An elite team of FBI profilers is called in to help Chicago detectives investigate a series of bizarre murders. Though all are violent and disturbing, the crimes seem unrelated—until profiler David Rossi makes the connection. He recognizes each grisly tableau as one modeled on the crime scenes of three of the country’s most notorious serial killers: David Berkowitz, Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey Dahmer. Someone is taking the cult of true crime to terrifying extremes, and with so many killers left to emulate, Rossi wonders how he can possibly profile a killer who’s hiding within the killer profiles of others…
Read an Excerpt
For local detectives, one or more of four murder motives figure in ninety-nine percent of the homicides they encounter. These motives are, in no particular order, love, money, sex, and drugs.
No matter the circumstance, no matter how far afield the killers’ motives seem to be, the four basics almost always pertain: love, money, sex, or drugs. Love and sex, of course, have considerable overlap, but then so do money and drugs.
And when a crime comes up where the motive doesn’t clearly fall into those categories, that special one percent of murders that the local police cannot solve on their own, the best option remaining, in the minds of many in local law enforcement, is to bring such cases to the attention of the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Just south of Washington, D.C., across the Potomac River from Maryland, the U.S. Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia, serves as home to dozens of Marine Corps schools, the DEA training academy, and the FBI Training and Development Division. Also nestled within the nearly four hundred acres of woods, surrounding what its inhabitants sometimes call the Facility, is the Behavioral Analysis Unit.
Within the walls of the blandly modern, anonymous concrete buildings, the BAU consists of several multiperson, close-knit teams, the nature of whose duty often creates a strong sense of family. Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner’s team was no exception; and his profilers were due back today from a weekend off—no duty, no on-call, no anything, just some much deserved R and R.
Rest and recreation meant, for Hotchner, reading through fitness results, budget analyses, and police reports for one day of his time off, rather than two. Other agents, both on and off his team, considered Hotchner a driven, somewhat humorless taskmaster. He considered himself only a professional with a job that required both concentration and detachment.
Without the latter, burnout or even madness could be the consequence, as Aaron Hotchner was a modern-day Van Helsing tracking down real-life monsters who made the likes of Dracula or the Wolf Man seem quaint.
This took its toll. He and Haley, his wife of eleven years, had separated last fall. Now, they were facing divorce, their marriage another victim of the monsters Hotchner pursued. The severe tension of the initial breakup had eased some, however, and he had been welcomed to her sister’s house where he spent Saturday afternoon with Haley and their son, Jack. Three now, Jack was harder to chase down than most of the UnSubs Hotchner had been after during his FBI career. They had gone to a kid-oriented pizza place for supper, as a family, if a broken one, and while Jack played, the soon to be ex-husband and -wife had talked in a guarded but not unfriendly way about where things were, currently, with how they’d gotten there undiscussed.
After half a day with the two people on the planet he loved most, Hotchner had gotten the best night’s sleep he’d had in months. After sleeping in yesterday, he had read the Sunday paper in the kitchen, where the emptiness of the house almost overwhelmed him. He spent most of the day in his home office, going over reports, coming out only to microwave his meals and catch up on cable news.
For many years Haley had exhibited saintlike patience with his workaholic ways, but these last several years had included an array of horrific cases that had made Hotchner only more withdrawn and had taken him away from home for days and even weeks at a time. When he’d turned down a nine-to-five job on the white-collar task force, Hotchner had finally pushed Haley too far.
‘‘You can’t stop all the monsters,’’ she’d said.
‘‘I have to try. I’ve seen what these creatures do to families. Think of our son.’’
‘‘No, Aaron. You think of our son. You need to put our family first, and everybody else’s family needs to go into second place.’’
‘‘Try to understand. Stopping these people is my way of protecting my family.’’
‘‘Oh, fine, wonderful. On some spiritual, metaphysical level, I’m sure that makes perfect sense. But how do you protect our family, this family, if you’re away all the time?’’
‘‘This is who I am, Haley. Please try to understand that.’’
‘‘I do understand that, Aaron. And I do love you. I do still love you. But I have to leave.’’
And she had.
He awoke early Monday morning, after not nearly enough sleep, eased out of bed, showered, dressed in his best navy blue suit, and came into the office. A tall, broad-shouldered yet slender man with dark hair and burning brown eyes, Hotchner bore the pale complexion of an indoor animal, although spending half a day outside with Jack and Haley had added a little pink to high, sharp cheekbones. His look, his demeanor, were fitting for the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but he made considerably less, even if his responsibilities were similarly demanding. Seated behind a desk neatly piled with files, Hotchner sipped his coffee and checked his watch. The rest of the team would be rolling in over the next half hour.
