The 23rd Midnight
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An attention-seeking copycat is recreating murders by a famous killer from the Women’s Murder Club’s past—with devastating new twists.
Reporter Cindy Thomas wrote a book that put him on the bestseller list.
An obsessed maniac has turned Burke’s true-crime story into a playbook. And is embellishing it with gruesome touches all his own.
Now Lindsay’s tracking an elusive suspect, and the entire Murder Club is facing destruction.
I walked past the two rows of gray metal desks toward the workstation Conklin, Alvarez, and I had staked out as our own. Our three desks form a square U‐shape with my desk bridging the other two. My two partners were on their phones, but Alvarez said “Hey” as I approached.
Inspector Sonia Alvarez is in her early thirties, a leggy brunette recently relocated from Las Vegas MPD, where she used her street smarts working undercover in Vice. She’s funny, brilliant, and can hold a tune. Now she’s with the SFPD, getting an on‐the‐job degree in Homicide.
Rich hung up and said, “Boxer, check your email.”
We three partners shared passwords to our work accounts so as never to miss a break in a case.
“Morning. Coffee first,” I said while stowing my handbag in my bottom desk drawer.
Alvarez had also ended her call, saying to me, “You’re going to want to see this.”
“Right after coffee.”
“Tell you what,” Alvarez said. “You open your mail; I’ll get the coffee.”
“Jeez,” I muttered. “What’s the rush?”
“You two, stay,” said Conklin. “I’ll get the coffee.”
Okay, then. Whatever. I booted up my refurbished Dell and hit “new mail.” I was skimming my inbox when I saw “Ralph Hammer” in a subject line.
I jammed on the brakes, tapped a key, and the email opened. It read, “See the attachment.” And it was signed, “Blackout.”
I was still reeling from kissing my family goodbye, my turbulent session with Dr. Greene, and now Ralph Hammer’s name was hauling me back to Saturday night.
It was a night I’d happily forget.