Spring Girls by Karen Katchur

 Spring Girls

Spring Girls by Karen Katchur (Northampton County #3)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 3.0 MB

I’m a suspense novelist who grew up in a small town in Eastern Pennsylvania. More than a whodunit mystery, I’m fascinated by the whydunit.

She’s the only one who survived…and the only one who can help find the killer.
Another spring, another dead girl pulled from a lake in the Appalachian foothills: the latest victim in a series of murders with few leads. But Detective Geena Brassard and her partner, Parker Reed, finally land a break when they receive a tip about a previously unknown survivor of the so-called Spring Strangler.
The survivor’s reluctant to help with the case for reasons that aren’t all clear. Even so, Geena uncovers a connective thread between the victims, and recently discovered DNA brings her closer to the killer’s identity. But Geena knows the survivor has the most to offer the investigation—if also the most to lose.
Geena is torn between securing the surviving victim’s help and protecting her from further danger. One thing is certain: Geena and Parker must find answers before the killer claims another life—or returns to finish off the one who got away.

On a rainy spring afternoon, Janey sat with her son, Christian, in the dark movie theater. They were only moments away from the big climactic scene where the family of superheroes takes the villain down and saves the day. She was barely paying attention to the action on screen, having seen this particular kids’ movie before. It was a second run, a promotional tool for the upcoming sequel to be released in June. But she’d needed to get out of the house, distract herself from the disquiet she’d been feeling ever since she’d gotten out of bed. She couldn’t pinpoint the cause of her unease. It was just there when she’d opened her eyes, much like the heavy gray clouds consuming the sky.

When the movie ended and the credits rolled, they followed the crowd to the exit. She stopped near a wall of video games, searching for her keys in her purse. Christian pulled on her blouse, his fingers slick with butter from the bag of popcorn he’d eaten, leaving grease stains on her last clean shirt.

“I can’t see,” he whined, and he crawled up her leg and all the way up her body as though he were a spider on the trunk of a tree. He wrapped his ropy arms around her neck. His forearms squeezed her throat.

“There’s nothing to see.” She tried to loosen his grip where his arm had dug into her larynx. “It’s just a video game.” It was a game meant for mature audiences, but of course it was more popular among the younger kids. It was full of death and destruction and shooting characters who looked too much like real people, blowing up cars and buildings.

“I want to seeeeeee!” He tightened his grip on her neck.

“Christian.” She coughed, grabbed his arms, tried to pull them away from her throat. There were black spots in front of her eyes. For a second, she thought she might pass out. She tried to pry him off. The scent of buttery popcorn filled her nose. Just as she thought she might black out, he released her and jumped to the ground, fell onto his back. Air rushed her lungs.

He stared up at her from the dirty theater floor, eyes wide, accusing. How dare she?

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.” Did she push him? Or throw him off of her? She crouched next to him, reached for his hands to help him up. “Are you hurt? Please tell me you’re not hurt.”

“You hit me!” he shrieked.

“I didn’t hit you,” she pleaded. “Christian, please, you were choking me.”

“Is everything okay here?” A woman approached wearing a black shirt with the movie theater’s logo stitched on the pocket. She bent over, speaking to Christian directly, ignoring Janey.

“He’s fine,” Janey said, scooping Christian into her arms even though he was six years old and too big to be carried. She didn’t give him the opportunity to answer the movie attendant, knowing he’d say his mommy had struck him. “He was climbing on me and fell. That’s all.”

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