That Hotchner was in charge of the team went beyond his assigned role to his nature, and it was in his nature to lead by example. Part of that meant being first in (and last out) of the office, with the exception of media maven Jennifer Jareau. Consequently, he had unlocked his door a full hour before the start of shift.
The first agent to get off the elevator and stride into the bullpen area below Hotchner’s office was Emily Prentiss. A willowy, quietly stylish brunette whose hair touched her shoulders, the thirtyish Prentiss had been a member of the BAU for over a year now. The well-connected daughter of a diplomat, with the looks of a fashion model and the intellect of a physicist, she’d served FBI tours in both St. Louis and Chicago before the FBI foisted her on Hotchner; but he had come to respect and value her—Prentiss worked hard, maintained a cool professional attitude on site, and never complained about an assignment. Further, she’d been embraced by the rest of team over time—no small thing, as she’d replaced a popular agent who’d gone over the line. As she sat at her desk, Prentiss glanced up at him through the window separating Hotchner’s office from the bullpen. When she saw him through the open venetian blinds, she nodded and smiled, just a little.
Hotchner nodded back, did not return the smile, then looked down at the file in front of him. He worked a while.
Next in was the team’s youngest member, Dr. Spencer Reid. Twenty-six and a five-year veteran of the BAU, the gangly Reid wore gray slacks and a blue blazer with a white shirt and a red-and-goldstriped tie, though the collar button remained unbuttoned and the knot loosened. The strap to his briefcase rode his left shoulder, the case tucked under his right arm. The overall effect of the outfit was that Reid looked like a scholarship student who was late for a chemistry class at some private prep school. Reid was doing better now. A sensitive young man who hid behind statistics on every subject, he had not so long ago suffered through a traumatic stretch; one of their UnSubs (unknown subjects) had taken Reid captive and subjected him to mental and physical abuse and, briefly drug dependence. The ordeal had made Reid question whether he belonged in the BAU, but Hotch and their former teammate Jason Gideon had counseled Reid and convinced him to stay—ironic, now that Gideon had suffered his own burnout and had gone off on his soul-searching way.
Every agent on his team was talented, even gifted, but Hotchner knew that Reid—with his triple PhDs in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Engineering from Cal Tech—was a special case, and very likely the most brilliant of them all. The young man had an eidetic memory, and a 187 IQ with a capacity to read twenty thousand words per minute. More important, the wealth of data at the agent’s mental fingertips had over time interwoven with his ever-growing profiling skills. No question, Reid was a key asset to Hotchner’s team.
Coming into the bullpen from her office was Supervisory Special Agent Jennifer Jareau, a quietly stunning blue-eyed blonde who served as the BAU’s Media and Local Law Enforcement Liaison. JJ looked typically crisp and professional in black slacks and black pumps with a white blouse under a black waistcoat. A Georgetown journalism graduate, she wasn’t much older than Reid and, hence, the second youngest member of the team. Over the last several years, Hotchner had watched with considerable satisfaction as Jareau’s maturity leapt beyond her youth.
The newest member of their team was nothing less than a legend in the FBI, and a bestselling author to boot, as well as a top lecturer both within the profession and without. The fiftyish David Rossi had the look of a professor at a small college—black hair, well-trimmed goatee, and casual business attire (blue work shirt with a striped tie under a gray sports jacket and, of course, jeans). When he strolled out of the elevator, as if he owned the joint, his confidence managed to stop just this side of arrogance.
Maybe he didn’t own the joint, but Rossi had certainly helped build it. Back in the day, along with Max Ryan and Jason Gideon (a Ryan prote´ge´), Rossi had pioneered criminal profiling, which led to the creation of the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Of this three-man profiler Hall of Fame, Ryan had retired to a quiet life away from the violence and heartache that accompanied their job, Rossi to the bestseller list, the talk show stage and lecture circuit, and now Gideon was gone, too.
With Gideon’s sudden and unexpected resignation, Rossi had volunteered to come back, for reasons of his own, and Hotchner had hoped this venerable hero of their field might fill the void left by Gideon. But Gideon had been the heart of the team, its conscience, its spiritual center, whereas Rossi was a loner who—while his value could not be underestimated— as yet showed limited signs of wanting to play father confessor or lead them in a round of ‘‘Kum Ba Yah’’ around the campfire.
