The Stranger You Know

The Stranger You Know

by Andrea Kane


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It begins with a chilling phone call to Casey Woods. And ends with another girl dead.

College-age girls with long red hair. Brutally murdered, they're posed like victims in a film noir. Each crime scene is eerily similar to the twisted fantasy of a serial offender now serving thirty years to life—a criminal brought to justice with the help of Forensic Instincts.

Call. Kill. Repeat. But the similarities are more than one psychopath's desire to outdo another. As more red-haired victims are added to the body count, it becomes clear that each one has been chosen because of a unique connection to Casey—a connection that grows closer and closer to her.

Now the Forensic Instincts team must race to uncover the identity of a serial killer before his ever-tightening circle of death closes in on Casey as the ultimate target. As the stalker methodically moves in on his prey, his actions make one thing clear: he knows everything about Casey. And Casey realizes that this psychopathic won't stop until he makes sure she's dead.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778315018
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 09/24/2013
Series: Forensic Instincts , #3
Edition description: Original
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Andrea Kane’s psychological thriller THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE became an instant New York Times bestseller, the latest in a long string of smash hits. THE LINE BETWEEN HERE AND GONE is the next exhilarating installment in the Forensic Instincts series. With a worldwide following and novels published in over twenty languages, Kane is also the author of eight romantic thrillers and fourteen historical romances. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

Read an Excerpt


Offices of Forensic Instincts, LLC Tribeca, Manhattan, New York

Just one more body.

But this one had a name. And a grieving father who needed answers before he died.

Casey Woods shoved the dozens of newspaper clippings that she'd collected into the thick file and slapped it shut. Then she leaned back in her chair, pressing her fingers to her closed eyelids.

It was Sunday, just after dawn. The streets were sleepy, occupied only by ambitious joggers and early morning coffee drinkers headed for the nearest Starbucks.

The brownstone that housed the private investigative firm Forensic Instincts was quiet.

Casey—the company president—was alone in the building, other than her bloodhound, Hero, who was stretched out by her feet, resting but alert. Casey had been up and working all night. Sleep wasn't on her agenda. Work was.

As usual, she sat at the large second-floor conference room table, her notes sprawled in front of her. There were plenty of smaller offices to choose from in the four-story brownstone. She could even have worked in bed, since the fourth floor was her apartment. But the main conference room infused her with a sense of discipline and productivity she didn't get anywhere else.

She needed to be productive now.

She wasn't doing a hell of a good job.

Purposefully, she picked up the notes she'd printed out last night after her client meeting and reread them. She was unnerved, not by the meeting but by the entire case. That didn't make her happy. She liked being in control. She almost always was.

This time was different. It wasn't because this new assignment had come from the NYPD rather than from the client himself, but because it established a connection that was both unexpected and shocking. Not in the eyes of the police, who would have no reason to spot the common thread. But in Casey's eyes? Instant recognition. A major punch in the gut, and a throwback to a time of her life that had been traumatic.

The tragedy remained unbearably painful, even after fifteen years.

And now? A different case. A different victim. But the same university. The same year. The same basic physical descriptions. One victim was murdered. One was missing—possibly murdered.

How could all that be a coincidence?

The murder, which was branded in Casey's memory, had been tagged a cold case. Still, for her, it had never gone away. Now, out of the blue, it was back, albeit from an entirely different angle, centered on an entirely different girl. The enormity of it had hit her hard.

The first case—her case, the one involving her friend—had been the driving force that ultimately led her to form Forensic Instincts. She'd never forgotten, never gotten over it. And now, after talking to Mr. Olson last night, seeing how gaunt he was, reading the anguish in his hollow eyes, she found her own memories crashing back….

Casey nearly leaped from her chair as a firm hand was planted on her shoulder.

Instinctively, she whirled around to defend herself. Hero leaped up and began to bark at her abrupt reaction.

