"Will Profiler Evelyn Baines Solve the Crime that Has Shaped Her Entire Life?"
Reviewed by Debbie Wiley
Posted December 16, 2014
Evelyn Baine's whole world changed when she was twelve years
old. The Nursery Rhyme Killer abducted Evelyn's best friend,
Cassie, and her body was never found. Evelyn has waited
eighteen years to find Cassie and capture the Nursery Rhyme
Killer. Her chance has arrived as the Nursery Rhyme Killer
has returned to South Carolina and Evelyn is determined to
be the profiler on the case, no matter the consequences to
VANISHED is the second book in Elizabeth Heiter's The
Profiler series. I love the insight we get into
Evelyn's character in VANISHED. Evelyn's dedication to her
job is admirable but she's starting to see that a life
outside of work might be enjoyable. However, the Nursery
Rhyme Killer is a very personal crime, one that has shaped
Evelyn's entire life and career. Elizabeth Heiter does a
marvelous job at putting the reader into Evelyn's mind, as
it is easy to understand her willingness to forego the rules
and boundaries that have shaped her career as Evelyn is
shaping up to be quite the maverick at the Behavioral
Analysis Unit (BAU)!
Elizabeth Heiter crafts a heart wrenching mystery for Evelyn
to profile. One of the aspects I like best about VANISHED is
that Elizabeth Heiter keeps us guessing until the end. Are
the clues real or just red herrings? I wanted to peek at
the ending but resisted and wow, what a surprise Elizabeth
Heiter has in store for the reader!
VANISHED is a fast paced thriller that keeps the reader on
the edge of the seat, anxiously turning the pages as we hope
to uncover who is committing such horrible crimes. Elizabeth
Heiter sheds light on the long-lasting effects of a child
abduction on not only the immediate family and friends but
the community as a whole. VANISHED is easily recommended for
readers who like their thrillers dark, twisted, and full of
Learn more about Vanished
Sometimes, the past can haunt
Eighteen years ago, FBI
Evelyn Baine's best friend, Cassie Byers, disappeared,
third in a series of unsolved abductions. Only a macabre
nursery rhyme was left at the scene, a nursery rhyme that
claimed Evelyn was also an intended victim. Now, after
these years of silence, another girl has gone missing in
South Carolina, and the Nursery Rhyme Killer is taking
credit. But is Cassie's abductor really back, or is there
copycat at work?
Sometimes, the past is
Evelyn has waited eighteen
for a chance to investigate, but when she returns to Rose
Bay, she finds a dark side to the seemingly idyllic town.
the place erupts in violence and the kidnapper strikes
again, Evelyn knows this is her last chance. If she
figure out what happened to Cassie eighteen years ago, it
may be Evelyn's turn to vanish without a trace.
ExcerptEighteen years later
Evelyn Baine knew how to think like a killer.
In fact, she was damn good at it. Serial killers, arsonÂ¬ists, bomb-makers,
child abductors, terroristsâ€”sheâ€™d crawled around in all of their twisted
minds. Sheâ€™d learned their fantasies, figured out their next moves and
chased them down.
But no matter how many she found, there were alÂ¬ways more.
Even before she stepped inside the unmarked buildÂ¬ing in Aquia, Virginia,
where the FBI hid its Behavioral Analysis Unit, Evelyn knew the requests
for profiles on her desk had grown overnight. It was inevitable.
She strode through the entrance and a blast of air-conditioning chased away
the mid-June heat, raising goose bumps on her arms. As she headed toward
the drab gray bull pen packed with cubicles, the scent of old coffee filled
her nostrils. The whiteboard near the front of the bull pen was covered in
her bossâ€™s distinctive
scrawlâ€”notes on a case. They hadnâ€™t been there when sheâ€™d left last night.
The handful of criminal investigative analysts whoâ€™d arrived before herâ€”or
hadnâ€™t gone homeâ€”gazed at her with bloodshot eyes and quizzical
expressions. But it had been a full two weeks since sheâ€™d been cleared to
come back to work. A full two weeks for them to get used to her not being
the first agent through the door in the morning and the last to leave at
A full two weeks for her to get used to it, too. But it still felt
Slipping into the comfort of her cubicle, she set her briefcase on the
floor, hung her suit jacket over the back of her chair and slid her SIG
Sauer P228 off her hip and into a drawer. Then she looked at the case files
stacked on her desk. Yep, the pile had definitely grown. And the message
light on her phone blinked frantically.
Guilt swirled through her, rising up like a sandstorm. If sheâ€™d stayed an
extra few hours yesterday evening, an extra few hours the evening before,
she mightâ€™ve gotten through another couple of files. But she knew from a
year of ten-hour days, seven days a week, that cloistering herÂ¬self in her
cubicle wouldnâ€™t stop the cases from coming.
