Criminal Minds: Jump Cut (Thorndike Crime Scene)

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9781410404268: Criminal Minds: Jump Cut (Thorndike Crime Scene)

The Behavioral Analysis Unit, an elite team of FBI profilers, are tasked with examining the nation's most twisted criminal minds-anticipating their next moves before they strike again...

Learn more about the Criminal Minds television series.

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Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

First in a brand new series!

The Behavioral Analysis Unit, an elite team of FBI profilers, are tasked with examining the nation's most twisted criminal minds-anticipating their next moves before they strike again...

Learn more about the Criminal Minds television series.



Chapter One

Situated on the United States Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia, the FBI Academy—known by those who work, teach and train there as the Facility—sprawls over 385 woodland acres that provide the privacy and security required for the FBI's operational functions and training.

At the Facility, the Behavioral Analysis Unit operates as part of the FBI's Training and Development Division, consulting with law enforcement across the nation on crimes requiring the skills of the BAU's top profilers.

Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner—broad-shouldered but slender, with black hair, brown eyes and the kind of chiseled features whose somber concern could be misread as unkind—hunkered over his desk. His suit coat, which almost never came off at work, was hung with precision over the back of his chair.

As masculine as its occupant, the spacious office informed any visitor that this was a serious man not just successful at anything he attempted, but excelling at it. Witness three sets of mahogany shelves lining the wall behind his desk, home to numerous trophies for various skilled activities, including several for marksmanship. Note the wall opposite, arrayed with framed diplomas, citations, and the seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Not to be trifled with, Agent Hotchner.

Sharing the wall with the door was a picture window whose venetian blinds were kept slanted open so that Hotchner could monitor the sunken bullpen of the Behavioral Analysis Unit beyond. The wall opposite the door held three long, narrow columns of bulletproof glass charitably referred to as windows, although (short of an acetylene torch) they had no way to open, their sole function letting in light, which they performed well for the north side of the building with its limited sunshine.

His normally grave mein approaching morose, Hotchner—not quite forty—was in a dark place, the kind that in throwing light upon only reveals further darkness: specifically, he was poring over statistics from thirty-seven school shootings in the United States and Canada over the last ten years.

No such thing, he well knew, as an accurate school shooter profile.

There was, of course, the media-driven image of the trench-coated loners a la Harris and Klebold in Columbine; but Hotchner knew the image was just that, a myth created by the perpetrators themselves and perpetuated by a media responsible only to ratings, not society.

He was hoping to develop a more accurate profile in order to prevent future attacks. The task seemed impossible, but Hotchner had never backed down from a challenge, starting with the third-grade bully a certain kindergartner had stood up to in a school yard. Truth was, backing down, giving up, just wasn't in his DNA.

He had lost battles; all warriors did—but he had never surrendered.

One of the preliminary stats surprised him. Nineteen of the thirty-seven cases, over half, occurred in the spring, including the latest, just a few weeks ago when thirty-two college students and their killer perished at Virginia Tech.

For those who felt a school shooter had to be an ostracized loner, the springtime shootings would just give them more…the word sprang to mind unbidden…ammunition. Spring shootings implied that students who had been bullied and ostracized, if only in their own minds, had taken the abuse for as long as they could, then snapped.

As a seasoned FBI profiler, Hotchner knew some stressor would invariably emerge in any of these cases that could be labeled the proverbial "last straw'; but very few people really just "snapped.'

Most of these actions were painstakingly planned. They took time, effort, focus and perseverance. In those shootings, the killers didn't just "snap'—premeditated murder, particularly on such a scale, did not imply someone out of control, rather in control, and seeking complete control over life and mostly death, turning twisted delusion into tragic reality.

Hotchner was studying further stats when a knock at his door interrupted.

Frankly relieved for a moment away from his grim work, he looked up. "Come in.'

Special Agent Jennifer "JJ' Jareau entered. In her mid-twenties, Jareau looked especially young today, her blonde hair back in a loose ponytail, her blue eyes bright, her skin pale and fresh—she might have been a college student herself.

But she was not—rather she was the BAU's local law enforcement liaison, as professional as her crisp black suit and white blouse. Her sober expression mirrored Hotchner's as she approached his desk, a file folder in her left hand.

Hotchner knew from experience that when this pleasant young woman took on a grave demeanor, nothing good was on its way.

