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sixteen-year-old Autumn solved her sister’s murder. This year, she is
part of a high school forensic dream team that assists the police when
teens are kidnapped. When it’s discovered the kidnappings are part of a
secret online survivor game, the police and team focus on the game
maker—the man behind the game.
and becomes the target of the Game Maker’s sick game.
Through encrypted messages hidden in steganographs, Autumn must
discover who the last kidnapping victim is if she hopes to save him in
floor. Mainly small, spherical droplets. My hands trembled as I removed the
ruler from my new black case. The numbered evidence markers outlined a crimson
polka dot path. Squatting down, I held out the ruler, and it landed with a loud
ping as the steel hit the tile. All eyes darted toward me. I shrugged an I’m
eyes at me, which was miraculous considering the spider-leg eyelashes she wore.
I gave her a country-club smile, then refocused on the blood spatter.
Average was 6 mm. Low velocity. She could still be alive.
Low velocity meant small force of impact. These types of droplets were caused
by someone dripping blood, not by a blow or gunshot. Or by knife wounds. They
could belong to the missing ice cream girl, or if we were lucky, the kidnapper.
The Texas state crime lab would have to sort that out, and it could take
shaky, but legible enough for my team.
examined the pattern on the floor. The low blood volume found at the scene was
a positive sign, but it wouldn’t matter to her family. They were being
tormented every second she was gone. Right now, the tricks their minds were
playing on them, the things their imaginations were conjuring, were sadistic.
Panic loved to be a bitch like that.
accepted the offer to participate in the Science and Technology Associates in
Forensics Foundation’s—or STAFFF’s—forensic training camp.
angles the way I’d been taught this past summer.
to the city of Nogales. The overhead fans kept the space cool, and the clack,
clack, clack rhythm echoed in the empty shop. The checkered floor was a nice
contrast to the deep red booths and bar stools. The walls were adorned with
vintage signage and photos of Nogales landmarks. A Wurlitzer jukebox stood
proudly by the front entrance. On any other day, it would be a place I’d like
to visit with my boyfriend, Caedon.
various tasks assigned to them. It was our first case, and I prayed we’d do a
kick-ass job, because there was still hope and a chance to impact her fate.
for the Nogales PD and to learn about forensics firsthand. Our first team
objective was to form no judgments or conclusions before all the facts were in.
We would then create a crime scene analysis and summary to forward on to the
detective in charge of the investigation. He’d give us his feedback, and that
would factor into our grade.
the wrong path and to the home of…oh, I don’t know, let’s say…my high school
principal. Principal Tamez still hadn’t forgiven me and never would. Ponzi
Scheme Boy knew I was onto him, except there was this little thing called
evidence that the police liked to have before arresting anyone for embezzling.
underneath that greasy comb-over. One day, I’d find out exactly what he was up
to and find the evidence I needed to put him away.
grew up in South Texas, about ten miles from the U.S.-Mexican border. As a
child she spent the summers in Mexico with her grandparents and extended
family. During these vacations, she frequently created mysteries for her
siblings and cousins to solve. These mysteries were her first stories. Nancy
Drew soon became her childhood hero and inspiration to write mysteries for
and likes to come up with the characters’ names for mom’s stories.
after her personal mini-zoo which consists of two fish, one thief of a dog, and
some hermit crabs.
family, and discovering new books at the Columbus Metropolitan library.
pursuing an MFA from Seton Hill University, and dreams of one day owning a
touch screen murder board like the one on her favorite TV show, Castle.