The Lure

The Lure Cover

Police Chief Frank Bennett investigates the shadowy world of black market adoption scams, where panicked young women and desperate childless couples play a high-stakes game that leads to murder.

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The door of the Stop ’N’ Buy wouldn’t budge.

Yet the market was clearly open for business. Frank Bennett could see people inside partly obscured by the promotion signs, beer posters and garage sale flyers plastered on the windows and door. With another impatient push he felt the door yield slightly. When he finally got it open wide enough to squeeze his wiry body through, he found himself smack up against the well-padded posterior of Edith Marsden.

She brought up the rear of a line that stretched from the cash register, past the ice cream cooler, snaking around the chip-and-dip display, to end right inside the entrance. What the hell was this? There was never a line at the Stop’N’Buy–or anywhere else in Trout Run, for that matter.

Frank listened as Debbie Flint, the day shift clerk, attempted to run both the New York State lottery ticket machine and the cash register while cradling the phone receiver between her chin and shoulder.

“I don’t know what happened—she’s just not here. Of course I called, there was no answer. All I know is, I have to be out of here by four-thirty to pick up my kids. No, the sitter can’t keep them any later—you better come in.”

“What’s going on?” Frank asked no one in particular.

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