Returning from Johansen's New York Times bestselling thriller, Stalemate, forensic sculptor Eve Duncan is still reeling from the disappearance of her daughter, Bonnie. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, she enlists the clairvoyant skills of Dr. Megan Blair to help find her. No strangers to looking for clues where there seem to be none, the two women use their highly specialized talents to hunt down Bonnie's elusive kidnapper and return her to her mother's arms. But is Bonnie still alive? Will the two women find her in time? Iris Johansen strikes again with this non-stop, action packed thriller, keeping readers turning pages well into the night.
About the Author
IRIS JOHANSEN is the New York Times bestselling author of Killer Dreams, On the Run, Countdown, Firestorm, Fatal Tide, Dead Aim, No One to Trust, Stalemate and more. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia.
Iris Johansen is the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Night, Blood Game, Eve, and Eight Days to Live, among others. She began writing after her children left home for college, and first achieved success in the early 1980s writing category romances. In 1991, she began writing suspense historical romance novels, and in 1996 she turned to crime fiction, with which she has had great success. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia.
Read an Excerpt
By Iris Johansen
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2008 Johansen Publishing LLP.
All rights reserved.
SOMEONE WAS WATCHING HIM.
Henry Kistle's hand tightened on the curtain as he looked down, careful to stay hidden from view. There, in the shadow of the elm a short distance down the street, was a tall, thin man. He was talking on a cell phone. Who was he talking to? Who had managed to track him down this time?
Don't be nervous, he told himself. It didn't matter if one of them had found him. He had occasionally been found before and managed to survive. It was only a matter of removing the immediate threat and then running. But he saw to it that those bastards who made him run were always punished for it when he was safe again.
And the immediate threat was standing down there waiting for him to make a mistake. A surge of anger tore through him. It wasn't fair. He had a right to live and take whatever pleasure he could find in this crap yard of a world.
Who was it? A father, a brother, a cop? Which one?
It didn't matter. He'd find out. But he had to be ready to go. Grab a few clothes. Pack his guns, his precious memory box, and have everything in the car.
He turned away from the window.
Damn him. He didn't want to have to run now. He hadn't had his fill yet of this small, sleepy town. Cities were safer, but pitting his wits against these yokels was exciting. They felt so safe that he could walk into their lives and take whatever he pleased.
Oh, well, there would be another time.
Another child ...
Yes, another child ...
"HE WENT INTO THE HOUSE AT seven this evening and hasn't come out," Jedroth said into his cell phone. "The lights are still on. It's only eight-forty. They went out at eleven last night."
"And you're sure he didn't leave the place all night, Sheriff?" Joe Quinn asked.
"I may not be a big-city cop, but I know my business," Jedroth said sourly. "I wouldn't let a scumbag like that out of my sight."
"And surveillance during the day?"
"I have a deputy keeping an eye on him. But we can't keep spending the taxpayers' money without evidence. One more night and that's it."
"I don't have evidence. I just located Kistle late yesterday. I need more time."
"Look, I didn't set up this surveillance without checking you out. I have an idea why you're so hot to get your hands on this bastard. I'm going along with you because Kistle may be a threat to my town. But I've got to have more than your say-so."
"I understand. I'll be up there by eight tomorrow morning to take over. If you need to contact me again, don't use this number. The cell phone number I gave you will reach me."
"Get here as quick as you can." The sheriff paused. "But we're not going to quibble about a few hours. Kistle isn't going anywhere. I have a few questions to ask him. We had a little boy go missing three weeks ago. Bobby Joe's tennis shoes and shirt were found on the bank of the river and he was presumed drowned."
"No body recovery?"
"Not yet. It's a fast-moving river and there are branches on the bottom carried down from flooding up north. It would be easy for a swimmer to get trapped."
"It could happen."
"That's what I thought until you called me yesterday and asked me to order surveillance on Kistle. I hate child molesters. We know how to treat them in my town."
"I'm sure you do. Call me if he makes a move."
"If he makes a move on any of the kids in this town, he won't make another one." Jedroth hung up his cell phone, his gaze on the lights beaming from the second floor of the house across the street. The glow of a TV set was flickering against the wall now. What kind of programs did sick sons of bitches like Kistle watch? Old classic movies of Shirley Temple? Or maybe Cold Case Files or CSI to keep himself from making mistakes. When Jedroth was working in Chicago when he was a younger man, he'd run across a killer who'd studied all of those kinds of shows for that very reason.