"Hey, both of you, take it easy. It's me." Patrick Lynch, one of her valued FI team members, walked around the conference table and lowered himself into a chair. Hero followed, and Patrick leaned down to scratch his ears. The human-scent evidence dog—the sole canine FI team member—sat down to enjoy the attention.

Simultaneously, a wall of floor-to-ceiling video screens began to glow, and a long green line formed across each panel, pulsing from left to right. "Good morning, Patrick," a computerized voice greeted him. The voice emanated from everywhere in the room, bending each line into the contours of the voice panel. "Casey, I apologize for not alerting you to Patrick's arrival before you became alarmed. But you did put me in sleep mode. I responded the instant I sensed activity." A pause. "Your heart rate has accelerated. There is no need."

"I can see that now, Yoda," Casey responded dryly. "A minute ago I thought I was being attacked." She'd long since ceased questioning the artificial intelligence system built by team member Ryan McKay. She just accepted that Ryan was a genius and Yoda was omniscient.

Patrick did the same. "Not to worry, Yoda," he said, addressing the voice. "I have a feeling Casey wasn't in a good place even before I walked in."

"Correct," Yoda confirmed. "She is under duress."

Casey didn't deny it. "You should be home with Adele," she told Patrick. "Your wife will have my head if she thinks I've got you slaving away on a Sunday morning without a damned good reason."

"Adele knows where I am, and she's fine with it." Patrick studied Casey's expression. "Besides, I couldn't sleep."

"So you drove in from New Jersey to visit, since you don't already spend enough hours at work?"

"No. I followed a hunch and made a phone call to Marc."

Marc Devereaux was Casey's first hire for Forensic Instincts, and her right hand. He was a former navy SEAL, former FBI agent and former member of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia. He was the total package, and he'd been with Casey from the beginning.

"You haven't been yourself in days," Patrick continued. "Not since I introduced this case. Now I realize why. Marc was reluctant, but he finally filled me in on what he thought I should know. So here I am. I'm sorry, Casey. I never would have brought this case to the table if I had a clue what it meant to you personally, or what it would do to you."

"How could you have? Talk about a bizarre coincidence. What are the chances of that happening? And now that it has, my personal feelings shouldn't factor into it. The case is important. It has to be investigated."

Patrick arched a brow. "This is me you're talking to. Who's more apt to understand your internal conflict and ambivalence?"

Casey tucked a strand of shoulder-length red hair behind her ear. Patrick was right. He'd understand better than anyone. He'd lived through it firsthand.

He'd been an FBI agent for over thirty years before coming on board at Forensic Instincts. His joining the team had been the direct result of a child kidnapping case that had haunted him since early in his career and had resurfaced in a new form that was investigated by FI. The emotional reverberations had eaten away at him.

"This situation is different," Casey said. "You had no idea you were treading on my Achilles' heel. There's no need to feel guilty."

"I don't feel guilty. I feel responsible."

"You shouldn't. Captain Sharp is your friend."

Patrick nodded. He'd spent a chunk of his FBI time working the Joint Robbery Task Force with NYPD Captain Horace Sharp. They'd become tight. So when Horace had been approached by a dying neighbor, Daniel Olson, begging him for closure, convinced that his long-missing daughter had been murdered and pleading with him to find her body, Horace had agreed to try—if Forensic Instincts agreed to work the case jointly with his detectives. FI had the money and the manpower to give to this case-that-wasn't-a-case. The NYPD didn't. As a result, the retainer was an IOU—a favor to be redeemed sometime in the future. And the stipulation was that Forensic Instincts would work with the police detectives, not alone.

So, yes, Patrick had brought the case to the FI team. But from the minute they'd sat around the table discussing it, he'd picked up on some weird vibes. He'd waited patiently for someone to fill him in. No one did. Not in three days. So he'd finally taken the bull by the horns and called Marc. And now he got it. This was close to home for Casey—maybe too close.

Watching her now, seeing how conflicted she was, only substantiated his concerns.

"Should I tell Horace we can't help Mr. Olson?"

