Trigger Effect. Maggie Price
“I’m waiting for the punch line, Carmichael.” McCall crossed his arms over his chest.
“He mentioned that later in the day they drove to the restaurant. Then they drove to the store, then drove home. Drove. He habitually uses that verb when he’s with someone. That morning, he drove to the perfect place. Then went for a drive in the country. His change in verbiage indicates a change in reality. He was with someone, later he was alone. Who was he with and what happened to them?”
McCall took a step toward her. “Carmichael, you’re off base accusing an officer of a heinous crime because of the verbs he used.”
“I don’t think so.” Paige angled her chin. “Earlier this evening you told me you buy into statement analysis one hundred percent.”
He moved toward her, his face tense in the harsh fluorescent light. “This skill of yours has merit when it comes to criminals. They deserve having every word uttered put under a microscope for you to pick apart. That’s your job.”
“And I’m damn good at it,” Paige said firmly.
“Ever think you might be too damn good?”
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is no stranger to law enforcement. While on the job as a civilian crime analyst for the Oklahoma City Police Department, she analyzed robberies and sex crimes and snagged numerous special assignments to homicide task forces.
While at OCPD, Maggie stored up enough tales of intrigue, murder and mayhem to keep her at the keyboard for years. The first of those tales won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award for Romantic Suspense. Maggie is also the recipient of Romantic Times’ Career Achievement Award in series romantic suspense.
Maggie invites her readers to contact her at 416 N. W. 8th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73102-2604, or on the Web at www.maggieprice.net.
To my former coworkers at the Oklahoma City Police Department for acting as my guide into the fascinating world of homicide investigation and forensic statement analysis. If longtime pals are truly gold, you guys are twenty-four karat.
The morning started off badly the instant Paige Carmichael woke in her hotel suite, flipped on the TV and heard the date. Just the reminder it was February tenth shifted her mood from half-asleep to sulky to totally ticked.
Offended and resentful soon jumped into the mix as things went downhill fast.
She burned her tongue on the coffee she brewed in the unit atop the minibar. While dressing, she snagged her only pair of panty hose. Dropped and lost the tiny back of her earring. Made two wrong turns in Oklahoma City’s maze of unfamiliar rush hour traffic.
When she finally nosed her rental car into a slot marked Guest Instructor at the police training center, she was fifteen minutes late for her workshop.
Grabbing her briefcase, Paige opened the car door and stepped into the February morning. Although sunlight beamed down, the temperature was icy and she shivered beneath her tan cashmere coat. Despite running late, she did a slow surveillance of the parking lot that was jammed like Easter Sunday.
Paige didn’t buy the cold, bright veneer of peace. Underlying it was a low hum of disquiet that skimmed along her nerves. Her sense of awareness had taken on an edge nearly two weeks ago when Edwin Isaac, the brilliant psychiatrist she’d taken down for murdering five prostitutes, killed a guard and escaped after a hearing at a Texas courthouse.
During his nearly year-long killing spree, the media had dubbed the killer “Gentleman Jim” because of the meek, soft-spoken facade he’d used when approaching his prey. After his capture, Isaac’s polite demeanor hadn’t faltered, even while eerily promising Paige they would see each other again.
Isaac had been as good as his word. After his escape, he’d left a message on her cell phone’s voice mail, reminding her of that promise.
Since then, nothing.
Her early-warning system told her she was the only person lurking in the parking lot, so she hustled into the building. During her drive there she’d called the training center and alerted the secretary that she’d be late. Paige asked the woman to distribute the manuals shipped there by her employer, the Lassiter Group, a security and investigations firm. She’d also gotten the location of her classroom.
The clicking sound of her spiky red suede heels pierced the silence like gunshots as she rushed along the tiled hallway, shifting her purse and briefcase between hands while she tugged off her coat. After her crummy morning, she’d resolved once more to take what had happened three years ago in stride.
Her renewed resolve lasted only until she opened the door to her classroom, its seating done in auditorium-style with tables facing the far wall. Her gaze sliding over the awaiting workshop attendees, she dashed inside and stumbled over the outstretched legs of a lanky man seated at the table nearest the door.
“Careful,” he said. The only thing that kept her from falling on her face was the hand he’d locked on her elbow.
“Sorry,” she managed when she got her balance back. Smoothing her skirt, Paige noted the gold badge clipped to his belt.
“I’m not,” he murmured. Easing his feet out of her way, he arched a dark brow and slowly shifted his gaze to her cherry-red jacket and slim skirt. He hitched up one corner of his mouth while he scoped out her legs as if memorizing them for a lineup.
Narrowing her eyes, Paige wrenched her elbow from