And the system had let him learn and go free. Jedroth had seen it happen time after time. It wouldn't happen in his town. That's why he'd come back to Bloomburg after ten years. He could make a difference here.
Quinn was an Atlanta detective and dealt with red tape every day, but Jedroth had an idea that he'd understood and condoned his attitude toward Kistle. He'd gotten the impression Joe Quinn would slice through red tape with the force of a machete.
Machete. Hell, yes, that's what he'd like to use on that prick in that upstairs bedroom. Cut off his dick and then slice him to pieces.
Make your move, you slimeball. Give me a chance to bury you.
"YOU'RE LEAVING?" JANE MacGuire stood in the doorway of Joe's bedroom, watching him throw clothes into a suitcase. "Hey, I just got here yesterday. Is it something I said?"
"I have business in Illinois." He smiled over his shoulder at her. "With any luck I should be back in a few days. Don't act as if either you or Eve will miss me. The two of you will be too busy catching up. She hasn't seen you in four months."
"We'll miss you." Jane frowned. "What business?"
"I have to interview a suspect." He changed the subject. "Will you drive me to the airport? I have to leave right away and I want Eve to have the Jeep."
"You're leaving without telling Eve good-bye?"
"She's at her mother's apartment for the day. It will be okay. I'll call her when I get to Bloomburg."
"Bullshit. What's happening, Joe?"
He should have known Jane wouldn't be deceived. His adopted daughter had grown up on the streets and she was very shrewd. Jane had been with them since she was ten years old and could read both him and Eve like the proverbial book. She'd recently graduated from college and was making a name for herself in the art world. Yet that artistic streak was balanced by toughness. "Okay, it will be easier if I don't have to talk to her. I don't want her asking questions."
"Why not?" She stiffened. "You've found Kistle?" "I think so. I've found a Henry Kistle. I tracked him to Bloomburg, Illinois."
"He's the man who might have killed Bonnie?" she whispered.
"So Eve's been told. Montalvo's investigators unearthed three possible suspects. Kistle is one of them and the only one we were able to trace." He fastened his duffel bag. "It could all be a bunch of crap. I don't want Eve's hopes raised until I investigate Kistle."
"I don't think she thought it was crap. She trusted Montalvo."
"That she did," he said curtly. "He played her like a song."
"No one plays Eve," Jane said. "You should know that, Joe." She studied his expression. "What the hell happened down in Colombia?"
"Eve told you when she got back."
"She told me she was on a forensic sculpting job for Montalvo and that you were shot and almost killed." She paused. "She didn't tell me you hated his guts. Even though he was once a weapons dealer, she doesn't feel that way."
"We have an entirely different take on Montalvo." He started toward the door. "And we agree to disagree."
"You don't generally disagree on many things."
"Then this is the exception that proves the rule. Are you taking me to the airport?"
"Of course I am." She stood aside so that he couldpass. "I need some more answers before you get on that plane."
"You won't get them."
"I can but try." She grinned. "I've been out of the loop too long because I've been closeted finishing those paintings for the last show. I should never have accepted Eve's story at face value. I had a hunch that there was something brewing ..."
"Only in your imagination." He moved toward the front door. "Eve and I are just plodding along doing the same old things."
"Plodding? No way." She followed him out on the porch. "You're streaking out of here to go after Kistle before Eve can get into gear. She's not going to like it, Joe. She felt terrible that you were wounded because you came after her to Colombia. Bonnie was her daughter, not yours. She believes it's her job to find Bonnie's body and her killer. She won't be closed out."
"Watch me," he said. "She's not going to go after Kistle until I find out whether we have the right man. Montalvo could have pulled a name out of a hat, for all I know."
Jane gave a low whistle. "My, my, we are bitter, aren't we?"
He gave her a cool glance over his shoulder. "I don't know about you, but, yes, I'm bitter as hell. Let's get to the airport."
ONLY TOBY RAN TO MEET Eve Duncan when she drove up to the cottage. The house was dark and only the Jeep was in the driveway. Jane's rental car was gone. Joe could be working late, but where was Jane?
She patted the dog's head absently as she got out of the car. "Did Jane leave you, boy?" She moved up the steps and opened the screen door. "Have you been fed?"
Toby gave a mournful woof.
