Daily Inkling Prompt: Skimming It
“Find a book you’re not familiar with. Read the back cover synopsis, and skim a few of the pages. Then, tell us what happens in the book by filling in the gaps with your imagination.”
I picked up this book last summer at a garage sale and haven’t gotten around to reading it, despite reading several other James Patterson books this past year, and absolutely loving horror thriller stories. I only know what I’ve read from the plot synopsis. I thought it would be fun to include the title and plot synopsis, as well as three, randomly selected sentences from random parts of the book, before trying to fill in all the pieces.
Without further ado, here we go.
& Daniel Ellis
“Everyone thinks Emmy Dockery is crazy. Obsessed with finding the link between hundreds of unsolved cases, Emmy has taken leave from her job as an FBI researcher. Now all she has are the newspaper clippings that wallpaper her bedroom, and her recurring nightmares of an all-consuming fire.
Not even Emmy’s ex-boyfriend, field agent Harrison “Books” Bookman, will believe her that hundreds of kidnappings, rapes, and murders are all connected. That is until Emmy finds a piece of evidence he can’t afford to ignore. More murders are reported by the day–and they’re all inexplicable. No motives, no murder weapons, no suspects. Could one person really be responsible for these unthinkable crimes?”
“With my pointer, I outline a circle around the blue stars. ‘But our subject wasn’t such a traveler during this second phase, was he?'” ~Page 71
“Somehow, my hands have split apart again, resuming their spasmodic quaking, and only now do I realize the lightning in the room has turned a blinding shade of white, and the buzzing in my head has reached a dizzying volume, the odor in the air turning foul and putrid–” ~Page 164
“‘I want that perimeter around his house sealed tight,’ he says into his phone. ‘Because if he’s watching the news, now he knows how close we are. And you damn well better believe he’s watching the news.'” ~Page 303
Here’s what I think happens…
Emmy lets the case completely consume her. She tries to pin all of these fires on this one guy, who is definitely not the guilty party. She finds a huge piece of evidence, which ends up being circumstantial, and viewed as a coincidence. She ends up getting sued for harassment and placed on leave, and all of her coworkers think that she is crazy. Her friends and colleagues all distance themselves from her, including her ex, who had supported her up until this point, and her mom calls her every night to lecture her and try to convince her to move back home so she can clear her head. She starts taking a more vigilante approach to trying to solve these cases and becomes a full-blown stalker of the guy that she thinks has been starting these fires.
One night, she follows him to a bar, and while she is there watching him, another fire happens, and she becomes his alibi for that night. She tells her boss the truth about that night, and ends up getting reprimanded even further, and has to watch the man that she was convinced was the arson go free, which sends her into a downward spiral of self-doubt. She returns to that same bar the next night to drink her sorrows away and meets a charming, handsome man. The two hook up, and very quickly she falls in love with him, because he really listens to her, and believes all of her theories about the fires.
Three months go by, and Emmy returns to work, in better spirits than she has been in in a long time. She convinces her boss and all of her coworkers that she is over the arson case, and has shifted her focus elsewhere, but she and her new boyfriend have actually been doing more vigilante work and research back home, and she’s fallen even further down the rabbit hole. Her ex-boyfriend can tell that something is wrong, and after she begins to tell him about her new relationship, he gets jealous and begins digging into the guy’s past.
One night, her boyfriend’s phone goes off while he’s in the shower, and she checks it. It’s a message from an unknown number talking about meeting him later that night, and she starts to believe that he is cheating on her. Being the totally stable person that she is, she decides to follow him that night when he tells her that he is going out drinking with his buddies, and she discovers that the guy that he is meeting up with is the same guy from before, who she suspected of arson all along.
She sneaks into his house while he’s out, and waits for him to come home. She confronts him when he gets home, and he tells her that they are brothers. They’ve been working together all these years, but he is actually the mastermind behind it all, while his brother is just a moron. He holds her captive in his apartment and tortures her. Meanwhile, her ex-boyfriend has put all the pieces together and has already assembled a team to take this guy and his brother down. He tries to call Emmy a few dozen times but she doesn’t answer, and that’s when they show up, bust down the door, and rescue her. The bad guy gets killed in the crossfire.
Emmy watches from behind a two-way mirror as they interrogate the guy’s brother, and everything he says matches up with what the other brother told Emmy, and she feels disgusted with herself and spirals even more. She goes back to the bar where she met the guy, and her ex-boyfriend meets her there and talks her down off the ledge.
They sleep together a few times, but he has actually been seeing someone this whole time and hasn’t told Emmy. When he comes clean, she decides that she doesn’t need that shit in her life, and decides to move back home to be closer to her elderly parents and siblings. When she arrives back home, she is greeted by squad cars and fire trucks sitting in the driveway of her childhood home, which has been burned to the ground. Her mother and father are fine, but their dog, Lucy, dies in the fire, and her mom is distraught. Police say it was an electrical fire, but Emmy knows better. It’s not over yet.
Look out for a sequel!
So… was I close? Did you enjoy this prompt? I had a ton of fun guessing the story, but I’ll have no idea whether I was close or not until I read the damn thing!
Thanks for reading, friends.