There is nothing unusual about billionaire Roarke supervising work on his new property - but when he takes a ceremonial swing at the first wall to be knocked down, he uncovers the body of a girl. And then another - in fact, twelve dead girls concealed behind a false wall.
Luckily for Roarke, he is married to the best police lieutenant in town. Eve Dallas is determined to find the killer - especially when she discovers that the building used to be a sanctuary for delinquent teenagers and the parallel with her past as a young runaway hits hard.
As the girls' identities are slowly unraveled by the department's crack forensic team, Eve and her staunch sidekick Peabody get closer to the shocking truth...
Please reference the Concealed in Death Map for locations or approximate locations of sites listed here.
- Roarke is on the site of his newest rehabilitation project “on Ninth” in the Hell’s Kitchen section of west Manhattan, along with the project foreman, architect, and work crew. He takes the symbolic first sledgehammer swing of demolition, but the broken drywall reveals bones wrapped in plastic.
- Lieutenant Dallas and her partner Detective Peabody arrive on scene.
- Dallas confirms two bodies, gnawed down to bones by rats.
- She shuts down the construction project and calls for the crime scene sweepers with cadaver scanners.
- Preliminary data indicates children, probably girls. No cause of death visible. No time of death estimate possible, but the building has been empty for about 15 years so Dallas predicts they date from around that time.
- Dr. Garnet DeWinter, “one of the top forensic anthropologists in the country” and the city’s new forensic anthropologist, enters. She confirms Dallas’s preliminary evaluations and adds some details about age and race.
- The scans ultimately find twelve bodies in the walls. All are female, small, aged 12 to 16 (later refined to 14), and no signs of COD. Many have healed injuries suggesting childhood abuse, some have cheap jewelry, but no clothes or shoes are found in the plastic wrapping.
- Roarke starts researching the building’s history since it was an orphanage in the Urban Wars, and Peabody later expands on that search.
- Dallas and Peabody surmise that the killer had some construction skills, to have the rolled plastic and the ability to build the fake walls to box the bodies behind. But why hide them there at all?
- Back in her office, Dallas writes a report and starts a murder board. While a Missing Persons run processes, she also digs up information about DeWinter.
- Mira drops in. She points out that the girls were stacks in groups so they weren’t alone, and the killer wrapped them in a kind of shroud showing respect.
- In the history search, Peabody finds that in 2041-2045, the building housed a “youth halfway house/rehab center” run by a sister and brother pair named Philadelphia Jones and Nashville Jones. The center then relocated to a donated building and was renamed. There was a third Jones there, their brother Montclair, “who died shortly after they switched buildings. He was on a missionary trip to Africa, and got mostly eaten by a lion.” There’s an older sister in Australia, too, but she was never involved in The Sanctuary.
- Dallas and Peabody go to the Higher Power Cleansing Center for Youths in the East Village. Philadelphia Jones recognizes them immediately because of ‘’The Icove Agenda’’ vid. She confirms that the shelter moved from The Sanctuary – what they called the old building – almost exactly 15 years ago. The siblings are horrified to learn about the bodies and cooperate with information and records. Dallas also interviews the matron at HPCCY, Matron Shivitz, who tells them about routines and people at The Sanctuary.
- Outside, Dallas loiters at her vehicle until one of the girls, Quilla, slips out and approaches them. She has an attitude but likes to observe and volunteers to share information. She believes that the Joneses could not have been responsible for the deaths because “they’re too holy”.
- They next go to “harass DeWinter”. She and ME Morris are viewing a skeleton in the Bone Room. DeWinter has further details on two of the remains. DeWinter’s TOD intersects with Dick Berenski’s TOD, at 15 years ago – when The Sanctuary was first abandoned.
- Technician Elsie Kendrick has started on facial reconstructions to try to identify the remains. She has the first two done.
- Peabody finds the first match: 13-year-old Linh Carol Penbroke, missing since September 2045. They head to Brooklyn to notify her family that she’s been found.
- Dallas interviews Brodie Fine, who had worked as a handyman at The Sanctuary.
- The second ID comes in: Shelby Ann Stubacker, age 13, street kid with a felon father and junky mother, neither of whom filed any report when she disappeared.