And there had been some friction when Rossi returned—he had his way, the old way, the team had theirs, the new way. The transition had been difficult for Hotchner who had, after all, been recruited to the BAU by Rossi. Now as his mentor’s boss, Hotchner occasionally had to redefine their roles in this new circumstance.
As he came up the few stairs to the elevated level and passed the window of Hotchner’s office, Rossi gave Hotchner a scampish little grin and a nod, then moved on. There was something both friendly and hostile about it—Rossi reminding the stoic Hotchner that a profiler could actually have a sense of humor. The last to show was Derek Morgan, an African- American with short hair and a killer smile, who had the build of the ex-athlete he was. Originally from Chicago, Morgan graduated from Northwestern Law, was an ex-cop (his father had been a cop, too) and had spent some time with ATF before joining the BAU almost ten years ago.
Morgan had no shortage of brains, but if there was muscle on Hotchner’s team, Morgan was it—in addition to his BAU duties, he also taught hand-to-hand combat at Quantico. Morgan wore a light blue pullover sweater, dark dress slacks, black rubber-soled shoes, his service pistol riding his hip. He strode through the bullpen with a confidence considerably less surreptitious than Rossi’s, headed up the few stairs, and came straight to the door of Hotchner’s office.
‘‘Come in,’’ Hotchner told the closed door.
Morgan did, leaving the door open.
‘‘Morning,’’ Hotchner said.
Dropping into one of the visitor’s chairs opposite Hotchner’s desk, Morgan smiled easily at him. ‘‘Have a good weekend?’’
Hotchner nodded. ‘‘I spent Saturday afternoon with Jack at Haley’s sister’s.’’
‘‘Nice. That’s one afternoon.’’
‘‘Hotch, we had two days off.’’
‘‘Tell me you didn’t just hole up in your office at home and work the rest of it.’’
‘‘How did you spend your weekend?’’
Morgan lifted a hand. ‘‘I went away with a woman. We danced. Drank some beer. Generally chilled. Now I am refreshed and ready to work.’’
Morgan tilted his head. ‘‘Hotch, you’re working too hard.’’
Hotchner shrugged. ‘‘Lot to do.’’
‘‘You can’t work 24-7. Don’t tell me it’s not my place, because I am counting on you to be brighteyed and bushy-tailed as our fearless leader.’’
Hotchner actually smiled at that.
Morgan smiled, too, bigger.
‘‘Point taken,’’ Hotchner said. ‘‘Did you stop by my office just to play guidance counselor?’’
‘‘No. I came in to tell you I got a call this weekend. Remember Tate Lorenzon?’’
Hotchner shook his head, but then said, ‘‘Wait— he’s a friend of yours, isn’t he? From back home?’’
‘‘Sweet home Chicago. Grew up on the same block. He’s a detective in the city now. His father worked with mine.’’
‘‘I see.’’ Hotchner was wondering where this was going. That Morgan’s cop father had been shot before his young son’s eyes was not lost on the team leader.
‘‘Listen, he’s got a case he wants us to look at.’’
Hotchner worked at not frowning, without success. They had a protocol for these things, and calling in favors from old friends was not part of it. ‘‘All right. And what did you tell him?’’
Shrugging, Morgan said, ‘‘I told him to go through channels.’’
‘‘So he called JJ,’’ Morgan said.
Hotchner sighed. ‘‘Well, that skips a channel or two, but—’’
As if she’d been summoned, Jennifer Jareau appeared at the door and knocked on the jamb.
His eyes still on Morgan, Hotchner said, ‘‘Yes?’’
Jareau came over to the desk, flashed Hotchner a businesslike smile; usually she’d be bearing a sheaf of papers from an impending case, but now she held only a small stack of photos. ‘‘I think I’ve found our next case.’’
‘‘Wild guess?’’ Hotchner said, watching Morgan who was looking around the office as if it were a crime scene and he couldn’t be bothered right now.
‘‘Good guess,’’ Jareau said, ‘‘but not exactly.’’
‘‘The Chicago suburbs.’’
Hotchner nodded to the other chair opposite his desk. ‘‘Explain.’’
Jareau sat and said, ‘‘Over the weekend, I got a call from a Chicago detective named Tate Lorenzon.’’ Morgan seemed interested in something on the front of his shirt.
‘‘He e-mailed me these three photos.’’ She reached forward and spread them out on the desk like a grisly hand of cards.
Hotchner took in the crime scene photos, one at a time. ‘‘What am I looking at?’’
