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Under Her Care

Under Her Care By Lucinda Berry Summary

Under Her Care: A Thriller from the bestselling author of The Perfect Child comes a shocking thriller about the disturbing complexities of a mother’s love and the deadly consequences of unravelling family secrets.

On a humid summer day in Alabama, a mayor’s wife turns up brutally murdered under a railroad bridge. Standing next to her body is fourteen-year-old Mason Hill, the autistic son of former Miss USA Genevieve Hill. The locals are quick to level their verdict on young Mason: he did it.

The town detective calls in local autism expert Casey Walker to consult on the case. At first, Casey tries to keep an open mind. But the more time she spends with Genevieve, the more her unease grows, and she suspects that Genevieve is doing more than just protecting her son.

Casey’s misgivings surrounding Genevieve’s story only intensify when she meets Savannah, Genevieve’s nineteen-year-old daughter. Savannah, as it turns out, has some disturbing secrets of her own. But as Casey dives ever deeper into the Hill family dynamic, her search for the truth leads to another shocking murder―one that shatters her understanding of the human condition in ways she never imagined.

About the Author

Dr. Lucinda Berry is a former clinical psychologist and leading researcher in childhood trauma. Now, she spends her days writing full-time where she uses her clinical experience to blur the line between fiction and nonfiction. She enjoys taking her readers on a journey through the dark recesses of the human psyche. Her work has been optioned for film and translated into multiple languages.

If Berry isn’t chasing after her son, you can find her running through Los Angeles, prepping for her next marathon. To hear about her upcoming release The Secrets of Us, visit her on Facebook or sign up for her newsletter at https://lucindaberry.com/

Under Her Care By Lucinda Berry Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CASEY WALKER

There’s never been a killer among us. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has lots of community sins; murder just isn’t one of them. The entire town is shook. It’s been that way since they found the mayor’s wife’s body on the riverbank of Hurricane Creek underneath the old railroad bridge. We don’t have those kinds of tragedies around here. We watch them play out on Dateline on Friday nights at eight o’clock on our flat-screen TVs. Not in our own backyards.

Gunner Banks’s fingers are sweaty as he grips my arm while we walk down the police station corridor. Cinder blocks line each side. He leans into me and whispers, “So what do you think about the Hill boy?”

“I haven’t even met him,” I say. Except nobody else has, either, but that hasn’t stopped them from forming opinions about his innocence, since Mason Hill was standing next to Annabelle’s body when they found her. Her blood was all over him. His mother, Genevieve, claims he stumbled on her while he was out for a walk and tried to save her. She’s got lots of people on her side supporting her, but there are plenty coming against her, and they’re convinced Mason was only there for one reason—he did it.

Gunner points to the door on my right and reaches around me to push it open. “Here you go, ma’am. The big boss will be with you shortly.” A wide smile spreads across his face, and for a second, he looks just like he did in fourth grade when he gave me the chocolate heart for Valentine’s Day.

“Thanks,” I say, returning his smile as I step into the room. “Tell Phoebe that I say hi.”

“Will do.” He dips his head like he’s tipping an imaginary hat before leaving me alone to wait.

I’ve never been in a police station before, and it’s impossible not to feel like I’ve done something wrong as soon as the door shuts behind him. I take a deep breath, trying to steady my nerves. Detective Layne has been assigned to the case. He’s local but graduated ten years before me, so I have no idea what to expect from him. He didn’t give me any clue to the reason for his call yesterday, only that I needed to come down to the station to talk.

The windows on the back wall are covered in grime. Two beat-up chairs rest in front of a sprawling aluminum desk, but I’m too nervous to sit. I gave my deposition to a lawyer once in a child-custody case, but that’s as close as I’ve come to working with the police. Why am I here? And then it hits me—What if they think I have something to do with it?

Marsha Seale posted all over Facebook last night that investigators have a list of new leads and they’re bringing people in for questioning. I assumed they wanted to talk to me about Mason, since he has autism and that’s my area of expertise, but what if I’m wrong? What if I’m on the list? Why would I be on that list? Just as I’m spiraling into frenzied worry, the door opens behind me, and I jump, whipping around.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you,” Detective Layne says as he moves past me and into the room.

My cheeks flood with embarrassment as I rush to take a seat in front of the desk, where I should’ve been in the first place. I smooth down my pants and straighten my shirt, quickly trying to recover as I give him a practiced smile.

“I’m Detective Layne,” he says, meeting my smile with a quick nod as he squeezes around the desk. He’s overweight and balding, with nothing but peach fuzz on the top of his head. He plops down in the seat. Air escapes the cushion. “Thanks for coming in to chat with me today.”

“No problem,” I say like this is a casual get-together for coffee. His belly pushes against his desk. He slowly twirls his thumbs on top of it, taking a second to run his eyes over me like he’s inspecting me for something. He doesn’t look like a detective. More like a middle school football coach, especially in the way he holds himself.

