Fresh Kills

The Chicken Guy
Excerpt
from Fresh Kills

FBI Special Agent Kelly Jones's legs ached from maintaining the same position, but she didn't dare shift for fear of making noise. He was close now, less than fifty yards away.

Where the hell is my backup? She wondered again as the sawing noise resumed.

Kelly was in an abandoned processing plant in New Jersey that for years had served as the last stop for poultry. The coppery tang of blood still scented the air, and dark stains marred the floor. The assembly line had been partially dismantled, probably sold for scrap, but the conveyor belt remained. She'd entered through a back door and crept for a hundred feet along the dark corridor where chickens once lined up to have their throats mechanically slit. But the killer she hunted was responsible for far worse.

She risked a peek around the corner of the machine. A man was silhouetted by the light of a portable fluorescent lantern. Even from this distance he appeared enormous. Meaty shoulders worked up and down like pistons. As he shifted to one side, Kelly spotted something pale laid out on the table before him. As the saw spun, flecks of matter sprayed around him.

Crap, Kelly thought. She should have guessed that this was a good tip. The call had come in as she was leaving for the day, an anonymous voice on a blocked number. The caller had only provided an address, saying it was related to the Chicken Guy case.

Kelly had nearly dismissed it as a prank, shrugging it off in favor of a hot shower and a night in front of her motel room TV. As it was, she'd opted to check it out alone. But as soon as she spotted the dim light illuminating a window at the far end of the building, she'd known in her gut that this was the place. She'd called for backup, shifting back and forth in the shadows of the building as she waited. But when the shriek of a circular saw pierced the night, she felt compelled to enter.

The door at the rear of the building was ajar, a chain with a broken padlock still dangled from it. It was the perfect location for a kill room, set in an abandoned industrial zone in Trenton. The mass of buildings that had once swallowed and regurgitated workers in endless shifts now sat silent and empty. Kelly hadn't passed a single car on her approach, and hers was the only one in the lot, which raised the question of how the killer got there. No time to think about that now, she reminded herself, tightening her grip on the Glock.

If she was right, the pale figure on the table was victim number four, a local waitress and mother of three named Patty Gill. She'd vanished on her way home from work four nights ago, and the sitter's frantic call was routed to Kelly's task force at 5AM. Based on their killer's MO they only had seventy-two hours to save Patty. A day or two after that her body would turn up boned and parceled out in neat wrappers like a carved bird...

 

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