am going to go out on a limb here and say that P.D. Martin ranks right up there with mystery writer great, Lisa Gardner! I am so beyond impressed with P.D. Martin and the Sophie Anderson series! I love the fact that in her writing, Martin goes the extra step to explain things that might be left to the reader's imagination in other books. She makes sure that the reader is aware of the procedures that are happening, to give them a better understanding of how the world of the FBI and a Criminal Profiler works, and I really appreciated that. It didn't add that much more to the book, but added a world of difference in my understanding of what was going on. I thought that the plot was well written with a different twist that you don't find in many other books. The plot was a suspense builder, leaving me clueless as to who the killer was throughout. Many friends of mine said they guessed the killer early on, but I was absolutely in left field and wasn't exactly sure who did it! It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat and frantically turning the pages to get through the book as quickly as I could! The strong sense of needing to know was present, but there were plenty of surprises throughout! There is romance included in Body Count, but it certainly doesn't overpower the mystery or suspense by any means! The characters of Body Count were interesting and diverse and enjoyable to read about! I love that the lead character Sophie, is a strong, independent woman who knows how to take care of herself. I thought that these particular characters were quite unique compared to your regular run of the mill characters! I can't wait to follow Sophie and learn more about her as I go! Overall, I loved Body Count and absolutely will continue with the Sophie Anderson series! The only complaint that I even has is the lack of availability to everyone. It is a book that is relatively hard to find and doesn't seem to be carried in most libraries, which is should!! This is an amazing job for what appears to be P.D. Martin's debut novel, and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us in The Murderers' Club, because it certainly looks like it'll be an awesome book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keep me intereseted the entire time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ldyhawkem More than 1 year ago
I believe this is P.D. Martin's first book and sets up the storyline for the next two books that follow. For the genre which is more or less cops and robbers (or serial killers), it is one of the better books I've read. It would make a good movie. I read a lot and I actually read this set of books backwards which is saying a lot. Had I not enjoyed the third book, I would never have picked up the first and second. So, if you enjoy FBI/Quantico/Profiler reading, you will enjoy this one.
furgy62 More than 1 year ago
I read this book on my Nook in one day. I don't like giving away spoilers because then people don't read the book. Anyway Sophie Anderson is an FBI profiler who is originally from Australia. She ends up on a case where the killer always seems to be one step ahead and forensic continously comes up empty. The perp is good at hiding his tracks. Sophie is very intuitive in more ways than one and finally is able to figure out the guys lair. I won't give anymore away except to say the ID of the killer is a huge surprise. The author P.D. Martin does a great job in this book, it is a really great crime thriller and the characters are all interesting. I like the Aussie twist in the main character. Great read and I greatly enjoyed it.(less)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
another excellent addition to the series
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Two murders with the same MO in Washington DC leads the FBI to believe a serial killer is emerging. Agent Sam Wright leads the investigation as the third victim is found. However this time the crime scene contains a personalized clue from the culprit, who mockingly challenges Sam to do her best apparently the perp knows a lot about Sam, but leaves behind nothing further to help her uncover the identity of the murderer. Australian Sophie Anderson came to the States to join the FBI Behavioral Science Unit as a profiler. She quickly proves to be one of the best, but hides the real reason she is so good at describing perps Sophie has psychic skills that come in the form of disconcerting often ugly nightmares. She is assisting her best friend Samantha on the case. However, Sophie begins to withdraw as her night visions turn even uglier when she assumes the role of the victims as they are being killed, but even worse, at times she becomes the acerbic killer feeling the euphoria and ugliness from inside him. When Sam is abducted, Sophie knows she must use her talent to avoid what happened to her brother when she was a child her only help comes from Agent Josh Marco, who she finds attractive. --- This is a superb police procedural thriller with a paranormal twist to provide freshness to the overly used taunting serial killer cat and mouse contest. The story line is filled with action and tension and contains a psychological spin atypical of the sub-genre as this slant focuses on Sophie¿s struggle not to go over the deep end due to the assaults on her senses. Though more use of the paranormal skill (in your face hint for future Sophie suspense sagas) would have been welcome, P.D. Martin provides an excellent thriller that has the audience on the edge of their seats with what happens next. --- Harriet Klausner