"I don't know if I believe you. You like food too much." She turned on the lights. "And you lie a lot." She headed for the kitchen. "But we'll start off with a snack until I call Jane." She filled Toby's bowl half full of dry food and set it down. She dialed Jane's cell but only got voice mail. Well, maybe she was at a movie or something. She had grown up here in Atlanta and had old friends with whom she kept in touch. "Okay, you win, Toby." She poured the rest of the food into his now-empty bowl. "Now be good while I get some work in on Carrie's reconstruction." She moved across the room to the skull on the easel in the studio area. She had been chomping at the bit to get back to Carrie all afternoon. She was nearing the end and she was always intense when she got close to the point when an identity revealed itself beneath her fingers. But she didn't spend enough time with her mother these days and during their last phone conversation she had seemed needy.
She took off the drape covering Carrie's skull and tossed it on the table. Another few days and, hopefully, Carrie would no longer be her name. Eve always gave her reconstructions names because it seemed more respectful and it helped her to draw closer to them. This child had been close to ten years old when she had been murdered and buried near a freeway in southern Kentucky. The local police had no missing children of that age in their files, but if she could put a face to that skull, then she might be able to bring Carrie home.
So many children victimized by the beasts that prowled the earth remained lost from everyone who had loved them.
Don't think about it. She could only do what God had given her the talent to do. Sometimes identifying the children helped the police to find their murderers; sometimes the killers were never caught. But at least she could give these children a chance for proper burial and their parents the opportunity to come to some kind of closure. Eve had never had that closure when her own seven-year-old daughter had been kidnapped and presumed murdered several years ago. She knew the pain those parents were feeling.
"Come on, Carrie," she murmured as her fingers began to mold the clay. She had spent days before this carefully measuring the tissue depths and then marking them. Then she'd taken strips of plasticene, applied them between the markers, and then built them up to the tissue depth points. After that it was an excruciatingly fine balance between concentratingon the scientific elements of depth and contouring until she was ready to let instinct take over. She was almost there. "Let's see what we can do before Jane gets back. I'll have to stop then. You're very important to me, but if I've learned anything over the years of working with you and the other children, it's that you have to cherish every single moment of life with the ones you love ..."
THE KNIFE SANK DEEP IN THE man's back.
Kistle twisted the knife as he drew it out. He hoped the bastard was still alive enough to feel it.
The man wore a sheriff's uniform. He was a cop. That meant that there might be others nearby. He'd have to move quickly. He rolled the body into the bushes and searched his pockets. A notebook, ID that identified him as Sheriff James Jedroth, a cell phone, a couple pictures of a woman and a teenage kid. He grabbed the cell phone and headed for his car. He checked the last number. Not local. So he hadn't been checking in with his wife when Kistle had noticed him on the phone. Who had tipped off the police he was here? Who had forced him to run?
He didn't try the number until he was a few miles from town.
No answer. On the fifth ring the voice mail picked up.
Joe Quinn. Eve Duncan.
He went still as he made the connection.
He drew a deep breath. It had been a long time, but it was all coming back to him. An explosion of pleasure tore through him. He had to talk to her. He had to tell her how glad he was that she had come back into his life.
THE PHONE WAS RINGING AGAIN, Eve realized impatiently. It was the third time in fifteen minutes and she supposed she'd have to answer it. It couldn't be that important. Joe or Jane would have called her on her cell phone when she hadn't answered. They knew how absorbed she became when she was working.
She glanced down at the ID. Bloomburg, Illinois. Sheriff James Jedroth. It had to be another police department asking her to do a reconstruction. Since she'd become so blasted famous, those requests never stopped. But it was nearly ten at night and evidently Sheriff Jedroth didn't understand the concept of business hours. Well, Eve didn't either, so she might as well answer.
"Do you still miss your little Bonnie?"
Shock jolted through her. "I beg your pardon."
"She had curly red hair and on the last day you saw her, she was wearing a Bugs Bunny T-shirt."
"Is this some kind of sick joke, Sheriff Jedroth? I'm not amused."
"I'm amused. Amused and excited and full of anticipation. I haven't felt like this for years. I didn't realize I was getting stale and that the kill was losing its luster. Then I heard your name on your voice mail and suddenly I felt reborn."
"Kill." Her hand tightened on the phone. "Who is this? You're not a sheriff, are you?"
"I impersonated a sheriff once. It was in Fort Collins, Colorado. Children are taught to trust policemen."
"Who are you?" she repeated. "I don't know you. Why are you calling me?"
"Bonnie knew me. She knew me very well before the end."
