Read The Ice Maiden Online

Authors: Edna Buchanan

The Ice Maiden (24 page)

BOOK: The Ice Maiden
7.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

McDonald took off his shirt.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I want him to see I'm not armed. I'll try to talk to him and get Darryl out. Then we can leave it to SWAT to get Edgar.”

“No,” I said. “You don't even have a bulletproof vest. You're not armed.”

“I know,” he said, eyes on mine. “But the vapor could ignite at any time. A pilot light, the water heater, anything could touch it off. I'll just try to get the boy out.” He turned to the woman.

“Where is Edgar?” he asked. “What room? Tell me exactly where the boy was when you last saw him.”

Edgar was crouched in a corner of the gasoline-soaked living room when she fled, she said. He held Darryl's wrist in one hand, a cigarette lighter in the other.

“Stay back behind that fence,” McDonald warned us, “no matter what you hear. If I don't come out, wait for the police.

“Call them now.” He handed me his cell phone. “Start them rolling on a three signal, but tell them no lights, no sirens. I love you, Britt.”

“Be careful,” I pleaded, punching in the numbers.

I relayed the message as he walked up to the front door. He tried it, and it opened. He stepped cautiously inside as Onnie and I clutched each other.

“Edgar,” I heard him say. “You all right in here? My name is…”

He disappeared into the house, leaving the door open behind him. For long heart-stopping moments, nothing at all happened. Then Darryl emerged, flying
out the front door, stumbling, running, straight down the walk, away from the house. “Mommy! Mommy!” he screamed.

“Here I am, baby!” she cried, arms outstretched. He leaped into her embrace as the house erupted in a great roar. The roof lifted, windows shattered, and tongues of fire shot out each opening. A great ball of flame hurtled out the front door with a loud
whoosh,
then retreated as its intense heat forced us back into the street, away from the inferno.

Darryl was safe. No one else escaped.

They say you have begun to heal when it's not the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning. Will I ever reach that place?

Other lives go on. Ryan is in remission and back at work. He won a national prize for the story on the rescue of the baby in the well. He was embarrassed, reluctant to attend the awards presentation.

Lottie and I insisted that he go. He returned lugging a huge and ornate plaque depicting heroic firefighters and a little child in bronze relief, then hid it under his desk.

Bitsy, my brave little dog, survived her injuries and is back at home.

The second-degree murder charges against Hector Gomez were reduced to manslaughter. He went to trial and a jury acquitted him in the death of Andre Coney.

The widow Pinder pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder and was sentenced to fifteen to twenty years.

Sam Stone pursued the Meadows case and found not the killer but nine identical cases in cities across the country. In Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, and Portland, lonely elderly women who lived alone were murdered in their homes, then lovingly tucked into sleeping positions in their own beds. There are probably others. The most recent he has uncovered so far occurred three years ago. He is now temporarily assigned to an FBI task force in pursuit of the serial killer.

There was nothing Dr. Hartley could be charged with, due to the statute of limitations. There was talk that he might lose his license to practice, but no sanctions were taken against him. His wife Maureen left him but has not filed for divorce. However, with Craig and Connie Burch separated, anything may happen.

Though I still love them, it's difficult for me to see Onnie and Darryl. I still break down. Darryl said that Kendall McDonald threw him out the door, telling him to run as his father repeatedly flicked his lighter trying to make it work.

I still wear my engagement ring, and hang out with Lottie and Sunny. Their strength and optimism comforts me. Sunny broke Nazario's heart as I suspected she would. Sometimes the only way for a victim to heal is to never again see the people who remind you of the trauma.

Conversely, after hysterically railing at me for allowing Kendall McDonald to walk into that house
alone on that terrible day, K.C. Riley and I clung together in shared grief. We talk often. It helps us both.

The detectives are convinced, though I remain doubtful, that Shelby Fountain was the innocent victim of a drive-by shooting unrelated to the crime that tormented her for more than half her life. Cubby and Abby Wells named their new baby girl Shelby.

In an unfair and troubled world, signs of hope begin to intrude on my despair. Driving home alone across the causeway, I see green spires, signs of growth, and new life reaching for the sky.

Acknowledgments

I am grateful for the friendship and expertise of Dr. Joseph H. Davis, Dr. Steve Nelson, and Dr. Howard Gordon, the genius of super-sculptor Amy Bryer, the brilliant and generous Coralee Leon, and artists Brooke Engle, Rosemarie Chiarlone, and Paula Harper. Special thanks to Bill Dobson; the Reverend Garth Thompson; Ann Hughes; Debbie Buchanan; Gay Nemeti Robson of the
Miami Herald;
Metro-Dade Police Intelligence Specialist Karen Austin; Angela and Frank Natoli; my agent, Michael Congdon; and the ice man Costas Metaxatos. My stalwart buddies Leonard Wolfson, Renee Turolla, Patricia Keen, Luisita Pacheco, and Molly Lonstein do their best to keep me on the straight and narrow and out of serious trouble. And when all else fails, the glamorous redhead Marilyn Lane swoops to the rescue like a superhero. What a sterling cast of characters! I am so blessed.