‘‘All three of these were sent to the jurisdictions the crimes were committed in,’’ she said. ‘‘The first one, the car . . .’’
‘‘Wait a minute—these aren’t police crime scene photos?’’
‘‘No. They are photos taken at the scene of crimes, before the police got there. And then sent to the police.’’
Interested, Hotchner gave Morgan a wide-eyed look and Morgan lifted an eyebrow and nodded, which was as close to saying ‘‘I told you so’’ to Aaron Hotchner as Derek Morgan ever got.
Jareau picked back up: ‘‘The first one? The car . . .’’ She waited until Hotchner shuffled the photos around and looked at the one of a young couple shot to death in a car parked on a rain-soaked blacktop, a crumpled piece of paper on the road near the driver’s door.
Jareau said, ‘‘Adrienne Andrews and her boyfriend Benjamin Mendoza were gunned down in a car outside her house around one in the morning on April eighteenth, at the corner of Two-Hundred- Seventh Street and Hutchinson Avenue. This photo, almost assuredly taken by the killer, showed up at Chicago Heights PD on the nineteenth.’’
‘‘Via the Internet?’’
She shook her head. ‘‘Snail mail. No prints, no DNA, no nothing. The second crime is the two decomposed bodies.’’
Hotchner flipped to a photo of two skulls and several large bones on the ground in a wooded area.
‘‘The bones belong to two women who went missing on June fourteenth from Bangs Lake in Wauconda, a northern suburb in the lake counties. The photos showed up at the Wauconda PD on June sixteenth. Again, snail mail. The bones were found a week later, a few miles away in Lakewood Forest Preserve.’’
The third photo showed a fifty-five-gallon blue plastic barrel sitting in the hallway of what appeared to be a vacant apartment.
‘‘This is the only crime that took place in Chicago proper,’’ Jareau said. ‘‘This barrel with a body in it was found in a vacant apartment on Twenty-fifth Street in Chinatown on July twenty-second.’’
Hotchner stared up from the photo at Morgan, who finally met his eyes. They both knew what these photos represented, and it was more than just three disparate crime scenes.
‘‘Let’s get Lorenzon on the phone,’’ Hotchner said. With an embarrassed smile, Morgan said, ‘‘That won’t be necessary. He’ll be here in about ten minutes.’’
Morgan nodded. ‘‘He and an associate flew out. His chief was eager that he do so. And I think we’re past talking about protocol and proper channels, Hotch.’’
Hotchner could only agree. He said, ‘‘As soon as Detective Lorenzon gets here’’—his eyes on Jareau— ‘‘I want the team in the conference room.’’
Jareau appeared slightly puzzled at the rush, but her nod said she would make it happen and she left the office.
Turning his gaze back to Morgan, Hotchner said, ‘‘Why didn’t you call me at home with this?’’
‘‘Lorenzon told me about it over the phone on Saturday,’’ Morgan said. ‘‘He and another detective flew in on Sunday—strictly his idea, Hotch—and we didn’t sit down until I got back to the city . . . since some of us actually know the meaning of R and R . . . and we had dinner last night. Tate didn’t know what he had.’’
‘‘Not at all?’’
‘‘Well, he figured they may have a serial killer on their hands. But he didn’t understand these MOs being all over the map. But of course, we have a rough idea.’’
Hotchner nodded. ‘‘Did you explain it to him?’’ Morgan shook his head. ‘‘Hell, Hotch, I knew we’d end up taking the case, and it would wait till then. I mean, could anything be more up our alley?’’
‘‘No,’’ Hotchner admitted.
‘‘I figured Tate could find out today and have one last good night’s sleep before we turned his world upside down.’’
Hotchner, with no sarcasm whatsoever, said, ‘‘Considerate.’’
‘‘How did you sleep?’’
Rising from his chair, Morgan said, ‘‘You really don’t want to know. You’d send my ass home for an all-day nap.’’
By the time the pair marched through the bullpen, two men were exiting the elevator. One was older and Hispanic, maybe Rossi’s age, the other younger and African-American. The Hispanic was shorter, balding, with full cheeks and sleepy brown eyes, dark hair showing signs of gray at the temples. He wore a tan sport coat, blue jeans, a brown buttondown shirt open at the collar and brown loafers with no socks.
The African-American had an easy smile, sharp brown eyes, a wispy black mustache and goatee, and close-cropped hair. He wore a black T-shirt under a black suit and had the build of a former athlete, maybe one who still took time out for hoops. Morgan said, ‘‘This is Chicago Detective Tate Lorenzon.’’