Don't show him the wrenching pain his words are causing. "You son of a bitch. What are you trying to tell me?"
"You shouldn't have tried to track me down. Now I'll have to punish you. I never let myself be victimized without making sure that my pain is reciprocated." He chuckled. "Though this time I'm not feeling nearly so bitter. I've been following your search for Bonnie for years and it's lightened many a dull moment."
"I didn't try to track you down. I don't even know your name."
Kistle. The name of the man Montalvo had given her as one of the possible murderers of her daughter.
"Yes, you know me. You set that asshole, Jedroth, to watch me."
"Where are you?"
"It would be no use to tell you. I've just left town. I'll be hundreds of miles away from here before you can call and get someone to try to find me. I know about red tape."
"What ... do you know about Bonnie?"
"That she was seven years old and a beautiful child. Do you know how many pretty little girls I've killed since your Bonnie died? Though I always regard her as my inspiration. She was like a burning arrow lighting the darkness. I remember how —"
"Shut up." She couldn't take any more. "Don't talk about her."
"I'm done for the time being. I just wanted to touch base with you. I needed something to keep me up and zinging."
"That's what life's about. You have to keep on top of it, keep excited and moving. I got a little buzz earlier tonight but nothing like the one I'm feeling now. It's not as good as a kill, but maybe you could make the next kill extraordinary."
But he had hung up the phone.
She was shaking.
She had curly red hair and the last day you saw her, she was wearing a Bugs Bunny T-shirt.
Joe. She had to call Joe.
Her hand was shaking as she dialed his cellnumber. No answer. The voice mail picked up immediately. His phone had to be turned off.
She hung up. Dammit, she needed him. Where the hell was he?
Stop whining. He was a cop. There were all kinds of situations where he'd turn off his cell. Okay, she had to handle it alone. She'd reach Joe as soon as he was available.
Excerpted from Quicksand by Iris Johansen. Copyright © 2008 Johansen Publishing LLP.. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the 1st book by Johansen that I have read and I will definitely be reading more. The plot of this book may seem very disturbing to some but it is a page turner. I couldn't put the book down. The way the book ended left me hanging and ready to read the next one in the series (hoping that is where it picks up).
I love Iris Johanson's books
This book was quite enjoyable, compared to a few of the others that I just considered "OK". I love that each book actually has something to do with the title and is never predictable! I do wish that Joe was more supportive of Eve and her struggle, although I do see how it could be a burden on their relationship. However, he loves her too much to leave her & we all know this so I wish they would just get along. However, they continue to have one common goal and that is to put Bonnie's mystery to rest. I don't really like how Eve is so easily suckered into these dangerous jobs and continually takes them no matter what anyone says... but it does make for a good and exciting read!! I've already started on #9, "Blood Game", and I must say, I was VERY happy that it picked up right where "Quicksand" left off!! Some of the other books had a few years in between but not these. It's as if you're continuing to read the same book... I loved this because I felt like I didn't miss a beat!! So excited to continue my journey in these books & finally make it to the trilogy!!! :)
This is definitely one of those "I couldn't put it down". It was fun to revisit friends from previous stories and see how dynamics of their associations continued and evolved. The story line pulled you right in and didn't let go.
Iris Johansen tells such a compelling story that you feel you are directly involved and eagerly seeking the antagonist's end. I can't wait for the next peek into the lives of these protagonists and see what is coming into their lives. Keep them coming!!
Quicksand Iris Johansen St. Martin¿s April 2008, $26.95, 352 pp. ISBN: 9780312368067 She became a forensic sculptor to put a face on the skeletal remains to bring closure to the families of the dead victims. Eve Duncan knows what it is like not to have that closure and not a day goes by that she doesn¿t think of her seven year old daughter Bonnie who was taken from her years ago. Her live in lover Atlanta detective Joe Quinn has been with her whenever she searched for Bonnie¿s remains through a tip or a hunch but he is getting weary of seeing Eve tear herself apart whenever her search winds up in failure. Eve¿s friend Colonel Montalvo from South America, who is in love with her, has found three possible suspects who might have killed Bonnie. One of them Henry Thistle is located in Bloomberg and Joe goes there without telling eve to try and catch him. Montalvo contacts Eve and tells her where Thistle might be. Eve immediately goes there to be with Joe and hopefully get some answers. Thistle escapes and Joe, Montalvo and Eve mount a search for him. He has kidnapped a young girl to use as bait to lead them to his trap. Helping them is psychic Megan Blair (see PANDORA¿S DAUGHTER) who hears the voices of the dead. ---- The Eve Duncan thrillers are absolutely mesmerizing and QUICKSAND is one of the best books in the series. Almost no body can create such sympathetic characters who have endured so much pain and yet still have the strength to keep going even if it is obsessive like Eve who thinks of what she does as a mission. Montalvo inverts himself into Eve¿s life forging an unusual romantic triangle but it is the action scenes that keep the audience turning the pages until they finish the thriller in one sitting. ---- Harriet Klausner
I always enjoy Iris Johansen's Eve Duncan books, and this one didn't disappoint. I think it was a little harder for me to read emotionally since the killer was dangling the possibility of finding Eve's daughter, Bonnie, in front of her. Definitely a very suspenseful story with a surprising ending.