- Dallas and Roarke go to see Seraphim Brigham (formerly a youth resident at The Sanctuary and now working at HPCCY as “a respected therapist with a solid reputation”) and her grandmother, Tiffany Brigham Bittmore (philanthropist who donated the new building 15 years ago, prompting The Sanctuary to move). Seraphim recognizes the picture of Shelby, who was “very canny” and angry, and who “scared the hell out of me”. Shelby had a crew: DeLonna, Mikki, and T-Bone.
- Dallas thinks the killer knew Shelby, knew how to bargain with her (she always had access to beer and illegals), and knew the building, in addition to having some construction skills.
- Roarke tells Dallas that he plans to turn the building on Ninth into an adjunct to the Dochas abuse shelter. The new facility will take in children “who get sucked into the system through no fault of their own, but are mistreated or neglected by those who should tend to them” (as Eve was) and “the lost, you could say—who end up on the street trying to find a way just to survive” (as he did). Eve suggests he call it Refuge, but in Irish: An Didean.
- They go to interview one of Brody Fine’s former workers. After a chase and arrest for D&D, he ends in Interview A at Cop Central. He bartered with Shelby and Mikki –exchanging beer for oral sex – but he never killed anyone.
- They go home, and Roarke soothes Eve with the story of Leah Craine, a girl who went through The Sanctuary and “built a solid and happy life.”
- The Christmas elves had decorated the inside of the mansion, and “they’ll be back tomorrow to do the exterior.”
- Another reconstructed face comes in: Lupa Dison, 12 years old. Lupa had spent some time at The Sanctuary then returned home. She was reported missing by her aunt/guardian, 5 days after Linh disappeared and 15 days after The Sanctuary moved. Over dinner, Eve tells Roarke about Lupa’s Missing Persons case. She thinks Lupa was “lured or enticed into that building” and “killed there”.
- They set up expands the murder board, then work to eliminate possible victims among Sanctuary residents and possible perpetrators among Sanctuary/HPCCY staff and male Sanctuary residents.
- Eve and Roarke decorate the personal Christmas tree in their bedroom, reminisce about past Decembers, and make love.
- Eve dreams about talking to the dead girls, then Roarke wakes her up. She tells him that Shelby must have been murdered by “someone she trusted, or someone she thought she could manipulate.”
- Dallas and Peabody notify Lupa’s aunt of finding her body. The aunt and her husband offer to bury “any of the girls who are... alone.”
- They swing by Shelby’s last known address.
- Back in the Bone Room, DeWinter and Morris have established the girls’ COD: drowning, in city water. They had to be tranquilized, undressed, drowned in The Sanctuary’s bathtub, rolled in plastic, and placed behind a false wall.
- Elsie has two more reconstructed faces. They are both on Dallas’s list of MPs: LaRue Freeman and Carlie Bowen, both runaways.
- Baxter tells Dallas about a new double homicide he and Trueheart are working. They have a suspect, and Baxter wants Trueheart to take the interrogation – it’s good practice for next month’s detective exam and the suspect had “that look” for the young uniform.
- Peabody goes to notify next of kin for LaRue (aunt in Queens) and Carlie (custodial sister).
- Dallas goes to the Roarke Palace Hotel to see Lemont Frester, who is a former Sanctuary kid and now an inspirational speaker.
- While she waits, she comes up with the idea of ritual submerging and drowning.
- She has a fun run-in with an over-enthusiastic private security guard.
- Frester recognizes her from the Icove vid.
- He also recognizes a couple of the identified victims. He can’t understand how this happened: the Joneses were “dedicated, diligent” and despite the “confusion in the move”, “if any of us had been unaccounted for, there would be a record.” He gives a lot of information about how The Sanctuary operated.
- Dallas returns to the building on Ninth. She talks to the owner of a nearby 24/7, who is rude but tells Dallas that Shelby and Linh were in his store “after, but not long” after The Sanctuary moved. Dallas reconstructs the scenario: runaway Linh hooks up with street girl Shelby, who says “I’ve got a place you can flop. We can hang, we can party.”