Hotchner shook hands with the black detective, who had a firm grip and eyes that met Hotchner’s.
‘‘Thanks for seeing us, Agent Hotchner,’’ Lorenzon said. ‘‘I know we’re kind of barging in.’’
‘‘Not a problem,’’ Hotchner said. ‘‘My friends call me Hotch.’’
‘‘And I’m Tate.’’ Then, turning to his companion, Lorenzon added, ‘‘Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner, meet Detective Hilario Tovar, Chicago Heights PD.’’
Grinning and extending his hand, Tovar said, ‘‘It’s Hilly, and we really do appreciate your time. I mean, we know all about the BAU—you’re the first team, and you don’t waste time on the small stuff.’’
‘‘Hilly,’’ Hotchner said with a nod, shaking the man’s hand. ‘‘We’re happy to help, if we can.’’
‘‘That’s good to hear,’’ Lorenzon said. ‘‘There are plenty of cops back our way who think Hilly and me are off the rails on this one. You say ‘serial killer’ to a cop and he thinks you’ve seen too many movies.’’ A needle of apprehension jabbed Hotchner. ‘‘You both know we can only enter cases where we’ve been invited.’’
‘‘You and vampires,’’ Lorenzon said.
The remark was one, in seemingly endless variations, that Hotchner had often heard before; he hid any irritation and said, ‘‘Be that as it may . . .’’
Tovar held up a hand. ‘‘Listen, both our departments may think we’re gonzo, but Tate and me have pretty good track records, so to shut us up, if nothing else? They’ve agreed to extend you an invitation . . . if you think the two of us are on the right track. On the other hand, maybe they just wanted to get us out of town where you could talk some sense into us.’’
‘‘So you know what you have,’’ Hotchner said flatly—a statement, not a question.
‘‘We think so,’’ Lorenzon said, and sighed. ‘‘But like I say, nobody else wants to believe it.’’
Morgan said, ‘‘Who’d want to?’’
Jareau came up to them. ‘‘Everyone’s ready.’’ Introductions were made and she shook hands with both men.
‘‘We appreciate your time,’’ Tovar said to her.
‘‘It’s our job,’’ she said. ‘‘If this develops into anything, I’ll be working media.’’
‘‘No, if we come to Chicago, I’ll be part of the team.’’
Hotch saw Morgan smile, just a little. The two outof- town detectives could hardly have failed to notice just how striking a young woman Jareau was, and having her around wouldn’t be the worst fate in the world.
Jareau led them into the conference room, giving Tovar and Lorenzon seats on Hotchner’s left, Rossi on his right, the rest of the team fanned out around the large mahogany table that was the room’s centerpiece. Morgan and Reid sat to Rossi’s right, Prentiss to the left of Lorenzon, Jareau remaining on her feet as she made the introductions.
A picture window with venetian blinds occupied the wall immediately to the right of the door, a twin to the window in Hotchner’s office. To the left was a cupboard and counter with a copier, a fax machine in the corner beyond. The wall to the left had three narrow bulletproof windows that served only to let in light, a brown sofa under them, a potted tree beside it. A wall-mounted whiteboard had been cleaned.
The sections of corkboard on either side of the whiteboard still held tacked-up notes, photos, reports, and other detritus from their previous case.
The wall opposite the door contained a HDTV flat screen on which could be displayed PowerPoint presentations and videos from cases.
‘‘The reason these detectives came to us,’’ Hotchner said, ‘‘is these photos you are about to see. JJ?’’
Jareau pushed a button on the remote and the first crime scene photo popped up on the HD screen. They all took a good look: a young couple in a car on a blacktop road next to a house, wadded piece of paper on the rain-soaked street under the driver’s door.
No one said a word.
Then Jareau spoke. ‘‘This photo was sent by snail mail to the Chicago Heights Police Department and turned over to Detective Tovar. Does it remind you of anything?’’
Morgan, who Hotchner knew already had the answer, said nothing. The others also stayed mute, but Reid seemed focused on something in the photo and Hotchner knew the young man was close to seeing what he and Morgan had long since picked up on. Hotchner gave Reid a hint. ‘‘Detective Tovar, could you tell us the date of the crime and intersection where it took place?’’
‘‘April seventeenth,’’ Tovar said, ‘‘or actually early April eighteenth, one a.m. Corner of Two-Hundredand- Seventh Street and Hutchinson Avenue.’’
