When art law attorney Abigail Clarke is mistaken for the murdered twin sister she never knew existed, will she be able to outwit a man determined to kill every member of her treacherous family.
Thirty years ago, during a thunderstorm, on an isolated street in South Boston, an unidentified two-year-old girl was discovered, abandoned, shot, barely clinging to life. After a thorough investigation, the case was eventually designated to the cold case files until Abigail Clarke, now an astraphobic art law attorney, is mistaken for the murdered twin sister she never knew existed.
What the FBI Art Crime Division cannot determine is if Abigail is an innocent bystander or a co-conspirator in her sister’s art fraud crimes.
Compelled to uncover all her family’s secrets, nothing prepares Abigail for the disastrous meeting with her murderous brother and crime boss father. Her life is irreversibly changed the more she becomes mired in her family’s treachery. She soon finds herself drawn into a game of cat and mouse by the vengeful killer who methodically plans to execute every member of her family, holding each one of them ultimately responsible for the murder of his own family thirty years ago.
“There is a Constable and Turner he believes are being prepared for a last-minute unadvertised sale. He would like to hire you to accompany him to the auction,” she said, adjusting her skirt.
“You know I don’t like last-minute hires. He could attend an auction by himself. Why does he need me?” I asked and placed my pen back down.
“According to him, he’s uncertain that these paintings are the ones he’s searching for because the description was so vague. If once he gets there and they are the paintings, then he needs a legal advocate to close the sale,” she said. “It sounded reasonable to me.”
“How much of an investment is he looking to make?” I asked.
“He told me there is no cap.” Her toe-tapping a little too fast told me she was nervous about this answer, but somehow, he had passed her muster.
“Has he agreed to our fee structure?” I asked.
“Yes. I gave him a blank contract to look over. I explained you would make changes after you negotiated a fee based on your conversation with him. He reviewed it and nodded.”
That aftershave must have gone to Edna’s head. No background check, financials, or recommendation. This might be too risky a proposition. But I would not know until I spoke to him.
“Go ahead, show him in. But please let him know I have not agreed to take the case. This is just a conversation,” I said and walked to the windows to open the blinds.
Maura was not moving, and I did not like the look on her face. She looked… intrigued.
“Out!” I told her, pointing to the door. “Gregory is a busy attorney who is squeezing you in, and I don’t want the police tracking me down trying to find you.”
“I just wanted a glimpse. Call it professional curiosity.” She smiled.
Before I could argue, there was a subdued tap on the door.
“I’ll leave the door open so you can slip out,” I whispered, and put my finger to my lips.
Edna was right. The man certainly made an impression. The first thing I noticed was a shock of white hair on the left side of his head, which was set out from the rest of his inky-black hair. But that did not detract from his perfect face, likely enhanced by plastic surgery.
“Welcome, Mr. Waterstone,” I said, and looked at Maura, expecting her to take the hint to leave. She did not.
“Thank you for seeing me on such brief notice.” He flashed a smile and waited for a further invitation to sit.
“Mr. Waterstone, this is Dr. Maura Harris, and she is leaving.” I waited by the open door for her to leave.
Maura stood and extended her hand. For a fleeting moment, her expression changed. Something bothered her about him.
“I understand you are an art collector,” Maura said, which caused him to glance my way.
He continued to hold her hand, returned his gaze to her, and made a point of studying her face. “I am.”
He stood to his full height, and she mirrored his movement. The tension between them was unmistakable. It was not until Maura pulled her hand away from his that he released his grip.
“Well, it was nice to meet you, Mr. Waterstone,” she said, turning away, ready to leave. “I look forward to seeing you again.”
Instead of returning a similar salutation, he turned his back on her. Interesting behavior for someone not yet a client. However, now he had my full attention.
Thank you, K. J. McGillick and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Kathleen McGillick is an attorney by education and writes mainly suspense and thriller novels.
She earned a B.S.N. from the University of Miami, and an M.S. from Adelphi University, after which she practiced nursing for seventeen years. In 1994, while working as a Registered Nurse, she earned a Juris Doctorate from the John Marshall School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. Her solo law practice in which she specialized in Family Law for twenty-seven years, centered on meeting the needs of women and children.
While practicing law, she turned to novel writing and has self-published ten novels that have recurring themes of legal intrigue and stolen art. As an avid international traveler, she incorporates many of the places she has traveled into the settings of her books. For the last fifteen years, she has immersed herself in the study of art history and the intrigue of crimes related to fakes and forgeries which she weaves into her character-driven complex plots.
Born and raised in New York, she now resides in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Kathleen is a grandmother of two teenage grandchildren and a mother to four fur babies.