Through the viewing window, Jane and Frost could see the dead girl lying on the table in the next room. The naked body looked even more wasted than Jane remembered, the hipbones jutting out, every rib shockingly visible. But above the neck, in grotesque contrast to the skeletally thin body, the face was bloated, the eyelids swollen almost shut.
"You sure you're up for this?" Jane asked Frost.
"I'm fine. I'm okay," he insisted.
"That's what you said the last time," Jane muttered as she pushed into the autopsy room, where Maura and her assistant had already assembled their knives and scalpels, bone-cutters and tweezers. Jane avoided looking at that frightening array of instruments and focused instead on Kimberly Rayner. Once she might have been a pretty blue-eyed blonde who'd turned boys' heads, but months of a self-imposed diet of blood and water had stripped away fat and muscle, leaving behind this skeletal husk
"No surprises in her x-rays," said Maura as she flipped on bright lights. "Let's take a closer look at the neck."
"Still looks like strangulation bruises to me." Jane glanced at Frost, who was standing yards away from the table, strategically placing himself near the sink. "You should get a closer look at this."
"I can see it fine from here," he said.
"And see how her face is swollen," Jane added. "That happens when you constrict the neck, right?"
"It's one mechanism," said Maura.
"So what else would cause a swollen face?"
"An allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis." Above the surgical mask, Maura's forehead suddenly wrinkled into a frown. "Or Lactrodectus facies," she said softly.
Maura didn't answer, but reached for a magnifying glass. Bending close, she turned the girl's head to expose the side of the neck. Staring at the skin, she murmured: "My god, it's so small I almost missed it."
"A puncture mark."
Frost's cell phone suddenly rang.
Maura's focus remained glued to the corpse's throat. She turned the head the other way to examine the opposite side of the neck. "There's another one here."
"You mean, like needle marks to draw blood?"
"No, like --"
"Rizzoli, we gotta go!" yelled Frost. "St. Anthony's Church."
"What's going on?"
"The girl's father. He's taken Lucas Henry hostage, and he's threatening to kill him!"