Almost before the words were out of the detective’s mouth, Reid quietly said, ‘‘Berkowitz.’’
‘‘David Berkowitz?’’ Prentiss asked, eyes and nostrils flaring.
Nodding rapidly now, Reid said, ‘‘Son of Sam. On April seventeenth, nineteen seventy-seven, two lovers— an eighteen-year-old actress, Valentina Suriani and her tow-truck driver boyfriend, twenty-year-old Alexander Esau—were necking in a parked car near the Hutchinson River Parkway in the Bronx when they were shot to death by Berkowitz. Though they were the ninth and tenth victims he shot, they were only the fifth and sixth to die. One of the police officers at the scene found a letter addressed to the lead detective on the so-called case of the .44 Caliber Killer— Captain Joseph Borelli. It was the letter where Berkowitz gave himself the name ‘Son Of Sam.’ ’’
Lorenzon spoke up. ‘‘You’re talking about the guy who got his marching orders from a damn dog?’’
‘‘A Labrador retriever named Harvey,’’ Reid said in his lilting, matter-of-fact way. He might have been answering a question in a round of Trivial Pursuit.
‘‘Was there anything on the crumpled piece of paper?’’
‘‘No,’’ Tovar said.
‘‘We’ll get it to our lab,’’ Hotchner said. ‘‘They might be able to find something.’’
‘‘The murder weapon,’’ Morgan said. ‘‘What do we know about it?’’
Tovar said, ‘‘It’s a—’’
‘‘Would it be a Charter Arms Bulldog,’’ Reid interrupted,
‘‘.44 caliber special?’’
Hotchner watched the detective sitting there openmouthed, staring at Reid as if a two-year-old had suddenly spouted the Gettysburg Address.
‘‘It, uh, was a .44,’’ Tovar said. ‘‘What are you, kid, a witch?’’
‘‘That would be ‘warlock,’ ’’ Reid said.
Morgan cut in. ‘‘But he is a doctor and a supervisory special agent, so ‘kid’ may not really be appropriate.’’
‘‘Sorry, Dr. Reid,’’ Tovar said, flustered.
Reid waved that off, while Hotchner said, ‘‘You just want to make sure you take Dr. Reid seriously. Because he doesn’t just pull these things out of the air.’’
Morgan said, ‘‘Or the other place you might assume he’s pulling it out of.’’
‘‘Point is,’’ Reid said, ‘‘it’s the same gun Berkowitz used.’’
Jareau touched a button on the remote and the second photo came up on the screen: bones found in the Lakewood Forest Preserve.
Jareau said, ‘‘Detective Tovar got this photo from a friend on the job in Wauconda, one of the far northern suburbs in the lake counties.’’
‘‘Jake Denson,’’ Tovar said. ‘‘He sent me the photo when I asked him if he’d received any in the mail; but Jake thinks, because of the difference in MO? His nut and our nut are different guys.’’
Reid said, ‘‘ ‘Nut’ is probably not a good way to describe this individual, and it is one individual. You’re dealing with someone intelligent and even sophisticated. Don’t underestimate him.’’
The two detectives exchanged awkward glances. They had the look of minor leaguers thrust into the big time.
Rossi, whose face assumed a deceptive blankness when he concentrated, nodded toward the image of bones and asked, ‘‘What’s the story here?’’
Jareau said, ‘‘Hikers found the remains of two young women in Lakewood Forest Preserve on Saturday, June twenty-first. There were two skulls, four femurs, and a jawbone. The remains were identified as Donna Cooper and Casey Goddard, two young women who disappeared from Bangs Lake in Wauconda on June fourteenth.’’
Prentiss said, ‘‘Like two young women last seen with a handsome young man, with a cast on one arm, claiming he needed help getting a boat off his car.’’
‘‘Oh hell,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘Ted Bundy,’’ Rossi said.
Reid said, ‘‘The date is off by exactly one month, but it matches the disappearance of Janice Ott and Denise Naslund in Washington state. Their bones were found later in Lake Sammamish State Park.’’
‘‘Damnit,’’ Tovar said, and pounded a fist into a palm. ‘‘I never put that together . . . but yeah, that fits what Denson told me. He just included so much extra crap I never saw the pieces for what they were.’’
Lorenzon said, ‘‘Then mine’s a copycat too.’’
Taking the hint, Jareau switched to the third photo, the plastic barrel in the vacant apartment. ‘‘On July twenty-second, this was found by policemen following up on an anonymous tip about a domestic dispute in an apartment building in Chinatown.’’