Acting on a tip, Joe Quinn and Eve Duncan are once again searching for the body of Eve's missing daughter, Bonnie. The suspected killer has surfaced in a small town and has killed another young child. The killer, Kinstle is obsessed with Eve and wants her to suffer as she searches for the body of her child. He leads her on, leaving clues and warning her that he will destroy everyone she loves. Most of Johansen's Eve Duncan books are "dark"; this is no exception. Quicksand is a page turner and very suspenseful. Johansen brings back the major character in her last novel,("Pandora's Box"), psychic "Listener" Megan Blair. Her involvement in the search adds an interesting dimension to the story and sets the stage for another installment in the series.
Another great Eve Duncan thriller! I love the simply written, action packed books in this series. Full of twist and turns and adventure from start to finish. Even if this is your first Eve Duncan read, you wont have any problem following alone. Iris does a great job of filling you in on all the little juicy details. Quicksand starts out with the surveillance of possible child murderer Henry Kistle. Joe gets a tip from Montalvo (from a prior book) that Kistle may be involved in the disappearance of Eve's daughter Bonnie. Joe finds him a small town in Illinois. He calls the local sherrif and asks him to keep a watch on Kistle until he gets there. The sherrif is no match for Kistle, a trained killer. He murders the sherrif , hides his body and takes his phone. He finds Joe and Eve's number in the memory and discovers who they are. Kistle begins playing a cruel game with Eve that will end in his torturing and eventually killing Eve and everyone close to her. At least that was his plan. Joe finds himself in an all out race against the local police, FBI, and Montalvo to capture Kistle and bring Bonnie's body home. Joes relationship with Eve is strained as of late. When Montalvo comes back into Eve's life , Joe is beside himself with jealously. He know's that Eve has a connection with Montalvo. She is drawn to him physically and mentally. Joe is afraid that if Montalvo delivers Kistle it will seal his fate with Eve.
If you have been reading the story of Eve, Joe, and Bonnie...then you MUST go NOW and get this book!! If you like romantic suspense (more suspense than romance), then you should really check out this series.Backstory: Eve Duncan is a forensic sculptor whose daughter Bonnie was apparently the victim of a child killer. Neither Bonnie's killer nor Bonnie have ever been located and Eve just can't stop searching. She needs to bring Bonnie home...but since she can't, she specializes in child skull reconstructions to help identify dead children so at least their parents can have some sort of closure. Each book in this series provides hints and clues to Bonnie's case, Eve, her cop lover Joe, and other Eve intimates.In "Quicksand", Joe has a good lead on one of Bonnie's possible killers. The killer is a true whack-job and delights in taunting Eve with each new kill. At points in this book, I wanted to smack Eve. For such a strong, intelligent woman, she has some definate stupid moments. Eve also has to deal with Montalvo (prior book). She's still strongly attracted to Montalvo, but cherishes what she has with Joe. In "Quicksand", Eve finally realizes that her obsession with Bonnie may be damaging her current relationships and just how far she's willing to go to "bring Bonnie home".
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I believe this is the best of the series so far. The ending actually made me tear up a bit. Stephanie Clanahan
I enjoy the way Iris Johansen writes, keeps you wanting to read more and not wanting to put the book down.
Another hole in the ground with a dirt ramp leading down to a cool dirt cave. A shrub half covers the entrance.
Easy read w a great plot
A shecat walked in and gave sand a cold glare and then sat a little way off, waiting. - pebblepool
I have read every book in this series (Eve Duncan series) and every single one is a book you cannot put down. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. I have also read her other books and loved them also. You must read this author!