The Unknown Puppeteer-
A killer stalks the wedding party! Plate and Daphne must find a killer or forfeit all hope of happiness. Their romance began as sparks during floods, simmered within scandals, and caught fire amid anarchy. A Hollywood ceremony would be ok if Plate didn’t have to tend a runaway princess bride, an Asian VIP, a producer staging death, and a surprise acquittal of a serial killer who kills on land and sea. Plate is coping, Daphne is selling lots of insurance, when an unimaginable tragedy within the police department occurs. Fourth book featuring a descendant of a famous Texas lawman and his girl.
The case had been prepared with care. Vietnam Veteran, Castroe Zopev, manager of a distributing/servicing company for typewriters and copy machines located in a small set of offices in a strip center in Houston, was also a serial killer.
Or so law enforcement authorities had said since the mid-1970s. Police from up all over Texas had tracked his movements for years without success. Several victims had been traced to him but with no real evidence.
Finally, at least ten years into his horrific pastime, he had been caught. His arrest came inside the gates of Sand Waves, where he had recently moved.
He was charged with the murder of a neighbor’s wife, Yolanda Cardioxa, and this time the husband, Emilio Cardioxa, had seen him on the premises.
The manner of death was nearly identical to all those Zopev was suspected of perpetrating.
Several sets of parents who had lost daughters along with several widowers from throughout the country had come to Texas to attend the final session of the trial and see the verdict handed down.
Emilio Cardioxa’s testimony was expected to nail Zopev at last.
Everyone involved congratulated themselves. They had removed a dangerous manic from the streets of America for the rest of his life.
They knew it.
Lieutenant Plate knew it also.
Yet he worried.
Authorities knew the identity of the killer, had a list of supposed victims, but did not understand just how he selected his victims or his ulterior motives for killing in the first place.
Nevertheless, those elements were not necessary for the killer to be apprehended and brought to trial.
Full credit for capturing and bringing this monster to a court of justice went to Officer Timothy Willhouse, who had quickly responded to the husband’s call and identification of his neighbor, arresting Zopev peacefully at his home.
And it was on Officer Timothy Willhouse that the burden fell hardest when Zopev was acquitted after a short trial.
“Not guilty,” said the jury.
Castroe Zopev walked free.
Blood pressures soared inside and outside as area humidity spiked. The temperature broke 85 degrees at the same time the early morning verdict came down.
Acquitted on the evidence of one witness who provided Zopev with an alibi, Zopev did not seem celebratory. He looked anxious as he was congratulated by his few supporters.
A policeman watched him closely as he ducked out of the courtroom in the rain into the waiting car of his lawyer. Shortly after, that same policeman joined at least one other vehicle in shadowing the freed defendant.
The haziness produced by the raindrops bouncing off hot asphalt in the humid weather made it easier to follow undetected...