Excerpt from The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Invisible Guardian

by Dolores Redondo

The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo X
The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2016, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2017, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
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"What's up with him?"

"I don't know, chief, but we came in the same car from Pamplona and he didn't open his mouth once. I think he might have had a drink or two."

Amaia thought so too. Inspector Montes had slipped into a downward spiral since his divorce, and not just in terms of his recent penchant for Italian shoes and colorful ties. He had been particularly distracted during the last few weeks, cold and inscrutable, absorbed in his own little world, almost reluctant to engage with the people around him.

"Where's the girl?"

"By the river. You have to go down that slope," said Jonan, pointing toward it apologetically, as if it were somehow his fault that the body was down there.

As Amaia made her way down the incline, worn out of the rock by the river over the millennia, she could see the floodlights and police tape that marked the area where the officers were working in the distance. Judge Estébanez stood to one side, talking in a low voice with the court clerk and shooting sideways glances to where the body lay. Two photographers from the forensics team were moving around it, raining down flashes from every angle, and a technician from the Navarra Institute of Forensic Medicine was kneeling beside it, apparently taking the temperature of the liver.

Amaia was pleased to see that everyone present was respecting the entry point that the first officers on the scene had established. Even so, as always, it seemed to her that there were just too many people. It was almost absurd. It may have had something to do with her Catholic upbringing, but whenever she had to deal with a corpse, she always felt a pressing need for that sense of intimacy and devotion she experienced in a cemetery. It seemed as though this was violated by the distant and impersonal professional presence of the people moving around the body. It was the sole subject of a murderer's work of art, but it lay there mute and silenced, its innate horror disregarded.

She went over slowly, observing the place someone had chosen for the death. A beach of rounded gray stones, no doubt carried there by the previous spring's floods, had formed beside the river, a dry strip about nine meters wide that extended as far as she could see in the gloomy predawn light. A deep wood, which got denser farther in, grew right up to the other bank of the river, which was only about four meters wide. Amaia waited for a few seconds while the technician from the forensics team finished taking photographs of the corpse, then she went over to stand at the girl's feet. As usual, she emptied her mind of all thoughts, looked at the body lying beside the river, and murmured a brief prayer. Only then did Amaia feel ready to look at the girl's body as the work of a murderer. A pretty brown color in life, Ainhoa Elizasu's eyes now stared into endless space, frozen in an expression of surprise. Her head was tilted back slightly, and it was just possible to make out part of the coarse string buried so deep in the flesh of her neck it had almost disappeared. Amaia leaned over the body to look at the ligature.

"It's not even knotted. The killer just pulled it tight until the girl stopped breathing," she said softly, almost to herself.

"It would take some strength to do that," observed Jonan from behind her. "Do you think we're looking for a man?"

"It seems likely, although the girl's not that tall, only five foot one or so, and she's very thin. It could have been a woman."

Dr. San Martín, who'd been chatting with the judge and the court clerk accompanying her until this point, bade them a rather flowery farewell and came over to the body.

"Inspector Salazar, it's always a pleasure to see you, even in such circumstances," he said jovially.

"The pleasure's all mine, Dr. San Martín. What do you make of this?"

Excerpted from The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo. Copyright © 2016 by Dolores Redondo. Excerpted by permission of Atria Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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