September 1, 2002
Joe Costa stepped out of his cruiser and onto Willow Lane. He was a lead detective in the
Chester County sheriff‟s office which serviced Lansdale, a bedroom community of the greater
Joe tried not to think about the stomach problems he‟d been having that morning.
The detective looked up at the Linder house. The nice looking brick structure highlighted
a two columned front entrance partly obscured by three large oak trees filling the front yard. A
grey SUV sat parked up onto the curb in the back of the driveway, and sticking halfway out of the
open garage was a dark red sedan suffering from a beat up back end - all of which gave Joe the
feeling that his hopes for a blissful morning on the can were about to be dashed.
“Okay, gentleman what do we have this morning?” Joe asked two policemen waiting for
him on the front step of the home.
“Come on in. I hope you had a light breakfast,” remarked Officer Tom Lightman.
Joe stepped into the house, observing that the front door and lock were intact. There was
no smell of blood to knock him over, but Joe definitely smelled gasoline.
“The victims are in the kitchen,” Officer Rudy Jenkins informed Joe.
The spacious front foyer to the home featured a winding staircase with an oriental runner
lining the middle of the wood stairs. Joe glanced at the living room on his left and dining room on
his right, both holding furniture that pointed to an annual income light years away from Joe‟s
detective pay grade. The morning sun shone through the bay window in the living room and
landing softly on the grand piano.
The gasoline smell came alive as Joe walked closer to the kitchen, which was positioned
behind the front staircase, so he took a few seconds to reset his concentration. The doorframe to