"Yes?'

"We just got a call from Detective Rob Learman,' she said, "with the Lawrence, Kansas PD—has a case he's requested our help on.'

"Let's hear it.'

Without sitting, referring not at all to the file folder, she laid out the details in quick, no-nonsense fashion. Her other duties included handling media and she could reduce a complex case to headline-news highlights.

Hotchner drew air in through his nose, let it out the same way. "I'll take the file. Call Detective Learman and say yes. Then gather the whole team—conference in one hour.'

"No problem,' she said. "I'll be prepared to present the facts.'

Hotchner almost smiled. "I know.'

Alone, the profiler read the copy of the Lawrence PD's case file cover to cover. Then he read it again. He did not have the near-photographic memory of his young colleague, Dr. Reid, and often took a second pass with important documents.

But by the time he got to the conference room, Hotchner had the file down cold, his mind already cataloguing details about the UnSub--FBI-speak for the unknown subject behind these crimes.

He'd spent extra time on the crime scene photos and the autopsy protocol, including the preliminary tox screen and stomach contents that showed signs of Rohypnol. Local police reports were frequently lacking in victimology and demographics of the area around the crime scene. Either the locals were writing reports for people who already knew these things or, more often, simply did not understand how important such elements were to solving these types of crimes.

The conference room with its dark maroon walls was dominated by a round mahogany conference table with six high-back chairs. As in Hotchner's office, a picture window with venetian blinds looked out upon the expansive bullpen. A wall-mounted whiteboard just inside the door still contained scribbles from a previous case, but the wall with the flat-screen TV (next to a bulletin board of maps, circulars, photos and so on) had the attention of the seated agents of the BAU team.

Their newest member, Special Agent Emily Prentiss, sat nearest the door. The lanky thirty-something Prentiss carried the kind of sharp-featured attractiveness often wedded to keen intelligence, her reddish-tinged dark brown hair cut as straight as that of an ancient Egyptian princess. Like Jareau, she wore a dark suit.

Still somewhat of an outsider, Prentiss had joined the unit under less than ideal circumstances—unlike the rest of his team, she had not been handpicked by Hotchner; rather she had been foisted upon him when a former, valued member unexpectedly flamed out. Yale-educated and the daughter of an ambassador--and with vague high-level political connections that frankly unsettled Hotchner—Prentiss had spent ten years working in the St. Louis and Chicago field offices before her new assignment.

To her left sat Jareau, next to whom perched Dr. Spencer Reid, conspicuously the youngest member of the team. Only twenty-five and yet already in his fourth year with the FBI, Reid held doctoral degrees in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Engineering. Brown-eyed with longish brown hair that cut his forehead in a thick comma, Reid had pleasant, boyish features hardened by his horn-rimmed glasses, and was prone to birdlike gestures that reflected energy, not nerves.

An only child with an IQ of 187 and capable of reading in the neighborhood of twenty thousand words per minute, the young man had the fashion sense and social skills of a middle-school student. Today's ensemble was a gray plaid short-sleeve dress shirt with a red-and-yellow striped tie, loosened slightly, collar of the shirt unbuttoned; his chinos were a little big on him.

Dead serious about his job—and for that matter everything in his life (including assorted Certified Nerd/Geek interests)—Reid managed to maintain a puppy-dog enthusiasm despite the horrible things he'd witnessed on the job.

Separated from Prentiss by an empty chair sat Supervisory Special Agent Derek Morgan, in a dark blue shirt unbuttoned a ways, and even darker blue slacks. Thirty-three and biracial (mother white, father African-American), the ex-Chicago cop had a law degree from Northwestern University (thanks to a full-ride football scholarship) and had been with the Bureau for seven years, coming over from ATF. His athletic build—consistent with his black belt in martial arts and his occasional role as a teacher of self-defense classes here at Quantico--stopped short of muscle-bound, and in fact he displayed an almost balletic grace.

Wickedly handsome with a killer smile, Morgan made friends wherever went, with never a shortage of interest from the opposite sex; but the sparkling eyes and flashing teeth were a wall few got behind. Morgan's personal life took a backseat to his devotion to his job, the agent as driven in his wa...

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Collins, Max Allan
Published by Thorndike Press (2008)
ISBN 10: 1410404269 ISBN 13: 9781410404268
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Book Description Thorndike Press, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P111410404269

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