It would only stop her from having a life outside the office. And after
sheâ€™d almost been killed by the serial killer sheâ€™d been profiling a month
ago, that had become important.
So, she shoved the guilt back, dropped into her chair and dialed her voice
mail. There were three requests for follow-up on cases sheâ€™d profiled, a
pretty typical way to start her morning. She jotted them down and kept
The next call was from the FBIâ€™s Employee AssisÂ¬tance Program, reminding
her that the Bureau had psy-chologists she could talk to about the case
that had nearly killed her, and had claimed another agentâ€™s life. Evelyn
ground her teeth and deleted it. She had her own psyÂ¬chology degree, and
her professional opinion was that she was doing just fine. She was about to
hang up when she realized there was one more message.
â€śIâ€™m looking for Evelyn Baine.â€ť The voice was vaguely familiar and every
word vibrated with tension. â€śThe Evelyn Baine from Rose Bay. This is Julie
Byers. Cassieâ€™s mom.â€ť
Whatever she said next was drowned out under a sudÂ¬den ringing in Evelynâ€™s
ears, under a bittersweet flood of memories. Cassie, the little girl next
door whoâ€™d come over the day Evelyn had moved in with her grandparents and
announced they were going to be best friends. The girl who hadnâ€™t given a
damn that Evelyn was the only person in townâ€”including Evelynâ€™s
grandparentsâ€”who wasnâ€™t white, at least not entirely white. And eighteen
years ago, in Rose Bay, that had mattered.
Cassie had been Evelynâ€™s first real friend, a symbol of everything that was
supposed to change in her life when she came to stay with her grandparents.
For two years, she and Cassie had been inseparable. And then one night,
Cassie had disappeared from her bed. In her place, her abductor had left
his calling card, a macabre nursery rhyme.
Cassie had never come home. Julie Byers calling now, eighteen years later,
could only mean one thing. Theyâ€™d found her.
Pressure tightened around her heart. Evelyn had worked enough child
abduction cases in her year at BAU to know the statistics. After eighteen
years, Cassie wasnâ€™t going to be found alive. But she didnâ€™t want to snuff
out the flicker of hope that just wouldnâ€™t die.
With unsteady hands, Evelyn called her voice mail again and skipped through
to the last message, to hear what she knew Julie Byers was going to say.
Cassie was dead.
She clutched her hands tightly together as the mesÂ¬sage replayed. â€śIâ€™m
looking for Evelyn Baine. The Evelyn Baine from Rose Bay. This is Julie
Byers. Cassieâ€™s mom.â€ť
In the pause that followed, tears clouded her vision. Her whole body tensed
as she waited for Julie Byers to destroy the dream sheâ€™d had for eighteen
years. The dream of one day seeing Cassie again.
â€śPlease call me, Evelyn.â€ť
Her body deflated and she dropped her head to the desk.
Willing her pain not to show on her face, she turned around. â€śGreg,â€ť she
Greg Ibsen was the closest thing she had to a partÂ¬ner at BAU. Even if
sheâ€™d sounded normal, he was the only one in the office who might have seen
through it. As he stepped into her cubicle, worry brimmed in his soft brown
â€śWhat happened? Are you okay?â€ť
She stared up at him, trying to get control of herself. But her eyes kept
losing focus, and her heart still tripped erratically.
â€śCome on.â€ť Greg set his briefcase next to hers and took her arm, pulling
her out of her seat.
â€śHang on,â€ť she croaked, jotting down the number from her voice mail.
She spun back, her eyes on the loud plaid tie someoneâ€”probably his
daughter, Lucyâ€”had paired with his somber blue suit. Then Greg was
propelling her into an empty interagency coordination room.
He guided her into a chair, then shut the door and leaned against it.
Everything was wrong. Sheâ€™d joined the FBI, joined BAU, to find Cassie, but
sheâ€™d never told anyone at the Bureau about her past. Except Kyle McKenzie.
Kyle was an operator with the FBIâ€™s Hostage Rescue Team. Since HRT and BAU
worked closely together, sheâ€™d met him the day she joined BAU. And for a
whole year, sheâ€™d managed to resist his incessant flirting, asÂ¬suming it
was all a joke. Until last month.
Last month, sheâ€™d acted on the attraction. And everyÂ¬thing between them had
changed. Despite the fact that heâ€™d been called away on a case too soon for
them to figÂ¬ure out where their relationship was going, she wished he was
here. Wished she could lean into his strong arms while she called Cassieâ€™s
But Kyle wasnâ€™t here. He was somewhere not far from where sheâ€™d grown up,
on a mission she didnâ€™t â€śneed to knowâ€ť anything about. And the nature of
his job meant she had no idea when heâ€™d be back.