Eyes narrowed, Reid said, ‘‘The address? Is it in the nine hundred block of Twenty-fifth Street?’’
Lorenzon stared at him for a long moment, proba bly about the way Moses looked at the burning bush, Hotchner thought.
Then the Chicago cop slowly shook his head. ‘‘You got the street right, but there is no nine hundred block, Dr. Reid—the street’s too short. It was in the two hundred block . . .’’
‘‘Two thirteen,’’ Reid said, unfazed.
‘‘Now, man, that’s freaky,’’ Lorenzon said. ‘‘How did you know? Goddamn, is Dr. Reid here psychic?’’ Hotchner said tightly, ‘‘No. He’s a profiler.’’
Reid, trying not to look pleased about Hotchner’s remark, said, ‘‘The apartment house where the original blue barrel was found was nine twenty-four North Twenty-fifth Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin— the apartment number was two-thirteen. The occupant was a thirty-one year old man who had recently lost his job at a chocolate factory . . .’’
‘‘Oh Christ,’’ Lorenzon said. He swallowed thickly. ‘‘Goddamned Jeffrey Dahmer.’’
His expression grave, Morgan asked, ‘‘What about the victim?’’
‘‘Male, young Caucasian, twenty, maybe— probably a runaway—haven’t identified him yet. The ME thinks he had been in the barrel for the better part of a month before he was found.’’
‘‘Did the medical examiner give you a cause of death?’’
Lorenzon shook his head. ‘‘The body was nearly too decomposed . . . broken hyoid bone, though. Probably manual strangulation.’’
Reid asked, ‘‘What about the sexual aspects of these crimes?’’
‘‘I don’t know about the Wauconda case,’’ Tovar said. ‘‘I haven’t seen the entire file and the photo just shows bones. I can tell you there was no sexual evidence with the shooting in the Heights.’’
Reid nodded thoughtfully. ‘‘There was no direct sexual evidence in the Berkowitz killings either, though. What about the barrel?’’
‘‘Again,’’ Lorenzon said, ‘‘he was just too decomposed.’’ Rossi said, ‘‘Berkowitz hated women, as did Bundy, while Dahmer killed gay men—a sexual aspect in each case, but this UnSub is taking two from column A and one from column B in an unusual way.’’
‘‘What does that tell us about the killer’s sexuality?’’ Prentiss asked. ‘‘He’s copying both straight and gay killers.’’
Hotchner said, ‘‘The killer could be straight, gay, or judging by the complete lack of sexual evidence at the scenes, asexual. In fact, by avoiding the sexual aspects of the case, the UnSub might even be trying to remove his own sexuality from the equation.’’
‘‘I think that’s it,’’ Reid said, nodding. ‘‘He’s trying to compartmentalize his own sexuality from these crimes, which is not easy considering the extreme degree of sexual dysfunction in the crimes he’s copying.’’
Rossi lifted an eyebrow and added, ‘‘That may be because he views himself as a performance artist, for whom the ultimate expression is not the murder itself, but the photographic record of that murder.’’
Shaking his head, Tovar said, ‘‘So, where does that leave us—back at square one?’’
‘‘Not completely,’’ Reid said. ‘‘We know his signature.’’
‘‘Yeah,’’ Lorenzon said, ‘‘his signature is he kills people.’’
‘‘Signature?’’ Tovar asked. ‘‘He’s used a gun on two, cut up two, and God only knows what he did to the other.’’
Rossi said, ‘‘Don’t confuse signature with MO.’’
‘‘There’s a difference?’’ Tovar asked.
With a nod, Rossi said, ‘‘ ‘Modus Operandi’ is how he does the crime. ‘Signature’ is what he has to do for the crime to get him where he’s going. What gets him off.’’
‘‘And what’s that?’’
Rossi pointed at the picture on the flat screen. ‘‘The photos.’’
Morgan twitched a frown. ‘‘Someone is re-creating murders by some of the most infamous serial killers of all time—why?’’
‘‘Simple,’’ Prentiss said. ‘‘This guy wants to be infamous, too.’’
They all turned toward her, Hotchner noticing that Rossi gave her an encouraging nod.
‘‘Is there any other way this pathology makes any sense?’’ she asked. ‘‘An UnSub who wants to make a place for himself in the Hall of Infamy?’’
Nobody seemed to have an answer for that.
