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By John Sandford

It is the useless of wintry weather, and a killer like no different is popping a small Wisconsin city right into a dying trap-one that is final in on Lucas Davenport.

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Provide seemed as a set of orange sodium-vapor streetlights, through a Pines lodge signal, then a Hardee’s and a Unocal station, an LP fuel corporation and a video-rental shop with a yellow-light marquee. The sheriff grew to become correct on the purely site visitors gentle, led him in the course of the three-block-long enterprise district, took a left at a half-buried cease signal and headed up a low hill. at the left used to be a patch of pines that may were a park. A white clapboard church stood on the most sensible of the hill, surrounded via a grove of purple pine, with a small cemetery in again. The sheriff drove earlier the church and stopped on the street in entrance of a small brick residence with lighted home windows. Lucas stuck an indication in his headlights: RECTORY. under that, in cursive letters, REV. PHILIP BERGEN. He pulled in at the back of Carr, killed the engine, and stepped down from the truck. The air used to be so chilly and dry that he felt as if his dermis have been being sandpapered. while he breathed, he may possibly suppose ice crystals forming on his chin and below his nostril. “That logging truck nearly did us,” Lucas acknowledged as Carr walked again from his Suburban. Gouts of steam poured from their mouths and noses. “Gol-darned idiot. I referred to as again and informed anyone to tug him over,” Carr acknowledged. “Give him a breath attempt, sluggish him down. ” And as they all started around the highway, he extra, “I’m no longer waiting for this. ” They scuffed in the course of the snow at the rectory stroll, as much as the lined porch. Carr driven the doorbell, then dropped his head and bounced on his feet. a guy got here to the door, peered out the window, then opened it. “Shelly, what occurred in the market? ” Bergen held the door open, glanced interestingly at Lucas, and acknowledged, “They’re lifeless? ” “Yeah, um . . . let’s get our boots off, we gotta talk,” Carr acknowledged. “This is our new deputy, Lucas Davenport. ” Bergen nodded, peered at Lucas, a wrinkle forming on his brow, among his eyes. “Pleased to satisfy you. ” The priest used to be on the subject of fifty, a sq., fleshy Scandinavian with blond hair and a completely uncertain glance on his faded face. He wore a wool Icelandic sweater and black slacks, and used to be in his stocking toes. His phrases, while he spoke, had a softness to them, a roundness, and Lucas concept that Bergen wouldn't be a fire-and-brimstone preacher, yet a mother’s-milk type. Lucas and Carr dumped their pac boots within the entrance hallway and walked in stocking toes down a brief corridor, earlier a serious Italianate crucifix with a bronze Jesus, to the lounge. Carr peeled off his snowmobile go well with and Lucas dumped his parka subsequent to a undeniable wooden chair, and sat down. “So what occurred? ” Bergen acknowledged. He leaned at the mantel over a stone fire, the place the remnants of 3 birch logs smoldered at the back of a tumbler door. A Sacred center print of the Virgin Mary peered over his shoulder. “There was once a strange factor available in the market. ” Carr dropped the go well with at the ground, then settled at the fringe of an overstuffed chair. He placed his elbows on his knees, laced his arms, leaning towards the priest. “Yes? ” Bergen frowned. “When I known as, you stated the LaCourts have been ok if you happen to left.

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