Longview Park, San Diego, California
Monday, April 4, 5:30 p.m.
Kit pulled the handkerchief across her nose and mouth as she watched the two CSU techs meticulously uncovering what was, indeed, a grave. Based on the odor, the body had been there awhile.
They'd arrived at the mystery caller's coordinates to find that the ground had settled somewhat, creating a slight depression that measured five and a half by two and a half feet.
Ground-penetrating radar had shown a body.
The victim had been small.
Kit slipped her hand into her pocket, finding the little cat-bird figurine. Stroking it with her thumb. Please don't be a child.
"I hope it's not a kid," Baz murmured, echoing her thoughts.
All homicides were difficult. Even drug dealers murdered on the street had been loved by someone. Were missed by someone.
But the child homicides were a completely different level of hell.
She looked away from the grave to where Sergeant Ryland, the CSU leader, was making a plaster cast of the only footprint they'd found in the area. It was a man's shoe, size eleven.
"You got anything for us, Ryland?" she called.
"I just might."
She and Baz walked from the grave site to where someone had stepped off the asphalt path, leaving the single footprint in the strip of ground between the path and the field of grass.
Ryland finished pouring the plaster over the footprint, smoothed it out, then set the timer on his phone. "Thirty minutes for the plaster to set. Come see the photos I took of the print while I wait." He retrieved his camera and beckoned them closer. "There was lettering on the sole of the shoe-likely a brand name. I can't quite make it out in the photo, but I'm hoping to get detail from the plaster cast."
"So it'll be seventy-two hours or so," Baz said and Ryland nodded.
Kit leaned closer to the screen. "Can you zoom in on it?"
Ryland did, handing the camera to Kit. "I can make out what looks like a Y at the end of the brand name, but-"
"Sperry," Kit said. "Sorry to interrupt, Sergeant. I recognize the logo. They're Sperry Top-Siders." She gave him back his camera. "My sister runs a charter fishing business and sometimes I first mate for her on my days off. A lot of her customers wear them."
Ryland studied the photo. "You could be right."
She was, Kit was certain. "Trouble is, that's a popular shoe. I've even got a pair."
"So do I," Baz said. "Tracking those will be nearly impossible."
Kit shrugged. "But when we find the guy who owns these shoes, we can put him at the scene. Any way to get a weight estimate on the wearer?"
Ryland shook his head. "Ground's too hard. Barely enough sinkage to get the plaster cast. I'll let you know when I have something definite."
"Detectives?" one of the techs at the grave called, his tone urgent. "Something over here you need to see."
"Thank you, Sergeant," Kit said, then approached the grave alongside Baz, schooling her expression. If it was a child's grave, she would maintain her professionalism. She'd let herself react later, when she was alone.
"Victim's a postpubescent female," the tech said when they were graveside. "The ME will be able to give you a better age than I can, but I'm guessing somewhere between fourteen and eighteen."
Feeling Baz's eyes on her, Kit reassured him with a quick glance. She was fine.
He always worried about her reaction when the victim was the same age that Wren had been when she'd been murdered, but after four years as a homicide detective, Kit had seen far too many victims who'd been Wren's age. It never got easier.
She hoped that it never would.
Excerpted from Cold-Blooded Liar by Karen Rose Copyright © 2023 by Karen Rose. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved.
Brace yourself for a scorching new series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Rose, where San Diego means sun, surf, sand...and serial killers.
Sam Reeves is a kindhearted psychologist who treats court-ordered clients. After one of his patients—a pathological liar—starts revealing plausible new details from a long-unsolved serial murder case, he’s compelled to report anonymously to the SDPD tip line, though his attempts to respect patient confidentiality land him facedown and cuffed by the aggressive (and cute) Detective McKittrick.
San Diego homicide detective Kit McKittrick loves the water. She lives on a boat, and when she’s not solving crimes with the SDPD, she’s assisting her foster sister with her charter fishing business or playing with her poodle. But there’s nothing that intrigues Kit more than a cold case, so when an anonymous caller leads her on the path of a wanted killer, she’s determined to end the decade-long manhunt.
Sam is soon released but goes home with both a newfound distaste for the SDPD and a resolve—not unlike Kit’s—to uncover the truth. Kit and Sam repeatedly butt heads in their separate investigations but are forced to work together to find one of the deadliest serial killers the city has faced in years.
About the Author
Karen Rose is the award-winning, #1 international bestselling author of more than twenty-five novels, including the bestselling Baltimore and Cincinnati series. She has been translated into twenty-three languages, and her books have placed on the New York Times, the Sunday Times (UK), and Germany’s der Spiegel bestseller lists.