Five by Ursula Archer introduces Austrian Detective Inspector Beatrice Kaspary who, with her colleague Florin Wenninger, will investigate a corpse tattooed with GPS coordinates to find a killer who's geo-caching more (available December 9, 2014).
A woman’s corpse is discovered in a meadow. A strange combination of letters and numbers has been tattooed on the soles of her feet. Detective inspector Beatrice Kaspary from Salzburg's murder squad quickly identifies the digits as map coordinates. These lead to a series of gruesome discoveries as she and her colleague Florin Wenninger embark on a bloody trail – a modern-day scavenger hunt using GPS navigation devices to locate hidden caches. The “owner” of these unofficial, unpublished geocaches is a highly calculating and elusive fiend who leaves his victims’ body-parts sealed in plastic bags, complete with riddles that culminate in a five-stage plot. Kaspary herself becomes an unwilling pawn in the perpetrator’s game of cat and mouse as she risks all to uncover the motives behind the murderer’s actions.
The place where his left ear used to be was throbbing to the rhythm of his heartbeat. Fast and panicked. His breath came out in short, loud gasps. Nora was just a few steps away from him, leaning over the table where the pistol and knife lay. Her face was contorted, but she was no longer crying.
“Please,” he whispered, his voice hoarse. “Please don’t do it.”
Now she let out a dry, strangled sob. “Be quiet.”
“Why won’t you untie me? We still have a chance . . . please just untie me, okay? Okay?”
She didn’t respond. Her right hand wavered shakily over the weapons, which gave off a dull gleam in the light of the naked bulb.
His whole body convulsed with fear. He writhed around on the chair, twisting as far as the ropes would let him. They cut into his flesh, burning him, as unyielding as steel bands.
But it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault, it’s not my . . .
He screwed his eyes tightly shut, only to open them again. He had to see what was happening. Nora’s hand was on the knife now.
“No!” he screamed, or at least he thought he did. “Help me! Why won’t anyone help me?” But now, when he most needed it, his voice had abandoned him. It was gone, and soon everything would be gone, for all eternity. His breath, his pulse, his thoughts. Everything.
Tears he was unable to wipe away blurred his sight of Nora, who was still standing there in front of the table. She gave a long, drawn-out wail, softer than a scream, louder than a groan. He blinked.
She had picked up the pistol, her right hand quivering like an old lady’s. “I’m sorry,” she said.
He wrenched his body backward and forward in desperation, almost tipping over the chair. Then he felt the cool metal against his cheek and froze.
“Close your eyes,” she said.
Her hand touched his head gently. He felt her fear, as great as his own. But she would carry on breathing, carry on talking, carry on living.
“No,” he whispered tonelessly, finding his voice again at last. He looked up at Nora, who now stood right in front of him. He wished he had never heard her name.
N47° 46.605 E013° 21.718
The early morning mist enveloped her like a damp shroud. The dead woman was lying on her stomach, the grass beneath her soaked with dew and blood. The cows were taking care not to graze there, which was easy enough; the meadow was large, and the thing lying there in the shadow of the rock face unsettled them. A brown cow had ventured over shortly after sunrise, lowering her heavy head and licking the flaxen strands of hair with her rough tongue. But finding her discovery to be unpalatable, she had soon returned to the rest of the herd.
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