Too Dark to Sleep

What if you lost everything?
With the highest solve rate in Chicago, Maggie Quinn is the best person to unravel a recent string of strangulations. But nothing prepares her for the death of her only child and the darkness that follows. She has a burning need to catch the one person she knows committed the gruesome murders. But did he really do it? Or is Quinn’s tormented mind pushing her to ruin the life of an innocent man?

“Time…” a voice whispered.

    But there was no time. Maggie pushed the words away and focused on her goal.

    The next door. That’s all that mattered.

    Her lips were dry and cracked. She suddenly wished for the bubble gum lip-gloss her daughter smeared on her mouth every morning. The sweet, sticky smell of pink filled her nostrils as a trickle of perspiration ran down her forehead. She wanted to brush it away, but didn’t dare take her hand off the one thing that could save her.

    He was behind the next door. Maggie smelled him. Felt him. He was close and she couldn’t wait. There would be no help. No one knew whereshe was. No one would come and save her. No one ever saved her. Maggie Quinn was alone. Pushing her arms back to relieve the searing ache between her shoulders, the detective unconsciously said a prayer as her shoulder hit the door.

    Light filled the room. Maggie’s heart stopped as she lowered the gun. Too late. Her man was here and gone.

    A young woman lay on the floor, eyes open, staring at nothing. Carefully approaching the body, Maggie Quinn crouched down and began to work. She had to focus, assess the how and when so she could pin down the who.

    There was time to strip the girl. Maggie’s brain clicked as her eyes panned the body. She was young and pretty, of course. He liked them that way. The shoes were still on. Expensive ones. She came from money. He liked that, too. Necklace, bracelet, an earring. Maggie touched the skin with the back of her hand. Still warm. Bruising around the neck. Small ovals in a pattern indicating a manual strangulation. She focused on the red chasm between the woman’s breasts. Clean cut right down the center, ribs separated revealing the organs beneath.

    When she had the information she needed, Maggie stood and started her pattern, a loose spiral working away from the body. She would miss nothing this time. This time, she would nail her man. This time, no mistakes.

    The small hairs on the back of the detective’s neck jumped to attention. Her nostrils opened to take in more information. He was still there and he was watching. He wanted to complete the work Maggie interrupted.

    A laugh.

    She looked up and caught a glimpse of a blue nylon jacket disappearing through another door at the far end of the room. Without thinking, Maggie Quinn followed.

    Out of the warehouse.

    Into the alley.

    Into the dark.

    The night air stung her lungs as she ran to keep up. He was there, ahead of her. All she needed was a glimpse of his face. Just one brief look. That’s all.

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