The Women's Murder Club pursues two cases in an electrifying new thriller–chasing a deranged killer and searching for a murderer with a taste for fire.
Part One | BLUE MOON
JUNIE MOON SAT ACROSS FROM US in Interview Two, a twelve-by-twelve-foot gray-tiled room with a metal table, four matching chairs, and a video camera affixed to the ceiling.
I'd checked twice to be sure. The camera was loaded and running.
Junie was now wearing an open-weave pink cardigan over a lace-trimmed cami, jeans, and sneakers, no makeup, and – I'm not overstating this – she looked like she was in the tenth grade.
Conklin had started the interview by reading Junie Moon her Miranda rights in a charming, "no big deal," respectful manner. She initialed the acknowledgment of rights form without complaint, but still, it irked the hell out of me. Junie Moon wasn't under arrest. We didn't have to Mirandize her for a noncustodial interview, and Conklin's warning might very well inhibit her from telling us something we urgently needed to know. I swallowed my pique. What was done was done.
Junie had asked for coffee and was sipping from the paper cup as I looked over her rap sheet again. I mentioned her three arrests for prostitution, and she told me that since she'd changed her name, she hadn't been arrested for anything.
"I feel like a new person," she said.
There were no track marks on her arms, no bruises that I could see, and that made it even less understandable. What was the draw? What was the hook?
Why would a pretty girl like Junie turn pro?"I took my name from an old Liza Minnelli movie," she was telling Conklin. "It was called Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon. A lot of my clients ask me to tell them that," she said with a wistful smile.
Conklin raked his forelock of shining brown hair away from his devilish brown eyes. I was sure that Rich had never seen the movie or read the book. "Is that so?" he said. "That's cool."
"So, Junie," I said, "most of your clients are prep school kids?"
"Tell me the truth, Sergeant Boxer. Should I get a lawyer? Because I think you're trying to say that I have sex with underage boys, and that's not true."
"You ask for their driver's licenses before you take off your pants?"
"We're not interested in your, ah, social activities, Junie," Conklin said, breaking in. "We're only interested in Michael Campion."
"I told you," she said, her voice trembling just a bit. "I've never met him, and I think I would know."
"Understand," I said, "we're not blaming you for anything. We know Michael was sick. Maybe his heart gave out while he was with you –"
"He was never a client," Junie insisted. "I would have been honored, you know, but it just didn't happen."
Conklin turned off the dazzling smile, said, "Junie. Work with us and we'll leave you and your business alone. Keep stonewalling us and vice is going to nail you to the wall."
We played patty-cake with Junie for about two hours, using every legal technique in the book. We made her feel safe. We leaned on her, lied to her, reassured her, and threatened her. And after all that, Junie still denied any knowledge of Michael Campion. In the end, I played our only card, slamming my hand down on the table for emphasis.
"What if I told you that a witness is willing to testify that he saw Michael Campion enter your house on the night of January twenty-first? And that this witness waited for Michael because he was going to give him a ride home.
"But that never happened, Junie, because Michael never left your house."
"A witness? But that's impossible," said the young woman. "It has to be a mistake."
I was desperate to crack open this one miserable lead, but we were getting no traction at all. I was starting to believe that Jacobi's anonymous tipster was yet another crank caller – and I was seriously considering waking Jacobi and peppering him with a few choice words – when Junie looked down at the table. Her eyes were moist and her face seemed pinched, actually transformed by grief.
"You're right, you're right, and I can't take this anymore. If you turn that thing off, I'll tell you what happened."
I exchanged startled looks with Conklin. Then I snapped out of it. I reached up to the video camera and switched it off. "You can't go wrong if you tell us the truth," I said, my heart going ga-lump, ga-lump.
I leaned forward, folded my hands on the table.
And Junie began to tell us everything.
Copyright © 2008 by James Patterson
Carolyn McCormick has appeared in the films A Simple Twist of Fate and Enemy Mine. She has appeared on television as Dr. Olivit on Law & Order, and as a guest on The Practice and Star Trek. Her Broadway credits include roles in The Dinner Party and Private Lives. She read 4th of July, The 5th Horseman, and 6th Target by James Patterson for Hachette Audio.