Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Author:Shari Lapena [Lapena, Shari]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2021-07-27T00:00:00+00:00

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detective reyes had been disappointed when he studied the inside of Dan’s car. It looked as if it hadn’t been cleaned in years. There was dust all over the dash, food wrappers on the floor. Dog hair on the seats. The fact that the car obviously hadn’t been cleaned suggested that Dan might not have done the killings after all. There would be blood everywhere after a murder as violent as Fred Merton’s. Even if he’d scrubbed himself clean and changed his clothes, he would probably still scrub down the car. But maybe they’ll get lucky. Maybe he changed his clothes after the murders and didn’t think he had to clean the inside of the car.

As the hours go by and nothing incriminating is found, Reyes’s frustration mounts. They’ve obtained the clothes that Dan claims to have worn the night of the murder—confirmed by his wife, who they know has already lied to them once. They bag the clothes despite their having been laundered, and the windbreaker, which appears to be spotless. Reyes doesn’t trust either one of them to tell the truth. If Dan committed the murders, whatever he was wearing at the time is at the bottom of the Hudson River or in a dumpster somewhere. It’s not hidden below the dog’s grave—Reyes has made sure of that. They take all of his electronics, over his protests. They use luminol in the bathrooms, the laundry room, and the kitchen, but find no traces of blood anywhere.

But then, in the two-car garage, they find something interesting. Inside a large plastic bin, they find an opened package of N95 masks; a package of white, hooded, disposable coveralls; and an opened package of booties. The package of disposable coveralls is open, and there’s only one left in the package of three.

Of course, Reyes thinks. A murderer who’s canny enough to wear gloves, socks, and no shoes, who leaves no trace evidence—he might have been wearing a protective suit, just like the one he and Barr are staring at. It’s very similar in appearance to the ones used by the forensics team. It would explain the complete lack of physical evidence at the scene. The lack of evidence in the car and house. And it would show premeditation. He lifts his eyes to meet Barr’s. “Over here,” he calls to the closest technician.

He turns to Dan, who is hovering at the entrance to the garage with his silent wife, and beckons him over. “What are these for?”

“I bought them when I was insulating the attic with spray foam, a couple of years ago,” Dan says, flushing. “You’re supposed to wear them. And the mask. The chemicals are dangerous.”

A member of the forensic team photographs the package of disposable coveralls and the package of booties beneath it, then gathers them up carefully. Reyes stares at Dan, who shrinks from his gaze.

Reyes knows they need some physical evidence connecting the killer to the crime scene. The fact that they’ve found an opened package of disposable coveralls in Dan Merton’s garage won’t be enough.


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