Here is a sample of what poor Mimi goes through in LET US PREY:
Sitting in the middle of the dining room table was Esme. Not all of Esme, just her head, eyes wide open, staring from the crystal bowl. Her hair had been cut into a short spiky chopped mess, and blood had pooled in the bottom of the bowl. Her body had been positioned in a chair next to an antique cabinet with her hands cupped in her lap, collecting pools of blood that had seeped from her neck. Her legs were twisted in the same twist tie I’d seen in my office that day.
I looked around the room. Everything looked the same as it had when I’d been there in the afternoon. The table was set with a series of white Nortaki china, crystal goblets, and a table runner across the middle. The runner was under the crystal bowl containing Esme’s head. The last time I’d seen the bowl it had been empty. I avoided looking at the head and tried to concentrate on the details of the room. I’d never been to a crime scene so I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but there didn’t seem to be signs of a struggle. I looked behind Esme’s body and saw a slight darkening of the brown walls where blood from Esme’s neck had sprayed the surface. Other than the blood, the room looked pristine. Pristine if you didn’t consider the trail of blood from the body to the head on the table. It looked like a set up for a horror flick or a bad joke. Only the acrid smell of expelled body fluids made the scene real.
Lauren wrapped her arms around her middle and bent forward, the remains of her fast food dinner spewing forth onto the floor. Holding her hair back with one hand, she spit vomit onto the hardwood floor. Her mouth hung open and spit dribbled from her lips. It seemed she couldn’t catch her breath as she dropped to her hands and knees. She didn’t seem to notice the chunks of her dinner under her hands.
“Oh my god, oh my god,” she said. Sucking in a deep breath, she vomited again. This time she didn’t try to pull her hair from her face.
I stood silent, stunned. I followed cheating spouses, did skip traces, took photographs of people committing insurance fraud, and I stood guard to protect people, but I wasn’t a cop, and I’d never seen anything like this. Between Lauren’s barfing, and Esme’s decapitated head I didn’t know how to keep myself from fainting. Finally, I looked up, which helped me swallow the bile building in the back of my throat, and concentrated on the ceiling for a moment.
Watching Lauren, and smelling the regurgitated fish filet, was too much. But I couldn’t vomit. I had to get my head together. Call the police. But I couldn’t move. I was the professional here, right? Oh, I so didn’t want to be the professional. I wanted to go back to the car and have a do-over. Lauren started to stand up, and I regained my composure, trying to be the consummate professional.
“Don’t touch anything. I’ll call the police,” I said.
She barely got herself into a sitting position on the floor rocking back and forth, whispering. I couldn’t hear what she said. I leaned closer, and choked back my vomit when I smelled hers.
“What?” I said.
“Henry. Where is Henry?” She wiped the vomit from her hands onto her skirt.
I pulled my cell phone from my hip holster and dialed 911. I put the phone to my ear and listened. It seemed like an hour before the dispatcher answered.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“There’s been a murder.”
“Ma’am, are you okay?”
“Yes,” I lied. “A woman was murdered, and we just got home and found her.”
“Ma’am. What’s your name?”
“Mimi Capurro. I’m here with the owner of the house. She isn’t doing so well.”
“Has she been injured?”
“No. She found the body. She’s not handling it very well.” I looked back at Lauren who was still rocking and mumbling.
“What’s your location, ma’am?”