One dark winter’s morning, bride-to-be Cara Dunne is found hanging in her home, dressed in her wedding dress, with a lock of hair removed. Detective Lottie Parker is first on the scene. Looking at Cara’s bruised and battered body, she wonders who could have hated her enough to kill her at the happiest time of her life.
The case takes a darker turn that afternoon with another shocking discovery – the broken body of a second young woman, pushed from the roof of the hospital where she worked. Fiona Heffernan was also due to be married, and her body is clad in a wedding dress, a lock of her hair cut off.
The killings seem so personal that Lottie is convinced the girls have been killed by someone they knew. When she goes to break the news to Fiona’s family, she’s on the alert for anything suspicious. But then she makes a discovery that causes her blood to run cold – Fiona’s eight-year-old daughter Lily didn’t return home from her dance recital that afternoon. Terrified that Lily will be the next victim of a twisted and dangerous individual, Lottie takes the case into her own hands, risking her life when she comes face-to-face with the killer…
If you love Karin Slaughter, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine, you’ll be hooked by this heart-stopping thriller from Patricia Gibney. Broken Souls will keep you guessing until the very last page!
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© 2019 Patricia Gibney
The four-year-old boy tore off the paper and pushed the sweet into his mouth. The toffee stuck to his baby teeth. He tried to extract it with a finger. The toffee stuck to his fingers and he began to cry.
The slap of the ruler across his knuckles caught him by surprise and momentarily stopped his whimpering. But once he felt the pain shoot up his hand, he screamed.
‘I want to go home!’
‘Shut up. Not another word. You’re upsetting the other children. Look around you. You’re a mean little boy, and if you don’t stop, I’ll stand you outside the door in the rain. You know there are bad people out there and the bad people come to take away naughty little children. Do you want that to happen to you?’
He sniffed away his tears and bit his lip, feeling the toffee still stuck to his front tooth.
‘I asked you a question. Answer me.’ Another crack of the ruler, this time on the desk.
‘No.’ He nodded vigorously. He did not want to feel that ruler on his hand or anywhere else again. He would be a good boy.
‘Put that wrapper in the bin and open your spelling book.’
He had no idea which one was his spelling book.
‘Come up here!’
Making his way to the front of the classroom, he tried fruitlessly to tear the sweet wrapper from his hand.
‘It’s stuck.’ With the piece of paper sticking fast to his throbbing fingers, he faced the teacher.
The ruler came down hard and sharp on his hand once more.
‘Get back to your seat.’
His first day at school was turning out to be even worse than life at home. As he walked back to his desk, he felt the warmth trickle down his leg and settle inside his white ankle sock. The ruler would surely visit him again many times, today and in days to come. He didn’t think he wanted to wait around for that. But where else could he go?
He spent the morning sitting in his wet shorts; he didn’t even go out to the playground when the other children left for their break. He stayed at his desk, opened his lunch box and munched on the bruised banana. The teacher sat at her desk at the head of the classroom, her eyes blinking with every movement of his jaw.
‘Come here,’ she said when the other children returned.
He looked up fearfully and the banana lodged in his throat.
Not wanting to feel the timber of the ruler again, he put down the fruit and made his way forward. When he reached her desk, barely able to see over the edge, she leaned forward and grabbed his hair. He shrieked when he saw the long-bladed scissors in her hand.
‘Your hair is much too long. You can hardly see out through it. You need a trim.’
He tried to say no, but the words stuck to the roof of his mouth like the toffee had stuck to his fingers. He loved his hair. Shoulder length. It reminded him of the photo of his mother. He had her hair.
The teacher waved the scissors in front of him before tugging his fringe. She looked at him triumphantly, a lock of his hair clasped in her hand.
‘Now I can see your horrible little face.’
Silently, he wished for the day to end.