Greg had trained her and heâ€™d become a good friend. Hell, he was her
emergency contact, because she didnâ€™t have any real family left except her
grandma, and these days, Evelyn took care of her.
A month ago, Evelyn would have pretended to be fine. She would have brushed
off Gregâ€™s concern and gone back to work. But she was trying to make a
change in her life. So, she told him, â€śWhen I was twelve, my best friend,
Cassie, disappeared. She was never found.â€ť It had been the driving force in
her life for eighteen years, the one thing sheâ€™d been willing to sacrifice
everything else for. â€śAnd nowâ€¦â€ť
She squeezed her eyes shut. Sheâ€™d always wanted cloÂ¬sure, always needed to
know what had happened. But if Cassie was dead, she suddenly, desperately,
wanted to stay ignorant.
Gregâ€™s hand rested on her arm, and when she opened her eyes he was kneeling
next to her, his gaze steady and compassionate. The gaze of someone whoâ€™d
sat beside too many victims and always known the right thing to say.
And maybe, more than anyone, heâ€™d know what she should do now. He was
practiced at comforting survivorsâ€”his son, Josh, had watched his birth
father kill his mother before Josh had been adopted by Greg and his wife.
â€śCassieâ€™s mom wants me to call her.â€ť The next words didnâ€™t want to come,
but she forced them out. â€śIt must be because they finally found her body.â€ť
Saying it out loud felt like ripping a bandage from a wound it had covered
so long it had grown into the skin.
Sorrow folded into the creases beside Gregâ€™s fawn-colored eyes. â€śIâ€™m so
sorry, Evelyn.â€ť He squeezed her hand, those gentle eyes searching hers.
â€śEighteen years is a long time. Too long for there to be any good outcome.â€ť
He was right, of course. If Cassie had still been alive, what hell might
she have endured for the past eighteen years?
A rush of images stampeded through her head from a child abduction case
sheâ€™d profiled in her first month at BAU. Sheâ€™d gone to the scene to advise
HRT when they went into the suspectâ€™s house. Sheâ€™d watched Kyle kick the
door in. She could still smell the cordite from the flash-bang, still feel
the tension, the restrained hope that maybe, just maybe, theyâ€™d find the
Sheâ€™d waited and waited until finally theyâ€™d come out. First, two HRT
agents leading the suspect, naked, handÂ¬cuffed and swearing. Then Kyle
carrying the boy, miÂ¬raculously still breathing. Someone had wrapped an FBI
jacket around his violated body, but the anguish in his eyesâ€”seven hundred
days past terrorâ€”had burrowed deep into her soul and sheâ€™d known. He hadnâ€™t
really come out alive.
Gregâ€™s voice brought her back to the present. â€śYou were too young to have
saved Cassie, Evelyn. But she brought you to us. And to all the victims you
did bring home.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t want to hear thereâ€™s no more hope,â€ť she adÂ¬mitted.
Greg didnâ€™t let go of her hand as she pulled out her phone and stared at
it, not wanting to dial.
â€śYou need to get it over with. Itâ€™s not going to get any easier, and
waiting wonâ€™t change anything. You can do this.â€ť
Evelyn nodded, tried to prepare herself. She dialed the number fast, before
she could change her mind. Some cowardly part of her hoped Julie wouldnâ€™t
pick up, but before the first ring ended, she did.
â€śMrs. Byers? Itâ€™s Evelyn Baine.â€ť Her voice sounded strange, too high-
pitched and winded, as if sheâ€™d just run the Marine training course over at
â€śEvelyn.â€ť Julieâ€™s voice betrayed that sheâ€™d been crying.
Dread intensified, and slivers of ice raced along EvÂ¬elynâ€™s spine.
â€śIâ€™m so glad I found you.â€ť Julieâ€™s voice evened out. â€śI heard you joined
She had? Evelyn had left Rose Bay at seventeen, after her grandma had
gotten sick and her mom had suddenly shown up again. Sheâ€™d never gone back
and she hadnâ€™t talked to anyone from Rose Bay in more than a decade.
â€śYes,â€ť Evelyn managed. Get on with it, she wanted to say. Just tell me
A sob welled up in her throat and Evelyn clamped her jaw tight, holding it
â€śYou probably figured after all this time Iâ€™d only be callingâ€¦ Well, itâ€™s
Evelynâ€™s fingers started to tingle and she realized sheâ€™d squeezed Gregâ€™s
hand so tight both of their knuckles had gone bloodless. But she couldnâ€™t
seem to loosen her grip.
â€śYou found her?â€ť
â€śNo. But the person who took Cassie is back.â€ť
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