About the Author

EDNA BUCHANAN
is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former Florida crime reporter with more than two decades of experience. She is the author of two highly acclaimed nonfiction books—
The Corpse Had a Familiar Face
and
Never Let Them See You Cry
—the novels
Pulse
and
Nobody Lives Forever
, and the novels in her highly acclaimed series featuring reporter Britt Montero:
Contents Under Pressure; Miami, It's Murder; Suitable for Framing; Act of Betrayal; Margin of Error; Garden of Evil;
and
You Only Die Twice
. Ms. Buchanan lives in Miami, Florida.

Visit www.AuthorTracker.com for exclusive information on your favorite HarperCollins author.

Resounding
praise
for Pulitzer Prize winner
EDNA BUCHANAN
and
THE ICE MAIDEN

“A supremely expert yarnspinner.”

Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Buchanan has improved, novel to novel…
The Ice Maiden
demonstrates her mastery of mystery fiction.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Edna Buchanan does it again…
She has given us a gripping adventure starring her alter ego, Britt Montero. The book careens from subplot to subplot without ever seeming disorganized or implausible…Highly recommended.”

Raleigh News and Observer

“One of crime fiction's national treasures.”

Newsday

“Edna Buchanan is outrageous and unrivaled.”

Patricia Cornwell

“The Queen of Crime.”

Los Angeles Daily News

“Powerful…
a real knockout, with unexpected revelations leading to a deadly conclusion and a tragically ironic aftermath…A highly entertaining tale that's really tough to put down…A terrific, compelling, page-turning mystery that's definitely one of the best in her series.”

Lansing State Journal

“There's a grabber of a lead…
The ending has so many twists and turns, executed so well, that my reaction when I turned the last page was a simple, breathless, ‘Wow.' And there is a bunch of good stuff in between.”

New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Buchanan writes killer prose.”

Austin American-Statesman

“She is familiar with the worlds of crime
and newspapers. And for the last several years she has been writing novels that effortlessly—or so it seems—capture the essence of both.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“Buchanan's books are the best in the business.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A compelling tale…
Every detail ultimately matters in the resolution of the mystery…Character and nuance are the author's strongest points…Her unveiling of her characters—layer by layer—raises this mystery novel above the conventional.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Vivid and real…
Deep in the heart of
The Ice Maiden
lies a gripping story about crime tearing apart families, victims, and criminals alike rebuilding their lives…[It] is strongest when Buchanan focuses on the police culture. The cops' camaraderie, determination, and personalities—and how this helps or hinders their work—fuel some of the best scenes.”

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“A first-rate storyteller.”

Michael Connelly

“Get Britt and Buchanan on the trail of a story,
and the writing, as well as the action, simply sizzles with power, passion, and pizzazz.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Also by Edna Buchanan

T
HE
C
ORPSE
H
AD A
F
AMILIAR
F
ACE

N
OBODY
L
IVES
F
OREVER

N
EVER
L
ET
T
HEM
S
EE
Y
OU
C
RY

P
ULSE

C
ONTENTS
U
NDER
P
RESSURE

M
IAMI
, I
T'S
M
URDER

S
UITABLE FOR
F
RAMING

A
CT OF
B
ETRAYAL

M
ARGIN OF
E
RROR

G
ARDEN OF
E
VIL

Y
OU
O
NLY
D
IE
T
WICE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

THE ICE MAIDEN
. Copyright © 2002 by Edna Buchanan. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

Adobe Digital Edition April 2009 ISBN 978-0-06-194270-9

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

About the Publisher

Australia

HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty. Ltd.

25 Ryde Road (PO Box 321)

Pymble, NSW 2073, Australia

http://www.harpercollinsebooks.com.au

Canada

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

55 Avenue Road, Suite 2900

Toronto, ON, M5R, 3L2, Canada

http://www.harpercollinsebooks.ca

New Zealand

HarperCollinsPublishers (New Zealand) Limited

P.O. Box 1

Auckland, New Zealand

http://www.harpercollins.co.nz

United Kingdom

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

77-85 Fulham Palace Road

London, W6 8JB, UK

http://www.harpercollinsebooks.co.uk

United States

HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

10 East 53rd Street

New York, NY 10022

http://www.harpercollinsebooks.com

BOOK: The Ice Maiden
7.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Hers by Hazel Gower
Valdez Is Coming by Elmore Leonard
Private Dancer by Stephen Leather
Duel with the Devil by Paul Collins
Lucinda by Paige Mallory
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
The Pharaoh's Daughter by Mesu Andrews