James Patterson returns to the genre that made him famous with a thrilling teen detective series about the mysterious and magnificently wealthy Angel family...and the dark secrets they're keeping from one another.
On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: 1) She was the last person to see her parents alive. 2) The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. 3) She can't trust anyone—maybe not even herself. Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud's intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents' affairs is a dangerous-and revealing-game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?
As I stood outside my parents’ bedroom a shadow fell across me and I jumped, as if I were already living in fear of the ghosts of Malcolm and Maud. Many ghosts in my family already haunt us, friend, so it helps me to know that you’re here.
Fortunately, this shadow just belonged to Sergeant Caputo. He pinched my shoulder. Hard.
“Let’s go, Tansy. I told you, this floor is off-limits. Entering a crime scene before it’s cleared is evidence tampering. It’s against the law.”
“Tandy,” I said. “Not Tansy. Tandy.”
I didn’t argue his point; he was right. Instead, I went ahead of him down the stairs and back to the living room, arriving just as my big brother, Matthew, stormed in from the kitchen.
When Matthew entered a room, he seemed to draw all the light and air to him. He had light brown dreadlocks tied in a bunch with a hank of yarn, and intense blue eyes that shone like high beams.
I’ve never seen eyes like his. No one has.
Matty was dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt under a leather jacket, but anyone would’ve sworn he was wearing a bodysuit with an emblem on the chest and a cape fluttering behind.
Hugo broke the spell by leaping out of his chair. “Hup!” he yelled at Matty, jumping toward his brother with outstretched arms.
Matthew caught Hugo easily and put a hand to the back of his baby brother’s head while fastening his eyes on the two homicide detectives.
Matthew is six-two and has biceps the size of thighs. And, well, he can be a little scary when he’s mad.
Mad wasn’t even the word to describe him that night.
“My parents were just carried out of the building in the service elevator,” he shouted at the cops. “They were vile, but they didn’t deserve to be taken out with the trash!”
Detective Hayes said, “And you are…?”
“Matthew Angel. Malcolm and Maud’s son.”
“And how did you get into the apartment?” Hayes said.
“Cops let me in. One of them wanted my autograph.”
Caputo said to Matthew, “You won the Heisman last year, right?”
Matthew nodded. In addition to having won the Heisman and being a three-time all-American, Matthew was a poster boy for the NFL and had a fat Nike contract. The sportscaster Aran Delaney had once said of Matthew’s blazing speed and agility, “He can run around the block between the time I strike a match and light my cigarette. Matthew Angel is not just a cut above, but an order of magnitude above other outstanding athletes.” So it didn’t surprise me that Caputo recognized my brother.
Matty was sneering, as if the mention of his celebrity was offensive under the circumstances. I kind of had to agree. Who cares about his stupid Heisman right now?
Fortunately, Hayes was all business. “Look, Matthew. I’m sorry we had to take your folks out the back way. You wouldn’t have wanted them carried around the front so the rubberneckers could gawk and take pictures, would you? Please sit down. We have a few questions.”
“I’ll stand,” Matthew said. By that point, Hugo had climbed around Matthew’s body and was on his back, looking at the cops over his brother’s shoulder.
Caputo went right into hostility mode. “Where have you been for the last six hours?”
“I stayed with my girlfriend on West Ninth Street. We were together all night, and she’ll be happy to tell you that.”
Matthew’s girlfriend was the actress Tamara Gee. She’d received an Academy Award nomination the previous year, when she was twenty-three, and was almost as famous as Matty. I should have realized he would be at her apartment, but I really had no way of contacting him there. I met Tamara the one time Matty brought her home to meet our parents, and while she was certainly pretty in real life, and maybe an order of magnitude above other actors in smarts, I understood easily from her posture and way of speaking that she wanted nothing to do with us. She certainly wasn’t passing out her phone number in case I ever needed to call my brother at her apartment. Especially in the dead of night, to inform him that our parents had been murdered.
My father, on the other hand, seemed to admire Tamara’s obvious distrust of us, and later remarked to me that she was the last piece of the puzzle to make Matthew’s future all but certain. You see, he wanted Matty to run for president one day. He was certain Matty would win.
Incidentally, Malcolm also thought that Matthew was a sociopath. But, except for Harry, all of us, including my father, had been called sociopaths at some time in our lives.
“My siblings will tell you that I haven’t set foot in this place, or even seen my parents, for months,” Matthew was saying to Detective Hayes.
“You have a problem with your parents?” Hayes asked.
“I’m twenty-four. I’ve flown the coop.” Matthew didn’t even try to disguise the fact that he had no use for Malcolm and Maud.
“We’ll check out your alibi soon enough,” Caputo snapped. “But listen: We all know you could have left your girlfriend in the Village, killed your parents, and gone back to bed before your twinkie even knew you were gone.”
It was just short of an accusation, obviously meant to provoke a reaction from Matthew. But my big brother didn’t bite. Instead, he turned to Hugo and said, “I’m going to tuck you into bed, Buddy.”
Caputo hadn’t gotten anything from Matty, but he’d forced me to face my own suspicions. My brother hated our parents. He was a 215-pound professional football player, a cunning brute.
Was he also a killer?
Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson
Emma Galvin is a recent graduate of the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. Her films include My Suicidal Sweetheart, A Perfect Fit, and The Big Bad Swim. She has performed in several regional theatre productions including Love Punky, The Power of Birds, and The Realm.