A late night. An icy road. A car wrapped around a tree.
When Detective Liz Moorland stares at the lifeless faces of her ex-colleague’s daughter and son-in-law, she knows it is enough to push Vince Carter over the edge.
Vince, a bitter and reclusive retired cop, was once a hero to many. But in his eyes, he has failed those he most loved. Estranged from his daughter before her death, the enormity of his loss is immeasurable.
While Liz’s hands are full chasing an escaped criminal, Vince-alongside his fight for custody of Melanie, his eight-year-old granddaughter and sole survivor of the wreck-pieces together a compelling theory that the crash was no accident.
Vince’s theory provides Liz with an unexpected connection to her case and simultaneously raises concerns over Melanie’s safety and what she saw that fateful night.
Those concerns are justified. One person knows what the little girl saw.
Lest We Forgive is book one in a gripping Melbourne series featuring Homicide Detective Liz Moorland.
There’s no room along this narrow street to park so I back the van into the driveway of a darkened house. No lights come on. Nobody peers from the window. I turn the motor off.
These new estates are rubbish. Dead ends everywhere. Speed humps. Tiny roundabouts. Oversized houses with front lawns smaller than my handkerchief. Scrawny baby trees replace the old oaks or gums bulldozed to make way for families to cram into boxes. They all look the same to me.
But only one matters.
I’m two doors down and across the road so it’s easy to see the occupants inside as they make their way to the door. Their car is in the driveway. Red. Mid-sized. Won’t take much to nudge it off a road … if it comes to that.
I light a cigarette and draw in the filthy tar until it hurts my lungs then blow out the smoke. It doesn’t help the visibility, so I open the window a crack. The air is bitterly cold already and it is only early evening.
The kid rushes out of the house to the car. She’s wearing a short dress, tights, and a puffer jacket. Makes no sense. Pants would keep her warmer.
‘Hurry up, Dad! I’m freezing to death!’
Like I said. Pants would keep you warmer.
She’s eight. Blonde like her mum. She jumps up and down in a circle, puffing out white air. Part way around, she stops and stares in my direction.
I lower the cigarette and stub it out in an empty soft drink can.
There’s no way she can see me. Not through the condensation and window tinting. Stare all you want, little girl.
‘Melanie, you forgot your backpack.’
Susie Weaver unlocks the car with a remote, handbag over her shoulder and the kid’s backpack in her other hand.
Melanie drags the door open and throws herself inside. ‘I was almost a snowman, Mum.’
‘Might need some snow first.’
‘I’ve never seen snow.’
‘Yes you have. We took you to Switzerland when you were three.’ ‘I was a baby then. Can we go there now?’
Regular little chatterbox.
Patting his coat for whatever he thinks he’s forgotten.
‘We’d better go, David.’ Susie is halfway into the front passenger seat.
Yes. You’ll be late if you don’t leave. Wouldn’t want you hurrying on the slippery roads. Not yet.
A minute later the sedan backs out carrying the perfect little family. Soon to face the consequences of a bad decision.
When their taillights disappear around a curve, I turn the ignition.