"No." Casey gave a hard shake of her head. "You shouldn't. Our team has the skills. I have the insight. My reaction is my problem. Not yours." She paused for a moment. "But at least now you know the reason for my crazy behavior. I should have told you myself. I just wasn't ready."

Casey rose, walking over to the windows and folding her arms across her chest. "I'm not handling this well. It pisses me off that, after all this time, I'm still so emotionally affected."

"Stop beating yourself up. It is what it is. Delving back into the past is both a blessing and a curse. It reopens old wounds. It makes them bleed. But sometimes it also helps them heal."

A hint of a smile. "When did you become so philosophical?"

"It's called the voice of experience."

"Yes, well, your experience held you emotionally hostage for thirty-two years."

"You're right. It did. Which is precisely why I'm the person you should be talking to."

Casey couldn't dispute that. "In your case, you found closure. I thought I'd found some level of closure with my case, too—when they located Holly's body. But I was wrong. I guess I'll never get closure. Because the bastard who raped and killed Holly when we were in college was never caught. And that's what I'd need to find peace."

"I know." Patrick, as always, was blunt. "I also know that might never happen."

"Unless it turns out that Jan Olson was murdered and that her killer is the same offender who raped and killed Holly," Casey said quietly. "It's possible, Patrick. The facts are closely related.

Maybe our investigation into Jan Olson's disappearance will lead us to Holly's killer."

Patrick didn't look surprised by Casey's theory. He'd obviously expected her mind to veer in that direction. It was natural, given the circumstances. "I hear you," he responded. "And I'm not arguing that the parallels are strong. But identifying the murderer after fifteen years? It's a long shot. And we were hired to find a body, not an offender."

"You don't need to remind me." Casey's jaw tightened. "Our job is to find the body of Daniel Olson's daughter. To help him find peace. Stage four pancreatic cancer is a death sentence. He's only got weeks or months to live."

"By giving him what he needs, we'll be paying tribute to your friend Holly," Patrick said. "You could look at it that way."

"My head knows that's true. But I'm having problems separating my head from my heart. I need objectivity in order to run this investigation." She turned to frown at Patrick. "And if you suggest that I take a backseat and let you head up this case—or worse, Marc, Ryan or Claire—I'll punch you first and call you a hypocrite second."

"Then lucky for me I wasn't going to do that. You've got a mean right hook." Patrick gave a wry smile—one that rapidly faded. "But, Casey, you're thrown by this. Badly. You've got to work through that. Why don't you tell me the details about your friend Holly? Marc was his usual tight-lipped self. He gave me just the need-to-know basics. You've discussed the details with him, and maybe even Ryan and Claire, but I think, in this situation, I'm the one who can help you focus."

"Marc knows more than anyone, except Hutch. Hutch is the only one I've totally broken down to."

Marc had introduced her to Hutch—Supervisory Special Agent Kyle Hutchinson—who was currently with the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, and who'd become the man in Casey's life.

"Okay, so Hutch and Marc know," Patrick acknowledged. "Now it's time you talked to a kindred spirit—me."

"You could have researched the case yourself," Casey pointed out. "You certainly have the contacts."

"You're right. I do. But they could only supply me with facts. They couldn't offer me your perspective. Only you can. So I'm listening."

Casey nodded, walking over to make two cups of black coffee from their Keurig, then returning to the conference room table.

She handed a cup to Patrick, then took her own cup and sat down.

"I was a freshman at Columbia. My friend Holly Stevens lived off campus. She was a loner, very shy and reserved. She had a few close friends. I was one of them. We met in Psych 101 and hit it off. One day, she told me she sensed she was being followed, even stalked. I urged her to go to the police. She did. They had nothing solid to work with, so they arranged for a few patrol cars to keep an eye on her apartment. It wasn't enough."

Casey drew a slow, unsteady breath, staring into her coffee as she spoke. "Holly's body was found wrapped in a canvas tarp and tossed in a Dumpster a few weeks later. She'd been raped and murdered. It was a nightmare—one that could have been avoided with the proper resources."

