He moved closer to the bed. There
were remains of a young girl who was naked and lying on her back, arms at her
sides and legs extended. Her breasts were solid, round and swollen. Her stomach
was ripped and the fetus was found in the sink in the kitchen. The flowered
sheet on which she lay was red-black with blood and there was a pool of
solidified blood on the floor. Paz was careful not to step on it.
Paz was a Homicide Detective and
met his pal, Detective Barlow who gave her something that looked like a nutshell
in a plastic evidence bag. It was curved in shape and had been drilled through
From the report the doctor gave
was that the girl, who was identified as Deandra Wallace, was cut while alive.
So they deduced that she had opened the door and knew them and allowed them in
and was drugged and then cut… This was an unusual case where they would find
who was the killer and his motives and about the nutshell that was found.
Deandra’s brother was the first to
be interviewed but said he had gone to his sister to pick her up at her house
when she found her dead and reported to the police. Her mother was next and she
believed that Deandra’s boyfriend was the suspect. But Barlow told Paz to not
take the confession from him at the interview room since he didn’t see that the
boyfriend was the one.
The first contact detective Paz to
approach to consult about the nutshell was Dr.Albert Manes who was a plant
systemasist. But he wasn’t able to help. He directed Paz to Dr.Herren who was
an ethno botanist and would be able to explain. After locating the address of
the doctor he did receive information of where the nutshell is grown and that’s
it’s used in occult and the reason as to why it’s used. After a second visit to
the doctor he is directed to Dr.Salaazar who has vast knowledge of the plants
and would be able to explain further. He found her at the public library and
she explained plus who uses them and why. Then Detective Paz asks her if she
could give him ideas of the man he is looking for. She tells him the man has
African contacts and probably spent much time in West
Africa where the nutshell is grown. Doesn’t like to have
photograph taken and, cuts his hair himself; powerful commanding personality in
a small group like in politics or even extended family.
Another crime happens while still
on the Deandra's case and this one differs from the first one, in the same
location in a similar building to that of the predecessor. The chief suspect is
her estranged boyfriend who denies knowing anything about her death or the bloody
The other main character in the
novel is Dolores Tuoey who has a small girl who she adopted after a plea to the
mother’s child to leave her alone by stopping slapping the kid who had no fault,
where it ended in the mother falling down with a thud, and… dead!
Dolores Tuoey, sorry! Jane Doe was
an anthropologist who people thought including her family was dead. She had
been to West Africa and what she witnessed and
experienced was beyond her imagination, but she came back to her home country
different than before. She was married to a Black American who was a poet.
Jane’s’ elder sister was also
killed but in unclear circumstances.
But her hiding was short-lived
when Detective Paz and Barlow had leads to Jane’s parents and is later arrested
and taken to the police custody and to interview room where she asked questions
but refuses to answer. She is reminded that what she did to the mother of the
child she claims is hers and doesn’t resemble her in any way that the case will
be brought up if she refuses to corporate.
She was told that they suspect her
husband was the one behind the killings.
A lawyer is sent by Jane’s
half-brother and she is out of the police station.
Her husband had also been to West Africa and when he came back he looked different and
very quite. It looks like he found something he had missing all his life from childhood.
But things get twisted and the
unreal happens. They have the killer and in the back seat but then he
disappears and the SWAT force are all dead and Detective Barlow seems to be out
of mind. It has happened so fast…
Detective Paz rushes to Jane’s
place where she has her adopted girl and it’s dark. Outside are men who have turned
to zombie. The killer is now in front of them and he calls to Jane to his side.
Paz has his pistol pointed at the killer…
Jane doesn’t want the killer dead…
does she know him or connected in any way? Will they survive the ordeal?
Author Michael Gruber takes the
reader through the suspense he creates. It’s a fiction novel and has written
from the stories he has heard about Africa, sorcery and Santeria told to him
many years ago in by Joan Halifix Roshi, founder of the Upaya Zen Centre in New