- Peabody arrives and updates Dallas on her interviews with LaRue’s and Carlie’s surviving relatives. Carlie would have walked past the newly empty Sanctuary on her way to visit her sister the night she went missing.
- They continue reconstructing the scenario, with Peabody in the missing bathtub. Dallas finds an angle: “washing sins away” from “bad girls, bad boys”. Peabody suggests a [trial by drowning].
- At HPCCY, Matron Shivitz pulls up the documents for Shelby’s placement in foster care, instead of moving to the new facility.
- Seraphim thanks Dallas for the information on her old friend, Leah; they are going to have lunch together next week. Seraphim recognizes Mikki from The Sanctuary, but she had been told that Mikki had gone back home instead of moving to HPCCY.
- Shelby’s transfer paperwork is a forgery. It had slipped through in the confusion and excitement of the move.
- Peabody follows up on Mikki’s disappearance: she injured her mother and ran away again. She must have returned to her new family (Shelby, DeLonna, and T-Bone) in the old Sanctuary building. McNab is going to track DeLonna and T-Bone because they aren’t among the remains and might know what happened.
- Tossing around possibilities for a person who helped Shelby forge the papers and somebody who knew the empty building, Dallas suggests the “lion lunch brother”, Montclair. Maybe his siblings caught him killing the girls and shipped him off to Africa; but why leave the bodies there?
- Another reconstructed face comes in and is quickly identified as an MP: Kim Terrance, age 13, runaway from Jersey City, although never at The Sanctuary.
- A sergeant from the Zimbabwe Police and Security Department gives Dallas more information about Montclair Jones.
- Dallas is bugged by Monty Jones. His siblings all went to college and do mission work, but Monty was homeschooled and did “mostly scut work” at the shelter. Also, their mother slashed her wrists in the family bathtub when Monty was a teen. “Then, about the time we’ve got twelve dead girls tucked between the walls at The Sanctuary building, his sibs send him off to Africa.... The timing sure is interesting.”
- Driving home, Dallas watches the packs of teen girls in Times Square, observing how they group and act.
- She alters the murder board, with a solidified timeline of murders starting with Shelby and Linh, then more perhaps separated over days.
- Seven of the victims have been identified, and five remain.
- Mavis bounces in. Eve was planning to ask her about street life and girl packs, but Mavis recognizes three of the victims – they were friends when she was young. They were all part of The Club but “they never came back.”
- After some time with Bella, Mavis shares the story of how she ended on the streets until falling in with The Club, a group of petty thieves under the direction of Sebastian.
- Shelby had a little crew (Shelby, LaRue, Mikki, and DeLonna) that sometimes worked with The Club, and she talked about having her own place with her own rules.
- Mavis also recognizes two more of the MPs from The Sanctuary as girls who used The Club: Crystal Hugh and possibly Merry Wolcovich.
- Mavis arranges for Dallas to meet Sebastian, “at some seedy dive in Hell’s Kitchen.” He and Dallas don’t meet eye-to-eye on his occupation but have a civilized conversation for the sake of twelve dead girls.
- He denies helping Shelby with the forged documents.
- He connects Merry to the only unidentified reconstructed face Dallas has.
- He also suggests Iris Kirkwood, who claimed to have a secret and disappeared around that time.
- He knows where DeLonna lives now, and agrees to contact her because she might be a material witness.
- Roarke and Dallas discuss whether Sebastian is wrong or right on what he does with the street kids.
- In her home office, Dallas reviews all the information they’ve gathered, concentrating on Shelby as the key. The Sanctuary, newly emptied, is perfect for her new club. She’ll get all her friends out – tidy with documentation, so nobody looks for them – and they will live in the building on Ninth. But a person she thinks is her mark turned out to be conning her.
- Dallas has another dream about “all the pretty girls”, sitting in a circle. The two unidentified girls wear Eve’s face. They all argue, and Eve wakes herself up with a demand that they all “shut up so I can think.”
- After sex and a workout, Eve tells Roarke about how she thinks Shelby felt: unhappy, pissed off and defensive, resented the control of The Sanctuary and The Club, wanted her own place, assembling her own group of friends.
