Death delights

When Jack left the police force to join the Forensic Science Unit in Canberra, he thought his days of visiting crime scenes were over. But while he’s on leave in Sydney, his old friend Bob asks him to help out with a series of grisly murders.

Forensic examiner, Dr Jack McCain, dealing with a runaway daughter and a vengeful ex-wife, attempts to solve a series of vicious mutilation murders of men, while trying to solve the mystery of what happened to his little sister Rosie in the summer of ’75. His growing interest in an enigmatic but potentially lethal woman seemingly involved in these crimes, culminates in a terrifying life-threatening climax. A taut, fast-moving thriller rooted in realistic complex family relationships and a man’s longing for love and redemption.
  • Reading level: Ages 15 and up
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 1743102283
“The big old Merc was easy to follow, even in Friday’s heavy traffic. In Macquarie street she slowed down and I could see she was looking for somewhere to park. Someone ahead of her vacated a spot and I overtook her as she backed in. I looked around for somewhere myself but couldn’t find anything and made a highly illegal U-turn, turning back to pass her. She was sitting with her hands over her face, slumped over the wheel and I imagined I could see the sobs shaking her shoulders.

She got out of the Merc and started to walk south towards College Street, crossing the road to St Mary’s Cathedral. I sprinted down the street just in time to see her mount the stairs on the western side and vanish through the heavy neo-Norman doors. I crossed the road, raced up the steps and pushed open the doors, peering around in the dim interior. For a moment, I couldn’t see a thing and I wondered why it is that the house of our God is always so dark.

People pressed around me in the gloom, some with cameras around their necks, others wandering then pausing to look up at the intricate stained-glass windows and the various shrines and icons. I stood there, wondering if she was really smart and, knowing she was being followed, had taken counter-surveillance steps and was already disappearing out of another door. I felt a disproportionate wave of desolation, but then I saw the tall figure on the left-hand side of the raised and fenced off sanctuary with its interlocking polished brass shamrocks. A large copy of a Byzantine icon of the Madonna hung there, with a wooden slotted box in front of it. Beside it in faded type script, was an invitation to post prayers, requests for divine favours.

She was now kneeling in front of this, oblivious to the movements around her as people brushed past and Japanese tourists took flashlight photographs. She seemed to have something in her hand and for a moment, I thought she was about to post a prayer. But instead, she stood up, blessed herself as the devout do, and hurried down past the sanctuary to a roped-off area at the northern end…

I saw Iona Seymour sitting herself in front of a small chapel. There were two other altars on either side, but only the central one had the winking red sanctuary lamp; symbol of the presence of the mystery.

I was wondering what I was doing there and was just about to leave when Iona Seymour stood up, genuflected and started walking back the way we both come… I slid out of my pew and followed a discreet distance as she approached the entrance we’d both used, where she paused and instead of going through the heavy doors, she stopped in front of the huge marble copy of Michaelangelo’s Pieta, a powerful image of the desolate mother holding the deadweight of her son’s corpse across her knees.

The massive work is supported by a huge block of stone, and it was into a tiny gap between the bottom of the weighty sculpture and the pedestal that formed its base that Iona Seymour, unnoticed by anyone but me, pushed something small. She looked around and hurried away…

With practised unconcern, I wandered over to the sculpture pretending great interest in its polished surfaces. I could just see something sticking out from under the statue. Casually, I dropped my hand, took the corner of it with my fingers and quickly drew it out. It was a wedge of folded paper. I walked outside, blinking in the sudden brilliance of Sydney summer sunlight. Carefully, I moved away from the people and out of the breeze to open the folded paper to read the desperate words she’d written there….”

Fishpond Hardcover