Excerpt from The Killing Game by Iris Johansen, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Killing Game

by Iris Johansen

The Killing Game
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    Aug 1999, 355 pages
    May 2000, 352 pages

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"He'll need it. If I were you, I'd make a formal request to our pathology department. They're usually willing to cooperate."

"Could you do it for us?"

"I can't. I'll be glad to put in a word, but I'm here in an unofficial capacity."

Bosworth frowned. "You didn't say that. You just flashed your badge and started asking me questions." His eyes suddenly widened. "My God, you're Quinn."

"It's no secret. I told you that."

"But I didn't make the connection. I've been hearing about you for years. The skeleton man. Three years ago you were over in Coweta County checking out two skeletons found there. Then there was that body found in the swamps near Valdosta. You were down there too. And that skeleton up near Chattanooga that you--"

"Word does get around, doesn't it?" Joe smiled sardonically. "I'd think you'd have better things to talk about. So? Do the stories make me some kind of urban legend?"

"No, just a curiosity. You're looking for those kids, aren't you? The ones Fraser killed and then refused to tell where he'd buried them." He frowned. "That was almost ten years ago. I'd think you'd give up."

"Their parents haven't given up. They want their children home for proper burial." He looked down at the skeleton. "Most victims belong to someone somewhere."

"Yeah." Bosworth shook his head. "Kids. I never understand why anyone would kill a kid. It makes me sick."

"Me too."

"I've got three kids. I guess I'd feel the same way those parents do. God, I hope I never find out." Bosworth was silent a moment. "Those cases must have been closed when Fraser was executed. It's mighty decent of you to keep trying to find those children on your own time."

One child. Eve's child. "It's not decent. It's just something I've got to do." He turned away. "Thanks for putting up with me, Sheriff. Call me if I can act as liaison between your coroner and the Atlanta PD."

"I'd appreciate that."

He started down the cliff and then stopped. To hell with not offending another law officer. The sheriff was clearly out of his depth, and by the time someone knowledgeable came on the scene, it might be too late to save the evidence. "Could I make a couple of suggestions?"

Bosworth stared at him warily.

"Get someone out here to photograph the body and entire crime scene."

"I was going to do that."

"Do it now. I know your guys are doing their best to locate evidence, but they're probably destroying more than they're finding. A metal detector should be used in case there's any evidence covered by the mud. And get a forensic archaeologist to excavate the skeleton and an entomologist to examine any dead insects or larvae. It's probably too late for the entomologist, but you can never tell."

"We don't have any of those people on our staff."

"You can hire them from a university. It may save you from having egg on your face later."

Bosworth thought about it and then said slowly, "Maybe I'll do that."

"It's up to you." Joe continued down the hill toward his car parked on the gravel road below.

Excerpted from The Killing Game by Iris Johansen. Copyright© 1999 by I.J. Enterprises. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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