Another blank; it had been a long shot anyway. But he'd had to check it out. He had to check them all out. Someday he'd get lucky and find Bonnie. He had to find her. He had no choice.
Bosworth stared after Quinn as he walked down the hill. Not a bad guy. A little too cool and contained, but maybe that went with dealing with those scumbags in the city. Thank God, he didn't have any weirdos out here. Just good people trying to lead a good life.
The skeleton man. He hadn't told the truth. Quinn was more of a legend than a curiosity. He had once been an FBI agent but had quit the Bureau after Fraser was executed. He was now a detective with the Atlanta PD and supposedly a good cop. Tough as nails and squeaky clean. These days it was hard for city cops not to give in to temptation. That was one of the reasons Bosworth stayed in Rabun County. He never wanted to experience the cynicism and disillusionment he had seen in Quinn's face. He couldn't be forty yet, but he looked as if he had gone to hell and back.
Bosworth glanced down at the skeleton. This was the kind of thing Quinn faced on a daily basis. Hell, he even went looking for it. Well, let him have it. Bosworth would be glad to get rid of the skeleton. It wasn't fair for his people to be drawn into this nasty--
His walkie-talkie buzzed and he pressed the button. "Bosworth."
Joe looked over his shoulder at Bosworth at the top of the cliff. "What?"
"Come back up here. My deputy just radioed me that my men on the far ridge have found more bodies." He paused. "Well, skeletons."
Joe tensed. "How many?"
Bosworth's plump face had paled in the early morning light, and he looked dazed. "Eight, so far. He thinks one of them is a little kid."
They had found the Talladega bodies.
Dom turned off the television set and leaned back in his chair to consider the ramifications.
As far as he knew, this was the first time any of his kills had been discovered. He had always been very careful and methodical, always going the extra mile. In this case many extra miles. Those had all been Atlanta kills and he had transported the bodies to what had been his favorite graveyard then.
Now they had been found, not through diligent search but by an accident of nature.
Or an act of God?
Any religious fanatic would say that God's hand had uncovered those bodies to bring him to justice.
He smiled. Screw all those holier-than-thou fanatics. If there was a God, he looked forward to taking him on. It might be the challenge he needed just then.
The Talladega skeletons were little threat. By the time of those murders, he had learned enough not to leave a hint of evidence.
If there had been any mistakes, the rain and mud had probably erased them.
He hadn't been as careful in the early days. The thrill had been too intense, the fear too vivid. He'd even picked his victims at random to make the kill more uncertain. He was long past such foolishness. But he'd been so methodical lately that the excitement was dwindling. If the excitement went away, then so did his reason for living.
He quickly blocked the thought. He'd gone through this before. He just had to remember that the satisfaction came from the kill itself. Everything else was a plus. If he needed a challenge he'd choose someone harder, someone with ties, someone who was loved and would be missed.
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.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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