- She decides to follow the money, since a shelter would run like a business. Again, Monty is the weak link: can’t pull his weight at The Sanctuary, can’t get a paying job, the only Jones with spare time. Then the philanthropist gives them “this huge opportunity to do more good, and do it right”, so did the dynamic in the Jones family change?
- Dallas asks Mira for a consultation and is invited to Mira’s house. Mr. Mira makes hot chocolate while Mira talks with Eve about the Joneses, especially the pressure on Monty – the coddled, stunted baby of the family – to pull his weight. He is a viable suspect for the murders.
- Her cops are gobbling warm doughnuts, courtesy of Nadine, when Dallas gets in. They chat a little, with Nadine angling for more information than Dallas can give, but she does give the victim’s names so Nadine can be ready with sympathetic coverage.
- Nadine says she’s ready to write a new book. Her working title is ‘’Ride the Red Horse’’, about the case from ‘’Delusion in Death’’.
- Peabody reports on Africa. Preacher Jones was a “lovely man of faith and goodwill” with curiosity about their lives and wildlife, and a hobby of photography. None of that sounds like Monty.
- Iris is confirmed as the tenth victim.
- The eleventh reconstruction comes in, and Dallas recognizes her as Shashona Maddox, age 14, missing from her custodial grandmother’s house. Dallas and Peabody do the notification. Shashona had a wild side, and she knew kids at The Sanctuary although she lived with her grandmother.
- Philadelphia Jones is asked to come for a formal interview. She is “nervous and unhappy”.
- She remembers seeing some of the identified girls together.
- DeLonna went through a bad spell – lethargic, feeling abandoned and bad – after her friends Shelby and Mikki left.
- Dallas gets more information about the family dynamics, including youngest brother Monty and his depression, lack of drive, difficulty with the move, immaturity. Philadelphia was concerned about his going to Africa but reassured by his happy emails.
- Dallas hammers her with reasons why Monty could have found his personal mission by washing the girls clean and sending them to a better place. Then they sent him to Africa and got him killed, to cover up his crimes.
- Philadelphia rushes out, shocked and outraged, but not showing any of the fear or nerves Dallas would expect if she had known what he did.
- Dallas has convinced Peabody that Monty killed the girls. Now they need to talk to the brother/partner.
- Sebastian arranged a meet with DeLonna. Dallas and Peabody go to the nightclub she owns – as Lonna Moon – with her man.
- She confirms that Shelby had sex with Monty.
- She describes the family she had made with Shelby and Mikki, and their activities.
- Shelby had a plan. First she got out of HPCCY; Mikki stayed with her mother for a few days; Lonna and T-Bone waited to hear from Shelby, but didn’t. One night DeLonna squeezed out her window and went to The Sanctuary to find Shelby. Then her memory is a “dark blur”, and she woke up back in her bed at HPCCY. She had nightmares of preaching about cleansing and feeling cold and shouting. She had been abandoned.
- Lonna identifies almost all the pictures Dallas shows her.
- Dallas gives her Mira’s contact information, if she wants help remembering so the nightmare goes away.
- DeWinter is examining the final set of remains. Malnourished, poor health, hairline fractures, and missing teeth: she had been a street kid with a hard life for a long time.
- Elsie has the final facial reconstruction but they don’t get any database hits.
- Nashville Jones did not come in for interview and is not at HPCCY when Dallas calls: he canceled his schedule for the day and left. Dallas and Peabody charge over to the shelter.
- Quilla tells them that Philadelphia was “steaming” when she came back from Central, and the siblings had a fight.
- No one knows where he went.
- They search his quarters. He left his traceable link behind but packed a suitcase, his toiletries, and cash.
- Quilla says “things are bogus”. Nashville has been spending a lot of time in the Quiet Room, and he bought a toss-away link he’s been using on the sly.
- Philadelphia gives permission for the shelter to be searched, and Dallas applies for a warrant. Hours of searching turn up nothing.
- Mira volunteers to come to Dallas’s house, since it’s the end of the day. Dallas tells her that the Nashville knew what Monty was doing and that he had stopped DeLonna’s murder, maybe not realizing that she was not the first. Then he killed Monty and arranged a substitute to go to Africa, which covered up the crimes. Mira, Dennis, Dallas, and Roarke bounce around ideas.
