By Shari Rood
The Closet Door Series, Book 3
Suspense/Thriller, 330 Pages
Cover art by Trisha FitzGerald
Henry Peterson, the notorious serial killer is at it again. He just can’t help himself but this time he’s turned vigilante. He only kills the deserving. After years of staying under the radar he finds himself drawn back to Virginia to help his little brother Wyatt, a police officer. Wyatt is working a difficult cold case and trying to track down his old enemy Rex Roland. He turns to his brother for help but starts to regret it when Henry decides to come to town.
Frank Tanbark is a typical Caitland county kid. His Dad went to prison long ago and he’s left with a severely depressed mother with a hoarding problem and a bunch of friends who are chomping at the bit to do something illegal and dangerous. When a botched robbery escalates, Frank collides with Henry and Rex and things go from bad to worse.
Henry listened for a familiar sound. A slight rattling or even a brazen knock. He felt the relentless drive of whatever it was that drove him, push him forward…and he cringed. He looked at the door and heard nothing. He got up and walked down the hallway, out into the open plan of the large living room.
Nice. He thought that every time he walked into the room, making him wonder if somewhere inside that buggy head of his, he desired a fancy house like this. Fancy, it was a word his mother would have used, but she was gone like everyone else.
He looked into space, past the high ceilings and plantation teak floors and farther past the large deck that overlooked a private pond with a small dock, a little rowboat prettily tied to it. It was all very quaint and moneyed, but he couldn’t really feel comfortable here in this house that wasn’t his. It was like wearing borrowed clothes.
It had been almost a dozen years since Shelby. He let his mind wander to her because he knew she was safe. At least he hadn’t hurt her. It was more than he could say about Melanie, his new girl.
The phrase, she had it coming came to mind. He chuckled, his eyes still focused on the little rowboat. He hated to think he was turning into some kind of vigilante. After all, he really had no interest in helping people. Still, it was nice to know his girlfriend of four months wouldn’t be hurting anyone ever again.
He walked back into the bedroom. He pulled up a chair and faced the closet door. “Melanie, I know you can hear me. I’d like to say something.”
There was silence. That old familiar blank space. He wondered if he’d killed her. It hearkened back to the Michelle Butler days. The long hours spent waiting for her to speak. Was he crazy? He decided he must be. However, that revelation wasn’t enough to stop him. He’d changed course, however. No more hurting people he loved. He’d made that promise to himself and so far, he’d kept it.
“Melanie, why’d you kill them? I mean, you could have just kept the money. They were too addled to give up your secret. Why?”
Melanie’s cat walked into the room. “You know she’s a piece of work. One time I saw this show about a televangelist named Peter something or other. Anyway, he had this scam going where he convinced poor people to borrow and scrape together every last dime in the name of Jesus and send it to him so he could live in style in Los Angeles and drive a Mercedes. I’ve always thought Melanie had a lot in common with him. I mean, truly, who bleeds old people dry and then kills them?”
He gazed at Allistar and back to the door. Allistar was a chatty little thing. Henry missed Misty.
He got up, unlocked the door and peered into the shadowy darkness intrigued by the muffled sound she was making. He hesitated for a moment. Another mmphh sound…he shook his head, remembering the duct tape.
“Now stop it. That’s just silly,” he said as he ripped the tape off her mouth. She had been crying. He waited for a barrage of cursing, the usual from Melanie, but she was breaking. He knew the signs. “So, are you going to answer me?”
“Go to hell.”
“Okay, back on with the tape.”
“No, wait. Just wait… I’ll tell you.”
“That’s better; you didn’t even ask me if I was going to let you go this time. Does that mean we are learning?”
Henry admired her beauty. She was thirtyish and a redhead (very convenient!) and she had stunning blue eyes which at the moment just looked stunned.
He sat back down on his chair and she struggled to move against the ropes that bound her. He noticed she’d rubbed a raw patch on her right wrist and it looked infected. He decided maybe today was the day. “Last time…why… did... you... do... it?”
She inhaled a wet, snotty breath and Henry got up, took his handkerchief, wiped her nose and sat back down.
“Why do you care?”
Henry was growing weary of this. It had been interesting but it was time to move on. He felt a pang of remorse at leaving this beautiful house. He’d grown fond of walking the gardens in the afternoon; he even took the little rowboat out for a paddle one particularly lovely evening. He’d always wanted a real home. He understood this wasn’t going to be it. “I have this kind of weapon. It’s a sword actually, Japanese. I’ve never actually used anything except my bare hands and of course my trusty gun as my friend Rex would say, but I think you might be a special case.”“Oh she definitely is,” Allistar said brightly. “You know all those medical records you found? It proves it. I don’t know why you want her to confess… it’s all there in black and white. Six wealthy elderly patients died under her care. So, one might think because she was a hospice nurse, that’s normal right? Except it was far from normal. In fact…”