"You weren't those resources, Casey. Not back then."

"But I was the one Holly confided in. Irrational as it might seem, I always felt that maybe I missed an opportunity to prevent what happened."

"That irrationality is what's getting in your way now. Lose it. You may not have had the right resources to do what should've been done then, but you have the right tools for what you need to do now. You have Forensic Instincts."

"Which is why I can't let this case slip through my fingers. Not that I blame the police for what happened to Holly. I don't. They did all they could. But a private investigative firm with our expertise could have done more. We could have focused our manpower and our skills on her predicament, dug deeper, put enough security on her to keep her safe. But, as you said, we didn't exist, not then. Now we do. And now I've been approached to help a dying man find his daughter's body—a man whose daughter could very well have been killed by the same psycho pervert who killed Holly. The time frame fits. The location fits. The victimology fits. If I'm right, that would make this bastard a repeat offender, maybe a serial killer. Which paints an even more gruesome story. He was never caught. Jan Olson's body was never found. How many others were there?"

"That's a question we might or might not be able to answer." Patrick took a deep swallow of coffee, continuing to share his thoughts with Casey in a calm, straightforward manner. "I know you want to go back and solve it all—catch the killer, assign names to all his victims and provide closure for all the families involved. Maybe we can make that happen. I don't know. What I do know is that the best way to increase our odds is to fulfill our obligation."

Follow the case that's been handed to us. Find Jan Olson's body.

"That's how it was with me, remember? Start with the present, step back into the past. This process is going to take you down some dark alleys. You're going to lose a lot of sleep and relive some painful memories. But you need this. Otherwise, you would have squashed the case the minute I brought it to the team. You knew it was too close to home, that you probably should refer it out. But you didn't. You're the president of Forensic Instincts. You made the call for us to take on the case—and you made it without missing a beat."