- Dallas pulls together information on Nashville Jones, trying to determine where he could be.
- The last victim remains unidentified, despite hours of searching databases all over the world.
- Dallas starts the day determined to figure out the person who had been eaten by the lion.
- An email came in overnight, with two pictures of the supposed Montclair Jones in Zimbabwe. Over the link, Philadelphia recognizes him as a cousin, Kyle Channing, who has a close family resemblance to Monty.
- Dallas goes to HPCCY and lays out the whole scenario for Philadelphia. She is horrified and starts to believe, although she maintains that Nashville could not have hurt Monty.
- Peabody and Dallas search the Quiet Room again, taking it apart this time. Dallas also asks Roarke to look deeply into Nashville’s financials because being institutionalized was the other possible fate for Monty.
- At the bottom of a wall-mounted waterfall, they find matching brotherhood pendants and a ring.
- On the back of the memorial plaque for Montclair, they find an inscription in honor of Kyle.
- Philadelphia recognizes the ring: it was a gift from her first love, Peter Gibbons, and she lost the ring years ago. Peter is now a psychiatrist who runs a small private clinic in upstate New York.
- Roarke finds a secret account with autopayments to Peter’s clinic.
- After a jet-copter ride to the clinic, they talk to Peter and then Monty.
- Nash believed he had found Monty with the first, although she was actually the thirteenth.
- Nash and Peter were preparing to bring Monty to New York, to turn him in.
- Dallas interviews Monty. He has regressed to being childlike and passive. He tells her that he “helped her [Selby] be good. And her friend [Linh], too. And I helped the girls so they could be good and stay home.”
- In the epilogue, Roarke urges Dallas to choose a name for the final unidentified girl. She calls her Angel West.
- Peabody: "Homicide: Our day starts when yours ends. Permanently."
- Dallas: "You should sew that on a pillow."
- Peabody: "I’m thinking a T-shirt."
- DeWinter took a long breath when Eve and Peabody left. “That was disturbing. It’s disturbing to be walked through murder that way, as if by the murderer.”
- [Morris:] “It’s a particular skill of hers.”
- “I can see them. The victims, the dead, through their bones. I can tell how they lived, how they died. But I wouldn’t like to have their killer inside my head.”
- “Putting them there helps her find them.”
- “I’m very glad that’s not my job.”
- “And she sees them, too, Garnet. She sees the dead, just as you and I do.”
- The doorman at the hotel had obviously gotten the memo. He might have given a cop a little grief about leaving her vehicle in front of the grand edifice of the premier hotel, but for Roarke’s wife, he rolled out the red carpet.
- It was a little bit annoying.
- Eve: “I think a girl who knows how to trade blow jobs for brew knows how to trade for information and documentation. Montclair Jones was early twenties, young enough to be stupid. Well, men are stupid about blow jobs.”
- Roarke: “It’s difficult to resist challenging you to prove that. I believe my intelligent quotient can stand the test.”
- Eve: “Even you, pal, lose brain cells when your dick’s involved.”
- “Thanks for listening,” she [Mavis] said to Roarke. “And the wine.”
- He stood, stepped over to enfold her in a hug. “You’re family.”
- She squeezed hard. “One of the top ten phrases. Right up there with ‘I love you,’ and ‘For you it’s free.’”
- Peabody: “I’m all over it, like a hyena. No crazy and mean. Like a howler monkey.”
- “Yeah, yeah. People are always saying shit like that,” Eve complained to Peabody. “Have a good day, have a happy day, have a peaceful day or whatever. I’d rather have a kick-ass day.”
List of Main Characters Appearing in this BookEdit
List of Secondary Characters Appearing in this BookEdit
- David Baxter
- Mavis Freestone
- Nadine Furst
- Ian McNab
- Charlotte Mira
- Delia Peabody
- Lawrence Summerset
- Troy Trueheart
List of Recurring Characters Appearing in this BookEdit
List of Minor Characters Appearing in this BookEdit
- Elsie Kendrick – facial reconstruction in DeWinter’s division