“I’m sure you’re aware that there’s an active investigation into Annabelle Chapman’s death?” He pauses and gives me a pointed look. I nod my agreement. “And I’m sure you’re also aware that Mason Hill was found at the scene of the crime on the day of her death?”

Another pause.

Another nod.

“Okay, good.” He looks relieved that he doesn’t have to waste time filling me in on the event, but you’d have to be locked in your house and completely cut off from the rest of the world to miss what’s happening around us. Things like this don’t happen around here, and it’s got everyone’s tongue wagging. “I hear you’re the autism whisperer around these parts?”

I let out a relieved laugh at his choice of words and the fact that this has nothing to do with me after all. “I’m not sure about that, but I’ve been working with kids and autism for almost twenty years.” My fancy title is a pediatric psychologist with a specialization in neurodevelopmental disabilities, but nobody ever understands that.

“You come highly recommended after the work you did with the Taylor family. You should hear all the stories Mrs. Taylor tells about you. She swears her son didn’t speak a single word until after he started working with you. That’s pretty amazing stuff you do.” His dark-brown eyes peer into mine, and I can’t tell if he’s being genuine or not, but at least now I know where he got my name.

Mrs. Taylor was devastated that her son Owen didn’t talk. He was three, and his communication was still limited to grunts and a few gestures. She and her husband tried all kinds of different specialists in Birmingham, but he wasn’t making any progress. After Owen had a bad meltdown at preschool and bit another kid, one of Mrs. Taylor’s cousins recommended me. Owen and I clicked immediately.

He was just one of those kids. She drove all the way down from Birmingham every week for an entire year, and he was almost caught up with the other kids his age within six months. Mrs. Taylor is one of the most successful interior designers in the tricounty area, and she posted a rave review on her Instagram that had people flocking to me in droves. Within days, I had to open a waiting list in my practice for the first time. I’ve had one ever since.

I wish I could take credit for Owen’s gains, but he was probably misdiagnosed from the beginning. That didn’t mean anything to Mrs. Taylor, though. It didn’t matter to her whether her son had autism spectrum disorder or speech apraxia. All she cared about was that he called her Mom.

“Here’s the deal—we need to talk to the kid, and this woman is making that pretty difficult to do. She needs someone she can trust, if you know what I mean.” Detective Layne rubs his folded chin and gives me a knowing look.

I don’t know what he means, and I don’t like the way he says this woman either. My arms cross instinctively on my chest, and I try to hide my annoyance. “What’s the problem?”

“Her son is the only one that might know what happened to Annabelle, so we need a statement from him. It’s challenging enough figuring out a way to communicate with him when he doesn’t really talk. That’s our first hurdle, but we can’t even get close enough to try because she hovers constantly. Never leaves his side. I mean never. She barely lets go of his hand. You should see it.

We’ve had some of our best guys take a stab at him, but anytime Mason gets uncomfortable or agitated in the least, she shuts it down immediately. She gets so upset the minute he does. It’s like she has to stop it. We can’t get anywhere near him, and we need someone who can.” He gives me another pointed look, like I’m supposed to be following him, but I’m still clueless. “Ms. Walker, this isn’t a good situation.

We’ve got to know if there’s a murderer on the loose. The community deserves that. You’ve seen what it’s like with everybody.” He motions over his shoulder to the people outside the dirty windows who he swore to serve and protect. “People are terrified. My phone’s ringing off the hook. It’s been that way since it happened. The entire town’s breathing down my neck to give them something. They want an arrest, and this kid could help me do that. He could help this entire city feel safe again.”

I nod my understanding. I wouldn’t want to be in his position. Not in a place where crime statistics are measured in stolen bicycles.

“I’m just going to be honest with you—we need someone who stands a chance at getting Genevieve to calm down enough to let us talk to the kid. She can’t handle it when that boy is uncomfortable. You’d think the whole world was ending. She needs someone to hold her hand so she can let go of his.” He shakes his head, irritated with her protectiveness. “I’ve got four kids of my own, and sheltering them doesn’t do them any favors, you know? Do you have any?”

“Just one.” I understand his frustration, but I sympathize with wanting to shield your kid from pain. I fall on the helicopter-parenting side of the spectrum myself when it comes to my daughter, Harper.

“Good, then you know that sometimes you gotta just let kids be upset. And you also know that kids really start squirming when they think answering your questions might land them in even more trouble. I know autistic kids—”

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Under Her Care

Under Her Care PDF

Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN1542035465, 978-1542035460
Posted onJune 1, 2022
Formatpdf
Page Count283 pages
AuthorLucinda Berry

Under Her Care By Lucinda Berry PDF Free Download - HUB PDF

Under Her Care: A Thriller from the bestselling author of The Perfect Child comes a shocking thriller about the disturbing complexities of a mother’s love and the deadly consequences of unravelling family secrets.

URL: https://amzn.to/3a2gGos

Author: Lucinda Berry

Editor's Rating:
4.2
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