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The Stranger You Know 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Bitten-By-Love-Reviews More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in the FI Series, This book keeps you looking over your shoulder the entire time you are reading. I like the cast of characters at Forensic Instincts, I love how they come together even when they are mad at each other. This book is very well written and keeps a nice steady pace throughout the entire story. You will definitely have a hard time putting this book down and you will be sure to lock your doors when you are finished reading. Andrea Kane has written another winner.
JBronder More than 1 year ago
Casey and Forensic Instincts are called in to find the missing daughter of a dying man that disappeared a year prior. They learn the Glen Fisher, whom they just helped put in prison, is responsible for her death and the death of Casey’s friend from years prior. But then collage girls with red hear are starting to be killed in the same way Fisher killed, even though he is in prison. Fisher starts taunting Casey and it seems that he is targeting her for the next victim. I liked the concept of the Forensic Instincts. They use unorthodox methods to solve cases and seem to have more freedom than standard FBI. I got sucked into this book and couldn’t wait to find out who was the killer. This book was fast paced with great action. This was my first book by Andrea Kane but it will not be my last. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings The second in a series that centers around Casey Woods who finds herself linked to murders that keep happening around here and with the collection of colleagues that have formed the Forensics Instincts they must get to the bottom of it and quickly. First, I would recommend reading the first book in this series - The Girl Who Disappeared Twice so you have the back story as to how the Forensics Instincts was created.  Casey is a great character and the team was all the same and I was glad to see that there was character development within the team beyond what was going on on the crime side.  I quickly fell back into the team and enjoying each of their unique skills and how each of them help solve the mystery.  Compared to the first book, I definitely did not know how the crime was happening as quickly - so glad!
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
Good mystery I love a good mystery. It’s been awhile since I’ve read one so I’m glad that I was able to grab a copy of The Stranger You Know by Andrea Kane from TLC Book Tours (they have such good books – check them out)! The basic premise is that someone is killing redheaded women. The kicker is that the woman investigating, Casey, has a personal attachment to the cases that spans several decades. Not only that, but the original case following this pattern is why she started her investigative business, Forensic Instincts, in the first place. Oh, and that perpetrator is still in jail. The Stranger You Know hits the ground running and wastes no time jumping into the storyline. Each murder starts with Casey receiving a phone call and ending with another girl dead. The Forensic Instincts team soon realizes that each victim is somehow linked to Casey and must race against the clock to save her redheaded acquaintances…. and her. These kinds of books can usually go one of two ways: totally cheesy or really well. Kane managed to fall on the side of really well, even though I originally thought, really? A killer of redheads? But Kane surprised me with her gift of storytelling and kept me riveted from the first page. Fast-paced and written with a great flow, I raced through this book because I wanted to figure out what the link was, who was doing it, and why the killer chose Casey. If you’re looking for a quick mystery then I recommend you pick this one up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was anxious for this latest Andrea Kane book asI have read most of her other books and liked them. However, this one made me really regret the money I spent on it. For the first 75 pages I thought I had already read it - as it was so similar to the previous one. For the rest of the book I wondered how the characters could be so stupid.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome...spine tingling.....suspenseful. The best of the FI books yet! I love the interaction between the characters, and their relationships with each other. Can't wait to start the next one...
SewWrite More than 1 year ago
Great thrill ride with a twist!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have become a big Andrea Kane fan & have really enjoyed reading all of her books. Suspense keeps you turning the pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Intense but well written
Truebeliever3 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Andrea Kane is awesome. Another winner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS I like Forensic Instincts. This is the third book in the series. It is good except for the crimes committed, that part is not a fun topic. I like the team of characters at Forensic Instincts. The plot has twists some I expected and others I did not guess at all. I should have guessed more answers. Their is case that Forensic Instincts has been hired to look into. It happened fifteen years ago and it ties into a case that is close to Casey past. A father has cancer stage 4 and he wants his daughter found before he dies. Patrick brought the case to FI. Casey friend in college was kidnapped, raped and murdered. The killer was never found. This case is close in details that they think they are connected. Casey knows she is emotionally close to the case but she is still going to take lead because it is her company. Her past, The reason for which she started the company. Clair is looking for clues when she is drawn into a rape scene somehow. Clair calls the cop and tells him what she saw. He has worked with her before so he goes to look for the body and crime scene. Casey it's a phone call saying why waste her talent on a cold case when she can find a warm body. That a blood chain has been started and it will end with her death and rape. FI team does not plan to let that happen. Casey is not going to stop working on the missing girl case because she is being threatened. Of Course they want to stop this new killer too before he kills again. The cops are willing to work with FI on both cases. The murdered girl is small and a red head like Casey. She is a college student. She was on her way home when she disappeared. Mark brings his skills as a Navy seal and former FBI agent to FI. Ryan has lots of teck tools. He is smart, good looking and likes Clair. Clair is a physic who connects with objects and sees the crimes more than she wants, but can't see who he is. Patrick a retired cop and FBI Agent by the book. Casey is smart and a profiler they make a great team. They also have Hero a retired FBI dog because he gets sick in planes. Casey's calls her boyfriend asks for his help. Hutch is a FBI Agent profiler. He lives in Virginia but comes as soon as he can to help catch the guy and keep Casey safe. They work together to solve cases. When they get a case they put lots of hours in it especially if they are trying to save someone. It is a good story and I want to read more Forensic Instincts books. I would like to see and learn more personal information about Mark and the others members of FI. It is well told story that works. I did not want to put the book down but I could not stay up longer and read the rest first thing this morning. There were some love scenes that I skipped over. I will definitely read more books by Andrea Kane in the future. I was given this ebook to read and asked to give honest review of it in exchange by NetGalley & Harlequin. publication: September 24th 2013 by Harlequin MIRA 368 pages ISBN: 0778315010
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
- Shane Frost - Boy - Blonde shaggy hair. Brown eyes. - Come up with the rest! (ill make a new one tomorrow.)