Raising his voice just a little, bringing the focus of the room to the oldest old pro among them, Rossi said, ‘‘He’s killed five people in three different jurisdictions—which means he’s working hard at not getting caught, even though his desire for recognition has him sending photos on ahead. He’s got to have some knowledge of police work, and even police politics—he knows these jurisdictions won’t cooperate with each other without someone like Detectives Lorenzon and Tovar pushing them.’’
Hotchner nodded, adding, ‘‘The UnSub probably also knows the more places he hits, the longer it will take for people to identify his MO and ID him as a serial. Despite the photos he’s sending, he likely expected to go longer without us being brought in.’’
Lorenzon looked toward Morgan. ‘‘Then you are going to help us?’’
‘‘Not my call,’’ Morgan said, and turned to Hotchner.
‘‘Yes, Tate,’’ Hotchner said, ‘‘we’re going to help.’’
Lorenzon nodded. ‘‘Thank you. We’re going to need it.’’
No one disagreed.
‘‘JJ,’’ Hotchner said, ‘‘let’s start by you telling Wauconda PD we’re coming in at the invitation of both Chicago and Chicago Heights. Tell them we’d like to oversee a joint task force among the jurisdictions involved in the case. My guess is, before this is over, it won’t be just three.’’
‘‘On it,’’ Jareau said.
Turning to Reid, Hotchner said, ‘‘Background history on the cases he’s copying.’’
‘‘Pleasure,’’ Reid said.
‘‘Prentiss, read the police reports and start working on victimology.’’
Hotchner sighed heavily. ‘‘All right, people, let’s get packed up. We’re wheels up at Andrews in an hour.’’
Tovar said, ‘‘Thank you for coming on this.’’
Hotchner said, ‘‘We’ll do everything we can, Hilly.’’
‘‘Does that mean . . . ?’’
‘‘It means we’ll catch him.’’
They all rose except Rossi, who lingered. He sat staring at the last photo.
‘‘Damn,’’ he said, and then he laughed, once, harshly.
They all turned to him, with Morgan halfway out the door.
‘‘It’s a serial killer greatest hits album,’’ Rossi said.
‘‘By a goddamn cover band.’’
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is possibly the best book that I have read from Collins, and that is saying something! This book is a little more disturbing than the first in the series, but that made it interesting! Jump Cut (the first book) focused more on suspense in my opinion. Both are good reads!
I managed to read this in an afternoon amazingly enough. Really held my attention and was pretty on the nose with the characters. The only disconcerting thing was constantly calling him Hotchner when everyone the show refers to him as Hotch. Also the constant in depth descriptions of what everyone is wearing. I'd heard about that in advance so it wasn't too distracting but if I hadn't it would have really been annoying. Other than that I really liked the story, the writing flowed really nicely and the story pulled me in and kept me there. Knowing the basic layout of Criminal Minds episodes I could see where some of the red herrings were and but I see that in the show too so its not a bad thing. I'd definitely recommended this story and as far as tie-in books go (I've read some really bad ones) this is a nice read and a keeper.
I thought i loved the show until i read the books! You cant go wrong with this series if you like books that keep you thinking and wanting more =)
I am sooooo obssesed with the show i think the books are just as good did you know that paget brewster isnt coming back for season eight that is sooo sad but i sure will still be watchin because i live morgan and garcia and hodge!!!!!!
HEAVEN ON EARTH I DIDNT EXPECT THIS BUT THANKS GOD I LOVE YOU SOOOO MUCH I AM DEFENITLY GONNA GET THIS BOOK TO ALL FAITHFUL CRIMINAL MINDS FANS GET THE BOOK NOW HEHE OH BTW I NEED MORE FRIENDS AN ADVICE CAN SOMEONE HELP ME ......BOY PROBLEMS UMMMM OH I KNOW WHAT ....WAIT I FORGOT HUMMM YEAH IM TEWELVE SO CAN YOU PLEASE RESPOND FAST
Very true to series; this book is similar to one of the show's plots but NOT the same
This is a really good book, expessially for Criminal Mind fans and crime readers . I would read this book before Criminal Mnds:finishing school because that one is postmortom. Overal great read. I would recomend this to anyone, but seeing the shows really helps you visualize the characters better.
the book was terrificly good. its just that i couldnt read any faster.
If you are a fan on the show you will like this book. It was fast paced. I did find it to be very short, but good books always are too short. Hope you enjoy.
Love the book...I am so into Criminal Minds every Wednesday night that I had to purchase the book... I recommend all his books if you like the TV series "Criminal Minds".