Dead Lawyer on Aisle 11
Book 8 of the Michael Gresham Series
SOMEONE IS KILLING OFF LAWYERS IN THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE.
When they've tried everything else to find the killer, they turn to twelve-year old Annie Gresham to profile the killer and help run him to the ground.
Michael Gresham is assigned to prosecuting the case against the at-large killer and he puts together a team of FBI agents to track down Annie's profile. In the meantime the serial killer continues taking down lawyers one-by-one until Annie has enough information to pinpoint the killer's identity. But then the killer moves closer and closer to the investigators and we begin to realize he's closer than anyone would ever have guessed.
Now everyone is a potential target, especially those who are getting the closest to making an arrest.
This book is the twenty-fourth by USA TODAY bestselling author John Ellsworth. Pick up a copy today and be prepared to lock the windows and doors while you're curled up with this page-turner.
Read an Excerpt
No one in line, none of the grocery stockers, and not one cashier noticed the blue latex gloves worn by the police officer when he entered the Foggy Bottom Grocery Valu-Mart. Neither did they recognize that he was heavily made up with bronzer, false eyebrows and mustache, false sideburns, a wig of curly black hair, and eyeglasses of tortoise shell. He was wearing the uniform of the Washington, DC Metro Police Department. His police cruiser was parked in the parking lot, squeezed between a Toyota Tundra and a Ford F-150. He might have well been invisible when he walked up aisle 11, an unregistered .38 Police Special held in his gloved hand. He appeared to study the foodstuff on the shelves as he came. His target: a young woman of thirty dressed in a pink summer dress—short hemline—sandals, wearing sunglasses perched on her head. It was just after eight o’clock on a Saturday morning and she was relaxing on her day off from the U.S. Attorney’s Office downtown. She was smiling as the cop approached, giving her a friendly smile as he strode right up to her, placed the muzzle of the gun against her forehead in a sweeping motion of his arm, and squeezed the trigger. Squeezed, just like cops are taught to shoot. The ballistic round entered her skull and sliced and diced what it found there, before exiting out the back of her skull and pasting a mixture of brain matter and blood and bony material all down a stack of Del Monte Peaches. Her knees crumpled, she fell onto her side and didn’t move. Just for good measure, the cop fired two more rounds into the side of her head before turning and striding out of the store. He left the gun behind, a throw-down that he had previously carried in an ankle-holster just in case patrol duty ever needed an excuse for him to have shot somebody—the dead body would wind up with the throw-down in their hand and a statement from the cop that the dead guy drew on him first. But that wasn’t the case here. Linda S. Burrows hadn’t drawn on anyone prior to being shot. In fact, she didn’t even own a gun. Moreover, if the dead could speak she would have told the detectives she had no idea why she had been murdered that Saturday morning in the Foggy Bottom Grocery Valu-Mart. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney she had introduced some bad people into the federal penal system, but there had been no threats on her life; as a prosecutor dedicated to white collar crime cases, threats on her life would have been totally unexpected. Tax cheats don’t usually murder the AUSA who sends them to the penitentiary to serve their eighteen months.
The shoppers and employees were frozen in place as the cop walked out the front door. For several seconds after he was gone no one said a word. Then all hell broke loose with crying, sobbing, cell phones dialing 911, and managers running to aisle 11 to see what the three gunshots were about. Of course they trampled through the scene of the shooting, one of them calling for a cleanup of the aisle, another, a senior manager canceling his call, demanding that all employees leave the scene so the police would have something unsullied to work with.
As for the cop, he jogged out to his patrol car, slid in on the passenger’s side, and proceeded to remove all traces of makeup, fake hair, fake eyeglasses, and the rest of it. He stuffed the blue gloves into his pocket then reached over and inserted the ignition key and turned it clockwise until the police radio jumped to life. When the “all units” came over the speaker, directing him and everyone else in the region to the grocery store, he reached over again, turned off the vehicle, pocketed the keys, and opened the door. He leaned inside and plucked a roll of yellow crime scene tape from beneath the passenger seat and stood up, slamming the door shut. He counted to one-hundred and then stepped out from between the two pickup trucks and broke into a steady jog for the entrance to the store. This time they were waiting for him, the customers and employees, and he was directed to aisle 11.
First on the scene. That’s the way he had planned it, driving the gawkers back from the scene and taping it off with police tape between the canned okra and the green beans. “Special on pumpkin pie filling,” he whispered to himself. “Nice.”
Other units began to arrive.
But after all was said and done, Linda S. Burrows was no closer to avoiding the bullets than before the photos were taken, measurements made, crime scene data recorded, and donuts supplied to the police techs and cops by the store management. At long last the body was placed on a gurney, beginning its processing through autopsy and disposal.
For his part, the killer helped secure the scene, standing with his back to the bystanders with his arms outstretched, blocking encroachment on the killing zone by anyone not wearing a Washington DC Metro Police uniform or CSI coveralls.
Witness names were entered into police reports by the detectives and preliminary questions asked, such as name, address, and phone. A promise was made that police contacts would soon be made and in-depth statements recorded.
Near the end, the store’s cleanup crew was told, “Cleanup on aisle eleven.” They proceeded with mops, astringents, and waxing machines to make short shrift of the bloody floor. There was a brief discussion between the chief of cleanup and the assistant manager as to disposal of the cans of vegetables and fruit that had been blood-spattered. In the end, the cans were taken into the washing room at the rear of the store and sprayed off. Then the cans were wheeled back out to the shelves and restocked.
While all of this was underway, the store itself was open to shoppers. In fact, sales took a particular bump that day of 115%, causing the produce manager to remark, “Maybe we should host a homicide every day if it’s going to skyrocket sales.”
A nearby store manager heard this and immediately ordered the produce manager to go spray the crookneck wash.