Forensic specialist Maggie Gardiner and homicide detective Jack Renner don’t eat much, because unlike me, they have nice, fit, svelte figures. Unlike me, they are able to resist ice cream, chocolate in any form, and Fritos. Unlike me, they are too busy with work…some might say obsessed…to pay much attention to what they eat or would like to eat. Very unlike me.
But food plays a significant role in their first outing, That Darkness. It begins as Maggie examines an unidentified female in her early teens, discovered in a local cemetery. More shocking than the girl’s injuries—for Maggie at least—is the fact that no one has reported her missing. She and the detectives assigned to the case (including her cop ex-husband) are determined to follow every lead, run down every scrap of evidence. But what Maggie finds will challenge everything she believes about justice, morality, and the true nature of evil.
Jack Renner is a killer. He doesn’t murder because he savors it, or because he believes himself omnipotent, or for any reason other than to make the world a safer place.
When the girl’s captor/killer also turns up dead, Maggie runs down every fiber and stain and clue, including gastric contents. When I worked at the coroner’s office I hated gastric contents. Give me buckets of blood, air filled with lead and primer residue, dye stain and acetic acid and swabs of unmentionable body fluids all day long, but nothing struck the ick factor like gastic contents. And our examination couldn’t even be considered particularly scientific: we simply rinsed off the liquid and took a magnifying glass to the rest. Does that look like tomato to you? I think it’s a sliver of tomato.
This becomes important, because of the kind of killer Jack is. He doesn’t hate the uber-criminals he dispatches. He knows they’re just a product of their environment, so he sits them down and listens to their stories and treats them to their favorites--which includes ordering in from their favorite restaurants. And suddenly, through the examination of their gastric contents, he finds Maggie on his trail.
Food matters, in all sorts of ways!