(Eleanor Raven #2)
Published: 3rd December 2014
VAULT: A large room or chamber used for storage of valuables, especially an underground one…
In the unrelenting heat of the Toronto summer, a fire at a land-fill site uncovers the remains of a local prostitute. But the post-mortem reveals disturbing details – the body has been preserved and is not who or what it seems.
DI Eleanor Raven is back on duty six months after barely surviving being kidnapped and tortured by a depraved serial killer. Work is her sanctuary but she’s carrying deep scars – mental as well as physical. Where do you go when the place you feel safest is also the place where you are most at risk?
As Eleanor battles her own demons, it looks as though a killer in the city is making a gruesome human collection. And Eleanor’s fight to save the last victim of the Collector becomes a battle to save herself.
Eleanor sat in silence and stared at Mackenzie Webber. He was sweating profusely and kept rubbing a grubby index finger across his forehead, as if trying to massage a convincing response to the barrage of questions that were about to come his way. She had elected to interview Mackenzie in his cramped hut, as it would give her time to assess the man before she heard his story. Of the existence of a story there was no doubt in her mind. The hut was filled with an eclectic collection of objects selected from the landfill. Lamps, a scabrous moose head, a small table, two chairs, and a chaise longue crammed into a corner attested to Mackenzie’s commitment to his job. Interestingly, neatly stacked on a small oak table were, what looked like, two dated photograph albums.
She waited, the longer the better in her opinion. But after three minutes Mackenzie crumbled. “I don’t know nuffin’ about no body,” he said, flinging himself back in the seat heavily. The seat groaned ominously. Eleanor raised an eyebrow, conveying her disbelief to Mackenzie. His eyes saccaded to the left and he began to worry a fingernail. “It didn’t look like a body,” he muttered so quietly that she had to strain to hear.
“How did it appear then?” she responded with interest.
“Like a...a dummy you know. A shop dummy,” he replied.
She leaned towards him and smiled, encouraging him to carry on.
“That’s what I thought it was...Until the fire and then...” Suddenly he had an idea. “Perhaps that’s what it is!” he yelped. “A dummy.”
“Mr Webber. What you see out there are the remains of a human being. Perhaps you’d like to explain to me why you thought it was a shop dummy?”
Mackenzie opened his mouth but snapped it tightly closed, as a brisk knock accompanied the hut door being opened.
Eleanor experienced a wave of irritation as she felt the ease of the interrogation pass through her fingers, in no way relieved by seeing that the interruption was due to the arrival of her partner, Detective Laurence Whitefoot. She hadn’t seen him for several months and their parting had been anything but pleasant. She greeted him with a curt nod. With a functional smile, he put out a hand to Mackenzie, whose eyes narrowed with suspicion. “This is my partner Detective Whitefoot, Mr Webber. He’s here to observe only.”